In baseball you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, but in political commentary you need a metaphor. As intellectually destitute as it was, the midterm campaign now blessedly drawn to a close did not come up short in this department. It promises to be trampled by metaphors. It will end up at the bottom of a pile of flailing metaphors all yelling “Lemme at it!” Future historians looking for a catchy book title will find such an embarrassment of metaphorical riches in it that they will evolve on the spot and form a brand-new genus of mankind: happy intellectuals.
The metaphor that comes immediately to mind for Decision 2010 is “the barbarians are at the gates,” a flawless description of the many candidates and their supporters who have spent the past year bragging about how dumb and low-class they are. Then there are the “storm” entries — “the calm before” and “the eye of” — and even a metaphorical pun: “The house of ill dispute.” But I found one that really does say something about Decision 2010 in particular and our perishing republic in general. My metaphor of choice is “riding the Segway.”