My obligatory Sarah Palin post
I started to get a sense of what we're in for when one of the very first comments I heard from some news dweeb was how the Palin picked proves John McCain isn't a "maverick" after all. A real maverick, he said, would've appointed Joe Lieberman. Dude, that animal's called a lemming, not a maverick. And "maverick" also doesn't mean doing the precise opposite of what your party wants 100% of the time either.
But sadly, that idiotic remark pretty much set the tone for everything that was to come. Within hours after the announcement, I was already hearing the most extraordinary things about Sarah Palin from people who had never even heard of the woman as of lunchtime. She is "evil personified," a friend of mine averred. She's "horrible," a "nightmare," and a threat to the very foundation of the republic. By yesterday afternoon, my own wife and her girlfriend were already plotting their "Thelma and Louise" drive off a cliff should McCain prevail in November.
All of this, as near as I can tell, based on little more than the boilerplate e-mails that went out from NARAL and various enviro-groups within seconds after the news broke. Never, ever in my life have I seen such a reactionary and unfair rush to judgment about a political candidate. It would be as if the very first day I'd heard about Barack Obama, I received some spam from the NRA and the National Taxpayer's Union and instantly proclaimed Obama to be the Antichrist, shrieking about his terrorist buddies and his support of infanticide, and vowing to join a militia.
Well I didn't do that, of course. Neither did anyone I know. But alas for Ms Palin, huge chunks of the American electorate seem much less willing than I am to give their opposition a fair hearing. She's a homophobe, among other mortal sins, and in the pocket of Big Oil. But if you dare to point out certain facts from her track record that undermine these soundbites (fighting her own party to support gay rights, suing oil companies, and supporting a windfall profits tax, for example) these inconvenient truths are simply dismissed. They anti-Palin chorus doesn't quite stick their fingers in their ears and go "La la la I can't hear you!" but they might as well. Their minds were made up and shut down as soon as the first spam from a left-wing advocacy group popped up in their inbox. It's easier than thinking and doing your own research, I guess. Maybe I'll join the fun, and vote for whoever that guy who's always trying to sell me Canadian Viagra wants me to.
Sarah Palin is nothing more than a sop to the religious right, I'm told. And yes, most of those folks do seem pretty happy with the pick.
I'm not a religious conservative. I'm pro-choice, pro-gay rights and anti-death penalty. And guess what? I like Sarah Palin. Really, I do. I don't agree with her on every issue of course, but so what? When you're a libertarian of any stripe these days, you accept it as a given that you'll disagree with every candidate on a whole host of issues. She's perfect by no means, but when I look at the other names that were supposedly on John McCain's VP short list, I can't find a one that I would prefer to Sarah Palin. That's subject to change, of course. We'll have to wait and see how she does during the convention and over the course of the following weeks before we determine whether this was a wise pick or not.
Meanwhile, if we're going on first impressions? (And why not, because God knows everyone else is.) She's the gun-toting Slayer of the Bridge to Nowhere, a Republican who battles her own party on matters of waste and corruption (and yes, gay rights.) Count me in. For now, at least.