Mystery, Alaska 2
For the next four years, President-elect Barack Obama had better be a rain-making miracle worker of a Chief Executive. Namely, someone who can wrap up Iraq and Afghanistan, personally capture bin Laden and his posse at gunpoint, balance the budget, erase the deficit and national debt, provide affordable health care for 47,000,000 uninsured Americans, reverse global warming and get on the Cubs' roster and lead them to their first World Series title in over a century. Finagling a cure for HIV and all cancer wouldn't hurt, either.
Our fickleness with Democrats may mean that Barack Obama will have to be twice as good as the best white President to be considered even half as acceptable. Therefore, even miracles still won't fly with the rabid wolves of the right wing (the hardliners who still haven't forgiven FDR for saving the country and winning WW II) as they foam all over their sour grapes. But Obama had better be the best President ever because you know who already has him in her crosshairs.
When Sarah Palin arrived in Anchorage Wednesday night, she was greeted at the airport like London received Queen Elizabeth I after the British Navy had defeated the armada of Phillip II of Spain: Like a conquering heroine who never conceded defeat ("I didn't lose this election," she said). Sarah Palin and her toothy, hockey-lovin' hillbilly family of two-legged locusts did exactly what they set out to do: Use the McCain presidential campaign as a makeover reality show for refurbishing their wardrobe and as a mere stepping stone getting the Palin brand of Republicanism out to the American public. Who cares if she couldn't bring about a tie with the big city opponent? She gave 'em Hell, you betcha!
More chilling than the weather in Anchorage that night were the signs and chants of "Two thousand twelve!" It was a level of support that can only be attributable to decades of Republican loyalty and perhaps cerebral hypothermia.
And, to her credit, Sarah Palin did one other thing: In six short weeks, she got her party and its supporters to cluster around her in a way that Joe Biden, who's been in the Senate exactly as long as Ted Stevens, could never dream of doing with his party. And she did it after McCain violated Andy Card's marketing axiom of never rolling out a new product in August.
She also did it by getting the most basic facts wrong and subverted the McCain campaign time and again like getting the William Ayers/Obama "connection" out there when the campaign had never approved such a line of attack. It was notable that Sarah "Barracuda" Palin was more of a maverick against McCain's own campaign than she ever was against the oil and gas cartels.
Palin, an imperfect analogue of Hillary Clinton, showed America the bright, shining face of the Republican Party of the future, partly by making by conspicuous relief the Old School Republican John McCain look even older than he already is. It was a gambit that worked spectacularly well with spectacularly insane and stupid people. Her "Aw shucks" brand of racism that made Glenn Beck the darling of three networks and counting made her the Republican Party's David Duke: Well-spoken, personable, well-dressed, attractive, pragmatic and reasonable-sounding until one actually began to listen to her.
Unfortunately, most didn't. And they never will.
Witness the Boston Herald's Margery Eagan in today's byline. Eagan, the token liberal on the tabloid Herald, drew some heat from former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci for her criticism of Palin's conduct on the campaign trail. She shared a cab with Cellucci yesterday and he had this to say:
"She’s got judgment and she’s tough. I’d like to see how many people could’ve walked out and given that convention speech."
And what about Africa - the continent?
"Look, she’s not an expert. But look at her record in Alaska."
So now you have to be an expert in foreign policy to know that Africa's not a country but a continent?
Well, that's only part of the problem, Paul. Some of us did and that includes members of the media, a mainstream media guilty of "gender bias" against Palin, a media that barely mentioned that Palin's much-ballyhooed 40 billion dollar pipeline to nowhere doesn't exist except on paper. That her $552,000 mansion was built by some pretty shady people who smell of sweet light crude. That the hockey rink that was built in Wasilla (a burg of 7,000 with metropolitan pretensions that now suddenly is announced with some prominence even in a distant view if you Google map Anchorage, Alaska) started out by swiping land before the ownership was even settled.
Cellucci is still defending Palin long after the McCain campaign had washed its hands of her and for good reason: They know that she'll be back in 2012. Cellucci, like so many other dimbulb Republicans who never find themselves on the right side of an issue, still thinks Palin's a good bet. Then again, Cellucci had his own Ted Stevens-esque home renovation crisis back in the day and maxed out his credit cards because he didn't know how to play the ponies so why should his judgment of vice presidential running mates be any less fallible?
Maybe by then, we'll get smarter and start weeding out the idiots by having Jeff Foxworthy moderate the Republican debates. I can just hear it now:
"If you think that South Africa is the southern tip of the nation of Africa, you might be..."
P. S. To President-elect Obama: Winning a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award wouldn't hurt, either.