In an earlier post (Nov. 15, 2007), I compared the 2008 presidential candidates to the choice between litigation and mediation. At the time I was writing the favored candidates were Rudy Guiliani and Hillary Clinton, both candidates with a combative style. After a fairly drawn-out process, both parties have headed in a different direction, about to choose John McCain and Barack Obama. To me this indicates that the country is in more of a problem-solving mode than a fighting mode. But of course there will still be some fighting ahead.
And for all the fighting that has taken place so far, this year is absolutely tame compared with some years in the past. Last week I picked up an advance copy of Norman Mailer’s Miami and the Siege of Chicago, which is being re-issued this summer by NYRB Classics. There may be nothing better out there to give some historical perspective on the campaign this year. It makes you wish there were a Norman Mailer around to write about this year’s campaign.