Election 2008   Hope   Hillary   All About Noah   The Fix   The Gospel of John   The Nomination   God & Politics   Colin Powell   Sarah Palin: What's At Stake

Click To Play Video

The politicization of The Gospel is an offense to the cross.
God's man will exhibit God's attributes. Between John McCain and Barack Obama, which one is a better example of Christ-like conduct? Who Jesus would vote for, I cannot say. I encourage you to vote for the candidate who best personifies those qualities of Christ. Vote for the candidate who lies less, who is less mean, who is less ruthless. Who is kinder. Who speaks to our hopes and not our fears. My bumper sticker might read, “Vote For The Grown-Up.”

“The vice president is in charge of the Senate.”

This is a woman who did not apparently know the job description of the office she was running for. Who didn't know which countries were part of NAFTA (Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement). Who didn't realize Africa was a continent, as opposed to a single country. A woman who'd never heard of The Bush Doctrine of preemptive warfare until ABC's Charlie Gibson asked her about it. Who apparently reads no newspapers or news magazines, who mocked genetic studies of fruit flies without apparently knowing fruit fly studies were crucial to the study of autism in children (her signature policy issue), who couldn't name a Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade that she disagreed with, who gloated over Barack Obama's "connection" to former PLO Spokesman Rashid Khalidi before the media discovered John McCain had an even bigger "connection" to him (McCain helped secure a half-million dollar grant for Khalidi). This is a former sportscaster who doesn't know the difference between the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies (Eastern Pennsylvania) and the Pittsburg Pirates (Western Pennsylvania, where she was booed for cheering the Phillies). A woman who is, from all evidence, even less intellectually curious than George W. Bush and more clueless than Dan Quayle. An "ordinary hockey mom" with a $150,000 designer wardrobe whose Christian values do not, apparently, preclude her from repeatedly and capriciously lying about Barack Obama or move her to admonish those within her earshot yelling out, "Kill him." Whose Christian values do not, from all evidence, extend to her pregnant teen daughter. And who, from all reports, still believes she has a shot at the White House, intending to challenge Barack Obama in 2012.

As hard as it is to imagine, Sarah Palin would make an even worse president than George W. Bush, whom many historians now regard as the worst U.S. president in modern history. She is even farther to the right than Bush and, from all evidence, much less informed, although I can't imagine the ontological bankruptcy required to limbo beneath that bar. She is, literally, like so many housewives whose minivans I routinely dodge in Wal-Mart's parking lot—which, really, is an insult to those moms, so busy talking on cell phones and fussing with the kids that they routinely ding up cars parked around them. It's not even that Palin is an airhead, it's that she's arrogant, a thought echoed by Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who wrote, "...despite good political instincts and genuine charisma, [Palin] disdains intellect, disregards ethical standards, ignores policy details and lies habitually. The more voters learned about her in this campaign season, the less they liked her. Some political strategists believe she’s done John McCain more harm than George W. Bush." Leaked reports have her own campaign team calling her a "diva," and the investigation released by the Alaskan Legislative Council describe a vindictive, tunnel-visioned manager contemptuous of, or perhaps ignorant of, her own state law—all things the McCain campaign is now discovering only days before the election.

You are voting for John McCain. You are electing Sarah Palin.

