Monday, September 08, 2008

Times Online on Palina nd Obama

Barack Obama switches off personality politics but Sarah Palin continues to electrify crowds:
"Campaigning in Indiana at the weekend, Mr Obama scorned his opponent’s efforts to seize the mantle of change. He pointed out that Mr McCain’s campaign was stuffed full of former corporate lobbyists and that Mrs Palin herself had employed them to introduce federal funding – called “earmarks” – into legislation. To suddenly portray herself as the “champion antiearmark person” was risible, he said. “That’s not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can’t just make stuff up.”

Yesterday, in an interview on ABC, he concentrated on America’s ailing economy, saying that unemployment figures, as well as the crisis surrounding mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, had demonstrated the fragility of the US economy. The Republican convention in St Paul last week had, he added, nothing to say about key issues such as health care, making college more affordable or keeping people in their homes."

This cynical choice has left McCain’s honour in shreds

Unlike the lily-livered liberal intelligentsia, I admire Palin for being a good shot and a good fisherwoman, and capable of butchering large wild animals in her basement, though I do not share her rather unsporting enthusiasm for shooting wolves out of small aircraft. I admire her for her determination, for her energy and her self-possession. I admire the virtues of small-town and frontier America. As for her grooming and her cunningly chosen glasses, if I don’t admire the results, I do admire the self-discipline and self-respect behind them.

All the same, her selection was a shock. What horrified me was not so much the woman herself, though she is clearly entirely unfit to be vice-president or president. It was McCain’s cynical and sudden choice of her. Would you give power of attorney over your entire life to someone you had only met once, or possibly twice? Of course not. You would give the matter and the person very serious consideration. Yet McCain in effect is offering power of attorney over all the affairs of the United States and over all Americans, including me, to a woman he had barely met. I myself wouldn’t hire a house-sitter on such scant acquaintance.


Even a brief consideration of Palin might suggest that she is not the straightforward redneck hockey mom she claims to be. It’s not possible to be much of a mom to five children, including a baby with Down’s syndrome, if you have a more than full-time job. Like other people with working responsibilities, you have to hand your children over to someone else to bring up. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it denies you the right to exploit your image as a yummy downhome mummy.

In short Palin is an ill-educated, inexperienced hypocrite. The Republicans are trying to sell her to the voters as something she isn’t, and McCain hardly cares what she is. It’s a bad day for my native land.

The Times has 158 comments as the time I posted this.

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