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John McCain as Gandalf?

Victor Davis Hanson makes some reasonable points in his op ed urging conservatives not to "jump ship" on John McCain. On balance, I think McCain isn't nearly as good as Hanson claims, and Obama not quite as bad. Then again, I'm not a conservative, and so not the target audience for Hanson's column.

Be that as it may, I think Hanson's appeal goes a bit off the rails when he concludes by suggesting that supporting McCain is like "trust[ing] the grating harsh voice of Gandalf detailing the dangers of Saruman rather than the mellifluous charm of the latter who in soothing tones outlines his own victimhood." To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen: I served with Gandalf in numerous D&D campaigns; I knew Gandalf from reading the Lord of the Rings umpteen times; Gandalf was a friend of mine. And John McCain is no Gandalf.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. The Fate of Radagast the Brown:
  2. John McCain as Gandalf?
Public_Defender (mail):
I think Jon Stewart was right: McCain is more like Gollum than Gandalf. He switches between toadying compliments and insane rants. He gave up everything good about himself and is toying with forces of evil in order to grab his own version of the Ring of Power. And he's really, really old too.

On the other hand, in his quest for ultimate power, Gollum killed his best friend. McCain just cheated on his first wife and then dumped her for a rich sugar-mama ("beer-mama"?).
10.13.2008 7:04am
Hoosier:
Too strange a premise to comment.
10.13.2008 7:35am
Jay Myers:
Whatever McCain's faults, Obama picked Biden for his knowledge of foreign affairs like when the US and France kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. As Gandalf says, "The wise speak only of what they know". Obama might as well have picked Grima Wormtongue for his running mate. Even if judgment does matter more than experience Obama has neither.
10.13.2008 8:07am
SailorDave (www):
More like Denethor - a hot tempered but once respected leader who knows he's going to lose and has been completely unhinged by it.
10.13.2008 8:12am
surrender_monkey:
Jay,

And still, with all his faults, he's infinitely more appealing as a candidate than is McCain, and will (we all hope and cross our fingers) do a far better job of steering this country away from the train-wreck that Bush has given us.
10.13.2008 8:13am
corneille1640 (mail):
It seems to me that the key attribute of Gandalf was humility: he refuses the ring when Frodo offers it because he [Gandalf] knows he cannot handle it. Neither Mr. Obama nor Mr. McCain have that virtue in abundance.
10.13.2008 8:16am
Arkady:
He was called "Gandalf the Grey"...perhaps Hanson had that in the back of his mind.
10.13.2008 8:29am
LM (mail):
McCain's problem is that a string of circumstances beginning in 2000 have conspired to make his position today untenable. In order to be both the genuine, circa 2000 John McCain and POTUS, he has to cross a Faustian bridge too far. And you just can't get there from here. And if the hour weren't so late I'd like to think I could cram a few more metaphors in there, but you get the idea.
10.13.2008 8:30am
T.S. Jones:
Seems to me that this entire commentary is nonsensical. We're talking about which candidate more resembles a fictional character? In light of the many challenges we face this strikes me as the height of lunacy. When finished with this project, we don't you all go back to rearranging chairs on the HMS Titanic, then?
10.13.2008 8:30am
corneille1640 (mail):

When finished with this project, we don't you all go back to rearranging chairs on the HMS Titanic, then?

The arrangement of furniture on that ill-fated ship is, too, an important topic. But here we're talking about Gandalf.
10.13.2008 8:37am
Snaphappy:
Perhaps after his defeat in November he will return in 2012 as McCain the White?

heh heh. Oh I slay me.
10.13.2008 8:38am
Mike Keenan:
I am not going to make any comment at all on this topic (but wasn't he Gandalf the White at that point?)
10.13.2008 8:42am
Public_Defender (mail):

Seems to me that this entire commentary is nonsensical. We're talking about which candidate more resembles a fictional character? In light of the many challenges we face this strikes me as the height of lunacy.


