Most of you remember Dinah Washington's "What a Difference a Day Makes." If one transposes that thought to "What a Difference a Political Ideology Makes," there is an excellent analogy of the mainstream media's and of the syndicated editorial columnists' reaction to Sen. McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Like the "Energizer Bunny," it just keeps on going.
I have traveled around the world several times, have attended county fairs,circuses, a redneck wedding, a goat roping, stood Shore Patrol Duty at a VOODOO Rite in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and spent Christmas Eve in Olongapo, Republic of the Philippines, with a Carrier Battle Group in port; but, I ain't never seen anything this! Fueled also by bloggers, movie stars, the far left and Members of Congress, this utter inanity continues to build momentum with little visible reason for support.
I am amazed at the heretofore unheard of curiosity over a Vice Presidential pick, a selection which in the past has evoked a span of interest ranging from apathy to ambivalence. Who can forget Roosevelt's Vice President, John Nance Garner equating the worth of the office to that of a bucket of warm spit or President Eisenhower's response to a reporter asking of any idea of Richard Nixon's being adopted, "If you give me a week, I might think of one?" The major VP controversy in my lifetime was Sen. McGovern's over reaction in throwing Thomas Eagleton under the campaign bus in 1972.
However, I am particularly amused at the outrage and vitriol directed at the Governor of Alaska, much of it by feminists who were once in lockstep with the women's movement. Where are the "you go girl," the "out of the kitchen and into the workplace," the "ERA and career over motherhood" advocates, and "I am Woman, Hear Me Roar" supporters of Women's Liberation so prominent in recent years? Does this erstwhile solidarity evaporate when the subject is a conservative, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment Republican NRA member?
The "glass ceiling" was never expected to be cracked or even approached by the likes of Sarah Palin. From Eleanor Clift of Newsweek's "the reaction of newsrooms was mostly laughter" to Salon Magazine's Cintra Wilson "Type A, hyper conservative, Christian Stepford wife in a sexy librarian costume," the condemnations of Palin ranged the gamut from merely unflattering to downright vulgar and indecent. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and the Boston Globe's Ellen Goodman chimed in with three snipe, ridicule and demean columns each while the Washington Post's E. J. Dionne got in touch with his "feminine side" long enough to contribute two of his own.
The shrillness of the dedicated feminist opposition to Alaska's First Lady is a revelation in that it validates Ambrose Bierce's description of the weaker sex as "the deadlier of the species." Interwoven among the charges of being unfit to be a "heartbeat away for the Presidency" due to lack of experience in domestic and foreign policy, gender, family pressures, and attitude, one also finds "she may be a lady, but she's not a woman" and "if she cannot supervise her daughter, how can she run the country?" tossed into the hopper.
I find these sentiments far more amusing than alarming. First, isn't it a bit incongruous for Democrats to fear the No. 2 Republican on the ticket so intensely? Are they already conceding the election to McCain and in full panic over 2012? Secondly, why is the lack of executive experience in the person a heartbeat away a cause for anxiety when that person has a far better executive portfolio than the No. 1 on the Democratic ticket? If one is looking for cause for real panic, look no further than the one who most likely will be two heartbeats away regardless of who is elected — President Pelosi — now THAT is scary.
As there are less than six weeks before the election, is it not time to set aside these manufactured and meaningless distractions in favor of less exciting but more relevant issues such as the economy, national defense, energy policy and trade? Whether or not Sen. McCain vetted Gov. Palin thoroughly may be of interest to Barbara Streisand or to denizens of online chat rooms; nevertheless it was his call to make.
Finally, as one who has been voting since 1956, I don't recall Dan Quayle, Jack Kemp, Lloyd Bentsen, John Edwards, William Miller or Estes Kefauver affecting the outcome of elections for their respective parties. In 13 Presidential elections in 52 years, I can't think of anyone voting the Vice President as the head of the ticketand I cannot imagine this next one being any different.
J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via e-mail at JKarlUSMC@aol.com.