Are You Ready for President Palin?

Despite setting extremely low expectations, Republicans showed relief that Sarah Palin didn’t blow the vice presidential debate.

The difference between the two candidates was glaring. Senator Biden has participated in many momentous decisions since entering Congress in 1972. Being mayor of a town of 6300 at the remote edge of the U.S. and the governor of Alaska for 20 months pales in comparison.

“My experience as mayor will be of great use to the country,” Sarah said, before she gushed excitedly over meeting Biden at the end of the debate. Agree or disagree with his positions, Biden was elegant in his arguments. Sarah was a Lulu.

Hearing the debate on the radio missed Sarah’s winks and frozen smiles, but focused on what was said. Sarah sounded like a bright, if immature, 19-year-old on the college debate team. She avoided questions, changed or evaded the subject, delivered well-rehearsed statements, and went off on totally unrelated subjects. She avoided details and gave vast platitudes about “victory,” “mavericks,” “greed,” “U.S. exceptionalism,” and “energy independence.”

With John McCain refusing to release his medical records that include malignant melanoma, Sarah Palin could be a malignant mole away from the White House. Americans must ask themselves, “Should this woman become president?” Even the staunchly conservative William Buckley publication, National Review, urged her to resign as a candidate because “Palin is a problem.”

She wooed voters with folksy language and mentioned the “Talibani.” Is this a nickname for a terrorist organization in insular Alaska? I liked her pledge for total “victory,” especially, “McCain knows how to win a war!” Wow, did he learn in Vietnam?

A more thoughtful and experienced person would look at the cost of victory and ask whether the sacrifice was worth it. Unfortunately, there’s no way to achieve victory in Iraq or Afghanistan. They want to rule themselves and bombing them won’t change that.

Sarah upheld McCain’s position of refusing to talk to leaders of countries that we have conflicts with. Most of us resolve conflicts by understanding differences and reaching an agreement. Can we agree on a settlement? McCain’s policy of never talking to someone you disagree with is like getting divorced, “and never speaking to the ‘SOB’ again.” Not productive if your well being depends upon ending the conflict.

Sarah’s pandering to the Jewish vote – she’s against “a second holocaust” – were melodramatic, especially after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigned days after he admitted taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from an American political supporter. Olmert said Israel should withdraw from “almost all” of the land it seized in a 1967 war if it wants peace with Syria and the Palestinians. Sarah didn’t even mention peace.

Sarah’s insistence on escaping the past and only looking to the future ignores the possibility of learning from our mistakes. It also overlooks criminal malfeasance in Bush’s deregulation machinery. Claiming she’s different from Bush and harping on ignoring the past and forging blindly ahead, doesn’t speak well for determining what went wrong and fixing it. Nor bring justice to those wronged.

Biden’s insistence that McCain doesn’t disagree with any significant polices of the Bush Administration stumped Sarah. She changed the subject; she couldn’t think of any differences. You had to love her “dog-gone-it” moment, evidently a folksy Christian curse in her Wasilla Assembly of God Church. Lucky for her, the moderator didn’t ask her to describe her belief in “The Rapture,” which she promotes in the Third Wave / New Apostolic Reformation movement.

Her pleas to increase the power of the vice president echoes Dick Cheney’s creation of secret domestic and foreign military operations, torture, spying on Americans and lying to Congress. Biden, who has long called for firing Cheney, pointed out the evil of Cheney’s tenure. Sarah, on the other hand, would give Cheney even more power. Does she foresee more power for herself under an aging McCain?

Biden devastated McCain’s claim to “maverick,” by pointing out “McCain has been no maverick on what matters to people’s lives,” including voting for Bush’s debt-burdened budgets, as well as supporting his war in Iraq and voting against healthcare, education, and programs for the poor.

Carefully protected from press interviews, Palin sports a pregnant teenage daughter while advocating parental responsibility, no birth control, no abortion and abstinence. She has a mentally retarded baby yet her husband takes off to race snowmobiles while she hits the campaign trail. She’s against “earmarks,” but leads all states in the U.S. for earmark dollars per citizen. She “knows foreign policy” because some people in her state can see Russia on the horizon. She hadn’t left the U.S. until last year, visited New York once, and was recently introduced to Henry Kissinger. She’s ready to become president?