Yes, my serious Samwise. We will now return to all-too-sober task. We forgot that politics was too serious to discuss with a sense of humor. Commentators from Ben Franklin to Mark Twain lacked your all-important and tightly-focused diligence.
10.13.2008 8:47am
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
Arkady, more likely he was thinking of the re-incarnate version: Gandalf the White.
10.13.2008 9:03am
hawkins:

I served with Gandalf in numerous D&D campaigns; I knew Gandalf from reading the Lord of the Rings


D&D used the same characters as Lord of the Rings?
10.13.2008 9:17am
crane (mail):
hawkins, people can roleplay in lots of different worlds, including Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and just about any other fictional setting you can imagine.

As for the main post, if McCain is Gandalf, who or what is the Balrog and how soon will it strike?

(Although, if McCain is indeed Gandalf the White by now, the Balrog might have been the Bush campaign in 2000. Except McCain didn't do anything remotely resembling striking them down on a mountain.)

/geekiness overload
10.13.2008 9:28am
JB:
McCain seems more like Saruman. Republicans and Independents have long looked to him for honest counsel and seen him as an ally, only to be foully betrayed by his pandering to the Dunlendings and raising an army of Uruk-Hai. He had some early successes, but now looks like he tarnished his legacy for nothing.
10.13.2008 9:34am
SSFC (www):
More like Denethor - a hot tempered but once respected leader who knows he's going to lose and has been completely unhinged by it.


I'd nominate George W. Bush for the High Steward. Years of well-meaning and unceasing vigilance against one threat, while neglecting others and allowing Gondor to rot from within.
10.13.2008 9:38am
Happyshooter:
In any of the D&D campaigns I played in, the halflings would have sleep poisoned Gandalf the night after he ordered them to leave treasure, and stripped him and went to town to recruit a chaotic MU and two clerics of tempus.

That being said, Obama sure has a lot of evil friends.
10.13.2008 9:40am
krs:
worst post ever
10.13.2008 9:42am
SSFC (www):
Of course, that makes Franklin Roosevelt Fëanor. He's responsible for everything that's wrong (and right) with the current mess in the first place, with his Bretton Woods agreement, national security state, atom bomb, UN, and so forth.

He even died before he could fix his problems, leaving them to us.
10.13.2008 9:44am
A.W. (mail):
Okay, i am declaring an official moritorium on riffing on Bentson's put down of Dan Quayle. The phrase is so over used it is has lost any cleverness, or humorous potential. Even 10 years ago, "you are no gandalf" might have been a little funny. Now it just makes me groan.

Seriously, it has been 20 years and probably 20,000 uses. Its time to give it a rest.
10.13.2008 9:46am
Minotauro (mail):
Obama is Sauron.

McCain is Gandalf.

That would leave Palin to be Aragon.
10.13.2008 9:53am
Just Dropping By (mail):
Would this make the passage of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill the equivalent of masterminding the quest to destroy Smaug?
10.13.2008 9:57am
darelf:
You know, I never thought I would look at the options for POTUS and wish that I could vote for Bush one more time. I seriously believed we would find a better candidate. I was wrong.... so wrong....
10.13.2008 10:08am
Just Dropping By (mail):
Bonus geek/political analogy: Obama is Ben Holiday from Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold!. (Chicago lawyer becomes ruler of a magic kingdom through a combination of spending a lot of money and outside-the-box thinking.)
10.13.2008 10:10am
Snaphappy:
A.W. What about this quote: Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
10.13.2008 10:14am
JB:
OK, if we're going for more obscure stuff...

McCain is Adron e'Kieron from Steven Brust's Dragaera books. Immensely powerful, ambitious, and knowledgeable, but blinded by same to think he's better than he is. Campaigned for supreme executive power on a platform of cleaning up the government's corruption and restoring the natural order of things, but because of mishandling of the situation created a crisis that threatened the entire government.

