As I watch Fred Thompson extol the virtues of John McCain, I have to admit McCain sounds like a great guy. Certainly an American hero who displayed incredible courage. A maverick who took on Washington. And a maverick who shook up the Republican Presidential campaign trail back in 2000. Yet I can’t help but remember that the Republicans chose someone else back in 2000. They decided George W. Bush would be a better President. GEORGE W. BUSH! Thank you Republicans. You made a great choice. I really want to trust you now. After 2000, McCain learned his lesson. He became less of a maverick, changing his position even on torture in recent months. Remember that 2008 Republican Presidential Debate when McCain was the only candidate who spoke out against torture? I almost stood up and cheered in the privacy of my basement when he spoke up. But it turned out that was just the last pillar of the old John McCain to fall. And the Republicans rewarded him with the nomination.
It’s been amusing on this convention night to hear the Republicans falling all over themselves to praise Sarah Palin. The new line is that she has “executive experience” — one and half years in the governor’s office and several years as the mayor of a small town in Alaska. Senator Orrin Hatch just said that being mayor of a small town is in lots of ways even harder than being mayor of a big city. Wow, reaching a little bit there Senator? Of course, they don’t talk about all the executive experience John McCain has had. Nor do they mention that Barack Obama has been running a very successful national campaign for President for longer than Palin has been governor of Alaska.
No, they talk about her foreign policy experience (Alaska is next to Russia) and her military experience (as the head of the Alaska National Guard). They don’t mention what a mockery her daughter’s pregnancy makes of her abstinence-only sex ed stand. Nor do they mention that she secured $27 million in earmarks for her small town. Nor do they mention that she was in favor of the bridge to nowhere before she was against it and even after she was against it she got the full funding, it was just labeled differently. Now Newt Gingrich is talking angrily about how Palin is indisputably more qualified than Obama. “She’s been mayor! She’s been governor! She was head of the Alaskan National Guard!” If he’s angry it must be true! What a joke. The Republicans are just digging themselves into a hole of lies.
What we’re hearing from the Republicans as they comically fall over themselves to justify McCain’s reckless VP choice is SPIN. Spin at it’s worst. The kind of spin I hate much more than partisanship. The kind of spin I hope the American people are getting better and better at spotting and dispatching. It’s the kind of mindless, unflinching, dishonest spin that has made Obama so popular because he may be our last hope for a post-spin political arena. If his method works, other politicians will follow. If it doesn’t, politicians will return to the old ways that have always worked.
John McCain would have been a much better President than George W. Bush, but the Republicans did not give us that option. Now they have given us McCain Lite. And in McCain’s first major decision, he gives us a person who nobody can honestly believe is “ready on day one.” She must be about 30th on the list of Republicans qualified to be President, behind many men and women. I think she’s a rising star in the Republican party and she will give a good speech tomorrow night. But is she ready? If Republicans honestly believe Obama isn’t ready, can they honestly believe she is?
NOTE: I forgot to mention she’s a hockey mom. Which I’m sure the Republicans will describe as Olympic Coaching Experience.