Friday, September 19, 2008

Political directions are off

This first published September 18, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the running mate of GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, has captured the imaginations of millions of Americans for many different reasons. This is the land of capitalism, where a creative mind can capitalize on the Palin phenomena with very little effort.

So far we’ve seen the Sarah Palin dolls in different attire, the pit bull with lipstick T-shirts and every other imaginable gimmick.

The real question is: Will she ever become anything more than a novelty? Not to say that with any contempt or flare of sexism, but can she find a place in the minds of American voters?

The McCain campaign has kept her away from any open media opportunities where she could face multiple questions from more than one journalist. After her interview with ABC News anchor Charles Gibson last week, it’s becoming evident she is either unpolished or rather shallow.

This plays well with the hearts of middle America, because she is viewed more like the rest of us plain ol’ folk.

But how does that play with the voters? She has become everything the Republicans deplored about Barack Obama. She now carries the Rock Star label that Barack Obama carried during the Republican National Convention. She is younger than Barack Obama, too.

Just wait one minute. Who is running for president anyway, Palin or McCain? Other than the obvious, it is really hard to tell by media accounts, or rather the amount of media attention being given to Palin, overshadowing McCain.

The media will continue to fall all over themselves to get what they can’t have, and that is Sarah Palin over the pit barbecue spinning on a rotisserie of unfiltered questions. They will probably have to wait until the debates just like the rest of us to really get a look behind her fashionable eye wear and red lipstick.

There are many political tricksters in media-type sheepskin trying to unravel the Palin phenomenon, but only time will tell if anything sticks.

If this is anything like a high school homecoming election and not an election to the two highest offices in the free world, then Barack Obama should be very concerned.

Personally, I’m a bit concerned that Palin didn’t have a clue what the “Bush Doctrine” is and a bit more concerned she thinks that her ability to see Russia from a remote area of Alaska is international relations experience.

Americans need to take a long, hard look at these candidates, including the running mates. Wall Street is collapsing, not one brick at a time, but rather by entire buildings. The economy is in such a funk it is going to require some real leadership and vision. For this reason, we had better take a close look a our U.S. Congress, because that is where reform really begins. Without an agreeable Congress, the best of presidents can’t get a single bill passed.

So, whether Obama is a rock star or McCain is a great American war hero or Biden is ever mentioned or Palin is all lipstick and no pit bull, we are in need of some redirection in America.

Until then, I’m waiting for the debates.

Speaking of Congress, have you noticed the ads in the race for Congressional District 3 between Rep. Jon Porter and state Sen. Dina Titus? Personally, I like both Titus and Porter for various reasons. However, they both need to reconsider their ads.

Porter, for one, has this ad stating he personally helped build the solar generation project in Eldorado Valley. He makes it sound like he was out there shining the mirrors and negotiating the deal for the land. Then I see Titus referring to how she supported legislation for renewable energy.

We need to hear about how they’re going to bring change to the economy and how they will develop bipartisanship in a completely divided Congress.

Porter has to shed his Bush lapdog image, and I would suggest Titus get busy on the issues and not how she has a 30-year-old twang.

Last week I mentioned on my blog that Gov. Jim Gibbons — our politically challenged governor of Nevada — is going to host a seminar for governors-elect to prepare them for their new jobs.

No doubt the governor has plenty of experience to share with those newly elected governors. I imagined some of the seminar topics, so I created a possible top 10 list and posted it on the blog. Hopefully, the governor is only hosting and not providing the topics.

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or His regular column is at One Man's View.