Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Monday, September 08, 2008

GOhyPocrisy II: The Palin Papers

Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice President and Barack Obama is qualified to be President. All this claptrap about age and experience is overblown. No particular set of life experiences can accurately foretell whether or not someone is prepared to run the White House and the Constitutional requirements are spare and very general, as they should be.

Voters are entitled to ask whether it is fair for the Obama camp to hammer away at Palin's lack of experience given their own candidate's relative youth, just as they may question McCain's selection since he has spent months insisting Obama isn't ready for the job only to tab an even younger individual to be his running mate. But none of the four candidates can be dismissed outright as unready to be President. Fact is, everyone is unready to be President until he or she is President. That's just how it works.

As for Palin, she has generated among Republicans a great deal of enthusiasm, a quality largely absent among this group prior to her emergence. McCain made the right choice if his aim was to produce buzz. Palin's pregnant daughter does not really trouble me, though I can't help but wonder what conservatives would be saying if Obama had a 17 year old daughter expecting a child. Still, it doesn't make Palin a bad parent. Teen pregnancy can strike just about anywhere, whether the parents are attentive or neglectful, conservative or liberal, religious or secular. In fact, my only quibble with Palin on this matter is letting her daughter wed at such a tender age. Clearly, there are occasions when this works, but I don't generally perceive marriage at 17 a prescription for a happy and productive future. However, I could easily be mistaken in this case. One must be very careful second guessing parents or blaming them for their children's errors; just ask John Walker Lindh's mother and father, or those of the shooters in the Columbine massacre, all of whom received intense criticism when it was not really known one way or the other if their parenting styles contributed to the havoc wrought by their kids.

Large contingents of the GOP remain embarrassingly hypocritical. After a great deal of whining about Sarah Palin receiving unfair coverage from a sexist media, there were nevertheless lapel pins saying "Hottest VP" at the Republican convention. Still, that's only minor, as the pins could be taken as either a compliment, a joke, or both. What's worse is their continued insistence that the media is out to get them. Yes, Keith Olbermann is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal and yes, Chris Matthews confessed to being smitten by Barack Obama. But Bill O'Reilly continues to claim "the media" is openly campaigning for Obama. Apparently, he means "the media" excluding himself. And Glenn Beck recently fielded a triumvirate of guests attacking Obama. So it's obviously not okay for CNN or MSNBC to at least attempt a level of professionalism and objectivity, but it's perfectly fine for Beck and O'Reilly to assail Obama at every opportunity.

One of Beck's guests, columnist Jonah Goldberg, really disappointed me. Goldberg is a thoughtful and intelligent writer capable at times of rising high above his own personal biases and producing exceptional insights. Even when he's clearly stumping for Republicans, he often does so with enviable logic and clarity. On Beck's program, however, he seemed little more than an attack dog and went right along with the tired "liberal media" contention made by so many others. Understand, it isn't that "liberal media" is an utter falsehood, but this phrase oversimplifies a very intricate system and is just as laughable as Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy".

But I digress. Goldberg went on to say that "good guys" like Rush Limbaugh attempt to fight the liberal media bias, but intimated his ilk were greatly outnumbered. Sorry, but Limbaugh will never be a good guy, as far as I'm concerned. He can be funny, witty, and observant, but much of his program is on the level of a morning radio DJ--check out his Ron Artest parody if you don't believe me--and it's hard to view his "Operation Chaos" as the actions of a good person. If the shoe had been on the other foot and, say, Al Franken had been calling on Democrats to vote Republican to lengthen the race between John McCain and Mitt Romney, Limbaugh and company would have been screaming bloody murder that someone had the audacity to tamper with a national primary election. I will still read Goldberg's articles when I see them, but there are too many items on the debit side of Limbaugh's resume' for me to ever see him as anything but a creep.

And the biggest hypocrite of all is me! I said I wouldn't write much about the election and here I've devoted two consecutive articles to it. Ah, well... on with the show!


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