The McCain Campaign is now running ads attacking Barack Obama for being popular. The suggestion that someone should be resented simply for being popular reminds me of junior high and high school, as I suppose it does most of you. But it also stirs up childhood memories for me of an elderly relative that I imagine are not so universal.
I was a child and he was an old man. He had been a Protestant minister his whole life and not a particularly successful one. Even his wife and children admitted that he needlessly offended and insulted people, apparently through an inability to understand what others would take offense at (or perhaps an obstinate refusal to care.) As a result he never stayed for very long at one church and was never promoted to larger churches or greater responsibility. By the end of his ministerial career, when I knew him, he had developed a scorn for successful ministers and churches with large congregations. He would call someone a "popular minister" as if he were calling them a bad name, full of disdain and disapproval. He would imply that all "popular" ministers were lacking in conviction and principle, and that ministers who were focusing on what God wanted were never "popular."
That is how I see John McCain now, as a result of these ads. A bitter old man, like my elderly retired minister relative, railing at those younger, better-looking people who know what to say and how to carry themselves so that most people like them. I wonder if they are going to start referring to Obama, with disdain and scorn, as the "popular candidate," in the same way my relative did "popular ministers?"