"The main problem in any democracy is that the crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage and whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy - then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece. Probably the rarest form of life in American politics is the man who can turn on a crowd and still keep his head straight - assuming it was straight in the first place. --Hunter S. Thompson: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72
As usual, Dr. Thompson was about as right as can be when he wrote those words in late March of 1972. So much sage wisdom emanated from that IBM Selectric of his - and in all-too-short a time. I realize that his best years were long behind him when he pointed a gun to his head five years ago and ended his life. That doesn't mean that I miss him any less. It has been said by some that the poor guy was in a blind funk after the reelection of George W. Bush. I can relate. I might have followed him into eternity had I been so inclined. But at the time, I was just finding my groove, so to speak.
We can also forgive the good doctor for referring to "the man who can turn on a crowd". Thirty-eight years ago, women in elected office were few and far between. And the ones who were lucky enough to be pioneer feminists - women like Bella Abzug, Millicent Fenwick, Shirley Chisholm, and Margaret Chase Smith - tended to be fairly sensible, rational people. As far as I can remember, not one of them was a bat shit reactionary on the level of Sarah Palin.
Which brings me to the nasty subject of this piece you are reading. Back on January 19, I speculated on the possibility of a Palin candidacy in 2012. Actually, "speculation" is the wrong word. It was pure, stratospheric fantasy on my part. Not even when I was a regular user of LSD over three decades ago, did my mind ever conjure up a vision that weird. As I wrote at the time:
I am going to wish upon a star that Sarah Palin gets the nod of her party in three years. It would only mean electoral doom for them. I cannot believe that the American people, in the end, would be nutty enough to send her to the Executive Mansion in 2012. I realize that this is merely a pipe dream on my part, but it is not out of the realm of possibility. So far out of the main stream has that party drifted in the last thirty years, a Sarah Palin candidacy is not only possible, it's damned-near inevitable!"
Again, I must emphasize that this was wishful thinking on my part; the result of, perhaps, too many vodkas and vegetable juices - or maybe even an acid flashback. The sensible side of me kept saying, "It'll never happen". Now I'm not so sure.
Last week on his MSNBC program, Hardball, Chris Matthews (whom I think is one of the smartest sons-of-bitches out there) laid out the scenario in black and white:
- Our Miss Sarah makes a good showing - and perhaps even wins - the Iowa Caucuses due to the heavy presence of the evangelical vote in that state.
- She can't possibly beat Mitt Romney near his home turf in the New Hampshire primary, but she takes a respectable second place - which causes the Romney campaign to implode overnight.
- Next stop: South Carolina - where the average voter in any given Republican primary has the IQ of a bag of soiled laundry. Remember 2000? It was in South Carolina where the people practically handed the nomination to George W. Bush, thus obliterating the candidacy of John McCain - who until that moment had been the presumptive nominee. By this point Sarah has all the momentum she needs to glide handily to the convention and the nomination.
Could it actually happen? My luck has never gotten that good! But what a treat that would be: FASCIST BARBIE as the nominee of a major political party? A woman who quit her job as governor of Alaska in order to make a quick buck (in fact many millions of them) and then had the gall to blame the naughty liberal media for her decision to bail out on the people of that state? Such a possibility would be too good to be true! Oh, please, fate! Oh, please! Oh, please! Oh, please!
Please bear in mind that I only wish her the nomination because she could never get elected. Her candidacy would only guarantee the reelection of Barack Obama come Election Day, right?....RIGHT??? I'm still enough of a cockeyed optimist to believe in my heart that the American electorate wouldn't do something as drastic and foolish as sending Gidget von Braun to the White House.
Whoa! But wait a minute....What if she was elected? What if we were to wake up on the morning after the election to find the jackasses on FOX and Friends beside themselves with glee, chanting like rabid little myna birds , "PRESIDENT-ELECT PALIN! PRESIDENT-ELECT PALIN!" What then? I actually have given some thought to this mind-numbing, dreadful possibility.
After thinking the subject over carefully, I have concluded that I am one of the very few people in this country who make under a million dollars per year who will actually benefit from a Palin administration. As I wrote on this site a number of months ago, I'm the kind of guy who, if you give me a bag of nasty tasting lemons, I'll go out and make a delicious pitcher of juicy lemonade.
Take our ex-president - now hiding deep within the bunker under his home in Dallas: While George W. Bush was the worst thing to ever happen to the country that I love so much, the half-witted little bastard is the best thing that ever happened to me! The blog you are now reading is as much his legacy as anyone's. For a person who makes his or her name satirizing the train wreck that American politics has become in the last quarter century, the very idea of a Palin White House is enough to make all of us salivate like a kennel full of Pavlov's dogs, awoken from their blissful slumber by the bells of doom.
Who would be second on the ticket with her? It definitely could not be another woman (although Michele Bachman would be an answer to my prayers) and it couldn't be another white Christian male. My guess would be Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal or the Buddy Holly lookalike (and Jewish) Senator Eric Cantor. Either one of them would give the ticket the "balance" that was needed. Wouldn't a campaign as twisted as that be a scream?
What would the possibility of a President Palin mean for the United States? It would probably mean the death of this country - but that would be a fait accompli as far as I'm concerned. A people stupid enough to send someone like that to the White House deserves everything that happens to them.
Afterthought 6/26/10:Do I really want something that horrible to happen to America? Of course not. As disappointed as I am in Obama, I want to see him reelected two-and-a-half years from now. He may not be the ideal progressive but what alternative do we have? A third party uprising? That would be suicide. Barring the unforeseen, I have every intention of casting my ballot for him on the first Tuesday of November 2012. I'm just saying that, should the worst occur and America is cursed by one or two terms of a Palin presidency - I'll do quite well, thank you very much. I will be burdened with more material than I'll know what to do with. As Frank Sinatra once sang, "Don't worry 'bout me, I'll get along."
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ' 72
by Hunter S. Thompson
It's still in print and is one of the finest (and definitely the funniest) book ever written about American campaign journalism. I am now in the process of re-reading it for the fourth or fifth time. It is one of the essentials of political literature. Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough.