McCain picks Sarah Palin as veep
I’m genuinely worried by McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as Veep, and I’ll tell you why in a minute. But most of the reactions to this choice seem more confident:
- Pam at Pam’s House Blend is not amused.
- Ed Brayton at Dispatches thinks he’s trying to pander to conservative evangelicals. Probably right, since Richard Viguerie at “Conservative HQ” gushes; She’s Perfect!, Cajun and friends enthusiastically second the pick.
- Coturnix at Blog Around The Clock finds in Palin several genuine strategic advantages for McCain And Science Avenger says; “McCain has to get the religious right AND the disgruntled Hillary supporters to win this thing.”
- Dana at En Tequila Es Verdad does not disappoint in wielding her Smack-O-Matic on the choice.
- The New Republic blog says it’s an astonishingly arrogant pick
Sarah Palin’s story doesn’t seem too complicated. She’s a former beauty queen (remember our current decider-in-chief is a former cheerleader). She has a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. She was mayor of a small town for a while, and has been governor of Alaska for two years. She’s anti-choice, anti-gay, and a young-Earth Creationist. And she isn’t difficult to look at, although one of my friends heard her speak and said listening to her is another matter; apparently her rhetorical skills rival those of McCain.
I’ve noticed this about the right wing – they’re really into identity politics. If you are black, then any black man at all should have your vote. How else explain the raving lunatic they ran against Barack Obama for Illinois Senator? And now it appears that they think anyone with private plumbing similar to Palin’s will march right in and vote for her, disappointed Hillary supporters included. It’s an insulting way to look at voters, and hopefully also an untrue one.
On the one hand, we have Obama. This is a guy who started from poverty and wound up as first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Unlike certain plutocrat politicians, he has lived in dangerous neighborhoods, and had to sweat (both metaphorically and literally) to pay the bills. He married – and stayed married to – an equally tough and smart woman who is an inspiration to work hard and win the day. Even the conservative magazine The Economist likes him, and calls him a ‘meritocrat’. And Biden! massive amounts of experience and one tough cookie. By any measure, that’s a solid ticket.
On the other hand, we have McCain. He’s 4th generation military royalty and a celebrity in his own right. His years as a POW in Vietnam were until recently (that is, until he took to mentioning them to explain everything about himself) an asset. He met the wealthy, beautiful, 17-years-younger woman to whom he is now married, while vacationing in Hawaii as his previous wife recovered from an auto accident. His campaign has been one misstep after another. For all his talk of foreign policy expertise, he makes very basic geography mistakes. He has a tenuous grasp of economics and an explosive temper. He has voted 95% of the time with an administration that has turned everything it touched to garbage. And now he has chosen a clearly unqualified person for a running mate. By any measure, a shaky ticket.
So why would I be worried about his choice of veep? Shouldn’t I be rejoicing? Probably not, for the reasons mentioned above. And The New Republic is right – it is an ‘astonishingly arrogant’ pick. It’s almost as if he knows the results of the election before it happens. And before you start measuring me for a tinfoil hat, consider this: there are one hell of a lot of Diebold machines out there.
- Palin is not exactly on the side of the angels on environmental, health, and energy issues.
- Her first lie as VP pick. Yep, Alaska – the rugged individualist state, as long as massive federal dollars keep flowing in.
- And do I even need to mention she’s an AGW* denier? Not exactly a shock given her affection for the oil industry. This link is full of interesting stuff, including “You’re an Alaskan, and energy costs are too high? Here’s $1,200 to help, courtesy Sarah Palin.”
- But at least she’ll ‘shake up the status quo’, right? Not really so much.
- McCain is offering an important salve to Battered Base Syndrome.
- All the important stuff about her… may not matter:
Does she have disadvantages, like lack of experience? Absolutely. Do those disadvantages outweigh the above? Not a chance. We have to face the facts: everyone who cares about issues and qualifications has already made up their minds one way or another. VP picks are about pulling in the rest, and Palin will do that in spades.
- Could a college sophomore be responsible for her nomination? Just in case anyone doubts the importance of web leverage.
- Could Karl Rove, of all people, have the best explanation for why Palin is a good political choice at the expense of being bad for America?
*(Anthropogenic Global Warming)