Saturday, September 13, 2008

After Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama has to beat yet another woman!

What If Sarah Palin is Barack's real adversary?

What If?

What if John McCain's personal and secret agenda is:
  • If nominated, I will run.
  • If elected, I will be inaugurated.
  • If inaugurated, I won't have to serve (for long).
I expect a lot of readers may take extreme exception to what I'm about to set forth in this column. All I can say is, against my better judgment, Obama is down to Plan B, C, or D. His best option has been left behind at the Convention (if not before). So, don't blame me if we find ourselves, today, on the brink of a Barackis-Dukakis.

For the last eight years, what's worked for the GOP has been to put a mediocre governor in the White House and let him serve as an empty vessel. Let a Cheneyesque and Rovian inner circle tell him what the policy is and keep him half-informed as to what the facts are; because too many loose facts can spawn transparency, indiscretions and embarrassments.

Conventional thought has been that John McCain can fill the role quite perfectly. In order to fall in the GOP line of Bush's succession, McCain has been willing to stand on his head and turn himself inside out in the last eight years. He calls it being a maverick; the rest of the world calls it being a Chameleon.
In his own 2002 memoirs, Worth the Fighting For, McCain confessed to having no cause other than satisfying his own ambition - an obsession and determination to become President:
I didn't decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president. . . . In truth, I'd had the ambition for a long time.
In fact, in the primaries McCain struggled in a field of conservatives' undesirables. His track history of being a changeable maverick, as well as his age, engendered a list of negatives for the GOP brain trusters and king-makers like Grover Norquist and Paul Weyrich. McCain survived. But the GOP's godfathers did not trust his commitment to their basic principles when he wanted Joe Lieberman as his running mate. They picked Sarah Palin for him. Fine by him! Anything that gets him over the bar and through the hoop!

I submit that the 2009 edition of this empty vessel mold is Sarah Palin. The pattern emerges. McCain is a temporary placeholder until she is groomed. Governor Palin is the new Bush. Arianna Huffington says Sarah Palin is a Trojan Moose Concealing Four More Years of George Bush:
McCain's real running mate is George Bush and the failed policies of the Republican Party. Even if they are dressed up in a skirt, lipstick, and Tina Fey glasses.
Ted Rall says, Sarah Palin may be Queen of the Nobodies. Her
experience may be overrated. But what about IQ? ... By most measures, Palin is a weird choice. Like Geena Davis in the 2005 TV series "Commander in Chief," she could wake up one morning to find that McCain has shuffled off to the great POW camp in the sky. We would probably be in trouble.
Big trouble. This is an extremely troublesome possibility for the future of our country. What if McCain's blind ambition to become #44 is satisfied by one year after his inauguration (more or less)and he retires? What if his health fails? President Palin becomes #45!

I further submit that the main issue in this campaign is Sarah Palin. She represents and embodies McCain's first strategic decision as a presidential nominee. The probability that decision was made for him makes it even more ominous.
She is the Manchurian Wasilla Candidate.

McCain is actually running on her coattails. McCain crowds dwindle without Palin. Reflective voters, Republican and Democratic alike, realize Sarah has a greater political future than John. Any actuary will tell you that.

If the GOP wants this election to be about personality and celebrity instead of addressing policy issues, so be it. Sarah Palin needs a thorough vetting. Since McCain didn't vet her, Obama will have to be up to the task.

22 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

End notes: For the above graphic, I have edited Michael Shaw's Call for the Bag. In toto, an artistic and eloquent statement.

9/13/2008 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

President Palin and Prime Minister Putin loose on the world? What American wants to live on that planet?

9/13/2008 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Great post, Vig. Thanks for the link to the Huffington Post. As "W" has warned us: We Americans need to: "Be afraid; be very, VERY afraid" of this Trojan Moose and its hidden "surprise(s)". Rove and his minions will stop at nothing to steal yet another presidential elction. Truly, their deviousness knows bounds.

The GOP's reflexive tactic, employed whenever they want to obscure the fact that they have no solutions to offer voters that would actually improve the lives of ordinary citizns, is to change the subject.

Unable to offer any proposals to solve the problems resulting from their eight years of disastrous policies, the GOP turns to the Atwater-Rove ploys of character-assassination; to distortion and lies about their opponent's record - all in an attempt to demean, discourage, and distract the voters' attention from the GOP's track record of widespread corruption; creation of The "Bush Doctrine"; Constitution-shredding; "Packing" of the nation's judiciary; economic havoc as a result of the GOP's war against the middle class. All of these heinous actions have returned our nation to divisiveness, despair, and stalemated legislatures, at all levels of government. Neighbors find it difficult to dialogue with one another about the complex and overwhelming issues threatening our nation.

