As lively and bracing as this election has surely been, I've been looking forward to the traditional Al Smith dinner like even the most avid Football fan looks forward to the Superbowl commercials. I just love this thing, for reasons which I'm sure the tapioca between my ears at the moment will likely fail epically to articulate as satisfactorily as I managed during the last go-round.
Obama's comic chops continued to earn honest props. It's a thing to behold, the way he plays against his signature oratorical cadences, executing a really masterful Aikido twirl between what he knows to be perceived as vanity, and the humility of joining in with the mocking of it.
But what really, honestly surprised me was how readily Mittens was able to morph into a very decent comedic groove. His self-referential ribbing of the "Richy Rich: The Android Years" vibe was right in the pocket (and a deep one, at that....badum-CHING). His bit toward the end, about competing without disliking, and his praise of the President and his family were both gracious and conspicuously sincere.
Both candidates, in fact, ended on notes of elevated and edifying good-fellowship, even as the roasty bits before made clear that It was still On. That's what these things do: they sit between the crusty bread slices of the debates, like a nice schmear of Nutella.
Worth taking a bite; leaves a badly-needed good aftertaste.