Monday, September 1, 2008

The Combat Pilot, theTar Baby, and the Skyhook

A lot of people are talking about Senator McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Why couldn't he take the "safe" course, and give us Romney, or Pawlenty? They don't understand how he thinks. McCain is a combat pilot. I can think of no better description than Bill Whittle's:

They are swordsmen whose survival depends on remaining on the offensive… that is to say, they are men who survive because they can (and have) initiated 16-to-1 fights because they possess the confidence – actually, the untrammeled ego – to know they will win.
Maverick got inside The One's OODA Loop, got tone, and fired a heat-seeking Barracuda missile. Any evasive action Team Obama tries to take now will be meaningless.

If they attack her "lack of experience", it reflects back on Obama's own: She has years of executive experience in her family fishing operation, as well as municipal and state governments. Obama's role has always been legislative, not executive, even when he was chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, there were other board members to help decide which politically-correct happy-crap programs would get millions of dollars nominally for the betterment of education. But he'd really rather we not talk about that.

It is one thing to be one of many on a board or in the Senate, where a single person's lapse in judgement or character is unlikely to result in bad legislation. Most bills don't come down to a single-vote majority, or Vice President Cheney would have to spend a lot of time in the Senate chamber. Why, it's even possible to vote "present" and simply allow the other members to determine the course of action. But when you're in an executive position, whether it be running a small business, mayor of a small town, governor of a state, or President of the United States, it's another matter entirely. As a famous small businessman, who as Vice President had to move into the Oval Office when his running mate died, put it: "The buck stops here."

The Founding Fathers were thinking about that difference when they placed special restrictions on who is allowed to serve as President (and therefore VP). Even when I thought Governor Schwarzenegger was a conservative (despite his marriage to a member of the royal family of American Leftism), I opposed amending the constitution to allow someone like him to sit where the buck stops. It's too easy to imagine a scenario where he might show favoritism for Austria or the EU, or perhaps worse, bend over backwards to avoid that perception, and either way adversely affect the best interests of the USA.

That is why the "Obama's a Muslim!" meme has such legs. Of course we know he's a Christian; we know all about his church. Too much, apparently. (Is there any room left under that bus?) We also know that he spent the formative years of his life being taught in Indonesian schools and mosques, where American values might not be stressed as much as they are in Idaho or Alaska. The concern is not so much about his religion, but that he may be a "cultural Muslim", who soaked up, at an impressionable age, so much "Death to America" from the imams (not to mention his mother's radical friends), that he doesn't see anything bad about people who literally tried to bring that death upon US Government officials.

That's why we aren't supposed to talk about his friends or his middle name. The "Palin's a fundamentalist-evangelical, tongue-talking, snake-handling creationist" line I'm already seeing isn't good for Obama; he wants us not to think about what was preached in the mosques he attended as a child (which, one must keep in mind, was not his choice), and the church he chose to attend as an adult.

When she caught Gov. Murkowski's cronies' corruption, and the machine stonewalled her, she resigned her job and ran to take his, even though he's a Republican. Obama plugged into the Daley Democrat machine and worked it to its fullest. The electorate is sick of the Me-Too Republicans who campaigned as small-government reformers, that would cut government spending, only to outspend the Democrats once they got in power. I'd say they've acted like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors, who generally only blow their own money, not billions of others'. By bringing in the SP ("Shore Patrol" or "Sarah Palin"), he's making it clear that having an (R) next to your name won't keep you out of the brig; he's campaigning against those corrupt Republicans as much as he is against the Democrats.

For decades, every time Maverick reached across the aisle and angered the GOP base, the MSM played it that he put principle above party. Palin's story of cleaning the Augean stables that were Alaska state politics just reinforces what voters have repeatedly been told about McCain. Even the "Troopergate" (don't they think people remember the original scandal of that name?) controversy is a no-win: either people believe her actions in replacing the state's top cop were just part of her willingness to fire people she thought were underperforming and/or abusing their authority, or they think she tried to protect her family from an abusive ex-husband who admits using a Taser on his pre-teen stepson (while insisting he did so with the boy's consent). Attacking her for that could hurt with women voters. Defending the actions of an alleged bad cop can't play well with the Rodney King demographic, either.

If they go after her for lack of an elite education (she is a University of Idaho graduate), they take the Seven Houses off the table. It undermines Obama's packaging as the agent of change; like the sitting President his supporters despise, he has degrees from two different Ivy League institutions. In fact, a majority of Presidential nominees from both major parties since Carter (the last Naval Academy graduate to be nominated) have at least one Ivy diploma. Only Dole (Washburn University, Topeka: MIAA), Mondale (University of Minnesota: Big Ten), Reagan (Eureka, IL: IIAC), and McCain (Navy) have missed out. Who represents "Change"? While we're at it, let's not talk about the candidates for President. Let's look at Democratic Vice-Presidents who became President due to the death of the latter in office. Lyndon Johnson graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers' College, and Harry Truman never earned any college degree at all. So no looking down your noses at an Idaho Vandal, please. Between Sarah and her husband Todd, the Toby Keith Democrats should come over in droves.

In honor of the late, great Tony Snow, I'll say that Palin is a Tar Baby. The more they try to mess with her, the more they get trapped. In honor of the late, great Ronald Reagan (who was once a sportscaster) she's also the Skyhook. It took 19 years for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's opponents to realize that there is no way to defend that shot, from the moment it left his fingers it was headed downward toward the basket; touching the ball was goaltending, an automatic two points, statistically recorded as a made basket. Touching him as well just provided an "extra point" attempt. Only in his final season did his opponents stop trying to block it; allowing his season field-goal percentage to fall below .500 for only time in his career.

To his credit, Senator Obama seems to have recognized this within hours, and repudiated some of the attacks his own campaign reflexively launched. But many of his supporters (including those in the MSM that will be forced to do the dirty work the campaign itself can't be seen doing) just won't be able to help themselves. Whenever the compliant media asks questions about Palin, it will only hurt Obama. They just can't resist the Tar Baby, any more than most basketball players can resist blocking a shot they can jump high enough to reach. Can we expect Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews to be more disciplined than a professional athlete?

[And now that I've called her a Tar Baby and mentioned black men in the same paragraph, twice in a row, that must make me a racist. I denounce myself preemptively, to save leftists the trouble.]

And you can ask the girls who played with and against her what happens if you just leave Sarah Barracuda an open lane to the goal.

[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full post.]

Maverick is a Musketeer, and he's not going to play it safe. No "prevent defense" trying not to lose. Go big... or go home.


  1. Excellent post, Monster(The).
    I was positively giddy on Friday when her name came up as a possibility and I started reading about her. Sarah Palin is something that has been missing from national politics for a long time: A real person not ANOTHER FRAKKIN' LAWYER! I was ready to hold my nose and vote for McCain simply because the alternative was so bad. Now I'm actually excited about a McCain/Palin ticket and I'm not the only one.

  2. Yesterday I had a few hours dedicated to tracking the Palin reaction and before too long began to see references to Mcain's aviator experience. OODA began to surface along with Whittle as the day progressed. First sightings were at Milblogs. Pretty cool.

  3. Apparently Maverick knew of another facet that was just revealed:

    If they attack Sarah for her daughter getting pregnant before she's married (I believe Obama's term for this is "being punished with a child"*), will they also attack Obama's mother for doing the same thing in conceiving him?

    *The way she holds her little brother Trig, I don't think she thinks a child is punishment.


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