Wednesday, September 10, 2008
This evening as we left the office one of my friends from work remarked that he used to like John McCain, but no longer. I personally never liked McCain--I used to respect him, but between his pandering to fundamentalists (after originally blasting them as "agents of intolerance") and his choice of running mate... I can't even do that.
Why? It is rare for me to have respect for a republican politician. Retiring Sen. John Warner, who stood up against his party when they were trying to get Ollie North into office, is the only remaining one I can think of at the moment. There are some politicians who seem principled and honorable, even if their world views and politics differ vastly from one's own--even if one doesn't like them or their views (or their votes on crucial issues). McCain once fit in this small (miniscule, really) category. But his cynical choice of uber-stepford wife Sarah Palin calls his previous appearance of honor and decency into question.
I've written before about cynicism in politicians--it's really the most despicable (well, after corruption) characteristic of far too many. I would not have thought it of the John McCain who was a respected senator. But clearly that senator is MIA. The new John McCain will do anything to win--even place within a heartbeat of the presidency a person who is clearly unfit for the office she would hold, were that eventuality to come about. This shows that he has no regard for the country which he professes to wish to serve--rather, he is serving only himself, and does not care how he wins as long as he does, by whatever means necessary. Wilde said that the cynic knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. That's a great way of describing McCain's choice for veep--she may well be the price of winning the white house, but she brings no value whatsoever. And McCain MUST know this, but chooses to ignore it.
Sarah Palin has the charisma that McCain lacks. He chose her for this reason. He also (again, cynically) apparently thought that the disaffected women voters who were angry about Hillary's defeat would flock to vote for her (and so he'd gain office on the votes for Palin). This, however, is clearly not true--which anyone could have told him had he asked. HIllary supporters were never going to be Palin supporters. Palin stands for everything they're against, and against everything they're for. But McCain neither knows nor cares, really, because that's not what's important to him. And as it turns out, it's not women, but men, who are flocking to Caribou Barbie.
This is really the depths of cynicism--to attempt to garner the votes necessary to win office by calculating that your running mate will attract more votes than you will. And for all the wrong reasons.