The buzz as of now is that Alaska governor Sarah Palin is John McCain's pick for a running mate, and now we will see just how important it is to the Hillarions to have a Vagina-American on a presidential ticket.
The available Republican field was about as lame a group as you're likely to find anywhere, but the selection of Palin is a deeply cynical one. Camp Grandpa Simpson has made it very clear that popularity and breaking ground and inexperience on the national stage are liabilities, and yet here they are, plucking the governor of Alaska to be just a few of McCain's deteriorating brain cells away from the presidency.
Certainly Palin is a better choice for McCain than the robotic Mitt Romney, or the excreble Tim Pawlenty, who were the most frequently bandied-about names. She's attractive in that bandbox Republican sort of way, and she's not known as a doctrinaire wingnut, though she strongly believes that women should not have control over their own reproductive destiny, she's suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the threatened species list, and she's A-OK with the NRA. At 44, she removes the "too young" meme from consideration (though the IOKIYAR rule no doubt still applies).
Palin has a child with Downs Syndrome, which is going to make for much holier-than-thou proclamations about Democrats and abortion (though pro-choice people would applaud her decision to carry her pregnancy BECAUSE we believe that choice is just that -- choice). The other edge of that particular sword is the possibility that the family values crowd will question her priority in running for the vice-presidency when she has a special needs child at home.
Overall, I think this selection has as much benefit as it does peril for Obama, because it means no hay can be made about identity politics, about age, or about levels of experience. So the end result is this: Do you want real change or not? If you want theocrats having a large say in government, if you want more cash shoveled into the pockets of corporations, if you want endless war, if you want women's bodies to be the property of the government, if you don't value your privacy, vote John McCain. Otherwise, Barack Obama is still your guy.
UPDATE: Well, well, well. Isn't this special. Looks like Ms. Palin has a little "Troopergate" problem:
The above comes to us via Josh Marshall, who weighs in
on the larger implications of the Palin nod that are worth considering even if you think using political power to wash your family laundry is perfectly OK:
Next, John McCain's central and best argument in this campaign is that Barack Obama simply lacks the experience to be President of the United States. And now John McCain, who is a cancer survivor who turns 72 years old today, is picking a vice presidential nominee who has been governor of a small state for less than two years and prior to that was mayor of a town with roughly one-twenty-seventh of the constituents that Barack Obama represented when he was a state senator in Illinois.
Whatever you think of Barack Obama's qualifications to be President, Palin is manifestly less qualified. And that undermines the central premise of McCain's campaign.
Labels: Barack Obama, John McCain