In the interest of balanced coverage, I do have a thing or two to say about Sen. John McCain. Just as I watched the acceptance speech for the Democrats’ nominee, so then a week later did I watch the GOP nominee’s speech. Having already been thoroughly impressed with Obama’s speech — not to mention being pretty firmly rooted as a Democrat — I wasn’t expecting to be moved by McCain’s speech, and the old war hero didn’t let me down. Nothing of what he said made me want to vote for him, particularly since I already believe that we truly vote for a party and its policies. The president, in my view, is pretty much the spokesman for a set of values that the party agrees on in an effort to get elected. And since McCain did not convince me to change my core values, I still won’t vote for him.
Let me rephrase: I won’t vote for him for president. I would, however, vote for him as commander in chief. Aren’t they the same thing, you ask? If you go by traditional ways of thinking they are, but I am proposing a new system. For a long time I have been of the opinion that what this country needs is for the Democrats, the more touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy, looking-out-for-Average-Joe party to be in charge of, well, pretty much everything except war. Republicans, those gun-loving, John Wayne-worshipping, Second Amendment-thumping purveyors of violence need to be the ones we call on when bad guys from foreign lands (or even domestic bad guys) stir up trouble and need to be shot, blown up, torn to pieces and then killed. Guys like John McCain, who withstood torture in a Vietnamese prison camp and have the cojones to not spend the rest of their lives crying and whining to mommy about it. When I listened to McCain talk about his experiences as a soldier, it was the closest I ever came to voting Republican. Fortunately there were no voting booths in sight.
The moment has passed, thank goodness, and I am back in a rational state of mind that allows me to know that guys like McCain and the rest of the Republican party need to be in government and have a place in it. That place just happens to be in a cage where they can snarl and growl and take target practice and when planes start hitting buildings we throw the switch that opens the cage door and let them out to kick some ass. Who should be in charge of the cage door, you ask?Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course. Anybody who has seen “Predator” knows Arnold knows a thing or two about fighting formidable foreigners. Plus, he’s Republican so the ones locked in the cage will listen to him he yells, “Attack!” But the real reason is that if you put the governor of “Caleefornia” in charge, we all know that we’re really putting his wife in charge, and she’s a Democrat.
Speaking of women who are in charge, the talk about Republicans now seems to be about Sarah Palin and what happens if she ever gets to be in charge. As I think I made clear two weeks ago when I spoke about my affinity for Obama, I don’t discount a political candidate because of “lack of experience.” That is what a good supporting staff is all about. I’m sure that Palin’s work up to and including her stints as a mayor and now governor have her familiar enough with the legislative process to get along in Washington, D.C. It’s her personality that would make or break her if she were to become president and it seems to me she is not afraid to stand shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of men.
However, as I have stated several times, it’s the party and its values that largely sway my vote and Palin’s beliefs line up opposite of mine. But that’s OK because I think she is better suited for my new governmental arrangement, anyway. She compared herself to a pit bull, and with that lovely lipstick she will give the other Republicans in the cage something to look at while they wait for the door to open.
Is it unfair of me to make cracks about Palin’s looks? Why not? Everyone else is doing it. In fact, Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein wrote this week that he should be able to find Palin sexy and not apologize for it.
“Just as Obama Girl, JFK’s teenage admirers and anyone who’s been within 100 yards of Mitt Romney can swoon without implying those guys’ ineffectualness, I think women are now taken seriously enough that I should be able to admit to noticing a female political leader’s hotness without being accused of sexism,” Stein wrote. “In fact, what’s sexist is men’s fear of sexualizing the women we take seriously. It implies that men find power unattractive; that we segregate those we desire as sexual partners from those we want as intellectual partners; that our image of hotness is confined to the young, dumb and full of weak policy positions.”
While I agree with Stein’s point about desiring powerful, smart women, I’m wondering why the issue of her looks or fashion sense comes up at all. When I go to vote in November, the ballot is not asking me if I want Sarah Palin to be vice president to John McCain and do a strip tease after each appearance before the Washington Press Corps. Not that I would vote against that last part. But nobody’s talking about John McCain’s shoes except writers for Arianna Huffington and I can’t find anybody talking about how nice Obama’s butt is. So why do we care if Palin wears go-go boots?
“I hope I’m right, and that we are capable of both drooling over Sarah Palin and listening to what she has to say,” Stein also wrote. I have listened to what Palin has to say, and the only vote she’ll get from me is for hottest running mate.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go work on my blueprint for a really big cage and write a letter to Maria Shriver.
Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.