Thursday, September 4, 2008

Years in Alaska are counted in dog years

McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as running mate was a brilliant political move. Since the announcement on Friday, the media has been consumed with her. That’s no small task either; she was up against a hurricane and an entire Republican Convention. This is the first time in this election season that I have heard more news about McCain’s campaign than Obama’s. The fact is, McCain by himself is stale. He’s been a high profile figure for so long that the public is over their courtship with him. His story is incredibly compelling; he was a P.O.W. from a military family, a political maverick, and a seemingly decent guy. But we have his resume memorized by now. It’s no wonder how easily Obama has swept the nation, his political career launched past Hillary Clinton and a bland bunch of white guys. Obama is new and interesting; we’re just getting to know him. The world is still in the honeymoon stages with Obama, McCain seems like an elderly divorcee.

So when the elderly divorcee shows up with an attractive young woman on his shoulder, we are all spellbound.

While it is admittedly sexist to paint the McCain/Palin ticket in this light, it’s fair because it matters that she’s a woman. There’s any number of pro-life conservatives that McCain could’ve chosen to satisfy the Republican base. Sarah Palin doesn’t just satisfy the base, she electrifies them! Not only does she have a compelling story, her story invokes the very issues that Republicans are passionate about. She and her daughter have both suffered through difficult pregnancies with a strong pro-life message, and her political battles show her as a reformer. Every time her name is brought up, it is an affirmation of conservative beliefs. The Republican Party has sorely needed a new image, and McCain has not only found a new champion for Republicans, he may have found the first female Vice President. The Republicans love her, and they have every reason to. Sarah Palin was clearly the right political choice for the Republican ticket, but there is one thing I’ve failed to mention in this lengthy explanation.

None of it matters.

Certainly it matters when it comes to winning an election, but in a year where their slogan is “Country First,” have the Republicans chosen their most competent members to lead the country?

The answer is no, and neither have the Democrats.

Sarah Palin and Barack Obama have captured the media spotlight and the nation’s attention. Neither one of them is a confident choice for a nation sorely in need of leadership. I will at least give the Republicans credit over the Democrats for putting experience at the top of the ticket. I will give the Democrats credit for putting Joe Biden on the ticket at all. I am a fan of Senator Biden, but did not expect him to be chosen as V.P. The Democrats have treated Biden as a liability. The average person knows more about his gaffes than his political positions.

Palin and Obama are both inexperienced and partisans will argue that their candidate’s experience is relevant while the opponent’s is useless. I’d like to appeal to both sides and ask: Can we just stop pretending it matters?

The media tells us who to pick, just as they tell us what issues are important – Iraq, the economy, gas prices – they always let us know when and how to panic. So, let’s just drop the conversation about who is ready to lead, who is the best choice for V.P., and who has the most relevant experience. Let’s just have a couple of debates between the candidates, find out how many homes they own or how much their shoes cost, and in November the media can tell us who to vote for.

I have watched both conventions and one thing is clear; this election isn’t about what’s best for the country, it’s about winning. The media wants to win ratings, the political parties want to win the White House, and in the end we all lose. Certainly this is how political elections have worked for many years, it's not a new concept; but after watching two weeks of bitter partisanship I have a hard time seeing a light at the end of this tunnel on either side.


Stephy said...

Hey, email me your current email address! I tried to send something to you and it bounced.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that too many people vote for the person that they can most "identify with".

I'm sorry, but I do NOT want somebody just like me running the country. I want somebody who is even tempered, hyper intelligent, worldly, reasonable and rational. Not "Caribou Barbie".