If you're a thoughtful, rational liberal you can be excused for being a little emotional and confused right now. You're used to having your candidate lose to people with different beliefs or questionable values. Things that seem logical and obvious to you are dismissed by a huge chunk of the population in favor of simplistic talking points and funny math. You're tired of sputtering about the electoral college and Bin Laden vs. Hussein, because doing so hasn't made you feel any better about the downwardly spiraling economy. And no matter how many polls come out supporting your guy, you just can't shake the feeling that something is going to come up and ruin it all.
You want to be open-minded. You want to listen to other side, hear their arguments, even be willing to question your own assumptions. The last think you want to be is an asshole about your beliefs. But deep down, you still really really really want to win.
There's a struggle inside, between reason and emotion, ego and id, Odysseus and Achilles, and you never know which one has the upper hand at any given time. Let me see if I can help explain it to you:
Rationally, you legitimately like Obama's policies. You believe in progressive taxation and think he's serious when he talks about middle-class tax cuts. You think the Iraq war was a distraction, but have no problem with Afghanistan and wouldn't mind doing a little cave exploration in Pakistan. You know oil is finite and are willing to make sacrifices to achieve energy independence. And frankly, you like a candidate that doesn't talk to you like you're a four year old.
Irrationally, you're angry at McCain because you used to like him a little. You did, didn't you? Admit it. You probably thought about voting for him a few years back, and laughed at him on Jon Stewart and SNL. Remember how there was talk of him being Kerry's VP and you were sorta OK with that? Then you look at all the flip-flopping and selling out he's done to the conservative wing of the Republican party over the last few years and are mystified at what happened to his principles. And you know in your heart that if it were anyone else Obama would be wiping the floor with them, but McCain is actually making this a contest. You've changed, man...you've changed.
Rationally, you're horrified at Sarah Palin's lack of experience. You watch her interview with Katie Couric and are gripped with a mixture of shock and schadenfreude. You're up in arms that the Republican ticket would risk putting someone a heartbeat away from the presidency with such a feeble grasp of basic policy issues. It's not about her being a former beauty queen or "sharing a maritime border" with Russia, it's about common sense choices for the most important jobs in the country. If Obama is labeled inexperienced, then how can they say Palin is better?
irrationally, you're pissed off that her selection threw the race into a media tizzy and completely drowned out Obama's speech. You know in your gut that picking her was a desparate but genius move, exciting the Republican base and throwing a wink at all those Hillary supporters who are still a little bitter. You didn't see it coming, you were surprised she gave such a good speech at the convention, and you're terrified that all those People magazine cover articles might be enough to swing the election. It's a crazy plan, but it just....might....work....
Rationally, you hunger for a change in tone in politics, and you believe that Obama legitimately represents this. You applaud when he stays above the fray, cheer when he confronts tough issues, and sweat profusely when he gives one of his lofty, visionary speeches. He just feels like a guy you want running things, who isn't going to rush headlong into anything but clearly knows what's broken (which is a lot) and plans to fix it.
Irrationally, you're so mortified at the last eight years, and so angry that you totally voted for the right guy both times and still lost, that you'd vote for Jeffrey Dahmer or Jar Jar Binks if he was the Democratic nominee. Sure you want a candidate who won't stoop to bending the truth or smearing his opponent, but you don't mind Obama throwing a few elbows now and then if it gets the job done. Besides you don't trust Rove's henchman a bit, and have no problem using whatever means necessary, including conventional weapons, to take them on.
So tonight you'll be watching the vice-presidential debate looking for policy differences and reassurances that Biden's foreign policy experience is as thoughtful and erudite as you hope. But deep down you're really hoping that Palin looks like a complete moron and praying that Biden brings the smackdown and not the crazy.
It's OK...you can have it both ways. Just drink lots of milk and take some anti-inflammatory medicine in the meantime.