Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How could Palin have happened?

Let's be real in a way the national media seems incapable of: this person should never have been placed on a national ticket in a mature democracy. She was incapable of running a town in Alaska competently. The impulsive, unvetted selection of a total unknown, with no knowledge of or interest in the wider world, as a replacement president remains one of the most disturbing events in modern American history. That the press felt required to maintain a facade of normalcy for two months - and not to declare the whole thing a farce from start to finish - is a sign of their total loss of nerve. That the Palin absurdity should follow the two-term presidency of another individual utterly out of his depth in national government is particularly troubling. 46 percent of Americans voted for the possibility of this blank slate as president because she somehow echoed their own sense of religious or cultural "identity". Until we figure out how this happened, we will not be able to prevent it from happening again. And we have to find a way to prevent this from recurring. She is a dangerous, unqualified know-nothing who very nearly became the replacement for the most powerful person on earth.
I agree. Just because we avoided disaster this time doesn't mean something wasn't way broken in the system. Sarah Palin should have been eliminated earlier in the process. The feedback mechanisms in the Republican party are completely broken. Or rather, they are wired to the wrong inputs. Remember: this is the country that re-elected George W. Bush. And 46% of us voted for Palin. These kinds of folks will always be ready to come back. There is still a lot of work to be done. Yes, demographics are on our side. But that's a slow process. And the Republicans may figure out a way to make Palinism work among a broader audience. The stakes are very high. Thank God we won the presidency this time around.


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