Friday, August 29, 2008
August 29, 2008. Mark it down for its historical significance. It's the day that Sen. John McCain and the Republican Party officially lost the presidential election. Chalk it all up to McCain's boneheaded decision to name Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.
Now don't get me wrong. Palin seems like a swell lady. I'm sure many of the 5500 citizens of Wasilla, where she was mayor from 1996-2002, or the 115,000 Alaskans who voted for her for Governor in '06, might have kind things to say. But really, who is Sarah Palin? On MSNBC Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a devout Republican, surprised many in her party by saying she doesn't know much about her. Give her points for honesty.
What we do know about Palin is that she's a soccer mom with five kids (two of them named Trig and Track...go figure), knows how to cheer on a youth hockey team, and probably looks great in a one-piece bathing suit (hey, I'm not being sexist; she's a 1984 "Miss Wasilla" and a 2nd place runner-up in the "Miss Alaska" beauty pageant). But wait, there's more. Prior to running the huge Metropolis of Wasilla, she served two terms on the City Council and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. And, she's worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations. Hardly a stupendous resume, although she's clearly a big hit in many Alaskan circles.
But when the guy at the top of the ticket, at 72, would be the oldest president in U.S. history, and his health remains a concern given his battle with Melanoma, Palin would be more than a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Is there any sane American who thinks Palin even remotely has the experience and readiness to be president? Commander-in-Chief? Leader of the free world? Is she who we'd want defending our citizens from terrorists and from our enemies abroad? She's so unqualified it's offensive. Her appointment is so inexplicably irrational that we should seriously begin to wonder if there's some sort of early senility settling in with McCain. And he doesn't help his own case when he's on record saying the only real qualification for vice president is whether that person can step in and be president. If he truly thinks Palin is that person, he's worse off than we think.
In one fell swoop McCain has taken the whole experience issue off the table. This had been a key weapon in his arsenal against Obama. Palin is younger than Obama, less experienced, has less national name recognition and zero foreign policy experience. The real take-away here is that in his first major "presidential" decision, McCain so clearly demonstrates poor judgement that it's obvious that it's he, not Palin, who should be nowhere near the Oval Office.
While Sean Hannity and company are trying their best to feign excitement over this disastrous appointment, they, like others in the party surprised by McCain's choice, seem horrified....if their manic, whiney defending of her is any indication. She's an utter nobody who also happens to be currently under investigation by the Alaska state legislature for allegations of abuse of power involving the controversial dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, who allegedly refused to fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper, who's involved in an ugly divorce with her sister. Gee, another Republican politician abusing her power for personal gain. What a shocker.
Indeed, I would not want to be a Republican today. As one of my oldest chums Brian, a rabid conservative, said earlier, "I think McCain is going to lose. Who the hell is this Alaska governor? I think your rock star is in." When the GOP's lost the Brian's of the party, so goes the election.
Palin's appointment has Democrats in a lather as well. As my very cute friend Jenny said, the 44-year-old nominee is a "pro life, NRA joining, beauty pageant losing, animal hunting, idol worshiping, pawn of the GOP fool." I believe she left off "ANWR-drilling." McCain's little lady sure does love her oil (have we ever met a Republican who doesn't?).
For McCain, it was a day of grandiose bullshit. Standing with his running mate, he told a kool-aid drunken crowd in Ohio that he was choosing Palin as his running mate the week of the 88th anniversary of women's suffrage. Ironic that both would like nothing more than to overturn Roe v Wade, depriving women of their right to choose an abortion. I guess that doesn't qualify as "suffrage." Obviously, simply being a woman does not mean that you represent the interests of women. McCain's feeble attempt to out-liberal the Democrats seems concocted by a bunch of clueless high-schoolers. As cute-Jenny asked incredulously, "can they be that stupid?" Yes, I think this time they are.
Lastly, just how much passion does Palin have for the job anyway? In an interview recently, the vice presidential nominee dissed her own prospective office: "As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration."
Don't worry, Sarah, fortunately for America, you're never gonna have to find out.
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