Last night I returned from literal heaps of fresh mussels and three picturesque rounds of golf on Prince Edward Island and found the world not quite the same as when I left.
Mostly out of touch with the outside world, I came home to discover that Hurricane Gustav forced the evacuation of the entire city of New Orleans (blacks too, this time!), photogenic striker Fernando Torres limped off the pitch and joined talismanic midfielder Steven Gerrard on the Liverpool injured list, the Dutch believe an American attack on Iran's nuclear program is imminent, our pets' heads even may or may not be falling off. and the Republicans delivered the all-time greatest post-convention gift to their Democratic counterparts: In picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to fill the ticket, the McCain campaign effectively took the "experience to be president" meme off the table.
Republicans everywhere rejoiced when Obama selected Joey The Hairplug -- after all, how can you claim with a straight, half-black face to be the Campaign of Change when the guy just below you on the ticket has three decades of stereotypical Washington insider experience, a man with political solids owed and ties to corporate lobbyists? And then a week later, having learned nothing at all, the McCain campaign fumbled the ball right back (or the Obama campaign broke serve right back, depending on whether you're more excited for the start of the NFL season or the last week of the US Open). You can't be about the Ready To Leadness of the opposition candidate when you're a 72-year-old stressed-out cancer survivor who just selected to be your running mate the two-year governor of the 48th most populous state.
If you're one Girl Jumping Out of a Cake Surprise away from certain death, and the whole theme of your campaign surrounds your opponent's inexperience, but you still want to make the maverick choice, you might want to choose an outsider governor whose state's population density is more than 1.1 people per square mile (hint: there are 49 other states from which to select).
Clearly McCain was pandering to the frowning, frumpy pantsuits in Hillary Clinton's camp. McCain can win this election, and the best place for him to look for votes is in the same place that put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. At least 30 percent of Clinton's primary voters say they won't vote for Obama, so McCain's going for the Adams Apple-less jugular and pandering to women. Or is he? He (well, at least his campaign) has to be smart enough to know women will not flock to a woman who has run and will as pro-life in all cases, pro-Creationism in schools and pro-Pat Buchanan.
So maybe she was just a last-minute curveball substitute for someone's turning them down or their backing out of a more-qualified candidate. Joe Lieberman? McCain loves him, especially after Joe let him cheat off him on the Shia/Sunni test. But he already lost once, and he's way too Jewy and boring. Charlie Crist? I said glass celing, not "glass closet." Chuck Todd knows what's up. Mitt Romney? America fucking hates Mormons. The right answer would probably have been Tim Pawlenty -- yes, that Tim Pawlenty.
Elections are not won or lost on the bottom of the ticket, but Palin poses some serious problems for McCain. Conservatives love her, and they're donating like mad again, but this one should unravel pretty quickly. For one, she's under fucking investigation for abuse of power (if true, she'd fit right in with the current administration of fuckfaces). Similarly, she was nearly recalled as Mayor of Wasilla for firing the police chief and library director for not supporting in her 1996 race. And I bet you'll be hearing all day and night about the allegations that her son is really her daughter's son, and even more about how her 17-year-old daughter actually is pregnant this time for real. Sick vetting, Jonny Mac, sick vetting. Admit that the only thing your campaign learned about her is that she didn't use "boom goes the dynamite" in her sportscast:
Families should be off-limits, but they never are. Ask Chelsea Clinton how much she loved 1991-2000. So allow me to pose another question altogether. Political gain aside, does it not make Palin either a horrible mother or incredibly naive to put her daughter in this position? Kids and families should be out of bounds, be we all know they're not. She had to know this issue (the real pregnancy) was going to come up and be a major national news story had she decided to prioritize personal and political ambition above her family's privacy. And she went ahead and did it anyway.
The media shouldn't be focused on this shit, but they are, and now we have blogs that care about it a whole lot more. So personal privacy among our politicians (shit, even among our citizens) is a thing of the past. She knew that. By accepting his nomination, she basically said "Fuck it, my daughter will deal with it somehow whether she likes it or not." Sick parenting, Sarah, sick parenting.
And while families should be off limits, this whole thing speaks to hypocrisy and judgment. And, to me, that's an issue now. After GWB's administration, I think it's of the highest importance to know the character and integrity content of my candidates and their veeps -- this whole scenario (both the real and possibly fake pregnancies) speaks volumes to those facets of her as a person. This could (and should) also be a big problem for McCain (but probably won't). Even though I don't want to see the story focus on the poor girl here, the media should focus on how McCain had to know about this in the vetting process, and yet he still chose her. Huge risk for such little reward. Maybe he also thinks she looks like Tina Fey's aunt.
I love this for one simple reason: It has to put the religious right and Family Values Republicans in a bind, a real tough pickle. They now have to vote for an admitted adulterer who has not denied calling his wife a "trollop" and "cunt" and the mother who let her kid go out and get pregnant [at least] once. Abstinence-only in the statehouse, but no abstinence-only in the Palin house? Poor form, Palin. I'm gonna love it when these assholes vote for that wholesome family-values pairing, while Obama and Biden have two of the seemingly best family stories in American politics today. Fucking hypocrites.