Well, they've done it again. The Republicans have found a way to distract voters from policy and its aftermath by making people think personality is more important than policy or worldview.
The election news has focused on Sarah Palin. She's better looking than Biden. She has kids. She has taken on good old boys in the Republican Party. She has won beauty pageants and the state basketball championship. Suddenly, the question seems to be, wouldn't you rather support this woman we can all relate to and admire rather than that wonkish and not quite one of us candidate with the funny name?
But does it really matter how personable someone is if they still think that blood letting is the way to cure illness? Palin’s policies are pretty much Bush’s policies. It is not obvious how her good looks and missing Y chromosome will make those policies any less of a disaster.
The poverty of Palin's policies ought to be evident. As a person, she could be wonderful or she could be a pitbull. I really don't care. I do know that the vapidity of her advocacy for abstinence-only education for teens should be evident to anyone who sees the consequence of that in her own house. Her unwed seventeen year old is about to give birth within a year of her mom. If this is the consequence of her policies, does it really matter whether or not she is likable?
Of course, for all their talk of accountability, the Republicans never actually do take responsibility. The collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the bailout by American taxpayers (a bill that will total tens, perhaps hundreds of billions) is in no way related to the Republicans love for deregulation. At least not in their minds. These mortgage giants are too big to fail but they were left in private hands, largely unregulated, until they did fail. The profits are left in private hands and the losses are made public, passed on to taxpayers. This is not a random act. This is a direct consequence of ignoring lessons learned from financial busts past. Of course, those hard to understand policy wonks who explain financial regulation could never compete with the lovable politician who said, "And I say get government out of financial markets. Ours is a capitalist system. Government can't be trusted!" And so they deregulate things they can't understand - or refuse to understand because it conflicts with their ideology. And then the party that will not raise taxes taxes us twice - once to bailout the institutions and again in the form of unemployment and slow economic growth.
And like the candidate George W., Sarah is a governor who pledges to make government smaller and lower taxes. Having heard this promise by a man who then began spending like a 9 year old who just got his first VISA card, expanding government more than anyone since FDR (who dealt with a Great Depression and a World War), you would think that American voters would want more than a simple promise. The question is, can she do it? The answer is, she sure hasn't done it in
Some states pay more in taxes than they get back from
Palin is not ready to take action against climate change but is ready to take action against
The question is not who is Sarah Palin. Delving into that could reveal ugly warts or things to admire. The question is, what would be the consequence of implementing her policies? When she talks about what we should do with government, she sounds just like George Bush. I'm guessing that the results she would get would be no different.
The Republicans are the incumbent party and have had a chance to pursue their policies unfettered for six of the last eight years. Their foreign and domestic policy has been expensive, ineffectual, and left us all (Americans and the rest of the world) worse off. Nothing that Sarah Palin has said or done suggests she sees any connection between these policies and outcome or any reason to change. Why that doesn’t make everything else about her irrelevant escapes me.