By now we all know a bit about V.P. candidate Sarah Palin of Wasilla, Alaska, filled with small-town-values goodness and ready to rule the world - which may happen, in the not-totally-implausible event that Presidential candidate John McMaverick wins that office, then proceeds to expire while there.
Well there's a brand new political superstar on the scene and she's tough as nails and the media won't leave her alone and she's a rough-and-tumble Alaskan hockey mom and why are they asking all these questions and she is the pure reincarnation of the invincible Anglo-Saxon frontier earth mother and stop picking on her!
So maybe Sarah Palin doesn't have all that much "experience." Maybe she doesn't pay much attention to your fancy-pants "foreign policy" or "domestic policy" or "policy." Maybe she's "crazy" and "corrupt" and was picked by a "vetting process" that consisted of "tossing darts at a phone book in the middle of an all-night Ambien-and-Ketamine binge." But maybe that's just because Sarah Palin's just too busy being a real American to hang around with your namby-pamby liberal candidates with their arugula lattes and their east coast Ivy League universities and their "qualifications" while they tax the Jesus Fetus to pay for gay Muslim healthcare! Well Sarah Palin understands that being vice-president takes more than just book-smarts or regular-smarts or knowing what a vice president does!* It takes gumption and spunk and other made-up words that hearken back to another time - a realer time - a whiter time - back when men were men and women were men and great big hairy-chested frontiersmen of the plains wrestled oxen and caribou and the savage Injun Man in their mighty conquest of the West before succumbing to explosive amoebic dysentery! And with the help of God and millions of dollars in energy industry donations, Sarah Palin will give us that dysentery again!
As a Jesus-fearing moose-hunting hockey-mom mother of five, Sarah Palin understands real American values, because she is a real American just like you, only with much more money and power and a tiny invisible fairy that lives in her brain and tells her to ban books and blow up Muslims. Sarah Palin understands that the key to America's success is personal responsibility, and the key to personal responsibility is getting lots of money from oil companies and the federal government while you enforce other people's personal responsibility! Oh, you wanted state funding to help with your out-of-wedlock Sin Child? Shoulda thoughta that before you decided to not be born to Sarah Palin!
Sarah Palin will also ban abortion, 'cause in the hardscrabble up-by-the-bootstraps wilderness of the Alaskan suburbs, they don't have abortion. They also do not have adequate access to health care, birth control, or equal pay for equal work, as it turns out.
As a moose-hunting Jesus-fearing hockey-mom mother of five who hunts moose, Sarah Palin isn't some petty Washington bureaucrat. She's a petty Alaskan bureaucrat, and she's gonna shake things up in Washington! For her first reform she will pose for photographs with a gun and a stuffed moose head! For her second reform she will say something bold and brassy. For her third reform she will give birth at a live press conference to six eagle scouts, three peregrine falcons and an American mastodon, rear them in the Christian faith and release them into the wild before hunting them down, shooting them and mounting their heads in the Roosevelt Room!
Now some of you are saying "oh Giblets these aren't actual reforms" because you are boring and stupid and I hate you. But if you think about it, Sarah Palin would be reforming Washington just by being elected and finally giving a voice to marginalized white Christian evangelicals everywhere. She will also re-ban abortion, in case abortion got away the first time.
As a Jesus-fearing moose-hunting hockey-mom mother of five who hunts moose for Jesus, Sarah Palin is kin to the wild outdoors and appreciates its bountiful splendor as she is gunning it down from her airplane. Sarah Palin understands that America is dangerously addicted to oil, and that the only cure is more oil. She also understands that nature is our natural enemy, created by a malevolent Satan to come between us and our God-given oil deposits with its hateful, clean water and its foul, pristine air. But Sarah Palin also also knows that we've got to leave this earth behind for our children, at least until we can find a way to drill for oil in our children. Sarah Palin is committed to exploring Baby Trig's vast and abundant petroleum reserves.
