Lawrence, KS - Events Local News Groups Contact
The Worst Vice-Presidential Nominee in U.S. History
By Indy Media / filmsforaction.org
By Robert J. Elisberg. From The HuffingtonPost.com:

There was a TV ad for deodorant that said, "Never let them see you sweat." The John McCain campaign has just showed the world that it is drenched.

Selecting Sarah Palin as its choice for a vice presidential candidate is perhaps the worst such choice in American History. To be fair, maybe there are worse choices, but I don't know how bad William O. Butler was when he ran with Lewis Cass against Zachary Taylor.

But it's far worse than Dan Quayle, who was a sitting senator. Worse even than Geraldine Ferraro, who at least served in Congress for three-terms. And far worse than William Miller, a choice so obscure when selected by Barry Goldwater that he (honestly) later did an American Express commercial asking, "Do you know me?" And that ad was after the election. But even Miller had been a Congressman for 12 years. And been a prosecutor during the Nuremberg War trials against Nazis. Sarah Palin lists her credits as a hockey mom.

There was a point during the Republican primaries when I was trying to figure out who I hoped got the presidential nomination. Someone so weak he'd be easy for the Democrats to beat, or someone more challenging who at least wouldn't be a disaster for America. I decided on the latter because America has to resolve its serious problems and can't afford risking some glitch where another George Bush got elected. And so I felt that John McCain, for all his weaknesses, was the lesser of all evils and was glad he got the nomination. Throw that out the window. McCain-Palin is an unthinkable disaster.

I completely understand the reasoning behind the decision for John McCain to select Sarah Palin. Absolutely. It's the thinking that settled on Sarah Palin that's missing.

No doubt John McCain will get some women to vote for him who wouldn't have otherwise, and even some independents. But he will also probably lose as many Republicans uncomfortable with a woman on the ticket - let alone a woman with so little experience as Sarah Palin. Not to mention that the choice will cause many undecided Democratic women to be aghast and push them back to following their Democratic beliefs. And further, it will lose all the independents who look at the GOP ticket and say "This is who I'm supposed to give my vote for the next four years to lead and protect America??" It may even appeal to right-wing evangelicals for her strong pro-life stance and get some to vote - but that position and others related to it are specifically what loses even more women voters. And men. Ultimately, the nomination will lose far, far more votes than it gains.

But this is not the reason the decision is so terrible.

It's always said that the most important decision a presidential candidate makes is their pick for vice president. It shows their thinking and judgment. John McCain, in his first decision, has just told the world that he believes Sarah Palin is the most qualified person to be a heartbeat from the presidency. Forgetting all the available men for a moment, if John McCain felt it critical to select a woman in an effort to somehow grab the Hillary Clinton supporters, look at his choice of women he had available: Christine Todd Whitman, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Elizabeth Dole, Susan Collins, even - for goodness sake - Condoleezza Rice. Or Carly Fiorina. Each of these have marks against them, and perhaps some might not have wanted to run, but it's near-impossible to look at the list and suggest to the American public that Sarah Palin is the best choice of Republican women to be vice president. And again, this is ignoring the men he who could have been chosen.

It's not that Sarah Palin is inexperienced. It's that this is gross political misconduct.

Sarah Palin has been governor of Alaska for just a bit over 18 months. Alaska has a population of 683,000. (Though that doesn't include moose.) This would only make it the 17th most populous city in the United States. Just ahead of Fort Worth.

Before that, she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Population 9,000. I know Republicans like to promote "small town values," but this is taking things to ridiculous extremes, don't you think? I'm from Glencoe, Illinois, population 8,762. It's so small it doesn't even have a mayor, it has an appointed village manager. I'm sure that Paul Harlow is doing wonderfully at his job in the village - but I don't expect that he sees himself as even wanting to be a heartbeat from the U.S. President in 18 months. You know what the top news story is on the Glencoe website? "Fire Hydrant Painting Underway." (To be fair, it's the #2 story. The top news is a clarification about displaying political signage.)

Do you know what the first two "powers and duties" are for the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska? Check their municipal code:

1. Preside at council meetings. The mayor may take part in the discussion of matters before the council, but may not vote, except that the mayor may vote in the case of a tie;


2. Act as ceremonial head of the city;

Swell.

If you live in small town America (and I mean really, really small), look around you and be honest - do you see your mayor (or village manager) as a heartbeat from the presidency in 18 months?

But that's not the reason either that the decision to make Sarah Palin the VP nominee is so terrible.

