As Barack Obama was promising voters "We're not going to let George Bush pass the torch to John McCain," the GOP candidate himself was in, of all places, Waterloo (Iowa), trying to persuade Tom Brokaw and himself that, on the 41st anniversary of being shot down in Vietnam, his campaign for president was not going down in flames now.
As Brokaw fired off poll numbers, quotes about Sarah Palin's shortcomings and McCain's own words about Bush that evoked the answer, "So do we share a common philosophy of the Republican Party? Of course," the old warrior resolutely insisted on his own version of reality, often using air quotes to denote sarcasm about those who say otherwise and consider Obama preferable.
In this hermetically sealed world, the polls are all wrong except for Zogby (which insists on using a model that forces equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats into an outdated mold) and voters will wake up on November 4th and elect the maverick McCain of 2000.
In this Rip Van Winkle universe, McCain on the economy is FDR in the Great Depression and Harry Truman upsetting Tom Dewey in 1948.
Listening to all this must have been an out-of-body experience for Brokaw, who ended the ordeal with valedictory-like "hope this has been a better Sunday than it was 41 years ago," to which McCain responded, "I appreciate your many years of informing the American people. You've come a long way from South Dakota, but you never forgot where you came from."
So today's Meet the Press ended with an exchange of good wishes by two elderly gentlemen, one of whom will ease back into retirement from TV next year and the other into being the titular head of a minority opposition party from his seat in the US Senate.