5 September 2008, early morning
I met Mahi for a drink yesterday, and the conversation turned to Sarah Palin. He’s convinced that if the Republicans win it will be because of her. Having listened to her speech finally, I can see where he is coming from.
Palin appeals to the far-right — your Christian nut jobs, your gun-totting NRA members, etc — with her crazy-ass views on everything. She is nuts. And the far-right is certainly a strong and active voting block. That group probably wouldn’t have voted for Obama, but they may have sat the election out if McCain hadn’t added someone who appeals to them to his ticket.
There is more to Palin than her appeal to the right. Palin clearly is playing up the fact she’s just a regular small town girl. This comes up again and again in her speech. In most countries, I don’t think that would play well. Chrétien always portrayed himself as the little guy from Shawinigan, but it was also clear he was a bright and capable politician. The fact he was from Shawinigan was cute, but ultimately inconsequential. Most people don’t want the dude that teaches their kids hockey on Saturday mornings running their country. They want the lady with policy experience, or the fellow with diplomatic experience, or — well really, someone who isn’t a dumb ass. In America there seem to be a large enough group of people who aren’t interested in that at all. They want the reluctant politician: “I’m just a hockey mom, but these dudes in Washington are messing up, so I’m going to go out there to clean things up.” Never mind that the job of running a country is complicated. Never mind that the last two moron-presidents of note, Regan and Bush, were probably the most corrupt, evil, and crony-loving politicians in American history. People seem to wilfully look past that. Palin is going to sell herself as the Washington-outsider every-woman, and many people will gravitate to that.
If the Republicans do win again, it will be because just enough American’s are morons, and the democrats don’t seem to appeal to that group at all.