As noted in the Huffington post of 9-8-08: "Every second of this campaign not spent talking about the Republican Party's record, and John McCain's role in that record, is a victry for John McCain."

Barack, and we, must shout from every window and rooftop that we are sick and tired of these destructive and divisive tactics.

"Enough!" needs to be our cry. Enough of the lying and the pretending and the abject failure to hold any official accountable for his/her actions.

We need Hillary and Bill,Governor Richardson and Wes Clark to find their voices and shout out that the politics of personal destruction and obfuscation is merely an attempt to disguise the fact that the Republican Party is, itself, bankrupt.

9/13/2008 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Anvendelig said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/13/2008 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Anvendelig said...

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many Americans of a certain social class persist in the belief that politics is a profession best pursued by intellectuals. Ideally, our leaders would be philosopher-kings with steely, reason-over-passion intelligence.

The reasonable hope was that having some genuinely smart men in charge would drag our national debate out of the schoolyard and into the classroom, where we would finally be able to have an adult conversation about issues of great national significance.

Fat chance.

The excitement over successful candidates with academic backgrounds lasts only until they actually enter office, at which point they are found mouthing the same banalities and moronic insults that are the truck and trade Congressional. It is an almost surreal idiocy: the notion that if smart people enter national politics, national politics must inevitably become smarter.

The problem with that hope was that it rests on a false assumption: that electoral politics is a form of applied philosophy and the ideal model for political debate is the graduate seminar, where everyone goes around the table, putting forth their position and making respectful arguments and objections.

This is a huge misconception of what politics is and what distinguishes it from academic life.

In a philosophical debate, what everyone involved is trying to get at is the truth. As a result, each party has a vested interest in the discussion remaining as rational and free of bias as possible. Even better, the truth is what economists call a "non-rival good" - many people can partake in the truth at the same time without anyone's share being diminished.

In contrast, what is at stake in the political realm is not truth but power, and power (unlike truth) is a "rival good" - one person or group can wield power only at the expense of another.

Unfortunately, the very essence of politics makes partisanship inevitable. Political power is ultimately about deciding who shall govern, and part of governing is about choosing between competing interests.

Running a country is nothing like going to graduate school, it's more like a form of organised crime. In many ways, the state is just one big protection racket, offering security and policing and a few social benefits in exchange for a form of tribute, which we call "taxes."

Seen from this perspective, political parties resemble not debating societies but gangs, and the struggle between the Republicans and Democrats is not much different from the ongoing turf war between the Bloods and the Crips.

It is not a coincidence, then, that the most successful winners are profoundly anti-intellectual men who treat politics as a form of street fighting. Not necessarily violent, but violent if necessary.

Academics like Obama who enter politics are frequently surprised at how different the rules of the game are. Look at Cheney, Bush, Rove and DeLay. They do not have reputations as a fierce debaters who are not content to just win an argument: they are not content until their opponents are left humiliated.

Machine politics is not a perversion of the game, it is its essence.

9/13/2008 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Ever chance it gets, culture will murder politics. "Cultural affinities," wrote the Los Angeles Times at the end of the Republican convention, "are now central to the campaign strategy of GOP presidential nominee John McCain."

"Our candidate is one of you, their candidate isn't."

McCain is their right man, because Democrats can't stand him. Just as I tried to convince all in here at the time that Clinton was the right one for our side: because the Repugs hated her. Clinton and McCain are cultural opposites. You all thought it was politics. It's not. It's a battle of cultures. And culturally, Obama is not thuggish enough.

9/13/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Emily, I totally fooking agree with you: hang the Busheney years around the necks of McCain & Palin, like my old man used to do with the chickens killed by our dogs. They are part and parcel the same ol' same ol dogs of war. You can't put lipstick on a pitbull any more than you can a pig.

Cooper, I think the Ruskies would love your world.

Anvendelig, you score by putting some big points on the board.

And yes, Dawg! "Culture trumps politics" is one of my favorite sayings. I don't know where I got it.

If the Palins among us want to call out America's elites (THE BEST), it's past time for the rest of us to call out America's aristocracy (THE RICH). Let's have it out and give the press something real to talk about. Finally.

9/13/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Like anvendelig said: Machine politics is not a perversion of the game, it is its essence.