Obama is Vlad Taltos, from a different set of books in the same world. A member of an outsider group, with strong ties to antigovernment radicals (Vlad's wife becomes a rebel against the government) but not sharing their attitudes, very pragmatic and ruthless but hiding it under an inspirational veneer.
10.13.2008 10:19am
Mad Max:
Obama is Wormtongue - he will weaken and betray the kingdom with his lies, flattery, and manipulation.
10.13.2008 10:29am
Angus:
I have no idea why Hanson's political writings tend towards the ridiculous (and I don't just mean "disagrees with me"). His historical work in the ancient period is quite good.
10.13.2008 10:40am
Antinome (mail):
Let me get this straight, Hanson writes a column asserting that the right's rhetoric against Obama is really not that bad and then calls him a traitor in geekspeak.

Okay I can do Tolkien analogies as well:

McCain is Boromir a good and noble man who loses himself in the desire for power to do good as he sees it.

Obama is Faramir (of the book not the movie), the younger, calmer leader who resists the lure of the ring for the greater good.
10.13.2008 10:43am
shira0607 (mail):

Minotauro (mail):
Obama is Sauron.

McCain is Gandalf.

That would leave Palin to be Aragon.
10.13.2008 8:53am


I too have read the Lord of the Rings many times. Palin is no Aragon. More like the 'sheriffs' when the Hobbits return to the Shire.
10.13.2008 10:44am
Kevin R (mail):
Obama is Faramir (of the book not the movie), the younger, calmer leader who resists the lure of the ring for the greater good.


What could possibly make you think that Obama "resists the lure of the ring"? His whole life has been one continuous power grab.

Of course, that makes Franklin Roosevelt Fëanor. He's responsible for everything that's wrong (and right) with the current mess in the first place, with his Bretton Woods agreement, national security state, atom bomb, UN, and so forth.

He even died before he could fix his problems, leaving them to us.


This is the best reply so far.
10.13.2008 11:02am
A.W. (mail):
Actually, i would say that the have no decency quote is a little better because it is now less used.
10.13.2008 11:20am
Duffy Pratt (mail):
JB:

Not sure which character, but McCain is more like a Dzur than anything else. And Obama is certainly no Jhereg, maybe an Issola?

For the LoTR geeks, who is Radagast the Brown?
10.13.2008 11:20am
Waldensian (mail):

I served with Gandalf in numerous D&D campaigns; I knew Gandalf from reading the Lord of the Rings umpteen times; Gandalf was a friend of mine.

This is the new winner for "geekiest line in VC history."

And believe me, that is some stiff competition.
10.13.2008 11:23am
BABH:
Is this a response to Michael Chabon's pro-Obama LOTR analogy in the recent NY Review of Books?

"Obama had claimed the presumptive nomination. We Fremen had done the impossible, against Sardaukar and imperial shock troops alike. We had brought water to Arrakis. Now the gathered tribes of the Democratic Party—hacks, Teamsters, hat ladies, New Mexicans, residents of those states most nearly resembling Canada, Jews of South Florida, dreadlocks, crewcuts, elderlies and goths, a cowboy or two, sons and daughters of interned Japanese-Americans—had assembled on the plains of Denver to attempt to vanquish old Saruman McCain."
10.13.2008 11:34am
A.W. (mail):
Wald

Its the D&D part that makes it really geeky.
10.13.2008 11:35am
Cornellian (mail):
As for the main post, if McCain is Gandalf, who or what is the Balrog and how soon will it strike?

Obviously, Palin is the Balrog - appearing suddenly to drag McCain down to oblivion.
10.13.2008 11:54am
skyywise (mail):
McCain is Saruman &Palin is Grima Wormtounge who will be his eventual downfall.

And to extend the absurd comparison (and aggravate the staunch GOP defenders here), Obama is Aragorn, Biden is Elrond, Hilary Clinton is Galadriel, and Ted Kennedy is about to be arisen as Gandalf the White.
10.13.2008 12:15pm
The Cabbage (mail):
who is Radagast the Brown?

Lysander Spooner.
10.13.2008 12:16pm
Antinome (mail) (www):

"For the LoTR geeks, who is Radagast the Brown?"

For 2008: Al Gore (environmentalist who had bit part in the main action adn went off stage)
10.13.2008 12:20pm
JB:
Duffy,
McCain is very much a Dzur, but also a Dragon.

And I think all Chicago politicians are Jheregs.

