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When I look at the 2008 Republican ticket for president and vice president, I can’t help but ask: What kind of Simple Simon nonsense is going on here?

At the top of the ticket you have John McCain, whose only claim to fame was that he was captured by the “enemy”. Not much of a qualification for the White House, one would conclude, although I know that this area of discourse is sacrosanct. At best, the man is average and mediocre, stale and stilted, uninspiring and crotchety. No domestic policy beyond drilling for oil and corporate giveaways. And a foreign policy consisting of war, war and more war. You get the impression that after four years of this man, he would likely have the U.S. at war with anyone and everyone, building on the disastrous policies of the warmongering idiot Prince George.

Then, of course, there is Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, a state with a population half the size of Philadelphia. Before that, she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town of about 5,000 at the time, and was nearly recalled. Lest you find yourself impressed with job titles such as governor, remember that George Bush once was governor of Texas, and we know how much good that did us.

For a political party that claims to value merit and qualifications, and doesn’t want people of color to get any unfair handouts, the Republicans once again have shown that they will scrape the bottom of the barrel to find their “talent,” their leaders and standard-bearers. Those who should be the benchwarmers become the starting lineup. They did it in the Bush Justice Department, filling that once prestigious agency with intellectual duds who met the right-wing ideological litmus test. They did it with FEMA, placing a horse show judge in charge of relief efforts in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. Palin is the epitome of a lightweight to say the least, the GOP’s cynical answer to Hillary Clinton, but with none of the intelligence and none of the qualifications of that able yet flawed former candidate. And when Palin’s background is scrutinized, the party that cares little about women’s rights plays the sexism card.

But here’s what we do know about Palin. She billed Alaska taxpayers for 312 nights she spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office. She is under investigation for intimidating state officials into firing her state trooper brother-in-law.

Palin believes in creationism. She would preach to the rest of us about family values, and is against reproductive rights and contraception. She believes gays can be “converted” through prayer. And as Palin parades her hair licked family - complete with pregnant teen daughter and the daughter’s “fiancé”, shotgun pointed at his back - the governor cut funding to Covenant House Alaska, which provides housing to pregnant teen mothers. As far as foreign affairs are concerned, she believes invading Iraq was a task from God. And while Obama, a U.S. senator, has been thoroughly and incessantly scrutinized about his experience, Palin just received her first passport in 2006.

Together with McCain, this counterfeit superduo portrays itself as mavericks that will change Washington, although their campaign is managed by lobbyists and Rovian operatives, not to mention that their party has ruined the nation in eight years.

The ability of McCain and Palin to divorce themselves from reality is staggering. At their convention in Minnesota, with only 36 African American delegates, or 1.5 percent of the total, the Republican Party was able to act as if Black and Brown people simply do not exist in America. That is just as well, given that the GOP has painted itself into a political corner by appealing to its Neanderthal base - embracing intolerance and religious zealotry, and making itself into America’s version of the Afrikaaner National Party during apartheid. The Southern Strategy has come full circle for the Republicans. A party that depends on white identity for its bread and butter, despite rapidly changing demographics, is destined for a well-deserved demise that I will celebrate.

Yet, the McCain-Palin ticket is banking on the proclivity of the American electorate to act against its economic self interests, emphasizing “culture war” issues rather than the pocketbook issues that actually matter. Everyday people have taken a severe beatdown in America over the past eight years, but gluttons for punishment that they are, have we had enough? My sense of optimism demands that this latest incarnation of Reagan and Bush will fail, but time will tell.

The First Opinion Survey - Obama's Stumbling Blocks and Keys to Victory Editorial Board member, David A. Love, JD, is a lawyer and journalist based in Philadelphia, and a contributor to the Progressive Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, In These Times and Philadelphia Independent Media Center. He contributed to the book, States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons (St. Martin's Press, 2000). Love is a former Amnesty International UK spokesperson, organized the first national police brutality conference as a staff member with the Center for Constitutional Rights, and served as a law clerk to two Black federal judges. His blog is Click here to contact Mr. Love.

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September 11, 2008
Issue 290

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