OK…it’s been several days since McCain picked lightweight Sarah Palin as his running mate, and already tons have been written about it. Problem is, with rare exceptions most of it has been disingenuous, or even downright dishonest. Why? Because the Republicans are pretty much forced to support this odd choice; and the Dems are fearful of wading in too deeply to discredit her. The comments from the Republican convention now in progress, range from “great choice” to “could not have picked better”. Meanwhile, from most prominent Democrats we get the Obama response, which is a lukewarm: “seems like a nice lady”.
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Not running for any office, or bound by such limitations, I feel free to comment without constraint. So, let me be clear: this decision was a disaster, a travesty, a bad joke, an affront to our country. And this has less to do with Palin, than it does with: a) McCain himself; b) the Republican Party; and c) the truth! Indeed, I did say “with rare exceptions” responses have been dishonest. One exception is the comments of Paul Begala, and Democratic strategist and CNN contributor, who stated: “(McCain) is not thinking out of the box as some have said…more like out of his mind”.
Starting with a commentary on McCain, in frequent almost invariable interviews as to whom and how he would choose a Vice President, the answer was always the same: “a person ready to step in and become President if need be”. Indeed, that is the consistent answer all presidential candidates give, and for good reason. That is what America needs, wants and expects in that critical choice. Now McCain has morphed that response to: “reforming Washington” as if this lady less than two years in office from a state with a population about the size of the city where the Republicans are meeting is a proven reformer (or a proven anything, for that matter).
Further, as has been noted, the selection of a VP running mate is the first major decision a presidential candidate makes. McCain’s selection of Palin obviously calls into question his judgment – but even more so, the kind of decision he would make in picking a cabinet, advisors, and of course, Supreme Court justices. Palin’s right wing credentials answers that question quickly; and if McCain were elected we would almost certainly see more Donald Rumsfelds, more Alberto Gonzales, and another Anton Scalia.
Now, that would undoubtedly curry favor with the Republicans meeting in St. Paul. But, it is also an indictment of the duplicity of their convention. For written on the podium of their convention are the words: Country First. Really? Do they actually expect America to believe Sarah Palin was picked because she is the best qualified candidate to run the country in the event McCain should be unable to govern – for any unforeseen reason? Can they honestly contend that Palin could meet with Putin, or Amahdinejad, or other world leaders and hold her own? Do they honestly believe that the complexities of international affairs are currently (or even eventually) within her grasp? Do they sincerely think a woman who has run a $ 10 billion state budget (with few taxation challenges) is now prepared to operate a budget of hundreds of billions with a $9 Trillion (with a “T”) deficit? If so, they are either fooling themselves…or worse, trying to fool the American people.
They have pulled out the absurd argument, that this woman has even better “experience” than Obama in managing the executive branch. What a bizarre conclusion. First of all, the real job of a Vice President is to be President of the Senate – a legislative position. Years of protocol go into understanding the intricacies of Senate operations, along with understanding the foibles of 100 large-ego persons. This woman has no idea what that entails. Further, if you were an employer and saw a resume where one candidate for the job graduated from the University of Idaho, was a hockey mom, active in the PTA, and had a couple of years of public service…and the other was editor of the Harvard Law Revue and was a U.S. Senator, and was thoroughly vetted by 18 months on the campaign trail, would you honestly try to claim “equivalency”? Such a claim is totally disingenuous. Who would you hire for the highest job in the land?
As indicated above, I have stated that the Palin selection was less about her, than a commentary on McCain and the Republican Party. But it is also an affront to truth and honesty. The truth is, this woman has not been a proven reformer, and given her own personal issues, her bona fides on this are yet to be determined. The truth is, McCain who continues to make the claim that he is a “uniter” is actually a “divider” by pandering to his base with such a far right candidate. The truth is McCain’s dereliction in competently vetting and making this choice does a disservice to America, and the intelligence of our citizens. Than there is the honesty issue – and the one that grinds on me the most. Examine the personal lives and history of the 4 known candidates in this election – their family situations, history of fidelity, raising of families — and then you decide which ones really and truly represent the strongest family values always trumpeted by the Evangelical Right, and their allies in the Republican Party. It is hypocrisy gone wild.
In the end, the selection of Palin, and the defense of this decision by McCain, his party, and the far right is simply trying to “put lipstick on a pig” (no, I am not calling Palin a pig, and acknowledge she is rather attractive except for her annoying squeaky voice). But in the end, I feel the entire action will “oink” loudly, and hopefully the American people will understand it for what it is…and reject the fraud they are being asked to buy.