Last Friday, I said this following Sarah Palin's introduction as John McCain's running mate:
Palin irritated me a teeny tiny bit. She focussed only on the male members of her family in her introduction. She was so busy pushing her credentials ("My husband belongs to a union," "My son is going overseas to Iraq," and "My baby's name is Trig Paxson Van Palin") that she gave really short shrift to her three daughters, skipping over them, barely offering their names. I held my breath to see if she would try to make political capital out of the fact that the infant had Down's. Thankfully she stopped short of that.After I heard the news about her daughter's pregnancy, I realized that Palin was in a really awkward place before that speech. If she had introduced her daughters and didn't say anything about the pregnancy, she would have been flayed alive by the media after the fact. But how could she be introduced to the country talking about an unplanned teenage pregnancy?
I had been relieved when she didn't make political hay out of the infant, even though it felt like she came really, really close to doing so [Note: You can watch that speech here]
I decided to cut her some slack and wait until tonight.
Well, she did it again. Once more, she plumbed her family for political advantage. Only those members who could advance her political career or agenda got a mention. She gave a lengthy introduction to her husband (68 words) and to her son who is going overseas to Iraq (34 words). Once more, she made cursory mention of her three daughters (9 words total for all three--that's 3 words apiece). And tonight, she did use the baby's "special needs" status to her political advantage (83 words). Sarah Barracuda indeed.
Politico.com had a column on Saturday in which they talked about what the Palin pick said about McCain. This is some of what they said:
1. He’s desperate. Politico argues that McCain realized he was on the verge of losing. They describe the Palin pick as a Hail Mary pass.
2. He’s willing to gamble – bigtime. Politico says McCain has a history of taking dares, and the Palin pick is a huge one.
3. He’s worried about the political implications of his age. This was what I was counting on when I guessed he'd pick Palin.
4. He’s not worried about the actuarial implications of the age issue. When I read the Politico column, this was the part that bothered me the most. It's one thing for McCain to gamble with his own future. However, by picking Palin, he gambled with the future of the United States. He opted to choose a dangerously unprepared VP to gain political advantage--without any concern for the risk he might be putting the country in should he die in office.
5. He’s worried about his conservative base. I agree with Politico. This choice pandered to the extremists in his own party.
6. At the end of the day, McCain is still McCain. They're right. He's still the same impulsive, risk-taking conservative he's always been. While I honor his service to our country, I won't vote for him.
You can read the entire Politico column here.
To be honest, I was pretty surprised by the flavor of tonight's speeches. It was the same old Bush message: be bellicose abroad and cut taxes for corporations at home. The only difference was that it is now being labeled as "change." Huh?
I was expecting something different. But it was the same old "We have to show the world we're tough."
Didn't we have enough of that with George Bush? And what did it bring us? Over 4,100 Americans killed overseas, more than a half million Iraqis dead and no weapons of mass destruction.
And now we're talking about putting an even more impulsive man in the White House.
I live in Texas. Tonight Michael Williams, the Railroad Commission Chairman of my state, one of the RNC's opening speakers, said:
. . . That's why I'm so glad to know that when John McCain travels to foreign lands as President he will not apologize for America's strength, but assert it.Eight is enough.
He knows that keeping the peace comes from projecting our strength ... that America is the greatest beacon of liberty in an uncertain world ... and that foreign leaders, whose deeds speak louder than their diplomacy, must earn the right to sit down with the President of the United States.