Despite her soap opera life melodrama, the Democrats must remember who the real target is
He's a 72-year-old agent of change, "Washington is broken" and he intends to mount the charge to fix it.
Really, John? Really?
Never mind he's been in Washington for 26 years, which were the Democratic talking points, uttered, en masse, by everyone from the Obama campaign itself and author/pundit Keith Boykin this morning on CNN.
Can you play the insurgent when the fort you're invading is your own?
That was the theme of the Republican National Convention -- take back Washington! The Washington we already run and are still running and have ruined. Throw the bums out! Except us! We know we fucked up but baby, please. Take us back and we promise to do right by you this time. No more excessive graft! More open government! We're gonna do you right if you just give us one more chance!
They announced they were bums of change. Not plain ol' bums. And they have something sparkly and new to bedazzle you with! Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska! "She's Ann Coulter with babies!" dubbed the womenfolk on the XX Factor blog on Slate.com after she gave a mean, barn-burning, snarkalicious acceptance speech on Wednesday.
(W)hat's depressing about Palin is that she represents the Ann Coulterization of the Republican party. That's what was tugging at my unconscious mind as I watched her spout the most vicious and irresponsible claptrap, with such a gleeful expression on her face.
Watching Palin was like watching a cross between Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin-- only Palin accessorizes with babies. And she's got a governorship, instead of a column or a TV show.
And boy, did that Ann Coulter with babies show Obama who should be drivin' Miss Daisy!
Community organizing? Nyah, nyah! You care about people! Sucker! McCain-Palin in '08, bitches! F*** the community! We're Republicans, dammit! Those out of work steel workers and poor people can just lay in the street and die. They don't vote for us anyway. (comments made by The Snob, whilst chatting and Twittering last night)
Such endearing personalities.
It seems odd to belittle a man who, out of college, dared to service his community and try to "make a difference." Who cares if he went on to be a Civil Rights Attorney and was a law professor? Who cares if he served in the State Senate? No. We want to beat up a man for giving a shit. And that was pretty much the theme of the convention.
There were some bumps. Black Republican Michael Steele bemoaned the lack of blacks at the convention this year, saying there were only 36 of them compared to the more than 143 of them in 2004. I'd like to think that 107 of them caught a clue. They're better off just being black center-right conservative agitators than dealing with a party that smothered to death the dreams of their once rising black star JC Watts.
Watch your back, Steele!
But the real thing or person to watch is Palin. McCain's convention became Palin's convention. During his dull as dirt, "take back Washington from ourselves" speech his biggest applause came when he mentioned Palin's name and when Palin walked on stage. When McCain attempted to be charitable, praising Obama, people booed. Classy. A great contrast to all the grinning and polite applause the Democratic delegates gave McCain in the Mile High city. They were both literally and figuratively above the bullshit when it came to respecting McCain's war record. But acknowledge that Obama has a historical campaign and you get booed. Nice. Real nice.
(And did you know that John McCain was a POW and a war hero? They only repeated that ad nauseum. I often mock Obama's love of "hope" and "change," but "POW" and "maverick" are entering my lexicon of mockworthy memes.)
At the end of the day, with the exception of maybe former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, everyone was channeling their inner bastard. Mitt "Mittens" Romney launched stilted attacks. Rudy Giuliani managed to reference 9-11 multiple times while slamming Obama and the Democrats. And Palin was the Queen of Mean, causing me to rethink this so-called, "Mad Dog Joe Biden has to go nice on her because she's a woman" chit-chat. She flat out described herself as a pitbull in a skirt, a la rapper/actress/clothes horse Eve. (Apologies to Eve. You're a much more attractive pitbull.)
If she can dish it out, she should be able to take it, just like Hillary Clinton took it. And every other female politician who had to prove themselves over and over that they had the right to run with the big dogs.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius all were scheduled to campaign for Obama in the coming weeks. Republicans say they hope Palin, who made her national debut with a feisty speech on Wednesday, could put some female voters in play.
