(Editor's note: This piece is slightly reworked from a reading I did at an Episcopal church here in the Minor Outlying Islands. No actual vice-presidential candidates were harmed in the making of this post. Nor is any but the most general and trifling offense intended to the great state of Alaska. Sorry you popped up in my line of fire, dude. I'll make it up to you someday, I promise. Yes, I know I'm going to freeze in the dark, thanks for sharing.)
Oh Republicans, you cruelest and most capricious of parties, you have done it again. You have waylaid my plans, rerouted my intentions, tossed aside my desires like so much chaff. I had intended for tonight's feature topic, “New Kid in Town”, to serve as an introduction to the personal side of Nosmo King, a selection from any number of tender tales I could tell about being a fish out of water, a stranger in a strange land, even a turd drifting lazily in a punchbowl. But then you, Republicans, have to go, and mere days before the show, nominate Sarah Palin for vice president. And suddenly, everyone is in a tizzy. Nothing else is news, we must find out what Sarah Palin is all about, starting completely from scratch. And I did-- it's Pay-lin, near as I can tell. Anyway, now that she's here, the Democrats are wondering, how do we attack her, a likeable neophyte with children, without seeming too mean, too chauvinistic, too much like a primary no one could be really proud of? The answer is simple, Obama campaign: you don't. You can't. But luckily, I can. I am angry, obscure in all meaningful senses of the word, no one would let me anywhere near a microphone next to an official campaign banner, as I have all the savoir-faire of Kim Jong-Il and the folksy down home charm of Rudolph Giuliani. So when the Republicans make our political landscape into Chernobyl, you can send me into the hotspots without a suit. Let's go there, shall we?
So Sarah Palin is a woman, whom nobody knows anything about, and who returns the favor, appearing to know nothing about anything else. What is her judgment like? Well, let's look at her 5 children: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig. That is 5 lovely, precious, and distinct individuals to spring from her loins, yet between them there is only 1 proper name-- shared with Britain's 6th largest city. Now, it was a long time ago, but I remember my own childhood as tough enough without people confusing you with that thing that soured you on math forever , a tree, or Britain's 6th largest city. It could have been worse, I suppose; we could be faced with Palin offspring named Macadam, Liverpool, Paper Barked Maple, Trombonist, and non-Euclidean Tensor Analysis. But that wouldn't happen, because then she would have actually had to read a book, rather than just inquire on how to ban them.
Which brings me to my first joke: What's the difference between Sarah Palin's eldest son, and her record as a politician? You can run on a Track, but you can't run on her record as a politician. Thank you, I'm here all week. Try the veal, it comes with extra suffering.
Anyway, so Sarah Palin, the result of a massive vetting and selection process resembled nothing so much as letting a rat loose on a bingo card and reading the name underneath the first turd (yes, I have used the t-word twice in the same piece. Sue me.), turns out to be quite the joker herself. Here is the first joke she told in her speech at the Republican Convention. She asked, in that triumphant just a little too loud tone that makes people actually appreciate the studied phony cool of real comedians “You know what the difference is between a hockey mom and a Pitbull?”. And of course, now we all know the answer. “A pitbull doesn't lie repeatedly to the media and the voting public.” Putting the state jet up on eBay isn't the same thing as selling it. Keeping 78 million of the money for the "bridge to nowhere" is not the same as refusing it. And on and on and on.
But Sarah Palin is a maverick, just like John McCain. She's not afraid to shake things up, to take a fresh look at things and try to see them in a new light. Take rape and incest. Most people have this quaint, old fashioned belief that these things are always wrong, all the time. Not courageous maverick hockey-mom Sarah Palin. Wake up people, this is the 21st century, and the first woman to be nominated for the vice-presidency by the party of Lincoln has a different vision. She is against abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Well of course -- She's governor of Alaska. How else do they keep the birthrate up, up there? You're cooped up for 8 months out of the year with your family and your liquor cabinet, howling storms and polar bears stalking the streets outside-- things happen, is all I'm saying, and some of those things have buck teeth, a Hapsburg lip, and goiter. And they deserve an earmark like everybody else in Alaska. And where some small town mayors looked at rape and saw tragedy, Sarah Palin , ever the optimist type, saw a revenue stream. I guess she thought, When life gives you rape, and you have to make rape-aid, make sure you charge by the glass. By the way, the author of the Federal Law making rape kits mandatory, which John McCain voted against? Joe Biden. So, folks, this time it's personal....
I would like to point out that Sarah Palin's stupidity, cupidity, and disingenuousness are not problems as far as her party is concerned. They're assets. A long time ago, back when I thought stuff like this was accidental, I had a picture of Dan Quayle, wandering around his house after George W Bush's installation (as he is no smarter than a major appliance, just a whole lot meaner, this is the correct verb) drunk and teetering, saying over and over again, “They said I was too stupid to be President, but apparently I wasn't stupid enough.”. It is no accident, because these people hate government. By their lights, it should be dismantled completely, but until that finally happens, it may as well be staffed by secretive parochialists who view it as a vehicle to settle scores and reward high school buddies. Tammany Hall is back, this time from the opposite side of the aisle. Because government itself is tainted, policies don't matter. It's what you do before you hit gov't that counts. So Palin's qualification for high office is that she didn't have an abortion, just as McCain's is that he was a POW. Once. A long time ago.
Sarah Palin is the ultimate weapon-- an antifeminist woman whose goal is the same as every other Republican minority-- to make sure that the opportunities she got vanish from the earth, as surely as polar bears caught in the global warming that she denies is a problem, or the wolves she offered a $150 bounty per foreleg on. And when other people's daughters come home pregnant, why, if those people just worked real hard and became governor of a small state themselves, those kids wouldn't do too badly, what with a per diem for sleeping in their own house and all. Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but make sure to leave one foot free to kick the guy below in the face.
Facing this sort of bracing Surrealpolitik, I become a very bad person. When I saw baby Trig Palin, coked up on baby 'ludes during his mom's speech, being passed around from Palin child to McCain adult, as though he were a mere charm whose wonderful pro-life mojo would rub off on them, I found myself hoping that the child would, on his arrival into John McCain's rictus, pee on the still presumptive Republican nominee. Because I knew that all McCain could do was stand there and take it, a clenched half-smile for the cameras, as the warm spot spread on his 5000 dollar suit, and him thinking, “Oh well, I've got another one at home. But which home? Dammit, why can't I remember anything? Well at least we can take the private jet when we hunt for my other suit. Hey, whose baby is this anyway?”