Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pander Bear Babies

If Hugh Hefner has an alter ego, it would no doubt take the shape of John McCain. Where as Hugh is a pornographer of the lowest sort who does nothing without being surrounded by bimbos in various states of undress, John McCain is a war hero who does nothing without being surrounded by smart, beautiful, accomplished (and appropriately dressed) women. The only real surprise about John McCain picking Sara Palin as his Vice Presidential candidate is that it was a surprise at all. If the campaign for Veep were a beauty pageant, Sara Palin would win hands down, although my money is on Mitt Romney to win the bathing suit competition.

Let me be very clear that I think Sara Palin is a brilliant pick. The minute I heard it was her I felt something I have not felt this entire campaign: enthusiasm. Stephen Colbert on his show “The Colbert Report” often does a segment called “Make McCain Interesting” where individuals can submit videos of John McCain’s head digitally placed on top of the body of someone in a famous movie. Believe me you have not lived until you have seen John McCain dance away in Saturday Night Fever. Colbert of course missed the point. If you want to make McCain interesting, get him out of the picture and insert a hot, machine gun toting, moose hunting woman who happens to be governor of some state called Alaska (State Motto: So cold, even Russia didn’t want us.)

Does this mean Sara Palin would be the best possible Vice President? Of course not. There is not doubt that Mitt Romney or Governor Paulenty would be more capable of assuming the highest office on a moments notice. But while she may not be the best possible Vice President, there is no doubt she makes the best possible Vice Presidential Candidate. There is not point putting someone on your ticket if they don’t help you get elected. Sara Palin does just that in a way no other candidate could. She unites the conservative base and poses a real threat to bring over moderate, disenfranchised Hillary voters. She also has enough experience and has exercised enough good judgment in her career to make her qualified for the Presidency were it thrust upon her. Nothing has been funnier than watching Obama supporters squirm while they accuse her of being inexperienced without indicting their own guy. If I have to choose between someone who has been governor for two years and someone who has been a senator for even less, I am going with the governor.

However, there is no doubt that John McCain is doing a little pandering with this pick. As qualified as Sara Palin is, there is no doubt that here greatest asset is her second x chromosome. Name one qualification Sara Palin has that Bobby Jindal doesn’t have? Bobby Jindal is a young governor with just as much experience and popularity among conservatives . Yet that is not what John McCain needed. He needed someone with all the conservative credentials of a Bobby Jindal or a Mitt Romney, but who actually looks good in a pant suit (not that Huckabee wouldn’t have tried if that meant he could get the nod.)

The past few days, however, have been rough on the GOP’s favorite pander bear. Revelations about the pregnancy of her 17-year old daughter, Bristol, have brought with it questions about her conservative credentials and whether or not her family needs her more at home. There is no doubt that Sara Palin will have a difficult road ahead of her balancing the needs of her country with the needs of her family. But if she is confident that she can do both, who are we to judge? She is hardly the first President or Vice President to have a young family. It is difficult to ignore the overt sexism dripping from the tongues of the members of the media who turn back the clock on the passed 50 years by saying her rightful place is in the home. When a male president has a young family, they call it “Camelot”. When a female vice president has a family, they call it “crazy”.

Many feel that the pregnancy of her oldest daughter has tainted the campaign but I just do not see how. If the Republican Campaign stands for anything, it is not abstinence only education or intelligent design; it is personal responsibility. When people make mistakes, they should have do deal with the consequences of those mistakes. This is of course anathema to the Democratic “were all victims so here’s your check” platform. That is all being pro-life and pro death penalty really is: holding people to the natural consequences of their decisions. Conversely, what is pro-choice and anti-death penalty but a way of artificially removing consequences. “That which gets rewarded gets repeated” is the undercurrent of all modern conservative legislation. Palin, of course, could have gone the Democratic route. She could have had the baby aborted and then see if she couldn’t get her daughter some type of consolation prize from planned-parenthood (“Look Mom, this abortion comes with a free I-pod!”) but instead her daughter chose to have the baby and will have to suffer the consequences. That is conservativism personified.

In the end, McCain simply could not have picked a better person in his quest to defeat Obama. Afterall, who better to beat a shallow, talentless hack who does nothing but look good and spout off morally-obvious platitudes than a former beauty queen.