The march of the Judas goats
Like Obama, Schori had no real qualifications for the job of bishop, let alone head of TEC. The fact that she had never even run a parish was simply brushed aside, as people were assured that she was some sort of phenom for whom the normal rules had to be bent. In fact, the old-fashioned method of rising through the ranks was dismissed as something the "little people" had to put up with - important stars like Schori didn't need to waste time in the minor leagues, they could be catapulted straight into the manager's chair. After two years of Schori's amateur hour management, the Episcopal Church has reached a state of ruination from which it will never recover. It turns out all that low-level drudgery has its uses, after all. It may seem like a waste of time for someone "important", but puttering about with the hymn list, the organist, the choir, the altar guild and the Christmas bazaar quickly teaches a man that dealing with human beings is not like playing chess or adding up financial columns or writing elegant memoirs.
That's another point of similarity between Obama and Schori: in the absence of any real accomplishments, their fans reach for the fluffy peripheral details which are all that are left, and aggrandize them into symbols of uniqueness and rarity. Schori never built a parish or distinguished herself as a scholar, but...she flies a plane! She studied squids! She's calm! She has a low voice! Similarly, Obama has done little but promote himself - he sponsored no legislation, he could barely bring himself to vote on other people's legislation, he spent his years as a "community organizer" getting his face recognized and helping nobody, and, outdoing even the Masala Lillian Hellman by writing TWO memoirs of his accomplishment-free life, but...he has a nice voice! He's pretty! He has exotic relatives! He...well, I can't think of anything else, really.
And when another candidate appeared, who DID have the equivalent of parish-level experience - Sarah Palin - the experts could not be more dismissive. Her state is so small! She was mayor of a small town! How can anyone compare such bush-league qualifications to a Harvard education and the pampered rise of a Chicago insider? But as with Schori, if America elects Obama, they will find out just how the ability to work with normal people about their normal, everyday concerns DOES outweigh the merely theoretical, paper abilities of a professional self-aggrandizer.
The final similarity is in what I call the March of the Judas Goats - the conservatives in the Episcopal Church have learned the hard way that their ranks are honeycombed with false comforters, who, for a variety of reasons, have sold out to the radicals and are making it their business to tranquillize those who remain in order to make as little trouble for the radicals as possible. Some of them have fanciful ideas of retaking lost ground through some sort of "underground" movement, while others just want a peaceful life and are trying to convince others that struggling only makes things worse.
Political conservatives in the U.S. have similarly been treated to the sight of former conservatives waving to them from the Obama ranks, and trying to convince them that things won't be so bad if they just learn to go along to get along with the inevitable conquest. Their motives are as obscure as their explanations, but there is a strong whiff of self-interest in these former top dogs who are quailing at the thought of 4 or more years scavenging for berries in the wilderness while the Obama supporters will be feasting at the heavily-laden picnic tables of power. Surely the dogs can pick up a few crumbs when the wealth is going to be shared around?
Their delusion is pathetic, and I suspect they won't have to wait any longer than the Episcopal wafflers in San Joaquin did to find out. Once the trouble-makers had departed, the conservatives who remained behind were shocked to find that the reward for their fidelity to the boss was to be kicked to the curb and replaced with safe men (i.e. liberals). As a commenter on the Midwest Conservative Journal put it, "Well, really, what did they expect? Did they think that Katherine Jefferts Schori would raise her hands in benediction over them, and say, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant,' and usher them into a position of power and responsibility?" No, once their usefulness as embarrassments to the departing bishop was over, they were tossed away like so much garbage. And one of the few things we'll have to look forward to, should Obama win, is the ashen faces of Frum, Noonan, Buckley and the other turncoats, when they find themselves kicked aside by their new master, and cast out by the old friends they've betrayed.
UPDATE: David Frum is voting for John McCain. Better late than never, and here's hoping that a lot of over-fastidious conservative intellectuals come to a similar conclusion before crunch time on Tuesday.