"We respect her. She's a skilled politician, as she proved last night," Obama strategist David Axelrod.
But it's not clear exactly how Obama and his running mate Joe Biden should respond. They keenly remember how women rallied around one-time Democratic front runner Clinton when they perceived she was a victim of sexism. They don't want to appear with a weak response, either, and certainly they also don't want to send independent women flocking to the GOP.
The solution, at least in the short term, will be have top-tier female supporters vouch for Obama to largely female audiences and keep the candidate himself away.
I'd suggest that they not back down, but not allow the feisty Palin to steal the show.
Perhaps McCain is pleased to be obscured by an aspiring usurper, but the Obama campaign needs to keep its focus on who is at the head of the ticket.
More than one reader has pointed out to me, as well as one or two pundits, that the Obama campaign can't get caught up in the hype. The woman is under investigation. She's got her own mouthy preacher and there's still a good chance she could self-implode all on her own under the media glare. (Who will start to turn nasty if she doesn't begin giving interviews ... like right now.)
She's just a distraction, a sideshow. John McCain and his "me-tooism" attempt to be a change candidate with a "historic" ticket is so galling that even Gloria Steinem, once an Obama basher, has tossed her activist cookies.
She dubbs her "Phyllis Schlafly, Only Younger."
This isn’t the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmetize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for—and that Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.”
Palin is a stunt and McCain is the cynic watching his show stolen by a political neophyte.
Of McCain's acceptance speech the reviews were mixed. I thought he was redundant, repeating the same ideals festooned in red, white and blue packaging. Every protester who managed to hustle their way into the festivities was met with a resounding "USA! USA!" as if screaming that made their cries of corruption and criminality less true. Especially when McCain was owning up to them (sort of) on stage while the crowd remained silent. They only seemed to respond to POW, "maverick," 9-11, surge, Ronald Reagan, "freedom" and "America." They simply didn't know when to applaud if you didn't say, "John McCain is a war hero POW and a maverick like Ronald Reagan who would have supported the surge if he'd lived to comprehend the disaster on 9-11. And if had he would be proud of America killing things in the name of freedom. America! Fuck yeah!"
It was just that kind of convention, but don't be distracted by the circus. The Clinton camp says they have no real plan to engage with Palin, agreeing that all eyes should be on the hypocrisy that is McCain. The Obama camp is preparing for this. Dancing around the Palin Problem while fine tuning their attacks on the top of the Republican ticket.
Obama's senior advisers say they cannot allow Palin to paint herself as the come-from-nowhere insurgent — a role that once belonged to Obama.
"For someone who makes the point that she's not from Washington, she looked very much like she'd fit in very well there when you see how she brings these attacks, they all felt very familiar to Americans who are used to this kind of thing from Washington," Axelrod said.
Obama himself dodged the question about how to treat Palin, only the second woman nominated as a major party's vice presidential pick and the GOP's first.
"I think she's got a compelling story, but I assume that she wants to be treated the same way that guys want to be treated, which means that their records are under scrutiny," Obama told reporters in York. "I've been through this for 19 months. She has been through it — what — four days so far?"
It was slightly more polite than Axelrod: "She tried to attackby saying he had no significant legislative achievements. Maybe that's what she was told."
The McCain campaign, keenly aware of the potential of their nontraditional pick, immediately used any criticism of Palin as a sign of sexism.
The Republicans' efforts to use sexism as a shield while re-branding themselves as the "change" party when they've been in power in the Congress since 1994 and in control of everything from 2000 to 2006, including White House for the last eight years, this fantasy of replacing yourself with yourself cannot stand.
The Palin hype and the ol' switcheroo bullshit must be called for what it is: a farce.
Unfortunately for some Americas it is a farce they can believe in.
In other news, check out this McCain speech fact check to see where the "i's" weren't dotted and the "t's" weren't crossed.