Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The McCain-Palin Ticket

It's probably painfully obvious by now that I don't like the McCain-Palin ticket. I've been doing a lot of reading about both tickets, what they want to achieve, and what they're saying about themselves and each other. It's a dismal landscape. I wanted to talk about it some.

One of the primary problems I have with McCain is the campaign strategies he's using. It's not about issues. He'd rather slime Obama. And it's getting easier to see why. He (and Palin) avoids answering questions about his policies and stances, instead pointing at Obama, saying he'll be worse. He's telling lies, flip-flopping*, stretching truths (though Obama has done the same), butchered or otherwise taken quotes out of context, getting overly offended, calls his wife a cunt, and then gets offended when Obama supporters wear t-shirts that call Palin the same thing. (No, I do not excuse the misogyny of calling Palin a cunt, no matter who says it.) McCain's campaign isn't about McCain - it's about Obama (and lately even more about Bill Ayers)! Even the media is saying, "WTF?"

I compared both candidate's stances on issues on their websites. Obama's website not only talks about his stances ("Obama believes in...") but how he'll achieve his goals ("Obama will combat this by..."); McCain mostly only states his stances - he doesn't seem to have any idea how he's going to get anything done. Obama speaks to what he'll do when in office; McCain speaks to what Obama will fail to do when in office. The problem with this is that conservative, Republican, and swing voters are uninformed. They don't actually know what they're voting for, they only think they know what they're voting against.

He voted with Bush (not the Republican Party, Bush) 95% of the time. 95% of the time. That's a lot. And yet, he says he's a maverick, he'll bring change to the White House, but changing the status quo means he has to say something negative about Bush - but he hasn't. Instead, he agrees with him 95% of the time. I hate to repeat the Dems' slogan, but...it's more of the same. Now, if you like what Bush has done for this country and do want more of the same, well, I'm not even going to open that can of worms. You can go ahead on your merry way.

McCain has flip-flopped on the issue of regulation - he's been voting for the deregulation of financial institutions since he started in politics, and now he's suddenly saying that "strong and fair regulation" is necessary. He accepted money for his campaign from Fannie Mae as the company was going down, he packed his campaign staff with lobbyists, he is complicit in the calls for violence and assassination from his rallies, and he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate - but more on her later. He makes hasty, uninformed decisions: Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber are great examples of McCain not doing any vetting before putting people on pedestals.

Obama's voting record shows that he as voted with Dems 90% of the time. Again, that's a lot and that doesn't exactly scream "change." But, while he does say he's going to bring change to the White House, Obama doesn't call himself a maverick. Isn't voting with the Dems good because that means he's not voting with the GOP? Hopefully that means that the Dems will vote with him 90% of the time (as we all know that merely being President isn't by itself enough to get legislation through). This is also hoping we get a Democratic majority in Congress, which not only looks possible, but a filibuster-proof Congress might be possible as well.

Independent analysts say that Obama's health care and tax plans are going to help more people in bigger ways. Numbers show that having a Democractic president is better for the economy anyway. While McCain claims that Obama's tax plan is constantly changing, Obama has reiterated the same, single tax plan from the beginning. McCain will continue to give tax breaks to the rich and their companies, while hoisting more of the tax burden onto the middle and lower economic classes. Obama hopes to reverse the damage Bush has already done.

McCain owns 13 cars and 8 or 13 houses (worth over $8.6 million total; the value of one of the properies is unknown even), depending on if you want to count the 3 houses on the Sedona ranch as separate or not. Normally, I would agree with conservatives - its irrelevant slime that's meant only to distract from the issues and McCain can have as many houses and cars as he'd like (though I don't know what on earth he does with all of them). However, McCain himself doesn't know how many cars he owns, said he only buys American because he's passionate about the American automotive industry when he in fact has at least two foreign-made cars, and most of them are gas-guzzlers. And then he says he knows what the average American is going through. If I'm not mistaken, the average American does not have 13 cars and 8+ houses. The average American knows exactly how many cars he owns. The average American does not lie or forget about the car(s) he owns. Obama, on the other hand, owns one car - a hybrid, no less - and one house. So, my point is that 13 cars and 6 houses would be just fine if he didn't try to come off as an anti-greed everyman. If you point to something in your life as a plus, you had better expect people to inspect it, double-check it, and call you out on it if you're wrong or stretching the truth, particularly if you're being hypocritical at the same time.

Now - let's talk about Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin was unveiled as some sort of a messiah for the Republican Party; she's widely worshipped as a fresh new look on the White House, as well as politics in general. Why? Well, she isn't an old white man. She's also more of the same, except she has boobs. She's "morally repulsive," as Josh likes to say, not to mention unqualified, unprepared, a fundamentalist (dare I say extremist) Christian, and her conservatism is more extreme than even McCain's. After slamming Obama for being unqualified and inexperienced himself, McCain has the audacity to pick Palin, who has only been governor of Alaska for not even two years, and before that, the mayor of a town with a population of 5,000 for I think about 6 years. Before that, she was the Alaska Ethics Commissioner of Oil and Energy or Some Such Thing. Before that? She was in the PTA. She wants to be a television anchor, is a former beauty queen, showed very little interest in federal or international issues while governor, fired people that apparently didn't agree with her (though they hadn't actually done anything) while mayor, and didn't even push to make changes that support her chosen issues. She sold the governership's plane though. That sure is something. Oh. And she's a hockey mom. Her husband is about as active in the Governor's Office as she is. How that qualifies her to be Vice President of the United States is a mystery to me. And she LIES about all of this CONSTANTLY.

