Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Aliens

After so many months and surely so many more planned spending countless dollars attempting to frame Barack Obama as as The Other -- celebrity, foreigner, radical, hustler -- it's all gone to waste in one single announcement.

Here's my new theory:

In selecting, at this particular historical juncture, Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running-mate, and as immediately evidenced in the jarring optics of the announcement event, and coming exactly on the heels of the blockbuster Democratic National Convention that successfully introduced Barack Obama and his adorable, Christian American family, in symbiosis with Joe Biden and his awesomely Catholic American family, as perfectly normal yet just acceptably exceptional enough to be White House worthy, John McCain has flipped the equation and flushed all his money down the toilet.

Because now his ticket is the one looking like aliens.

I'll explain, but first let's be clear: Obama and his campaign made John McCain blink. Worse than that, and they must be pretty blown away themselves at their success, hence their buttoning down on any criticism of her by name, just sticking it to McCain on judgment with Palin implicit, they made him make an error. A huge one.

He'll get his Republican Christianists (while her pastor problem and fervent support of Pat Buchanan may spook every elderly Jew in Florida), and via the orchestrated media moments might scoop up some low-information voters, but anyone remotely serious and fair-minded about how they use their Constitutional vote is unlikely to squander it on a man who's integrity, judgment, temperament and management style are now called into question. The numbers on this choice are historically bad out of the gate.

Now that we're learning -- apparently at the same time as John McCain -- that Sarah Palin has potentially multiple abuse-of-power scandals (involving her husband and family) way the hell up in odd Alaska, a state visited by infinitely fewer Americans than Hawaii, a state most American view as stranger than Idaho and certainly more remote, and that there may even be a family planning cover-up in the wings, Gov. Palin is doing no favors for the image of her home state. I wouldn't even be surprised if they lose it (before or after she Eagleton's off the ticket) since those that know her there don't think she's qualified for V.P. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if she only serves out one term as Governor, if not indicted.

But more than that, she and McCain just look so odd together.

Marc Ambinter has a comparison of the key images from both campaign Websites. Obama and Biden look like they're having a great time together because they are -- it's from the Convention. And Obama is clearly the boss. McCain and Palin, however, appear interchangeable, equals in some sort of real estate company, McCain generic and diminished by the equal size, but Palin popping way too much with the same creepy wide-eyed grin and glare she had at the announcement event.

You look at Obama and Biden and see two men in the middle, one in his late 40's, one in his early 60's, i.e. both middle aged. And you know that one of them knows how to lead a team and has a plan while the other knows how the system works and can be a partner in making his plans law.

You look at McCain and Palin, you see a gap, essentially an unfilled chasm between them. She's early 40's, he's early 70's. He's just made a decision that creates questions (while the choice of Biden was a comforting answer of great finality) so now we're all wondering again, and not in a hopeful way. She's a great big question mark, with only sixty days for us to vet her from zero, no previous national (only Party) profile. While she has only 60 days to get the basic requirements in national security and foreign affairs knowledge for the job.

McCain and Palin is a great big nothing. Everything is in freefall in-between them.

Whether McCain's decision betrays desperation or gambling, his arrogance or cynicism, his process as hectic or improvisational, this is a perilous way to introduce a new face, and the bottom line is simply dissonance.

On the other hand, here's the Obamas and the Bidens out on Main Street tour, eating ice cream, hanging together at gazebos. Looking like America.

Looking wholesome.

2 comments:

Max said...

Agree with everything you said - the choice of Palin, an incredibly unqualified VP (or is that VPILF?) candidate smacks of desperation. It's a TERRIBLE choice by any practical metric.

However, the Palin pick HAS totally energized the Repulican base tho. They're besides themselves with joy. So in that sense it's a big win for McCain. Hopefully, the independents will see through this (transparent) ploy and avoid McCain/Palin in droves.

BTW, she was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it.

Mark Netter said...

She was reportedly worth $7,000,000 in campaign contributions by Sunday morning.

Wonder what Obama gets in response...