Therein lies the crux of Dimmesdale’s battle within his soul, but it is telling that he conducts his penance privately rather than having the strength of character to admit his failings. Despite the repeated flagellation and the carving of the A upon his own flesh, Dimmesdale remains not just a hypocrite, but unfulfilled.
Who is better suited to recognize the hypocrisy of others than one who is himself a masterful hypocrite? Hawthorne writes that “More than once, Mr. Dimmesdale had gone to the pulpit, with a purpose never to come down its steps until he should have spoken” the truth before his parishioners (173). The key personality traits of Rev. Dimmesdale is his recognition of hypocrisy and his inability to confront it openly. It must be therefore be suggested that Rev. Dimmesdale would be quick to recognize the hypocrisy that was a hallmark of the McCain/Palin campaign.
Of course, all politicians carry the taint of hypocrisy, but what leads to the idea that Dimmesdale would be more offended by the obvious hypocrisy of John McCain and Sarah Palin than by any hypocrisy on Barack Obama’s side. Rev. Dimmesdale is, after all, the man who questions “Why should a wretched man, guilty, we will say, of murder, prefer to keep the dead corpse buried in his own heart, rather than fling it forth at once, and let the universe take care of it?” (130.) It is surely no great leap to believe that Rev. Dimmesdale would ask why John McCain would boldly declare himself day after day a person renowned for reaching across the aisle and finding common ground while his running mate assailed Barack Obama for being friends with terrorists.