The Republican National Convention picked up steam and ratings with the pick of Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin. If you had told me that more people would watch John McCain’s acceptance speech than watched Barack Obama historic acceptance speech, I would have told you “crack is whack” and stay off the drugs. Most people would have bet the house on that one.
The Republican “change” platform pales in comparison to what the Democrats are proposing. Remember, the Republicans are the “status quo” party. They don’t change anything, including their capitalist incentives to raid government, go to war, give tax incentives to the rich and big business, and push the middle class below the poverty line.
When the Republicans shouted that “change is here” last week, what they meant in codified terms is “we picked a woman before the Democrats, so now what reason do you have to stay with the Dems?” The play was to divide the woman’s vote, pure and simple. With everything coming out on Sarah Palin that would be any candidate’s nightmare, it is obvious that the Republicans didn’t vet her. They didn’t have to. They don’t care about her pregnant daughter, or affair allegations, or abuse of power investigations or her extreme censorship views. They just needed to do something drastic, and they pulled a rabbit out of their hat. A pro-life, pro-gun, creationist party extremist that appeals to the right wing, appeals to religious fundamentalists, appeals to the disgruntled Hillary segment and appeals to that segment of independents/undecideds that just needed a reason, any reason, not to vote for Barack. The media and pundits will never mention race. Just that now, all of a sudden, an inexperienced, unimaginative ideologue has invigorated the Republican Party and McCain is now ahead in the national polls. It has become known, not as the McCain factor but, as the Palin effect.
The choice of Palin is solely responsible for the bump McCain has received in the polls. It’s no reason to panic, because it was present in the polling against Clinton in the primaries and Obama rose above it. They even gave it a name, calling it the “Bradley effect” after the infamous 1986 Gubernatorial campaign in which Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley led in the polls all the way up until election night, yet he went to bed with his victory speech in his pocket after California voters pulled the curtains and voted their racial biases. It was the highest voter turnout in the history of Orange County, and the lowest turnout in South Los Angeles, as Tom Bradley lost the election by the number of registered voters that stayed home (in his old council district) because Bradley took the black vote for granted.
Barack is not doing that, but he has a “credibility” problem with many white voters. Being a breath of fresh air is not enough. Having integrity in his politics is not enough. Having new ideas is not enough. Being a great communicator, now his biggest criticism, is not good enough. Being popular beyond reason (and the borders of the United States) is not enough. But it’s good enough for Sarah Palin (all but the new ideas stuff – because she doesn’t have any new ideas). The same inexperienced bat that they’re beating Obama across the head with, doesn’t apply to Palin because for two years she’s been the governor of a state with a population of 700,000 and a part-time Mayor of a city of 7,000 that she took from surplus to a $22 million deficit. There are 16 American cities with populations larger than the state of Alaska. If a big city Mayor had been picked for Vice President, the cry would have been a fever pitch. Sarah Palin was picked for one reason, and one reason only, to exploit the fact the Democrats passed over Hillary – twice.
Call it what it really is, “rubbing it” in the Democrats face. But the residual benefit was much more than the residual cost. Unlike Barack, there was no fallout over who McCain didn’t pick. It really wouldn’t have made a difference to women. It would have just been another (probably) white male and women voters would have been faced with solely ideological choices that would have made their racial bias very transparent. Now they don’t need to justify their racial biases, as evident as they are. They can hide behind the fact that they too, are making history. And the nation is on the verge of electing another inferior ticket for President and Vice President of the United States.
Barack Obama has the same scenario that George W. Bush had in 2000, in facing a more experienced candidate. George W. wasn’t as bright, and he had no new vision for the country. They put him with experience, and an administration of experienced brain trusts, and they ran the gambit in terms of winning the election and running the country. Barack is put with someone with experience and there’s still something missing. There will always be something, as far as some are concerned, with Barack. They know what it is, and we know what it is. And it has nothing to do with experience, or being a good speaker. They will never say it. There’s just a whole lot of “winking” going on around the country right now. The euphoria is for a different reason.
The Republicans will be more of the same. They just made the race exciting by bringing in a twist, a female ideologue. It may be a trick that works, but it still pales to what the Democrats are offering. McCain’s own party doesn’t like him, but they’ll elect him because he gave them a reason to forestall the Democrats. And for some people, Palin is enough of a reason to stay this course of destruction and national collapse.
by Anthony Asadullah Samad
Republished with permission from The Black Commentator, where this article first appeared.
Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad is an author, scholar and the co-founder, Managing Director and host of the Urban Issues Forum. Dr. Samad’s most recent book is entitled “Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom”. His national column can be read in newspapers and cyber-sites nationwide. His weekly writings can be read at www.blackcommentator.com. For more information about Dr. Samad, go to www.AnthonySamad.com.
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