Not Spencer: Wasilly Season

Not Spencer took an unscheduled day off yesterday due to the Phillies World Series win (it tickles me to say that.   I’ll probably randomly sprinkle that in to conversation for the next 6 months.) It’s back today with a gift from a gifted writer and person whose blog, Church of the Big Sky, is a constant inspiration and goal to me.

Now that I’ve made Merujo blush, here’s her post.

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“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.” – anonymous McCain advisor commenting on Sarah Palin to CNN.com

I started writing this piece for Spencer probably a dozen times, and each effort up until now has ended up in the recycling bin. A good friend of mine likes to remind me that I tend to lose my thread when I write or speak about politics. I get emotional, and rational logic tends to get the old heave-ho. This year, though, I can’t blame myself. Not this time. I can’t blame any of us for being emotional about the choice we need to make. In just a few days, we have the opportunity to change the ugly, damaging trajectory of this nation’s future.

We have the opportunity to bring America back to a position of sanity and decency and reason.

We’ve been hovering on the brink of hell for eight long, dark, miserable years. So, yeah, I think we can all get a little emotional. And I’m going to warn you here, I’m taking the gloves off.

For me, a vote in this election comes down to a judgment call. But it’s not my judgment I’m worried about. It’s not your judgment I’m worried about. And it’s not Barack Obama’s judgment I’m worried about. It’s John McCain’s judgment that worries me. It worries me a great deal. Especially as the polls tighten in these last days before we vote. I just don’t want to see someone come to power that will not only continue the lunacy of the Bush regime, but, quite possibly, expand it.

Instead, I want a president in the White House who demonstrates prudent behavior. A president who thinks about the nation as a whole, thinks about the nation as it fits into this rapidly shrinking world, and is willing to represent and lead and defend all of us – not just those who fit into a small, increasingly paranoid pigeonhole on the far right.

We need, plainly, a president with good judgment. Someone who will make important decisions with calmness and with the council of great minds in a bipartisan cabinet. Someone who can engage us, congress, our allies and our enemies with grace and without invoking fear or encouraging ignorance.

We don’t need a man in the Oval Office who makes snap decisions under the guise of being a “maverick.” Not one that sings “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and lets himself be filmed doing it. Not one known in DC circles to have an anger management problem. Not one who uses a gimmick candidate like Sarah Palin to try to lure in the rightest of the right wing.

That gimmick has failed. When prominent members of the Republican Party publicly endorse the Democratic candidate for president, citing Sarah Palin as a key reason for their defection, you know you have a problem.

I believe John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin was the death knell for his campaign – and deservedly so. It was a decision either tremendously ill-conceived and poorly researched or simply a demonstration of utter contempt for the American people, an underestimation of the intelligence of our electorate, and an overestimation of the perceived desire of American women to see a female candidate on the ticket.

As an American woman, I actually find it offensive that the McCain campaign believed they could harness both the fundamentalist Christian vote and the post-Hillary female vote by identifying Palin as a running mate. Would it be great to see a woman in the White House? Sure it would. Absolutely. But only the right woman – someone with credible experience dealing with the weasel patrol in Washington, someone who is ready to hold her own with world leaders, and someone who can separate personal religious beliefs from leadership for a diverse nation. Even if I were a Republican, Sarah Palin would not represent me.

Contrary to what some elements of the Republican Party may believe, the United States is not exclusively a nation of evangelical Christians. Ours is a nation of many peoples, many faiths, and many lifestyles; I see Sarah Palin in the White House as a very bad thing for people who do not share her fundamentalist Christian religious mores. Let’s just say I don’t anticipate seeing any “Wiccans for McCain” bumper stickers any time soon.

Are there people who think Palin is an acceptable candidate for the vice presidency? Certainly there are. Shockingly, there are a lot of them. That scares the bejeezus out of me. Do I think the majority of her supporters – most of whom who had no idea who she was before August 29th this year – are using common sense in rallying to her side? Honestly, no. But in desperate times – when everyday people are being crushed by fuel prices, failed banks, foreclosed mortgages – desperate people will cleave tightly to those they *think* understand and represent them.

Problem is, these good people are being sold a bill of goods. What they don’t seem to know, despite the folksy “guys and gals/common woman” rhetoric, is that Sarah Palin isn’t just like them. Yeah, she’s a mom. Yeah, she’s a working woman, a hunter, a wife, a church-goin’ gal. (Many women are.) But unless your family’s personal wealth clocks in at the million dollar mark, my friends, you are not playing in Sarah Palin’s league. It’s all smoke and mirrors – Barnum and Bailey on an epic level. It’s all an illusion to draw in disenfranchised conservatives – the fearful, the undereducated, the insular, the poor and the paranoid, and yes, sometimes the xenophobic and the ignorant   – who are seeking someone to blame.