Now, the question is, which Supreme Court justices are Issola and how can we get more of them, and what to do about liberal bias among the Lyorns?
10.13.2008 12:29pm
CiarandDenlane (mail):
McCain = Theoden
Palin = Eowyn

Brave, perhaps to the point of rashness, and outsiders to the intellectual centers of the world.

Obama = Aragorn or Saruman

Agent of change. Rhetorical skills suggest Saruman, but let's hope not. Aragorn isn't a perfect fit, but he does have a phlegmatic side.

Biden = Pippin
10.13.2008 12:58pm
Mad Max:
Obama is Faramir (of the book not the movie), the younger, calmer leader who resists the lure of the ring for the greater good.

Yeah, right. Obama has manfully resisted ambition the whole time as he climbed to the top of the greasy pole!
10.13.2008 1:03pm
Milhouse (www):
Ilya, if you really knew Gandalf, you'd know that he was no Gandalf either.
10.13.2008 1:12pm
Gandalf (mail):
Ilya

I will say this for the last time. You have followed me when I jog, you have called me at all hours of the night, you have slashed my tires, and even left creepy love notes. I am not your friend. In fact, I put a restraining order on you. Now leave me alone.

Gandalf
10.13.2008 1:15pm
Felix Sulla:
BABH: That Chabon quote looks like a hybrid Dune/LOTR analogy. Though, admittedly, not a particularly good one.
10.13.2008 1:17pm
Derrick (mail):
I'm getting a Witch-king of Angmar vibe from Sarah Palin. The Witch-king seemed to be the culture warrior of his day.
10.13.2008 1:21pm
Felix Sulla:

Yeah, right. Obama has manfully resisted ambition the whole time as he climbed to the top of the greasy pole!
Well, Faramir didn't resist climbing to the top of the pole either. He was given, in the Ring, an easy and alluring way to do it. He rejected the lure of the Ring because he knew it would be his undoing and the undoing of all he truly believed in. In fact, Faramir essentially rejected the top slot by refusing the Ring.

As an Obama supporter, I do not see him as Faramir. Obama is clearly gunning to be Aragorn, whatever your feelings as to a more appropriate Tolkienesque alter ego might be. I also note that, unlike Mortensen's portrayal of Aragorn, the Aragorn of the books was actually quite ready and willing to assume power. But not the Ring.
10.13.2008 1:25pm
Felix Sulla:
I should clarify: Faramir rejected the easy way to ultimate power by refusing the Ring. He did not reject power or even foreclose his own elevation to the top slot. At that point, he had no reason to believe he was anything other than the sole surviving son of the Steward of Gondor. And of course, Faramir did not exactly return to humble private life even after Aragorn became Elessar.
10.13.2008 1:32pm
Mad Max:
Faramir was not a creepy pathological narcissist who represented himself as The Messiah, Savior of His Generation and Man Who Can Stop the Oceans From Rising.
10.13.2008 1:53pm
js5 (mail):
I don't really have a comment on the substance, but I just want to say the Bentsen reference has me trying to hold back my laughter in class.
10.13.2008 1:56pm
Leopold (mail):
I must:

George Soros is Sauron. Obama is the Mouth of Sauron.
10.13.2008 2:09pm
libertarian soldier (mail):
JB: "Immensely powerful, ambitious, and knowledgeable, but blinded by same to think he's better than he is." I think that is more a description of Ted Kennedy than McCain.
And since Vlad gave up everything he had by selling out the Jherag to save his wife, I can't really see comparing him to Mr. "Throw inconvenient associates under the bus if they become a threat to my achieving my ambitions".
10.13.2008 2:30pm
Eric Cioe (mail):
FDR is Feanor, good stuff. The curse of Feanor runs long.
10.13.2008 2:32pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):
Tolkien is presently rolling over in his grave. Please stop analogizing, so he may rest for a bit.
10.13.2008 2:45pm
Hoosier:
(Has anyone posted a suggestion regarding which Star Trek character McCain is? Or are we waiting for the next ST convention?)
10.13.2008 3:24pm
Cornellian (mail):
(Has anyone posted a suggestion regarding which Star Trek character McCain is? Or are we waiting for the next ST convention?)

