Monday, November 10, 2008

Week of 11/10/2008

Palin the Scapegoat
– by David Matthews 2

Hey, did you hear the latest joke about Governor Sarah Palin?

Sarah Palin is so dumb she didn’t know that Africa was a continent and not a country!

She’s so dumb she thinks that NAFTA is some kind of European sports car!

She’s so ignorant she thinks that Katie Couric was still host of the Today show.

She’s so vain she probably thinks that this song is about her.

She’s so…

She’s so…

Okay, I’m going to stop right here because it’s just not funny anymore.

Alaska’s governor and new VP wannabe Sarah Palin has gone back to the tundra after a few weeks of living the dream of possibly becoming the second most powerful person in America. And following her like the flu is a sea of misery coming from those that used to sing her praises.

Ever since the Republicans lost what they themselves have painted as an extremely caustic presidential election, they have been looking for a solid reason WHY they lost. They’d like to blame it on voter fraud by groups like ACORN. They’d like to blame it on the liberal media for refusing to focus on what THEY told the media to focus on. They’d like to blame it on the voters for being too stupid or too brainwashed to know any better.

But when they have exhausted all of the external reasons why they lost, and they can’t obviously blame THEMSELVES, they need a scapegoat. They need someone to take the fall for their own incompetence, so why not just blame it on the new girl?

Thus we have all of these scandalous stories about Palin as being this political pop diva that cares more about clothes than the campaign. Witness some of these juicy tidbits worthy of the gossip columns:

* Palin supposedly didn’t know that Africa was a continent and not a country. Palin reportedly asked if South Africa was just part of the “country” of Africa.

* Palin supposedly didn’t know the countries involved with the North American Free Trade Agreement (US, Canada, and Mexico).

* Palin supposedly didn’t prepare at all for her interview with Katie Couric in which she fumbled on some really simple questions such as what newspapers she reads and which Supreme Court decisions she has ever heard about other than Roe v. Wade. Earlier that year, Palin had issued a statement objecting to the Supreme Court decision concerning the Exxon Valdez disaster, but somehow she forgot about that in the CBS interview. Palin then blamed her staff for her perceived lack of intelligence.

* Palin was supposedly prone to tantrums when faced with negative press coverage, and her tantrums reportedly drove her staff to tears.

* Palin’s shopping spree, described by one GOP member as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast”, was supposedly far worse than the media reported it to be, with the Governor’s whole family getting new duds, and that she had forced low-level staffers to make purchases on their credit cards, which she had the GOP reimburse. This was all supposedly kept from Senator McCain for fear that it might drive him to an early grave.

* Palin supposedly decided to use the William Ayers attack long before the campaign officials signed off on the tactic, and that McCain himself had opposed the tactic, believing it would backfire on them just as the earlier attacks on Reverend Wright had failed.

* Palin and McCain reportedly had very little contact with each other during the campaign, and she had reportedly wanted to issue her own concession speech, but it was vetoed.

* GOP lawyers were reportedly dispatched to Alaska to seize all of the clothes purchased by the Palin family during the convention, making good on the announced promise when the story first broke that all of the expensive clothes purchased would go to charity.

* And finally, the juicy 1-900-style story in Newsweek that said that Palin had reportedly greeted McCain thinkers Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter during the GOP convention wearing nothing but a towel. And for more juicy details of that steamy two-on-one encounter, please have your credit card ready along with proof of age. Just kidding. That towel-thing was supposedly as “naughty” as it got.

Boy that just makes you wonder what the Republicans were thinking when they tapped her, huh? Or… did they even think at all? Maybe they just were hoping that Ashton Kurchter would come out from behind the corner to tell them that they’ve just been “Punk’d”.

But, you know, I can’t help but feel sorry for Governor Palin, and I mean that in all sincerity. Here’s this Generation-X woman who was essentially given a Cinderella opportunity by a political party notorious for backing old rich white guys. She gives it her all, she tries her darnedest to help her guy win, and then as she tucks tail and heads back to Alaska there are all of these really nasty things that have come out about her that, even if they are false, she really can’t defend against.

And worse yet, they’re coming from people who were supposedly on her side! I mean, hey, I may have my disagreements with Governor Palin. I may contribute to the “Caribou Barbie” jokes and be willing to watch all those spoofs about her (including the salacious ones that do require proof of age), but I’m doing so from the outside. My disagreements are made in public.

According to one source, many of the nasty behind-the-scenes moments were being leaked to the media by McCain Campaign workers that previously worked for former governor and presidential wannabe Mitt Romney. And the reason behind this alleged “scorched party” policy is to discredit Palin’s credibility for a 2012 or 2016 campaign and thus increase Romney’s chances of securing the future nomination. If it is true, then not only are these attacks petty, but they’re done for equally petty reasons.

Let’s get brutally honest here… if I didn’t already have even a modicum of disgust for the Republican Party for what it has become prior to this 2008 Election, they eagerly earned it today with their post-election antics and with making Sarah Palin the scapegoat to their failures.

John McCain’s campaign had plenty of flaws to it, with many of them coming from his surrogates… the very support people who are now throwing Palin under the proverbial bus. How can we not forget the time when a McCain surrogate tried to claim that the Senator was responsible for the invention of the Blackberry? Or when McCain’s “trusted friend” and economic advisor called America a “nation of whiners”? Or when another surrogate tried to claim that Barack Obama wasn’t fit to run a company, and then made it sound like McCain was also not fit to run a company? Do these all sound like people that have their bearings straight?

Let’s not forget that McCain’s whole campaign was on the verge of insolvency from the start of the primary season, and he was almost forced to bow out if not for the fact that he started to win in certain states and the more popular candidates started to bow out first. Does that sound like a “flawless” campaign to you?

And how about the “crème de la crème” of boneheaded arguments: that women who supported Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign should switch parties and support the McCain-Palin campaign just because Sarah Palin is a woman! Come on! How pathetic is that? How DESPERATE is that?

Then there are the flaws that McCain himself made. The whole “Bomb Iran” moment, the suspension of his campaign to supposedly “fix” the economy, his flip-flopping on showing up at one of only three debates, his assertion (thanks to his “nation of whiners” advisor) that “the fundamentals of our economy are sound” while the nation was thinking otherwise, not knowing how many houses he owns, and even catering to the moralists while at the same time showing up at Sturgis and offering to enter his wife in a biker beauty contest that is often rated NC-17.

All of these things, and that’s not even mentioning “Joe the Plumber”, contributed to McCain’s Election Day loss, and they are things that his people certainly cannot blame on Sarah Palin, because she wasn’t even around for most of them! So stop trying to act like she was the sole reason why the campaign failed, because it obviously was flawed long before anyone in the “lower forty-eight” ever heard about her, never mind thought that she would be good for something other than being a charming companion for moose hunting.

The truth of the matter is that John McCain and his merry band of “Straight Talk” experts, surrogates, and advisors was the gang that couldn’t shoot straight in this election. The stories of the actual “Straight Talk Express” bus either running out of gas or getting involved in an accident were perhaps more than just ironic; they were a harbinger for what the campaign itself was going through. And rather than wasting time spilling the beans about what the new girl in the game was doing, both the campaign participants as well as the whole damned Republican Party in general need to take responsibility for their own failures and work to correct them before the next election. Only then can they begin to redeem themselves in the eyes of the voters.

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