Americans are notorious for being anti-intellectual, opposing reasoned arguments and relying on faith and intuition. They loved Bush because they would rather have a beer with him than his opponent. They need to reconsider.

If Americans elect Sarah to be next in line to become president, we are in serious trouble. Her nomination already makes us the laughing stock of the world.

Don Monkerud is an California-based writer who follows cultural, social and political issues. He is the author of America Unhinged: Politics and Pandemic in the 2020 Election (2021). He can be reached at: Read other articles by Don.

26 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. KR said on October 4th, 2008 at 10:34am #

    Look, we all dislike Palin for her reactionary Christianism, her regressive political views, her lack of meaningful qualifications and so forth. So there is no need to call her by her first name in this piece, while referring to Biden, et al, by their surnames. By doing this, you fall in to a sexist trope – completely uncalled for.

  2. joeblow said on October 4th, 2008 at 10:43am #

    Joe Biden has been re-elected to the senate 6 times. He is from Delaware, the corporate capital of the earth. He is slick and smarmy and completely oblivious to the needs and concerns of ordinary people. He is a senator’s senator – completely beholden, at all times, to the interests of the rich and powerful, and to his own wealth, power, and perfectly coiffed image.
    No one who actually “follows cultural, social and political issues,” could possibly support this slimy elite butt-boy.
    Of the four players in this election, only Palin still has a heartbeat, which ought to count for something…

  3. Don Monkerud said on October 4th, 2008 at 10:50am #

    The enterprise of writing usually requires condensing what should or could be said to fewer words. My comment to call Sarah by her first name, as so many call Hillary by her first name, had to be cut.

    I could have also made a comment on her calling him Joe instead of Senator Biden.

    While I don’t consider myself sexists, and think there should be a law in the US similar to those in Europe that require equal numbers of men and women in Congress, I’m also sure I’m not pure. My apologies.

  4. Max Shields said on October 4th, 2008 at 11:24am #

    Don Monkerud,

    I think the broader question is not our readiness for Palin as much as the hold that the established system has on war and oligarchical rule that marginalizes the people of the United States.

    Palin (and McCain) will ensure that the power is held tight. It is highly doubtful that they represent anything but a phony excuse for an election. The centers of power were on full display this past week. The Dems made it clear that they don’t listen to their constituents and when it looks like there’s a revolt brewing they simply point to the “millions of silent Americans who are for the bailout” or that the American don’t understand.

    Be clear about this, Dan: Our role is to vote the bastards in and get out of the fucking way while they rule.

    So, Dan, be ready, be very ready for the continued swift swing to a fascistic state of elitist – and enjoy the Palin side-show while it lasts.

  5. Max Shields said on October 4th, 2008 at 11:44am #


    I think Alexander Cockburn, in Counterpunch this morning, nails the issue. Palin’s not the problem, and at this stage, neither is McCain.
    Here’s why

  6. Max Shields said on October 4th, 2008 at 12:11pm #

    Sorry meant to address the above to Don.

  7. Danny Ray said on October 4th, 2008 at 1:04pm #

    Joe blow,
    I’m with you 100% my brother, Biden is just another part of the corporate machine is been in the senate for 35 years feeding at the trough with all of the other corporate pigs. Obama is only slightly better due to the fact that he just hasn’t been there as long. Neither one of them represent average joe on the street. To call them elite is almost a complement. You have to ask the question what exactly have Joe Biden or Barak Obama, done in the senate. The answer has to be a resounding no, unless you count voting for more wars and voting for higher taxes. I know I can hear the screams from the rest of the people reading this website but I’ve gotta say this is bad everyone here hates Sarah Pallin, I have to say she is the only outsider who wants to go to Washington. She is a real person not one of those elite snobs from inside the beltway who want to rule over us like they were some sort of nobility. If she would do two things and those are not talk about her religion and state her opposition to the lobbyist we would be kissing her feet and preading rose petals on the way to Washington for her.

