I want to write about the incredible speech that Senator Obama delivered last night at the Democratic Convention, but you either saw it or you didn't. If you did, then you know. If you didn't, then please, please, set aside some time today and watch it. If I wasn't old, cranky and inept at computer-type thingies, I would find a way to embed it here (maybe one of my co-contributors would be so kind).
And besides, news has just leaked that Senator John McCain has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (sounds like PAY-lin) to be his running mate. I am struggling to decide whether this is the worst possible selection in this history of presidential politics (well, second worst , well, ok, third worst, but whatever, you get my point).
Governor Palin is three years younger than Barack Obama, has been governor for less than two years, and, until today, was known to exactly sixteen people. Moreover, in her limited executive experience, she has been running not California, not New York, not even Texas, but Alaska. Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, and almost half of them live in the city of Anchorage. If the entire state of Alaska were a city, it would rank 17th in the U.S. by population, between Forth Worth, Texas and Austin, Texas, and behind such metropolitan giants as Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Alaska is cold, dark (except in June when the sun stays out 24 hours a day), and so desolate that the government actually pays people just for living there.
And one more thing about Alaska? It is fucking weird. I am sorry, everyone can just calm the fuck down, but it is. Yes, I have been there (just for a few weeks), and it is like all the fucking weirdest, most eccentric people from Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama just woke up one day and were like, fuck it, let's go skiing up in the middle of fucking nowhere.
By contrast, Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden has been a senator for 183 years, fought for the North and the South in the Civil War, and put Vladimir Putin in a headlock the last time he saw him, just as a warning. When life hands Joe Biden lemons, he uses them to kill the enemies of freedom. In fact, Joe Biden once took me out for a beer, couldn't find bar to his liking, so he just sat me down in the middle of the woods, and said: "wait here." In a few months time, some guys showed up and built a bar around us. When it finally opened, Biden ordered three shots of Wild Turkey, took them in a row, and washed them down with a shot of warm tequila. Then, without a word, Biden took out a book of matches, and set the place on fire. Over the roar of the flames he yelled to me, "always leave a place the way you found it."
Ok, fine, that didn't really happen. But policy positions aside, it cannot seriously be disputed that Joe Biden has a wealth of experience in the domestic and foreign arenas. And in a time of crisis, I think most Americans would be comfortable with Biden stepping in as President, even if only to hold the reins for a short while.
But Palin? McCain is 72, and has had a physically grueling life . . . it is not THAT unreasonable to think he might not live for another 8 years. How can he possibly tell Americans with a straight face that Palin is ready to be President at the drop of a hat. And even if he is successful in making that argument, can he also convince Americans that while Palin is ready to be President, Obama is not? I think even the most simple-minded voter (LJT's 12th grade analogy needs to be remembered at all times, I know) would see the intellectual dishonesty on that one.
Is this to win over disaffected Hillary Clinton voters? Is McCain out of his fucking mind? Does he have so little regard for the female brain that he is just like, "well, sure she is pro-life, a member of the NRA, and the governor of a state full of lunatics, but she is a woman. The Clinton chicks will surely dig that." Could these people possibly be that stupid? How many Hillary Clinton supporters are going to say, "sure, I hate everything about her, but she does have a vagina. Go McCain!"
I could be wrong. Maybe the disaffection among Clinton supporters runs so deep that they will do anything to keep Obama out of the White House. I guess her solidly right-wing positions on key conservative issues will please the Republican base, but if the name of the game is winning over the centrist/independent crowd, and convincing America that a young, inexperienced politician should not be handed the keys to the White House, then this seems like a very, very strange pick.