Four years ago, Democrats grudgingly chose John Kerry, a candidate that they "thought" could win, to vie against George W. Bush, a "hated" rival, who was then, and to some extent remains even now, fiercely "loved" by the base voters of his party. Regardless of whether you believe, as I do, that "hate" is too strong a label for partisan differences, the lesson of 2004 was two fold:
"Hate" as a political driver ultimately was ennervating for "thoughtful" Kerry forces, leaving husks behind, unable to sustain the emotional energy through the election. Hating Bush ultimately just wasn't enough to drive them to deliver victory to a candidate with whom they simply were not smitten.
At the same time, "love" grew in power, building through election day, sustaining the Bush forces in Ohio and elsewhere until the last poll was closed.
Now, four years later, it is the Republicans who chose "thoughtfully," turning grudgingly to someone with whom many in the base still are not comfortable, while Democrats turned away from the "she can win" analytical choice to embrace a candidate who touched their hearts and inspired passion in their souls.
And, while Democratic hearts went "all in" for Obama this year, the "thoughtful" McCain forces, in sorry repetition of Kerry four years ago, tried mightily to drive their base with hate and fear of their opposition, even while they tried pitifully to inspire some "love" for Palin as the capacitor that could spark the campaign with new energy.
So, the election today is the test for my "love"/"hate" theory.
Tonight we get the answer to the question whether love, in politics as in life, conquers all.