While most of the right wing types I know could only use a chess board to play checkers McCain has out maneuvered Obama and the Democrats and have highly energized the christian right that just a few weeks ago was lukewarm at best. I agree with Emily we need to get just as dirty and quickly. If we don't Ted Rall's comment about being trouble will be an understatement.

9/13/2008 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

vigilante, Another excellent, thoughtful post and wise discussion.

Thank you for keeping the election debate at the level at which it belongs.

Your argument is compelling although I do believe you underestimate both McCain and Palin to a degree.

As for Karl Rove, he isn't needed this election since the vast majority of Democrats and left wing bloggers are doing his job for him.

Even the Machivellian Rove could never design a plot where the entire opposition self destructs like the Dems have done this past three weeks.

9/13/2008 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger adynaton said...

Looking at the campaigns from afar, it seems like the very point of Obama's message is to change the face of US politics which I imagine is currently very much like what Anvendelig describes. The issue is what politics should be like, not what it is. Is there a way to rise above the fatuous mudslinging debate in an aggressive manner?

Utter refusal to participate and insisting on talk about policy might be a gesture that is dramatic enough; replying to the provocative interviewer: "That's a stupid question. Here's a better one."

9/14/2008 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger Boris said...

Astute observation, Adynaton. In my mind's eye, I recall seeing and hearing that response in the voice of my man, Dennis Kucinich.

9/14/2008 06:59:00 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

Sarahpoleon is the wingtard choice; McCavein means nothing to them.

They are quite obviously hoping for Johnny to DIE so they can get a stooge even more hapless than Chimpy installed in the Presidency.

9/14/2008 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

The media seems like a deer caught in the headlights and in the middle of the cultural war in the USA.

Bill Moyers said in his Journal this weekend:

... we choose our presidents not on the basis of their experience or even their political views, but on how well they tap into our basic beliefs, our deepest communal desires, including our religious or spiritual beliefs. Our presidents... represent in some very personal way the imagination and the mythology of the people who elect them.

This helps us understand why the facts about Sarah Palin meant nothing when she suddenly materialized on the public stage, like Cinderella at the ball. You could see the convention delegates awed by the magical moment when the small-town girl, church-going hockey mom, mentored by her pastor to think upon the story of the biblical Queen Esther, became an overnight star. Leaping past "go" to the pinnacle of politics and the ultimate goal the cover of "People" magazine.

No wonder reality-based journalists are having a hard time with this story. Mythology is not their beat. But in the imagination of her tribe, Sarah Palin achieved an almost immaculate conception. Her lack of experience matters not to them. Nor do they care that her past is filled with contradictions, and nothing the press reports, no matter how grounded in fact, can shake their faith.

Furthermore, news cycles once measured in hours, are now measured in minutes and second. We live inside a media hurricane, an unrelenting force of attacks and counterattacks hatched in partisan quarters and hurled into cyberspace with such velocity the poor little truth is blown away like signposts on the gulf coast. Try getting a false or misleading charge retracted once it's made. You cannot un-ring a bell. Try and you'll find yourself an "enemy of the people." One Republican official told journalists in St. Paul, "We will get with you if you keep messing with us." And as John McCain and Sarah Palin barnstormed the nation this week, crowds that came out to see them booed members of the press.

What's a journalist to do? ... journalists of the old school ... make reality, not mythology, their beat.

I think it's the cultural schism, not the political one, that is too deep for the media to bridge.

9/14/2008 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

"Since McCain didn't vet her, Obama will have to be up to the task."

And fast! lest their lies become embedded in the voters' psyche as the absolute truth.

I approve Beach Bum's fight dirty -- Obama's got to step down from his high ground and punch away. Bit discouraging how the entire McCain circus is hijacking the election show. I've watched some of Obama's ads (that lobbyist ad culminating in more of the same was I thougt lame)

That said, it seems (read about it) that Obama is beginning to throw in some direct jabs -- he's got to start going for the jugular.

9/15/2008 05:35:00 AM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Good logical paper bag 'ad' there Vig!

9/15/2008 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Oh yeah, there's no doubt that at this point, Palin is the biggest threat to Obama's election. McCain is running for president by proxy.

9/15/2008 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Right, Hills! Paul Krugman reinforces what we all have been sayin'!

Why do the McCain people think they can get away with this stuff? Well, they’re probably counting on the common practice in the news media of being “balanced” at all costs. You know how it goes: If a politician says that black is white, the news report doesn’t say that he’s wrong, it reports that “some Democrats say” that he’s wrong. Or a grotesque lie from one side is paired with a trivial misstatement from the other, conveying the impression that both sides are equally dirty.

