The events of the past week have made me into a complete political junkie. First, the very exciting Democratic National Convention, which brought me to tears on several occasions--Edward Kennedy, Michelle Obama, the amazing Hillary Clinton quoting Harriet Tubman and recalling all the suffragettes fought for, the story of Joe Biden's wife and children dying and being sworn in at his surviving son's bedside, Al Gore's moving speech, and then Barack Obama's motivating, feisty speech and call to Americans to wake up and vote for change.
Watching the convention was so inspiring this year. I don't remember watching so much convention coverage in previous presidential elections. Even though my candidate of choice did not win the nomination, I'm energized to see how many Democrats are pulling together and getting behind Barack Obama, a man of obvious integrity and courage. The Republicans love to tout his "lack of experience," and I happened upon a right-wing radio show one day (I NEVER listen to those!!) when the host was quizzing one caller who was undecided about what Obama had accomplished (and then informed her that Obama had accomplished nothing). I'm glad the convention highlighted the fact that he could have had any number of ritzy positions after law school (with his Ivy League degree) yet instead he chose to work as a community organizer!
We were delighted to be able to watch the last night of the convention and Obama's speech with our good friends and fellow Democrats, Nancie and Dave, while we were visiting them in Seattle.
Palin in Comparison
I probably knew more about Sarah Palin before Friday morning than most Americans in the Lower 48 because of my job. I manage a group of publications professionals in the Northwest geographic region including Alaska and Hawaii. I also attend meetings of our area managers and business development managers where we talk about community and political involvement. In addition, I've been closely following the press attention about Ted Stevens because of our company connection. So when I heard she was John McCain's choice for VP, I had to laugh.
Alaska is like a small town; everyone knows one another or knows someone who knows someone else. Corruption is rife and almost expected. The good old boy network rules. I wouldn't be surprised if Sarah Palin's beauty queen looks gave her a boost at the polls in a state where men are in the majority of the population.
Since hearing the news, I've been glued to the blogosphere and news channels, perusing news articles, commentaries, and videos about McCain's rash choice. He must have been so pleased with himself, to imagine nabbing right-wing conservative voters in addition to disappointed Hillary fans...and to do so with one person! Ironic to see Republicans casting themselves into the role of defenders of feminism! Take a look at this exchange between James Carville and Republican representative Michelle Bachmann (a fembot smile if I've ever seen one!)...who claims that Palin is more experienced than Obama because she sold the former governor's jet on eBay! And even more astonishing is when she accuses Carville of demeaning women when he claims Palin is not qualified. (Thanks to the jedreport.com for this youtube video.)
(Just an aside: I just looked up Michelle Bachmann on wikipedia and was interested to note that not only did she recently criticize Nancy Pelosi for being an environmentalist, but she is also a member of the extremely conservative Wisconsin synod of the Lutheran church...which gives Lutherans a bad name! She's also a proponent of teaching "intelligent design" [read: creationism] in the schools, just like Palin.)
Here are some interesting factoids about Ms. Palin that don't seem to be making many waves in the print newspapers:
- Palin might have protested the famous "bridge to nowhere" that Ted Stevens championed in Alaska, but that was only after she supported it for several years (and got elected on that basis). She also claimed to go up against Ted Stevens, but this is patently untrue.
- She was a member of a group that advocated Alaska's secessionism from the United States.
- She is against sex ed and both Republican candidates promote abstinence education, in spite of the fact that this was not effective in Palin's own family.
- She said she didn't know what a VP even does.
- She said she doesn't know much about Iraq because she's so busy focusing on her own state, even though her son is headed for Iraq!
- One month before she was due to give birth, her water broke while she was in Denver, Colorado. Instead of checking into the hospital in Denver, she proceeded to fly home via a layover in Seattle, and then drive to Wasilla from Anchorage, where she then had her baby. This does not indicate to me a commitment to the life of her baby...especially for an experienced mom who should know that leaking amniotic fluid can cause infection and threaten the life of the baby. She then proceeded to go back to work THREE days after her baby was born. As a mother of three including one born prematurely, I find this disturbing. I also question the judgment of her doctor, who apparently told her that it would be okay to fly home.
- Most disturbing of anything I have read about her, she laughed and giggled while on a shock jock radio show in Alaska while the radio hosts called one of her political rivals (the Alaska senate president, Lyda Green, who happens to be another Republican) a "bitch" and a "cancer"and is mocked for her weight. No wonder McCain chose her! It reminds me of him calling Chelsea Clinton the daughter of Janet Reno, or calling his wife a despicable word starting with "c."
- After hearing McCain describe Palin as a "soulmate" and watching this very disturbing video, I'm beginning to think McCain has a bit of a crush on her. Catch that fiddling with his wedding ring! Mike and I both thought that he was falling asleep during her speech, but it turns out he was eyeing her rear end!!!
I agree with Obama that we should leave Bristol Palin out of any criticisms--the fact that she is pregnant at 17 is only relevant because of Palin's lack of support for sex education--but again I have to question Palin's parenting decisions, to choose to take on this role knowing that her daughter would be soon put into the spotlight. And how will she be able to provide the support her teen daughter needs while she is campaigning and (potentially) working as a VP? Note how unhappy her daughters look in the announcement press conference--and why on earth did they not announce that Bristol was pregnant out of the gates instead of waiting for the press to root it out??? Notice that ENORMOUS baby blanket covering Bristol Palin's body--she's holding the baby for a reason.
Here are some links to some great articles and web sites chronicling this very bad first executive decision of McCain's:
Palin, Pregnancy, and the Presidency (Salon.com)
Documents Detail Palin's Political Life (politico.com)
Momocrats.com (one of the best blogs with women's viewpoints about the election)
The Jed Report
I have to agree with the Republicans when they say that this race just got much more interesting!!