Monday, September 1, 2008

Sarah Palin

If it were not so sad, it is almost funny to see all the you-know-what hit the fan concerning Sarah Palin, the 44 year old very attractive mother of five and Governor of Alaska who is John McCain's running mate. The selection of her was a great shock to many people both in and out of American politics. The only shock that I felt was that McCain had been bold enough to make a wise strategic choice.

After the shock of the selection, came the stories that she was not really the mother of her special needs youngest child, that the real mother was her then 16 year old daughter. With the stories were photos of Sarah Palin, not looking too pregnant and some of the daughter, Bristol (now 17) looking pregnant (maybe). I know a woman, who also is a runner in good shape like Sarah Palin, who checked herself into the ER for cramping. Turns out she was several months pregnant and did not know it, did not look it, and moreover the lady (that I know) is a RN (registered nurse). Her periods had always been spotty and she was shocked that she was well along in pregnancy. One has to be very careful about claiming that young ladies, or even not so young ladies, are or are not pregnant based on looks alone.

That the 17 year old Bristol is with child (five months along) rather puts the lid on stories that she is really the mother of the Palin baby. It is also not really any of our business if Bristol is pregnant. Yes she is young and maybe she messed up, but as one story I read said, "life happens".

There are other stories about the mob connections of McCain's late father-in-law. I know and have known about this for some time, but I don't care to write about this. John McCain is not responsible for what his late father-in-law did or did not do many years ago.

There are lots of stories about Barack Obama and his family, etc., etc. The real important issue is not gossip, it is what will the candidate do with his or her power. Whose interest will the candidate serve. If the candidate is running for an American office, especially if the office is President or Vice President, the candidate should damn will be serving the interests of the American people. One of the basic reasons that America is in such an economic, political, and military mess is that most of our "leaders" have been serving the interests of foreign powers (such as AIPAC/Israel) and/or corporate interests. If a candidate is running for the British Parliament, or especially No. 10 Downing Street (Prime Minister), that candidate should be serving the interests of the British public. The same holds true for Canada, France, Germany, etc., etc.

When I look at the world of politics or strategy, I do try to be as analytical as possible. I remember as a child looking at a photo in a magazine and reading the caption. The photo and caption has stayed with me for decades. The photo was of a Japanese temple inner courtyard. The temple was two story and rectangular in shape, with the courtyard having a sculptured rock garden (you know the type with large rocks and smaller rocks on a bed of gravel raked in a swirled pattern). A novice monk was taken, as part of his studies to become a full fledged monk, to say the middle of the second floor North end and told to sit on the porch that surrounded the courtyard and "observe". After a few hours of this, the next time the novice monk would be told to sit on the ground floor porch on the East side and "observe" the rock garden. After several days of this the novice would be called in to answer what central lesson of life that he had learned while studying the rock garden. If the poor novice did not answer correctly, he was sent back to the rock garden for more hours of study and reflection.

The correct answer is that one's perspective limits one's ability to know the whole truth. You see, when looking at the rock garden from one side/level, you would only see part of the rocks and the pattern in the gravel ~ the larger rocks would block some of the pattern/view. The more different perspectives that one would view the rock garden from, the closer to knowing the full truth that is the rock garden

In talking about McCain's selection of Sarah Palin to various friends, I have noticed a strong trend for Obama supporters to be critical of Palin; and for McCain supporters to be supportive of her. This is true not just in terms of wither or not they like her, but in their judgment about her value to the ticket. What I try to do, is to look at the rock garden (or in this case the American presidential election) from as many perspectives as possible to know as much of the truth as possible.

In the two-party system that controls American politics it is the middle ground, the undecided voter that determines the outcome of national contests. There are solid Democratic voters and sold Republican voters who would vote for almost anyone as long as that person is from the correct party. Then there are people who make decisions on basis other than party membership and a great many have already decided. It is the great mass in the center that will tip the election one way or another. A large percentage of this center are not political geniuses. Most Americans have been so dumbed down by the corporate owned mainstream media that their level of knowledge of their history, of current events, of the American and global economic and political environment is very limited. Television has made their long term memory very limited and their depth of knowledge very shallow.

Barack Obama had several things working for him in the primary elections. He was the "stranger on a white horse ridding into Dodge" to clean things up. Every four or eight years, the public is so fed up with the mismanagement and corruption of the current administration that they look for the outsider who is "going to clean things up". Jimmy Carter, the Georgia peanut farmer and Southern Governor, was such a man, as was Ronald Reagan, etc. Barack Obama is a Harvard educated light skinned black man. Many white voters were able to say, if only to themselves, that they are not bigoted and their voting for Obama is proof. The one word that most was used by his primary campaign was "Change". After the almost eight years of the evil and corrupt Bush/Cheney administration most people want "change" and this is what Obama pushed hard in the election. That he was not very specific on the nature of change was really not that important in the Democratic primaries. He also was fortunate to have Hilary Clinton as his main opponent. While she had many loyal supporters, the memory of the corruption of her husbands eight years as president (he was only the second president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives and tried by the Senate) gave her a very high negative rating by many voters.

The fact that the nation elected a Democratic Congress two years ago to end the war in Iraq and the new Congress not only did not end the unpopular and terribly expensive war, but actually expanded both expenditures and troop levels has been remembered by many voters. That and the fact that Obama and Biden have gone out of their way to support the AIPAC/neo-con approach to Iran and Afghanistan has also turned off many would be supporters of the Democratic opposition. Of course, McCain has embraced the failed policies of the Bush/Cheney neo-con cabal and this is a strong negative for a very large part of the electorate ~ at least the part that thinks. But since both sides are generally pro-war, the strong anti-war feelings of the electorate are in effect downplayed.

The newness of Obama being a black man running for president has somewhat worn off. He has yet to, in a simple easy to remember way, given the voter specifics about how his "change" will effect their pocketbooks. In fact, McCain has scored points about drilling for oil offshore of America, something the Democrats are branded as being opposed to. With gas prices above $3.50 a gallon that makes sense to the average voter. But remember, it is the center that the winning candidate must capture. By selecting a young woman outsider, a conservative pro-life and pro-gun Governor, as his running mate McCain did a couple of things. One he helped his image, by changing it from "Mister Insider" to someone in favor of "change"; two, he gained the strategic initiative in the battle for the center.

The fact that the race is so close, at this late stage, with the high levels of negative ratings for the existing Republican occupant of the White House, is indicative of the fact that Obama is not effectively capturing the center, at least not yet.

To win the White House, Obama is going to have to tell the public just how/why his election will help, big time, their pocketbooks. He has to have maybe three things that will stick in the minds of the public and convince them that it is in their interest to vote for him. Remember, the battle is for the "center". Whatever those things are they have to be simple and be remembered by the center and be connected to Obama and to the well being of the center's pocketbooks. If Obama does not accomplish this strategic objective he will likely lose in November. By selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate, McCain took a lot of the thunder of the word "change" from Obama. Now Obama has to get specific but in a way that keeps in mind the secret of modern propaganda, "simplification and repetition".

Stirling

1 comment:

Jesse said...

Stirling, your posts are incredibly intelligent. My only wish is that you wrote more often. Brilliant!