Although I�ve seen Youtube clips, I didn�t watch Sarah
Palin�s speech at the Republican convention, so I�d never experienced the full
Saracuda Hustle before Thursday night�s debate.
I was as astonished as Joe Biden, in that
happy-to-be-in-the-presence-of-such-a-wild-and-attractive-woman kind of leering
male way, at Palin�s antics. She�s always struck me as a weird amalgam of
Shirley Temple, the Church Lady, and Raquel Welch in designer eyeglasses. I
wouldn�t have been surprised to see her suddenly strip down to a cavegirl
bikini and sing �On the Good Ship Lollipop,� holding a cross.
Let�s face it, she was flirting with me the whole time. I
mean, Bill Clinton was a flirt, but I don�t recall him ever crinkling up his
nose straight into the camera. She winked at me at least twice. I kept
thinking, what if this was Biden doing this? I can�t recall a single
presidential or vice presidential candidate in my lifetime, including Geraldine
Ferraro, ever spending an entire television appearance doing a cutesy-poo
I genuinely liked Joe Biden Thursday night, who, especially
in comparison with Palin, the talking Caribou Barbie doll, came off as a fully-rounded
and compassionate human being, warts and all.
I�ve never really been a fan of Biden�s, who�s let too many
oleaginous right-wing judges slip through his hands as chair of the Senate
Judiciary Committee. And one thing Palin got right was Biden�s interventionist
history. But he seems a kind man; and the sad fact is, everybody in his
political class, including Obama, the Lion of Afghanistan, is trapped in the
military-industrial Matrix. By those standards, I thought Obama�s choice of
Biden was yet another example of his brilliant mind at work.
Gwen Ifill, the moderator from PBS, did a good job keeping
the conversation lively, but she left a lot of important questions unasked. She
had a perfect opportunity -- the specter of Dick Cheney having been summoned in
the back-and-forth about the role of VP, and with the release of the Department
of Justice report this week suggesting possible criminal politicization of the
DOJ by Rove & Company -- to ask about abuse of power, and asking political
appointees to do questionable things. It�s curious that the media show so
little interest in stonewalled subpoenas as a general matter, from Troopergate
to the fired US attorneys.
Lively as the discussion was, however, I had a hard time
staying awake sometimes, which really irritated me because it was interfering
with my fantasies about me and Sarah off alone in the woods. I�d been up late
the night before, and sometimes the train of thought was gosh-darn difficult to
follow, as Fantasy Girl might say.
I mean, Ifill would ask a question, or Biden would make a
point, and then the focus would shift to Palin, who would take a beat while she
shuffled through her note cards (in her mind or on the podium, I don�t really
know, though they both were looking down a lot). Then she would start droning
on with some florid and ludicrous right-wing talking point or campaign slogan
that I�d heard what, a million and a half times before, and Sarah and I would
disappear somewhere off in dreamland.
In an unprecedented way, Palin�s presence in this campaign
represents the final degrading step in the celebritization
of presidential politics. Because I won�t give up hope, I�ll continue to hope
that the Obama era will bring some return to the politics of reason favored by
James Madison and his Founding Father associates (�Gee, willikers, Senator
Omadison -- can I call you Jimmy? -- up in small town Alaska, we don�t go for
that East Coast elitist church-state separation thingy, know what I mean?�).
Meanwhile, I choose Sarah Palin as the candidate I�d most
like to go off in the woods and gut a moose with -- though I�d keep a close eye
on the knife the whole time.
Hasty lives on a farm in West Virginia, where he wrote a column for seven years
for the Hampshire Review, the state�s oldest newspaper. In 2000, it was named
best column by the West Virginia Press Association. His writing has appeared in
the Charleston Gazette, Online Journal, Common Dreams, Buzzflash, Tikkun and
many other websites. He publishes the blog, Radical Pantheist.
He plays guitar and harmonica with the folk/gospel trio, the Time Travelers.
Email:. radicalpantheist(at)gmail (dot) com.