Sarah Palin may not know if global warming is man-made. She may not know if global warming is real. She may not know what global warming is. But if global warming is caused by abortions, Sarah Palin will fight it - by banning abortion, just in case the first couple times didn't take.
As a hockey-playing moose-hunting Jesus-fearing hockey-mom mother of five who plays hockey, Sarah Palin lives in Alaska, which is just a couple thousand miles away from Russia and the Red Chinese, giving her valuable insight into their inscrutable foreign ways. Every day for forty-four years Sarah Palin has gotten up and thought to herself, "Hmmm, the weather is cold today - and I bet the weather is similarly cold in Russia at this latitude." Isn't it about time we had a vice-president who understands the climatological grievances of our most deadliest frenemies? Think about it! But not for very long!
Alaska is also close to the International Date Line, giving Sarah Palin the power to traverse the distance between Today and Yesterday at will and making her the Wizard of Speed and Time. She's sassy and white and ready to lead, people! And to ban abortion. Just look at that blastocyst! How can you say no!
*[original link pulled by source's site admin. - I replaced it with comparable (maybe even better) link/MG]
Sadly, I'm afraid this won't stop all the negativity out there. Take the following exchange, involving an impudent commenter over at the site of former Bush supporter and betrayed conservative John Cole (edited by me for suitable presentation on a family blog):
Pressed about what insights into recent Russian actions she gained by living in Alaska, Palin answered: "They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
Our very own Krista, in the comments, responds:
And when I look out my window I can see the moon. Doesn't make me a f***ing astronaut now, does it?
So sad, such negativity. Fortunately, I learned that Krista is Canadian, so her lack of faith is both understandable and forgivable.
There has been a lot of interesting chatter around the blogs that has come up due to the popularity of the topic of "small town values" among politicians and the national commentariat. I posted a bit on this earlier here. Since there is general consensus among thoughtful folks - at least those not in the biz of political propagandizing - that there ain't such a thing, it would be more accurate to say that the interesting discussion centers more on small town life rather than the alleged unique values of these places.
The following is shamelessly lifted from Maryland's own Hilzoy, who posted it on 06Sep2008 at Washington Monthly.
Although Hilzoy's post applies to politicians, so much of it reminded me of the strategy of trolls and other on-line propagandists, as well as the futility of playing with them, of which I have been guilty of late. It's a bad habit, and I am now going to stop doing it.
"She said she "championed reform of earmark spending by Congress, and I told the Congress thanks but no thanks on that 'Bridge to Nowhere'", she said, ommiting (sic) mention that she'd campaigned for governor supporting the bridge."
I take it most readers of this blog will know that this is a flat-out lie.
When politicians lie -- and here I mean not just putting the best spin on things, but out and out lying -- they might as well walk up to each and every one of us and say: Hello! I have no respect for the value of your time! You might have other things to do -- work, playing with your kids, taking a long hike in the mountains, whatever -- but I don't care. I'm going to put you in a position where you're going to have to research everything I say, or else just give up on your civic duty. You don't get to assume that my words are, if not exactly true, at least somewhere in the general vicinity of the truth, and decide whether or not to vote for me. If you want to be an informed citizen, you'll have to become obsessive, like hilzoy.
They might as well add: I have no respect for democracy. In a democracy, citizens listen to what each side has to say and decide who to vote for. To work, it requires that what each side says bears some resemblance to the truth. If I cared about democracy, I'd respect those limits -- maybe stretching the truth every now and then, but generally maintaining some sort of relationship between what I say and reality. But guess what? I don't care about democracy! If winning requires that I make things up out of whole cloth and hope that I'm successful enough to frustrate the popular will, then that's what I'll do. Don't like it? Think democracy is a good system, one that we should cherish? That's just too bad.