They’re probably also counting on the prevalence of horse-race reporting, so that instead of the story being “McCain campaign lies,” it becomes “Obama on defensive in face of attacks.”

9/15/2008 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

And more from Krugman:

I’m not talking about the theory, often advanced as a defense of horse-race political reporting, that the skills needed to run a winning campaign are the same as those needed to run the country. The contrast between the Bush political team’s ruthless effectiveness and the heckuva job done by the Bush administration is living, breathing, bumbling, and, in the case of the emerging Interior Department scandal, coke-snorting and bed-hopping proof to the contrary.

I’m talking, instead, about the relationship between the character of a campaign and that of the administration that follows. Thus, the deceptive and dishonest 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign provided an all-too-revealing preview of things to come. In fact, my early suspicion that we were being misled about the threat from Iraq came from the way the political tactics being used to sell the war resembled the tactics that had earlier been used to sell the Bush tax cuts.

And now the team that hopes to form the next administration is running a campaign that makes Bush-Cheney 2000 look like something out of a civics class. What does that say about how that team would run the country?

.... If the way John McCain and Sarah Palin are campaigning is any indication, it would be much, much worse.

9/15/2008 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Edgar Newt said...

If by this post you are suggesting that Barack should be talking about Palin instead of McCain, I couldn't disagree more.

As your post originally noted, you cannot unring a bell. You cannot get a lie retracted (even, today, in the midst of undeniable evidence, McCain in reference to the lipstick-pig comment still held tenuously onto his complaint "Barack shouldn't have said it.").

The media and surrogates will have to be responsible for vetting Palin. Not Obama. He needs to focus on issues and on McCain. The Economy and the Liar. Health Care and Mr. Out of Touch. The War and Mr. No Support for Veterans.

Palin's bump has happened. Now comese the fall. The media is pissed and may actually do its job. Biden will need to be careful (he is full of gaffs afterall) but he and other surrogates can focus on Palin and help more accurately define her.

But every moment that Barack spends talking about Palin is one that reminds the conservative base that they will soon have her at the top of the ticket (moving from the Naval Obs. to the White House). By focusing on McCain, everybody is reminded that the Republican ticket is headed by the old guy, the "Mav", that is now running on a claim of being a Mav by bucking his party, and yet asking for his party's support.

Palin's lies won't be fully debunked. Ever. And definitely not in the next 50 days.

Focus on McCain. Drill into him and his lack of comprehension. Call out his lock-step approach re: Bush and his silence on "the issues". Remind people that for his tax bracket, the "Economy's fundaments are strong". He hasn't lost one of his 11 houses to foreclosure.

In closing: surrogates attack Palin. Barack attacks McSame. Biden should split his time (75-25 Mr. Unstable - Ms. Unable, respectively).

9/15/2008 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Edgar, the surrogates may be motivated, but not the media. The media just wants to prolong the blood sport and screw the truth. Barack has got to beat both Palin-McCain and the press.

Today looked promising. Barack Obama:

The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren't minding the store. Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

I certainly don't fault Sen. McCain for these problems. but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to.

It's under-regulated capitalism, Baby!

This is Obama's Moment: He must seize it. Palin-McCain is a self-confessed economic illiterate. Wall Street is perceived as a largely Republican establishment animal and in time this will come to be seen as another crash - if this is what it is - which happened on the Republican's watch. McCain will be deeply confused by current developments. We'll know, probably by the end of this week, whether Obama has that special quality his advocates have claimed. If he does frame this moment correctly he'll win in November and become the most important figure of his generation. If he cannot, he really was just all hot air.

9/15/2008 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger MadMike said...

Contrary to what the Wiz and some others believe I think that the bloggers should be talking about The Palin and the Obama campaign should be talking about her Sugar Daddy.

The Palin was never properly vetted so someone has to do it and that task must fall to the liberal news, such as Huffington Post, The Nation, New York Times and etc. Bloggers then in turn do their research and spread the word. To simply leave THE PALIN alone makes little sense. The fact that McBush picked her speaks to his inability to make a rational decision and his lack of concern for the possible future of the country should he die or become incapacitated. The Palin needs to be exposed for who she really is.....

9/16/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

Hey Newt! Palin herself, calls it the Palin-McCain administration!

9/19/2008 05:59:00 AM  

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