Where’s Al Franken When They Need Him?

I’m sure many of you have seen this from the Republican National Committee.

While someone on the Left with a lot of time and little imagination is doing the fake blog thing to make fun of Sarah Palin, the RNC has a Facebook spoof on Obama.

You’d think with Big Fat Idiots like Al Franken running for the US Senate, the Democrats could come up with something more entertaining. After all, his sole credential for sitting in the upper house of most powerful legislative body in the world is that he is a satirical comedian. Why aren’t they fully tapping into their resources?

The Republicans Now Have the Hottest Ticket

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wasn’t expecting Sarah Palin to get the nod for the VP spot on the GOP ticket. The Democrats may have had the first woman to run for Vice President, but the Republicans have the hottest woman to ever be a VP nominee. Yep, we just won the photogenic stakes.

I think this actually matters. Let’s face it, Joe Biden – as nice a guy as he is, and yes, I cried during his son’s introduction at the Demo Convention – does not bring anything to the ticket. None one is going to vote for Obama because of Biden’s got more experience in foreign policy. The VP is not the President’s chief foreign policy advisor. That’s why he hires a Secretary of State. Then he’s got a Deputy Secretary, Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, National Security Advisor, and a host of other hopefully really smart people.

No one is going to vote for Obama because he’s got an old guy on his ticket as well. No one is going to think, sure, Obama’s young, but there’s an older man who will go from being one of the most powerful men in the Senate to being the tie-breaking vote, in case there ends up being a 50-50 party split.

On the other hand, people will vote for McCain because he has a younger pretty woman on the ticket. She will attract Hillary supporters who wanted their woman on the Demo ticket. It’s the politics of gender. There are those for whom having a woman on the ticket is as important as it is for others to have a black man. And youth balances out McCain’s years in a way that age does not work for Obama. When people are looking for heroes they want Batman and Robin (or Batgirl, in this case), not Batman and Alfred. It doesn’t look good for the side-kick to appear more qualified that the principle.

But Sarah Palin doesn’t just bring women on board. The irony is that not only will she attract Hillary supporters, she will also attract some of the most virulent Hillary haters. She is rock solid conservative. She’s a member of the Assemblies of God. She is a poster-mother for the pro-life movement.  She is the answer to everything Republican voters questioned about John McCain’s conservatism.

And she is a lot better looking than Hillary. She doesn’t look strident. She doesn’t look aggressive. She’s feminine and unlike Hillary, she doesn’t have to work hard to look that way.

Oh, and she has held elective office for longer than Hillary. After all, Hillary claimed to be the candidate with experience. And she could claim this, having served in the Senate four years longer than Obama. Of course, Obama had those eight years in the Illinois Senate and Clinton had never held any other elected office. But I digress. . . Palin has held elective office since 1992 – five years before Obama – though she was out of office between 2002 and 2006. However, during 2003-04, she was Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Unique amongst all the names on the two major tickets, she is the only one to have held office in the executive branch of government.

As a brief aside, I should mention that despite the whim of a group of editors on Wikipedia, the First Lady is never “in office“. Despite her delusions of grandeur, or her ability to henpeck her husband, she is never a member of the executive branch of goverment.

Last night, I thought Tom Pawlenty was both the best and most likely choice. I’m glad I was wrong. Palin has all the advantages of Pawlenty and more. Put another way, she is Mike Huckabee without any of the baggage acquired during the primary season. Sarah Palin makes me want to come back to the States and start canvassing voters.

Nothing New With Nothing to Offer

I just watched Obama’s acceptance speech, available here because the UK news networks wanted to share in the glory of the new world messiah.

Now I can’t say I watched it all that closely after a while, because I got bored with more of the same old thing. However, as the speech reached its crescendo, I listened just to marvel at how many sentences Obama and his speech writers could string together without actually saying anything.  The crowd was getting so excited at what he was saying and he wasn’t saying anything.

As he was being invested as a demi-god in the faux Greek temple, cheered in a football stadium by throngs of supporters, I marvelled once again at his rise. After a bit more than half a term in the US Senate and the equivalent of two terms in the Illinois Senate, he is the answer to all that troubles the world.

I thought it was particularly interesting that the news coverage talked to people who quoted Martin Luther King’s line from the “I Have a Dream” speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But that’s exact what has happened. Barak Obama’s candidacy is not the fulfilment of King’s dream – or if he’s the fulfilment of King’s own dream, he’s not the fulfilment of King’s words. Obama is being judged by the colour of his skin.

After all, he is neither the descendant of the black American experience nor was did he grow up in his own experience of racial discrimination. But he’s black. He may be the first actual African-American every elected to any federal office. After all, his father was African and his mother is American. All of the other black elected officials I’ve known of were born to an American father and an American mother which makes them American-Americans, as best I can tell. So if people are wanting to elect an African-American, he’s about as authentic as they can get and about the only chance they are ever going to get.

If people are wanting to vindicate the slave heritage and the triumph of civil rights, then there is nothing remarkable or groundbreaking about his nomination. Denver was not, in the words of the Sky News, “The scene of an unprecedented night American history.” He has nothing in common with Martin Luther King, W.E.B. DuBois, Thurgood Marshall, James Meredith, or the Little Rock Nine, other than the amount of melanin in his skin.

Running Mate

I’ve been busy with marking, so I haven’t had time to write much. The only thing that brings me out of the woodwork briefly is the Obama candidacy, now that it appear to be a lock.

Hillary has made it clear that she would like to be on the ticket, even if it is as second banana. This isn’t surprising since it’s a heartbeat away from the Presidency and everyone knows just how many hearts have stopped beating by being positioned to close to the Clintons.

However, regardless of the personal danger involved in choosing Hillary, I think there is really only one obvious choice for Obama. Not that I want the Democrats to win in November, but if I were one of the three VP pickers, I would be telling Barak that he needs John Edwards. He’s as liberal as Hillary – not that this really matters in a VP candidate – but he doesn’t have the baggage of high negatives.

He’s a Southerner to balance out Obama’s Indonesia/Hawaii/Illinois/Kansas mother and Kenyan father background. This is better than Hillary’s Illinois/Little Rock-but-never-really-Arkansan/New York residential trail. Obama may play well in Peoria, but he’s also got to win Plains, Pascagoula and Poteet.

No End to Mixed Sex Wards

It is no surprise that if you put women and men together in the same hospital ward, there might be some cases of assault. And of course there’s the whole embarrassment factor when it comes to certain bedside medical procedures or discussions. But if you are in the US, you are wondering why anyone would be talking about same sex wards. In fact, you may even be wondering what a ward is. (It’s like having a shared room, only with 5-7 other people.)

The Labour government promised it was going to eliminate mixed-sex wards in the National Health Service. It has now abadoned that promise.  Health minister Lord Darzi has now admitted it is “an aspiration that cannot be met”. That’s the reality of socialised medicine.

All the Democrats running for president are promoting socialised medicine in one form or another. I just wanted you to know what you have to look forward to.