I admittedly was surprised when I heard John McCain's choice for his running mate at first. Sarah Palin? Who? I honestly had no clue who she was, and I kept expecting the CNN online story to change the name to Lieberman, Romney, or hell, even Pawlenty. But alas, the story did not change. Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska and former mayor of Wasila...no Wasilla, was McCain's choice.
I reserved my judgment at first. My initial feeling was that this choice was a political move to try and attract women who were bitter about Hilary's defeat and the more extreme conservative base that was worried about McCain's 'moderate' tendencies.
As the days wore on, I continually heard nothing about her policy stances beyond abortion, gay marriage, and offshore drilling (hint: because she has none), but instead, I heard about her glasses, her style, and her physical attractiveness (debatable). While a little bit annoyed, I assumed that this initial infatuation would die down and we would soon learn more about Palin's policies and political ideas...and I was wrong.
The RNC came and went, and I still had no idea about Palin's economic or foreign policy ideas (among others), but I knew she was a hockey mom nicknamed Joe Six-Pack. Still, an astounding number of people supported this unknown woman, blindly encouraging her for her sense of style, 'energy,' and the fact that she was 'just like us' (sound familiar?).
I now became even more disturbed by John McCain's run at the White House. This had to be the WORST political decision (other than the people of the U.S. voting for Bush a second time) I had ever seen in my lifetime. But I remained hopeful that maybe, just maybe, she stood for SOMETHING (whether I agreed with it or not!).
Then came Katie Couric. This interview says it all. I really don't even need to comment, but I will leave a link to the official transcript. From this page, you can access the second part of the interview dealing with *cringe* foreign policy...http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/24/eveningnews/main4476173.shtml
Surely, the American people would now see through this Alaska governor, who has no experience or even basic foundation in national politics...but I was wrong.
Instead of realizing that Palin is NOT ready to be VP, her supporters bashed Katie Couric, a respected journalist, for being 'mean' and 'too tough' on Gov. Palin (Yes, I have actually heard those terms).
Somehow, another golden opportunity for the American people to see the incompetence of this woman, at least for the office of VP, arose when she was pitted against Sen. Joe Biden, a long-time Senator and experienced debator, in Thursday's VP debate.
Palin, as I expected, recited party lines given to her, at times reading them directly from her notes. She hardly ever answered questions directly, usually meandering her way back to McCain's qualifications for the title of "Maverick" (of which I am still not at all convinced), her new classification of the entire middle class as "Joe Six-Pack" and her supposed novel approach to traditional politics in Washington (Is that the kind of politics where you never answer any questions but instead wink and use "folksy" gestures?).
I watched every minute of that debate, thoroughly convinced that Palin had failed, that she had not answered any questions adequately and had simply avoided the topics, inserting the party's rhetoric at completely irrelevant times. I expected the reaction from the analysts to mirror my thoughts...and I was wrong.
MSNBC's Pat Buchanan actually claimed that Palin "mopped the floor with Biden." He went on to claim the reason she won was because she had an 'energy' on the podium, and that she looked amazing talking directly to the American people. Pat NEVER mentioned her performance on the issues. Not once.
How can we live in such an information-based society and still be impressed by a politician's "folksy" appearance? Palin's popularity at this point and beyond is a clear indicator of not only McCain's poor, erratic judgment, but also of the American's people terrible understanding about what is important.
It's a sad thing to admit, but the American lifestyle is firmly entrenched in instant, materialistic gratification.