  8. Deadbeat said on October 4th, 2008 at 1:25pm #

    We all know how the bad Obama/Biden ticket is but the Left unfortunately is still not in a position to properly offer voters an alternative. That the main problem as it stands right now. Either new political alignments will have to be forged meaning the Left will have to concede and make compromises in order to align with the Right. Or the Left will have to do a better job of building internal coalitions.

    I have to say that I was impressed with Rosa Clemente’s appearance on Democracy Now! Juan Gonzales asked what I thought was a key question about the difference between McKinney/Clemente and Nader/Gonzalez.

    Clemente clearly positioned herself to the left of Matt Gonzalez who was visibly taken aback. Clemente spoke about how the “hip-hop” generation was forming alliance with younger Palestinians calling for a 1-state solution. She also spoke about the increasing effect of the growing prison system upon people of color. She was very impressive.

    Also to Danny Ray, people of color will not be so quick to support Sarah “Hockey Mom” Palin. As Rosa Clemente points out that the future demographic of the U.S. is more like her.

  9. Max Shields said on October 4th, 2008 at 3:44pm #

    While I find this notion of a ‘hip hop generation” less than adequate way of labeling what Clemente addressed (just as the antiquated left/right schism is passe), she is a solid straight on, pull no punchers thinker.

    The fact that what she says resonates with a “non-hip hop generation” people (like me) seems make they label implausible when facing a national audience.

    But without a doubt, and I think the bigger issue here, is these two (Gonzales and Clemente) should have been on the stage (as should have Nader and McKinney). As Gonzales stated, Nader has a significantly larger national support base than Biden. That alone should provided reason (though such reason does not guide an elite monopoly).

    I think Gonzalez perceptively pointed out that Palin had called Biden on Biden’s primary remarks about how proud he’d be to run with McCain and his support for a Kerry/McCain ticket in 2004. Not a peep from anyone – not Biden, not the moderator, not the media (at least nothing I read/heard).

    The whole series of debates is a shame. Tweedle-Dee talking non-talk with Tweedle Dumb. I can’t find a point made by any of the establishment candidates that isn’t essentially more of the same. The differences are inconsequential. The Republican’s main issue is how “liberal” Obama’s voting record is, and the Dems pick around the edges both choosing war and intervention as a means of conducting foreign policy, both yielding not an inch to the public when private property and Wall Street elite interests are at stake.

    Palin is just a fly in the ointment. Our problems are deep, structural, and the worse is yet to come and these establishment candidates are on the good ship Titanic.

  10. Max Shields said on October 4th, 2008 at 4:31pm #

    Amigo, Deadbeat, I noticed once again your use of the term “left”. It is so hard to think clearly about an issue as long as these are always framed within schisms. So Palin or McCain call Obama (and do you believe Biden as well!) a leftist or a Senator with the most liberal voting record (that’s pol talk for he votes along Dem Party line and has literally nothing to do with a consistent ideology).

    We cannot solve problems or even think we’re on a sincere track to do so, if we keep making them all about some artificial spectrum. Which is why “hip hop generation” gets in the way of Clamente’s solid points. It’s not about her great awakening around a coined phrase (which puts most folks on the defensive because they’re not one of the “hip hop generation”). It’s about thinking clearly through a problem to its root cause – perspicacity!

    I think Gonzales, while he may not be as adament in style is not tied to political schisms but lets the ideas fall where they may. While I like a little more spice in my drink, I think he provides a broader sensiblity and thus a sense of how he would identify and solve problems.

    I don’t sense that as strongly with either McKinney or Clemente. Their voices are important, and should be integral to moving forward, but those differences need not turn into walls.

  11. Poilu said on October 4th, 2008 at 5:04pm #

    Max: I’d asked Deadbeat some very similar questions, pursued in depth, at the following link:

    Deadbeat : Perhaps you missed my original post — its parent thread did fall off the main page shortly afterwards — but I would appreciate your addressing the points I raised therein, since your frequent wielding of the term “left” remains remarkably vague without clarification.

