Well, it's official. John McCain Who Was a POW has named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Make no mistake. Given John McCain Who Was a POW's age and medical history, this lady may be closer than just a heartbeat to one of the most powerful positions in the world. So his choice for vice president is a bit more important than in some years.
By the way, I refer to the Republican presidential nominee in the fashion noted above because it seems to be the new rule that you absolutely have to bring up his honorable service as a Navy pilot and the terrible experiences he suffered as a prisoner of war. You know, the experiences he used to say he didn't like to talk about.
Anyway, back to Gov. Palin. If the choice of a governor who's served less than a full term in a state that has half the population of Phoenix tells us anything, it's that JMWWAPOW doesn't really believe in his own "experience counts" theme.
It's sort of like the way Muslims can't refer to the Prophet Muhammad without adding "peace be upon him." But, I'll admit, it gets a bit unwieldy. So from here on in, I'll be referring to the Arizona senator by the acronym JMWWAPOW.
In fact, like most things the Republican Party does these days, it basically shows that the only principle they really believe in can be summed up by another acronym: IOKIYAR (It's Okay If You're Republican). JMWWAPOW handed the perfect rebuttal to anyone who starts talking about Barack Obama's lack of experience, to wit: "If experience is so important, why'd he pick Palin?"
I mean, this is a woman who, when asked about being considered for the vice presidency, told the interviewer, "I can't answer that question until somebody answers for me, what is it exactly that the VP does every day?" Say what you like about Obama, I'm pretty sure he's known for a while what the President does.
Of course, they had to make it look as if Palin really had experience where it counted, and in doing so they inadvertently mined comedy gold all last weekend. Both Fox's Steve Doocy and later Cindy McCain went on TV and said -- with a straight face, mind you -- that Sarah Palin had
national security experience because "Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia."
McCain adviser Tucker Bounds went even further and claimed that Sarah Palin was ready, if need be, to be commander-in-chief because she'd been commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard.
This was too much even for Campbell Brown, the reporter from the usually talking-point-compliant CNN, who was interviewing Bounds.
"Can you just tell me one decision," an incredulous Brown asked, "that she made as commander-in-chief of the Alaskan National Guard, just one?"
Bounds immediately retreated into "question me and you hate the troops" mode, accusing Brown of "belittling" Palin's experience. Then he went into outright BS mode, claiming that the governor makes decisions on how to "equip and deploy" the Alaska Guard.
Unfortunately for that talking point, Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, who commands the Alaska Guard, admitted to The Associated Press that "he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under
federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations."
Of course, maybe I'm being unfair. It is true that in the short time Gov. Palin was CinC of the Alaska National Guard, we weren't attacked by Russians swarming across the Bering Strait. Not one time. So thank you, Gov. Palin. Thank you for protecting us from the Red Menace.
Privately, however, it seems that even staunch Republican supporters were aghast at the choice. Conservative columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan and Republican consultant Mike Murphy, who's advised both JMWWAPOW and Mitt Romney, were caught in a moment when they thought their live microphones were off.
"It's not gonna work," Murphy said.
"It's over," Noonan agreed, then later went on to say, "The most
qualified? No. I think they went for this -- excuse me -- political
(bad word) about narratives."
Let's get real. This wasn't about experience, it wasn't about qualifications. If JMWWAPOW had really wanted those, there were more than a dozen qualified candidates he could have picked, but none of them were, shall we say, "religiously correct."
Sarah Palin was picked because she's the darling of social conservatives and the Religious Right, for whom religious correctness and right belief trump competence every time. It's the attitude that gave us George W. Bush. And if, God forbid, anything happened to JMWWAPOW, it would give us the exact same thing, if not worse.
Sure, she can give an amusing speech and make fun of people, but heck, I can do that. Maybe I should have gotten picked for Veep.
Barack Obama picked an old Washington hand who could help him govern; JMWWAPOW picked a political naïf who could help him get elected. So much for the "maverick" image.