9/4/08

Are You Smitten Yet?

I hate politics. The only thing I hate more than hearing about them is a talking about them, but I have to admit that the things I *do* like to discuss — motorcycle adventures, linguistics, various flavors of Lucky Charm, etc — aren't likely to change the world.

Unfortunately, these world-changing things are generally confusing to consider, messy to explain, and unflattering to, uh, humanity in general. The latest example is Sarah Palin.

She seems nice enough. She reminds me of my friends' moms when I was growing up, if somewhat better looking. And I'm sure this former beauty queen is doing the best she can with what must be an incredibly overwhelming opportunity. After all, at this time in 2006 the closest she'd gotten to anything like this was being mayor of a city of 7,000 or so people and an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor.

Mrs. Palin must have had some idea that Senator McCain might tap her as his running mate, even though they had only really met for about fifteen minutes, which is incidentally less time than Manager Todd took to evaluate me for the ticket-taker position at General Cinemas in 1994. (I did fine.) The Senator had followed her career for awhile and openly admired her willingness to hand over Alaska to Big Oil. Still, it's a lot to cope with all at once.

So I understand her eagerness to take up the role of Token Female / Attack Dog. VP candidates are traditionally called on to say some of the nasty things that the president-hopeful cannot, and sure enough, she went after Obama with all the ferocity her speechwriter (former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully) could muster. She even literally compared herself to a pit bull, in probably the funniest part of the speech.

They spun her ignorance as an asset, having her defiantly argue that she didn't have to answer to the "reporters and commentators" (who knew she lacked any semblance of foreign policy experience), but only to "the people of this country," who apparently did not.

They spun her pregnant 17-year-old daughter as evidence of her "family values," bringing the girl's boyfriend on stage to show that the family would support the young couple and their incoming baby. (Whereas Evil Liberal Senator Obama would — what? Tie the kid to a rock and wait for the gods to take him?) They even zoomed in nice and tight on Trig, Mr. and Mrs. Palin's 4-month-old son with Down Syndrome.

But most of all, they emphasized her gender. With Sarah Palin, the Republican party hopes to win over two groups of people that seem to them like easy pickings: women who supported Hillary Clinton because she was a woman, and extreme social conservatives who don't think McCain is right-wing enough. It's a smart strategy.

Particularly the female part. Mrs. Palin even went as far as to *count* the votes the McCain campaign intends to attract via her lack of a penis: she said Clinton "left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America," going on to promise that "we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all."

Which would be cool. But it's unfortunately unlikely, since the Vice President actually has no executive powers. It's not much of a ceiling-shatter when your best trick is breaking the occasional tie-vote in the Senate.

It's also unfortunate for some of the folks who are warming up to Mrs. Palin that their favorite policies of hers would prove almost totally inconsequential even if she and Senator McCain got elected. For instance, she doesn't believe in global warming as anything we caused, saying "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made." Which is flat-out crazy.

But that doesn't matter when even her running mate is in favor of aggressive steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions. So, sorry, guys: whichever president we get, he's going to believe in global warming, and he intends (or at least promises) to do something about it.

She's also for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is pretty incomprehensible for someone who claims to love nature and Alaska in particular. Again, though, McCain opposes such drilling, so it probably won't happen either way (fingers crossed).

She's hardcore anti-choice, even in cases of rape or incest, and that leaves even a lot of her Republican party-mates scratching their heads. She thinks Creationism should be taught in public schools, in Science class. That's, ah, rare. Especially since the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional and all.

But even still — this bears repeating — even if you do agree with her, electing her won't get your policies enacted. How the Vice President feels about intelligent design has about zilch to do with what your kid learns in Biology class. Or Sex-Ed. My only guess is that the Republican party is hoping you won't realize that.

Look at earlier this year when she sued the Bush Administration for listing polar bears as an Endangered Species, even though scientists from the US Geological Survey showed that two thirds of the world's bears will disappear in the next 50 years. She argued that protecting the bears was interfering with drilling for more oil and gas. She lost.

That's the thing. If you vote against Obama because you like Sarah Palin, you lose too. If my worst fears are confirmed, and every last one of the young voters Obama has won over fails to show up at the polls, handing a victory to McCain/Palin, nobody gets what they want. Unless you wanted a meaningless victory wherein an unqualified person was ushered into the White House (and, given McCain's age, made dangerously close to being Commander In Chief) because clever party planners figured it would help them get your vote.

