John McCain’s pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President depresses me.
I’m not depressed because Republicans now think the election is over, since it was a brilliant and game-changing pick. And it isn’t because Democrats now think the election is over, since it was an irresponsible and desperate pick. No, it’s depressing because it closes the circle of hypocrisy and now allows everyone enthusiastically to call everyone else a hypocrite until Election Day.
For those counting at home, here are some of the ways people can now be called hypocrites:
- McCain, for relentlessly pounding on Obama for being inexperienced, and then choosing someone who was mayor of a town roughly the size of Mahomet until two years ago.
- Obama, if he chooses to criticize Palin’s lack of experience, since he says judgment matters more than experience.
- Family-values Republicans, for supporting a woman who is not at home with her four-month-old Down Syndrome baby, since they believe mothers should be home with their children.
- Any non–family-values Republicans who point out above, since they presumably would not say it if the VP selection were a man.
- Anyone who criticizes others for voting for McCain/Palin merely because there is a woman on the ticket, if they are supporting Obama/Biden merely because there is a black person on the ticket. And vice versa.
- If Palin turns out to be charming and likeable, anyone who criticizes others for voting for McCain/Palin merely because she is charming and likable, if they themselves are voting for Obama/Biden merely because Obama is charming and likeable. And vice versa.
- Bitter feminists who hate Obama for winning the nomination and end up voting for McCain/Palin instead, against their own stated interests. Actually, it would be more accurate to call them crazy and nonsensical. However, I still refuse to believe such people exist until I personally meet one. I suspect they are really closet Republicans posing as feminists.
And let’s not forget a few of the old ways people can be called hypocrites:
- McCain, for claiming Obama is elitist when McCain himself can’t even keep track of the number of houses he owns, or for claiming he would run a clean campaign while he keeps throwing mud at Obama, or for saying he’s against lobbyists while allowing them to run his campaign, or for saying drilling won’t solve our energy problems and then excoriating Obama for not supporting drilling.
- Obama for voting for war funding while claiming to be against the war, or voting for wiretapping while claiming to be against wiretapping.
Aside from the hypocrisy, what’s even more depressing about the Palin pick is the window it provides into the minds of some Republicans. They really do believe that all they have to do is pick someone with breasts, and women will swoon over how progressive they are, and then run to the voting booth to be first in line. It’s like believing that conservative Christians would rush to vote for some random Unitarian minister because they are all Christians.
But I think the greatest personal casualty of this pick is my own long-time desire to see a normal, ordinary person become president. Palin certainly seems like an ordinary person — she’s a hockey mom, has an accent straight out of Fargo, and is married to a fisherman named “Todd.” And yet, like some other random, ordinary people, she is also a gun nut, a creationist, against abortion even for rape and incest victims, a believer in abstinence-only education and also believes that humans can do nothing about global warming. She also fired someone who wouldn’t fire her brother-in-law after a nasty divorce, which is something an ordinary person would probably do.
So, I’ll have to re-think this whole ordinary citizen thing. Ordinary apparently does not mean moderate. Sometimes it means far right-wing, and if things go badly, it could mean being a 72-year-old heartbeat away from the most powerful position in the world.