By Andy Weddington
Friday, 07 November 2008
Well, it didn’t take long for us to get a great big peek behind the curtain of the McCain campaign—all was not well backstage. Yesterday, while the Obama camp was still popping tops on cold ones (and probably still is), less than professional McCain aides, make that “The Wizard of Oz”-caliber lions, began pointing their fingers (forgetting that one pointing away means three are “right back atcha”) and blubbering like their yellow brick road cowardly namesake to make Governor Sarah Palin the (scape)goat for the ticket’s top maverick’s defeat. Accusations abound that Palin actually refused to read press releases, threw temper tantrums, was not an expert on history or geography, and God forbid was attired in a bathrobe and not ready for the day’s business one morning when staff arrived, and who knows what else will come out. The word “Diva” has even been uttered. All crimes of the highest order—of course. Wouldn’t you agree? Good grief. Who knows—and who cares—whether there is any iota of truth to all the nonsense or not. It’s stupid and irrelevant. Their shameful modis operandi to trash the campaign’s ray of hope is not only absurd, it’s the wrong tale; there was no goat—or Barracuda—in “The Wizard of Oz.” After McCain does the gentlemanly and professional thing of publicly defending his running mate, he needs to distribute the faces and names of his courage-void minglings throughout the Republican Party—in 8 x 10 glossy, living color prints suitable for framing—stamped with big, bold red letters: “LOSER—DO NOT HIRE.” The fact is, had McCain not selected the dynamic Alaskan governor as his running mate, he may as well have conceded the election at the convention. He would have gone nowhere—and knows it. By all rights, Sarah should have been carried off the battlefield on the shoulders of the people. Her performance throughout the campaign—from convention to concession—was remarkable considering the incredible pressure and discerning eyes on her 24/7. You can bet “The Barracuda” is not about to loiter around to be gutted, filleted, and fried. Her side, when and where she decides to tell it, should prove quite interesting. We have not heard nor seen the last of her as a significant presence in the Republican Party. Not by a long shot. Stand by.
Outside the campaign, Palin haters mocked her education, belittled or completely discounted her many accomplishments, smeared her family, and laughed at her qualifications—which they could not find one—to be vice president. The attacks left a wound or two but only superficial ones and not before the feisty Barracuda damn near interrupted all their plans to put their savior, Obama, in the White House to right America—to the left. Never mind our president-elect was and is less experienced in the executive arena. As is his running mate. All proof that Palin was one hell of a threat. I thought long and hard about Sarah Palin when McCain tapped her to be his running mate. As she was for most of America, she was unknown to me. Objectively I listened, I watched, I researched, I read, and I watched some more as she skillfully side-stepped the tripwires and traps of politics in the public arena. I came to the conclusion she was a class act. She detested and attacked corruption; spoke sensibly, in plain language, and with confidence; was a quick study; and demonstrated she knew how to get things done. She made it clear she was indeed a public servant--not new found royalty entitled to wasteful perks and privileges. And I liked her for one of the principle reasons I decided to vote for McCain—Sarah Palin has character. For me, this is the most important trait for an American president—from character, all else flows. Had McCain been elected and unable, for whatever reason, to fulfill his Oval Office duties, Palin could have handled them—no question. Or so I believe.
McCain chose Palin. His big, very big mistake was not letting Sarah be Sarah. She did not rise to win the governorship of Alaska by being stupid. She has character, stick-to-itiveness, and great instinct; all of which has served her well—no matter what she has tackled in life. McCain should have loosened the restraints and let her make decisions about public appearances; when, where, and with who in the press to meet for interviews; what clothes to wear; etc. provided her engagement was in complete synch with the boss. It would have been. She had nothing to hide. Now it’s obvious that McCain did not direct such and he and his “lions” clearly did not get that Sarah being Sarah was their biggest asset—an average American who intimately understands the challenges and hardships of everyday Americans because she, and her family, has and continues to live them. She connected—she is the real deal and people recognized it immediately. That is why she drew huge crowds everywhere—you can’t fool that many people. The effort to present her as something she was not surely caused her personal discomfort and disrupted her rhythm—as it would anyone—and, in turn, her imbalance threw the campaign into an irrecoverable yaw. The crash was inevitable. Lesson learned—Sarah Palin will not let that happen to her again.
Never mind the yellow brick road…the McCain “COUNTRY FIRST” Express traversed the airways, highways, and by-ways of this great land and in hindsight the trip is all so clear. In fact, the view is 20/20—the McCain show, air and road, lacked an able trip planner, navigator, and pilot—even though the boss knew a little something about flying airplanes. Even Sarah—who also knows something about airplanes—and snow machines—could not save the Express. Comparatively, McCain may have been the better product but he couldn’t settle on a sales pitch to close the deal. Obama offered a new, shiny, tempting ‘somethingorother’—irresistible to children and modern American pop culture—and made the sale. Though most major consumer purchases in this country include a cooling off period—buyer’s remorse—this one does not. This sale is final. The Republic at large may have rightly concluded—time will tell—that a man who could not manage a campaign of such great importance, could not possibly lead a Cabinet, a Congress, or a nation. Now it’s about country and supporting our President-elect—while retaining the right to respectfully disagree.