FrICTION Election 2008
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A Maxed-Out Mom Takes a Long Look at Sarah Palin
by Tami Vernkoff
Sarah Palin in her rimless Kawasaki eyeglasses
This a difficult, but let me be brutally honest. I owe $16,000 on my credit cards. I can just about keep up with the monthly interest payments. It didn't get that way because I threw my money at Naught Monkey shoes and designer eyeglasses. I had to pay the rent and feed the kids.
When John McCain announced his running mate would be an Alaskan hockey mom with five kids and a blue collar husband, I hoped she'd understand my situation, would want to do something to help the millions of struggling men and women who work three jobs and still can't pay their bills.
I was enthusiastic about Palin because I thought she had a way out for women like me: work hard; traditional values; strong beliefs; smash the old-boy network. It was very convincing at first. I was like, "Where did McCain find this Superwoman?"
Then I Googled and read and listened, and understood I was hitched to the wrong star. I guess it started with the speech at the GOP Convention. Screechy-voiced Palin, so obviously pleased with herself, starts firing off sarcastic remarks about Barack Obama. OK, Obama might have trouble connecting with blue collar Americans, but the guy has been through months and months of no-rules ultimate fighting against the well-oiled Clinton machine.
I guess the difference between being a small town mayor and a big city community organizer is that the mayor is better paid. But ok, perhaps I was being harsh. Maybe Palin was just nervous and the nerves made her say stupid things. Or maybe McCain had told her what to say. It can take a while before you find your own voice, especially when you're speaking to millions of people and the Press is waiting for you to shoot yourself in the foot -- something Palin shouldn't do as a moose marksman.
From here on in, the story is familiar.... "I can see Russia from my window". Yeah, right, that qualifies you to go to Moscow and negotiate arms deals with Putin .... "I've been to Iraq, except I haven't really, but I did see it from where I was standing next to a Humvee and a tour guide".
Then Palin brought out the big guns, blowing our minds with Noah and the dinosaurs. She wanted us to buy that dinosaurs roamed the earth in Old Testament Times. They weren't called fancy Latin names and T. Rex back then, but "behemoth" and "leviathan". Oh yeah, I am so convinced by that.
Oh, and what about that ABC interview with Charlie Gibson. "I did not blink for a second, Charlie." Well, girl, you should have blinked. You should have prayed, soul-searched, talked to expert advisers, looked them square in the eye and asked: "Be honest now, do you really think I, Sarah Palin, am ready to be vice president of the United States?. Uhhh, umm, well Sarah, I don't know how to put this, but NO you're not ready, not by a long shot.
Personally, I think Sarah Palin is really, really excited to be on this journey. She wants the job so bad. Everyone except Palin can see that she's not right, not ready, not qualified. There's a baffling arrogance about her, which is not backed by anything remotely substantial. The woman has a mediocre education. She has nothing, that's right nothing, in the way of foreign affairs experience. In the past day or so, Wall Street has been crashing and you can see Palin is in a panic. She doesn't know what to say or do. She's like one of those spoiled celebrities on a tv reality show: "Get me out of her now!".
In the end, I don't want to be led by someone like me. I want someone who knows what they're doing. You don't solve Washington's problems by knowing nothing about Washington. You don't fix things if you don't know how they work in the first place. Sarah, you're probably a great governor, but you are not vice president material. Sorry.
McCain-Palin's U-Turn on Washington Regulations
THE WALL STREET MELTDOWN takes down Lehman Brothers. Sarah Palin strayed slightly from her standard stump speech to comment on Wall Street's problems. She played the blame game: "This is an issue of real concern... Washington was asleep at the switch" ... [McCain will] put an end to the mismanagement and abuses. We're going to reform the way Wall Street does business and stop the golden parachutes for CEOs who betray the public trust."
Pay close attention to the words. On the one hand, in other speeches, Palin claims that too much government, too much regulation is bad for us and harmful for the economy. But who is she criticizing in her comments about Wall Street? In addition to Washington being asleep on the switch, she scorns the CEOs, the businessmen. She says they "betray public interest". This is a Palin pattern. She's the politician who imposed a windfall tax on the oil industry in Alaska, thus pitting herself against private industry, the very people who are said to improve our lives if they are left to their own devices. Surely, a conservative Republican governor would not want to penalize, i.e. tax, the oil industry. Aren't taxes on the oil industry going to raise prices, interfere with the ability to invest and drill, make it harder to employ more workers? Aren't taxes, in Republican eyes, supposed to be bad? Aren't higher taxes what Democrats are constantly accused of wanting?
How is Palin going to sort out the Wall Street mess? Will it be by leaving the businessmen/free enterprise alone so that they can find a solution without Washington sticking its nose into their affairs? Of course not. Just read Palin's own words. She and McCain will put an end to "mismanagement and abuses". This will be done by the standard means, i.e. government, i.e. Washington, i.e. regulation. Palin says "We will reform". In plain English that means, "We will regulate. We will use Washington".
Palin is anti-Washington when it suits her message, and she is pro-regulation when the public is crying out for Washington to save their money, their jobs, their future. Palin is an opportunist, which does not mean she is good at making the most of opportunities. The word's real meaning, the one she distorts, is that she will say and do anything in order to get elected.
