9.11.2008

I Said I Wasn't Gonna Talk Politics...

Okay, so I wasn't going to talk about politics over here anymore. I was tempted to do so after the conventions, but figured that you all know who I'm supporting and the marked difference in tone between the conventions only solidified that choice and I figured that by now, you're either agreeing with me or have reasons why you're not. You're smart people. I trust your judgment.

But Sarah had other plans. She had a posted some political thoughts the other day and asked me to provide her with some support, so I drafted the following message. As usual, I didn't post it as it was crazy long and I didn't think it would help anybody out by posting a forever long rant in the comment section of someone else's blog. (Which is why I never jump in on your blog either, Chanel. Plus, your people are just plain nasty over there! ;) )

Also, because I'm a chicken or something.

Anyway, so here is my response to Sarah's question: "What do you think about Sarah Palin?"

Oh man, okay, so I'm only commenting because Sarah asked me to. I usually try and stay out of these political poop-storms if I can, mainly because you can't have a discussion via the beloved Internets, so consequently people squawk their two cents and tune out anything contradictory. It's my firm belief that politics is a conversation, not a monologue, but unfortunately, modern political rhetoric - between people as well as politicians - has devolved into people shouting stuff at each other with their fingers in their ears. And I'm not convinced that we as a culture don't like it this way. You can read a little more about my political feelings here if you'd like. Or not. Whatever.

Hold on. Let me make sure I'm doing this right. Fingers in ears? Check. Ready to shout? Check. Okay, then. Let's get this over with:

John McCain makes me sad. Watching him speak at the RNC was like watching, I dunno, a captive wolf or something. Some sort of proud, majestic, scarred animal who's been reduced to begging for scraps to survive. During his speech, I sat there thinking,"This, right here, this is a great American. It's too bad this John McCain isn't the one who's been running for President." Not that I agreed with everything he said (his education rhetoric is way off base and his foreign outlook is hawkish, ill-defined and way too informed by the Cold War), but at least here was a glimpse of a man who I didn't think was lying to me every chance he got.

Because that John McCain - the John McCain who up until the last, oh, 4 years or so has been an example of a successful bipartisan senator, extending his hand across the aisle numerous times to make this a better country - that McCain got put in cold storage a few years ago, when this John McCain, this "politics as usual," "repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth" John McCain started thinking about running for the Big Dance again. This John McCain has sold his soul to the all-too-familiar Rovian politics of outright lies and misdirection (of which he was a victim of in South Carolina in 2000 when GWB&co. put out a commercial that flat out lied about him at the last minute and scared a lot of voters, forcing him out of the race) in the name of victory, and his choice of Palin (who, let's be honest, was more than likely picked for him and not by him) is a constant reminder that, sadly, anyone can be bought.

He's not "that guy", you know? He's not GWB, who will do and say anything you want him to as long as you get him to the Big Dance. He is - was? I can't tell anymore - a man of conviction and resolve. Now, he's just another GOP candidate, slinging lies and fake outrage over out-of-context quotes, playing out the clock with little things like which animal it's okay to put lipstick on when the big issues - things like, oh, you know, the totally crumbling economy, for example - are being pushed aside for the latest round of "Did you hear what he said/did yesterday?"

The choice of Palin as VP is another example of how far he will go to pander to people who don't even really want to hang out with him, the "real" him, in the first place. As the sad English poet Morrissey once said, "In my life / Why do I waste valuable time / On people I'd much rather / Punch in the eye?" Which begs the question: If John McCain is willing to compromise on something as important for America as a competent running mate, what else is he willing to compromise on?

Meanwhile, you have Barack Obama. Had he chosen Hillary, his victory would have been all but sealed, and, it could be argued, would have cut McCain off from choosing Palin as a second-in-command. So what if they most likely would have butted heads every single day they had to work together. It would have been the smart move, politically. The safe move. Instead he [gasp!] chose the person he felt was best for the job. I know, crazy, right?

You can't tell me John McCain wouldn't have rather had long-time friend Joe Lieberman on his ticket. Or any of the other short list choices, really. But Lieberman and all those stodgy white guys aren't the sexy choice. Lieberman's boring and nobody was talking about John McCain and besides, wasn't Lieberman a [double gasp!] Democrat at one point?! He may have been the right choice (who knows?), but not the choice that will help McCain win.

And McCain knows what it's like to lose. Obama talks about it in The Audacity Of Hope and it sounds terrible. (Yes, that was a plug. If you're at all curious about the man and his ideas on America and policy, pick it up. It sold me on him a couple of years back and is very recommended.) I can imagine that losing what basically is the world's biggest popularity contest would crush me. I would imagine that John McCain would not want to feel that again. I understand, really I do.

So he added Sarah Palin to the ticket. Palin, a former mayor of an incredibly small town (with a population of roughly, oh, 5500 people if you round up. Or, like, four high schools.) and first term governor of Alaska. You know, that state way up there. Population of almost (!) 70,000 people according to the 2006 census (or roughly 40% of the population of Chicago)? Yeah, that Alaska.

He chose Sarah Palin, who so far sounds like some sort of Liberal caricature of a radical Right Winger: anti-abortion to the extreme (Not even in the event of rape or incest? Really?); opposed to gun laws; doesn't believe that global warming is happening &/or is man-made despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary; has a chair on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission but is determined to fight big corporations; against Federal earmarks unless, uh, they're for Alaska; thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in classrooms as a viable scientific theory; and, well, that's it really. Doesn't inspire confidence. And it doesn't sound anything like what John McCain stood for historically.