Not to mention which World of Warcraft class each candidate would play.
10.13.2008 3:41pm
Crunchy Frog:
Hoosier: that one's easy.

Harry Mudd.
10.13.2008 3:58pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

I laugh at your pathetic attempts at metaphor and deny they have any power over me!

Thus I proclaim myself freed of the gross shackles of JRR Tolkien and announce myself as a Jedi Knight.

Take that George "Balrog" Soros!
10.13.2008 4:11pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

"Not to mention which World of Warcraft class each candidate would play."

I like Mr. T's WoW character class.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bsOKH3_DNo
10.13.2008 4:12pm
js5 (mail):
lets' see. McCain = Boromir. Palin, as Pippin.
10.13.2008 4:15pm
gwinje:
Re:
Biden = Pippin.

I'm voting for the guy and I still think that's hilarious.

Fool of a Took!
10.13.2008 4:16pm
Moqui (mail):
Ilya, can't help but note you register no objection to VDH's Obama-as-Saruman comparison.

CiarandDenlane - Obama doesn't have the sac to be Aragorn. When John Edwards thinks you're a pussy, well . . .
10.13.2008 4:24pm
Angus:

Not to mention which World of Warcraft class each candidate would play.
McCain: Warrior
Obama: Shaman
Biden: Rogue
Palin: Hunter
10.13.2008 4:25pm
Roy Mustang (mail):
I don't really care as long as we get more gay hobbit love.
10.13.2008 4:34pm
malclave (mail):
I can kinda see Obama as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.

Bilbo, through luck, manages to get hold of a ring of invisibility, that ends up threatening the world.

Obama, through means as yet undetermined, manages to make his past virtually invisible to the media and people who get their information that way.
10.13.2008 4:37pm
gs:
Rush Limbaugh is Barliman Butterbur.
10.13.2008 4:50pm
JB:
Libertarian Soldier,
Vlad didn't give up everything he had. He spent an inordinate amount of money to become the uber-boss of a large and profitable area of Adhrilanka.
10.13.2008 4:58pm
Mikee (mail):
You are all so wrong - McCain has been identified quite positively as Col. Tighe on Battlestar Galactica. Get with it - this argument was settled almost a year ago....
10.13.2008 4:59pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
For the LoTR geeks, who is Radagast the Brown?


Can't resist that one.

If Obama's the bad guy, Radagast has to be George Will or Christopher Buckley. Or maybe Dobson, prior to his Palin-driven conversion.

If McCain's the bad guy, then clearly There Can Be Only One; Lieberman is your brownshirted, er, brownrobed, man.
10.13.2008 4:59pm
Pierre Owner Bouncer Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill (www):
Gosh so Obama lies about Ayers, Wright, Rezko, Acorn, and that makes him some sort of White Knight in some folks eyes. He moves Michael Barone to write about the coming Thugocracy and that doesn't worry anyone because well...why? Is Michael Barone a wild-eyed lunatic?

The media are stroking up a disaster by hiding all of these shameful episodes. Because if Obama loses now and yes it is still possible then exactly what will all of his followers think since they have by and large not been informed of his weaknesses. They will think the election has been stolen.

Boy that is gonna be a really cheerful time.

Appparently there must be some there there or else Obama wouldn't be working so hard to discredit the reports.
10.13.2008 5:30pm
David Warner:
If Hanson is on to something, and there's some possibility there is, McCain is still not Gandalf, Hanson is. This makes McCain Theoden, Palin Eowyn, Obama the Witch King, and Sauron the transnational illiberal reactionary movement with Putin/Chavez/Achminejad/et. al. as Nazgul.

Saruman is then Brooks, Buckley, Parker, etc...

Notice that this whole scenario, as many above, leaves out the ring. Interesting how that happens. I'm guessing that the LHC is somehow involved.

