Republican presidential candidate John McCain, teetering around age 72, is a tough cookie. We all know he survived his long and torture-laden captivity by the North Vietnamese enemy with true grace and courage and unflinching dignity. Besides, I simply like the guy's calming, authoritative, can't-free voice; it's such a soothing salve for anyone suffering from prolonged exposure to George W's irksome aural bull ____. He is, I thought, one cool character. In fact, talking politics with Helen Washburn a few years ago, I said I could see myself voting for him if he were to run.
But that was then; this is now, and my question is this: is candidate John McCain one of these folks who, on the cusp of some notable accomplishment, falls victim to his own latent, persisting yearning for self-destruction, utter self-annihilation? Poooof? Sarah Palin?
If McCain wins (and a people who can elect George W twice is not above electing John M once), Sarah will be a heart-beat away from assuming the U.S. presidency herself. ("President Sarah" has kind of a nice ring to it, don't you agree?) Her running-mate is already in his early 70s, and the American presidency is not historically famous for its health-inducing properties. If you're not felled by an assassin's bullet, the sheer nervous strain inherent in the office is likely to do you in.
Then, why (oh, why!?) did McCain choose her, not exactly a household name, for his VP running mate? Did he figure that the millions of American women crushed by Hillary's ending up not being a Democratic candidate for either President or vice president, might be drawn to Sarah Platin, NRA member, governor of a second-rate state for somewhat shy of two years, and, of course, one-time beauty pageant contestant? But, no. Surely John couldn't be so cynical as that! What, then, does Sarah have going for her? Well, she's a looker, all right, if you compare her to Mamie Eisenhower. But her membership in the NRA, while understandable for a political candidate in the wild-western, sparsely populated state of Alaska, might toss a scare into standard-stated voters who dread a second-consecutive Dead-Eye Dick in the office of VP. That Sarah wants Creationism taught in the public schools is, I'll admit, a tad troublesome, as if she wants the educational system to take a sentimental journey back to the 19th century, when today's students have a hard enough time knowing when World War II occurred, or who Charles Darwin was.
Anti-choice? Pro-life? (Ah, those pesky prefixes will cloud the issue every time!) "She even fired her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper," writes a blogger, "because he's engaged in a custody battle with her sister." "She also just signed," adds another, "a HUGE tax give-away benefiting the oil industry." Deja-vu all over again? And now, suddenly, she finds herself in the national spotlight, getting all set for the distinct possibility -- eventuality? -- of being launched into the American presidency in one of the most important elections in modern American history. Oh, John McCain! You white-haired old man with a serious cancer problem, you! So, how can you say you put your "country first"? Sarah Palin sure looks like "a hail Mary pick." You should've done a whole lot better than this, Gramps.
How did Sarah raise her daughter? Maybe she'll tell us in her forthcoming autobiography, tentatively entitled From Beauty Pageant to Beautiful President: My Years in the White House after John Died (Simon & Schuster, $25).
The last comment I read on this whole, embarrassing mess was, to my way of thinking, by far the funniest: "My reaction," wrote a pained blogger south of Alaska and north of Washington state: "the McCain-Palin ticket wins --he dies -- she's 'advised' by the Cheney/Rove cabal -- I move to New Zealand?" What would Lincoln have said to these clueless legatees of his political party?