TELLURIDE – The news of hit me early Friday morning, the day after Sen. Barack Obama’s more-than-memorable acceptance speech in Mile High. John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be is running mate this November.
Who the hell is Sarah Palin? I said to myself as I waited in line for a strong coffee and a Danish at a Downtown Denver Bookstore. This decision certainly didn’t seem like the GOP to me. After all, she’s young, she has hair on her head and well, she’s a woman – a big difference from the old white man stereotype I am used to. I really didn’t know what to think when I first heard McCain’s surprise decision.
Now, six days later and after the second day of the Republican National Convention, I know more about Palin and her background but am still surrounded in a whirlwind of uncertainty as what her role will be in this monumental election.
She’s a conservative Christian. She is anti-abortion. She likes hunting and guns and is a member of the NRA. She has a large, young family. It could be said, and has been said by John McCain, that she is a maverick for standing up to Republican bullshit in Alaska. And here’s the kicker for me at least: She has two years experience governing the state of Alaska. Two.
Now normally I wouldn’t have a problem with this at all. But two years, at least for the McCain campaign, equals inexperience. Inexperience was the foundation, the only point of McCain’s anti-Obama riff. So what does McCain do, he picks an inexperienced Vice President. In other words, he made a political move rather than, as in his words, “put the country first.” If I was a McCain supporter I would have been pissed at this. Here I am, standing with McCain chanting over and over again that this country needs experience. And then, then he selects Palin. McCain just made me, a staunch supporter look like a babbling asshole for the last six months. Let us not forget that McCain would be the oldest President elected at age 72. I think some experience is needed at the VP level.
Well, I am glad I am not in that camp right now. What a shake up.
What is McCain thinking? Is he really thinking that Palin is the absolute best candidate for the position? Or is she the best candidate to help him win the election. That really is the handle of his selection.
Did McCain watch last week’s Democrat convention in Denver with awe and said to himself, “Shit, what a history-making spectacle. People are excited. Maybe I need to shake things up too?” Just maybe McCain’s choice of VP was a popularity decision. I don’t know. I certainly think it was a last-minute decision.
I do know it was an absolute cynical decision if he thinks that putting a woman on the ticket will simply win over women in general. A woman VP is a great idea, but let’s have some qualifications people. I am comfortable with Obama. How can anyone be comfortable with Palin? And don’t think the Hillary supporters are going to jump the Democrat ship so easy and switch sides because McCain is shaking up the GOP with a maverick vice president who is a conservative Christian and does not agree that safe sex education should be taught along side abstinence. Give me a break McCain.
But I guess it doesn’t matter what I think, I wouldn’t have voted for McCain even he had chosen Superman as his running mate. But what have other McCain supporters thought of the his choice?
Well, I couldn’t stay away from the radio as I traveled back over the continental divide. One longtime Republican woman said she almost “spit her latte out” when she heard Palin was chosen. This was a reaction of utter surprise and disgust. On the radio she was hot against his decision.
Back in Telluride, while shopping at the market in Mountain Village for kitty litter and artichokes last Sunday, I spoke to a real in person Republican who likes to get me all worked up with his close-minded conservative views.
“What do you think of McCain’s choice for running mate?” I said to the man as I checked out.
“I think it is a great choice,” he said. “She is exactly what we were looking for in the next Vice President.”
“Jesus,” I said to myself as I carried my groceries out to the car. “Even this guy doesn’t even know what to think. He is spoken like a true republican. Just go with it, even if you don’t have a clue what has just happened.”
I found myself later in the week at a women’s luncheon in Telluride. Palin was brought up.
“You think you can just strap on boobs on a candidate and women will simply vote for her,” one woman said. “It is absolutely cynical. I can’t believe the nerve.”
Well, if McCain wanted to mix up his party a huge bit, he certainly got it. All the speakers at the GOP convention the past few nights have been are all for her, but you can tell it in their eyes that they aren’t really sure why or what they are saying. Just robots working the Republican machine.
During all the media frenzy to learn more about Palin, we have found out that she has a 17-year-old pregnant daughter. I, like Obama, don’t really want to get into that. Once again, the Democrats and Obama took the high road.
“People’s families are off limits,” Obama said after hearing of Palin’s pregnant daughter. “Especially kids.” And that was that. Obama said no more. Do you think the Republicans would have done the same? Shit no.
What we have here is a private family matter that could include terms like statutory rape. When President Bill Clinton had some private family issues with Ms. Lewinski. Did the Republicans leave him alone in that private family matter? Shit no. They made it count.
Right now, I guess even the Republicans are having a serious identity crisis and it can be seen during the GOP’s convention. Look at the lack of enthusiasm and the half-filled arena everybody holding signs that say “service.” Nobody wants to go.
And who would, really? Same old talk. President Bush with his “strong and principled” talk about Palin. Fred Thompson’s lack-luster eye-bagged speech. Boring. No, really boring. If I were a GOP member right now I would be worried. The ship is sinking. Will a controversial governor from Alaska plug that sinking ship’s hole?
We shall find out tonight when we all get to meet her at the GOP convention. What a ride this election as turned out to be.