When she's on form, she's peerless, and today's column was crackling with insight. I do think McCain actually worships at the altar of celebrity (how many movies has he guest-starred in? how many SNLs? how many dinner parties in Hollywood has McCain been to? how many books has he had ghost-written burnishing his life story? how often does he put out images of his own instant celebrity years ago as a returning POW?) And Obama's staggeringly swift rise to super-stardom is bound to unleash McCain's inner Norma Desmond. It can't be fun when you were such a stud for so long being ridiculed nightly as Abraham Simpson.
But I think the main McCain response to Obama is quite close to Clinton's: who does this little pischer think he is?
Both Clinton and McCain have toiled long years inching up the greasy pole, paying their dues, enduring the brickbats. To be shoved aside by this whipper-snapper is enough to make any narcissist cranky. (They're all narcissists to some degree of course, including Obama.) It's less envy as such, I'd say, than resentment mixed with condescension.
I wonder if we will look back on this period and see it as the point at which Obama's star faded or the point at which McCain panicked. Neither McCain's brand nor Obama's is untarnished at this point. But I suspect Obama's has more traction in the long run, given the state of the country. I could be wrong, of course. And McCain's heartland rapsberries at the darling of Europe are certainly entertaining.