Shocker political subtext of 2008:
Incompetent female figurehead picked by misogynist political party for superficial reasons unfairly scapegoated by also incompetent campaign professionals.
WTF else was going to happen?
As I've said before, the Palin pick exemplifies exactly what Republicans really believe affirmative action is all about. That getting more women in the workplace, for example, is purely a matter of finding people with the requisite gonads to fill a job - hopefully ones that aren't too uppity, and definitely not ones that are unhappy with the status quo. If they screw up, well, isn't that just like a woman?
And if the pool of applicants was therefore thin, ie, there aren't many sane-seeming black people as bigoted as Alan Keyes or as self-loathing as Michael Steele, hey, look at their skin, yeah? What more did You People want? And it was hard to find a woman who was contemptuous enough of other women to satisfy the GOP base. The party faithful would have none of the qualified but insufficiently heartless Hutchisons or Snowes, so we HAD to go with someone a McCain staffer now characterizes as a Wasilla hillbilly.
And that's ... Palin's fault?
Look, these people have been campaigning for the presidency for two years straight by now, and this won't be their first national race. They've been in politics for a long time, including, and especially, McCain. Palin's the governor of a small state, unknown even to national Republican leaders, and joined the campaign on a lark a couple months ago. (And if someone affiliated with Obama had ever referred to the Palin clan as "Wasilla hillbillies" ...) Is it remotely possible that McCain and company couldn't have figured out she wasn't ready in advance if they'd done their bloody jobs and spent a few days asking her questions and investigating her background?
Imagine the cringe-worthy moments they could have spared the nation if Palin had gone through a vetting as tough as the typical middle management interview process.
I mean, consider my parents. They're nice people, more or less typical Los Angeles natives and there's nothing wrong with that, but neither of them is qualified to be the president-in-waiting. Nor are they qualified to handle nuclear reactors, pilot planes, work on deep sea drilling rigs, file court briefs or perform brain surgery. I'm sure they'd tell you so themselves. Anyone who said otherwise would prove themselves automatically less qualified to staff and run a presidential campaign than Palin was to be vice president.
That's a low bar to crawl under. Then consider that the job of the executive branch includes setting regulations for people who do handle nuclear reactors and pilot planes. Shiver.
The whole issue should rightly come back to the seemingly endless parade of newspaper editorial endorsements for Obama that mentioned McCain's judgment in selecting Palin as one of the biggest knocks against him. McCain picked her. McCain's vetting team, such as it was, picked her. Then they brought her out in front of the country and swore to God and everybody that she was ready to be the understudy for the most powerful role in the world.
What were they thinking? That's the big question. Their incompetence is the real story. Not some distracting yarn about the woman who supposedly shopped the campaign into the ground.
I'll grant that the wardrobe amounts were excessive. Offensively so. But is that seriously the most damning thing about the running mate of a man who wears $520 loafers, the man whose wife's outfit for one night at the RNC cost $300,000? Not the White Pride barnstorming? Not the McCarthyite desire to sort out the supposedly fake Americans from the real ones? Not the incessant lying about her record and that of her opponents? Not the callous indifference to the suffering of others? Is that all they've got, that Palin was vain about her clothes and talked as if George 'Shop or the Terrorists Win' Bush had been her history teacher?
Hell, by Bush's lights, wasn't that whole $150k shopping spree just a big middle finger in Osama bin Laden's face? We may have lost our homes, our jobs, our fellow citizens, our global approval/credit rating, a few buildings, eventually a whole city, and our Constitutional rights, but we still have our capitalist designer stores, m*f*er, so take that!
The Republican Party is going to spend a long time in the wilderness if they can't figure out what really went wrong here. Good riddance.