This entire noisy campaign really boils down to a single issue: the specter of a President Palin. The probability (moreso than possibility) of Governor Palin assuming the office of president is, for me, the single issue of this campaign. Senator Obama, perhaps loathe to alienate women voters, won’t state the obvious, but this woman is wholly unprepared to assume the office of PTA chairperson, let alone the highest elected office in the land. This would seem to me, the obvious top issue. Not the war, not the economy, but the sheer selfishness of a 72-year old four-time cancer survivor placing someone second rate a heartbeat away from the presidency. That’s it. There are no other issues: I could never support that ticket. Had McCain gone with his gut and chosen Joe Lieberman (or, even smarter, Bobby Jindal, the charismatic 37-year old Indian American GOP governor of Louisiana and the Republican's version of Barack Obama), he’d likely have lost the far-right wing-nut crowd, but I believe he’d be way out in front. Lieberman is liked very much on both sides of the aisle (though his increasingly shrill anti-Obama rhetoric is costing him dearly). Even Mitt Romney, who has a kind of Richard Nixon thing going on with his eyes, would have given the McCain campaign credibility. Instead, McCain went instead for sensationalism—and got the burst of energy he needed. But it was a selfish, transparently political decision. And, once the balloons and confetti have been swept up, this aging man—who, if you look closely, tends to clench one hand with the other a lot, to perhaps mask hand tremors, and whose official photos are all shot from one side of his face—will have positioned a woman who doesn’t apparently read a newspaper to assume the presidency. Like it or not, this sad, ad hoc, mean-spirited, toothless campaign—the centerpiece of which was Palin's selection—will be John McCain's legacy. Like an aging prizefighter, he's stayed in the ring far too long. His bitter and desperate attacks on Obama—which is all his rallies are about anymore—underscore the fall of a giant.

Senator McCain's policy positions and ideas mean nothing because I doubt Governor Palin, much like President Bush, even understands them beyond the most cursory, basic, Cliff Notes level. The truth is, I know more about McCain's positions from Obama ads because McCain's ads are rarely about the candidate's position on issues. They are, in fact, rarely even about McCain. McCain's ads are about Barack Obama. The wrongheadedness of making one candidate's campaign entirely about the other candidate is this: Obama's ads were about Obama. McCain's ads were about Obama. It was All Obama All The Time. John McCain actually helped embed Obama into the American zeitgeist, spectacularly proving that there is, in fact, no such thing as bad publicity. The selection of Palin completely undermined McCain's strongest case against Obama—experience—as Palin is, ironically and sadly, what McCain's has spent millions of dollars trying to define Obama as. By making his argument that Obama is not qualified to lead, McCain has made that very case against Palin, McCain's health questions forcing the American consciousness into a choice between the lesser of two potential evils, a contest Obama wins handily. Could Obama beat McCain? Who knows. But any contest between Obama and Palin is a literal no-brainer, and that's the contest McCain created by not selecting a more politically substantial running mate. I didn't make this thing about Sarah Palin—McCain did. He ran a campaign which intended to make this election a referendum on Barack Obama. By selecting Palin, McCain made the campaign a referendum on John McCain.

Is it possible a President McCain will finish his term without suffering serious illness? Of course. But the statistics of his type of skin cancer suggest otherwise. It is extremely likely a President McCain will, at the very least, be forced to undergo grueling and debilitating treatment at some point during his first term. Meanwhile, Palin continues to refuse to release her own medical records, the only of the four major candidates to do so. Her refusal fuels ongoing speculation that baby Trig is, in fact, Palin's grandson and that Palin's daughter is pregnant for the second time, rumors a release of Palin's medical records would immediately put to rest. A young, vibrant woman of 44, the only reason we can immediately suspect for her refusal to disclose her medical records is the fake pregnancy. This is how politically un-smart this woman is, to either try and hide something the public will inevitably discover or, even worse, to fuel public doubt simply by being an onion. This is not a person I'd want sitting across a poker table from Vladimir Putin.

The probability of Sarah Palin assuming the powers of the presidency—whether temporarily or succeeding McCain—is quite high. There is, therefore, no other issue for me. That’s it. Under a President Palin, world leaders would run the table, tying this Low Information President in knots as the world suffers global economic and political turmoil because of the soccer mom in the Oval Office. All the rest of the hollering is just noise. No mature, thinking American citizen should be even considering allowing Sarah Palin into that position. And, yet, Palin’s rallies overflow with screaming, adoring fans. Which presents an even scarier problem: the willingness of conservatives to be lied to and taken advantage of.