I’m about to get religion. I know it’s hurricane season and all, but how do you explain the National Weather Service currently tracking three hurricanes in a row about to hit the southern United States, setting up a Monday through Friday constant hurricane watch specifically coinciding with the Republican National Convention? There has to be some divine influence. I’m not giddy about it, I understand that there could be massive damage and loss of life, I’m just fascinated by the coincidental timing of it all.
Gustav has already hit Louisiana and has now been downgraded to a Tropical Storm as I write this. Meanwhile, Hurricane Hanna sits over the Bahamas, and is expected to hit Florida right about the time when John McCain will be giving his acceptance speech at the RNC. Right behind that is Tropical Storm Ike, currently halfway between the Lesser Antilles and Africa. It’s expected to hit the United States sometime early next week.
I’m currently watching “Geraldo At Large” in Louisiana on FOX, and the coverage is just cringe-worthy. A grand escape he runs from waves barely splashing over levees, then he’s hugging a rescue worker, telling him, “I don’t know this guy, but I *love* this guy!!” Yipes. This guy is a perfect fit for FOX. The drama. The embarrassment.
Meanwhile, another storm hit the Republican National Convention when it was revealed that the unmarried seventeen year old daughter of Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin is five month’s pregnant. Guess that abstinence-only program didn’t work too well for the Palin household. The McCain camp, of course, noted:
They are now conscious that their daughter will have to address the great challenge of raising a child sooner than they might have hoped,” McCain’s policy director, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, told reporters at a Monday lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “They’re being supportive of her and the man that she will marry. And they’ve asked that we respect her privacy, and out of respect to that request, I think that’s all that we should say.
Barack Obama was asked about Palin’s daughter, and he said:
I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be a clear as possible: I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits, and people’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as governor, or her potential performance as a VP. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories.
You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and you know teenage children, that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that’s off limits.
Since the McCain team didn’t seem to vet Palin for the job, the blogosphere is doing it fairly well. The pregnancy announcement was released in reaction to detailed speculation that the family’s four-month-old son, Trig, was actually the teenager’s son. The Palins had to release the fact that their daughter was pregnant to dispel that allegation. Obviously if she’s five months pregnant right now, she couldn’t have a four-month-old son.
According to the NY Times, Palin has also now hired a lawyer to represent her in the ongoing Troopergate ethics case up in her home state. That article also mentions that McCain has sent a team up to Alaska to look a little more into Palin’s background. Um, isn’t that supposed to happen BEFORE you pick the candidate? Guess these things are liable to happen when you make a totally political choice for your VP, rather than a qualified one. The Times piece also shines a little more light onto McCain’s selection process. Apparently, he wanted Liebermann or Ridge, but when word got out that he was considering these pro-choice selections, he was “bombarded by outrage from influential conservatives who predicted an explosive floor fight at the convention and vowed rejection of Mr. Ridge or Mr. Lieberman by the delegates.”
It sucks to be beholden to the religious right. In fact, it just might single-handedly end up losing McCain this election.
Some more from the Times article:
In Alaska, several state leaders and local officials said they knew of no efforts by the McCain campaign to find out more information about Ms. Palin before the announcement of her selection, Although campaigns are typically discreet when they make inquiries into potential running mates, officials in Alaska said Monday they thought it was peculiar that no one in the state had the slightest hint that Ms. Palin might be under consideration.
“They didn’t speak to anyone in the Legislature, they didn’t speak to anyone in the business community,” said Lyda Green, the State Senate president, who lives in Wasilla, where Ms. Palin served as mayor.
Representative Gail Phillips, a Republican and former speaker of the State House, said the widespread surprise in Alaska when Ms. Palin was named to the ticket made her wonder how intensively the McCain campaign had vetted her.
“I started calling around and asking, and I have not been able to find one person that was called,” Ms. Phillips said. “I called 30 to 40 people, political leaders, business leaders, community leaders. Not one of them had heard. Alaska is a very small community, we know people all over, but I haven’t found anybody who was asked anything.”
The current mayor of Wasilla, Dianne M. Keller, said she had not heard of any efforts to look into Ms. Palin’s background. And Randy Ruedrich, the state Republican Party chairman, said he knew nothing of any vetting that had been conducted.
State Senator Hollis French, a Democrat who is directing the ethics investigation, said that no one asked him about the allegations. “I heard not a word, not a single contact,” he said.
Is this the kind of good judgement we can expect from a McCain presidency? Oddly enough, it sounds remarkably just like something that Bush would’ve done. Make a choice based on one or two elements, ignore all the others, and then hope there’s no additional fallout after the fact.
Is this leadership?