Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Not-So-Shocking Sarah Palin

Sorry this is late. (Hey, Covad ISP Provider guys! Before you keep me on the phone for over an hour in the middle of the night with one of your reps in India because I lost my Internet connection, perhaps one of the first things you can have them look at is whether or not there is an outage in the area! An HOUR I was on the phone with India only to be told that there is an outage. And if you want to go one better than that, Covad guys, what say you make it so that I stop losing my Internet connection at all? Is that really necessary? It's been once a week for the past three weeks and it's cause me to become highly irritated. Oh, but thanks for recommending that I upgrade my modem for $150 when you gave me the one I have for free. Don't tell me that it's because the "one year warranty" ran out. You hand out modems left and right when people sign up, but a customer who has been with you for years, you want them to shell out $150? Screw off, Covad guys. Or fix it. Because right now, you suck.) I had an issue with my ISP. Blame them. Please.

Be prepared for a shocking statement from me regarding the world of politics. Two words: I'm confused. See? Shocking.

Do people who are actually in politics, meaning that it's their job, not understand how politics work? Clearly, at least some of them do not. That became evident after Grandpa John McCain's announcement that he has chosen Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential candidate and/or running mate. (I don't know which one it is, but it's definitely one of them.) Oh, there were things that were said by those not chosen. But they were things that perplexed me because, like I just asked, don't these guys understand how this works?

Take Tim Pawlenty (a last name that reminds me of Paws o' Plenty for some reason) for starters. Tim was supposed to be on the short list of possible selections for McCain's VP. It was a much shorter list than Tim must have thought because, according to the seemingly reasonable The Trail over there at the Washington Post, "Though it was high in shock value, the Palin pick left bruised feelings among the short-list contenders who were not picked -- and infuriated some Republican officials who privately said McCain had gone out on a limb unnecessarily, without laying the groundwork for such an unknown."

I'll get to the "shock value" part in a minute. Right now, it's all about "the short-list contenders who were not picked." Um, they did know that they wouldn't all be picked, right? That someone wouldn't make the team? Actually, that most of those on the list wouldn't make the team? I mean, I can understand being disappointed at not being chosen to run for Vice President, especially with McCain as the guy who is running for President. In that instance, you're a little closer than just a heartbeat away from the Presidency. You're the heartbeat of a guy who is 72 and has had three bouts with skin cancer away from the Presidency. That's pretty darn close.

"Two senior Republican officials close to Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty said they had both been rudely strung along and now "feel manipulated." " Let me get this straight. These two guys, these politicians, they feel like they have been "rudely strung along" and they also "feel manipulated", do they? Hi, we're the Public. Welcome to our world! Oh, the irony. (Not to mention all the sarcasm here.)

And now back to the "shock value" statement. OK, I've never heard of Sarah Palin. Ever. I could not have told you who ANY of the Governors of Alaska have been EVER. (There might have been a guy named Evan, but that's my best guess.) I know where Alaska IS. I know that there are way more men than women who live there. I know it's abundant in wildlife that you only see on Animal Planet. I also know they're sitting on a lot of oil. That's it, that's all I've got. Now, just because I've never heard of this woman, does that mean that I am "shocked" that John McCain chose her as his running mate? Hardly. The only thing that is "shocking" is that he didn't have a heart attack after learning that such a person existed. Here's why:

McCain touted his running mate with statements like these:

  • "Someone who has fought against corruption and the failed policies of the past. Someone who stopped government from wasting taxpayers’ money on things they don’t want or need, and put it back to work for the people."

  • "Someone who reached across the aisle and asked Republicans, Democrats and Independents to serve in government."

  • "Someone who grew up in a decent, hard-working middle class family whose father was an elementary school teacher and mother was the school secretary...Both of them were coaches too, and raised their children to excel at sports."

  • "...was a union member and is married to a union member, and understands the problems, the hopes, the values of working people.

  • "Knows what it’s like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries."

  • " A standout high school point guard, a concerned citizen who became a member of the PTA, then a city council member, and then a mayor, and now a governor."

  • "A devoted wife and a mother of five."

  • "She’s not from these parts and she’s not from Washington."

Well, thank God, she's not from Washington. OK, Grandpa John, we get it. That sounds promising, yes? Look, I'm not looking at this from the viewpoint of any party. The things he mentioned there are qualities that are going to pique the ears of those who are still trying to figure out what to do and who to vote for. So far we have a married, middle class woman with five kids, who is married to a union member, played basketball, worries about the mortgage, worked her way up to governor and isn't from Washington. What's not to like? Oh, but wait. There's more to like.

