Saturday, August 30, 2008

Let the Games Begin

Hello everyone!

Well, it's official. Our system of electoral politics is officially a joke.

It's not like we haven't seen the signs before. But still, in this age of reality TV and celebrity paparazzi, John McCain had to do something to reclaim the spotlight after Barack Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night. And what better way to do so than to pick a running mate that nobody outside of Alaska has ever heard of? It's that old rule in showbiz: any publicity is good publicity.

I can just imagine what was going through John McCain's head: "I've got to win over some of the Hillary supporters if I stand a chance of winning. I know--I'll choose a chick as a running mate! Hey, who's that hot chick from Alaska, you know, the one who has the whole sexy librarian thing going on? Sarah What's-her-name?"

Unfortunately for McCain, he picked a "chick" who not only is anti-abortion, but is anti-abortion even cases of rape and incest. So if a woman goes for a jog in the park, gets attacked and raped, and winds up knocked up, guess what? Not only does she have to deal with the emotional trauma of the attack, but she also gets to be a mom for the next 18 years, whether she likes it or not. But hey, she was probably asking for it, right?

Also, if some 15-year-old girl gets molested by her sick and creepy father, well, Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon. And if she's lucky, her inbred kid won't have webbed toes. Have a nice life!

Oh, and if a pregnancy turns out to threaten a woman's life, well, let's hope she's written her Final Will and Testament.

(In all fairness, Palin claims to support an exception when a woman's life is threatened, but she also is a member of Feminists for Life, a group that opposes abortion even to when the mother's life is at risk)

See this is the problem I have with absolutist thinking. People who say, "Abortion is murder, period," either do not or cannot understand that the world is not black and white, but is mostly shades of gray. Instead of trying to reduce abortions by advocating for a social safety net so that young girls who cannot raise a child on their own actually can choose to go ahead with having the baby, they'd rather just outlaw all of it while ignoring this country's history of back-alley coat hanger abortion. Of course, there's also the inherent hypocrisy of people who claim to have all sorts of concern and regard for the welfare of fetuses (all life is sacred) but none for the women in whose uteri the fetuses (feti?) develop (except for the lives of pregnant women). And don't even get me started on those who are against abortion but pro-death penalty.

Anyway, I'm sure that the Hillary supporters will just flock to McCain now. After all, the only thing that's important is that one of the people on the ticket has two X chromosomes, right?

Let's see, what some of Sarah Palin's other positions are, shall we?

She supports creationism in schools, calling it a "healthy debate." Sorry, but unprovable speculation being presented alongside scientific fact is not a "healthy debate." If I believed the Earth's core is made out of marshmallow creme, should Geology classes include my "alternative theory" alongside the "conventional theory" that the Earth's core is made primarily of molten iron and nickel? I mean, no one's actually ever been to the center of the Earth, so my theory should be just as valid, right? Or are fundamentalists the only ones allowed to have their unsubstantiated and unscientific beliefs be taught in science classes?

What else? Well, a month ago, she said that she didn't know "what is it exactly that the VP does every day." I can answer that: apparently the VP orders people to obstruct justice and shoots his friends in the face.

She's running on a campaign of ending corruption, but she's also currently being investigated by her state's Republican majority legislature for allegedly firing a police commissioner who himself refused to fire a state trooper at the request of Palin's office. "Coincidentally," said state trooper was going through a nasty divorce with Palin's sister. Oh, and the replacement commissioner that she picked? It turns out that he had been investigated and suspended for sexually harassing one of his female workers. Oops. But hey, maybe this was all just one big misunderstanding, like a Three's Company episode or something.

She's also campaigning on ending earmarks, saying that she killed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" project. But when she originally ran for Governor, she supported it before flip-flopping once she realized that the funding wasn't there and that it was pretty unpopular.

Her solution to the energy crisis is to drill, drill, drill, even though it's common knowledge that drilling won't lower gas prices for at least 10 years, if not more. She fought against adding polar bears to the endangered species list, even though they are clearly endangered and hers is the only state that has polar bears in the wild.

On Iraq, just after she became Governor, she claimed that she hadn't "really focused much on the war in Iraq [and that she] heard on the news about the new deployments."

But aside from the fact that she's either on the wrong side or completely ignorant of nearly every issue, there's the whole "What was John McCain smoking when he chose her?"

One of the strongest arguments McCain had (in terms of effectiveness at convincing undecideds) was that Obama was inexperienced. So he goes and picks Palin? Well, what about her experience?

She became governor by beating the incumbent, Frank Murkowski, who was in the US Senate when he was elected Governor, so he appointed his own daughter to fill his Senate seat. By the time he was up for reelection, he was so unpopular and plagued with scandal that a garden gnome could have beaten him.

Before that, Palin was mayor and city council member for six and four years, respectively, of Wasilla, Alaska. Have you ever heard of it? I have. In fact, I've been there--my sister-in-law lives there--and it's a nice town. Coincidentally, I'll be there next week. Even more coincidentally, Palin was also born in Sandpoint, ID, a town in which I lived for almost eight years and where most of my family lives. But I don't see how any of this qualifies someone to be Vice President.

