Worst-case scenario

The majority of American voters will elect John McCain as its 44th president on Tuesday. The great state of Pennsylvania with its people who never forget that they cling to their guns and religion will put the GOP candidate over the top. And the much-coveted youth vote will once again live up to its low expectations.

This means the great divide among the American people will expand, fear will once again triumph over a missed opportunity, and Joe the Plumber will be named McCain’s chief of staff. Sarah Palin will be vice president and will be busy 24/7 over the next four years itching to get McCain ousted or to eat the poison mushrooms so she can take over the reigns and ride this country like an out-of-control snowmobile on a bridge to nowhere. She’ll be in the news constantly — non-stop sound bites guaranteed to be the stuff TV comics won’t be able to get enough of. Smary Fox TV will control the airwaves with its lunatic fringe reporters and commentators — and Rush Limbaugh will continue to prosper as the sage of rage.

Meanwhile, back at the White House, outgoing President George W. Bush will be convinced that the election proved his legacy is off to a good start because his administration has been vindicated by the voters. The most unpopular man in America since O.J. will borrow Cheney’s snear knowing he got away with it — and without buying us dinner first.

John McCain will have won ugly — uglier than any other candidate in recent presidential campaigns. In the end, America’s excuse will be that it saw through the ugliness because beauty is only skin deep. No need for a makeover for the face of America, thank you.

John McCain will run his presidency as erratically as he did when he went helter-skelter on the public during the financial crisis. John the impulsive president. Or maybe he’ll return to the real maverick he was in 2000. Or maybe even the funny grandpa who is quick with the quip and funny like he was on “Saturday Night Live.” Truth is, with all the GOP talk about who is the real Barack Obama, McCain has shown us throught the general election campaign that we don’t know which McCain to expect.

But to his credit, McCain beat the odds — overcoming his close association with an unpopular president and an economy that’s in the dumper when he said the fundamentals of the economy are still strong. It sure looked likefate was against McCain. But in the end, as it always does, the electorate holds the fate of the nation in its hands. This yearvoters weren’t handed a golden opportunity, but rather a missed opportunity — and they embraced it like it was their child.

It’s only a scenario — a script that America will finish writingjust hours from now. That’s when we’ll find out whether, after more than 200 years, America has finally matured or is still in its infancy. If it will indeedvote in a presidential candidate who is dangling on the precipice of his own second childhood.

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