Really? Sarah Palin?
Because of my inexcusable lapse in posting on this here blog, it's been a few weeks since the actual announcement of the governor of the populous, important, electoral-vote-brimming state of Alaska as McCain's VP choice (although I say that with a mountain of salt, as I don't think he had anything to do with this pick), so the initial shock and "what the fuck?"-ness (it's a word) has worn off. So I won't devote much time to that. But seriously...
What the fuck??? The man is 72 years old, has had multiple bouts with cancer, and has been given 1-in-3 odds, based on actuarial models, to not reach 80 (and probably not the end of his first term, when adjusting for the stress and rigor of being President of the United States - look how horribly our presidents seem to age in office). Given this set of circumstances, THIS is the person you choose? A complete Hail-Mary, vanity pick meant solely to shake up a stagnant campaign facing the country's first black candidate?
This whole notion that Republicans are trying to spin that Palin's experience as a less-than-two-year governor of Alaska is just like Obama's is a joke. Their assertion that her command of the Alaska National Guard and that her state's proximity to Russia gives her significant military and foreign-policy experience is a joke. This candidacy is a joke. The sad part is, though, it gave him a boost in the polls. People actually fell for the move.
See, I long ago gave up on the notion that this is a country for smart people. Although I think the resiliency, patriotism, dedication, and resolve of the American People is unmatched by no other country when it comes down to it, it doesn't mean that the American People, as a whole, are all that fucking bright. (The fact that I saw a commercial for FOX's new reality/game show, "Hole in the Wall," recently only helped cement this notion in my mind. If you haven't seen/heard about this show yet, please look it up. I thought it was a joke, something that would be run as a fake show on another TV show or movie... but no, it's real.)
So it doesn't matter that Palin brings absolutely nothing to the table. She's a hard-working, straight-shooting, working mother... just like me! Sign me up!! People don't want substance, it seems. They want someone who they feel (just like Bush in '04) that they can relate to. But you know what? That's not important. On a list of what a man or woman should possess in order to be a great leader, similarity to the average, John Deere-riding American is far from the top. I've wrote about this before, but a President should be presidential. He (I'll drop the "or she", since that's not technically applicable anymore to this campaign) should be possessive of a superior intellect, fearless resolve, and a skill set far broader than knowing how to crush a can of Coors against his forehead. People voted for the guy who reminded them of a down-home, average Joe in '04 (and not really in 2000, but still), and look where it got us. Can't we maybe take a chance and go for something different this time? But I digress...
I don't doubt that Palin's a hot prospect -- no pun intended -- in the Republican party. She hits on so many of those intangibles that candidates yearn to fake in order to grab those hard-to-secure swing votes. But that doesn't make her capable of being the second most powerful person in the country; it just makes her a better news story. Look what happened when she finally agreed to be interviewed (by a reporter and network of the McCain camp's choosing):
It wasn't necessarily what she said that bothered me. I could care less if she doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is. That's not important. What bothered me about that slice of the interview was how woefully unprepared and unintelligent she seemed. EVERY question was clumsily avoided, and she tried to just pump in campaign talking points for anything she couldn't answer in confidence, which was basically every question. She seemed nervous and completely submissive. People have already made the comparison, but that interview segment reminded me a whoooole lot of this video:
Okay, maybe she's not that dumb. But you have to admit, there were striking similarities.
I don't think, as some of my other doom-stricken friends have proferred, that this move will give McCain the push he needs to win the election. I think her sheen will eventually fade, she'll make a lot of mistakes along the way, and people who care an iota about their vote will realize that she's just a political maneuver in Tina Fey glasses. They'll realize, if they're women, that the McCain camp tried to just steal their vote by thinking that any woman will vote for any other woman. They'll realize they've been talked down to. Again. Hopefully, people will realize that the last few times they've let the Republicans do that, it didn't quite work out for them. That all depends on the American People, though. And that doesn't exactly fill me with hope.