Obama Eats Special Needs Children!
James Taranto has an article in today’s Wall Street Journal in which
he professes outrage at anyone who would suggest John McCain picked Sarah Palin because she was walked the pro-life walk (as, indeed, she has). The article is worth a read: Taranto distorts the meaning of some of the quotes he uses in a way that’s reminiscent of the recent McCain camp excrescences on lipstick and sex education, then whips himself into a fit of righteous indignity:
“This is worse than tasteless or even unhinged. It is depraved. It represents an inversion of any reasonable conception of right and wrong, including liberal conceptions”
Holy hyperbole, Batman! But is it really so outlandish and offensive to suggest that McCain picked Palin because of her pro-life credentials?
This is a candidate who has barely set foot outside the country, who has never met a foreign leader, who had never evinced even a rudimentary understanding of or even interest in foreign policy. Her national security credentials are so lacking that her supporters have had to resort to novel theories about the sources of her expertise, such as that she is a national security expert because Alaska is near Russia, or that she has learned foreign policy “by osmosis” because Russian missiles would pass over Alaska on their way to the continental United States. Even McCain can’t come up with a coherent defense of his candidate’s foreign policy or national security credentials (although he does manage to come up with two #1 issues facing America. For John McCain, nothing is impossible). Watch this painful video and see.
And here’s Governor Palin’s first interview since being nominated, where, after two weeks of cramming on national security issues, she doesn’t even know what The Bush Doctrine is.
(If you’re a principled conservative, if you care about national security, how can you accept this? Seriously.)
The humiliating attempts of Palin’s supporters notwithstanding, it’s simply impossible to believe that McCain chose Palin for her national security credentials. We know he didn’t pick her for that.
How about executive experience? The McCain team has tried to focus more on this one because the national security case is so laughable. And it’s true that Palin has been a mayor and is now a governor, so she is not entirely lacking in executive experience. But even if you believe that being mayor of a town of 9000 and serving for a year and half as governor of a state of 600,000 is adequate experience to prepare you to be President of the United States, can you really argue it’s enough to outweigh the total lack of foreign policy or national security credibility? If McCain wanted meaningful executive experience — especially the kind that would outweigh the foreign policy deficit — he had an almost limitless list of candidates who have far more executive experience than Palin.
So we know McCain didn’t pick Palin for her national security acumen, which is nonexistent, or for her executive experience, which is slight. And those seem like two pretty key categories to check off for a potential Commander-in-Chief.
So… why did he pick her?
As I’ve argued before, there are two reasons: (i) to attract disaffected Hillary supporters and women for whom gender is a key consideration in a candidate; and (ii) to fire up the base. Palin’s gender was calculated to achieve objective #1. Objective #2 is achieved by Palin’s pro-life stance, the integrity of which is proven by her decision to bear a Down’s Syndrome child (to her credit — on this, she seems no hypocrite. Pork barrel spending and reform, not so much.
So of course McCain chose Palin in large part because of her decision to have her Down’s Syndrome baby. Her decision served the substantive objective of firing up the base, and even better, today Republicans are able to use the baby, as Taranto does, to inject another dose of bullshit into the news cycle and make sure everyone is talking about the baby, rather than about Governor Palin’s utter lack of qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief. The strategy is: “We’ll talk about the baby by saying it’s outrageous and offensive to talk about the baby.”
So get ready for the next wave of McCain accusations, calculated to dominate two or three more days of news and drown out McCain’s and Palin’s dreadful recent performances. It’ll go something like this: “Obama Slimes Trig Palin and Other Special Needs Children!” And rather than press this obvious — and winning — point, that of course McCain picked her because of the baby, she’s substantively embarrassingly unqualified, Democrats will apologize, as indeed they already, reflexively, are.
Republicans are very good at this game. Democrats, it seems, just aren’t. Some thoughts on why in another post.