Sunday, September 7, 2008

John McCain, You Old Fox

Whatever I think of Sarah Palin, the reactions on all sides have been most entertaining. Reporters, pundits, commentators, bloggers and blabbers have been just buzzing. Me too now. It’s so much fun because she turns over so many expectations. She is so many things that she SHOULD not be. But…she is.

And this is why I think McCain has shown himself to be extraordinarily shrewd and bold politician. In selecting her, from what I understand somewhat against his inclinations, he has earned his maverick moniker.

Personally, I like her. I’m not sure how she will actually fare in office. I suspect she will do just fine. I suspect that she has a lot of work to do before her debate with Biden, and I suspect that she will do it. Biden better watch out. If he wins, then he gets the rap for beating up a girl. If he loses, then he just got beat up by a girl. I suspect that she is a girl with a very large baseball bat tucked behind her back and she knows how to use it. I guess we will see.

And then there is the whole feminist vs. at-home mom angle. Conservatives are just as stymied by this one as the liberals are. It’s great that she doesn’t kill her children before they are born, but shouldn’t she stay at home with them until they grow up? It’s great that she is a powerful role model of successful female leadership, but does she have to keep having babies like that? It’s really fun to watch everyone going around scratching their heads.

Here’s some of the things I’ve been picking up on about her.

Bill Whittle ( eject!eject!eject!)

Hat tip to Assistant Village Idiot for pointing me to this. An excellent explication about why conservatives can actually get excited about the Republican presidential ticket. One of the more cogent political analyses I have read.

Many conservatives were arguing that it would be better to sit this one out, and let the country go to hell, so that we could send the Republican party a message and re-emerge from the ashes in 2012 with “the next Reagan.” I pointed out that there were two problems with this theory: 

First, you may not like the fact that Grandma smokes in bed, and you may indeed want to get her attention. But if that message consists of letting her set the bed, the house and the grandchildren on fire, perhaps there was a better way to “send a message.” Second, it pained me to point out that there was no “next Reagan.” Ronald Reagan was on the political scene for almost two decades before he became President. Who was waiting in the wings to magically fill this role? No one.

Read the whole thing here.

James Fallow (

I generally like Fallows writing, although he comes across here as a little nasal, if not exactly whiny. Even so, he does make one pretty good observation about the way the Palin family was presented during the speech. I remember thinking, as I watched, that they are really putting a strong spotlight on those kids. Fallows points out with greater clarity what I only felt in my gut.

Barack Obama has used his family as a prop from time to time -- most recently, bringing the charming girls onto the stage at the end of his convention speech. That's life in politics; everybody does it to some degree.Very few politicians do it as all-out as Sarah Palin just did, from citing the disabilities of her youngest child as part of her resume to including the shotgun groom of her elder daughter. I can't recall any spectacle comparable to Baby Trig being passed from Cindy McCain, to Trig's 7-year-old sister, to Palin herself when she ended the speech. Her husband looks charming, I have to say. From this point on it will be hard for her to declare anything about her personal or family life out-of-bounds.

Read the whole thing here.

Doug Wilson (Blog and Mablog)

Wilson despises McCain, and he is very much of the sit this one out crowd that Whittle talked about. As a great proponent of the Federal Vision in Christian Theology, he has very strong opinions about the roles of men and women in society. His blog has many many items this month about Palin, but his pro/con posting is probably the most complete and compelling. This quote is one of the best parts, from Pro point number 6.

6. File this next one under the heading of "husbands of accomplished babes." I speak as an expert here. Feminism is not the only heterodox gender-idea we have to deal with. There is a significant stream within conservative Christian circles that is more Muslim than Christian. In my writing on family, I have called this error masculinism, the counterpart to feminism. This selection of Sarah Palin enables us to address that problem. The Bible does not teach that a woman's place is in the home. It teaches that a woman's priority is the home. If a woman accomplishes a great deal outside the home without surrendering the priority of the home, there is nothing whatever unbiblical about it. Many people have assumed that Nancy and I are homers simply because we don't apologize for the apostle Paul's teaching on headship and submission in marriagae. But while we believe and practice and teach everything the apostle ever wrote on this subject, my wife has taught outside the home, written a textbook, taught at conferences, written other books, and all while managing the home in a spectacular fashion. My daughters are both very accomplished women, as is my daughter-in-law, and I welcome the opportunity for genuine conservatives to reject the ditch on both sides of this gender road.
Read the whole thing here.

Gail Collins (

This column is humorous for Gail’s pitiful attempts to whine about McCain and Palin. She is grasping at straws and probably swiping a more than a few straw men.

John McCain is not actually running for president. He’s running for Senate majority leader. All his passion is directed at defects in the legislative process. He’s been a military man or a senator for virtually all of his adult life, and listening to him talk, you get the definite impression that the two great threats of the 21st century are Islamic extremism and the appropriations committee.

“When I’m president, the first earmark, pork-barrel bill that comes across my desk — I will veto it!” he announced right off the bat. “You will know their names!”

McCain hates, hates, hates earmarking — the Congressional habit of sticking appropriations for special back-home projects in the budget without going through the normal priority-setting process. He talks about it with an enthusiasm that he never manages to summon for the economy, health care or education.

Earmarks are indeed a bad thing. If you ever become a U.S. senator, please dedicate yourself to getting rid of them. But for the chief executive of the country, they’re about as critical a problem as the overlong Christmas shopping season.

Read the whole thing here.

There’s more out there and more to come. McCain was pretty foxy to make this selection. We’ll see where it leads.

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