as a political prognosticator, i have limited supernatural powers (for example, at one point i predicted that jim gilmore would emerge from the pack to capture the republican nomination. on the other hand on the morning of the iowa caucuses i predicted that the nominees would be obama and mccain, with obama winning.) but here's a stab. in a month or two sarah palin will be a kind of american folk hero. and john mccain will win the election.
i think everybody underestimates how conservative american women are. certainly here in south-central pa, e.g. and i think that if they start hammering her as unready and lightweight etc, with her serviceman son and down's syndrome baby, there'll be an amazing backlash, especially when she spunkily battles back. a lot of women are going to understand exactly what this woman says, and deep down they don't actually approve of abortion, and the pro-life stuff is not going to sink her.
biden will not wipe the floor with her, and wouldn't even feel right wiping the floor with her. but i also sense that she will hold her own; she'll actually contrast well with biden and provide a serious set of strategic quandaries.
suddenly you think about whether this is a qualification for, say, being commander in chief: mother of five. um, yes. yes. *that* is an executive position. in all seriousness, the most effective people i've ever seen are moms like this: you can't believe how focused, smart, and organized they are. i do take this seriously. also i would say the very best people morally in our culture, for real, are basically mamas. like: you're always likely to catch the charaismatic male politician in a sex scandal or discover he's a crackhead. but not mama.
if i was mccain, trying to counter the experience thing, i'd say, well, actually vp is where you want the junior person. just for the hell of it, let's suppose i survive a month or two. i'll train her up. plus she rocks etc.
i should be writing a paper on politics and beauty for reading at the ny academy of art on sep 10. instead i'm spellbound by veepstakes. sarah palin would be too cool, if you ask me. it'd be great just to have someone new out there. imagine how bold that decision would be. but it still hardly seems possible. anyway, i dig the beauty-queen-kicking-your-ass persona.
so i'm quoted in a washington times story today about mccain and obama as writers, by scott galupo. the bio's a bit out of date, since i think i'm a professor of art (it's hard to tell) and i'm no longer syndicated. makes me sound a lot less like an expert on politics. i wonder if one is always what one ever was, in the eyes of god.
i think barack was right to try to tamp down expectations, and it was a solid speech. but at this point we've seen barack do all of this just as well before. as a speech, it wasn't a wonder of the world. but i wouldn't for a second say that this isn't an amazing thing. they kept saying "historic" today, which has been boywhocriedwolfed to death. : every state of the union address is at once historic and forgotten within ten minutes, for example. but this is, actually, historic. obviously race is not over. but this has to be basically encouraging about the state of race in america.
all of this fawning on the troops (biden is particularly fulsome: (david gregory and others: look up 'fulsome.')) is a problem. ok if the war was unnecessary and ill-considered, in what sense is fighting it "serving your country." only if "serving" means doing what you're told. i've said it many times: it's no use not holding people individually responsible for what they actually kill for: in the approach that we have here heroes fighting in a terrible mistake, we just treat the people we're calling 'heroes' as idiots or objects. if the war is wrong, then what each of the people who are doing it is doing is wrong.
'government programs, money, can't fix all our problems,' more or less.' but if you got serious about funding all the programs that he just enumerated (oh you know, the veterans proposals, free college for all, massive health insurance subsidies, etc, along with "tax cuts for 95% of middle-class families") the nuts and bolts are absurd. also, he's quite the chicken-shit on no child left behind and gay marriage.
it's interesting that they're going to stand barack up in front of this classical pseudo-facade at "invesco field" (gore occupies it now). i think the association is supposed to be a kind of jefferson/classical republican sobriety. but the classical is an incredibly saturated visual vocabulary in political aesthetics: imperial rome and nazi germany also used it one way or another, so it's difficult to control how it's interpreted. anyway, i don't necessarily think it's a bad idea, or done in this case in bad taste.
stevie wonder is playing right now, with strange tribal drummers looking suspiciously like his men's group. dude, stevie sucks. he blows. how bad this is is hard to express. now he's leading an utterly tuneless chant of "barack obama, yes we can."
the thing is pitched at the precise level of "barney": it all boils down to repeating the same two phrases infinitely many times over a period of years, trying each time to throw into it an incredible enthusiasm, underlain by...the infinite abyss: nothingness: "sharing is caring," "Imagination!" "middle class."
it must be really hard to stand up there like tim kaine is right now, and say "barack obama is the leader who can deliver the change we need," as if you sense some meaning in the 10,000th repetition of that sentence. must be hard to type that sucker onto the teleprompter for the automata to say. harder even to cheer the 10,000th time, when the crap was meaningless the first time around. woohoo!