A spectre is haunting the liberal elites of New York and Washington–the spectre of a young, attractive, unapologetic conservatism, rising out of the American countryside, free of the taint (fair or unfair) of the Bush administration and the recent Republican Congress, able to invigorate a McCain administration and to govern beyond it.
That spectre has a name–Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old governor of Alaska chosen by John McCain on Friday to be his running mate. There she is: a working woman who’s a proud wife and mother; a traditionalist in important matters who’s broken through all kinds of barriers; a reformer who’s a Republican; a challenger of a corrupt good-old-boy establishment who’s a conservative; a successful woman whose life is unapologetically grounded in religious belief; a lady who’s a leader.
Oh, Bill Kristol, will you ever be right about anything?
Not this week, I suspect. As the above excerpt demonstrates, Kristol’s- and the rest of Republican Party’s political hacks, are all a-wash with glowing praise for John McCain’s newly announced VP pick, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. The rest of the country’s reaction: “who?”
To hear Kristol tell it, Sara Palin is an outside-the-box wonder-choice that injects McCain’s candidacy with a new vibrancy– beefing up his maverick status, lending credibility to his old (and long since discarded) “clean up Washington” appeals.
Anyone who reads anything other than The Weekly Standard, however, may form a different, if yet enigmatic, picture of person McCain is proposing to be (perhaps quite literally) a heartbeat away from becoming the leader of the free world.
“Broken through all kinds of barriers”? Is Billy referring to when Gov. Palin won the Miss Wasilla beauty pagent in 1984, or perhaps when she came in 2nd for Miss Alaska the same year (it may be worth mentioning she also won “Miss Congeniality” in the Wasilla contest)? Now that’s a feminist fairy tail right there.
Or perhaps Billy means when Palin played for her high school basketball team. “Sarah Barracuda” they called her. I bet she traveled all over the Anchorage area, mingling with other high school basketball dignitaries, building the knowledge and experience that would one day prepare her to lead this great nation. She was so-named for her “intense play”, and also apparently lead the team prayer before each game. See, I mentioned “lead”. Ready on day one, she is.
How about when Palin was on the Wasilla city council (the term “city” being used generously for this 6-7000 population town) and supported introducing a 2% sales tax to go into building infrastructure that helped boost the city’s commerce? Raising taxes to support infrastructure? Why that’s a conservative Republican’s wet dream! As mayor she raised the sales tax in order to build an indoor skating rink.
When Palin was mayor, she fired the police chief for alleged political reasons- because he supported her rival’s campaign. Politically-motivated firings… that’s just the sort of change that we need in Washington!
In 2006, Palin cashed in all that executive political experience from Wasilla and got elected governor of the great state of Alaska, Land of the Midnight Sun and 690,000 people (by comparison, Illinois- home state of Barack Obama- has a measly 13 million people; Joe Biden’s considerably smaller state of Deleware: 860,000).
During her 1.5 years so far in that role, Gov. Palin has used the priceless executive experience, which will no doubt guide her as VP or, should some unlikely scenario involving cancer or just old age strike her boss- 72 year old John McCain- President.
Included in that experience: her support for the Gravina Island Bridge Project- the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere”- until it’s growing national notoriety led to a cut in funding from the federal government and she then worked to cancel the project. “If our state wanted a bridge,” she told us Friday, “I said we’d build it ourselves.” But faced with the prospect of having to pay for some of it themselves, she canned it. So she returned the pork-barrel federal dollars that went toward the project, right? Of course not! That wouldn’t be responsible executive leadership, now would it?
All this information should have the Democrats quivering in their boots. ‘You thought you could beat me with a 1st term senator with an experience gap?’ McCain is telling them, ‘we’ll I’ll trump that with a 1st term governor of a sparsely-populated state, whose foreign policy experience seems to consist of tossing on a flak jacket and hobnobbing with troops in war-torn Kuwait.
This is who the Democrats should be afraid of? Gerraldine Ferraro infamously stated that Barack Obama would not have gotten as far as he had in the primary had he been a white man. Unlike Ferraro war, however, Obama is not an affirmative action token candidate; he’s actually a well-educated lawyer, inspiring speaker, and thoughtful yet cunning candidate whose organizational skills upset what many considered the most powerful political machine in the Democratic Party. I believe there is little doubt, on either side of the aisle, that Sarah Palin was tapped for VP because she was a woman. John McCain reportedly met Palin once before discussing offering her the VP slot. This must be the most overtly cynical decision that McCain could have possibly made- if I had any respect left for his campaign it would have fizzled away. Condoleeza Rice would also have been a poor running mate, but at least her intelligence would never be in question and- hello panderers!- she is a woman and black… a three-fer! Fuckin’ Christ- McCain can’t even pander well!
I especially find it humorous that standing up against the corrupt old-boy’s-network in Alaska gives Palin the maverick reformist label that John McCain used to have. The punch line is that the corrupt old-boy’s-network was the Republican Party. Basically, the case that Kristol and no doubt other ideologues will be making is that we should reward the Republicans for being so corrupt that a few doo-gooders have had to step up within their ranks and fight back. I’d like to make the case that the Republican Party is so corrupt that they should be removed from political power.
In closing, let me say that I do have to agree with Kristol on one key point. The McCain campaign, as well as the Obama campaign, should just “let Palin be Palin”. As the old adage goes, “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”. By all means… let Palin speak! I believe there will be no better way to ensure that Barack Obama takes the oath of office this January. I find no better support for that notion than the fact that Bill Kristol, who has an amazing negative track record on predictions, predicts that Palin will be an asset to McCain.
Keep up the good work, Bill!