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The Republicans were always going to be the underdogs this year. After eight years of the worst president in history, it would be hard for them not to be. The Democrats have an incredibly charismatic nominee, easily malleable mass dissent, and the media firmly on their side. If they can’t win this election, they can’t win any election.

Any lingering doubts over this have been put to death with the gradual revelation that Sarah Palin is going to be one gigantic liability. Her selection as McCain’s running mate was a political move about as subtle as blatantly screaming, “HEY DISENFRANCHISED HILLARY SUPPORTERS! PALIN HAS A VAGINA TOO! VOTE FOR HER DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE STANDS FOR EVERYTHING HILLARY DOESN’T!” With every passing day it has become more clear that her selection was one great big fuck-up.

Hillary Clinton is going to destroy this woman. She was harsh enough on Obama, a fellow Democrat. Imagine how she will react to a woman – a Republican woman – who stands a good chance of becoming president before she does. She’ll be a fucking rottweiler.

It won’t be difficult for her, because Palin is literally Hillary’s ideological opposite. She wants to open pristine Alaskan wilderness for oil drilling. She doesn’t think polar bears or beluga whales belong on the endangered species list, because – get this – it could damage the economy. She put off providing same-sex couples in Alaska with equal rights for as long as possible. She’s a strong supporter of abstinence-only education, a ridiculously useless program, as we can see from the flashing warning signal that is her PREGNANT TEENAGE DAUGHTER.

And she’s vehemently anti-abortion, which deals severe blow to the entire purpose of her selection in the first place: winning the oestrogen vote.

Moving on from the fact that this woman isn’t Hillary Clinton, however much she’d like us to think she is, let’s look at the other big problem: she’s dangerously inexperienced. She served two terms as mayor of a rural village with a population of less than ten thousand people, and has been Governor of Alaska (pop. 683, 478) for less than two years.

So a campaign which has been continuously (and successfully) playing on Americans’ concerns that Obama is inexperienced has gone and selected a vice-presidential candidate with even less experience than him.

A campaign which has continuously (and successfully) distanced itself from the extremely unpopular current president has gone and selected a vice-presidential candidate who speaks in the same rustic, folksy, stupid manner that he does.

A campaign which has continuously (and successfully?) downplayed its candidate’s tottering 72 year age has gone and selected a vice-presidential candidate who is very obviously unprepared to become the most powerful person on the face of the planet, should McCain die in office – noting that in less than one presidential term, he will have passed the average life expectancy of the American male.

There were plenty of other female Republicans with more experience and a higher public profile, so the McCain campaign’s decision to choose her is not just stupid, but bizarre and puzzling. Maybe they’re doing a 180 on their usual policy of “don’t do anything Bush does,” and selecting a candidate to appeal to redneck voters who want a simple, naive candidate whom they can relate to. But I can’t imagine why. The “stubborn idiot who knows nothing about anything” angle running is running thin after eight years, and they knew that.

Here’s a speech excerpt:

I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better. When I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too.

Okay, that’s swell. But it doesn’t work like that in a presidential campaign, sweetheart. And the GOP is well aware of that. Which is why everybody is so bemused that they chose you.

Anyway, to look at something similar and yet completely different, there’s a state election this weekend. Ad campaigns have been running for several weeks now, urging us to “Be involved in the decision process – Vote on September 6,” despite the fact that voting is compulsory in WA and we regularly have a turnout of 97 – 99%. What a waste of money.

I’m really not sure what to think of Alan Carpenter. Everybody says he’s arrogant (which is irrelevant), and people are constantly harping on about how Perth is going to shit, what with the rise of crime and violence, which people don’t seem to realise is bound to happen in a rapidly growing city. They’ve provided us with new rail infrastructure and handled the gas shortage pretty well. The only things I dislike about the current government is their attempted control of the press, which is quite worrying, and their terrible road safety program, which mostly relies on speed cameras and scapegoating P-platers.

But then, the Liberals would probably do a lot worse.

I think what irritates me most about contemporary politics in WA (and, to a lesser extent, Australia) is the parties are so goddamn close to each other. It doesn’t really matter whether I vote Labor or Liberal. It won’t make a whit of difference to my life or to how this state is run. The general consensus among most people I talk to is that both parties are as useless as each other, which is the typical Australian view on all things political, but it seems especially pronounced this year. There’s a lot of dissatisfaction.

So I’m going to vote Green as a lark, banking on the laughable idea that voter disillusionment is so widespread that they’ll actually get in!


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September 2008