So my question is, and I wince to even ask it: Are they right?

I don't want to knock Sarah Palin. Like I said before, I'm sure she's very nice. But transparent campaign strategizing that ultimately leaves its supporters disappointed is not.

I'll sign off here with the words of another voter, who sees what I wish we all could.

"I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part - and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.” - Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK

17 comments:

penny said...

You're way too nice, Colin.

It's just ludicrous to think that she would do a good job running the country if something happened to McCain. It's patronizing, like you said, and sad. Sad.

It's just upsetting.

{ ry | no } said...

I, like you, hate talking politics. But, I've spent the better part of the last few days stewing over what I immediately decried, "tokenism."

I can't decide who I'm more embarrassed for, the Republican strategists that thought this was a good idea, or the people who are susceptible to the manipulation.

I think Lieberman said it best when asked if Sarah Palin is ready to step in if something should happen to John McCain. "This is called a *Presidential* election for a reason," he said, "John McCain is healthy, and I think he'd be the best president."

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. I probably could have been meaner, though. In fact, I texted a friend, "her smile is smug, insidious and at the same time completely vapid." Beauty queen. Get a life. Get your daughter on birth control for cryin' out loud. This country most *certainly* doesn't need any more teen mothers. I'll restrain myself. Okay, maybe not. This *WOMAN* will definitely not be voting for Polly Pocket Palin. or Great Grandpa McCain. Despite my gender, I'm not susceptible to her party's ploy. Not unless I were to decide not to bother to raise kids in this country. Obama's speech was so much more eloquent, informed, and dignified. She's a loser in my book. End of story.

YS

Kimberly said...

Man this last comment by YS, was hilarious and what I consider sad!

I guess "eloquence,informed, and dignified" is not part of her verbage when she described Palin. And why? As a women Palin doesn't align with what she feels every women should think! So lets pick at her and call her names. Now that is real mature. Stick to the facts and maybe we can all have an adult conversation and maybe we can help erase the line that is drawn in the sand. I can think of a lot of nasty things to say about Obama. In the end I will stick to his actions, his talking points, his record, and I will leave the "name calling" for the playground.

And honestly, for women to attack a fellow woman who has made some major strides in a very male dominated arena amazes me. So what, you don't have the same beliefs? Leave it at that. But the "She's a loser in my book" and "Beauty Queen" comments show more about the author of the comment, then the person whom they are talking about. Hypocrisy at it's finest. And it doesn't help women at all! How far have we come? Give me a break!

I guess you know who I am voting for. Yah, "Great Grandpa McCain", I won't make my points or call anyone names. I vote for who I feel will best represent me and my beliefs. I vote for who I feel, maybe not what you feel, but what I feel has a historical proven record with experience and has proposed policy that is in tune to what I believe, is the direction I, feel our country needs to go. That's what we all do right?

I am thankful to be born into a country that allows freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote, and so many amazing things. I have been to other places in the world and we have it off good here. I will give thanks to the men and women who have fought and died for this right. And in the end I realize that with this right comes great responsibility. Responsibility to convey our words in a dignified,intellectual manner. But that is her (YS's) right, yours, anyone's, if they so choose, to say what they want, how they want. It is my right to respond but it is a personal choice on how to do it. But we can't complain when we are not understood. When we do not attempt to make that bridge to meet the other side. I choose to take the road that might help start dialogue, rather than destroy any chance of it. I think if we would do it this way then maybe, just maybe, we would all see how similar we are in what we want.

Man, I am sorry, I went on a rant there. Good post though. I love politics. Not because I enjoy listening to "haters" use not-so- nice words, but because I enjoy the fight. I love seeing other sides, different aspects, other's opinions (if they are represented well) and listening to people who CAN convey their words in an eloquent,informed, and dignified manner.

So lets agree to disagree. My evaluation of you as a person is; that you have a wonderful heart, have a gift of words, and are highly intelligent. Besides our political beliefs that is all that matters. I do however agree with you on polar bears and a great deal of the environmental issues. We have some common ground there. So lets go hug a tree together but I think I would rather view the polar bears from afar. I just watched a wildlife show and man-oh-man, those things are designed to whoop butt! I will just keep planting trees, riding my bike, living green, and hopefully someday, they will come out with a battery operated vehicle all my family can fit into, that maybe I can afford. HA!