So McCain introduces Sarah Palin and how shocked was I when Tina Fey walked out? Pretty surprised, I'll give him that. I had no idea she was even up for consideration. Now that's diversity! Oh, wait. That's not Tina Fey? That actually IS Sarah Palin? Wow. She's hot. (And she's governor of Alaska where most of the residents are male. Huh. And she won an election, did she? That's a shocker.) But how cool would that have been if it were Tina Fey and then the John McCain guy unzipped his face and was really Alec Baldwin? That would have been awesome! But I digress (or fantasize, take your pick). Then Sarah Palin introduced herself to the country by providing us with informational nuggets such as these:
  • " husband Todd. And Todd and I are actually celebrating our 20th anniversary today. And I promised him — I had promised Todd a little surprise for the anniversary present and hopefully he knows that I did deliver." (Married AND it's her anniversary. Nice touch.)

  • "Todd...who is a lifelong commercial fisherman....He’s a production the oil fields up on Alaska’s north slopes and he’s a proud member of the United Steel Workers’ Union and he’s a world champion snow machine racer." (Fisherman, production operator, Steel Workers Union member and races...snow machines? Like snowmobiles? Cool! What a guy.)

  • "Todd and I have shared many blessings. And four out of five of them are here with us today. Our oldest son, Track...on September 11th of last year...enlisted in the United States serves in an infantry brigade....on September 11th....will deploy to Iraq." (Five kids, the oldest one joins the US Army on September 11 and is now off the Iraq. Is the national anthem playing in the background at this point?)

  • "I never really set out to be involved in public affairs, much less to run for this office." (Thank God for that.)

  • "My mom and dad both worked at the local elementary school and my husband and I, we both grew up working with our hands." (The local elementary school. I'm sure I hear the anthem now.)

  • "I was just your average hockey mom in Alaska." (Hockey Mom. Most excellent!)

  • "I was then appointed ethics commissioner and chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. And when I found corruption there, I fought it hard and I held the offenders to account." (Wait. Held people accountable? :::gasp::: :::choke::: Medic!)

  • "When oil and gas prices went up so dramatically, and the state revenues followed with that increase, I sent a large share of that revenue directly back to the people of Alaska." (Gave money to people? I like money! Sign me up!)

  • "I signed major ethics reforms and I appointed both Democrats and Independents to serve in my administration." (Ethics reforms? Like she has some ethics? I like ethics, too! And not just Republicans in your administration? Huh. That's new.)

And then she goes on with some schmaltzy 'Thank you' and 'I'm honored' stuff that's pretty much obligatory no matter who you are or what you're running for or against. The fine, very accurately transcribing folks over there at Clips and Comment have the full text of the speech if you're interested (though they do seem to be immersed in the tank for Barry Obama).

So, again, WHY are people shocked that this was his choice? Like I said, the only thing that shocked me is that such a person even existed. She practically bleeds red, white and blue. She's been in Alaska her whole life and I don't think that Alaska is exactly a breeding ground for scandal, and that's always a bonus no matter who you are. Oh, I'm sure that there will be some dirt turned up on her from somewhere. How much dirt and what kind of dirt is what the question will be when it happens. But what she has going for her is that she represents a lot of the issues that are key to a lot of people. Union member, for cryin' out loud! Elementary school teachers. Fishermen. Steel Workers Union. Mothers. Women. Anti-corruption. Giving away money. I'm still waiting for the shocking part.

And by the way, I have no idea if she is qualified to be Vice President of the United States, but only because I don't know exactly what it is that the Vice President does except wait around for the President to die. She is anti-abortion and I have an issue with that. Again, I don't know exactly how much of a bearing the Vice President's stance on abortion has on what they do in office, but that one is kind of a deal breaker for me. I'm not saying she's perfect, nor am I saying that I'd vote for her. I'm simply saying it's far from shocking McCain picked her (unless you think McCain is incompetent and then it's beyond shocking).

What is shocking about choosing someone who represents all of those potential voters? Not much. What is shocking about not choosing one of the guys on the short list like Tim Paws o' Plenty or Mitt Romney, both of whom are rumored to still be pouting and whining, "It's not fair!"? Yeah, I can't imagine what McCain was thinking there (or can I?). And really, what is shocking about choosing someone who looks like Tina Fey is smoking hot? Who cares? All I know is that if Sarah Palin ends up being Vice President of the United States, Tina Fey must rejoin the cast of Saturday Night Live immediately. Look at it this way, if nothing else, we just might end up with four years of some of the best late night comedy we've had in a long time. Priorities, don't you know?

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