At GB's request, I tender two very long articles for everyone's consideration.
The first one is David Foster Wallace's 2000 Rolling Stone article about spending a week on the Straight Talk Express (I would start at the bottom with the glossary). It resonates for a couple of reasons. Foremost, I'm still incredibly sad that DFW is gone and we'll never have another one of his novels or journalism pieces like this one. Say what you will about his fiction, but his non-fiction is breathtaking. But the article also provides a ghostly image of the candidate that was in 2000 and maybe could have or should have been in 2008.
Compare that article with Sunday's The NYT Magazine article by Robert Draper about McCain's current run. The loss in South Carolina to Bush and the loss of Mike Murphy as chief campaign strategist made for a very different candidate. McCain dumped his prior themes of service and duty in favor of Rove-style attack politics. Rather than fight from the high ground, he chose to mix it up in the rough and tumble trenches and sacrificed part of his image in the process. Just look at the toll it took on his net favorables.