Palin – Seriously, What are the Republicans smoking?

After actually hearing Sarah Palin tonight, I know what Katha Pollit meant when she said in The Nation that Sarah’s candidacy would make a great Lifetime channel movie, but this is real life.

Sure, Palin is cool — she’s pretty and vivacious and athletic, a former beauty queen who runs marathons, hunts , fishes and eats mooseburgers, plus she’s got five kids with unusual names like Willow and Track, including a newborn with Down’s syndrome. I feel tired just thinking of what her daily life must be like, and if she were my neighbor I would probably like her a lot. It shows how deeply feminism has penetrated American culture that even anti-choice, right-wing-Christian women are breaking out of the old sugary-submissive pastel-suited stereotype. And if life were a Lifetime movie, Palin would do just fine running the country should McCain keel over. Girls can do anything! and look great doing it!

But seriously. Vice President? After a stint as the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town of less than 8000, and barely two years as governor of a state with more grizzly bears than people? She makes Obama’s resume look as thick as Winston Churchill’s.

Sarah made a great case for being Mayor of Wasilla, and, yes, I do give her credit for taking on the corruption in Alaska (though she’s on a little shaky ground herself lately), booting out former Republican Governor Frank Murkowski in the primary and selling his private plane he bought at taxpayer expense (putting it on eBay as one of her first acts in office).  I know the party base agrees with many of her extreme positions from abortion to drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; but. . . should something happen to McCain, do they really think she’s ready to lead the United States of America

There are certainly Republican women who are qualified to lead who McCain could have chosen.  Was it that they didn’t pass the far right litmus test of being even more reactionary than McCain on abortion?

As the New York Times noted:

Why Mr. McCain would want to pander to right-wing activists — who helped George W. Bush kill off his candidacy in the 2000 primaries in a particularly ugly way — is baffling. Frankly, they have no place to go. Mr. McCain would have a lot more success demonstrating his independence, and his courage, if he stood up to them the way he did in 2000.

Maybe because they are the majority in the room at the convention?  Seriously, they all came alive when Sarah was speaking, no matter how far out there the rest of us think she was.  I was amazed how bored they were for the earlier speakers, unlike the Democrats at their convention who were energized.  Until Giuliani, to some extent, and especially Palin.  She’s good with the party base.

It was both laughable and scary to hear both Giuliani and Palin knock and belittle Obama’s considerable experience; then act as if the PTA and being Mayor of Wasilla, and less than two years as Governor of Alaska, were impressive credentials for Vice President and even President, should something happen to McCain.

John Nichols of The Nation has dubbed Sarah as Spiro T. Palin for her attack dog mode tonight:

Sarcastic, bombastic, at times witty, at times savage, Palin ripped and ridiculed Obama with an eye toward challenging the common sense, logic and patriotism of the Democrat.

. . .

Never mind the conflicts between reality and Palin’s over-the-top mischaracterizations of Obama’s record and positions. The governor of Alaska was not about to be constrained by the facts.

So, Barack’s experience as U.S. Senator, in the Illinois legislature, and as a community organizer don’t count; but if we question Sarah’s experience as a small town mayor as qualifying her for vice presidency, we’re being elitist? 

Tax breaks to the wealthy while the poor get poorer and the middle class disappears along with American jobs (and cynically telling people they need to lift themselves up by their bootstraps), now that’s real elitism.


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