I watched a bit of cable news yesterday. Honestly, I forget which network it was. It doesn’t matter. For the benefit of their audience they were showing one of those “test groups” of average voters. They were in the process of reacting to a speech by Barack Obama, each with a buzzer in hand contributing to some magic graph that went up and down — but mostly just up and up.

One after one, they repeated that he’s the perfect candidate. Not only does he have a monopoly on hope in politics, he’s going to be the guy to unify the country. As opposed to Hillary Clinton, of course. She would divide the country: Republicans will all refuse to work with her, so says conventional wisdom, and nothing would get done. She’d be a lame duck.

That, of course, is silly. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the character of Obama or what he said in his speech: I’m not going to comment on it, I wasn’t even able to hear much of it over the cable network’s babbling! Instead, it has a lot to do with what people — us average voters — are supposed to want. What we’re expected to want. What we’re told to want.

When did unifying this country become an all important goal?

We weren’t united when we got into this war, why would we be united if and when we get out of it?

Yes, it seems like a plausible campaign strategy, with popular support for the war in Iraq (anyone even remember Afghanistan?) being three steps south of “waning.”  But outside of that single issue, I’m not sure very much unity is possible. I’m not even sure it’s desirable.

Only one side is saying “bipartisan” like it’s a magic word.

It’s not Republicans.

Yes, they largely went with their own “moderate” candidate. It was a weak field, however, and the secular champions of big industry made a huge mistake by backing Mitt Romney. His religion automatically disqualified him from much of the Republican base. Baptists have spent big money of their own to disprove the tenets of Mormonism, so much so that Scientology actually seems quite reasonable in comparison. We can’t prove that Thetans don’t exist but we can prove in about a hundred different ways that Native Americans aren’t descended from Israelites.

Even as a moderate though, John McCain is expected to run roughshod over the forces of liberalism: That’s his job description.

They’re not worried about whether or not Nancy Pelosi will return his phone calls if he’s elected.

Yes, most Leftists like to believe that if not for the stranglehold Republicans have on stoning gays (or just brainwashing them back to straight, et tu Barack?) and burning witches, many conservatives would be swayed by our populist initiatives. Maybe that’s true. I’m not sure it will happen within our lifetime.

If one believes — as many do in our nation — that American prosperity is a direct reward for our piety (or lack thereof in times of recession) and our support for Zionism, maybe one doesn’t personally need populism. Keeping things like science out of our children’s classrooms, yes. Populism, not so much.

Only one side is saying “bipartisan” like it’s a magic word.

Are we supposed to break bread with “Huck’s Army,” those people who would put stoning gays and burning witches (and sniping “abortionists”) ahead of the welfare of their own families?

I thought this election was supposed to be our chance to send a message that that sort of stuff isn’t going to fly anymore.

Instead, it seems that “hope” equals the path of least resistance.

If Obama can get more done than Clinton, it won’t be because Republicans like him more, it will be because he offers Republicans deals that give them what they want at the expense of the ideals for which his own party stands.

I’m not at all suggesting that he’d do that. I’m not suggesting that he wouldn’t, either.

I’m only speaking of the ludicrous nature of this “unity” polemic. Yes, it’s currently boosting Obama at the expense of Clinton, and that’s something that one can ponder and talk about, preferably in that order. But in the grand scheme of things it’s just a point of trivia.

The mainstream media paints a picture of the “average voter” as being a non-political entity. He — yes, he — is supposedly tired of politics, even though a controversial election makes for exciting television viewing and view he does. He wants things to get done and he wants to elect people who will get things done. What things? Who knows! But they’ll get done.

The two-party system gets in the way of things getting done. Someone is always vetoing this or filibustering that and nothing ever gets done. The media loves to point that out. It especially loves to point out that the average voter, thanks to the media, is now cognizant of that “fact.”

As it’s impossible to reject that two-party system (without being mocked by that system, the media, and other average voters), how is anything to get done?

There are two answers to that question:

If you believe in personal liberty and a secular state, the average voter expects you to find a way to work towards bipartisanism. As the “feminine,” this is what makes them sexy.

If you believe in stoning gays and burning witches (or finding more polite ways to make life into your idea of hell for people), the average voter expects you steamroll your way to victory. As the “masculine” party, that is what makes them sexy.

Those are two very different standards.

As the “average voter” is now more currently invested in the Democratic primary (and at this point it’s unclear whether it’s due to dissatisfaction with the Republicans or general excitement over a mud fight), there’s a lot of talk about how the Democrats can best fulfill their standard.

Barack Obama seems to be the frontrunner: the average voter believes he can deliver what Democrats are expected to deliver: Bipartisanship. Getting things done. What things? How? It doesn’t matter, we’ll do it together. One nation under God.

This is hope. Or at least what passes for it these days.

Only one side is saying “bipartisan” like it’s a magic word.

Only one side has to, thanks to the media and the average voter they created.