  12. lichen said on October 4th, 2008 at 5:23pm #

    No, the phrase ‘the hip hop generation’ only puts ignorant people on the defensive who aren’t familiar with her or the fact that she obviously wants to apply the green party platform to everyone. Rosa Clemente has worked with the hip hop caucus and similar minority organizations of young poor people for a long time, so she is not going to just stop talking about that as a result of now entering the green party as a vice presidential candidate; indeed, that work is why she was chosen, and is what she brings to the ticket. I think her perspective on dismantling institutions and not just reforming them is very vital, and was much more impressive than what Gonzalez said.

  13. JE said on October 4th, 2008 at 7:56pm #

    Palin still has a heartbeat?

    I didn’t know you were her cardiologist. Perhaps you might want to ask the women who were raped in Wasilla and had to pay for their testing kits about the status of her pulse.

    Lumping every crypto-fascist into the same category doesn’t make you a radical…It does point to your inability to recognize how minor differences in policy can equate to major differences in outcome insofar working class peoples’ lives are concerned.

    So many self-proclaimed leftists are every bit as indoctrinated as your average “Joe Six-pack”…the only difference is the commissars. Ironically they’re are strikingly similar.The main difference and perhaps only difference is they’re in the minority. It’s the same pseudo-intellectuals and false prophets appealing to leftists’ sense of self-satisfaction for not buying into Corporate America’s psych ops.

    Now if you could figure out the difference between authenticity and exhibitionism…you might be actually be effective getting shit done…but you’d rather use half-truths that appeal to your ideology and reinforce your self-righteousness.

    Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken. Being against anti-intellectualism does not make you an intellectual and being against irrationality does not make you rational.

  14. bozhidar bob balkas said on October 5th, 2008 at 6:45am #

    personalizing US affairs is, to me, deceptive. i affirm, that a prez is not as powerful or important as many people say a prez is.
    remember nixon? he was impeached for trivial reasons. he didn’t want to go but uncle told him to leave office and he did.
    johnson didn’t run for second part; he was tired of it all.
    the longstanding US policies haven’t changed; prezes come and go.
    true, slavery, lynching r gone. now there is serfdom.
    but only because the ruling class wanted skillful workers who wd make america so powerful.
    u can’t have slavery along w. skills/freedoms or thinking one is free. thnx

  15. Max Shields said on October 5th, 2008 at 10:17am #

    I respect Clemente’s context, and her positions (the latter I think are very valuable).

    But simply calling everyone who is not interested in aligning with a small sub-culture (even if agreeing with manyof its principles and values) ignorant is why Clemente will help to get Nader that many more unaffiliated and disenchanted partisan votes.

    Obviously that is simply my sense. I’m unaware, but would be glad to be corrected, of any offical GP platform that speaks to such an alignment with a “hip hop generation”.

    To be clear, I agree that Clemente has differentiated herself to some degree from Nader/Gonzales. Whether the abolition of prisons is a position that would have much support if it was not a privatized apartheid system is questionable.

    But Nader would not direct this issue as one of abolitioning prisons per se (to use just one example) but re-thinking justice in America. After all there are legitmate victims of crime. He would talk about Restorative Justice, something he has supported for years. A means of local “truth and reconciliation” and eliminating capital punishment.

    This is simply one example of how it is not enough to identify a problem but to change the narrative and offer real solutions. I think Nader/Gonzales do that better than any other candidate out there.

  16. Max Shields said on October 5th, 2008 at 10:47am #

    Just one last thing. I think it’s great to have a coalition of progressives and that that coalition should include the Hip Hop Caucus.

    I don’t think Gonzales was looking to push the difference between the Nader/Gozales ticket and the McKinney/Clemente ticket. We all recall the re-alignment that Nader and McKinney joined into with Ron Paul. I suspect/guess that was the overarching view taken by Nader/Gonzales.

    For those of us who are not about to vote for the establishment candidates we have a look at the alternatives – in my State Nader will be on the ballot and McKinney won’t.