And that's not even touching her home situation, which is obviously in need of some attention. Or is that sexist to point out? I can't tell any more.

But in the end, it really has nothing to do with gender. If that was a guy's resume' would you want his finger one stopped heart away from total nuclear annihilation? No, you wouldn't, especially since the Friday before Labor Day, this campaign has been about hammering Obama's supposed lack of experience. And when it comes to experience Palin is sorely lacking.

Anyway, so yeah, I don't think much of Governor Palin. She's sort of like John McCain's scarlet letter, a public reminder of a bad choice, in this case, the choice to sell out to the right wing establishment in order to win.

Has she energized the base and got people talking about something besides how old John McCain is or how much his policies of late have resembled a certain president with a plummeting approval rating? You bet. She's a great choice ... if you're playing a short game, which has sort of been de rigeur for this sort of politicking over the last ten years or so. (Remember how muddy things got when they swiftboated John Kerry? Seriously, what was that whole flap even about? Something about Purple Hearts or something?)

But there's two months left until election day. You can't pull out that much controversy (or can you? Or rather, will the American people buy that much crap for that long? Oh, but wait, we've been fed wholesale bullcrap for the last eight years, what's another few weeks, right?) to cover the fact that while your opponents are out there, talking about the issues in two different places, you're stuck together, (because nobody wants to see you, you know, the guy who's running for the office) giving the exact same speeches you gave at the convention. It's like trying to run the clock down two minutes after halftime.

So in summation, Sarah Palin is, in my opinion not a good choice for someone who in all likelihood is going to be sitting behind that nice wooden desk in the Oval Office. She's inexperienced and honestly, a little terrifying once you start to look into what she stands for. Plus, her voice is ten kinds of annoying. There, I said it.

But she will work for what the McCain team needs her for, as a distraction to, as Obama said in his acceptance speech, make this election about small things rather than important things. She may even help John McCain win. We can only hope that the real John McCain, the John McCain who tried to run an honest, straight-talking campaign against the slimiest campaign team money could buy in the GOP Primaries in 2000, is still alive somewhere and can regain control of an obviously out of control situation.

Otherwise, well, if you're rich, it should be nice. The rest of us, get ready for more of the same.

9 comments:

barlows said...

Thanks, Dylan. So glad I bamboozled you into sharing your feelings. I think you are dead-on. Later, this afternoon, I was wondering how this was all gonna play out time-wise. I think the lipstick is already fading, so to speak.

chrishaley said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-mixner/ten-reasons-to-take-a-dee_b_125596.html

I'll get into what you said later, but I wanted to share that link with you.
We're gonna do this.

huston/lilia said...

dude posts like this affect me in two ways: one-they make me glad i read your blog, and two-they make me wish i was a blogger.

nail on the head brother, nail on the head.

Ryan C. Adams said...

Very well done, Dylan. Your blog is the equivilent of some dude (me) walking into Gold's for a workout and seeing some other dude (you) bench pressing 900 pounds. Inspiring. Intimidating.

This is the first election I can recall in which the VP candidate IS important. JM could very well pass away while in office, and BO could get assassinated. Not fun to think about, but you have to do so, and long and hard, before you pull that lever in November. You typically don't go to a rock concert for the comedian, but if the group's tour bus crashes on the way to the show you still want your money's worth.

I intentionally stay out of the abortion discussion because it's a topic that directly affects perhaps 1/20th of 1% of Americans. Wars, oil and other forms of energy, and taxes affect 100% of us. I'm backing Obama because he's the right choice for ALL of us, collectively.

Dylan said...

Ryan, very true on the abortion thing. Those big "moral issues" that people often get hung up on are, when it gets down to it, (and if I'm understanding it correctly - feel free to jump in and correct me) not under the umbrella of presidential responsibility. They're sort of a straw man, when all's said and done.

Even if the president had a position on those issues, it would have to pass through the other two branches in order to become effective. Checks & balances, right?

But then again, if you control the House, the Senate and a majority of the Supeme Court judges sympathize with your worldview, you could shove anything through. So there's that.

And yes, those issues: war, energy and the economy; those are the important ones. It would be nice to hear McCain and Palin talk a little more about that.

But then you get some sad stuff like this (Thanks Chris) or this.

Or terrifying stuff like this.

leslie said...

Bless You, I am traveling overseas and can't let go of all that is happening. You are right on with what you said. I am going to send MoveOn money as soon as I am Done with this message.. "Lesllie'"

leslie said...

that was my mom who just commented (i would never say "bless you" ha ha!!!) your post is awesome, clearly thought out and perfectly stated, thanks so much. my mom and i are in london and starved for info on palin, thankfully england isnt really talking much about our political freak show. we stumbled on to your blog and it was very refreshing!

Chanel said...

i would say the same thing as ryan- the whole gold's gym analogy, but we both know I would NEVER go to golds, im more of an LV Athletic club where I can look good going more than a snails pace on a tread mill next to the old ladies. ANYWAY... How do I tell you how much I love what you said? I just love it, not just b/c I totally agree, but because it is so well thought through and not just "emotional" and nasty, like my lovely blog posts/comments tend to be.
Great perspective on McCain the man, you made me feel ok that he might make it to the oval office, he just CAN NOT DIE!!!!

I want Obama in there so bad though I can't breathe when I think about it. He so needs a shot at this, just to show/ remind people what can be!

You're great and you need to give your opinions MORE often on this- you're great!

bryanorion said...

Word.