It also leaves out Aragorn. While Palin is no shirrif but rather a true ranger of the North, stirring faint memories of a more glorious time, and rousing the Army of the Dead, she, alas, lacks Thorongil's century of stealth experience.
10.13.2008 5:42pm
Michael Whitty (mail):
I'm enough of a geek that I'd previously thought of LOTR parallels for this campaign. Obama is clearly too slick to be Grima Wormtongue; for that I nominate David Axelrod.

I always saw McCain as King Théoden and when he nominated Palin she became my Éowyn.

Obama thus became the Witch-king of Angmar, Lord of the Nazgûl, who gravely wounds Théoden and disses Éowyn with "no living man may hinder me" (doubtless referring to MSM favoritism, if not to the 1,000-year-old prophecy by the Elf-lord Glorfindel) until Éowyn reveals herself to be no man and slays him.

Although they've led a valiant charge, things aren't looking so good for the Rohirrim, but with three weeks, there's still time for Aragorn to show up with reinforcements from South Gondor.

/geek off>
10.13.2008 5:43pm
David Warner:
Oops, I left out the best part. The MSMa whispering in McCain's ear all these years.

I actually think the more compelling scenario is Obama as Aragorn (shady past and all, you know those rangers...) uniting Rohan (red America) and Gondor (Blue America) against the threat of Mordor as above.
10.13.2008 5:46pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

I must:

George Soros is Sauron. Obama is the Mouth of Sauron.



Remember that Sauron was the servant of Morgoth. A lesser evil.

Currently Obama is Sauron of the Silmarion, not LOTR. The one who seduces the Numenorians. He will lose his fair shape in good time.
10.13.2008 5:50pm
js5 (mail):
Wait. McCain as Theodon during Snake's neocon spell? or after? Or....before? Kristol kinda looks like a snake.
10.13.2008 5:50pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Despite my high general intelligence, I have sometimes felt a bit intimidated here by people's specific knowledge, especially of law. No more. Left on the free range, most of you guys just wandered off into inanity.

First, VDH was comparing McCain to Gandalf in one aspect, not to suggest an overall equivalence, and certainly not a plot equivalence. His point is that we may not like listening to McCain, but there is precedent for the good and wise to not necessarily seem the most attractive. There is a suggestion that Obama, or progressives in general, sound more plausible and wise, but gives Saruman as an example of where this was an illusion. That suggestion is not explicit, and I don't think Hanson is just being sly. He is backing away from making the analogy too precise and neat. It is entirely permissable, even preferable, to use fictional characters for such evocations.

Second, the art of analogizing real persons onto to fictional, mythic, or historical characters is not one-dimensional. Striking upon a single characteristic of the modern person and tying them to a hero or villain with that one thread is shallow. (A few of you did try to go a little deeper). The fictitious character has his own place in the story, with allies and enemies as well as an emotional association. When one mentions Gollum or Aragorn, their entire characters get drawn into the discussion, not just the one aspect you focus on. As these other aspects of their character seldom fit even remotely to the modern character, the analogy is reduced to a rather middle-school taunt "No, you're like Gollum." What made the Mad Magazine satires (sometimes) work was attempt to fit story to story, rather than just forcing in what would be cool to say. It would take some thinking to fit Sarah Palin (or anyone) into LOTR. Possibilities must be considered and rejected. It is an art that, if not done well, should not be done.

To learn something of the art, you have to try a complete casting of some culturally iconic story, like The Wizard Of Oz or The Wind In The Willows.

No more, please. This was painful for a literature major to read.
10.13.2008 5:59pm
Hoosier:

Remember that Sauron was the servant of Morgoth. A lesser evil.

Morgoth = The ZOG?!!!
10.13.2008 6:35pm
LM (mail):
Who'd have guessed there are so many geeks on this site?

Posts like this one make it hard to promote Ilya as a credible match for Orin.
10.13.2008 6:45pm
LM (mail):
Snaphappy: You're no A.W.
10.13.2008 6:46pm
Public_Defender (mail):

No more, please. This was painful for a literature major to read.