Palin's Role in a McCain White House: Energy, Reform, and Kids With Special Needs
Speaking in Colorado, Sarah Palin explained her areas of responsibility in a future McCain White House. She'd be the can-do person in energy, government reform, and kids with special needs. Without going into details, she explained that the solution to the country's ills was less government. She also launched her first solo idea, to put the White House check book on the internet so that the public can see where their tax dollars go. No one has yet looked into the legal or technical ramifications of this idea.
Palin wants to put the White House check book on the internet, but she wants to keep her work emails private. She uses private email account for state business.
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A Frictionalized interview between John McCain and his staff: How Palin was selected
Scene: Sedona, Arizona. John McCain gathers with his campaign team.
McCain: Cindy sweetheart, you're looking great today. Is that a new kinda make up you're using, baby?
Cindy: Sure is John. You like it? Oh sweetie, your hair is lookin' kinda thin thin today. Let me see ...
McCain: Let's not go down that road again, it's a bad place. I need you to leave the room for a little while, baby. I gotta talk to the guys about the campaign.
(Cindy returns to her boudoir.)
McCain: Guys, I'm thinking of going with Lieberman. I know he looks like a prune that's been layin' out in the desert sun, but what the heck, he's good on defense, he's my buddy and I got a gut feelin'.
Campaign staffer: Sir, with all respect, your gut is wrong on this one. Lieberman's a loser. He wouldn't bag you more than six extra votes. He's too liberal on important issues like the right to shoot trespassers, hire and fire laws. Sir, Lieberman did nothing for Gore. He'll do less for you.
McCain: Son, I'm a maverick. That's what mavericks do, they make dumb choices that turn out to be brilliant.
Staffer: Sir, there's inspired dumb and there's inspired brilliant. Lieberman is a dumb choice, the worst choice you could make. Imagine what Rush will say.
McCain: I don't care a rat's ass about Rush. Who the hell does Rush think he is?
Staffer: Well, sir, he's the most influential conservative radio host in the country. He bags us more votes than Lieberman if we're on his side.
McCain: Has Rush ever run for office? No. It's damn easy sittin' in a studio in Florida spoutin' off. He needs to get his head out of his ass on this and work with us. Who does Rush want?
Staffer: He wants Romney, sir.
McCain: Romney! Romney! I hate that SOB. He's a bank manager. He's never led anything in his life.
Staffer: He turned the Olympics around, sir.
McCain: Olympics, who gives a f--- about the frickin Olympics. Bunch of girlie men jumpin' in sandpits.
Staffer: The Olympics were a big hit in Beijing, sir.
McCain: I don't care a rat's ass about China right now. Who else we got? That Minnesota guy, what's his name, Paulanski, he's beggin' for the job?
Staffer: Pawlenty, sir. He's a possibility, a bland possibility. He wouldn't offend anybody.
McCain: Yeah, well, between you, me, and the Joshua tree, I'm not impressed by Paulaski. Ditch the Minnesotan. Who else we got?
Staffer: Tom Ridge, sir.
McCain: Ridge, that crate of gecko goop. I'd rather watch a cactus grow than work with that guy. Next name, next name.
Staffer: Huckabee, sir.
McCain: Huckabee, you gotta be kiddin' me. Huckabee the preacher, no way, no frickin way. He says the world was made in a week. He thinks the ark's out there waitin' to be dug up.
Staffer: So do most of your supporters, sir. So do I, sir.
McCain: You believe the world was made in a week. Are you an idiot? That's stuff's a fairy story. No one believes that stuff anymore.
Staffer: Yes, they do, sir. 95% of your supporters believe that stuff. They believe in heaven and hell, in guns, in babies, in freedom, in low taxes, in military might...
McCain: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the speech. You sound like Biden whinin' away. Who else we got who believes in that far out stuff. Who could we put on the ticket?
Staffer: Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
McCain: No way. I don't want anyone from a hurricane state. All those freeloaders want is federal money to repair their cheap ass trailer parks.
Staffer: There's the governor of Alaska, sir.
McCain: Alaska? Who the hell lives in Alaska. There's more moose than voters in Alaska.
Staffer: Her name is Sarah Palin, sir.
McCain: What's she ever done?
Staffer: She was mayor of a small town. Now she's governor. She hunts, fishes, she's against gays getting married, she's firmly pro-life, she wants to drill everywhere for oil now, she's Assembly of God, she's for creation and against evolution.
McCain: She sounds a complete nut. What's she look like? Have you got a picture.
Staffer: Yes, sir.
(Staffer passes a photograph to McCain.)
McCain: Hot damn, she's a babe. She's in. Call her now. Tell her she's the veep.
Staffer: We have to vet her first, sir.
McCain: Bullcrap, vettin's for fairies. I want Palin. Why didn't you tell me about Palin before you gave me all this crap on Huckabee, Romney, Ridge, those losers? It's Palin, I want Palin.
(This is a FrICTIONALIZED, satirical, and comic version of real events. We have been accurate in so far as it has been possible for us to be so.)