We’re Not That Dumb, Hopefully

Gavin Leighton

Pundits like to claim that the Vice-Presidential pick is not only the most important choice for a potential president, but also the most telling. Due to how important the choice is, I found it slightly surprising that Obama chose Joe Biden as his potential VP. Even though Biden knows Washington like the back of his hand (which may or may not be a good thing), he is also prone to political faux pas. At the same time, I was hoping that the “Maverick” would act as such and choose Joe Lieberman to round out his ticket. Lieberman would bring instant stability to a man predisposed to petulant decision-making.

But he didn’t. The irrational and irascible John McCain decided on what he considered to be his ace in the hole. McCain chose Sarah Palin, someone who woos the social conservatives in ways John McCain could only dream of and also someone with the potential to pull all those disheartened Clinton backers to his side. At this point in time, when McCain touted Sarah Palin as his VP pick, the inanity began. John McCain was banking on the American public being so immensely foolish, that they would buy whatever he was selling.

The McCain campaign must have reasoned that so many women were supporting Hillary because of her sex. The campaign didn’t consider that people might just be voting for her because of her economic prowess, her dedication to a legitimate health care system and her proven record in Congress. No, they said, it’s gender alone — it has to be. In that case, why don’t we select Sarah Palin; a woman who exemplifies typical Americans?

His campaign couldn’t be serious. “Sarah Palin: Just Like You and Me”. Really? Sarah Palin is a beauty queen from Alaska that hunts, field dresses, and eats moose. She is in the middle of a scandal where she purportedly fired a police trooper for not firing another one she didn’t like; she asked about the prospects of removing books she didn’t like from a library; and she tried to sell a jet on eBay. She is married to a world-class snow machinist and has five children who are all named after Sarah’s favorite flavor of the month. She is forcefully against abortion, even in extreme cases, supports abstinence-only education, denies climate change is anthropogenic, and is a creationist (so she “watches The Flintstones as if it were a documentary”). She definitely relates to the citizens of this country, every single one of us.

For whatever reason, the McCain campaign thought the wool hadn’t been pulled far enough over our eyes. The campaign then announced, “Sarah is a populist candidate with foreign policy experience.” So much of a populist that she wangled millions of dollars in earmarks for citizens of Wasilla while ignoring the rest of the state. Then as Governor, she used the same ploy to get federal money for a state that is independently wealthy from oil and natural gas. If she were such a populist, shouldn’t she use Alaska’s money to finance state projects and let federal budgets be spent on areas that need it (namely places like Cleveland, Detroit, or New Orleans)?

As for foreign policy experience, I know Sarah Palin has only left this country once. One night during the RNC convention, Steve Doocy of Fox News argued, “[Sarah Palin] does know about international relations, because she is right up there in Alaska, right next door to Russia.” Well, not only did RNC convention delegates repeat this same absurd logic, even Cindy McCain claimed that Palin has foreign policy experience because of her proximity to Russia (upon hearing this, my roommate deftly quipped, “Someone has been playing too much of the board game ‘Risk'”). Of course, the Cuba issue is clear now. Fidel Castro has been such an irritant because people from Washington have tried to deal with him, instead of the experts from the Florida Keys.

I couldn’t fathom what I was hearing. How could the McCain campaign say these things with a straight face? Did they believe, in their heart of hearts, that the public would believe such nonsense? It was and is all laughable, more so because they felt what they were saying was reality. I do have good news for John and Sarah though. If things don’t go well come November, then I am sure you have a future in comedy.