It's one thing to discuss how unqualified Sarah Palin is. That's a national matter and huge. But on a grassroots political level, her nomination takes away the Republicans' ONLY weapon in the campaign - calling Barack Obama inexperienced. They haven't even been trying to run on the issues, or on the eight-year record of George Bush, which John McCain has supported almost 95% of the time. They've only been running on the faux-issue of Barack Obama's experience of 14 years in federal and state government. Yes, Sarah Palin is merely running for VP, not president, but with a 72 year-old candidate with a history of serious medical issues, this is who they're saying is able to step in as president in a heart-beat. She has so little experience that she makes Sen. Obama look like FDR, Winston Churchill and Julius Caesar combined. So, the Republicans pulled the rug out from under themselves. They have no issues. The economy? Housing? The national debt? Education? The Environment? Iraq? Afghanistan? Nothing. All they have is "Dear Democratic women: please pretend our VP candidate is Hillary Clinton. Just forget that she's pro-life. And against most things Democrats stand for."

But that's not the reason the decision is so terrible.

Because if the hope for John McCain is to get women to vote for him who otherwise supported Hillary Clinton - if anything could get Hillary Clinton campaigning in full force and fury...this is it. She likely would have campaigned hard, but it's in Hillary Clinton's best interest to be the leading voice for women, and the leading woman candidate for president in the future, so having another woman as the potential Vice President (and potential President) is a significant challenge to that. The Republicans just opened Pandora's Box and brought Hillary Clinton roaring to Barack Obama's side on the Democratic train. And Bill Clinton, too.

Yet even that's not the reason the decision is so terrible.

What this does in the most profound and grandiose way possible is give lie to John McCain's pompous posturing that he Always Puts America First. And that undercuts the most prominent campaign issue of his entire career, that everything he does is for reasons of honor. There is nothing honorable about making Sarah Palin your vice presidential nominee. Nothing. Unless you define honor as "blatantly pandering."

But that's not the reason either that this decision is so terrible.

But before we get to that, let's look at the actual announcement to make Gov. Sarah Palin (AK - pop. 683,000) the Republican nominee for president, and put the horrible decision in perspective.

First, John McCain stood at the podium, looking up-and-down reading his speech. It's impossible not to compare that to Barack Obama giving his majestic speech the night before that even conservative analysts were admiring in awe.

Second, the cameras were polite enough to avoid it, but there were empty seats in the gym. It's impossible not to compare that to a stadium of 75,000 people that Barack Obama spoke to the night before.

Third, when people around the nation were waiting to hear about Sarah Palin's qualifications and gravitas to be Vice President of the United States, the first five minutes of her speech were spent talking about her husband being a champion snowmobiler.

Fourth, when she finally got around to her qualifications, pretty much all we discovered was that she fought to cut property taxes. And then, she basically stopped there.

She did, however, mention becoming energy self-sufficient - by talking about how she supported drilling in Alaska!!! Perhaps to Republicans this is being an environmentalist, but to most of America, not so much. Then again, she's also against putting polar bears on the endangered species list (which the government did), so maybe her environmental qualifications are more lax than she thinks.

And then, finally, she spent the rest of her time praising John McCain. Fine, that's very supportive of her...except that the one question on everyone's mind was not -- "can you say John McCain is a swell guy and tell us that he was a POW", the question on everyone's mind was - "Who in God's name are you, and please tell us why you should be a heart-beat from the presidency?"

In the end, the only case she herself made for being on the ticket was praising Hillary Clinton! That's it, period. Now, it might be enough to attract some women -- but it doesn't make a case for the ticket. Why? Hint: some women did vote for Hillary Clinton solely because she was a woman. But most women voted for Hillary Clinton because she was a Democrat, as well as a woman, who stood for important Democratic values they seriously believed in. If Sarah Palin wants to praise Hillary Clinton, go for it. But at least understand what you're praising. Because it will likely come back and bite you.

It was a thin, nothing, empty speech. It was a speech to be head of the Chamber of Commerce. Compare that to the speech by Joe Biden when Barack Obama introduced him. Eloquent, soaring and explaining in blunt detail why John McCain should not be president. Joe Biden must have been watching Sarah Palin's speech, in order to take notes in preparation for his debate with her and thought, "This isn't fair."

And all that's not even the reason the decision is so terrible.

The reason is because the election is not about Sarah Palin. Or about Joe Biden. As much as TV analysts want to be excited by the balloons and hoopla, tomorrow the air will be let out, and there are still over two months to go for the campaign.

