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The View From Fake Virginia

The Washington City Paper, which covers the DC arts scene like no one else but generally shies away from national politics, has a Gonzo-style double feature today on the Obama and McCain campaigns in Virginia and Maryland.

DC is the least swingy state — or non-state — in the country (fivethirtyeight projects a 63-point margin for Sen. Barack Obama; RealClearPolitics doesn’t even bother to project), so we district folk have to move beyond our narrow borders to see a place where the election matters. Two WCP reporters did just that, and they found sharp differences between the campaigns.

The view from an Obama rally in Leesburg, VA., is vast — and unsettlingly inauthentic, writes Franklin Schneider:

His speech, like most stump speeches, is the rhetorical equivalent of a girl with breast implants, peroxide blond hair and a fake tan — all the most obvious notes are engineered to appeal to the widest possible demographic. “Believe in yourselves! Believe in the future! Together we can’t fail! We can change the world! We’ve got a righteous wind at our backs!” This isn’t Professor Obama; this is Barry Six Pack, a canny PR construct calibrated to ignite an electorate that insists on treating presidential elections like the season finale of “American Idol.”

The crowd loves it.

On the McCain side, things look a bit different. Justin Moyer writes that a Super Saturday McCain conference call at the home of one Naran Murthy in Sterling, VA., is less than bustling:

I look around Murthy’s living room and see only Murthy and myself. Why haven’t a roomful of McCain supporters shown up in Naran Murthy’s living room? Even Murthy’s mother has gone upstairs.

UPDATE: For those interested, the City Paper links to this quantitative analysis of how likely your vote will make a difference in the presidential election. For residents of the District — “nearly zero.”

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