Take care and God Bless you Colin!

Anonymous said...

The only thing Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton share in common is a (separate) set of XX chromosomes. That's it. She repulses me. Completely.

I could go on (and on and on) but not in as persuasively, coherently and kindly as you have, so I'm going to leave it at that and hope that your message is heard loud and clear by all the voters of America.

xoxoxo always, Wee

Anonymous said...

OH MY! I bet you are happy that you talked about politics on your blog, Col! And I am sure YS is just thrilled with Kimberly's remarks.

Oh, and let's refrain from any making negative remarks about other "authors" in the comment section! Make sure you know who you are talking about first.

I support you, YS!

vz

Anonymous said...

Uh…yeah…I thought YS’s comments were humorous and meant to be such. Unfortunately, some were not able to pick up on that. Not only was it written with humor, given that it was 2:16am, probably written under the influence of a few glasses of wine. See, humor again.

By any definition based on what we, The American people, know, Palin can’t really be perceived as informed. Why else would they be giving her a crash course in government economics and foreign policy. Why else would the campaign say she won’t be interviewed? Because she can’t answer questions regarding policy. Oh wait…I forgot she does have foreign policy experience. As Cindy and John McCain have stated, Alaska is the closest state to Russia. Seriously, look it up. They really said that. It’s impossible to make this humor up. And, the campaign said her foreign travels included Ireland, Germany, and Kuwait to visit the Alaskan National Guard. Unfortunately, the Ireland part was a layover (refueling stop). Seriously, again, look it up. I can’t make this humor up. I guess I have visited all of the lower 48 states cause I flew over them.

Several women do find this selection insulting. When a VP is selected by the presidential nominee only having sat down face to face with her for 15 minutes the day before she was asked, and having only been vetted for a day, one needs to question the motives.
Palin herself stated last Friday, “Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.” With a comment like this, one needs to question motives and whether she is just a prop in a larger ploy.

There are much more qualified women out there, specifically Condi Rice and Kay Bailey Hutchinson. You may not agree with their policies, but they are completely qualified. So, who do they pick? Someone who falls in line with the far right regarding a wide range of issues. Can a campaign that recently talked about being one of change (thought Obama copyrighted that) really be such with a VP that actually has the far right loving her?

Isn’t it hypocritical that you, clearly a woman, are attacking another woman, who is merely exercising her right of free speech when stating her opinion on a woman. I think I just went crosseyed writing that.
YS was not insulted of her as a woman or because she is a woman who running for higher office. She just questioned whether there is a more competent, qualified woman for the job.

I’m sure Colin’s post was not intended to incite mudslinging among his constituents ( i.e his readers).

Given recent laws regarding surveillance and eavesdropping, I will now write in code.
Jfhbajfkjadhfkjhafhcahfkjashvfhfjfjbhahf jhfj fjhgfjh jfhskhwh l flhflal n;jfhf l;flahflj l;hfabf lfjfjkjf k;jbfb kjbgksjbsb bsbgjkh hjjk kjgk gj hghhgjg kh hjgkh khg kg h hjg hkgkhgg kgkhkhg jh jhvjhhgjghkg bbg hjjh

Yours truly,
Big Brother of Colin’s Blog

Anonymous said...

You gotta love it. What happens when no matter who you ask the magic 8-ball 'Is he/she best for Pres/Vice Pres?' the small window reads "not likely."
-TK

Anonymous said...

kill the babies, save the polar bears

Kimberly said...

Hey Colin, YS and Colin readers!

First off let me please offer an apology for my sharp tongue. It was wrong of me to be so hostile and not even knowing who I was being hostile about made it even all the more wrong.

I am a pretty passionate person. Very much a “Women's Rights Fighter” and I believe in giving everyone a fair chance. So my temper got the best of me after hearing about all this political nonsense and I did and said things that I swore I would not. After taking a step back (which I should have done the first time), I now see the error in my action. So even though we do not agree we can agree on the fact we are all in this boat together and truly want good things for us all. My humblest of apologies to those I offended.
Best wishes! And sorry Colin! I am a hot head. I need to take a chill and go meditate. I could learn a lot from both you and Penny! Take care and God Bless!

Colin said...

Hey, Kimberly, you're alright. No need to apologize. I think it's great that people -- especially younger people now -- get involved, or at least interested in politics enough to take a personal stance.