  17. lichen said on October 5th, 2008 at 12:48pm #

    Yes, it is ignorant to become defensive because someone mentions the subculture that she is representing. Racist prudes can gladly go elsewhere. But on a completely serious note, I think it is very sad that you seem to only be interested in looking at the candidates and campaigns in the context of the parasitic, irrelevant msm and their celebrity microfocus and rhetorical dependancy on a stupid public. You mention that the GP platform probably has no mention of the hip hop caucus or hip hop generation; and that is exactly the point. The platform is more important than what someone says in this or that candid statement.

    But what you’ve said about Rosa is basically the same thing that Edwards and Dean supporters said about Kucinich, and what Kucinich supporters say about Nader; the pecking order of unelectability goes all the way to the end, even though we are obviously not “winning,” and won’t until we can change electoral policy, change the media, change the terms of the dialogue.

  18. lichen said on October 5th, 2008 at 1:40pm #

    I also agree with Rosa about dismantling the prison-industrial complex completely, and replacing it with rehabilitation programs that bring people back into society and which looks at the origins of crime, which lie in violations of children’s rights, and poverty. Prison makes people worse, and is fundamentally a sick, ugly, wasteful place that gives neither insight nor progress.

  19. Max Shields said on October 5th, 2008 at 2:06pm #


    You seem to inhabit the very word “defensiveness”.

    I have no problem with a progressive movement, and I agree with points Clemente made. But your cry of “Racism”, is a joke, right? Or do just fling around trash talk on a whim?

    You do know that Matt Gonzalez is Mexican American.

    That aside, I’m so glad you think prison is a bad place to be. May be if you took at Restorative Justice link I included above you’d get a sense of Nader’s position.

    I do hope we can return to a civil discourse and stop throwing around names like racist – you don’t even know who I am or what color I am or if I writing this from prison.

  20. joeblow said on October 5th, 2008 at 2:09pm #

    I think she’s still a real person, too, DannyRay…

    JE – Surely you’re not saying that my remarks imply that I support the republicans… I was simply pointing out that Joe Biden is a corporate / government boy, through and through. That is to say – he’s a murderous, greedy, savage son of a bitch who is responsible for considerable horror and misery here in “the homeland,” and around the world, probably even more than is Mr. Maverick, himself.
    And, let me say it again – yes, I think Palin still has a heartbeat. That’s not to say she’s a sweetie or someone who truly cares about working people or the poor – or about women. As Max Shields remarks, above, she’s but a fly in the ointment. ( And, you ought to peek at Alexander Cockburn’s front-page piece at CounterPunch. )
    I was, and I am comparing her to the other three folks running for a piece of the White House, all of whom could easily be described as serial killers and madmen.
    I don’t really understand much of your post – perhaps you’re too angry to be clear. I do understand, however, that you’re upset that Palin does not seem to give a damn about women. I agree. But this does not mean that supporting Obama / Biden will solve the problems women face throughout each and every day here in the empire. The problem is structural; the problem is that we live in a world in which life and liberty, peace, happiness, true safety and opportunity for all is completely absent – by design! Property and wealth and power rule the world, and trump human life – and all life – all the time. In such a world no one and no thing is safe or respected…
    Reproductive rights, and the right of women to move through life safely and with the respect of all people, is not and never has been contingent upon what happens with a bunch of slimy politicians. It all rests in our hands. Whatever rights women have, they have because ordinary women / people have been willing to fight for them. They’re ebbing away, now, because ordinary folks aren’t making their demands with as much passion and resolve as they once were. One reason they’re not fighting so hard is that they’re consistently bought off by the absolutely ridiculous fantasy that the democrats care about them and will, eventually, do the right thing. No, they won’t.

