September 14, 2008

Lipstick on a Wingnut

Pollitt nails it and provides a list of legitimate questions that Palin should face.

Of course, the McCain campaign has admitted that Palin is unqualified and in over her head for VP by the fact that they kept her away from the press for over a week and clearly don't want to let her out to prove herself, since they know she'd fail.

Rick Davis, super-lobbyist and McCain campaign chief, even expressed the truly creepy edict that the campaign wasn't going to allow Palin to speak to the press, unless they showed a willingness to treat her "with some level of respect and deference."

As E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post noted, "Deference? That's a word used in monarchies or aristocracies. Democracies don't give "deference" to politicians. When have McCain, Obama, Biden or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton asked for deference?"

How long can they keep the hot-house flower away from the sunlight?

John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. "When do they ever ask a man that question?" charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani.

Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.

If there were an Olympics for hypocrisy, the Republican Party would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps. And Palin would be wearing quite a few of them. It takes chutzpah for a mother to thrust her pregnant teen into the world's harshest spotlight and then demand the world respect the girl's privacy. But then it takes chutzpah to support criminalizing abortion and then praise Bristol's "decision" to have the baby. The right to decide, and privacy, after all, are two of the things Palin wants to deny every other woman, and every other family, in America.

Palin's even said she would "choose life" if her daughter was pregnant from rape. Can't you just hear Bristol groaning, "Mo-om...!"

The Republicans bashed Barack Obama as a "celebrity," but now they've got a star of their own, so naturally the rules have changed. Nothing would suit them better than for the media to spend the next two months spellbound by the wacky carnival on ice that is the Palin family: Todd, aka the First Dude, the kids, Levi the hunky bad-boy dad-to-be--well, maybe not him so much after his expletive-adorned MySpace page briefly came to light ("I'm a fuckin' redneck"; "I don't want kids"--whoops). The snowmobiles, the moose burgers, the guns, the hair, the glasses that are flying off America's shelves (starting at $375 a pair, and she has seven). Fretting over the work/family issue alone should take up enough column inches to employ all the female
journalists in America from now to next Mother's Day. And don't forget that op-ed staple, What Does This Mean for Feminism?

...

Count me as a feminist who never believed that being PTA president meant you could be, well, President. The more time we spend on dippy ruminations--how does she do it? Queen Bee on steroids or the hockey mom next door? how hot is Todd, anyway?--the less focus there will be on the kind of queries that should come first with any vice presidential candidate, and certainly would if Palin were a man. Questions like:

§ Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists' babies?

§ You say you don't believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you've spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?

§ If you didn't try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?

§ What is the European Union, and how does it function?

§ Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?

§ What is the function of the Federal Reserve?

§ Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?

§ Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?

§ You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn't you mention him even once in your convention speech?

§ McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won't wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?

§ You're suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska's northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?

§ You've suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?


The right chooses to pretend that Palin has the Dems flustered, as if she's such a great leader that she'll blow the Obama team out of the water.

As usual, they couldn't be more wrong.

Democrats, and other rational beings, are freaking out because they simply are dumbstruck that McCain, the guy with the "Country First!" mantra, would be so reckless and irresponsible, and demonstrate beyond doubt that he clearly puts politics WAY ahead of the well-being of the country he constantly reminds us he revers and loves so much.

We're freaked out that someone could, in this day and age, at this crucial and pivotal juncture in our history, actually choose to foist this nobody from nowhere, this utterly and completely unqualified and unprepared person to be president of the United States of America should anything befall an elderly man with a history of repeated bouts with cancer.

We're not freaked out and worried because Palin is so good. No, Dems and other people who actually care about the country are freaked out because Palin is so clearly a horrible choice for the position. The prospect of our country actually being led though times requiring a depth of knowledge, intelligence, and prudence by the likes of Sarah Palin should freak out ANY rational person who isn't so blindly partisan that they'd loudly cheer a potted plant if McCain told them it was his running mate.

We're freaking out because we can not believe that a candidate for President, and millions of his lemming like followers, are perfectly willing to PRETEND that Sarah Palin is a perfectly legitimate choice to become Vice President of the United States.

Excuse us, but the fate of this country is a bit more important than to take any chance, even the slightest, that a person of Palin's stature could ever hold the fate of our nation in her hands.

For the benefit of the reckless right, people are freaking out over Palin because, as Bob Herbert, no flaming liberal puts it, "John McCain, who is shameless about promoting himself as America’s ultimate patriot, put the best interests of the nation aside in making his incredibly reckless choice of a running mate. But there is a profound double standard in this country. The likes of John McCain and George W. Bush can do the craziest, most irresponsible things imaginable, and it only seems to help them politically."

Herbert is at least one journalist who refuses to be bullied by the McCain camp, and is unafraid to mention the elephant in the room.
While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.

How is it that this woman could have been selected to be the vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket? How is it that so much of the mainstream media has dropped all pretense of seriousness to hop aboard the bandwagon and go along for the giddy ride?

For those who haven’t noticed, we’re electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on “American Idol.”

Ms. Palin may be a perfectly competent and reasonably intelligent woman (however troubling her views on evolution and global warming may be), but she is not ready to be vice president.

With most candidates for high public office, the question is whether one agrees with them on the major issues of the day. With Ms. Palin, it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. She doesn’t appear to understand some of the most important issues.

Ms. Palin’s problem is not that she was mayor of a small town or has only been in the Alaska governor’s office a short while. Her problem (and now ours) is that she is not well versed on the critical matters confronting the country at one of the most crucial turning points in its history.

The economy is in a tailspin. The financial sector is lurching about on rubbery legs. We’re mired in self-defeating energy policies. We’re at war. And we are still vulnerable to the very real threat of international terrorism.

With all of that and more being the case, how can it be a good idea to set in motion the possibility that Americans might wake up one morning to find that Sarah Palin is president?

I feel for Ms. Palin’s son who has been shipped off to the war in Iraq. But at his deployment ceremony, which was on the same day as the Charlie Gibson interview, Sept. 11, she told the audience of soldiers that they would be fighting “the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.”

Was she deliberately falsifying history, or does she still not know that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks?

To burnish the foreign policy credentials of a vice presidential candidate who never even had a passport until last year, the Republicans have been touting Alaska’s proximity to Russia. (Imagine the derisive laughter in conservative circles if the Democrats had tried such nonsense.) So Mr. Gibson asked Ms. Palin, “What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?”

She said, “They’re our next-door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska. From an island in Alaska.”

Mr. Gibson tried again. “But what insight does that give you,” he asked, “into what they’re doing in Georgia?”

John McCain, who is shameless about promoting himself as America’s ultimate patriot, put the best interests of the nation aside in making his incredibly reckless choice of a running mate. But there is a profound double standard in this country. The likes of John McCain and George W. Bush can do the craziest, most irresponsible things imaginable, and it only seems to help them politically.


If ANY Republican cares to take a stab at arguing that Palin is qualified or anywhere near a reasonable choice of running mate, PLEASE give it a shot. I'd love to hear you explain why every American shouldn't be very concerned over this reckless and inexplicable choice.

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