Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lady and the Gramp: The Sinister Diversion of the Palin Selection

Written by Chris Floyd
Saturday, 30 August 2008
John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin seems to have thrown the media-political-blogospherical establishments into a tizzy. It's hard to see why. Sure, Cleese would have been better than Palin -- more gravitas, louder voice. And of course, the late, lamented Graham Chapman would make a better president than any of the four ticket-toppers of the two major parties. I mean, even now he would be better, despite being dead and British and all.

But I must say that I strongly disagree with the argument that Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president of the United States. Such a stance betrays a lamentable misperception of the true function of the office in these modern times. It also ignores the craven nature of our political and media establishments, which has been on such brazen display for lo these many years.

First of all, what do you think would happen in the not-unlikely-event that an aged, ailing President McCain either died or became incapacitated? The very instant that Palin assumed the presidency, the aforesaid establishments would surround her with an aura of substance, seriousness, and respect. She would become..."The President"...her title invoked with the same frisson of pleasurable self-abnegation that accompanied every utterance of the holy phrase on "The West Wing." The media would find hidden reservoirs of charisma and command suddenly coming to light. We would hear stories of her folksy charm, her steely resolve, her self-deprecating wit, her surprising grasp of complex issues.

It doesn't matter what kind of poltroon parks his or her butt in the Oval Office, or how they get in there; they will be presented to the people as a figure of moral authority and gravitas -- and be accepted as such by large swathes of the public. How can anyone have lived through the presidency of an utter non-entity like George W. Bush -- not to mention the presidencies of the fourth-rate aristo George H.W. Bush or the literally brain-corroded Ronald Reagan -- and not know this? As Shakespeare told us long ago in King Lear: "Behold the great image of authority; a dog's obeyed in office."

And haven't the past eight years been a painfully glaring demonstration of the undeniable fact that the office of the presidency is -- or certainly can be -- the emptiest of empty shams, a front behind which powerful elite factions shelter as they push their self-serving and undemocratic agendas? Yes, yes, yes, there are tussles and disagreements, even blood feuds, among the elite, there are narrow areas in which marginal differences in policy approaches might come into play. But no one -- no one -- becomes president or vice-president who has not already bought into the basic package: militarism, empire and continual state intervention in the economy on behalf of the rich and powerful. (For a brilliant exposition of the latter point, see this analysis at A Tiny Revolution, which uses the administration of the "Big Dog" himself as a perfect example of how, with every president, "You're dancin' with whom they tell you to/Or you don't dance at all," in the words of another national bard.)

So one might say that Sarah Palin is in fact uniquely qualified to be a modern-day president of the United States. The Republic and its citizens would be no less safe -- or rather, no less highly endangered -- in her hands than in those of the other three main contestants in the Great Gonzo Gameshow of 2008.


Read the rest: http://www.chris-floyd.com/content/view/1594/135/

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