    The whole structure is horror. The whole structure is murder. The whole structure is slavery on a world wide scale.
    We don’t need Obama and Biden – we need your anger and passion organized and focused on what needs to be done… We don’t need politicians, we need millions of people just like you, willing to step out of the political / social structure, forever…

  21. lichen said on October 5th, 2008 at 3:10pm #

    You are the one who is an icon of the defensive, Max; first you became defensive because Rosa mentioned the organizations and worldview which she represents, and which landed her on the ticket. Now, you become defensive because I used the word racist in my post; because, naturally it means I’m calling you racist, and it means that Rosa was sending out a big fuck you and disclusion in her statements. And of course all of this defense obscures the very legitimate critique I gave of the way you want to dismiss/marginilize Mckinney/Clemente by using the msm’s criteria.

    Clearly from your link, Nader is to the right of me regarding the subject of prison. If you are a minority currently in prison and you speak out against the dismantling of the prison industrial complex, then I think there is really something wrong with you.

  22. Max Shields said on October 6th, 2008 at 5:47am #

    lichen sorry you see it that way.

  23. Martha said on October 6th, 2008 at 7:43am #

    Sexist crap. I’m so sick of this garbage.
    It’s cute that he’s called out in one comment and the author explains he called Governor Sarah Palin “Sarah” because . . . well he’s a pig.
    That’s Governor Sarah Palin. Check the article. It’s not “Governor” even in the first sentence but we do get “Senator Joe Biden.” I’m damn sick of the sexism and I’m damn sick of the Barack Obama groupies rushing to prop up their bad candidate by tearing apart Sarah Palin.
    I’m sorry Barack’s so lousy that the only way you can promote him is to rip apart someone else, Don.
    But I do believe that a large number of DV readers, including myself, or either voting for Ralph or Cynthia.
    Your sexist garbage is offensive. You are

  24. Martha said on October 6th, 2008 at 7:46am #

    Points two and three.
    Joe Biden cried in Pennsylvania onstage at a campaign event repeatedly one week prior to the debate. He choked up in the debate. Try writing about that and maybe some will take your ‘evaulation’ skills seriously because we all remember what happened to Hillary after the New Hampshire moment.
    But Biden gets a pass.
    Second, as Ava and C.I. pointed out Sunday, if Hopey Changing Ticket’s against the Iraq War, why is Biden’s son going?
    Palin’s for the war. No surprise she’d send her son gladly. But if it’s “the wrong war at the wrong time” (Barack Obama’s words), why’s Biden’s son going?
    Maybe because the Obama-Biden ticket isn’t the anti-war ticket that so many fool themselves into believing.

  25. Max Shields said on October 6th, 2008 at 9:08am #

    I’ve been asking Deadbeat for quite some time (since he brings this up in nearly every post) to explain what he means by the “left”. Everyone of his posts lightly concedes a point here or there, but always ends blaming some kind of “leftist”. While I think there are Dem Progressives or the PDA who we can clearly identify as partisans which dilutes a progressive movement by wedding it to a Party which is arguably the other half of the most dangerous political system in the world, it does not comprise the so-called “left” or progressive movement – in fact just the opposite. PDA and Dem Progressives give cover to this incredibly dangerous Dem Party while undermining efforts to separate from it and offer a complete alternative to the existing preditory imperial system.

    Meanwhile there is a strong progressive movement that sees nothing worth salvaging in the existing 2 Party system and its institutions. This movement is about the need to re-imagine and create new structures.

    As with your request, Poilu, I’ve yet to get an answer. Deadbeat makes no distinction, and in fact blames the “left” for the success of Obama.


    Once again you raise excellent points. I particularly like your point about Biden sending his son off to Iraq to kill (let’s be straight about the mission). It is the hypocracy which makes the Obama/Biden ticket so toxic. I’ve said, above, that with all his bluster – and there is no mistaken his hawkish record – McCain may be less the interventionist than Obama, with Biden’s nudging. I recall the LBJ demonizing of the right-wing-libertarian Goldwater. That fear gave us a decade of merciless war in Southeast Asia under the LBJ administration.

  26. bozhidar bob balkas said on October 6th, 2008 at 10:44am #

    i have also asked deadbeat what this “left” is to him.
    i’v said this before: 40% of amers r right of franco, 50% just left of hitler, 5% r like tim mcveigh, the rest r true socialist.