Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin is both Very Funny and Very Dangerous

by Norman Markowitz

As the flap over Sarah Palin's nomination continues to grow and she prepares to give her nomination speech at the Republican convention tonight, it is time to stop over analyzing what McCain has done and look at both the nonsense and the huge dangers involved.

Palin is a far right loose cannon. Here popularity in Alaska is the result of her personality, nothing else. She denounces lobbyists and special interests and is in their pockets (and the lobbyists we are talking about are very local, very provincial). Her relationship with Alaska legislators and administrators of her own government is similar to that of a Catch-22 character--she avoids them.

McCain is 72 years old. If he is elected he would be the oldest man to be in office in U.S. history after Ronald Reagan. If he passes away, Palin would become President of the United States, a position that she has absolutely no qualifications for in terms of mainstream politics on any level. Her complete lack of understanding on any level of the existing political system, her eccentric authoritarian tendencies, as seen by the developing scandal involving her alleged attempts to get her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, her day dreaming view of U.S. military power and foreign relations generally, could have catastrophic effects.

The Republican Right has tried to bury the electorate in a river of BS for thirty years and they have now come up with this. Those who preach "family values" are rallying around a woman whose unmarried daughter is about to have a child. In the rightwing political world, unwed teenage mothers are usually portrayed as minority women from "welfare" families, making babies in order to get more welfare. Their parents are portrayed as failed role models abdicating their parental responsibilities thanks to "liberal" influence. "Just Say No" is the slogan and those who don't say no deserve social rejection. If Palin were a Democrat, I have no doubt that she would be hounded off the ticket. But, she is being praised (praised!) for releasing a statement that she is happy that her daughter will not have an abortion and she and her husband will be happy to be grandparents.

If it weren't for the Republican Right's hypocrisy and emphasis on punishment, Palin's daughter might deserve some sympathy. Certainly a working class teenager in the same situation would deserve a great deal of sympathy. A working class teenager in that situation would also very much need the right to choose whether or not to have a pregnancy termination.

Palin's "foreign policy" comments (cheer leading for the Iraq War and attacks on "Russian aggression" in Georgia) one could expect for a caller to a right-wing talk show.

McCain has done what many considered to be the impossible. He has chosen as his running mate a woman who relatively speaking, makes him look not so bad. If he thinks that he can win over the votes of women who have any identification with women's rights, he is I believe very wrong. All he has done politically is shore up his strength with the religious ultra-right. He has shown by his choice how irresponsible he is and what a McCain administration would likely be.

P.S. A bit of humor. Would Palin use her Vice Presidency to advance Alaskan Independence, as a former member of Alaska's Independence Party? Would she as President demand that Russia withdraw from Siberia? Would she bar Russian Hockey Players from playing in the NHL over Canadian objections? Would she establish a Department of Religious Affairs and appoint Pat Robertson Secretary? How many states would try to secede from the union during her presidency? What would happen to the Just Say No Policy toward Pre-marital sex? Would it be changed to a policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell?