So John McCain has chosen for a running mate one Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska. Here's my theory on how that conversation went:
Senator McCain: "Wow, all those Democrat ladies sure are mad that Hillary's not on the ticket. "
Campaign Guy: "Yep. They wanted to cast a vote for a woman"
SM " (light bulb over his head) SAY! We should put a woman on our ticket!"
CG: "That's a great idea sir! Like who?"
SM: "I dunno - a Republican. Maybe a Senator?"
CG: "Yeah, like Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas?"
SM: "No, she's real smart. You know how I feel about smart women. Pick another one"
CG: "Actually, all the women senators know what a jerk you are, sir. They won't want to sign up"
SM: "Oh yeah... maybe a governor?"
CG: "Are there any lady Republican governors? I'll look it up... here we are! Alaska!"
SM: "Alaska! She won't know me at all! I don't even know her name! Let's call her up."
And so after 36 hours of frantic and obviously incomplete vetting, we have a Republican Vice-Presidential candidate. I had never heard of Sarah Palin before this week and I don't know much about her now. Here's what I've learned so far - all of this from other sources than the lady herself.
- She has been governor of Alaska for two years. Before that she was the mayor of a fairly small town (in all fairness, it's big for Alaska ) of about 6000 people.
- She refers to herself as a "hockey mom" and enjoys the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and that sort of stuff.
- She has five children, the youngest a boy of less than one year - I think he was born in April. So we know she can multi-task.
- Her husband works for an oil company on Alaska's North Shore and is away from home for very long stretches of time. Again with the multi-tasking.
- She understands oil and oil companies. Alaska produces more oil than any state other than The Great State of Texas and exports much of it across the Pacific to Russia, China and Japan.
- She is under investigation by her state's legislature for illegal actions relating to a supposed "private vendetta" against her brother-in-law, a former law enforcement officer (I think Sheriff but don't know for sure). No idea on the details about this - it may be fact-based and it may be political flailing.
- She is a former beauty pageant contestant and news anchor.
- She is extremely conservative socially - pro-life, anti-stem cell research, pro-marriage amendment, etc. etc.
So all of this sounds okay, right? The choice of a woman for VP is pretty clever - there are enough angry bitches out there who will vote for a woman even if her political ideas are diametrically opposed to those of the typical angry-bitch mindset. And she actually sounds like a great story - a mom of five from Nowhere, Alaska ending up as the Vice President (and considering McCain's age and state of health, quite possibly as commander-in-chief someday). Haven't we all been saying for years, "Send a Mom to the White House! She'll have everything fixed in two months". I was kind of excited about it myself, and eager to learn more about this woman.
But yesterday a story broke about Bristol Palin, her 17-year-old daughter, who is five months pregnant. I feel awful for this girl, whose private business is now front-page news, especially as I watch her being paraded in front of the camera along with her boyfriend, who wears the dazed expression of a kid who realizes that he prefers the frying pan to the fire after all.
First of all, I have to assume that there is no way that McCain knew about this or he would never have chosen Palin, which really makes me wonder about why and how that decision was made. Was she really the only woman they could think of?
But what I really don't get is Sarah Palin agreeing to be on the ticket, considering her daughter. There are two possible explanations: First - she didn't know her daughter was pregnant, even though she's a skinny teenager in her second trimester. I'm just not sure how that could be if Palin was making any effort at all to pay attention to her daughter. I'm not saying it's not possible but it sure doesn't reflect well on her. But it's certainly preferable to the second possibility: that she knew her daughter was pregnant and decided to go ahead and run, fully aware of the kind of horrible, vituperative things that would be said about her little girl. "Sure, I'll toss my daughter to the wolves, allow her to be branded a slut, make this difficult situation she's in fuel for every talking head on TV, and claim her out-of wedlock teen pregnancy really reflects my "family values" because she didn't have an abortion. I'm willing to put my child through hell for the sake of my political ambitions." I just can't get my brain around that one.
Oh, there she is on TV now, wagging her kids at the camera. I wonder if she will still be on the ticket in two weeks. For her daughter's sake, I hope not.