Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin and the Reversal of Fortune

We don’t know yet whether Sen. John McCain’s choice of Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin will jump start the Republican Party’s sagging fortunes, but the choice and the resulting hubbub among the chattering class, in any case, suggests a classic Greek reversal of fortune.

Before Palin, Democrat ladies were licking their sores at Sen. Barack Obama’s impertinent refusal to bring into his administration as Vice President Sen. Hillary Clinton, credited with putting 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling that has prevented women from rising from the kitchen to the steamy and hot political kitchen. It was feared that former President Bill Clinton might tag along and disturb Obama’s so far placid universe.

(It was not necessary to read between the lines of Bill Curry’s dispatches from the Democrat Party convention to understand that the enormously talented politician and columnist, once an advisor to president and co-president Clinton, quite obviously preferred Hillary as VP. And after Bill got a few drinks into him at the convention, he no doubt imagined such was possible. Before he left to write and think and dream and drink, we made a little side bet on the Democrat and Republican Veep choices. Bill thought McCain might choose Sen. Joe Lieberman as his Tonto. I said clearly, in the presence of his lovely sister Kathleen, that Palin might make a good choice for the Repubs, while Joe Biden would be best for the Democrats. This produced a scowl from Bill and a dollar bet – the exact terms of which now escape me. In any case, my predictions were sounder than his, and it will be very hard for him not to surrender that dollar to me. I just wanted to get all this on the record to avoid any needless litigation.)

(To continue)... after Palin it seems at least within the realm of possibility that the cracked glass ceiling may be dealt a fatal blow by a Republican Vice President, though I would not bet a dollar on it.

Before Palin, the choices for Republican VP were ordinary, if not bleek. To be sure, all the choices bruited about for so long were okay, but there was no crackling of electricity in the air – nothing to match Obama’s star status. The Democrat mega-star had just put on a performance, with fireworks, in a standing-room-only football stadium that dwarfed the Roman coliseum. It was a show worthy of Caliguila, minus the gladiatorial contests and the lions chewing up the Christians.

After Palin, there is a buzz, an excitement. Who, in middle America, could help being excited by an ex-model (she’s prettier than Barack) who was a basket ball star, a gun enthusiast (she rose at 4AM to hunt moose with her dad), a mayor of a wild-west Alaskan city, a wife of union worker, part Eskimo, who now is a stay at home dad, a mother of five, one of whom is a son newly deployed to Iraq, and a governor of Alaska?

There are some perfectionists who insist that Alaska is corrupt, to which Republicans have responded, “Chicago, Chicago, it’s a Hell of a town…”; it was in that conch shell of corruption that Obama’s political fortunes were born. And they also point out that the Moose hunter incurred the wrath of the political machine in Alaska by being to Mavericky… like John whatshisname.

It's gonna be fun

And Bill, don’t forget – you owe me a dollar.

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