Friday, August 29, 2008
Beauty Queen, hockey mom, and she's a girl, too!
I suspect the journey of selecting a running mate was largely a process of gathering a pool of likely people, vetting them, and then eliminating the truly unsuitable choices: this is such a commonplace, stupid, obvious statement I find it hard to believe I just typed it. But I want to point out that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's name ended up in the pool, the McCain staff and the Senator himself looked at all the available people, and they decided she was the best for the job. Of the Vice President of the US. She is qualified, be cause even though she has humbly explained that she doesn't understand the job of vice president, she's already had a similar experience--she's been the second-place finisher in the Miss Alaska pageant.
So, really, what's there to know? You carry out the office of Miss Alas....the President of the United States if he's for some reason unable to carry out his duties.
I'm being harsh, but I think with reason. Now, obviously, there was no way, no how, the GOP would let McCain pick Joe Lieberman (Karl Rove even made a phone call to Sen. Lieberman, and apparently gave him a good chuckle). Too, um, much a Democrat for all these years. Guiliani--not popular. So just post-9/11, but not post-post 9/11, if you get my drift. Mitt Romney: sad thing it could not have been Mitt. I'm not saying I love the big galoot, but he had some positives. Moderates would have been okay with him. He understands the economy and health care better than McCain. He's photogenic, and you know, Massachussetts, Michigan. Utah. And he's relatively young and vigorous compared to McCain--and I have a feeling that's why McCain particularly wouldn't have wanted him.
You want to stand up next to that life-size Ken Doll with natural hair knowing Rush, Ann, and a host of the GOP punditry kind of liked him better? Not a fun position to be in. Sorry Mitt. (Besides, the stage was only big enough for one flip-flopper.)
So there was Tim Pawlenty, who I guess was Pawlenty not exciting enough, and it looks like the McCampaign cast their wary eye over the Democratic National COnvention, with its unending, self-congratulatory, optimistic parade of glowing, unity-minded faces like Hillary and Bill Clinton, and John Kerry and Al Gore, and those content-laden, policy laying-down, energetic speeches by Biden and Obama, and they knew they had to steal the thunder with a bombshell.
So--enter the bombshell.
This will sound like I am hating her because she is beautiful. This is not true. I'm not even sure I hate her yet, but from what I hear, I don't agree with many of her positions at all. I'm sarcastic because I just smell a little pander here--to women. To pro-Hillary women. And an assumption that women will veer off and vote for a ticket with a woman because it has a woman, regardless of the issues she supports, or her relative experience.
To try to recapture the thought processes of the McCampaign, with the assistance of some beer so I can avoid the headache that can come about from a 180 degree flip of my POV (I've got a nice mixed case from Paper City Brewery, on hand--good stuff), I'm going to try and sort out what they were seeing as her positives:
1) She's very pro-life. Good with the Christian Right.
2) She opposes gay marriage. Ditto.
3) She's a reformer. She was against that bridge to nowhere, except she wasn't, but wasn't she a whistle-blower--oh hell, she's a maverick in a skirt! (Back on the "reformer" path with Honest John McCain.)
4) Big Freaking Oil.
5) Alaska! It's not foreign and suspect like Hawai'i, even though, it too, is a state younger than McCain.
6) Mooseburgers, NRA, snowmobiling--all good, wholesome activities. Shooting bears and wolves from planes even.
7) Not a Godless Evolutionist.
8) Hockey mom. That's soccer mom, only in Alaskan. There's a whole demoraphic there.
I think that last part, though, is the key. The narrative of the GOP with respect to the long, drawn-out, Obama/Clinton struggle in the primary (which I prefer to remember as "the Democratic Party trying to decide who best to beat McCain with"), and the loyalty that many people felt and still feel to Senator Clinton, especially women, was something they hoped to exploit. The problem was, Hillary is an inspirational woman--an inspirational Democrat! She endorsed Obama, gave a speech in his support at the convention, released her delegates and all in all, made it pretty clear that there was no progress or change in voting for someone else. In all her career, in all her speeches, in anything I've read about her, I have no reason to think anyone could support her without also committing firmly to issues like women's rights, human rights, civil rights, and many other traditionally Democratic causes. Also, if you preferred Hillary, it was because of her rich experience and familiarity with the issues.
So McCain picks a woman as a running mate who embodies hardly any of the values, and has none of the experience. As if to say, "She has the right equipment, so vote for us, now."
Um, pssst....John? Even when you turn the lights out, we actually are different.
It would be doing a disservice to Governor Palin, though, if I presumed he was simply cynically using her based on her gender. I also want to suggest that he might be using her for her good looks and her nice-sized handsome family. And also entertain the possibility that he's trying to connect to "regular folks" through her.
But does her pick really make any kind of sense? McCain's gone after Obama for being young and inexperienced, and then he picks a candidate who is three years younger, and has no national experience, no foreign policy experience, and she even has admitted she doesn't know what the job of VP entails. All this, after he's made a point of saying that terrorism is the major challenge America faces, and making a point of touting his own national security cred? In light of Obama's choosing Joe Biden as his running mate, this choice is very strange, indeed.
Also, I just can't say she was vetted properly, since there's some to-do about her firing some official for not firing some trooper--who was her sister's ex-husband, and then she puts in this guy who lasted two weeks because he had some sexual harassment suit and, well? The story is still on-going, folks.
Even when she was mayor of a little town called Wasilla, she was Bush league .
And much of this, no, actually all of this information I learned because bloggers have been lighting up the intertubes since the announcement. I wonder how Romney and Pawlenty, the scorned feel, you know, being jerked around, and considering their merits in comparison? Well, manipulated for starters.
All things considered--Way to go McCampaign!!!!