This will be my only full post on politics. While I've been posting lots of articles on my delicious feed and little bits on twitter -- and many of them have substantial comments attached -- I don't have a lot of time to try and write coherent thoughts down, these notwithstanding.
Most people would describe me as a flaming liberal if anything, but I am more conservative than that label indicates in terms of spending and other matters. So take all this with whatever grain of salt you like.
Overall, I continue to be deeply distrubed by the anti-intellectualism displayed by the Republicans, and by the American people. When did it become okay that someone "just like me" should be President? Or Vice President? I want someone better than me! (I want someone better than you, too, unless your name happens to be Roger Byford or Barack Obama.) I want someone who reads books for pleasure and who has an idea of the varied forces that have shaped our country through history; who can disagree with somone without hating on them and indeed surround themselves with people who disagree; who doesn't see everything as a black and white issue; who's willing to honestly reassess policy stances and ideas. And someone who actually tries to prove a point through reason and logic and collaboration rather than disprove the opposition through demonization and belittling.
The nomination of Sarah Palin is just the latest incarnation of this, but it's the scariest to me. We have no real idea who she is, just that she's from a tiny, incredibly abnormal state where the governor faces few of the decisions and tradeoffs that most of the other 49 do, the ones that make the job, you know, hard. (I'm sure PA's Ed Rendell would have a 100% approval rating if every man, woman and child got $3000 every year and paid neither income nor sales tax, even though he likes the Eagles.) Despite her protests tonight I strongly suspect that her intolerance for "others" (gays, lesbians, muslims, Phish) would manifest itself in awful and inhumane policies.
It's not just that she's underqualified, it's that she revels in her underqualifications. They're a badge of honor, she's an outsider and a hockey mom and has a family with problems like you and me. It's perfectly fine to her that she has little knowledge of the Supreme Court beyond those decisions she's heard about in church. That she's gone out of the country (or probably even traveled within the country) less than I have. That her knowledge of economics likely begins and ends with, "Lower taxes means more jobs" in all possible conditions. It's just dandy that half of her answers are affirmations of democracy, freedom and the American people, why should she change? She could probably work in puppies for the other half of her answer and nobody would blink an eye. Or they'd blink, but then go into how effective the puppies were at relating to swing voters. (I have a lot more bile here, but I'll let it go.)
An incredibly frustrating thing is that the media is joining this race to the bottom. Palin's blatant disregard for the questions she was asked tonight seems to be dealt with as a "Oh, that's just what they do" sort of thing. The debate moderator (no matter how ineffective) represents all of us who can't be there, who won't get the opportunity to talk to these people directly. So when she explicitly refuses to answer a question, she's disrespecting us. And it's just fine, it's just a tactic that's gauged on whether it works or now, how well it functions. How about whether it's right or wrong? Is this the end result of all the relativism from the last 40 years? Everything isn't a fucking horse race!
A few other things, it's late: