bIGMOUTHERY

bIGMOUTHERY

Monday, 15 September 2008

Sarah Palin & Tall.

When John McCain announced his running mate a few weeks back, there were very few people involved or even interested in the U.S Presidential election who didn't react with puzzlement. Apart from belonging to the party whose policies have destabilised America's economy, international relationships and sense of 'self', McCain's greatest perceived weakness has been his ability to galvanise the Republican base. He's viewed variously as old, crusty, stodgy, ill-tempered, too moderate, weak on (and in) faith - in short, not nearly conservative enough to please conservatives and certainly not insane enough to please neo-conservatives.



How to fix perceptions? Who to choose that will counterbalance all of these claims in one fell swoop?


Enter Sarah Palin, former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska and currently governor of that state. She appeared to be, on the face of things anyway, everything McCain isn't. He's 72, she's 44. He's all beat up and broken, she looks immaculately restored. He's perceived as too liberal, she's a neocon's wet dream. He's been shaky on faith for years, she's a rock-solid right wing fundie. He's been closely involved in the policies of the Bush years...she's about as far away from the Beltway as it's possible to be. Plus, they have very different genitals, and genitalia and skin colour are playing very big roles in this election year.



She seemed the perfect choice. But the perfect choice for what? Filling the void should the President of the United States be unable to fulfil his duties? President of the Senate? Supervision of the electoral college? Or simply the perfect populist expedient to propel John McCain into the White House?


One short term consequence was certain, the announcement of Palin as VP took all the glow off Barack Obama's stadium speech the day before.


The Democrats had had a perfect convention: the theatrical arc of the speechifyin' was immaculate, from Michelle Obama's easy, laid-back style, right through Hills' and Bill's much-needed calls for party unity. Even Gore stepped on the gas so the final day wouldn't peak too soon and pull focus from what was to follow.



Obama gave a brilliant speech. Well-measured, pithy, attacking where necessary and outlining in broad strokes the plan for the future. It was everything an acceptance speech should be. But...


..the post-coital glow of Obama's super-sized love-in lasted about 12 hours. McCain's choice of Palin immediately switched all the focus back to the GOP, virtually destroying any chance of a DNC 'bump' in numbers.


Journalists, bloggers, regular Joes, nutcases and smearers were all over Ms Palin. Who was she, what were her achievements...and more importantly, for those who were well pissed with the McCain team for stealing the DNC's thunder...what dirt might be uncovered?

Very little, as it turned out. Despite the Troopergate allegations, questions around nepotism, her family life and her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy, there were precious few 'smear' blows landed...and in true neocon style, Palin was shielded from having to answer any of these questions.

The choice of Palin did much to re-ignite McCain's chances in November. His poll numbers following the RNC turned right around. His 2-3 point deficit rapidly swung around in his favour, and this had very little to do with his own lacklustre performance at the RNC, a convention saved by the appearance of Palin and the non-appearance of Mr Poison, George W. Bush.

So Palin, young, female, fresh and new, gave a great deal of impetus to a campaign that looked tired, with policies cut very much from the Bush cloth. To many it's looked for the last few weeks as if McCain has done the unthinkable: he's managed, by choosing Palin, been able to distance himself from the incumbent administration and put himself in a position where he can tout 'change' (albeit under the title of 'reform').

But there are signs the honeymoon might be over for the McCain/Palin team. She couldn't be shielded from the media forever, and a few days back gave an interview to ABC America's Charles Gibson, where she essentially started to undo all the good work achieved by the McCain team from the end of the DNC through the end of the RNC. In the interview she came across as almost as thick-headed and unprepared for office as Bush. Her most notable piece of stupidity came when Gibson asked:

"What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?" Her response?

"They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."

Oh...yay. That's confidence-inspiring isn't it? She was also completely stumped by Gibson's question on her support and understanding of the 'Bush Doctrine'.

The Republicans are force-feeding Palin's 'executive experience' as a major factor for her suitability. It's true, Biden, Obama and even McCain have never been short-serving governors of a state with one of the smallest economies in America, nor have they been mayor of any small towns. But with time, exposure and a little more perspective, Americans are now starting to see that Palin is a much bigger risk than they first thought. The Palin/RNC bump seems to be wearing off. While it's true that Obama and his team have been stunned by the dazzling success Palin has brought to the last few weeks of the McCain campaign, they must concentrate not on her, not even on Ol' Grumpy, but on the total failure of the last few years...and what they are going to do to remedy that failure.

Wiping with a new blog roll...

Come to Myspace, they said. They'll host your songs and they have a blog. So I left audiostreet and went to Myspace. Within weeks it was 'Come to Facebook, they have more applications and more of the people you know and work with are there.' So I kept the Myspace blog and moved over to Facebook. Now no-one I know goes to Myspace but Facebook is full of useless crap. The person who suggested Facebook is never on Facebook and no-one really stays in contact with me anyway...but I have worked out, finally, how to get an actual blog there.

So I shall keep the Myspace blog alive, and paste the more substantial posts here.

Unfortunately I have very little to say right now...er...yeah.