But Palin has gone beyond this. She is not just telling lies; she's telling lies that have been exposed as lies, and that have gotten a lot of attention. Assuming she does not actually want to lose, she must assume that her audience either doesn't know that she's lying, or doesn't care. In either case, it's deeply cynical, and deeply insulting.
I just hope she isn't right.
I share Hilzoy's hope.
John McCain's lies deserve maximum airing as well, especially his claim that his proposed tax cut will help the middle class more than Obama's. I plan on getting to that diary one of these days, hopefully soon.
With things apparently heating up between the U.S. and Russia, we need to be on our guard everywhere, including in the Arctic region, where we are separated from Russia only by the Bering Strait. Our own state of Alaska sits astride that strait, due east of the Big Red Bear. Do we have the kind of leadership in Alaska we need to face down the supposedly reformed Commies, if the situation goes critical? If that red phone rings at 3am, do we have the right people in place to answer the call?
Sadly, the answer to that is, 'apparently not'. Governor Sarah Palin is hiding from the U.S. media. If she is too cowardly to face our lapdog corporate national media, how can we expect her to face Putin and his forces of world domination? For the safety of the nation, not only should she not be a heartbeat from the Presidency, she should be impeached by the legislature of Alaska for failure to show adequate courage in the face of the threat to Alaska, and our nation.
Please, Senator McCain, do the right thing, and find someone brave enough to take that position of being "one heartbeat from the Presidency", who won't whine about her treatment by our docile media puppies (what, is Gov. Palin afraid of being licked to death?).
You have proudly noted your past record of working with Democrats, and rightly so. Replacing Sarah Palin with the braver and tougher Hillary Clinton would demonstrate both bipartisanship and resolve, and serve as yet another supreme act of patriotism in your long career as a public servant. The applause Senator Clinton received during mention of her name at the Republican National Convention tell me that this would be a winner, and would bring us together as a nation.
Senator McCain, I ask this as a concerned American citizen. Be the patriot you have always been. Remember, Country First!
UPDATE: Hah, Gov. Palin has decided to let a media puppy dog lick her face after all! Charlie Gibson of ABC News gets to do the honors. Personally, I still think exchanging her for Senator Clinton would send a better message of bipartisanship and Country First!-ism.
UPDATE #2: More on the upcoming interview of Governor Sarah Palin by ABC's Charlie Gibson - this from Josh Marshall:
...it's pretty clear this farce is going to be close to unwatchable. Set aside that this comes just on the heels of McCain campaign manager Rick Davis saying Palin would not sit for any interviews "until the point in time when she'll be treated with respect and deference." The tell comes high up in the AP story by David Bauder. The second graf reads ...
Palin will sit down for multiple interviews with Gibson in Alaska over two days, most likely Thursday and Friday, said McCain adviser Mark Salter.
Political interviews are never done like this. Because it makes the questioning entirely at the discretion of the person being interviewed and their handlers. The interviewer has to be on their best behavior, at least until the last of the 'multiple interviews' because otherwise the subsequent sittings just won't happen. For a political journalist to agree to such terms amounts to a form of self-gelding. The only interviews that are done this way are lifestyle and celebrity interviews. And it's pretty clear that that is what this will be.
My guess is that ol' Charlie may stop wagging his tail and licking Gov. Palin's face long enough to ask whether a McCain-Palin Administration will cut his capital gains taxes. Once he gets the answer he wants, he'll resume tail-wagging and face-licking.
Fortunately for Sarah Palin, she's not a Democrat.
The crack news team at The Daily Show interviewed delegates at the Republican National Convention, to see just what these "small town values" they're always going on about actually are. I couldn't embed the video - the software used by FSP apparently doesn't permit the coding used by TDS for embedding their clips (objections to the words 'always' and 'external', whatever that means) - so you will have to click over to the clip over at the TDS site to see the video.
