Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Who?

He thinks we’re all fools, doesn’t he?

John McCain thinks all women are fools, and that’s why he has chosen Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate.

He thinks that just because he put a woman on the ticket, women will come running to support his campaign for the White House against Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Well, this woman isn’t falling for it. Not for the blatant tokenism this choice is.

If the choice of Governor Palin weren’t tokenism, if McCain were really committed to putting a woman that can step into the presidency at a moment’s notice- which, after all, is the real reason for the vice-presidency in the first place - you would think he could have found a woman with just a little bit of foreign policy experience. Maybe a woman who is more than two years away from having been the mayor of a very small town in Alaska.

Such women do exist, women with domestic and foreign policy experience. They exist in the Republican party. Can anyone say Condoleezza Rice?

Ah, but she probably turned him down, if he even asked. She has said before that she has no interest in the vice-presidency. And McCain was clearly not looking for a running mate who has actual qualifications for the job.

Although I have to hand it to McCain. At first glance, Palin looks like the perfect token. The obvious first: she’s a woman. She’s a mom. One of her children has Down’s Syndrome. She’s married to a man who is one-eighth Eskimo. He’s also a union member. She’s a member of the National Rifle Association. She’s a Christian who is against abortion and in favor of teaching Intelligent Design in the public schools.

How many interest groups does that appeal to? By my count, that’s at least eight, and there are probably more than I’m not aware of.

But she isn’t the perfect candidate, it turns out.

It seems that Palin has some ethics problems back in Alaska.

As I understand it, Palin’s sister was married to a state trooper, key word being “was”. Apparently the divorce was messy, and Palin wanted her ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police. When the official in charge of the state police refused to fire BIL, Palin fired the official. And it isn’t the first time she’s fired someone who didn’t please her. When she was mayor of that town in Alaska, she apparently fired the police chief and the head librarian of the town because they didn’t support her election. The firing of the state police official hasn’t been resolved yet…the report is due on Halloween, less than a week before the election.

And then there is the experience question. Just how is Palin qualified to be vice-president, much less president if, God forbid, something should happen to McCain? Besides having to foreign policy experience at all, as far as I’ve been able to see, she isn’t even on record with any opinion at all on anything even remotely connected to foreign policy. She’s been a mayor. She’s been governor of a very few state with a very small population. Alaska has a population of less than 700,000. That’s less than the county I live in. And that’s way, way less than the population of the United States. There are significant differences between running an entity with around 684,000 people and running a nation with a population of over 300 million.

Above and beyond the experience issue, where did McCain get the idea that all those Hillary Clinton supporters who were disappointed that Barack Obama got the Democratic nomination are going to come running to support him because he chose Palin to run with him? She’s seriously anti-abortion, something that most Clinton supporters likely are not.
Oh, and then there’s the husband problem. Anyway, I see it as a problem. Palin’s husband works…wait for it…for a multinational oil company. True, his position with the company is reported to be “non-managerial”, but still. What is it with vice-presidents and potential vice-presidents and ties to the oil industry? Is it a job requirement now, according to the Republicans? We’ve been there, done that, and it hasn’t really worked out that well for the nation.

What McCain got in Palin, and probably what he was mostly looking for, was a cheerleader. In her remarks when she was introduced as McCain’s choice for the bottom of the ticket, mostly what Palin did after she introduced her family was how great she thinks McCain is. And like all cheerleaders, she is there to look pretty - she came in second in the Miss Alaska pageant in 1984, after all - and make the man in her life, in this case McCain as the top of the ticket, look good and strong and smart.

It remains to be seen whether this choice of McCain’s will benefit him or hurt him. Polls taken since the choice was announced seem to indicate that the key demographic…undecided voters…are not especially impressed. And there is a great deal of speculation that not only is Palin not qualified to be vice-president, she is not prepared to even campaign for the office, in an environment where her every word and action will be looked at under a microscope and analyzed endlessly. That could be a problem for the ticket, what with all the misstatements that McCain has already produced all by himself.

Personally, I feel insulted that McCain thinks that people like me are so easily swayed. And I’m a little insulted, too, that Palin, who must know that she isn’t qualified for this position, is letting herself be used in the way she is by accepting the invitation to run.

Then again, I’m just a heathen Democrat and, according to McCain’s campaign, not qualified to even have an opinion.

Think I’m kidding? After an analysis of McCain’s pick in which several presidential historians criticized Palin’s qualifications to be vice-president, the McCain campaign issued a statement that criticized the scholars for criticizing Palin because the scholars had supposed either worked for or contributed to the campaigns of Democrats.

Interesting. So, the Republicans think they can say whatever the want about Democratic candidates and elected officials, but anyone who has ever contributed to, worked for, or…what…voted for a Democrat has no standing to criticize a Republican?

But that’s another rant for another time.

No comments: