Surely there's something of a perfect storm surrounding John McCain's gimmicky decision to put Sarah Palin on the ticket. There's John's advanced years, but knowing the presidency is a high risk occupation no matter who sits in the big chair (they don't assign Secret Service protection to just anyone), that seems the least of the problem.
A lot has been said about the pick reflecting on McCain's judgment, but I think that's overrated as well. Not that it doesn't show McCain is impetuous and often acts before thinking -- it does. But we had ample opportunity to see McCain's seat-of-the-pants decision making style without having Sarah Palin's obvious inadequacies hammering the point home.
It really comes down to this. Palin matters, and matters in a profoundly negative way if you're a fan of either McCain or Palin, because she's so ridiculously obnoxious.
When she came out of the box, echoing Rudi 9ui11iani and slamming community organizers, she pissed a lot of folks off. She's been pissing more and more of us off every day.
You can compare her to quite a few VP nominees who weren't perceived as ready for the job on day one. Quayle and Agnew are obvious examples who didn't prevent their boss from getting elected. Thomas Eagleton didn't exactly help McGovern, true. But he didn't spend too much time on the campaign trail undermining the party's chances against a nearly unbeatable Nixon reelection machine in 1972. In fact, Eagleton was only on the ticket a couple of weeks and was gone by August 1st. He was way down the list of reasons McGovern didn't win.
Besides, no one ever said Eagleton didn't know how to do the job, just that his electro-shock therapy sessions and illegal prescription for Thorazine might be reason to be concerned -- you might say.
Well, you might.
Okay, he was fucking nutz, clinically so. Dangerously so. Probably more troublesome than Caribou Barbie -- but she's wasn't drummed out of the ticket like she should have been, like Eagleton was.
No, Sarah is not suffering from any mental health problems. Her delusions are a deliberate result of religious fervor, rejection of the scientific method, political opportunism and the usual sociopathic narcissism endemic to most compassionate conservatives of the last few decades. Oh, and her complete ignorance of the Constitution and founding principles of this country add to the perception that she's a complete whack-job.
But that's not the whole story. It's a personality thing. She's irritatingly prideful in her role as smear merchant in chief. You can tell she delights in attaching someone with a foreign sounding name to Barack Hussein Obama, with no clue whether the guy is a bad guy or not. It doesn't matter to her and the rump of a party she's destined to lead because they simply don't associate with people whose names don't sound like "real America."
It's obnoxious. The whole race-baiting, anti-intellectual, hypocritical, lying bag of horse dung package is obnoxious. It's not "mavericky" to call a 4% tax hike on the richest Americans "socialism," it's obnoxious. When you govern the nation's largest welfare state, you got some nerve bitching about spreading the wealth. When you're married to a guy who belongs to a political party dedicated to removing one of the states from the union, you are an obnoxious twit to presume you know which parts of the rest of the United States of America are "real" or patriotic enough to tolerate your obnoxious presence.
So as we wade through mountains of post election rationalization for why John McCain lost against the most impressive political campaign history has ever seen, bumping again and again into the Palin syndrome; just remember how obnoxious she is, how much she pisses so many people off, how many women she insults merely for being the token candidate she is -- and how few, how very few of us "other" Americans can ever imagine wanting to do beers with her.