Through the Looking Glass (Again)

Hottest GovernorI’ve been listening to the Republicans and their media propaganda machine (meaning Conservative talk shows and the original propaganda machine, Fox News) work themselves into a frenzy trying to establish their Vice-President nominee’s non-existant credentials. One thing they love to point to is Sarah Palin’s “executive experience”, which they claim she has because she served two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population 5,469 as of the 2000 census) before the 18 months she served as governor of Alaska. Personally, I wasn’t impressed with the assertion that serving as mayor of a town of less than 6,000 people qualifies one to be president of the United States, but in Alaska it was apparently enough to get her elected Governor.

But now … it gets worse.

Turns out that Wasilla, Alaska has a city council form of government. Anyone else understand what that means? Anyone else get the implications of that?

Under a city council form of government, the city council runs the city, not the Mayor, and appoints a ctiy manager to do the administration. The office of mayor in Wasilla is a ceremonial post. That means that in her two terms as Wasilla, Alaska, Sarah Palin posed for a lot of photographs and cut the ribbon to officially open a few businesses, while the city council ran the government and made all of the decisions pertaining to governance of the city. There was no executive experience to be had for her in Wasilla, Alaska.

The following is from the official web site of the city of Wasilla, Alaska;

The City Council serves as the Legislative body for the City of Wasilla. Responsibilities include, enacting laws that govern the city, setting the mill rate for property taxes within the city, approving the annual budget for the city, and appropriating funds to provide for city services.

When I realized that Sarah Palin’s much lauded two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska represented nothing more than a ceremonial role in the governance of that city, I was even more offended that John McCain and the Republicans could believe that Americans are foolish enough to think she could be President. Make no mistake, John McCain is 72 years old and has a history of heart problems. If he were to be elected to the office of Presidency and die while in office, our President would be a former beauty queen whose claim to being qualified for the office is based largely upon a ceremonial role in the governance of a city of less than 6,000 people. Her 18 months as governor are the only real experience she’s had in governance, and even then she’s wound up being investigated for ethics violations for getting her sister’s ex-husband fired from his job.

What in the world are the Republicans thinking? How can they seriously contend that this woman is qualified for the job? And what sane human being can believe that because she lived in a state that’s “600 miles from the border of Russia” (as the Right-Wing propaganda machine keeps repeating) that she has foreign policy experience? In my eight years on the road, I frequented the border of Mexico and made occasional forays into Canada. Using the Republicans’ logic, doesn’t that make me more qualified in the foreign policy area than Sarah Palin?

I genuinely didn’t think the Republicans could put forth anyone any less qualified for the office of President than George W. Bush (whose very first political office was governor of Texas, and who ran for President during his second term), but they’ve really out-done themselves. If nothing else proves that these people are living in a fantasy world of their own making, this does. The truly heart-breaking thing is that so many Americans have already willingly made themselves accomplices to this lie. The Republicans could nominate a monkey for public office, and there are people who would applaud the choice as “bold” and “visionary”.

Forgive me if I check my facts. Forgive me if I realize that while Sarah Palin has represented the people of Alaska as governor for 18 months, that the total population of Alaska is just over 600,000 people, while as a senator of Illinois Barack Obama represented over 12 million people. I can’t quite figure out how one can contend that Sarah Palin has more experience than Barack Obama does. Sarah Palin’s first real political office is one she’s only held for a year and a half, and she’s qualified to be President of the United States?

This is a Kool-Aid that I won’t drink. I was worried about who John McCain might select as his running mate. There are a lot of highly qualified people in the Republican Party. There are quite a few very qualified women (Kay Bailey Hutchinson comes to mind). Instead, I once again find myself standing here scratching my head, wondering what in the hell the Republicans are thinking. Once again they’re telling us that black is white, right is wrong, and little experience is actually vast experience. If nothing else has ever proven that the Republicans are insane, John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate certainly does.

The disturbing thing is that it could possibly work in his favor. People might just buy it. After all, if you consider the faces before us … McCain, Biden, Obama … she’s certainly the most photogenic of the bunch. Women will bristle, of course, that I, a man, have dismissed her role on the Republican ticket as that of being a pretty face, but looking at her qualifications, I can’t see any other reason she’s there than to pretty up the Republican ticket. If you look at the Republicans’ traditional attitudes toward women, you shouldn’t be surprised by this.

I certainly would never dismiss a candidate because that candidate had a vagina. I don’t think that has a bearing on a candidate’s ability to lead. I didn’t like Hillary Clinton because she was an opportunistic asshole who was willing to do and say anything she had to in order to win a nomination that she seemed to think she was entitled to because she was married to a popular former President. I said all along that I think the United States is ready for a female president, but that I didn’t think Hillary Clinton is it. So you can’t claim I’m just another sexist male dismissing a female candidate. What I see before me in regard to Sarah Palin is the very obvious fact that someone like Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, who is imminently more qualified to be President of the United States, was passed over for someone with laughable qualifications. How else do you look at that and not believe that Sarah Palin is on the ticket because she’s an attractive woman who makes John McCain look less like a decrepit old dinosaur?

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