Sunday, July 5, 2009

So Much For Country First

I just read the Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin. Nothing that liberal bloggers and news junkies didn’t already know, of course, save the part about the conservative cruise ship:
Palin had been on the national Republican radar for barely a year, after a cruise ship of conservative columnists, including The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, had stopped in Juneau in 2007 and had succumbed to her charms when she invited them to the governor’s house for a luncheon of halibut cheeks.

OH. So that’s what you did on your vacation. Hopped off the cruise ship in Juneau, picked up a few knick-knacks for the in-laws, some Inuit trinkets for the kids, and oh by the way, here’s your vice presidential running mate.

Glad to know conservatives take this shit seriously.

And really that’s what continues to surprise/offend me about the whole Sarah Palin narrative. I care less about the gossipy tidbits than the fact that everyone, the writer included, seems to treat Sarah Palin like she’s the star of a Hollywood blockbuster who's being difficult at Cannes. No one seems to realize that a person completely unsuitable for high national office (or even high state office, if you believe half of what’s in the article) was trying to be Vice President of the United States. You know, a heartbeat away from the presidency and all that. They knew she was all wrong, dangerously wrong, and they forged ahead anyway.

In a campaign titled “Country First,” no less. Irony is the first casualty of political ambition, I guess.

I have to wonder, amid all of the last minute scrambling and rescheduling as the seasoned politicos realized that Sarah Palin was not ready to campaign for vice president, did it dawn on anyone that she was not ready to be vice president?

As they toured the country under the slogan “Country First” with the woman they nicknamed “Little Shop of Horrors,” did no one stop to think about, you know, putting country first?

You have to read nearly to the end of the article to get that question answered:

In recent rounds of long conversations, most made it clear that they suffer a kind of survivor’s guilt: they can’t quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be. They quietly ponder the nightmare they lived through.

Oh no, you don’t. You DO NOT ask for sympathy. For the love of all that is holy, do you people have any idea of what you were doing? Do you not have a scintilla of perspective?

Survivors guilt, my ass. You people should be on your knees begging America for forgiveness. You almost turned the keys to the White House over to the psychodoodle faction of the Republican Party. You folks in the McCain campaign knew that better than anyone.

This is America we’re talking about here! Country first, remember? Hello?

They all know that if their candidate—a 72-year-old cancer survivor—had won the presidency, the vice-presidency would be in the hands of a woman who lacked the knowledge, the preparation, the aptitude, and the temperament for the job. To ask why none of them dared to just walk away is to ask why Colin Powell did not resign in protest over the Bush administration’s foreign policy, or why none of Bill Clinton’s disillusioned aides resigned after he lied to them about Monica Lewinsky. The question cannot comprehend the intense bonds that the blood sport of modern politics produces.

No, no, no. Getting a blow job is not the same thing as working your butt off to elect someone wholly unsuitable to be president or vice president.

And that is ultimately what scares me about America. The riches of political victory have become so vast that people will tell themselves anything if it means their side will win.

Country First is, after all, just a slogan. Words used in a political pitch, like “good to the last drop” or “breakfast of champions.” Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.

If Sarah Palin comes back with a 2012 run, there will be people who think she’s fabulous and there will be other people, insider people, who know she lacks “the knowledge, the preparation, the aptitude, and the temperament for the job,” but will work their tails off regardless because no one steps outside the bubble long enough or far enough to realize the implications of what they are doing. They all lack perspective.

And Sarah, well, she might like to think she’s some kind of “outsider” who’s a “maverick” who doesn’t do things the “Washington way” and that might be true to a certain extent, but honey you’re going through the same sausage factory as every other politician. Don’t delude yourself.