Recently, the American right-wing (and by that I mostly mean Fox News) went and got its knickers in a massive twist over comments made by an aide to Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister. The comments related specifically to a request made by Sarah Palin for a meeting with Thatcher, whom Palin had previously cited as a role-model, during the former Alaskan governor’s forthcoming visit to the UK. The response itself, an emphatic “no”, was not the problem; it was more that the aide called Palin “bat-shit insane” that so enraged the Republitards (yes, I know, the aide actually said she was “nuts”, but he was just being polite). What baffles me most is not the reaction to any of this (it’s pretty par for the course, really), but the fact that no-one ever mentions how the only reason Sarah Palin is where she is today, the only reason any of us have ever even heard of her, is because of her vagina.
Cast your minds back to 2008, and those heady, care-free days where the prospect of soon not having to live in a world with George W. Gump at the controls gave you a warm feeling inside. Having stolen the two previous elections (mainly by getting their friends to count the votes) there was still a creeping fear that the Republicans were going to cheat once again and have us all drowning in the shit of another Middle East war of imperialism and resource theft before the new Oilman In Chief had the time to finish his morning bowl of Shreddies on inauguration day. But, this time, there was something different, something new … there was, for the first time in a quite a long while, hope.
I don’t mean “hope” in the sense that politicians understand and misuse it; that particularly trite, campaign slogan form of language abuse that hides how the candidate just wants to get elected to a cushy job, one that comes with shit-loads of power and all the money they can eat, by selling the electorate an ocean liner full of bullshit and pretending that they represent any kind of challenge to the status quo. No, I mean that there was a vague, almost misguided, sense that things could possibly be different because, this time, in addition to the usual shower of ageing, white, wealthy right-wing douchebags, there was a woman AND a black guy in the race! “This is getting mildly interesting”, we all thought, and we were right to.
If we were honest with ourselves we didn’t really imagine that either of them could actually win and, in the case of
Frau Blücher Hillary Clinton, we hoped to hell she didn’t; no one needs that sour fucking witch in charge of a stapler, let alone a nation. We were under no illusions that America was probably going to do its usual thing of voting for someone who repeatedly rapes them in the face, but is able to get away with it because America can only ever see the Stars and Stripes underpants worn by their abuser so they’re too busy saluting and crying with national pride to realise they’re being raped in the face. We thought they were going to go for someone like Rudy Giuliani, the eminently crooked “hero” of 9/11 who heroically became a hero by doing his job of heroically telling people to do things they were already doing, like the god-damned heroism-drenched, heroic god-damned hero he heroically was.
Even when Obama won the Democratic nomination we still believed the GOP were going to take the White House again, whether they diddled the votes or not. After all, they’d picked John McCain, a white guy (which always helps), and he was a genuine bona-fide Vietnam veteran (although they sensibly glossed over his habit of crashing planes and having been tortured to the point where he’s now, apparently, completely barking mad). There was no way the young black guy who had only been married once, had never shot at anyone, and didn’t say “God Bless America” all that often, was going to win. For a start, this was America, damn it, and it’s called the White House for a reason! It was looking, for most of us, like there weren’t going to be any real surprises left in this particular election campaign. And bugger us all if we weren’t completely wrong …
The announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 campaign has to be one of the most calculated, cynical, manipulative, and thoroughly insulting moves in modern politics. It doesn’t matter what the campaign, or their supporters, trot out as the reason for Palin’s selection … you know, and I know, what really motivated their decision on this one; her vagina. With Obama on the Democratic ticket, all the women who were going to vote for Hillary (both of them) were left with an open decision on who to vote for. Since women apparently don’t have any political principles or opinions of their own and merely vote for whoever likes make-up, babies, and has the same shaped genitals as they do, the Republicans figured they could hoover up the votes of these dear, sweet, silly girls by showing them that, “Look, we’ve got a lady on our team!”
As if that weren’t enough, Sarah Palin is a white lady, and that meant the GOP could clean up on votes from all those people whose bits are different to Palin’s because, in the Republican mind, no man could call himself a true American if he ever actually voted for a darkie! That’s just not right! After all, Jesus was white and spoke English, and if those are good enough qualities for a saviour then they’re more than good enough for an elected representative! Republicans, and their Conservative counterparts here in the UK, have always had an extraordinarily patronising view of the people they ostensibly represent; to them, we are children, and mentally sub-normal children at that. They can do pretty much whatever they like, regardless of how it affects us, and they certainly don’t have to explain themselves to us because they’re the adults – they’ll do their adult thing, and help out their adult friends who own businesses, and the rest of us can sit in the corner, be quiet, and enjoy the distracting toys they throw our way occasionally to keep us busy.
Never is this more obvious than during election campaigns, as everything is reduced to the lowest common denominator and we’re deluged by grossly condescending attempts to win our favour. It’s like parents who each have different ideas about where the family should go on holiday – both will stoop to great depths, offering all sorts of incentives and bribes when making their case, anything to get you to go with their destination of choice. Palin is a classic example of the political dirty trick, the willingness to make appeals to people’s baser instincts just to score their approval and get them on side. Not only that, but having a woman around helps a centuries old institution counter claims of misogyny by claiming to be “progressive”, despite remaining a luscious, bubbling spring of rampant homophobia and racism.
