Well, the last 72 hours have been quite the roller coaster. At this point, I’m pretty much ready to concede this election. We’ve seen some pretty serious developments on the national scene that have started putting the final nails in the McCain-Palin coffin.
1.) Sarah Palin on SNL (minor)
2.) Colin Powell’s endorsement of Sen. Barak Obama (major)
3.) Sarah Palin taking hard to the right and publicly breaking w/ Sen. McCain’s stance on the Federal Marriage Amendment (important) on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club” news-show.
Governor Palin really didn’t have anything to gain going on Saturday Night Live. And anything she could have gotten out of it she squandered. Instead of engaging in any kind of self-defecating humor herself, she just sat there and let others piss all over her while she just sat there and grooved along with it. Granted, it was funny as hell, but it didn’t achieve anything that it could – and should – have.
The major development of the week however was former US Joint Chief’s General Colin Powell’s endorsement of Senator Obama. To realize the importance of this, one must first examine the role that this hero plays in Republican Party and the electorate in general.
Gen. Powell has been recognized as a leader of the Republican “moderate” segment of the Party. He was forced out of the White House, lied to, and “hung out to dry” by Karl Rove and company. He’s lucky he got out with some of his integrity still intact. And knowing what we know now about Iraq, he’s the ONLY one who came out smelling like roses. Powell is a Republican. He’s generally politically moderate, and highly respected – and since he’s not really caught up with a.) the President, b.) any failures within the Party, and c.) any kind of scandals – he’s got total name recognition and real “street cred.”
So at this time, Gen. Powell’s endorsement is huge for two reasons:
1.) It gives moderate (or “sober”…use whatever you’d like) Republicans “permission” to vote for Obama. Powell made the case…most of it irrefutable…as to why a conscientious conservative & Republican can vote for Obama.
2.) It gives permission for military vets to vote for Obama. Powell, in many ways, can be considered the “top vet”, given his former job as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. His endorsement paves the way for other veterans who would otherwise vote for McCain strictly on the “veteran card” to consider Obama and not feel like a traitor. Why is this important? Oh, well…maybe the HUGE population of vets in states like Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio…you know…all those states that McCain MUST WIN for him to capture the presidency.
The Federal Marriage Amendment is a tricky subject. Well, it’s actually not. Anybody who takes a Civics class knows the clause in the US Constitution that states that any issue not specifically enumerated in the Constitution is left in the pervue of the states. Like marriage. And drivers licenses. It’s a really easy out for Republicans who don’t want to get caught up in the gay debate. Vote no on the FMA b/c you support state’s rights and this takes rights away from the state. That’s what Senator McCain said, and how he voted…twice…in the Senate. He’s been a LONG adversary of the FMA – it’s one of the cornerstones to his “Maverick” image.
So yesterday Sarah Palin goes on “The 700 Club” (all news, all “right”, all the time) on the Christian Broadcasting Network (Pat Robertson) and comes out in favor of a constitutional ban on gay marriage (FMA) – in total opposition to Senator McCain’s stance.
We are 14 days out from the election. What the HELL is Palin doing coming out and publicly breaking with her ticket-leader’s stance on such a controversial social issue?
And what did it achieve? Absolutely NOTHING. She didn’t convince ANY person who wasn’t going to vote for her already to do so. Her credentials are so strong on the abortion issue that she has solidified the “social conservative” constituency within the electorate (and Party). Hard as a rock. She didn’t need to come out in such fierce opposition to gay marriage (especially when it is rumored that she was supposed to do an interview with the national GLBT publication ‘The Advocate’ to help soften her hard-line stance with the gays, who voted 25% and 23% in 2000 and 2004, respectively, for Bush).
So what’s the sum of all of this? That “Maverick independent middle” that decides elections in this nation has been basically given the “ok” to vote for Obama, and then Palin basically goes and blows her chance on national TV to redeem herself and moves further to the extreme right on a pivotal social issue. And this all happened in one 72-hour chunk!
Please excuse me while I go get my lifejacket and flare-gun. The evacuation drill starts now.