Tuesday, September 9, 2008

America's New Sweetheart

Surely, at this point no more need be said about Sarah Palin. Surely by now everyone in America has cottoned to just how cynical and farcical Palin's selection really was, right?

Oh. Really? Wow.

This is disheartening. It really is. Normally, you can't go wrong by betting on America's stupidity, but this time I thought Johnny Mac went too far. Right from the outset, it was clear that McCain had made a purely political pick, expecting women to vote boobs. (And maybe for men to vote boobs too.) In fact, the ticket may as well have read "McCAIN/BOOBS '08," because it was painfully clear even from the outset that Palin had neither the resume nor the brain cells to be anything but an empty figurehead. It was also swiftly apparent that Palin was the wackiest of right-wing wackos, at least socially. This is a woman who opposes abortion for rape victims, for example. Even Alaskan Republicans had nothing nice to say about this lady.

And that was before it became widely known that she had an ethics scandal going on in Alaska, that she hired lobbyists to bring $27 million in pork to Wasilla, Alaska (amidst other hilarious pork shenanigans), that she tried to ban books, that she supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she didn't, billed the state to live at home... Christ, I'm sick of linking to this stuff. The woman managed to pack more bad governance into 18 months than most people manage in a whole career. Who says she doesn't have experience?

And even that mountain of negative stories - and there's more, look for yourself, they're everywhere - might not have put a dent in the mighty power of the boobs, but to top it all off, she had a pregnant teenage daughter! Now that's something America understands! Yes, this great nation may have only the most reptilian notion of policy (tax...bad...patriotism...goood...) but celebrity teen baby scandal? This we get. This is the language of US Weekly, and we speak it like scholars. And on top of that, it was so wonderfully packed with irony and hypocrisy, and I honestly expected America to get that. What's more priceless than a politician who's militantly pro-life and anti-sex education winding up with an unwed pregnant teenage daughter? Seriously, what tops that? Apart from Larry Craig, I mean.

[Side Bar: Yes, I know, Bristol Palin's pregnancy is not an issue, and is a poor means of deciding an election. I agree. But fuck it, I'm gloating anyway.]

So, with all that said, how can her popularity possibly be rising? How can she be polling better than Joe Biden?

There are three possibilities here. First, it is possible, entirely possible, that the polls are wrong. Barack Obama thinks so. Polls have several weaknesses, my favorite being that they do not count people who exclusively use cell phones, which, in case you were wondering, is 15% of the country these days.

Second, it's possible that the Democrats have just totally failed to explain to the public what a ragingly corrupt moron this woman is. Obama and Biden won't touch the baby daddy thing, which is probably wise, but there are so many substantiative attacks to be made here. Democrats are terrified to look sexist, but it's not sexist to point out that Alaska spends more Federal money than any other state, then taxes the shit out of the gas it sells to the rest of us. Maybe the media, likewise, has repeated too many lies ("Palin is a maverick who said 'No thanks' to the Bridge to Nowhere!") and not enough facts. As with George W. Bush, there's so much awful it doesn't know what to pounce on. Maybe America just doesn't know Palin well enough to hate her yet.

But finally, it's possible that the public really does like Sarah Palin, in spite of everything. If this is true, then I give up. I throw in the towel. If the public takes a good, hard look at Sarah Palin and goes, "So what, she's a hockey mom," then I don't know what to tell you.

This goes for Republicans too. Unless you are a far-right social conservative - and if you are, I'm kind of surprised you're reading this blog. Do I know you? - then you have to be disappointed with this pick. It's just another milestone in the sad decline of John McCain from maverick to desperate political grub. Yes, I suppose picking an unknown woman with no experience is "maverick" behavior, but so is banging your 17-year-old girlfriend without a condom. Only here, it's America getting screwed.

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