And I definitely agree with the spirit of both your comments: the whole red/blue, liberal/conservative division doesn't accomplish anything. The us-against-them mentality makes for lively discussion and good TV ratings, which may be why the news seems to encourage it so heartily, but it wastes our energy at a time when there are plenty of real problems to solve. The sooner this election is over the sooner we can get started. I just hope that whichever candidate takes office, he does serve with conviction and intelligence and is able to win over his opponents so we can actually work together.

Postscript: I miss Lincoln. When he won the election, he appointed his political opponents to his Cabinet. Some of them despised him, openly slandering him in the papers, but he still felt they were the most qualified for the job, so he kept quiet, stayed out of the fight and let them do those jobs. Eventually, he won most of them over. It would be awesome to see that kind of vision in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kimberly (& Colin)-

I, too, was a bit sharp-tongued. So, I'll offer an apology as well (thanks for yours, btw). While I don't respect much of what Sarah Palin represents, I do respect her perseverance as a female in politics. I think what we all have in common is a passionate stance in this arena. Colin - thanks for sparking this conversation, even if it did get a little hairy.

YS

Anonymous said...

So if I just said in exasperation,
"Women..." and sighed, does that make me sexist? :)

Interesting post, my liberal friend. I don't agree, but to each his own.

McCain/Palin '08!
-jake

Anonymous said...

Jake-

No, your beliefs about women are what would make you sexist. But as you said, to each his own. I can't pin down a purpose for your comment other than to condescend women, as you alluded to the exchange of comments between two females on this blogsite in your quote, I assume. Could you perhaps elaborate? I may have misread you, and I wouldn't want to misrepresent you.

Kimberly said...

Holy cow! Man Colin, what have you done dude? Ha!

You are so right with this recent comment you posted. I pray to God whoever gets elected does it right. So we agree there!I am glad we can have helathy diaglog now. My head was hurting after I read my own posting. Things just can always sound far to sweet or horribly bitter and evil when written. Oh, the power of written word, a few glasses of wine, politics, current stress, and my own arrogance!

But you just won super supreme brownie points for mentioning Lincoln. My all time favorite, and let it be said, most hated president of his time. Man what happened, to those guys who were about the people. Who were convicted and steadfast. Who new the power of word and fortitude. We need one right now! Licoln had it pegged when he said that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He borrowed this principle from Jesus(Matthew 12:25).Don't forget, Thomas Paine, one of other founding fathers, who said,“If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.” So either we hurry up and find some common ground or we are in deep trouble!The hole is being dug on both sides of the isle, and we are all about to fall in.

On a personal note. I am trying not to read into the tone and meaning of each person's post because it is real easy to add a voice unfluctuation to a comment in my own head. It just is not important after the day, week, month, year I have had. How important are our views on topics like this.As if we thought we had the power to change each tohers minds. I am going to guess this in not the case with such passionate people who have posted. It is just not that important when at this moment,
-I am grieving for my best friend just died from cancer.
-Your wife is experiencing the miracle of life in her womb,
- my husband is thousands of miles fighting for our country,
-my Dad is leaving for Iraq,
-my daughter is having medical issues,
-a friend and brother is learning how to live life without the other half of his heart.

All these things put life into perspective for me.

I hope this is over soon! In the end, only time will tell if all the talk from both sides held any water. People say and do a lot to get elected. People put way to much confidence in politicians!Hope it all works out because this country needs it.

Anonymous said...

I love the internets! It's so easy to misread everything!

I would assume the :) behind a sentence would clarify tone, but oh well...

-jake

James said...

I always find it strange how affected people seem to be whenever politics are brought up, myself included (I can get pissed!).


Religion is one thing, but with politics, we have so little say in the matter, its just strange we attach ourselves so definitely (to Obama). There is rarely a personal connection between you and the politicians you are trusting with the health of our nation(I don't know Obama, but somehow he is my best friend). You could vote, or you could not vote, and the same dude (or dudet) is going to get elected(you will vote for Obama). We are all but a drop in the bucket (Obama's bucket). Not only that, but there are only two sets of relevant political beliefs to choose from (Obama's and that other one), each of which can't possibly parallel our own lives all that closely (My life=Obama). We're lucky if a politician can even stand for five or six issues that really matter to us(Obama is correct on all issues). Tack on the wedge issues, which no one really likes all that much, and things get really muddy (Obama is always clear).

That being said, Obama is gonna rock yo mama! McSame is lame...