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the video Spencer posted of the scary, name-calling crowds at a recent Palin rally. It’s distressing to watch the crowd – belligerent, uninformed – one racist even holding a stuffed monkey labeled with Obama’s name. The mood changes from “party faithful” to “mob” pretty quickly in difficult times. They grasp at catchphrases like “Country First” and believe that the Republicans will keep them safe and restore their measure of prosperity. They hear Palin raise them up as being pro-America Americans and use words like patriotism and socialism without really knowing what they mean. And they do it all without recognizing it’s the party she represents – the twisted smoking wreckage of the GOP – that has laid waste to this country for eight years and is largely responsible for their current predicament.

Does Sarah Palin represent you? Try taking my easy 10-Question Palin Judgment Compatibility Quiz:

1.      Have you ever tried to coerce a librarian into identifying books that should be banned?
2.      Do you believe that God ordains the building of oil pipelines?
3.      Do you think it’s a good idea to get on a plane and fly 3000 miles after your water breaks in the 7th month of a high-risk pregnancy?
4.      Do you think traumatized rape victims should have to pay for their own forensic rape evidence kits?
5.      Do you have a knocked-up teenage daughter and still think abstinence-only sex education is the right way to go?
6.      Have you ever been videotaped being blessed against all forms of witchcraft and enemies bearing serpents?
7.      Have you ever faced an enemy bearing a serpent?
8.      Do you think the United States constitution should be amended just to serve the gay marriage paranoia of the Christian right?
9.      Do you read newspapers? Any newspaper? Buehler? Buehler?
10.      If you can see another country from your living room, does that make you an expert on it?

Oh – and on that last point – you think you know all about Russia, Governor Palin, because you can see the country from your living room? Hey, guess what? I was educated as a Soviet scholar, lived in both the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia, and, when I worked for the American Embassy, I could – literally – see the Russian White House across the street from my living room. And, despite spending a decade and a half of my life studying, living in, and working in Russia, I still don’t know the country half as well as I’d like. And yet, if I am judged against the Sarah Palin international leadership sniff test, I think I’m qualified to be John McCain’s secretary of state!

Look, I don’t doubt that Sarah Palin is ambitious and politically savvy in her own small pond. The size of the cojones on that Estee Lauder’ed Alaskan pit bull is not in question. And I don’t doubt she knows how to handle herself in front of the cameras. (Hey, if I had a hard-fought, six-year, five-college bachelors degree in sports journalism and the career goal to appear on SportsCenter, I’d know which camera to address, too.)

But putting on a good face for a crowd isn’t enough. The person one heartbeat, one cancer diagnosis, one breath away from the presidency of the United States should be much smarter than the average bear. And I don’t think Sarah Palin is that. Joe Biden has his own warts and problems, too, but he’s not delusional.

A few years ago – heck, a few months ago – I thought better of John McCain. But the Palin choice has made me think he’s eaten some bad mushrooms and taken a ride on the crazy train. Whatever the reason for his horribly poor vice presidential decision, I sure as hell don’t want him representing me or my country.

Please, don’t let John McCain’s poor judgment further derail this nation’s future.

Choose wisely. Choose hope. Choose reason. Choose smart.

Choose Barack Obama.

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Please return tomorrow for the final Not Spencer post.  

  • grace

    Excellent post, Merujo. I laughed out loud at a couple of your Palin compatibility quiz questions.

    I think we’re fortunate that McCain revealed his true colors so early in the election cycle. Otherwise, he would have given Obama a respectable run for his money. Because almost every independent thinker I know says the same thing: that over the last two decades they’ve always liked or at least respected John McCain. Now I wonder, was he always hiding behind the facade of ‘war hero’ but was really a panicked, inadequate, desperate, “please Daddy love me” man-baby?

    Vote! And Happy Halloween!

  • radiocynic

    Nice post, Melissa. I’ve mentioned this before, but yes, John McCain’s judgment is the defining measure that almost completely discounts the other (many) qualities I used to like and respect about him. Even before the Palin thing, he seemed to be abandoning much of his earlier “reaching across the aisle” approach in an attempt to embrace mainstream Republicanism. Not only did that move him away from my own viewpoint, but also showed a willingness to waver from his own general positions and beliefs, only for political gain. (And indeed the Palin thing provides an unbelievably convenient “clincher”, doesn’t it?)

    And the McCain team’s gaffes, including his supporters’ fear-mongering bigoted statements being allowed to continue, show a lack of communication or organization either from the team, or from McCain himself. Whether it’s the man or the team, it’s very reassuring that the Obama side has showed consistent ability to stay on message and well-organized.

  • http://www.paulbaily.com PaulNoJustPaul

    Excellent post as always, Melissa! Here’s hoping…

  • http://stillbaking.ca/blog suze

    Excellent post Merujo. My fingers are crossed that your country will do better tomorrow than ours did a few weeks ago…