Today is the second anniversary of my first OS blog post. Please don’t all of you yawn at once, you’ll suck too much oxygen out of the atmosphere. To wake you up, it's also the second anniversary of the Stock Market's 500 point swan-dive heralding that the housing market house of cards we'd built was about to collapse. A rather memorable day in recent American history for reasons that don't really have to do with me.
Looking back, I see my first post was a political rant about Sarah Palin, then the newly minted Republican VP candidate. I had learned just enough about her views on issues important to me to be appalled by her. And by John McCain, and his less than thorough vetting procedure as well as his “look at ME!” insistence on making his VP selection announcement the morning after Obama’s tremendous Dem Convention speech. He effectively changed the subject, damn him by choosing a woman VP. I had to give him (very) grudging credit for that.
Then, we were simultaneously supposed to believe that Sarah Palin was “Sarah Barracuda” and that if reporters asked her any tough, nosy questions about her non-existent expertise on foreign policy, poor fragile little Sarah would break into a thousand pieces. Never mind that the questions were ones any vice presidential candidate should be expected to field competetently and coherently. Palin fortunately firebombed John McCain’s chances of becoming president by her own retrograde views; her appalling lack of gravitas; her Alaskan policy of shooting wolves out of planes; her pregnant unwed teenaged daughter; her extreme church, her shopping rampage at the expense of the GOP, her TV interviews; her performance in the VP debate, babbling about "real Americans" and by the great target she painted on her own back for political lampooning. “You can see Russia from my house!” I’ve felt tremendously fond of Tina Fey ever since. I've also wondered if John McCain in his most private, innermost heart, realized he didn't want to be president and was seeking a way out, although he had to keep up appearances for his party's sake.
Sarah Palin was and still is the attractive external packaging for a lot of really ugly ideas. She's proof that a candidate can be a woman without being good for women. If she looked and sounded like Barbara Mikulski, I doubt anybody would have paid attention to her, and we would not have this cult of personality built up around her. Palin has fortunately done herself immeasurable damage as a future candidate both in 2008 and in 2009 by resigning her governorship of Alaska. Apparently she realized it was more fun to make piles of money autographing her ghostwritten autobiographical valentine while preaching to the choir and giving speeches at Glenn Beck rallies than stick to the difficult and sometimes no-win proposition of actually governing her state. Unfortunately, shse can do tremendous damage to the nation without being an elected official. The Tea Party is her brainchild, and, unconstrained by a need to win future votes, she can say any ugly, crazy shit she wants; indirectly encourage them to think of presidential assassination, and they think she’s fantastic. And we have Tea Party Republican candidates like Nevada's Sharron Angle: (I’ll throw an armed
tantrum rebellion if I don’t win!) and Michele Bachman, both of whom make Newt Gingrich look like a reasonable facsimile of an elder statesman.
But I meant what I said about Palin in my first post back in 2008. If she thinks it’s even remotely okay to charge rape victims for their own forensic exams because she can’t cope with the idea of contraception, she didn’t just lose my vote for that election, she lost my vote for all time. Maybe if she had a less rigid attitude, she wouldn’t be a 46 year-old grandmother right now.
So John McCain, thanks for nothing. If you had to fight off a Tea Party whacko in Arizona because you’re not right-wing enough for a certain contingent of the Republican Party these days, that is your just punishment for having unleashed Govzilla on the world. Of course, it’s a Faustian bargain, since if you’d chosen someone even remotely more qualified, there’s the outside chance you might be President McCain right now, and we might be embroiled in a war with Iran as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. Although maybe not, since it was your misfortune to be bleating "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" on camera as the stock market went into a steep dive, also on camera, directly behind you. Bad as Palin is and has been for the mean intelligence of our already denatured national discourse, we couldn’t have stood for or afforded Bush’s third term.