Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Honourable VP Hockey Mom -- I'm Gabberflasted, Are You Gabberflasted too?

Over on the Angry Bear blog, there's a thread discussing McCain's VP choice, Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

With an utter lack of shame, I have hoisted this from the comments. It is, of course, mine. --NM

This choice, seen as a serious attempt to fill an important team position, is decidedly odd. Forget her gender -- there are mayors of medium sized towns who would be vastly better suited for the role, and more experienced, than Palin is. I'm thinking of our last Winnipeg mayor, who legitimately took his mayorhood to the level of statesmanship.

But under another lens, this choice is exactly to the pattern pursued over the past eight years by Rove, Cheney & Co -- a pattern of placing, or trying to place, manifestly unsuitable candidates in pivotal positions. FISA Brownie ring a bell? Alberto Gonzales, Monica Goodling, Dr. Susan Orr, William Wehrum, Hans von Spakovsky, John Bolton and don't forget Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank (that really worked out well).

And then there are the ones who aren't as familiar. How about George Deutsch, briefly a press officer at NASA. Deutsch, 24, had worked in the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign "War Room", and was appointed to the NASA position by Bush in 2005.

Like others we have heard of in Bush-influenced science/PR positions, he tried to blur the science and insert religion, as in an e-mail telling a NASA web designer to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, saying the Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion... It is not NASA's place ... to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator..." He finally got the boot because his résumé falsely said he had a B.A. in journalism.

These questionable appointments started early. In March 2001, only 60 days into Bush's first term, they caught the attention of the Washington Post. They detailed Bush's appointment of Iran-Contra veterans to key posts -- naming Elliot Abrams, John Negroponte and Otto Reich. None of those guys is clueless, but they're none the better for that.

The pattern seems to be either clueless appointees or lawless ones. I would not be surprised if this VP was a one-two deal -- clueless Palin first as a placeholder, and then in October, after a *sob sob* family emergency, a Rovian or Cheynesque ringer lined up to step into Palin's place.

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