For the 2008 presidential candidates, “weirdness wins,” writes David Brooks in the New York Times. They soar when they surprise voters by making unusual choices, drag when they run more typical campaigns. Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton by saying he’d “cleanse the country of the baby-boom culture war mentality.” Now John McCain is the weirder one, pursuing "maverickism—against the entrenched powers and party orthodoxies."
Meanwhile, Obama has gone conventional. His acceptance speech in Denver “was more traditionally anti-Republican and pro-Democratic.” If he wants to win, he needs to “occasionally criticize his own side.” He should “attack the snobs who are savaging Sarah Palin’s faith and family.” McCain should say “he looks forward to working with Congressional Democrats.” The winner, Brooks writes, will “surprise me most.”