The guy in that clip who said these desirable values were represented by the values of 1950s America was particularly interesting to me. I guess it depends on whose "50s America" one is talking about. When some American citizens recall the 50s, their memories likely include images such as this:
It's all relative, I guess. I grew up in a family where the 'n word' was forbidden, but where civil rights marchers were referred to as 'troublemakers', who had only themselves to blame for getting blasted with fire hoses, attacked by police dogs, beaten with clubs and batons, and sometimes murdered. Why couldn't they just behave themselves and follow the rules, just like we did? Little did I know then that the rights and rules that applied to us didn't apply to a great many others, solely due the differences in the circumstances of our births.
I know where a lot of these Republicans* come from, since I come from the same place (*goes for a lot of Democrats too - in fact my parents usually voted Democratic up through 1972; my mom mostly still does).
It takes a lot of courage to crawl out of your own comfort zone - if you are so fortunate as to have such a thing - and I can only hope that more folks find the courage to do so, for the sake of our nation's future.
Sarah Palin welcomes us all to the Alaskan Independece Party convention, which promotes the secession of Alaska from the United States. Which makes sense, since about half of America thinks Alaska's a Canadian province anyway...
Jon Stewart on the Palin choice, and her suitability for participation in a 'Northern Exposure' reunion tour...
And I have to add this one in, which has a hilarious premise, but becomes VERY grating VERY quickly. It's a spoof of McCain/Palin singing "I Picked a Girl" to the tune of "I Kissed a Girl".
Finally, I can't get the embed to work, but it's worth going here to see Jon Stewart in one of the funniest bits I've ever seen him do...
So I see there's been some spirited discussion about Sarah Palin. Thus far, what has amazed me is not so much Palin's record -- though the fact that she appears to share George W. Bush's style of governing and has been lying outright about her ongoing abuse of power scandal and her support for the "Bridge to Nowhere" don't instill confidence in me for her. What amazes me is how John McCain came to select her: he seems to have put almost no thought into the decision at all. I know some people are good judges of character, but I would hardly think that a few brief encounters over the last few years is sufficient basis for anyone to select someone to be Vice President of the United States. It seems like this was a pick more suited to winning the news cycle (Extra: McCain picks someone we never heard of!) than it was to finding someone who could seriously be President at a moment's notice. In that, I think it reflects very poorly on John McCain's judgment: All else being equal, a gambling mentality, one always in pursuit of short-term gain at the expense of a broader strategy, in not a good trait in a Commander-in-Chief. We've seen this mentality in the White House for the last eight years, and needless to say, it hasn't served this country well.
It's an out of left field pick, to be sure. Until this morning, it looked like it was coming down to ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The McCain campaign probably was wise to not go with Romney, who seems to be universally loathed, but I find it odd that they didn't go with Pawlenty. With his social conservative credentials and reputation for appealing to downscale voters (He is famous for saying that the Republican Party should be the Party of Sam's Club rather than the Party of the Country Club), a Pawlenty pick could have signaled that the GOP would, at least in the future, move away from the destructive ideology of the Bush years. If nothing else, it would have been vindication for reformist conservatives like Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam who have taken Pawlenty as a kind of exemplar of where they think the Republicans ought to go.
As for the merits of Palin herself, color me unimpressed. She has strong social conservative credentials -- especially on abortion -- and a decent record of reformism. (Though in a state like Alaska, home of Don "Bridge to Nowhere" Young and the recently-indicted Ted Stevens, that's probably not hard to do.) Of course, Palin is under investigation herself for firing the state Public Safety Commissioner after not firing a state trooper in a messy divorce with Palin's sister, so presenting Palin as a reformer may not work so well.
I think we can also discard the question of whether the candidates have enough experience, since Palin has even less political experience than Barack Obama. It'll be interesting to see just what Palin's opinions are, particularly on foreign policy. But with this pick, McCain blunts his own greatest strength as an old Washington hand. It might pay off, say, if evangelicals and conservatives are assuaged enough by the pick to support McCain, but right now, it's a definite gamble.