The campaign is about Barack Obama and John McCain.

Sarah Palin's nomination doesn't change that. In fact, it reinforces it. Nothing about putting Sarah Palin on the GOP ticket changes a word that Barack Obama said in his vibrant acceptance speech - about himself, about his issues, and about John McCain's repeatedly faulty judgment on the critical issues facing America.

What Sarah Palin's nomination does do is focus attention on John McCain's age. Indeed, the nomination was made on his birthday, when he turned 72, the oldest man ever to run for president. As the crowd sang "Happy Birthday to You," you almost sensed that through John McCain's clenched smile, saying, "Thanks for reminding me," that what he was thinking underneath was "Please, oh, please, don't sing the 'How old are you now?' part." And how good a message was it that he's saying he supposedly forgot it was his birthday?

Vice presidents are usually selected as people who are adept at blasting the other side's presidential candidate, because it's only the presidential candidate that matters. Joe Biden has already done that - twice - at length, spoken as someone who knows John McCain well and likes him. Sarah Palin had her first chance...and whiffed. Didn't even try. And it's hard to imagine what she has in her arsenal that will remotely allow her to do so in the future.

The election is about the presidential candidates. And the selection of Sarah Palin now allows Barack Obama to campaign untouched by the Republican ticket. John McCain's only other option is for himself to personally become negative for two months - which is disaster in presidential politics.

Now add on all the problems expressed above. Sarah Palin's inexplicably laughable lack of substance, most-especially on the foreign policy stage. Her taking away the one issue, experience, Republicans were even attempting. Her pushing away voters who might otherwise be willing to vote for a senator with 26 years in the Senate. Her bringing Hillary Clinton aggressively back into the campaign. Her inability to offer anything to off-set Joe Biden. Her standing as supposedly the most-qualified Republican woman as John McCain's first decision.

And, in the end, it all focuses back on Barack Obama, with his indictment of eight years of the Bush Administration and of John McCain's flawed judgment - and John McCain's defense of all that.

Republicans might be dancing earlier today, because there was a lot of fun music playing. But the music has stopped. The actual campaign has now started. For Republicans, it might have ended.
0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"
Daniel Lattier · 12,871 views today · Ivan Illich’s groundbreaking book Deschooling Society (1971) offers a radical critique of the institutionalization of education within modern societies. Illich believed that we...
This Text Message Exchange Between a Mother and Daughter is Pure Gold
Belinda Hankins · 8,986 views today · When Belinda Hankins got a text message from her 13-year-old daughter, who was shopping for period products, it started an exchange that will resonate with women everywhere. Enjoy.
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 4,242 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 4,143 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 3,323 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Superblocks: How Barcelona Is Taking City Streets Back From Cars
5 min · 3,047 views today · Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians.
11 Traits of People With High Emotional Intelligence
Raven Fon · 2,715 views today · Lately, new ways to describe human interactions, social behaviours, and many facets of psychology have emerged on the social network scene. One of those descriptions is “high...
What You Might Notice If You Forgot Your Phone For a Day
2 min · 2,013 views today · There is a moment happening right in front of you, right this second, and you just might be missing it
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 1,963 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
Ikigai - Finding Your Reason for Being
Chip Richards · 1,914 views today · What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning? When asked what is the single most powerful contributing factor to one’s health and vitality, integrative medical...
Throw (2016)
10 min · 1,760 views today · The first installment of Invisible Thread, an ongoing ELM passion project series, Throw tells the story of an outsider from East Baltimore, an area challenged by gang violence...
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 1,503 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,357 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Fighting Trump - Residents Opposing Donald Trump's Scottish Golf Resort
14 min · 941 views today · Documentary on the residents protesting against Donald Trump's golf development on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Directed and Presented by James Trosh.
Real Change in Democracy Comes Not in the Voting Booth but Activism at the Grass-Roots
Ilze Peterson · 937 views today · Many years ago, the late Judy Guay, a low-income woman from Bangor, founded the Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods in order to advocate for the neediest in our...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 937 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Doctors Response to Daily Mail Bigotry is Beautiful
Neil Tiwari · 849 views today · A poetic open letter to the Daily Mail newspaper from Dr. Neil Tiwari, in response to a bigoted attack on his colleagues, is going viral and it's beautiful.
Forest Man
16 min · 846 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 688 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 628 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
The Worst Vice-Presidential Nominee in U.S. History