By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
After almost 200 comments on my hastily written Sarah Palin entry yesterday – I was on a plane, saw her speech on DirecTV just before take-off and posted – I thought I would start fresh with a new entry.
The most fascinating thing about the story, to me, was that the whole thing turned in less than 12 hours.. maybe less. Those on the right want to attribute this to the left-wing media, but the real culprit is John McCain. The only thing left to know about Governor Palin by Wednesday will be anything that the Alaska media was too afraid to report. There is nothing good about this person that is going to be lingering beneath the very light bushel of her public career.
In the comments on the earlier post were the expected accusations of fear driving the smart ass response to Palin. Sorry. Any fears I harbored were relieved by her “Meet Your Surprise Choice” speech. She seemed very bright, attractive… and way out of her depth. Think Ben Lyons.
The talking points for a clearly surprised GOP base were “maverick, pro-green, executive office, female.”
Sadly for the Republicans, the “maverick” tag went out the window before the details even started piling up… the far right part of the party was “overjoyed” by the choice. In other words, she takes McCain farther to the right, not to the center, where he once was, and has given up completely during the election cycle to shore up the GOP “base.” And he really did shore that up. And in the process cut his odds to win from the 57/43 area he was working and improving slowly on (at least before the DNC Convention) to something more like 60/40, reflecting the choice to go with one of the few women who could motivate disgruntled Hillary voters not just to vote Obama, but to campaign for him.
Not only is Palin anti-choice/anti-Roe v Wade, but she is a gun-loving, animal-killing, pro-refuge-drilling, newly minted careerist.
Some brought up my mention of her Down Syndrome newborn as a form of sexism. Uh, bull. I would have brought up the same issue had any male candidate from a small place more than 4000 miles from Washington DC decided that it was more important to be VP than to deal with the very real challenges of supporting the family with a newborn, who also happens to be a special needs kid. There is a reason we have not seen many toddlers, much less infants, in the White House ever.
When Jackie Kennedy had her young children in the White House, things were very different. Men were not expected to participate in the hands-on day-to-day of the family and women were not expected to participate as much more than goodwill ambassadors now and then.
God bless Governor Palin and her likely unexpected pregnancy six months into her new job and her choice, based on her faith, to keep the child. I have no opinion that matters in any way about that. But what does it say about a person that they so arrogantly think that jumping at the chance to be second-in-commander-in-chief of this nation makes sense for their family when having a baby in the house is overwhelming to working parents who carry nowhere near that level of responsibility? Male or female, the issue is the baby that they chose to have, not which parent is giving up most of their responsibility in parenting it.
The other sexism issue that’s been thrown out there is the “beauty queen” stuff, which I had not mentioned. The problem is that with a paper-thin resume of a politician who was an out-of-nowhere winner in the only major job she’s had, in Alaska, “beauty queen” will stand out as much as Mayor of Town Smaller Than Most Major State Universities and… is there anything else?
First person who mentions the PTA gets smacked.
What was most interesting to me about the comments on the last entry were that the detailing was so intense that people – especially those trying to sell the idea that she was a good choice – seemed to be missing the forest for the trees.
The comparisons to Dan Qualye don’t fly, since Bush 1 was the incumbent VP when Potatoe-Man was chosen. Unless you want to parse percentages of poll inaccuracies, Obama is still ahead in most polling, especially state-by-state. McCain is not the front-runner. So the wildcard choice is much more problematic.
My more complex take on the choice, however, is that if Palin turns out to be interesting, it is way too late to be bringing her on board right now. Had McCain decided to go Govs Gone Wild back in May, say, there would have been time to deal with all the public vetting of Palin and for her to start to build a real image. However you want to game her experience vs Obama’s, Obama was not an unknown national figure going into this election. And many people are still working to get comfortable with him after a year of electioneering. We saw that in the late primaries in which Clinton used her familiarity to smack Obama in states that were whiter, older, and poorer than other states which had gone for Obama. Palin has 2 months to take her beating and to build a real constituency. She would have to be one of the all-time greats pols to turn that trick. A real savant. And there is no indication that she is. She might have been an interesting choice, but we will never really get to know her. There just isn’t enough time.
We don’t even have to get into her suggesting that Hillary Clinton was “whining” about how she was treated in the media… or the rumors in Alaska… or what she has actually done in 20 months in Alaska… or whether her first big claim of stopping the “bridge to nowhere” was an outright lie (“Asked if she was in favor of continuing state funding for the project. ‘Yes,’ she responded, noting specifically her desire to renew Congressional support. ‘Yes. I would like to see Alaska