I spent yesterday and most of this morning reading up on Sarah Palin. My attitude about her has been on a 24 hour roller coaster. As of this moment I have to admit she doesn't impress me.
I listened to her speech last night and all I heard were the words of George Bush's principle speech writer. This morning I learned that was because they were the words of George Bush's principle speech writer. Why I wondered, would Sarah Palin not speak in her own voice? I have come to the conclusion that those words were her own voice.
I could determine that because this man writes in a very distinctive way. He never writes speeches about substantive matters. He writes personal polemics. So his words had Sarah Palin not just condemning Barak Obama's experience, but the value of all community organizers. She condemned the entirety of the media. She condemned the very Washington establishment of which her presumptive presidential nominee has been a member for far longer than most members. The condemnations were directed at specific groups of people with no nuancing and no distinctions.
The Bush legacy was never mentioned. Policy matters weren't mentioned. After three days of watching this convention, I have zero idea of what the Republicans actually plan to do should they be elected to office, and honestly, although I am frankly sick of the dems constantly repeating the "McCain is four more years of Bush" line, the Republicans have so far left me with no other choice but to see this as the truth. Four more years of Bush apparently includes four more years of attack polemics. Listening to the attack speeches of Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and finally, Sarah Palin, was numbing, not inspiring.
I used to be a Republican. That was back in the days when they talked about balancing the budget, lessening the immensity of big government, returning more control to the states, protecting individual rights, supporting the integrity of the social security system, using our military might with discretion, and supporting and strengthening our relationships with our allies. Planks about abortion and other aspects of social conservatism were small add ons, or relegated to personal choice, but then Bill Clinton spanked Bush Sr at the Republican's own game and everything Republican changed.
I have not recognized this party since Newt Gingrich, the Christian Coalition and the Neo Cons hijacked it from the old guard. In Sarah Palin it appears to me they've done it again, and John McCain the maverick, has given way to John McCain the puppet. Karl Rove and his ilk are still manipulating the strings. Their speech writers are still penning the messages, and those messages contain no substance, only ones of attack and separation.
Maybe tonight McCain will talk policy. It would be a pleasant change. Except I suspect he won't. I suspect it will be more of the same because to talk policy means he would be exposing himself and his party to comparisons and accountability for the Bush legacy. Better to stay on message, which is essentially no message. No wonder Ike quickly became a category 4 hurricane, the real Ike is probably at the center of it.
In the meantime Sarah Palin has caused all kinds of problems for John McCain. He and his evangelical cohorts are desperately trying to reinvent the definition of Family Values to fit Palin's family. It's hard to justify a stance about the efficacy of an Abstinence Only policy when the VP's family demonstrates it's failures. It's hard to talk about the importance of the stay at home mom and castigate single mothers when the VP's family demonstrates something else entirely. This isn't Dick Cheney and his daughter. Cheney had the sense to distance himself from the gay bashing of his party. In Sarah Palin's case she's been all to vocal about some of the Family Values issues her family starkly contradicts.
Her short term in the governor's office also bears scrutiny. Virtually every position she's taken benefits her family and it's interests, and she brooks no opposition. This too, is Bush all over again. She seems to follow this weird kind of Evangelical Christianity which elevates blatant self interest to new heights by making it God's will. Neat trick if you can get away with it and one which has a very long history within Catholicism. In a sense it's a form of political infallibility, justified by God. Sarah's not just a political barracuda, she's a female pope with a direct line to God. I first thought her selection might have been a blatant case of John McCain using Sarah Palin, to get what he wants. After last night, I think it's more a case of Sarah Palin using John McCain to get what she wants. McCain may come to rue the day he unleashed her on the country and his party.
In the meantime, please John, prove me wrong and talk some substance tonight---like in the good ole days.