Sarah Palin: I Don't Believe in Same-Sex Running Mates!

That fake headline comes from another hilarious post by humorist Mo Rocca—who also happens to be my favorite guest on Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me and the various VH1 countdown shows. He has a list of other possible headlines, which include the following:
  • Sarah Palin: She’ll Melt Your Igloo!
  • Sarah Palin: More experience than Geena Davis when she became Commander-in-Chief!
  • Sarah Palin: An Evangelical Erin Brockovich!
  • Sarah Palin: A Hockey Mom who will beat the crap out of Soccer Moms!
  • Sarah Palin: If Tina Fey Played Bobbi McCaughey in a production of Annie Get Your Gun!
  • Sarah Palin: Eight is Enough, My Ass!
  • Sarah Palin: Who Let the Dog Sled Out?!
So as everyone knows by now, John McCain chose Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, to be his running mate for office. The pundits have already said most of what could be said about this decision: its transparently political attempt to appeal to women and youth, the inexperience of Palin, her super-right-wing views, etc. Maureen Dowd compared her nomination to the plot of a Lifetime chick flick, which “features a wild stroke of fate, when the two-year governor of an oversized igloo becomes commander in chief after the president-elect chokes on a pretzel on day one.” Laura Ingraham, by sharp ideological contrast, said that the “elite” media “are launching a blistering assault on this woman and her family,” as if the conservative elites, of which she is a member, haven’t been doing exactly the same to Obama. As always, David Brooks provides clear-minded analysis, offering praise where praise is due, but also acknowledging Palin’s weakness: viz., that like McCain, “she has a tendency to substitute a moral philosophy for a political philosophy.” And Bob Herbert recognizes that “Palin is the latest G.O.P. distraction,” and that the Democrats are much better off focusing on the real issues at stake in this election. In the end, of course, no one really says it better than Jon Stewart:

Samantha Bee’s satire is both funny and scarily true to life. In the comments to another Mo Rocca article (“McCain Locks Up the Caribou Vote!”), some crazy nut wrote the following:


This is the kind of sentiment that scares the hell out of me. These people have no interest whatsoever in the actual issues at stake in the election; they just want to see a woman in leadership. I am as excited about seeing true gender and racial equality in American politics as the next person, but I want a person who is qualified to be in office and holds to views that I actually believe will benefit the American people and contribute to the common good. I can acknowledge Palin’s strengths, but as Gail Collins rightly says, “you’re no Hillary Clinton.” And anyone who is a card-carrying member of the NRA loses my vote. (My rant about the second amendment will come in a future post.)

The most recent news about Palin, of course, is the fact that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. The irony is thick. (Mo Rocca’s headline: “Jamie-Lynn Palin.”) The real icing on the cake came when James Dobson praised the Palin family for “living out their ‘pro-life and pro-family values’ even in trying circumstances.” He went on to say that there is “forgiveness and restoration when we confess our imperfections to the Lord.” I’ll go ahead and say it: Dobson is right. The problem is that Dobson’s statements are disingenuous and smarmy. There is no way that he would say the same things about a Democratic candidate’s children. We would hear instead about the immorality that characterizes liberalism. We would hear about how liberals are undermining the family and destroying American values. In short, the conservatives would create a smear campaign out of such an occurrence. Dobson’s praise of the Palin family is only the most recent and transparent example of a person using power and influence to get someone elected into office. It just feels icky all over, even if the actual statements themselves are correct.

At the end of the day, Sarah Palin doesn’t change anything for me. She’s a gutsy pick, but the wrong pick—not only wrong for America, but wrong for McCain. And it’s sad that so many people are blind to the fact that McCain and the Republican Party are just using her to get into office, knowing full well that with her five children and one grandchild and her lack of political experience, she’ll just be a Yes-woman to McCain. That’s why Biden is such an incredible contrast to Palin, because unlike Palin, Biden is more experienced than Obama and will be honest and direct with him. Biden is no Yes-man. He’ll make Obama a better president, which is precisely what Obama needs. It’s also what this country needs.


Anonymous said…
Think you analysis is spot on. It's not so much of what people are saying to support Palin. It's the uneven distribution and application of policy which reveals a very transparent marketing motive behind the whole set of events. Palin is there to make brand McCain have broader appeal and give it the emotional lift it needs.

Although, Biden, one could argue, gives Obama's emotional exuberance much needed pragmatism which was also lacking. But I agree that this is something beyond branding, but a move of complementary leadership.
Anonymous said…
You can't be serious about Brooks' editorial? When election time rolls around a switch goes off in his head that moves it from level to ideologically warped. Watching him this week on Newshour and the RNC has been disheartening.
Anonymous said…
I disagree regarding Biden. Any guy who would go from praising his friend (McCain) to turning on him for political gain is probably at least as much of a "yes-man" as is Palin.

Further, Biden is merely Obama's attack dog. He'll say what Obama wants him to say so that we can still view Obama as "an agent of real change." For Obama Biden, as well as his campaign aides, are merely his mouthpieces for political mudslinging. Obama's use of Biden is no more virtuous than is McCain's use of Palin.

In the end, none of this is surprising to me. I think that both sides are simply playing the political game, although in the end i think Obama will play it better and win the job. That said, neither side can claim to be taking the moral high ground during this campaign.

Are you serious about Brooks? I think he's probably the best columnist currently writing. He's consistently great. I've never heard a bad word about him, either, but maybe I'm just not in the right circles.
Anonymous said…
My comment about Brooks was not meant as a wholsesale dismissal. I would definitely agree that he is one of the finest columnists writing today, certainly more balanced than the always entertaining Maureen Dowd. And I make a point of watching his segment with Mark Shields on Newshour which I find illuminating and addictive. But his comments during the RNC have been puzzling and difficult to understand. I guess I have a hard time understanding his sense that the pick was fundamentally good on a policy level given the nature of Palin's social conservatism. The column seems to long more for a person with experience or even a set governing philosophy, but doesn't lament the nature of her conservatism, which is quite far to the right. From what I can tell, the moderates in the party read this as another blow to their hope for a return to the big-tent philosophy that had shaped them in the past. I guess my criticisms are also shaped by Brooks' posture over the Iraq war as well. During the debates about the Iraq war back in 2004 and 2005 (maybe into 2006) Brooks seemed to lose perspective, at least in discussions on the Newshour, that the war was misguided and was being mismanaged and he almost had to go through a kind of conversion, that was similar to the one that the White House eventually went through. I'm probably being too tough on him, but it's proving quite a challenge to filter out the crap that's been flowing over the last couple of days.
1) The Daily Show has been incredible over the past week and a half. Samantha Bee's segment a prime example of this.

2) The disingenuous and utterly duplicitous nature of the talking points surrounding Palin in the republican camp since her announcement has been incredibly frustrating.

3) I love that you used the word "smarmy."