Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why Sarah Palin?

Why Sarah Palin?
By Jerome Grossman

For many months, John McCain, along with millions of other Americans, regarded Barack Obama as a phenomenon in the political world, and perhaps beyond. In McCain headquarters, Obama’s name is rarely uttered as he is referred to as “The One”, a mystical title with messianic overtones. He came from nowhere, unannounced and unexpected, clothed in inexperience and a sense of mission.

How long would the Obama phenomenon last? Would it survive the fickle temper of the times, the pressures of American politics? For McCain, the Democratic National Convention was an indication that the media’s love affair with Barack would continue, that the usual Republican strategies and tactics were doomed to failure on November 4.

McCain had seen similar phenomena at the dice tables of Las Vegas where occasionally unknown rookie shooters, inexperienced in the nuances and even the odds of the game, pick up the dice and roll out a long succession of sevens and elevens, making sixes and eights in between as the crowd goes wild. McCain had seen the sly techniques used to throw the lucky shooters off their game: loud noises, a drink spilled onto the table, a manufactured argument.

The nomination of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska for vice-president is McCain's attempt to throw Obama off his game by substituting a competing story line even more improbable than Barack’s. It is an act of political desperation, a “Hail Mary” forward pass thrown in an attempt to stave off inevitable defeat. Nominating Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge as part of a traditional political ticket would not work against “The One”, against the long accumulated guilt feelings of so many Americans, guilt feelings that can now be expressed by voting for this unthreatening assimilated African-American.
McCain's gamble is another indication of the trivialization of American politics. Serious discussion of issues and problems fades behind the attractiveness of personality. Sarah Palin is a former beauty queen and star athlete, unflappable despite her inexperience, secure in her far right conservative Republican beliefs. She will not be diverted by Jay Leno jokes that describe her as a baked Alaska or The Perils of Palin. (Notice how few jokes are told at midnight about Barack? Are the comedians afraid of eternal wrath?) And if Joe Biden patronizes or interrupts her in their debate in his usual style, he will regret the encounter.

Palin's nomination competes with Obama’s in exploiting American guilt by offering voters a choice between correcting the underrepresentation of blacks and women. Of course, the election of President Obama will be more significant than the election of vice-president Palin, but the contest does offer a choice of remedies to historic exclusions: do one now, the other later.

Will Palin attract many of the women who voted for Hillary in the primary elections? I doubt it. Most of them are feminist to some degree, feminists who will be repelled by Palin's ultra conservative positions. Equality for women may be their most important issue, but most of them have a range of liberal beliefs that Palin cannot satisfy.

And this contradiction will be made even more apparent in the campaign as Palin tries to shore up conservative support for McCain, now shaky at best, by telling them of her positions on abortion, guns, death penalty, Iraq war, etc. She cannot satisfy the conservatives and liberals at the same time.

Palin's inexperience, a heartbeat away from the presidency of a 72 year old man with a medical history, may take Obama’s similar inexperience off the political table. In fact, as Bill Clinton has said repeatedly, every new president enters office unprepared for the challenges of presiding over a nation of 300 million people. Clinton should know. His first two years as president were a disaster marked by failures in health care, gay-lesbian policies in the military, etc. culminating in loss of Democratic control of Congress for the first time in 40 years. John F. Kennedy's term began similarly with the Bay of Pigs invasion failure, nuclear war crises with the Soviet Union, and ineffectiveness in dealing with Congress. Republicans Ronald Reagan, Bush the First and Bush the Second had similar problems in mastering the presidency.

McCain fears that Obama may be unstoppable in his advance to Pennsylvania Avenue. As differences on issues fade, as personality and celebrity reach new heights of importance, as race prejudice becomes entwined with historic American guilt, the political trend is unmistakably toward Barack. Sarah Palin will not change the result any more than previous vice-president nominees. John McCain's Hail Mary pass will not prevent the election of “The One”.


Mariamariacuchita said...

Palin's latest scandal swirling around the birth of ...her child? her daughter's child? could not be good news for the Repubs.

Stephen said...

I hope you are right about who wins. However, I also hope you are wrong about why. This election should be about who is most capable of addressing the numerous problems facing the country. I needn't name them. Even, finally, global warming is getting a fraction of its deserved attention in political rhetoric.

But most of the campaign talk is about trivialities and personalities, not about the real and serious problems that need to be addressed and who is best qualified to do so.

And I fear many voters don't want to be faced with the ugly reality. So most votes will be cast in ignorance and for the wrong reasons.

As an election officer, I have seen an amazing number of people vote from a sample ballot sheet obtained outside the polling place. I have to believe such voters have not done their homework.

Yiayia said...

It remains appalling to me that we are still back before the 60s as to what constitutes a black man. Even though Barack is half white, he obviously was forced by our biased system to identify with the black part, and now as though only his black half is running.

I agree with the previous comments as well as the comments of the blogger. I, too, hate to see people casting a vote for the wrong reasons (the right ones being which person is best qualified for the job). Voters need to be reminded that 1/3 of all VPs have become President during their tenure as VP

an average patriot said...

What if McCain dies and we have a total amateur at the helm? This is an insult!
Reading her story, some things did NOT make sense. Like that she was Pregnant and No One she worked with Knew she was pregnant ? And that she Flew HOME from Texas, and she was OVER 7 Months Pregnant and her water Broke ? I don't care how dedicated you are who the hell does that? How is it she went back to work so quickly with a special need baby? I mean come on get real!

The more I hear about her the more concerned I get. I heard a rumor that her daughter was pregnant and she was hiding it. That makes sense to another story I heard that her water broke in Texas and she flew home to give birth. Her daughter was kept out of school for almost 8 months. No coincidence!
Now it makes more sense when you hear that baby is her daughters. No wonder she was back on the trail in two or three days!
This woman is a proven liar willing to fire everyone that disagrees with her and does not do her bidding. Whether she is a Woman or not she is more of the same and we are in trouble if these monkeys steal another one!

Palin said in a mispeak that she had 4 kids not 5. She is not the Mother of that Baby her daughter is. She is the grandmother.
Now Palin announces that her daughter is pregnant and wants privacy and space, right, during an election! That's fair and balanced.
One good sign to me is Romney has not given up designs on the White House and is sitting on the side lines waiting to se if McCain falls! He is using hurricane Gustav to the hilt so?

an average patriot said...

I wake to WBZ every morning and this morning the issue was Palin! I am sure he is lying but McCain says he knew about the daughter being pregnant! If so why didn't they come right out and say it at the beginning? Then it deepened as they were talking about it saying it is no big deal and swarms of Repug lawyers were going to Alaska to fight charges in trooper gate.
Also she was being investigated for firing the police chief who did not agree with her politically. Then the guy said it doesn't bother me that she hid her husband's DUI from 20 years ago or that her Mother in law does not know who she is going to vote for yet because she does not think Palin is qualified.

The issue to him is that she was a member of a secessionist movement until 1994 to have Alaska break away from the US. Again my question is what the hell is next?
This is perfect for the Right that needs proven mindless liars to follow the ones that are there so they can be led and not try to lead! We cannot afford to have that happen again!

an average patriot said...

I was so appalled at what I heard last night at the RNC I had to shut it off. It was 1938 Germany all over again. I had to post the videos and reiterate the 10 steps and 14 threads of Fascism. We are there!


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