Despite setting extremely low expectations, Republicans showed relief that Sarah Palin didn’t blow the vice presidential debate.
The difference between the two candidates was glaring. Senator Biden has participated in many momentous decisions since entering Congress in 1972. Being mayor of a town of 6300 at the remote edge of the U.S. and the governor of Alaska for 20 months pales in comparison.
“My experience as mayor will be of great use to the country,” Sarah said, before she gushed excitedly over meeting Biden at the end of the debate. Agree or disagree with his positions, Biden was elegant in his arguments. Sarah was a Lulu.
Hearing the debate on the radio missed Sarah’s winks and frozen smiles, but focused on what was said. Sarah sounded like a bright, if immature, 19-year-old on the college debate team. She avoided questions, changed or evaded the subject, delivered well-rehearsed statements, and went off on totally unrelated subjects. She avoided details and gave vast platitudes about “victory,” “mavericks,” “greed,” “U.S. exceptionalism,” and “energy independence.”
With John McCain refusing to release his medical records that include malignant melanoma, Sarah Palin could be a malignant mole away from the White House. Americans must ask themselves, “Should this woman become president?” Even the staunchly conservative William Buckley publication, National Review, urged her to resign as a candidate because “Palin is a problem.”
She wooed voters with folksy language and mentioned the “Talibani.” Is this a nickname for a terrorist organization in insular Alaska? I liked her pledge for total “victory,” especially, “McCain knows how to win a war!” Wow, did he learn in Vietnam?
A more thoughtful and experienced person would look at the cost of victory and ask whether the sacrifice was worth it. Unfortunately, there’s no way to achieve victory in Iraq or Afghanistan. They want to rule themselves and bombing them won’t change that.
Sarah upheld McCain’s position of refusing to talk to leaders of countries that we have conflicts with. Most of us resolve conflicts by understanding differences and reaching an agreement. Can we agree on a settlement? McCain’s policy of never talking to someone you disagree with is like getting divorced, “and never speaking to the ‘SOB’ again.” Not productive if your well being depends upon ending the conflict.
Sarah’s pandering to the Jewish vote – she’s against “a second holocaust” – were melodramatic, especially after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigned days after he admitted taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from an American political supporter. Olmert said Israel should withdraw from “almost all” of the land it seized in a 1967 war if it wants peace with Syria and the Palestinians. Sarah didn’t even mention peace.
Sarah’s insistence on escaping the past and only looking to the future ignores the possibility of learning from our mistakes. It also overlooks criminal malfeasance in Bush’s deregulation machinery. Claiming she’s different from Bush and harping on ignoring the past and forging blindly ahead, doesn’t speak well for determining what went wrong and fixing it. Nor bring justice to those wronged.
Biden’s insistence that McCain doesn’t disagree with any significant polices of the Bush Administration stumped Sarah. She changed the subject; she couldn’t think of any differences. You had to love her “dog-gone-it” moment, evidently a folksy Christian curse in her Wasilla Assembly of God Church. Lucky for her, the moderator didn’t ask her to describe her belief in “The Rapture,” which she promotes in the Third Wave / New Apostolic Reformation movement.
Her pleas to increase the power of the vice president echoes Dick Cheney’s creation of secret domestic and foreign military operations, torture, spying on Americans and lying to Congress. Biden, who has long called for firing Cheney, pointed out the evil of Cheney’s tenure. Sarah, on the other hand, would give Cheney even more power. Does she foresee more power for herself under an aging McCain?
Biden devastated McCain’s claim to “maverick,” by pointing out “McCain has been no maverick on what matters to people’s lives,” including voting for Bush’s debt-burdened budgets, as well as supporting his war in Iraq and voting against healthcare, education, and programs for the poor.
Carefully protected from press interviews, Palin sports a pregnant teenage daughter while advocating parental responsibility, no birth control, no abortion and abstinence. She has a mentally retarded baby yet her husband takes off to race snowmobiles while she hits the campaign trail. She’s against “earmarks,” but leads all states in the U.S. for earmark dollars per citizen. She “knows foreign policy” because some people in her state can see Russia on the horizon. She hadn’t left the U.S. until last year, visited New York once, and was recently introduced to Henry Kissinger. She’s ready to become president?
Americans are notorious for being anti-intellectual, opposing reasoned arguments and relying on faith and intuition. They loved Bush because they would rather have a beer with him than his opponent. They need to reconsider.
If Americans elect Sarah to be next in line to become president, we are in serious trouble. Her nomination already makes us the laughing stock of the world.
Don Monkerud is an California-based writer who follows cultural, social and political issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.