I should be writing, but in all the Palinoia I can't resist. Two examples today of why I love Obama:
First, Southern ignoramus Rep. Lynn Westmoreland called the Obamas "uppity." The racial baiting could hardly be more obvious. Obama's response? A shrug: "I've been called worse on the basketball court."
Then yesterday in her speech, Palin criticized Barack Obama as a "community organizer." He gave this amazing response
, which everyone should read. It's not sound-bitey. It's not shallow gotcha politics. It's better than that--it's thoughtful and sensible and doesn't do what Palin did to Obama: treat him like an idiot. I think the tone is perfect.
By the way, since everyone seems to be wetting their pants about Sarah Palin, let me just point out that, barring a huge slipup somewhere, there's really no way McCain can win this year. This is going to be the year of throwing the Republican bums out, and if people could vote against George Bush (who now has four solid years of under 50% popularity) they would. So McCain had two choices: appeal to the moderates by being NOT like Bush, or appeal to the base by being EXACTLY like Bush 2.0. Both of these are losing strategies, chiefly because the base is jealous of their lunatic ideology and they snarl at anyone who asks for a step of compromise.
His choice of Palin shows the second strategy: Palin's speech was snarky, resentful liberal-bashing that sounds exactly like the Rove divide-and-conquer strategy that put McCain in this no-win position in the first place. If you say "you're either our friend or our deadly enemy" often enough, a schism is guaranteed. Obama isn't drawing huge crowds just because he's a good talker. He's actually selling something that people want WAY more than they want McCain (as evidenced by the comparatively small crowds McCain's been drawing all year).
People are excited about Palin because she gave two entertaining speeches and has an intriguing new bio. But she's not selling change. She's sucking up to the oil companies, she's an inexperienced good ol' boy you'd want to drink a beer with, she brushes off criticism with a folksy charm, and she's obviously ignorant about huge swaths of policy. (As Matt Yglesias pointed out
, even on the one thing that she's supposed to be good at--energy--she didn't say a single even moderately sensible thing.) This is obviously energizing to the base, but here's the thing: the base--which STILL loves George W. despite his record of actual incompetence--is driven by ideology and charisma and is fucking insane, and while they're clapping each other on the back at the convention, sensible people actually hungry for change aren't apt to change their Obamaward trajectory. Zealotry breeds ignorance which breeds an echo chamber which breeds self-destruction. If Obama continues responding smartly, this is going to be a nine-days-wonder of a threat. (Especially if she keeps insulting non-small-town big cities as being somehow elitist and unAmerican. That's where most Americans live, for god's sake...)
Two other things that haven't been touched on in any of the blogs I've been reading:
1.) Since McCain is on record as having originally wanted a moderate veep (Ridge or Lieberman) and Palin is his third choice, and since he has clearly reversed himself on huge segments on his own record in order to get elected, why the hell does the base even trust him not to flip again? Once he gets into office, what's preventing him from reverting to the actual rebel he's intermittently been for the last 26 years? Why isn't anyone in the base seemingly worried about this? (Possible answer: they can't afford to be?)
2.) Since McCain chose Palin against his will as a sop to the base, and since he obviously doesn't know anything about her, what are the odds that they'll actually get along? I suspect there may be a whole backstage melodrama in the offing. His next autobiography could be a hoot.
Final note: Great line from Josh Marshall, liveblogging McCain's acceptance speech: "It's so great to have George Bush in the White House. Now let's get elected so we can clean up this mess in Washington."
Labels: current events