The above sums up her entire political experience. Unless you count her time on the local PTA, her stint as Miss Wasilla and runner-up status in the Miss Alaska beauty queen pageant, being captain of the girl's basketball team in high school, or being a local sports reporter.

So how do the McCain/Palin supporters justify the fact that she's the least qualified Vice Presidential candidate at least in recent history, if not ever? How do the McCainiacs defend this pick, especially since they've been criticizing Obama of being inexperienced? Easy. They claim she actually has more experience than Obama. They claim that she's battle-tested and Obama is a big unknown.

Now, you may be wondering how so many people can completely ignore something the rest of us call "reality." But really, has this ever stopped right-wingers before?

See, they refer to her "executive experience." See, her "executive position" as Governor of Alaska, the state with the second-lowest population in the nation, a state with less people than the city of Charlotte, NC, for less than two years qualifies her to be Vice President, while Obama's almost four years of experience in the Senate doesn't. In fact, she has more "executive experience" than Obama and Biden combined, both of whom have only served in legislative branches, and therefore are unfit to be president. I mean, history has shown that presidents with only legislative experience, such as Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and presidents with no prior executive experience at all, such as George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower have turned out to be horrible presidents, while our most celebrated ones were ones who actually did have prior executive experience, greats such as William Henry Harrison, Millard Fillmore, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Andrew Johnson.

What else? Well, apparently being mayor and city council member of a town of about 8,500 people (closer to 5,000 while she was there) is more appropriate experience than being in the Illinois State Senate for seven years in the wacky world of "Rightyland". Hey, I was vice president of my eighth grade class. I'm qualified to be Vice President of the US, but only as a Republican, apparently.

Also, being a self-styled "hockey mom" is ostensibly a better qualification than being a professor of constitutional law. See, she's a "regular person," the kind you'd want to have a beer with, but she's definitely not an "elitist."

Furthermore, conventional wisdom would point to her as being completely inexperienced with foreign policy. But conventional wisdom doesn't apply to McCain supporters. As Fox News helpfully points out, she has foreign policy experience because "Alaska is near Russia." I kid you not.

Now, a cynic might say I'm unfairly attacking Sarah Palin. But I think it's important to know who we're getting to fill the second most powerful position in the world, particularly when John McCain is 72-years-old and has had melanoma cancer four times. And by the way, pointing out that someone is at a higher risk of dying in the next four years is not the same as wishing it to happen. What is messed up, however, is that I have to point this out, lest someone accuses me of wanting John McCain to die. But that's where the political discourse is at these days.

I have no problem voting for a person who doesn't have a lot of political experience. Hell, the mess we're in right now was created by people who had a lot of experience. But I have a huge problem with hypocrisy. I'm also insulted that John McCain thinks that he can win over Hillary's supporters by nominating a woman. I'd be even more insulted if the voters were stupid enough to buy it. They might.

Anyway, I'm sure all of Palin's downfalls will be spun as assets by the pundits and talking heads. And when she comes across as out of her league when she debates Biden, the meme will be that Biden is a big meanie jerk who picks on poor, defenseless women. Whatever it takes to keep up the appearance of a close race, I guess.

In the meantime, I'm off to Alaska for a much-needed vacation. I wonder if this qualifies me for a cabinet position?


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Anonymous Greg said...

You forgot one pres with "executive experience". Our beloved Dubya (Gov. of Texas). I guess we still don't know how to rate his presidency (snicker). No, seriously. Dammit, stop laughing! Maybe he'll turn it all around in his last few months (Oh sweet jesus, the nightmare is almost over).

When I heard who McGruber chose for VP. I pretty much figured he just handed the election to Obama. He'll still win by 20 points in Idaho (state motto: No neck is red enough)

7:20 PM, August 30, 2008  
Blogger Rob said...

Hello Greg!

That's a good point about Dubya. I was going for obscurity, but the worst US President in history was so obvious it was too obvious. Doh!

Logically, McCain just handed the election to Obama. But logically, Gore should have won in a landslide in 2000. Never overestimate the wisdom of the voting public, particularly when they get most of their news and information from shows such as:

*Synchronized Swimming with the Stars
*Who Wants to Marry a Mongoloid?
*Extreme Makeover, Sex Change Edition
*The O'Reilly Factor

I can easily imagine some people voting for the McCain/Palin ticket specifically because Palin is on it. And their reasoning would be that "She's down to Earth," or "She's a true Christian," or "She's a MILF. I've always wanted a Vice President I can jerk off to." Why not? People voted for Bush because "He seems like the kind of guy I could have a beer with," and that was after he screwed up the country for four years!

And you're right about Idaho. Palin could get gang-banged by 20 guys from Tijuana on pay-per-view while McCain eats a live puppy, and they'd still win Idaho because there's an "R" next to their names on the ballot.

9:24 PM, August 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought it amusing that people admitted to voting for Bush because "He seems like the kind of guy I could have a beer with".

That is the height of delusion as Bush is a 'recovering' alcoholic who publicly claims to have "quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then."

But then, these are the same people who delude themselves into believing in compassionate conservatism, trickle down economics, intelligent design, angels, unicorns, and the practicality of waging a war against an emotion.

Oh, and nice imagery with the pay per view! Truly dark poetry!

7:34 PM, August 31, 2008  

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