Special Commentary by Chris Graham
Why isn’t Jane Swift out demanding an apology from the Republican Party of Virginia?
“Smoking hot in a ‘naughty librarian’ sort of way” is how the RPV website described Palin as late as Monday, when I happened upon a side-by-side comparison of Palin and Barack Obama that I will say came across to me as being somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
But I would also say that it seems apparent to me that somebody there must have decided that it was a bit over the line – given that when I went back to the same item on the RPV website on Tuesday, it had been amended to read: “Very attractive accomplished mother with a career.”
So naturally, then, when Barack Obama riffs on her memorable line from the GOP convention – “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick” – the McCainites pounce and trot out Swift and her Sarah Palin Truth Squad to complain.
If nothing else, the fact that I’m writing about this today is a sign that the Truth Squad gimmick is working. I’m not addressing in this space what Barack Obama and John McCain might or might not do to jumpstart the economy, to get our budget back in balance, to answer the hard questions about our role in Iraq, the war on terror. Nope, we’re talking about whether or not a woman who calls herself “Sarah Barracuda” should be subjected to the same rough-and-tumble politics that everybody else running for office has to endure in our post-civility political culture.
And if I may digress for a moment – could we call a truce on the back-and-forth over every little thing that anybody on any side of this equation has to say about anything that comes to mind? I mean, to be sure, I love my job in journalism, and I have to say that this presidential-election cycle has been without a doubt the most exciting thing that I’ve been involved in and can imagine ever being involved in as a writer and observer and all the rest. But seriously, though. Somebody on the Obama side says something about somebody on the McCain side, and I get a hundred e-mails about how awful a person that one somebody is, then the other side responds with a hundred e-mails. Then come the TV and web ads from both sides. Then somebody on the McCain side says something even worse about somebody on the Obama side, and the cycle gets a new life.
We have come so far from the days when we would stand outside our caves and fling crap at each other to break the monotony between buffalo hunts, right?
Back on topic. This is the place in my Special Commentary where I’m supposed to say something along the lines of, Republicans, shame on you, you can’t have it both ways; you can’t go around selling her yourselves as Sarah Smoking Hot Librarian Palin and then get all out of sorts when Joe Biden describes her as “good-looking,” and you can’t go around selling her as Sarah Barracuda and then get your Fruit of the Looms in a bunch when Barack Obama responds to the many personally-insulting bromides that she has been lobbing at him in kind.
But, and you could sense this, couldn’t you – I’m not going there. Because the McCain side would love it if the Obama team continued its preternatural focus on the Palin celebrity candidacy, just as the people who are now bringing you the new new John McCain, that is, Karl Rove and his minions of doom, were successful in making the 2004 election not about George W. Bush’s failed war and George W. Bush’s failed economic policies and George W. Bush’s assault on the Constitution, but about whether John Kerry was a war hero.
Today’s Shame on You goes to the Democrats for once again allowing the Republican Distract Machine to knock them off message.