McCain's nucular blast

Written by Reg Henry on .

Oh no! Not someone else that pronounces nuclear as nucular as Dear Leader George W. Bush does. Do our ears deceive us? No, that pronunciation did seem to come from the lips of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as she introduced herself to the nation at large today after being chosen by John McCain as his running mate.

So much for the experience argument raised by Republicans against Barack Obama. Mrs. Palin has more experience hunting moose than handling foreign affairs.

Admittedly, she would only be vice president, an office that hopefully will recede into its former obscurity once Dick Cheney retires as co-president. But we all should wish the 72-year-old Mr. McCain good health if he becomes president - talk about having a running mate unready to serve. Beyond being an interesting and attractive character, Mrs. Palin will have to put a rock on her resume to prevent it floating away.

Ah, but it was a cheeky move by Mr. McCain and I like a bit of excitement and daring as much as the next person. In some ways, I think her selection was a masterstroke of political guile.

You want a woman candidate, bitter Hillary supporters? We have one just for you. In fact, Mrs. Palin's pitch to them was plain: She even had the chutzpah to mention Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary in her speech.

The hard-core feminists won't buy this but plenty of Hillary supporters among the white working class, where pro-life Democrats abound, will lap up her personal history, all that hunting and fishing and beauty pageant stuff. Joe Biden, potentially irritating at the best of times, will also find her hard to debate without seeming patronizing. Any tough-guy bombast will go over like a lead balloon.

If this election is fought on ideas, I think the Democrats win. If it is fought on the usual obsessions - gun rights, abortion - the Republicans win. In short, I think Barack Obama and the Democrats should be worried because the obsession camp just got a nice new recruit.

My one hope is that Mrs. Palin will turn out to be a female Dan Quayle. The more she spoke today the more I got the impression of someone who drinks the Kool-Aid with her caribou steaks. That may not play well to a larger audience.

It's an irony worth noting that this most conservative of women would not have been standing at that podium but for the pioneering work of liberal women. Now she will bite the hands that fed her. I didn't think that this hugely interesting race could get any more interesting but it just did.


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