Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Refusal to Deal with Reality: A Core Republican Value?

I’ve been watching the discussion over Sarah Palin with something approaching astonishment.  Not just astonishment at McCain’s poor judgment in selecting her, but the extent to which Republicans have had to all but completely abandon the concepts of honesty, integrity, and consistency to do so.  And they just did it on a dime (albeit after a bit of shocked stuttering on Friday morning).  Overnight, the one issue they had continually slammed Obama over – experience – suddenly became irrelevant.

Republicans made this shift despite the reams of papers, hours of footage, and terabytes of storage showing them going on about what a core qualification it was.  Now, I know that comfort with hypocrisy is a very important part of being a Republican, but this goes far beyond that.  So far, in fact, that it seems McCain has circled all the way around into a realm completely beyond hypocrisy and more into . . . an alternate reality?

When asked about criticisms of Sarah Palin’s readiness to serve as president, McCain responded: “If they want to go down that route, in all candor, she has far, far more experience than Senator Obama does.” (emphasis supplied)

What.the.hell?  Josh Marshall notes:

Set aside the bravado. Can McCain possibly believe that? And if he does, what are we supposed to think of his own fitness to serve? Sen. Obama is certainly new on the national scene. But he’s serving his fourth year in the US senate. He’s run a successful national primary campaign. He’s deeply versed on all the relevant policy issues. Palin has been the governor of one of the smallest states in the country (by pop.) for 18 months. As recently as 2006, she said she hadn’t focused enough on Iraq to have an opinion one way or another about the surge. Even now, her off-hand comments about Iraq are completely at odds with Sen. McCain’s.

Marshall’s post is titled “Sadly Nuts”, and I don’t think he’s far off the mark.  After months of slamming Obama’s resume, we’re getting justifications for Palin that include fighting “special interests” while on the PTA, foreign relations experience by osmosis, and “commander-in-chief” experience through briefly being the titular head of the Alaska National Guard. And every one of these absurd claims are being repeated with straight faces far and wide by McCain’s supporters.  There is, apparently, nothing they won’t say or do, so long as the GOP has approved it.

Country first, eh?


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  1. This choice is reckless and clearly focused on short-term electoral strategy rather than long-term thinking about who would be the best person to hold the office. That would be bad enough, and a sign that McCain is absolutely the wrong person to be elected President.

    Worse, it’s playing straight into the kind of “unknown girl from nowhere makes it big” narrative that has turned shows like American Idol and America’s Next Top Model into such huge successes, and with roots going back to tales of starlets plucked from small-town soda shops.

    That’s the part that scares me. People will ignore all kinds of logical argument for a touching story.

  2. One of your best posts.

  3. MB

    I think you may be onto something, Plin, regarding the convergence between electoral politics and reality television.


    Thanks, Mike.

  4. Plin

    I can never remember how to say “deformazione professionale” in English, but, that. It’s part of my job to see those kinds of connections.

    All I could think about when I saw Palin gushing about being chosen as running mate, was American Idol. “It’s just so amazing to be here, Ryan. Let’s hope America votes to keep me in the game!”

  5. MB

    And just add in the “SMS this number to donate to the Red Cross” trick we just saw at the RNC, and it’s all coming together.

    (FWIW, I thought the DNC effort was lame, too. But as with so many other things, the RNC just made it lamer.)

  6. Plin

    Yes, it’s very “Idol Gives Back.” I expect a teary-eyed announcement at the end of the RNC of how much they’ve raised for the Red Cross through voter appeals. Lots of smug satisfaction all around, and it will all be attributed to those solid (Christian) values that keep America great. There will probably be country music.

  7. Peej

    Well, it might not be too bad if all this blurring of real and ‘reality’ led to a Running Man style showdown for elections. Think of the turnout (err, tuning in?).

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