Friday, August 29, 2008

History will be made

In picking Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has made it virtually certain that history will be made on Nov. 4.

Either an African-American will be elected president of the United States or a woman will be elected vice president. Both, of course, would be unprecedented and one will occur, unless, of course, something unexpected occurs.

In 1972, Sen. George McGovern chose Sen. Tom Eagleton of Missouri as his running mate. A couple of weeks later, McGovern tossed Eagleton off the ticket after it was revealed that the vice presidential choice had been treated for nervous exhaustion and had received shock treatments. Not that it did McGovern any good, but then again, Nixon was virtually unbeatable anyway.

Getting back to this year's race, friend Ivan Katz reminds that Palin is closely allied to Alaska Sen. Ted Stephens, who is under indictment on federal charges. She also used her bully pulpit to help defeat a mining initiative that was backed by environmentalists and native Americans, an action Katz says appears to be contrary to Alaskan law.

Palin's ties to Stephens should , once and for all, shut up the GOP magpies that keep harping on alleged ties between Obama and his next-door neighbor in Chicago, who is of less than sterling reputation.

Palin is a hunter, fisher, is allied to Stephens and through his connections to the NRA and is politically slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. She also has no foreign-policy credentials, which means she could look pretty sick when she debates Maryland Sen. Joseph Biden Jr. 

She obviously was added to the ticket to pander to the right-wing crazies and religious rightists where McCain is weak because of his sensible stands on abortion and women's rights. She will pander to that far-right voting block on civil rights, freedom of expression, actually upholding the Constitution and all the other things that these wackos on the right hate. 

She also was picked because she's young and strong as opposed to McCain, who is not. I will not pander to ageism, but McCain is 72 and not in the best of health. So we have to look even more closely at this woman who would be a heartbeat away from the White House. 

She also is supposed to appeal to those who are still ticked off because Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was not picked by Sen. Barack Obama as a running mate and didn't win the nomination in the first place. There may be some I-won't-vote-for-anyone-but-a-woman diehards out there, but most women will see this for the empty, pandering gesture that it is.

And most women will realize that although Palin is of the same gender, they hardly are for the same things: equal pay, a woman's right to say what happens to her body and a social conscience. 

Palin fails on all those points and, as Katz point out, if Stephens is convicted or pleads out on the federal charges against him before Election Day, then this strategy may really fall apart.

In any case, the cast of characters is now in place. The GOP will have its coronation in Minnesota and the campaign will begin in earnest.

In other words, the Silly Season is about to go into full swing.

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Sorry we haven't written for a week, but it's been busy on the grandparent scene, baby-sitting and spending time with grandkids in two states. Besides, our friends at the New Haven Independent have been doing their usual great job of covering the city. Kudos, also, to Mary E. O'Leary, who got the beat on the story about the long-standing intramural union fight in New York that might spill over into the Coliseum site redevelopment in New Haven. 

Can you believe it's already Labor Day weekend? Where did the summer go? 

The three-day holiday weekend has the New Haven Labor Day Road Race the prime event. Drive carefully. The police usually have extra hands on deck and it is the end of the month, so be extra careful and vigilant. And for everybody's sake, if you've been drinking, let somebody sober drive.

The weather is supposed to be be great, if not a little warm for a 20K race. 

So, have a great weekend. And, of course, for those in the Tribe, a great Shabbos.

Until next time...

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