If you ignore the fact that she owns a couple of boobs, Sarah Palin represents business as usual for the Republicans. She’s white, pro-gun, pro-life, pro-military, pro-Jesus, and anti-gay and, when it comes to politics, that is all that matters – that’s what makes someone an American, son! If you consider the fact that she owns a couple of boobs, then the GOP have got one hell of a sales pitch going for them! Who better to appeal to the hearts, minds and erect penises of the average Republican male? “Hey, boys, check out our candidate! She loves guns, babies, war, and God, hates fags, and SHE HAS TITTIES!” That Palin was a candidate for vice president meant that these deep political thinkers (or rednecks, as they’re known) could at least rest easy knowing that there was still a man running the show (and a man who left his crippled wife for a beer heiress at that). It’s just that, with Palin as VP, the patriotic penis pullers could finally show their true love for their country by having such red, white and blue masturbation fodder gently stroking the levers of power.
By now I’d ordinarily be expecting to have to counter accusations that it’s not the choosing of Sarah Palin that’s appallingly cynical, it’s my assertion that she was only chosen because she’s a woman, and that I’m deliberately ignoring her obvious qualifications for the job as part of some patriarchal agenda to run her down and keep women in their place. Fortunately, I will never need to defend myself against such a charge, not least because I simply don’t think that way, but largely because it’s Sarah fucking Palin, and we all know that there has never been anyone less qualified for the job of vice president. Not even Dan Quayle. Even on his dumbest of days, Dan Quayle could only dream of plumbing the depths of drooling fucking idiocy that Sarah Palin has to stand on a very tall ladder to reach. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in politics who can match her for being so stultifyingly ill-informed and generally pig-ignorant.
I remember her inability to say whether she followed the Bush doctrine (of pre-emptive war) because she didn’t even know what it was. I remember how she thought that Russia being just a few miles across the sea from Alaska, and how Vladimir Putin would have to fly over her state to get to America, that somehow gave her foreign policy experience. I think back on how she said Obama’s health care bill will result in “death panels” where your grandmother will be denied treatment because she’s too old and too expensive, despite the fact that this is exactly how it is now, only it’s the insurance companies who are telling granny to fuck off and die (that and Palin admits to having shuffled her family in to Canada to enjoy their free healthcare in the past).
Giggling begins to envelope me when I think of how she created a fake Facebook account so that she could big herself up by posting glowingly positive comments on her own real account. I laugh out loud when I recall how her supporters described her as a “beauty queen” (when she wasn’t), and how her pageant career is not really any kind of achievement when you consider that there are more people in my neighbourhood than there are in most of Alaska. Physically splitting my sides in hysterics becomes a dangerous possibility when I remind myself of how Palin described Margaret Thatcher as one of her heroes (presumably because, like Palin, she’s white, female, completely mental, and would damage the nation irreparably if she got anywhere near to being in charge of it – the only difference is Thatcher has dementia; Palin is just like that normally). Is it any wonder that, with Palin being such a gift to comedians, they play the hallelujah chorus on Radio 4’s “The News Quiz” whenever she’s mentioned?
Would that it were possible that Palin was only a harmless idiot, I don’t think anyone would have much of problem with her; we’d just happily sit back and enjoy the show. The trouble is, we’ve been here before … when Credulous George was running for president many people were thinking, “he’s a simpleton, this could be good for a few laughs”. Bitter experience taught us that when you’ve got a moron in charge, it’s to keep you from focusing on the real evil shit being done by those around him. “Don’t worry about the collapsing economy, terror attacks, or endless wars – look, he mangled a sentence again! Isn’t he funny?” Idiots, by and large, are harmless – idiots in power, however, are fucking lethal. We need only recall the shooting incident in Arizona, and the shockingly insensitive way Palin dealt with the fallout; the “blood libel” comment, attacking the left for politicising the issue (which was actually what she was doing), and the inability to accept that publishing a map showing the locations of your political opponents with cross-hairs as markers might just inspire the kind of tragedy seen in Tuscon (especially since one of the cross-hairs was for congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during the incident).
This is what Palin can manage when she’s not the president. If she were ever to get near the Oval Office, things will almost certainly get a thousand times worse than they ever did under Bush Jr. As the darling of the Tea Party movement, a group of reactionary nut-bags who actually have the gall to compare their particular brand of fervent, nationalistic stupidity to the Boston revolutionaries who protested unfair taxes by the British, Palin would undoubtedly drag America back in to the dark ages, with the religious right laughing all the way. They’ll push ever harder to get rid of abortion, gay rights, and the freedom to believe in anything other than Jesus, and instead introduce a creeping theocracy, hell-bent on quieting the dissenting voices, and continuing wars against anyone who doesn’t believe in the same stupid shit that they do.
And you’ll have Sarah Palin’s vagina to blame for it all …