Saturday, September 6, 2008

Just a Regular Hockey Mom who Shoots Bears from Airplanes

Thanks for your patience with the time between posts, folks. I could say I'm going to make sure I do better in the future, but we all know better than that.

I love this time of every four years. It's the time when people of all political persuasions get whooped up about one vice-presidential candidate or another, in preparation for forgetting they exist after the election. (Ok, Dick "five draft deferments" Cheney has achieved the same infamy as his boss, which itself is no mean feat, but that's the exception.)

There's Sarah Palin, of course (more on her in a moment), but before that was the selection of Joe Biden and the criticism from the right that his selection signals a lack of self-confidence in Obama. That criticism - which, like most extreme criticism by either side, gets the partisans energized but ultimately falls apart after, say, five seconds of thought - appears to suggest some kind of new business model: show how confident you are in your leadership abilities by bringing only unqualified yes-men into your organization. After eight years of that very thing, you'd think they'd have learned by now. Who was Obama supposed to pick, a latter-day Dan Quayle?

Palin herself is an interesting choice for McCain. A great public speaker - Obama's good, but so far Palin looks like the best of the four - with a zip and charm ideal for the age of sound bite logic. (The two biggest applause points in John McCain's nomination acceptance speech were his first mention of Sarah Palin, and when she came out at the end. What are we saying here?) Will she hold up under scrutiny? Time will tell, and we'll learn more about her and the others as the campaign rolls on. Handlers are already moaning that she's the only one not getting privileged treatment from the media. Perhaps what Phil Gramm meant to say a few weeks ago was "we've become a party of whiners." I'm not sure it would have gotten him into any less trouble, but at least it would have addressed this point.

My take to date on Palin is this: she's presents herself well, is not afraid to make decisions, and has packed a lot of executive experience into a fairly short time. Plus, she's a woman, as the photo-ops with Mrs. Bush and Mrs. McCain remind us. And remind us. And let's not forget this one: frame it how you will, all these admirable personal attributes have been, and will continue to be, used to push the same old mean-spirited right-wing agenda that has been such a big part of getting us into the current mess. A colorful personality doesn't change that. She was suggested to McCain by Newt Gingrich, for heaven's sake. What does that tell you?

Yes, I know. Palin-McCain, sorry, I meant McCain-Palin, say they're about change. But - campaign-season emotions notwithstanding - hasn't experience taught us that "change" would just be code for a new, slightly modified mean-spirited right wing agenda? Sometimes we get so enamored with someone's plain talking style that we forget to pay attention to what they're saying.

It's ironic, then, that I'm not convinced any of this really matters. History has shown us that at the final moment people vote for a presidential candidate, not for a running-mate. Everyone remembers Lloyd Bentson leaving Dan Quayle speechless with his "You're no John Kennedy" punch, arguably still the most famous remark made in any debate, ever. (I didn't say most important. I said most famous.) It was strong stuff. And come election day, the ticket Quayle was on won, and the ticket Bentson was on was never seen or heard from again.


oldhousegal said...

My initial reaction to Palin was that she was a cynical choice by McCain, a way to take advantage of the whole Hillary-Obama rift.  But after hearing her speak (she does speak very well), I think maybe old John had something else in mind.  He's got his ultra-conservative attack dog now.  And as well as she speaks, you are right that we need to listen to her words more than the way she says them.  Her words worry me frankly.  That and the chant of "drill, baby, drill" that accompanied McCain's speech.  And I was really flabbergasted when she criticized Obama for his stryofoam Greek columns while her speech was set against a backdrop of an enormous American flag waving in the breeze.  Who knew that being a tad theatrical was so much more grievous than co-opting a national symbol?  I tell ya, I learn something new every day.

rdautumnsage said...

In the end I truly wish this was a blind election. An election where you couldn't see the nominees color, age, nor gender. You would be given two proposed ideals on how to help this country. Then you would vote on which proposal sounded like the most sound tactic to help our country and lead. Sigh...but I'm afraid this election is going to be decided on color or gender no matter how much people protest NOT....

As for Palin and her aerial hunting. Gotta wonder about someone who can't hunt on an even playing ground, giving the animals at least a chance to save themselves or fight back. If she would be so disrespectful toward an animal, who is to say she would be any more so toward her countrymen?...(Hugs)Indigo

imjacobnotjames said...

Interesting. I didn't realize you were so anti-right wind. :)

I stick by my thinking that he only picked her to capitalize on the Obama-Hillary rift, as you said. She seems feisty. I haven't been keeping up on every last news break about her, but as far as I know she wants creationism taught in school, is strictly pro-life, and inexperienced. I guess in all, just the epitome of a conservative. I wasn't a fan of her jab at community organizers, either. That ought to offend a lot of people.

And when you come down to it, if McCain for whatever reason be unable to serve, could SHE run the country? I am not one to belittle people and count them out just based on their experience (ie: Obama) but I still think she's the most inexperienced person out of the four. Her speech commending herself on her motherly accomplishments was cute and all, along with her attacks on Barack, but where were the actual issues?

Not to mention the poor boyfriend of Bristol who was undoubtedly forced, directly or indirectly, to marry Bristol. Oy.

gazker said...

The route this is taking is beggining to worry me. Sarah Palin is NOT your average 'hockey Mum' I bet she hasn't even had time to wipe her own arse let along her poor baby's.
Speaches are written for her, not by her and everyone seems to be falling for her false charm.
Anyone who is pro life and will NOT allow abortion under any circumstances, even if it affect the health of the mother and anyone who believes in creationsim (WTF?) will soon be telling future generations the world is actualy flat and America is the centre of the Universe!
Wake up USA, it's time for change, show the world you have it in you to elect Obama and bring a peace to the world and not someone who's prepared to trash the environment for the sake of a few more years of oil.
Phew............ So early for my brain to be working so hard.

dbdacoba said...

Excellent, excellent entry.  McCain and Palin canmake great speeches because they already know what they're going to do when they get elected, whcih is nothing.  It will be 4 more years of the same blindness, in a variation.  Conservatives are sure they can say whatever they want that sounds good and people will believe them.  Unfortunately they are right. to a large degree.  But they can't fool everybody.  Palin is called a "maverick" but she is anything but, steering a course right down the center of the grand old conservative highway.

Incidentally I thougt Lloyd Bentson was the only candidate worth voting for in that election.  And that's who I voted for.           DB

luddie343 said...

Well Ben, to me politics is corrupt, nonsensical, unfairly expensive, a pure prevarication, and speaks not a word to the public's needs.  Besides it's the Electoral College who will decide our next CIC, not us.  The country went to hell a few years after the DOI was signed.  Anyway, are you sure you're truly looking/listening closely to Palins?  She believes "Birth control is for pregnant teenagers."  Is that how you feel?  Personally I'm voting for Dr. Ron Paul, even though he left the race and I can't blame him, because that's the man I want to see in office.  I know my vote counts, but in reality, only to me.  CATHY  

frankandmary said...

I was at a political fundraiser Friday night & not one person mentioned either VP in any meaningful way. I'd like to see Obama & McCain run the country for 4 years(yeah, I know that isn't going to happen). Every time I hear ANY candidate make a carefully-worded, bs (which most all of them are) speech, I am always amazed later when they are exalted for wisdom they very rarely actually possess. ~Mary

imjacobnotjames said...

"Will she hold up under scrutiny? Time will tell."

Time told. :(

Womp womp.