Online Journal
Front Page 
 Special Reports
 News Media
 Elections & Voting
 Social Security
 Editors' Blog
 Reclaiming America
 The Splendid Failure of Occupation
 The Lighter Side
 The Mailbag
 Online Journal Stores
 Official Merchandise
 Join Mailing List

Elections & Voting Last Updated: Sep 3rd, 2008 - 01:49:22

The Rovian politics of choosing Sarah Palin
By Paul Rogat Loeb
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Sep 3, 2008, 00:12

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

What does it say about John McCain that he not only picked the least experienced vice presidential nominee in America�s history, but picked someone he really didn�t know?

Departing so far from any normal concept of appropriate background, he should at least have had a sense of why this individual is so special. Meeting Palin once at a Republican governors� conference and having a single phone conversation on the eve of her selection just doesn�t pass muster -- particularly for the oldest presidential candidate ever, who�s had four malignant melanomas.

What makes Palin such a cynical choice is that McCain doesn�t know her and doesn�t know what drives her. Until she was selected by the Karl Rove types running his campaign (like campaign manager and Rove prot�g� Steve Schmidt), McCain might not even have recognized her on the street. Instead, she�s a category selection, made for the crassest reasons by the same kinds of political operatives who brought us George W. Bush.

Their motives are obvious: Palin is an energetic and attractive woman who just might pick up some disgruntled Hillary supporters. She�s a westerner and a hunter who might appeal to rural voters. She might energize a previously tepid base of hard-shell religious conservatives through her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest. These attributes may indeed prove her worth as a vote-getter. But they have no relation to Palin�s fitness for the job. McCain can�t have any sense of what lies beneath the marketing categories -- who Palin actually is, what she could contribute to the vice presidential office, and what it would be like to work together -- because he doesn�t know her and had no chance to. It�s like so much that the Republicans have done for eight years and longer -- making choices with the gravest possible consequences based largely on political expediency.

Leave aside all the other troubling questions about Palin: her extreme abortion position; her backing the infamous �Bridge to Nowhere� while campaigning for governor, then later claiming to disavow it; her denial of global warming and embrace of creationism; her Cheney-style vendetta of firing the Alaska public safety director who refused to fire her former brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper.

Leave aside Palin�s actual record, because John McCain barely knows it. And his vetters didn�t even bother to go through the archives of her local newspaper or talk with the former public safety director she fired. What choosing her shows instead is a politics that once again subordinates any greater common good to a raw pursuit of power. It echoes McCain praising Jerry Falwell after once calling him an �agent of intolerance.� Or embracing Bush�s campaign and administration after Bush�s political hit men defeated him in South Carolina with Swift Boat-type lies. Or when instead of challenging Obama�s ideas, the McCain campaign tried to caricature him as one-step up from Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Karl Rove�s minions may be smiling at the brazen gamesmanship of this pick: but if Americans fall for it, they should know all too well what to expect.

Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of �The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen�s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear,� named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association. His previous books include �Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time.� See

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Top of Page

Elections & Voting
Latest Headlines
The GOP attack on democracy continues in Ohio
Election protection in Ohio (and America) isn�t over
A new political party is needed
The last ride on the Straight Talk Express
A day of rejoicing for the empire
�Let us shed tears of gratitude for this moment of grace. It will be brief.�
Will President Obama feel the pressure? (LOL)
An American awakening
From Bush to Obama: What a difference from 2000
Is it over for the neocons or for the American people?
Can the grassroots Internet-based election protection movement win the White House?
How business can help insure a smooth election
Report from the front
The sounds of voting -- and check writing
The racism of McCain . . . and Obama . . . and the media
DOJ�s internal watchdogs probing leak of ACORN investigation
Beware the twin towers of electronic election theft
Vote independent or boycott the elections
How would our silent soldiers cast their final ballot?