Consider this inspired picture making the rounds. Not bona fide, I’m afraid, unless we truly know as little about them as their opponents say we do. Yet it captures the essence of the election.

John McCain’s big mistake was to choose an ingenue running mate with so much pizazz the country promptly lost interest in him. When she debates, America tunes in. When he debates, America goes to bed. When she goes on Saturday Night Live it gets its highest ratings in 14 years.

It doesn’t actually matter what she thinks, or what she knows. She’s kooky and she’s got spunk. If this election were a Hollywood musical, guess which two candidates would wind up together when the screen went dark. At the fade-out they’d be dancing up a storm — Mr. Handsome But Way Too Serious, who just needed to loosen up a little, and America’s irresistible Little Miss Mischief. (For most of the movie they wouldn’t speak to each other, but the audience would see from the get-go there was something there.)

Those basic disagreements over abortion, gay marriage, oil drilling, eschatology . . . what about ’em? There are two ways to say tomato. And it’s not like she’s running for president or anything.

And for John McCain, it’s the Ralph Bellamy part–the earnest doofus who loses the girl.