Hyperpartisan Palin Puts Country In Pickle
John McCain dominated the newscycle with his surprise selection of Sarah Palin as his V.P. pick. It was an extraordinary pick (extraordinarily bad that is) and in this post, I want to pick it apart a bit.
To quote our President: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…uh…don’t fool me.” I believe that the attempts by McCain to tar and feather Obama were starting to backfire on him, particularly after the very successful Democratic convention. Americans have had too many years of the same old song when it comes to politics. A smart campaign can point it out too easily. Something unexpected was called for.
Perhaps that is why Senator McCain chose as his running mate, former beauty queen Sarah Palin, the unaccomplished governor of Alaska whose claim to fame, besides bringing three Wal-Marts to her small town of 10,000 people, is that she is a reformer because she ’stood up to the oil companies.’ She also claimed to put an end to the iconic ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ and to stand up to Alaska Senator (the Internet is a series of tubes) Stevens, more evidence of her ability to stand up to the powers that be.
Ironically, her husband worked for BP, and she promotes the oil companies’ agenda while in office. Her foreign policy experience consists of living near Russia and also giving vocal support (and her husband’s participation support) to the Alaska Independence Party which seeks to make Alaska into a foreign country as far as the US goes.
She’s vehemently against sex education, as attested to by her 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy, she’s very pro-family values, as evidenced by her dragging her daughter into the spotlight of a national campaign, and her popularity as a Governor amonst the governors is evidence of her ability to be a heart beat away from a 72 year old president as the world continues to go from simmer to hot. Voters may be dizzy at this point, just trying to keep up.
This pick makes most of the negative campaigning about Obama moot (although they are using it to claim she has more executive experience than he does, what with her being mayor over 9000 people and governor of a low residence state loaded with natural resources which she is eager to turn into cash, and ridiculing Obama’s record as a community organizer, though most change in history is the result of individuals doing just that), and in making this pick, McCain seems to say to the voters, ‘On second thought, experience is of such little importance that I’ve picked someone who knows NOTHING about the larger world to be next in line should something happen to me in office. I’m only 72, so there’s no need for concern.’
It’s a shockingly strange choice in light of it being McCain’s first big choice in showing us how he leads, and yet one more flip flop from one of the most inconsistent candidates to run for President in years. It’s mystifying, because things are pretty bad for a lot of people right now. Economically, militarily, socially, we’re hurting. And McCain’s running mate knows little if anything about the world of hurt that Americans are experiencing in the lower 48, and from what one reads on the Internet, giving everyone some money was great, but she’s not very impressive to most the people in her own state either, including the two largest papers and her mother-in-law.
The only way in which picking Palin makes sense is that McCain had no base to count on in this election. Perhaps he’s hoping that by mobilizing the religious bloc on the right wing of his party, by fanning the flames of the culture war, he can increase donations and interest and gain the support he needs for a solid turnout of right wing religious voters at the polls in November.
But it’s more than a gamble. As mainstream voters learn more about Sarah Palin, the Annie-Oakley-As-Executive image currently being promoted by the McCain campaign could fall apart as nothing but a thin veneer covering a host of extremist positions, anti-science, anti-environment and pro-big oil among them. If the Obama campaign succeeds in getting her positions and his seeming lack of ideas exposed to voters, the truth is sure to turn more of them off than on.
In fact, as I’ve said before, unless McCain figures out how to run a campaign of ideas, a campaign that truly recognizes the serious challenges facing our nation and the need for an intelligent, focused and competent response, it’s entirely possible that he has handed Obama the keys to a dramatic victory.
One last note: I’m very disturbed, personally, by this selection. I’m afraid that the Republican Party is increasingly a party of double standards, polarization, and cares little about the future, little about the country (in spite of McCain’s ‘Country First’ rallying cry) and is increasingly the party of extremist Christians and affluent whites instead of an honest advocate for tried and true Republican principles like limited government and strong national security.
Choosing a hyperpartisan extremist with a record of saying one thing and doing another puts the whole country in a pickle. I don’t think that’s putting the country first. This pick reeks to me of a once-heroic candidate who is willing to say or do anything to get elected President, even if it means tearing his country apart to do so. For shame, Senator McCain. You’ve become a real heart breaker.
P.S. I did an hour long radio show this morning on Jefferson Exchange in Southern Oregon (I’ll be posting it soon, or find it for the next ten days at their web site) and almost every call was about Palin. She’s provoked fears, cheers and jeers. I’d love to hear your comments about her. Check out this video from a community organizer: