By RUFUS SANDERS
I would much rather be writing about America wedging herself in the center of the Georgian/Russian mini war; and how it's none of our business. What can we tell the Russians after we rushed in to Iraq, a sovereign nation, under false pretense; took over their country, killed their president and have created what is a quagmire that will last according to John McCain another hundred years? How dare we tell the Russians anything! But I am stuck with trying to explain away McCain's decision to put on the Republican ticket a woman about whom almost no one knew anything and whom he met one time before.
The question we might need to ask is not who Sarah Palin is, as she is constantly being scrutinized by the press and vetted by the public and has come to this position with an array of concerns. Maybe the bigger question ought to be who John McCain is.
What troubles me about McCain is a lot of things -- chief among them this almost eagle-eye focus on the character issue, which he makes sure he tells us that he developed while being locked up in a North Vietnam prison every time that he gets to a podium -- missing for the most part, I want to remind everyone, real combat involvement. Now that is not to say that he is not a war hero. Any American person who spends time as a P.O.W., in my book; no matter what war it is, for his country, right or wrong, is a war hero. I can't begin to imagine the horror of being isolated from life itself.
McCain has become obsessed with trying to keep this entire presidential conversation focused only on this mantra regarding character. Character involves truth and honesty. Character involves stability and continuity of action. Character is not about manipulation of the people by changing on a whim whatever issue that will shore up support, or to win votes based on a pollster's research.
To talk character and then do otherwise are the marks of a hollow person consumed with hypocrisy. And for the American people to not be able to fully see this is a serious problem. He talks "maverick" talk but he has voted with this administration at least 90 percent of the time, all while trying to make us believe that he is a lone voice in the wilderness. This is John McCain's political self in a nutshell. He is a hollow little man.
He has supported every asinine and idiotic decision George Bush has made. He has boomeranged from so many policies and played the game of politics more than any living senator of recent times. John McCain is the master politician suffering from what appears to me to be an early form of dementia, and a Napoleonic complex as well. He has the great need to be accepted, affirmed and validated. He needs to be loved. All he has obtained has become nothing but personal trophies for him.
The only thing that means anything to him is the time he spent shackled up in that filthy North Vietnam hell hole. That has shaped his narcissistic mind. Now he feels he is owed something by this country -- the presidency. He's not a crybaby as was George Herbert Walker Bush, who also felt because of his service to the country he was owed the vice-presidency by Reagan; which he was given. Rather, McCain is a tough kind of guy who sheds no tears, but figures out how he can get revenge. He is ruthless. He is a fighter and a bully.
But this character fixation has gone too far. How can he say that Barack Obama is not prepared to lead and only he is, when he chooses as his running mate a woman who lacks not only real executive and foreign policy experience but has only been the mayor of the small town that she has lived in; been president of the local PTA, and before that a second runner up in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant. I guess I should mention the Miss Congeniality award. Friends, this woman, though Governor of Alaska, knows as much about running the U.S. government as does a McDonald's fish sandwich with cheese.
He used this woman because he knew his campaign was about to hit rock bottom. He is using the fact -- to attract conservatives, who have long felt he was no conservative -- that she did not get an abortion but had a Down syndrome child, her fifth child. And he used the fact her conservative Pentecostal background pits her against gays, abortion, sex education, theories of evolution -- all the things fundamentalists want to hear from a candidate. But he had not banked on her 17-year-old daughter being impregnated by a hockey player who they now must force to marry. Or that she could care less about the economy or the Iraq war or any other international issue.
From a political strategy point of view his decision was brilliant, something right out of a Karl Rove text book,. But it is clear it's another act of hollow desperation by a man who is not totally honest with himself; therefore he can never be honest with the American people.