Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sarah Palin: Did the Repugs pull a fast one? 

The choice of the woefully-unprepared Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the running mate for GOP Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has me - and many others, for all I know(*) - wondering if the GOP has something up its sleeve.

Is it possible that the Republicans could REALLY be this inept? Are they REALLY so shamelessly irresponsible that they would hang such an artless, untalented nitwit albatross like Gov. Palin around the neck of Sen. McCain? (Yes, I know they continually show themselves to be irresponsible in the way they treat our country and the troops, but they usually protect the party a little better than that.)

Such incompetence is endemic in they way they govern, but they usually campaign better than that, aiming as they usually do at the stupid Americans who vote for them enthusiastically, and trying to come with sophistry that makes a little bit of sense to the uninformed independent voters who fall for lame stunts like the Purple Heart band-aids that the Republican delegates were wearing so proudly at the 2004 GOP convention despite how insulting they were to the men that the GOP likes to send overseas to die for no very good reason.

So the Palin misstep seems a little out-of-character. Are they really THAT lame? Or are they up to something?

I have a theory ...

Sarah Palin is not the real choice.

The GOP strategy is based on grandstanding and photo-ops and drama - why should this year be any different? - and they are going to lay another stunt on us in the next few days. McCain will soon announce that Palin is dropping out for family reasons. (This will serve two purposes: 1) They can get Palin out of the way; and 2) they can blame those mean liberals - in the media and politics - for just being so rude and uncivil that far too many qualified and brilliant citizens - such as Sarah Palin - feel they can't participate in national politics. (Watch them try to keep a straight face as they cover for Palin ... then start repeating their lame talking points that Obama: 1) is the black Hitler; 2) is a black radical Christian separatist; 3) is the most liberal senator in the history of the wooooorld!; 4) is an elitist who hates coffee and regular lettuce; 5) is the Anti-Christ; 6) is the liberal messiah; or 7) fill in the blank with the GOP sophistry de jour.))

Then they announce the real candidate.

I don't know who it is. But this is where you see the real brilliance of the tactic. ANYBODY looks like a great pick compared to Gov. Palin! She set the bar so low that even George W. Bush by comparison approaches an illusion of coherence.

So ANY of those other corrupt, transparent, dishonest dimwits that the GOP was trying to pass off as presidential material will look positively statesman-like in the wake of the Palin debacle. Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee ...

Well, maybe not Huckabee.

But the others will fit in quite nicely, and having a vice presidential candidate who can string words into a sentence and can name a Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade may give McCain just the boost he needs with voters who are smart enough to see through Palin but not smart enough to figure out what a hollow sham the Republican Party is as a whole.

Even Joe Lieberman will look good. At least he doesn't look at you, weird and shocked, when you seem dubious about the proposition that proximity to the most remote part of Russia gives you automatic foreign policy cred.

(*) Special thanks to Jonah Goldberg for this neat trick. I slyly qualify my statement with "for all I know" so that my original statement becomes part of the narrative, but I've given myself a little cover in case somebody calls me on it.


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