So why'd they pick her? The most frightening reason is that she's a a very talented puppet. She's getting briefed and coached by Bush's best. She's green enough to say exactly what they want her to say (although why they'd want her to connect Iraq to 9/11 when Bush won't even go there anymore is beyond me). If she does reach the presidency (and she might), she'll be another Ulysses Grant. They picked her for a reason that this country hasn't seen yet, not even in Palin's predecessor (Geraldine Ferraro, who was on Walter Somebody's ticket about 30 years ago). She looks young, she looks intelligent, she has a vagina, she's sometimes well-spoken, charming, and she's sexually attractive. It's sickening how many men - of all ages, right or left - are swooning over her. It's sickening that that's a bonus to McCain's campaign. Any questions of her qualifications are denounced as sexist. It's humiliating and deeply offensive to me, as a woman. I feel taken advantage of, and people that find her sexually attractive or think she's a feminist should feel that way too. Why didn't they pick Senator Hutchinson of Texas? Or Condoleezza Rice? They didn't for the same reason young and attractive women appear in so many commercials - to sell a product for false reasons. Hutchinson and Rice are not former beauty queens. Even Republican supporters say she wouldn't have been picked if she were a man. She's a tool; a means to an end. THAT'S real sexism. And the biggest kick in the chin - the champions of anti-feminism were only able to feasibly nominate her because of the feminist movement's accomplishments. And if she is elected, she will put the movement back many years. That's why progressive women are so passionately angry about her nomination - we're hurt. We feel betrayed. We feel cheated. And it's causing a lot of feminists to say and do many un-feminist things.

Why isn't she a feminist? Well, first off, she's an extreme pro-lifer; even rape and incest victims cannot get abortions. Now, pro-choice is not the defining quality of a feminist, of course - equality is the defining issue, and she has nothing constructive whatsoever to say about it. When a woman asked her in a town hall meeting about what she would do for the economic freedom for women, she responded with some babble about basketball. Essentially, she said nothing. When mayor, Wasilla was the only city in Alaska that forced rape victims to pay for the materials needed to convict the rapist. And that's not a trivial sum; somewhere around $1,000. The state had to pass legislation to force all municipalities to provide rape kits, just because of Palin. Alaska is the Rape State - more rapes occur there than anywhere else. Alaska has been trying to tackle this. As soon as Palin stepped in as governor, the movement came to a halt. She's the most anti-woman woman I've ever known. The fact that she is a woman and running for VP with 5 kids does not by itself mean she's a feminist. The fact that she's an independent, go-gettem woman that likes to shoot does not mean she is a feminist. That image is the media's charicature of what they think a feminist is, and that's why shallow feminists like her. They don't understand that she is anything but. She has said some feminist things, that's for sure. But she has not acted or voted like a feminist would. And that's exactly what the Republican Party is banking on by nominating her; they're trying to trick us.

I do not agree with her executive style. Posing hypothetical questions about banning books to employees then firing them when they give the wrong answer; using personal, insecure, unarchived e-mail accounts for conducting state business (that's illegal, by the way) when she's a self-declared proponent of open government; fighting corruption and reforming Alaskan government by giving important positions to her close but unqualified friends; redecorating the mayor's office with public funds; attending church services using public funds; firing Walter Monegan for not firing a trooper due to personal vendetta, then lying about it to the press, and then even after being found guilty, she still lied about it (presumably because she didn't actually read the report - she's not much of a reader, you see); Blackberrying when she should be representing; complaining that she doesn't receive special attention from the media when McCain won't let her talk to the media in the first place; it's all just pretty nasty and hypocritical.

But isn't it brilliant? They have men's votes, and they have some women's votes too, because any question or attack is spun as sexist, giving the campaign a defense mechanism from questioning frighteningly similar to religion's. Some women want a woman in the White House so badly that they don't care who she actually is or what she stands for. Republicans have historically been very good at campaigning, merely because of who they are - they're businessmen. They know how to sell products, they know how to market to people. And we're falling for it again, even after getting fooled into reelecting Bush.

And - I hate that I have to add this - I don't care about her voice and how screechy it may or may not be. That's a petty reason to not like her, and it only makes liberals look idiotic to cite this reason. Not to mention that it's sexist. McCain's manner of speaking bothers me, but I don't hear anyone complaining about that, do I? I also care less about her pregnant daughter than others; as Greta Christina pointed out, it could happen to anyone. But the hypocrisy and irony and refusal to learn from experience does not escape me.

And hell, if none of this works out for McCain and Palin, they can just change people's votes, lose ballots, keep using the same, broken, insecure Diebold (haven't they changed their name now, to distance themselves from the 2000 and 2004 elections?) voting machines, create committees and councils and investigations to pretend they care - all tried and true methods to steal an election, while accusing the Democrats of the very same, along with a make-believe thing called "vote fraud." And the American people will just nod their heads and we'll go back to business as usual, more of the same.

When I voted for Obama last week, it was as much of an anti-McCain vote as it was a pro-Obama vote. (Obama is not the perfect Democratic candidate. I would have preferred less misogyny in the primaries, for example.)

So. Happy Election Day. Please vote. But more importantly - think before you vote.

* On flip-flopping: I am all for changes in opinion when you realize you're wrong or there's a better way to tackle a problem. That's maturity, after all. But flip-flopping is a change in opinion when you have an agenda to pursue. When you change your mind for the wrong reason, that's flip-flopping. It's obvious to me that McCain is changing his opinions based on what will get him the most votes. Regarding (de)regulation, if McCain had said, "I realize that I was wrong about the deregulation of Wall Street. It doesn't work the way I thought it would. What is needed is deregulation..." then I would have blinked hard, said "omg," checked to make sure hell hadn't frozen over, but then I would have had a lot more respect for the man. But that's not what happened. Republicans are all about "stay the course," after all.

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