Sitting pretty

To close out the week, I will merely cite the quote of the week.

It was provided by Sarah Palin. She hasn’t been very visible on the national news lately, not since her extended embarrassment with Katie Couric. And she has barely surfaced at all in battleground swing states (unless you count Pennsylvania, which doesn't appear to be swinging red); instead, her handlers prefer that she serenade friendly audiences in friendly states (or, as she put it yesterday, “preaching to the choir”), and thus help John McCain woo the same conservative voters that he has already won. She also said yesterday that she enjoys visiting the “pro-America areas of this great nation," which leads me to wonder which areas she deems to be traitorous.

Anyway, last Tuesday, her handlers set her up with a credulous interviewer, Rush Limbaugh, a guy who sufficiently meets the dictionary definition of lickspittle (Rush to Palin: “I admire you so much. I really don’t even know what to ask”). While Palin was busy hammering Rush’s softballs, notably by agreeing with him that America under Barack Obama would be in great danger (thereby contradicting McCain, who last week said the opposite during a town hall), she said something particularly interesting.

She told Rush that she would continue to point out the contrasts between McCain and Obama, because “I’ve got nothing to lose in this.”

Exactly right.  She is sitting pretty.

If McCain wins this election, she gets to be vice president of the United States, thereby demonstrating that anything is possible in our dumbed-down culture. (Or perhaps former Reagan/Bush speechwriter Peggy Noonan puts it better: "The Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics.")

And if McCain loses the election, he gets dumped on the political scrap heap…and she keeps her status as heroine of the conservative base, a national figure with a built-in constituency, a much-sought speaker for every conservative fundraiser, with ample spare time to fact-find in foreign countries and study all the issues on which she is currently clueless. All told, she would be well situated for her own presidential bid in 2012.

Within religious right circles, the latter scenario is considered a no-brainer. Charles Dunn, a top conservative analyst at Pat Robertson's Regent University, says: "She is the heir apparent to conservative leadership. She is the heir apparent to having the mantle of Ronald Reagan bestowed upon her. She is the heir apparent to becoming the Margaret Thatcher of America. If she does not stub her toe along the way, she has a very bright future."

Mitt Romney, whose ambition still burns, would be well advised to watch her every move. Perhaps they'll vie for the endorsement of Joe the Plumber.


And with regards to the allegedly iconic Joe the Plumber, aka Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher:

First, he's not a plumber. It turns out that he doesn't even have a license, and that the city of Toledo, Ohio (where he lives) says it's illegal to perform plumbing work without a license. Second, he told Obama that he has been a plumber "for 15 years," but it turns out that he enrolled in an apprentice program only five years ago...and never finished it. Third, he told Obama he was "gettin' ready" to purchase a small business valued at more than $250,000, but it turns out he has no such pending plans, and that this ambition is merely something he voiced during a job interview six years ago. Fourth, it turns out that the small outfit Joe works for isn't valued at anywhere near $250,000. Fifth, Joe at his current and foreseeable income level would get a tax cut under Obama's plan. And that might be a good break for Joe, since at the present time he owes back taxes.

Given the fact that Joe's cover has now been blown, and that the city of Toledo reportedly plans to notify him that he can't do plumbing work without a license, and that his shelf life as a conservative media hero may prove all too brief, I doubt he'd agree with McCain's declaration that he was the real winner of the final presidential debate.