Wasilla: All I Saw

I watched earlier today as John McCain introduced his clever choice for running mate: the former Miss Wasilla (and current governor of Alaska), Sarah Palin.

I’m not sure what to make of the woman herself; my first impression was not of someone I could easily imagine becoming leader of the Free World should the 72-year-old McCain fall off the branch. She described herself as a “hockey mom” — which is, I’m sure, a noble calling, but at first viewing she seemed little more than that. Hearing her speak did nothing to dispel this impression; she has rather a grating, nasal voice, and seems, unfortunately, to be an “up-talker” — which is excusable, I suppose, for a manicurist, or a swim teacher, but which hardly lends gravitas to the utterances of a prospective world leader. She also — I heard this quite distinctly, and it made my blood run cold — made a reference to nucular weapons, which is not excusable at all. (I might be able to put up with four more years of Republican rule, but four more years of “nucular” is quite out of the question.)

So why is Ms. Palin nevertheless such a nifty choice? Because not only is she a female — which is, from what I have been able to gather, considered by some to be an important qualification for high office these days, as sexist as that may seem — but she also has far more executive experience than the entire Obama ticket combined (particularly if you include her leadership of the Wasilla High chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes).

The choice is having the desired effect; already one enthusiastic Democratic supporter of my acquaintance has declared himself “sickened” by this Republican gambit. All in all, nicely played, and nicely timed.

It’s good theater, and should make the next few months somewhat more bearable.

Related content from Sphere


  1. I could not help pointing out, with only a teensy-weensy bit of malice, to my American e-pal, ‘Fallenmonk’ (a good egg but hopeless Lefty), that there are long-term implications for the Dems in the choice of this remarkable woman who seems almost Thatcher-like in her ability to take on the establishment, because in four years time the Reps will have a young but experienced *female* candidate ready to stand and thus the possibility opens of the Dems being denied the White house for 12 more years! Oh dear what a pity never mind! Or, as darling Oscar (such a dear misunderstood boy!) said of the death of little Nell, ‘You would need a heart of stone not to burst out laughing’!

    Posted August 30, 2008 at 5:35 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Yes, David, this is surely another reason the Republicans have selected Ms. Palin. Mr. McCain has said quite explicitly, if memory serves, that he will not seek a second term (which would be an iffy proposition on actuarial terms, if nothing else).

    I have suspected, in my darker moods (i.e., pretty much all along) that Ms. Clinton’s fondest hope is that Mr. Obama should lose, thereby clearing the path for her in 2012. If Sarah Palin turns out to be a political powerhouse (and as you say, she does appear, the more I look into her c.v., to be rather a remarkable talent), then we may be treated to an all-female contest in four years, and perhaps to the Clintons’ ambitions being thwarted once again.

    This is not to say that I am eager to have a back-country Pentecostalist fishwife as president, but it would certainly be quite a spectacle.

    Posted August 30, 2008 at 10:45 am | Permalink
  3. Female wrestling – I can hardly wait!

    Posted August 30, 2008 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  4. the one eyed man says

    Wasilla a palindrome for All I Saw?

    The statement that Palin has “far more executive experience than the entire Obama ticket combined” is at best arguable. After all, Obama launched and managed a campaign organization which was able to get nineteen million votes. He did this starting from a position of obscurity and ended up defeating the pre-ordained winner. If starting a nationwide organization which ended up with a stunning success is not an example of executive experience, then I’m not sure what is.

    Posted August 30, 2008 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  5. Kevin Kim says

    Palin-drome, indeed.


    Posted August 30, 2008 at 6:26 pm | Permalink
  6. bob koepp says

    Now, Kevin… it’s not nice to call the lady a drone. Oops, never mind.

    Posted August 30, 2008 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    …Obama launched and managed a campaign organization which was able to get nineteen million votes…

    Peter, major candidates hire experienced professionals to manage their campaigns. Obama’s is named David Plouffe.

    Kevin, I knew of course that my title was a palindrome, but it hadn’t dawned on me until you pointed it out that it was a palindrome.

    Posted August 30, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
  8. the one eyed man says

    Of course Obama has campaign managers. (Actually he has two: David Axelrod is the other). He hired them and they report to him (of, if you will, he manages the managers).

    Like the head of any large organization, he delegates responsibility. I doubt Obama decides how many advertising dollars to spend in Oklahoma or what color the bumper stickers will be. However, I don’t think that any major decision was undertaken without his input, and if there was disagreement among the three, I am sure that Obama would call the shots. He started the enterprise, leads it, and is responsible for its success or failure. That’s management in every sense of the word.

    Posted August 31, 2008 at 9:49 am | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    Well, even if so, that’s an odd, sui generis sort of management — neither of the business sort, where profits must be made, and shareholders satisfied, nor of the governmental sort, where crises must be handled, budgets baanced, legislation vetoed, and where the responsibility for the people’s well-being lies heavy upon one’s shoulders.

    Posted August 31, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  10. the one eyed man says

    Perhaps so, but an astounding accomplishment nonetheless. Obama’s rise from obscurity to nomination for the Presidency is as remarkable an achievement as anything I can think of. Who could possibly have imagined two years ago that a black guy with an African name could likely be President? I think he deserves enormous credit for this.

    Electing a President is like buying a house: you don’t get everything you want, and you have to take some things you don’t want. (Also like getting married, but I choose not to go there). It would be nice if Obama had more time in the Senate or served as a governor. However, when you compare the aggregate positives and negatives between McCain and Obama, I think the choice is a no-brainer.

    Posted August 31, 2008 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Hi Pete,

    Yes Obama’s meteoric rise to superstardom is impressive; he’s Washington’s answer to Miley Cyrus. As impressive as anything I can think of? Well, not as impressive as coming up with the Ninth Symphony, or general relativity, or playing 45 simultaneous games of chess blindfolded, but yes, pretty good.

    You are quite right about not getting everything you want, and Obama does have some winning qualities. I might even vote for him; we’ll see.

    Posted August 31, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
  12. the one eyed man says

    That may be the first time in recorded history that Barack Obama and Miley Cyrus were in the same sentence. Then again, Obama wasn’t linked to Paris Hilton either, at least until a few weeks ago.

    It certainly is an unusual ticket. You have Grandpa Simpson at the top along with a VP candidate who is, frankly, kinda hot. If anything is sui generis in this race, it would be having the first VPILF in history. If you’ve been brought up, as I have, to believe that voting Republican is a crime against nature, then fantasizing about them is definitely the new taboo.

    Nice to see that the McCain folks recognized this in their first bumper sticker:


    Posted August 31, 2008 at 7:35 pm | Permalink
  13. the one eyed man says

    I think it’s worth noting that while Sarah put the Palin in palindrome, it was Bristol who brought Juno to Juneau.

    Posted September 2, 2008 at 5:45 pm | Permalink