You're taking lighthearted posts and comments all too seriously. Taking your bait, I'll add that when a law professor writes a post comparing a political figure to a literary figure (and a fantasy figure at that), you have to expect it to be quirky. I don't expect the posters here to show the kind of sophisticated literary analysis you'd hope to get in a literature program.

When one mentions Gollum or Aragorn, their entire characters get drawn into the discussion, not just the one aspect you focus on.

I'm the only one who mentioned Gollum, and I compared him to McCain in four ways. How many ways is enough? Do you you require a full essay, or is a quick, light-hearted post enough for a comment to a blog?

To learn something of the art, you have to try a complete casting of some culturally iconic story, like The Wizard Of Oz or The Wind In The Willows.

I guess you already answered my question?
10.13.2008 7:06pm
Scylfing:
Not to mention which World of Warcraft class each candidate would play.

Palin is a Holy spec Paladin, albeit very much of the Arthas holier-than-thou type. Which of course makes McCain Ner'Zhul/the Lich King, and I can see him playing a Destruction spec Warlock since they have the most firepower. The Republicans are the Scourge, at one point super-effective and dominating but now decaying and splintered off into factions.

And of course Obama would have to be Thrall and the Democrats his Horde, and I can see him as a Prot Warrior since they always need to be at the center of attention. That makes Biden Cairne Bloodhoof, wizened and at the same time full of bull, and I can see him playing a shaman--there's a lot they can do, but none of it really stands out.

Here's to hoping that the Alliance of non-partisans comes together and defeats both the Horde and the Scourge in 2012.
10.13.2008 7:38pm
Antinome (mail) (www):
Thanks to this thread the image of Dick Cheney as Shelob (at an undisclosed location) has been popping into my head all day.

Though for shear geekiness and humor (at least from a democratic perspective) I don't think this thread beats this (Though Guiliani should be one of the gentlemen from Hush as suggested in the comments)
10.13.2008 7:42pm
Lucius Cornelius:
I guess we will see how well or how poorly Obama does as President. If he is lucky, the economy will turn around on its own (in spite of the damage done by the various recovery bills) and the economic policies of the Democrats won't slow the recovery too much.

If he is not lucky, or if the Democrat policies are too toxic, then get ready for Great Depression II.

On a side note, if Israel gets nuked and President Obama says something to the tune of, "Israel must show restraint," I will be very, very put out!
10.13.2008 8:01pm
Pat C (mail):
"For the LoTR geeks, who is Radagast the Brown?"

By the way, what ever happened to Radagast the Brown anyway?
10.13.2008 8:16pm
davod (mail):
"I think Jon Stewart was right:..."

He is just as good as the MSM these days.
10.13.2008 9:38pm
Grange95 (mail):
McCain is definitely Saruman. As Gandalf explained it, Saruman was orginally good, but fell into darkness from envy of the power held by Sauron. McCain's adoption of the very Rovian tactics that torpedoed his 2000 campaign brings to mind one of Tolkien's best lines: "It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the Enemy, for good or for ill."

I'm not sure which character best fits for Obama, but Cheney has my vote for Denethor, the good steward driven mad by fear of the enemy.
10.13.2008 11:06pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Public Defender, I count three, not four, and the first two are different versions of the same thing.

Yes, of course it was light-hearted. And anytime people make a joke with mean intent we should just pretend it's not there, right? That way the humorist gets full deniability while enjoying the full benefit of all innuendo.

No go. I've read the appropriate passage of Screwtape, thanks.
10.13.2008 11:12pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):

"For the LoTR geeks, who is Radagast the Brown?"

By the way, what ever happened to Radagast the Brown anyway?


He got diverted from his mission of fighting Sauron because he became too interested in animals and plants. Ultimately he ended up shacking up with Tom Bombadil. It's not clear at this point what the ME laws are on gay marriage.
10.13.2008 11:36pm
mythusmage (mail) (www):
I prefer to look on the bright side, at least McCain is no Goodgulf Greyteeth.

No, I see the principals of the 2008 Presidential campaign as characters from Thomas Harlan's The Oath of Empire.

Barack Obama is Prince Maxian Atreus. Means to do good, but ends up causing calamity and catastrophe.

