Our Basest Instincts

I’m surprised I haven’t seen this pop up around the blogs.  I watched the debate last night with about 8 other people, so there were some moments when people in the room were roaring or shouting or generally reacting to the nominees and perhaps I heard things inaccurately?  But how was Palin’s “I’m so glad to hear we both love Israel” response to Biden not an enormous Obama-is-a-Muslim dogwhistle??????  Did I miss something here???

I abhore Gov. Palin’s politics.  I think she appeals to our basest, nationalistic instincts.  I can’t tell if she genuinely believes in the statements she makes (given the context that she’s been “coached” and prepped to extremes for these public events), or if she’s merely willing to be the bully and say the xenophobic, nationalistic tripe that comes out of her mouth?  I paraphrase:

American workers are the best in the world?

Other countries pollute the earth and we have to clean up after them?

I’m so glad we all love Israel and aren’t secret, evil A-rab terrorists?

We can’t wave the white flag of surrender??

I’m floored that the most the pundits can cough up about her rhetoric is “relentlessly colloquial” (Mark Shields on PBS last night) and similar “analysis.”  Late last night I surfed around my usual political blogs (Shakesville, NYC Weboy, Field Negro, Jack & Jill Politics, The Black Snob, MyDD, The Left Coaster, Talk Left, Anglachel, Corrente, to name a few), and no one brought this up.

I shudder to think McCain-Palin could win this election.

Other debate impressions: It was much more interesting and entertaining than the first Presidential debate, and I suspect it will outshine the remaining two.  Both Biden and Palin did relatively well in terms of expectations and avoiding any major flubs.  I thought Biden’s repeated emphasis that “Facts matter” and his relentless critiquing of McCain, and invokation of Cheney at key points were all great.  I don’t think Palin outshined him in the “who’s more representative of middle America” contest – Wasilla! Scranton! Tuition! Job loss!  Healthcare!  Kitchen tables!  Sleepless nights!  Working class!  Family crises!  Diverse families!  They both worked it, and I find Biden the most authentic of the five major candidates (Sen. Clinton included) in talking about the “regular” people he talks to and meets with in his career.

I did agree with one of the PBS pundits that I thought Biden seemed a bit coached, slightly reined in, I suppose for better and worse.  I thought he was much more successful at staying on message in terms of being part of a ticket, a member of Obama’s team, and promoting Obama and critiquing McCain.  I find Palin to be an awkward mix of a public persona that works very well for her as a politician, but does not jibe well with her attempts to promote McCain and represent herself as part of a ticket.  I don’t believe her when she’s promoting McCain; to me it’s like she doesn’t really know him, or believe in their campaign platform, or care very much about it.  I thought she spoke too much about herself last night at the expense of McCain-Palin, though I’m seeing from the right-wing blogs that conservative pundits generally disagree with me on this one.

Finally, there’s an structural problem in Obama-Biden of Biden talking about his 35 years of experience, and inserting Obama’s name into descriptions of policy advocacy and decision-making as if Obama has been there all along with him.  He succeeded in stumping for the ticket, but frankly it requires rewriting history a bit from Biden to bolster Obama’s qualifications.  Palin definitely has an easier time stumping for McCain, but she represents a Party that has been seriously wounded by Bush’s leadership, and a Presidential candidate that does not exactly fire up the base and worries the public after 8 years of Bush & Co.  It was interesting observing the generational differences of the ticket play out in the opposite way than between Obama and McCain.

But this kind of philosophy??

But even more important is that world view that I share with John McCain. That world view that says that America is a nation of exceptionalism. And we are to be that shining city on a hill, as President Reagan so beautifully said, that we are a beacon of hope and that we are unapologetic here. We are not perfect as a nation. But together, we represent a perfect ideal. And that is democracy and tolerance and freedom and equal rights. Those things that we stand for that can be put to good use as a force for good in this world.

Enough already with this imperialist claptrap.  I know, I know, I’m a socialest.


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