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McCain "Plays" the Base

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"Straight-talking" Republican presidential candidate John McCain's coyly executed Sarah Palin vice-presidential "roll-out"- tour seems ever-growing in its crassness. But the success of his strategy would amount to an accomplishment that would bring a resounding "cha-ching!"- into the heads of corrupt, perhaps even envious used car sellers throughout America.

Imagine being able to bamboozle consumers into considering the used red Chevy that not only purrs like a kitten, but roars like a lion, with the caveat that you can neither kick the tires, look under the hood, or even sit behind the wheel. A road test? That's a non-starter. Many Americans would end up deaf due to constant, collective howls of laughter coming from the chorus of used cars-cum-lemonade sellers bee-lining it to the bank.

With regard to banks, given his Keating Five involvement, the question of whether or not McCain is a corrupt politician may be at most, faintly arguable. However, an ironclad case can be made about the derisive corruptness of his smoke and mirrors scheme to sell his VP choice to his party's newly-revived conservative base and the presumably politically-deft swing voters he needs to win the presidency. 

This has left me a bit confused here. I mean, this is John McCain, not David Blaine we're talking about, right? In any event, the clumsy, sleight-of-hand tack McCain has taken with his calculatedly tepid exposure of his potential booby-trap of a VP choice obviously reeks of crude deception.

So far, it's been a dog and pony show consisting of minimalist media exposure by way of sit-downs with the likes of Sean Hannity -- and most recently, question-less photo-ops of his shiny new accomplice breaking bread with the likes of Hamid Karzai -- shamelessly unveiled to a swooning conservative base willing to hang on to any word which she may have uttered, but which journalists are prevented from reporting.

Apparently, for these followers, "less," when engulfed by a tissue-thin veneer of folksy, hockey mom hokiness, extends far beyond "hope."  It seems to actually become "more."

     It's lemons that he's selling but the base is not complaining

     You only hear them yelling SARAH PALIN!! SARAH PALIN!!!

The disconnect between what one must assume the base of overly scrutiny-averse McCain/Palin supporters are seeking in a VP candidate (readiness for the presidency) and the obviously un-vetted "personality"- being offered and enthusiastically accepted as McCain's gift to them, vividly reveals a breathtaking defiance of logic. It's a furrowed-browed, head-scratching (or, head-in-the-sand) lack of intellectual honesty and political insight perhaps best left for head-shrinkers, political historians, or both to decipher. 

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Examples of McCain/Palin supporters' philosophical schizophrenia abound. One such would be the ceaseless flow by Palin supporters of seemingly programmed platitudes about her combative "pit bull in lipstick"- persona. This attitude about how tough she is somehow manages to co-exist with their tired refrain consisting of "the media's"- rough, indeed sexist portrayals of the moose-hunting Alaska governor along with the charge of unfair media scrutiny of Palin's VP cred.

These complaints seem disingenuous when contrasted against their constant positioning of one of the prime Republican talking points against Obama -- one used against his candidacy by Palin herself "" that he is an inexperienced "community organizer"- whose below-the-surface sexism bubbled over during the democratic primaries against Hillary Clinton.

Yet, in cases such as this, where Palin supporters become unhinged over what they view as not just Obama's but the mainstream media's "sexist"- treatment of their candidate, they appear either oblivious to, or unaffected by the implicit sexism underlying McCain's reluctance to unshackle his running mate; to open her up to press and, more importantly, voter scrutiny -- a point that has been noted by some members of the media.

"Tonight, I call on the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like a delicate flower that will wilt at any moment," CNN's Campbell Brown demanded last week. "...you claim that she is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now."

Indeed McCain's quasi-sequestration of Palin evokes images of a controlling boyfriend who won't allow his mate to dress a certain way, talk to those of the opposite sex, and who monitors and stipulates her every move.

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This stringent control of such an obviously under-prepared candidate may well be, as the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan observed on "Morning Joe"- recently, "shrewd politics."-  But if such tactics help get McCain elected president, what would its success reveal about the conservative base that got him there?

Again, that's a question I'll leave that for the shrinks and political historians to ponder. But I can just imagine what the base's reaction would be.

"How much for the red Chevy?"

 

Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)
 

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