Thursday, October 2, 2008

We Are Ticked Off, Sarah

Unless Tina Fey actually shows up at the debate tonight, don't expect the event to be "Thursday Night Live" as some pundits suggest. Sarah Palin will do just fine tonight. At this point, all she has to do is show up and not cuss, and she'll be crowned the winner. After all, the neo-cons have spent two weeks lowering expectations to the point that most Americans are turning on the evening news just to hear the latest Palin gaff. I mean, seriously, I watched the CBS Evening News last night for the first time in years. If Obama is elected, Katie Couric should get a gift basket from the campaign-at least a tee shirt.

And, they've been working the ref, now suggesting that Gwen Iffil is biased because of a book she has written. Give me a break. Even McCain knows about "a google." Apparently Iffil was fine until McCain began to tank. And tank, he has, with the economy now tied to his ankle like an anchor. I am sitting in the reddest of states, Georgia, where the latest polls have McCain up by single digits. That has to have the McCain team working the Tums dispenser, not because it means that Obama will win Georgia, but because it reflects what is happening nationally. The combination of McCain's own blunders (see "suspending my campaign" and his testy interview with the Des Moines Register), the dire economic situation, the unending war in Iraq and the proclamation by David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, that we urgently need more troops in Afghanistan have now made McCain's judgement the central issue of this election.

No where was that judgement more flawed than in McCain's selection of "Joe Six Pack" Palin for his Vice Presidential nominee, a choice that is increasingly driving even conservatives from his side. Yesterday, Palin who refuses to list what she reads and who stubbornly clings to her claim that she's an expert on foreign policy because of Alaska's geography, said, "It's time that a normal Joe Six-Pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency, and I think that that's kind of taken some people off guard, and they're out of sorts, and they're ticked off about it."

Damn right we're ticked off about it, Sarah. This is not the time to elect an "average" president. I don't know what papers they have been putting in front of you, but, if you've been reading anything other than your briefing book, then you know that we need the brightest and the best at the helm, especially now. Joe Six-Pack needs a voice, a vote and most of all a President who cares about the middle class-not the guy and gal who want to give $174 billion annually in tax breaks to large corporations while the middle class picks up the scraps. If there are any scraps. If there still is a middle class.

It is indeed now the neocons left defending Gov. Palin, individuals who clearly value party and power over the good of the nation and who launch wholesale attacks on those whose ideas are not in line with their own. Calling for a "cease fire in the war of unwelcome ideas" conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, who has been the focus of neocon ire after being openly critical of the Palin choice, said today in the Washington Post:

Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different from one's own, we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.) I'm sure it is coincidence that, upon the Palin column's publication, a conservative organization canceled a speech I was scheduled to deliver in a few days. If I were as paranoid as the conspiracy theorists are, I might wonder whether I was being punished for speaking incorrectly. Unfortunately, that's the way one begins to think when party loyalty is given a higher value than loyalty to bedrock principles.
Our day of reckoning may indeed be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them. That process begins minimally with a commitment to engage in civil discourse and a cease-fire in the war against unwelcome ideas.

Parker's right. Party loyalty is not a reason to cast a vote in this election. The time is too short, the stakes are too high. In the end, while tonight may be interesting political theater, it cannot erase the weeks of silence, scripts and vacant responses that have marked Palin's introduction to the American people. There is increasing evidence that John McCain cannot administer an effective campaign, much less a country in crisis. We are ticked off, Sarah, not at you, but at John McCain, who in choosing you demonstrated that "County First" is nothing but an empty slogan.