Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain's Epic Fail

John McCain announced his running-mate (in this case, his running-matron) yesterday, barely before the Democratic Convention euphoria could even begin to wane. When I first learned of his choice, Alaska Governor and former "Miss Alaska" Sarah Palin, I was a little embarrassed that I had no idea who she was. No worries, though. Apparently, neither did anyone else.

It shouldn't be a surprise to any of us, I suppose, that McCain chose a woman for his vice-president. And, before I go on, let me just note again, for the record, the historical significance of having both an African-American Presidential candidate and a female Vice-Presidential candidate in the same year. (Not to mention TWO candidates under 50!) We might be finally catching up with the rest of the world here...

Unfortunately for Palin, though, I'm afraid that she will come to represent "progress" for women along the same lines as Geraldine Ferraro and Harriet Meiers did-- what I like to call progress of the "close-but-give-him-back-his-cigar" sort. Hillary Clinton may have indeed put a "thousand cracks" in the glass ceiling of patriarchy with her astounding run this season, but McCain's attempt to force Palin through those narrow, jagged openings likely will involve much blood-letting.

The truth is that Palin simply cannot be what McCain and the men-behind-the-Republican-election-curtain want, and need, her to be. They need her to be the "honey" that draws all of the disgruntled female HRC-flies over to the other side. The problem is, Palin is an anti-abortion, creationist, self-described "hockey mom" who just a month ago was under investigation for abuse of power. And she's young-- younger than Obama-- which not only casts a pall over McCain's recent lambasting of Obama's "inexperience," but will probably make her (instead of McCain) the new target of any return volley that Democrats make in the campaign "age wars." McCain's decision to choose Palin is so curious, in fact, that it makes me very suspicious... and not suspicious in a good way.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop...


anotherpanacea said...

Lots to say here:

1. Harriet Miers-style reversal at the eleventh hour?

2. She's a great consternation-to-the-enemy candidate: how does Biden take her out in the debates without looking like an ass? How do we criticize her corruption scandal without noting that she was just trying to protect her sister from an abusive ex? How do we deal with her weird decision to have a baby at 44 when the risks of Down's Syndrome are so high without seeming callous and pro-abortion rather than pro-choice?

3. How do we deal with the strange new standard of 'executive experience' when most of her time as an executive was as mayor of a small town?

4. I hate this choice because it's so cagey and smart. It may ultimately backfire on McCain, but it's sure made the race look a lot closer than it's seemed for some time. Strategy-wise, the Obama campaign is going to have to think on it's feet and pivot quickly. I've been thinking Obama was a shoe-in for a year now. For the first time, I'm starting to get antsy.

5. This is why I'm a philosopher and not a political operative. In the long view, there's no nail-biting, just ataraxia and contemplative concern.

Chet said...

i have to agree with the former commenter, although i admit that my anxiety has been high for a while. in had imagined mccain picking someone like elizabeth dole, which i thought would be a fucking nightmare for obama. but i am not sure palin is as bad a decision as you claim. yet i neither know much about her. so we'll have to see.

Booga Face said...

she's kinda cute though . . . kidding

Chet said...

havind done a few more hours of reading about Palin, I have to say: WTF? Read Collins and Dowd on I mean, yes, cynical to the nth degree and stupid. It's crazy. And I think it's going to be a cakewalk for Obama-Biden, presuming they don't have to deal again with Biden's plagiarism woes or the like.

anotherpanacea said...

Just returning to note that her most attractive feature for Republicans is her pro-life stances and life choices, and her most attractive feature for independents is her anti-corruption work.

McCain's managed to mobilize the base and move a number of independents into his camp, including some former Hillary supporters who weren't life-long Democrats.

Chet said...

This newest revelation about her daughter is going to hurt her though. And reading that she wants to criminalize abortion in cases of rape and incest makes me shudder. Also supports teaching creationism and evolution. At least she's been trying to reform Alaska, or so the eds of the WSJ have been trying to point out. Of couse, reforming Alaska looks good to anyone when your most well-known political figures are under indictment for corruption.

christophresh said...

Your post could not have been better written, Doctor.