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
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.
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,
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
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.
BlackCommentator.com 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
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 davidalove.com. Click
to contact Mr. Love.