I am very glad that I had the first weekend of Pop Warner to distract me from posting a knee-jerk reaction to the Sarah Palin as GOP VP pick announcement. My word, the things I would have missed out on!!
I know that I did not do a Biden edition for the Dem side. I should have, but I cannot remember what distracted me from that :-) Oh yeah, the Olympics and such. Anyhow, the veep stake outs were insane weren’t they? The media really went over the top perching themselves outside the homes of the prospective choices for the Democrats. For me, the tables tipped to Joe Biden as soon as Obama revealed that his criteria had been someone who is an independent thinker who will challenge him when necessary. Perfect description of the oft-blunt to the point of foot in mouth Biden!. Plus, there was the obvious need to pick someone with more government experience to balance out Obama’s biggest weakness. To me, it was a politically wise choice as well as a good pairing for Obama personally. OK, so that was (and still is) my opinion on the Biden pick. In case you did not catch their interview together on 60 mins last night, here it is on the web. I really like them together. Good chemistry. From the beginning of this campaign 18 months ago, I have been very impressed with Obama’s judgement in picking who is on his team and in his ability to lead a campaign. I stand by my opinion that the team he has built – and led – is highly indicative of his leadership abilities.
If Obama’s VP choice shows good judgement as I think it does, then John McCain’s choice shows just the opposite. Now, I get her positives. I really do. The voices on his side saying he needed a woman were probably quite strong and also quite politically shrewd. However, it was not just *any* woman that would work! Let’s just start out by listing some of the very much more highly qualified GOP women out there who have been supporting McCain vociferously and/or actually working in his campaign: Meg Whitman (former CEO of Ebay), Carly Fiorina (former CEO of HP), Christine Todd Whitman, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and even Condoleeza Rice would all have been brilliant selections. In fact, the choice of one of those would probably have made me nervous! I mean, talk about a boost to the GOP ticket. However, the McCain camp apparently thought they needed to combine their deepest needs and appeal to the religious right as well as women. I guess the previously listed women would not have passed the evangelical smell test? I don’t know. What I do know is that we are saddled with the prospect of a Vice President Sarah Palin. On a ticket with a potential president who is older than any other potential first term candidate and has had health issues. A governor of a state with the “population of San Bernardino” as Bill Maher put it. For the non-Californians, that’s a suburb of LA :-) As I said – I get her positives. Great personal story as far as taken on the establishment GOP politicians in her state head on, dethroning an entrenched old boy governor, mother of 5, husband a blue collar union worker, and well established social conservative stances. I am sure that was looked at as a good balance to McCain much as Biden is to Obama. She shores up that right wing religious base that has been wary of him. But…
As the days have passed, it seems like every day something new comes out about her that makes you just shake your head at this choice. Exactly what judgement did McCain use here? First off, no, she does not even have close to the experience she should have. I don’t care what the idiots on Fox news (parroted back by Cindy McCain) say, but governing a state that is ‘next to’ Russia does not equate to forgein policy knowledge! And shoot – why is Canada getting no love? It’s a forgein country and Alaska shares a much larger border with it! Then there is the vetting issue. Did he do any? By their own admission they spoke on the phone ONCE and then met in person ONCE before she was asked to join the ticket. All in the span of the last 30 days. And now McCain says they are soul mates? Ew! Thank you, but no. We’ve already had a ‘shoot first, think later’ team in the White House. I really don’t want another!! And honestly I am so disappointed in McCain. I cannot figure this man out. He was so darn interesting and impressive back in 2000. What happened to him? He is a maverick no more I am afraid. In fact, I am convinced that Palin was forced on him by the GOP leadership. I’ll bet anyting that he wanted Joe Leiberman. Sure, Leiberman would have been rough for the hard core conservatives to swallow, but at this point I think he would have been preferrable! Stories are flying left and right about Palin. Some of them stupid of course which is inevitable. But some which do need investigating. And always keep in mind that if a Democrat was in a similar situation, the GOP would be all over it ad nauseum – especially the stupid ones! It appears as if the vetting is being done NOW through the media which is really risky. You want to be on the offensive about these rumors, not defense (which the GOP is normally so brilliant about), but it seems today particularly as if some scrambling to cover some butts is going on. The truly cynical side of me thinks they waited until the media was busy with hurrican coverage to drop a couple of stories about Palin that could be touchy.
Any way I look at it though, Palin is much too extreme to truly pull in any disgruntled Clinton voters. At least not any who support Hillary for her positions vs her gender. Palin is pro life to the point of even telling rape victims they don’t have a choice. Yikes. Also advocates the abstinence only policies. Double yikes. I can tell you from personal experience that does not work! I think her daughter can vouch for that too. I could go on about why I am pro choice, but someone already wrote that essay for me today :-) This diary from Mother Talkers says it all for me on that topic.
I do applaud the GOP for scaling back their convention right now in response to hurricane gustav. I also applaud the many area local government agencies and the national response team for learning from Katrina and making sure the Gulf Coast does not suffer as it did 3 years ago. Things look good as far as hurricanes go which is a relief.
This election season is not going to be boring is it?