Wednesday, October 29, 2008

John and Sarah

John McCain’s judgment, going back to his days at Annapolis, has been unpredictable. It was his trademark through school and in active service. The genetic codes of his father and grandfather admirals are formidable forces. John’s only consistency was his warrior mentality -- war here, war there, war anywhere. McCain’s goal was historical -- he would set the record for the longest war of all time, 101 years, even if he only began it.

His studied judgment comes into question with the selection of Sarah Palin as running mate. He had met her only twice and she was inexperienced in foreign policy, domestic affairs and educational background. Why, she occasionally brought a child to work with her, demonstrating, at least to an older generation, that she was not a real professional. But she represented youth and femaleness on the ticket.

Against a Democratic campaign led by Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- youth and experience, strength in domestic and foreign policy, and accuracy from the 3-point line — McCain needed a running mate to make headlines. Sarah is a governor (despite her less than two years on office), female & good-looking, mother of five very different children, hunter and fisher, and rather opinionated because God agrees with her. Her acceptance speech had been written for her, and she read it off a teleprompter. Her Katie Couric interviewthereafter, without teleprompter, was a disaster. Fearing a repeat of that interview in the debate against Joe Biden, the McCain handlers gave her a batch of cards with talking points to select from for each question. For one question during the debate, she had no relevant cards, so she simply said she would not answer the question but talk directly to the American people [about oil & gas in Alaska].

On most matters, Sarah is totally out of touch. She is in conflict with a) the Democrats, b) McCain at many times in his Senatorial career, and c) Republicans outside the neo-con political-social persuasion. You can blame it on Sarah Palin, and she can blame it on Alaska's youth in the Union. Alaska is a young state and they make up their tradition as they go along. Ernest Gruening, Alaska’s first Senator, voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964. Ted Stevens, a Senator since 1968, has a strictly opportunist record in matters of war or peace. He is more interested in cronyism, gifts, and personal favors. He is presently under indictment for same. Stare decisis hasn’t had enough time to become tradition in Alaska. Roe v. Wade, only 25 years the law of the land, may get there in the 21st century.

As an example of Sarah’s personal politics, she would ban abortions for any reason except to save a woman’s life. Rape and incest are insufficient excuses. Bristol Palin (age 17) has/had every choice. Her mother, Sarah, would have childbirth as the only option for everyone else. She says it is her personal view, and that of the states. So young women don't have to make the abortion or not choice, she offers abstinence-only sex education (no-sex education, that is).

Sarah Palin has a solid history of poking her powdered nose into local community affairs, not to mention those of the boudoir. She would have the public schools teach creationism alongside evolution — theory v. theory. The former has it that dinosaurs coexisted with homo sapiens and the passenger pigeon, as taught in the literal Bible. Once you get past a couple of thousand years, either your attention span dissolves or all the ancient cultures are alike. All the species ever are crowded into six or seven thousand years. It’s too much for anyone, even archeologists.

Immediately before becoming Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin was
mayor of Wasilla, a town of less than 10,000. One of Sarah’s first acts as Mayor, was to visit the library and set up a banned book file. The librarian pointed out that the freedom of speech and freedom of the press is guaranteed in the First Amendment. But Sarah is not a Constitutional scholar (except for the Second Amendment which allows for bearing arms as part of a well-regulated militia). The librarian was fired, of course. Next on her agends as mayor (she of the anti-pork recency) was government funding of local projects., That would be proof of politricianship. So, as mayor, she hired a lobbyist to gain access to Senator Ted Stevens to get some federal aid for suburban Wasilla. In return she supported the Bridge to Nowhere.

She also is proud of her advocacy for drilling for oil & gas in the breeding grounds of the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve (the last 5% of the north coast of Alaska). But, we know the Governor of Alaska has responsibilities, and China and Japan need energy to compete with the US.

In Sarah Palin, we have the raw future. We have gone beyond the present, and circled around to robber baron days. Today, Sarah is out of step on Roe v Wade, global heating, the theory of the double helix, the sportsmanship of hunting wolves from planes, and the need for polar bears to exist outside of a zoo or a rug on the floor. Real sportsmen are asking whether Sarah ever entered the Iditarod. with real dog teams, not snowmobiles. Further, I wonder what she thinks of the 19th Amendment.

Sarah barely has a bachelors degree, but on the job training requires only gut feelings and enough people to repeat the lies that built the house that George W swaggers around in. Maybe she could take courses in history from Howard Zinn and read Rachel Carson’s classic, Silent Spring. Some basic economics from James Galbraith (son of John Kenneth Galbraith) wouldn’t hurt either. She certainly wouldn’t learn anything about economics from John McCain, who alternates between mantras of drill, drill, drill and bomb, bomb, bomb. The essential philosophies of war and peace could come in a situation room private showing the the Marx Brothers classic anti war film “Duck Soup” followed by a discussion of metaphor.