Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Palin Effect

It's been nearly a decade that I've watched in horror and amazement as the American people have shown what little collective common sense they have. Electing George W. Bush not once but twice. Embracing TV shows like "The Moment of Truth". And actually taking Sarah Palin seriously as a vice presidential candidate.

But lately, I've been heartened a bit. It seems that the initial bump in popularity that John McCain received for choosing Palin as his running mate has waned. Presumably, when Palin actually opens her mouth to spout anything other than a well-scripted speech, what comes out is so appalling that she turns away even the people who fawn over her moose-field-dessing skills, Old Testament beliefs, child-producing abilities, or whatever it is that attracted her to them. Hell, even some conservatives are begging Palin to bow out.

So with that, I propose a new phrase be added to the common vernacular:
"The Palin Effect"
The definition, of course, would be something like this: 

A temporary gain in favorability--caused by an seemingly-appealing attribute--which is subsequently lost when it becomes painfully apparent that the attribute is not, in fact, appealing, but is in fact akin to a bloody train wreck.

Here are some of the many potential use cases:
  • A company's stock price skyrockets because a technical whiz is brought on as the new CEO. Unfortunately, this whiz has no experience speaking in public, let alone running a company. So in a matter of weeks, the stock price drops like a stone.
    "Looks like the Palin Effect hit GlobalCorp's share price"
  • All of the senior boys at the high school were hoping to have English Literature with Miss Anderson, the hot, young new English teacher. But she turned out to be the strictest, harshest, nastiest teacher on campus.
    "You have Anderson for English lit, and you're complaining about it?"
    "Dude, she's a total Palin!"
  • You're running for president. Many in your own party don't really like you, so you choose a vice presidential running mate who looks good, and whose wacky right-wing ideals match the wacky right-wing ideals of your own party nay-sayers. You get a bump in the polls, but as soon as people realize that she's woefully unqualified, you lose that bump.
    "I don't understand what happened! I thought the fact that she was a woman, was attractive, and thinks the earth is 6000 years old was enough to satisfy the disgruntled Hillary supporters and the lunatic Republican fringe!"
    "But dude... she's Sarah Palin!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Maverick says...

In last Friday's presidential debate, John McCain chastised Barack Obama, because he claimed Obama's position on diplomacy isn't "just naive; it's dangerous". Maybe part of McCain's problem was that he didn't understand Obama's position in the first place. Despite being repeatedly reminded by Obama that "without precondition" is not the same as "without preparation", McCain--who likes to thin of himself as a "Maverick"--continued to insuate that Obama's plan would be to invite the leaders of rogue nations, such as Kim Jong Il of North Korea or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, over for tea to allow them to spout their anti-west rhetoric.

Of course that wasn't Obama's intent. Instead, Obama was stating that the policy of "isolating" these nations, of refusing to speak with their leaders unless and until a long laundry list of demands from the U.S. is met, is a demonstrably failed policy. Obama was stating his intention of breaking from that failed policy.

It sounds a little less dangerous when when you actually consider what Obama's position is, doesn't it?

But while we're on the subject, let's talk about "dangerous". McCain--the Maverick--tried to misrepresent Obama's position and then declare it dangerous. But let's look at The Maverick's policies--and his indisputable actions--and talk about dangerous.

Is it not dangerous to start a war, unprovoked, with another country? The Maverick voted to authorize Bush to attack Iraq ,and threw his full weight of support behind the war. I'd like the Maverick to explain how our military's resources haven't been drained by this needless invasion. I'd like him to explain how sending thousands of troops to their deaths--and tens of thousands of others to be horribly injured and maimed--isn't "dangerous". I'd also point out that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the war, that the country itself has been essentially gutted of infrastructure and security, but I'm sure that in this election season, the plight of another nation is far from the Maverick's mind.

How, then, about the unknown numbers of Americans and other Westerners who in years to come will become targets of the terrorists that McCain's beloved war is helping to create? Is there no danger in that?

He also never explained why diverting resources away from Afghanistan where our true enemies are hiding is a good, safe idea.

Oh, and I'm sorry, Mr. Maverick... singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran" to the tune of a Beach Boys songs isn't just poor taste; it's dangerous.