Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin: More of McSame

Many suspected it, and Wednesday night served as proof; John McCain picked a running mate that is able to do something that he can’t: read a teleprompter.

The bar was set very low for the small-town mayor turned small-state governor turned last-minute Republican VP pick, so it should surprise no one that Sarah Palin was able to meet and in some ways exceed expectations. Still, Palin, who is reported to have practiced this speech for over six hours, was an impressive mouthpiece for a litany of Republican attacks—especially impressive when you consider that the McCain team wrote most of the speech for someone else.

And since the speech was supposedly drafted for another mouth, it is not surprising that Palin’s primetime coming out party did little to introduce the McVeep to American voters. (And why would you want to spend any more time talking about a woman, Palin, under investigation for possible abuse of gubernatorial power, a woman with close ties to oil lobbyists and to indicted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, a woman who has fought hard for the boondoggle earmarks that McCain says he’s against, a woman that is opposed to reproductive choice, even in cases of rape and incest, a woman who has ties to a party that advocates Alaskan secession—through violence, if necessary—a woman who demanded personal loyalty oaths from public officials, tried to ban books from the public library, and raised taxes as mayor and as governor?) It did, however, remind all of us why the last decade of Republican domination has been such an abject failure.

For Sarah Palin chose neither to provide a substantive defense of the Bush-Cheney policies that she and McCain plan to continue, or offer any examples of what another four years of Republican “leadership” might do differently. Instead, Palin offered better than a half-hour of partisan, Karl Rove-style attacks—as rife with flat-out lies as they were with snide, cynical jokes.

Palin lied about her support for the “Bridge to Nowhere” (she was for it before she was against it). Palin lied about Obama’s record as a legislator (Obama has authored or helped pass ethics reform, healthcare expansion, aid for wounded vets, incentives for alternative energy, safeguards against “loose nukes,” and a system to put federal funding details in a searchable database). And Palin joined with other Republican speakers on Wednesday night to belittle the hard and important work of community organizers everywhere (community organizing is not only noble work, often for no or low pay, that requires a day-in-day-out connection with people not privileged enough to have private jets to sell on eBay, community organizing was hailed by none other than President George H.W. Bush).

Indeed, it was perhaps most stunning that a woman billed (ad nauseam) as a “Hockey Mom” and as “relate-able” spent so much time acting just like all the other millionaires and billionaires who took the Xcel Center stage before her. (The combined worth of Meg Whitman, Mitt Romney, Carly Fiorina, and Rudolph Giuliani currently tops $4 billion—more than the gross national product of any of over a third of the world’s countries.) For, while Palin’s choreographed sniping might have won her cheers from the diehard Republicans inside the hall, it only helped accentuate the distance between her and the America she hopes to help govern. Wednesday night thus served to demonstrate not that Sarah Palin is fit to lead us into the future, but that she, like her soul mate, John McCain, is closely aligned with the failed Bush-era politics of division and destruction. Sarah, like John, is more of McSame.

Perhaps, then, it should come as no surprise that Palin did such a good job mouthing Republican insiders’ boilerplate rhetoric. No surprise at all.

(cross-posted on guy2k, The Seminal, and Daily Kos)

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