Ayes would be the Persian sorcerer Abdmachus. Maxian's advisor, and betrayer.

Hilary Clinton is the Duchess Anastasia. Spy master, agent of a mysterious sisterhood based on the island of Thera.

Bill Clinton? The Emperor and god Galen Astreus, older brother to Maxian Atreus.

Ending this version of the analogies, Sarah Palin is Thyatis Flavius. The last of a once noble line, and agent of the spymaster Anastasia and member of the Sisterhood.

Think I'll be expanding on this. BTW, I think Amazon has copies of the books.

Oh, and Soros is the vampire Dahak. Though exactly what Dahak is is not really made clear. If you'd like to think of Soros as Sauron from LotR, keep in mind that Dahak serves (or served, for he is convinced that he freed himself from the bonds) dread Cthulhu. (That's right, tOoE is also a mythos story. :) )
10.13.2008 11:43pm
David Warner:
CCFC,

"Of course, that makes Franklin Roosevelt Fëanor. He's responsible for everything that's wrong (and right) with the current mess in the first place, with his Bretton Woods agreement, national security state, atom bomb, UN, and so forth."

Wins the thread.


LM,

"Who'd have guessed there are so many geeks on this site the internet?"

There, fixed.


Duffy Pratt,

In Tolkien lore, Radagast is also known as Radagast the Simple.

"He got diverted from his mission of fighting Sauron because he became too interested in animals and plants."

Al Gore, natch.
10.13.2008 11:49pm
Bartemis (mail):
Personally, I think Obama is the Mule.
10.14.2008 12:47am
Public_Defender (mail):

Public Defender, I count three, not four, and the first two are different versions of the same thing.


I wrote:

1) He gave up everything good about himself and 2) is toying with forces of evil in order to grab his own version of the Ring of Power. 3) And he's really, really old too.

4) On the other hand, in his quest for ultimate power, Gollum killed his best friend. McCain just cheated on his first wife and then dumped her for a rich sugar-mama ("beer-mama"?).

But I grant you that they overlap. I also don't claim to be Mark Twain. I'm just a lawyer taking a stab at a joke. I don't think the comment was all that bad, but re-reading it, I see why Jon Stewart is making a ton of money with his own show, and why I'm making blog comments before work.


Yes, of course it was light-hearted. And anytime people make a joke with mean intent we should just pretend it's not there, right? That way the humorist gets full deniability while enjoying the full benefit of all innuendo.

Yep. That's one reason humor is powerful. If you want to do a serious post on why a humorist's post was wrong, you have to explain why it was wrong. If the post was more simple minded than simple and direct, explain why.
10.14.2008 6:31am
David Warner:
PD,

"Yep. That's one reason humor is powerful. If you want to do a serious post on why a humorist's post was wrong, you have to explain why it was wrong. If the post was more simple minded than simple and direct, explain why."

Dark humor is, by definition, not light-hearted.
10.14.2008 11:37am
Felix Sulla:

Personally, I think Obama is the Mule.
In that case, Bartemis, I would be interested to know who you think Hari Seldon was. ;-)
10.14.2008 11:57am
Tool-kin:
Oh, dear... So many competitors for winner of this thread!

Hoosier: Too strange a premise to comment.

KRS: worst post ever

Waldensian: This is the new winner for "geekiest line in VC history."

Xanthippas: Tolkien is presently rolling over in his grave.

LM: Posts like this one make it hard to promote Ilya as a credible match for Orin.

Nope, the winner is Gandalf himself: Ilya . . . I am not your friend. In fact, I put a restraining order on you. Now leave me alone.
10.14.2008 2:41pm
libertarian soldier (mail):
JB, and he is currently on the run from the Jherag. He testified publicly against them to get his wife freed from prison, knowing that he would have to give up everything and flee from them (see Phoenix).
10.14.2008 3:28pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Well, since he started carrying around Lady Teldra, he isn't so much running from them anymore. Now, I think the question is more whether he's going to start taking out some gods, or muscle his way into the godhood rackets.
10.14.2008 4:22pm