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Beth Broderick Headshot

The Grand Old Old Old Old Party

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It's definitely new and might be rightly characterized as modern to see Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket, but that is where any relationship to this century ends. Except for her questionable taste in wardrobe her entire being is representative of days gone by. I cannot for the life of me determine the long range benefits to the Republican party of thrusting this woman into the limelight. She may be rallying the so-called base, but by all observations this group is shrinking both in number and in influence. For all the jaw dropping on the left, I imagine there is even more consternation on the right. Pity the poor fiscal conservatives, who have waited eight long years for the chance to reclaim their party.

Let's face it, this is a tough time for Republicans and it was not an easy choice. John McCain must have seemed like a good compromise between the truly maverick Romney who could not quite fake his way into the hearts and minds of the far right and the comforting Huckabee who would never find his footing in the mainstream. In the best case scenario McCain could have occupied the middle ground and gained some distance from the disastrous Bush. Win or lose this might have given his party a chance to rebuild its reputation among Independents and the Anti-government crowd. Woe unto them the ascendance of the Neanderthal from the North.

This election is a referendum on George Bush to be sure but, it is also a contest between the old and the new. The danger signs are everywhere. The newly registered favor the Democrats by a wide margin and that could spell big trouble for the Grand Old Party. Even the young Evangelicals are abandoning the worn out wedge issues that once spurred voter turn out on the Christian right. The young will not be so easily divided by the old canards of race and gender. They do not fear a Gay. They are also keenly aware of their environment and determined to protect it. In the future the purple territory that often separates the red from the blue will give way to green.

Sarah Palin may have given a momentary boost to her ticket, but she threatens to be a drag on her Party's future. Her addle-brained calls to "Drill Baby Drill" are be better suited to the gold rush era when greed was one of the driving forces in America's western expansion. They simply do not fit in the now, when all but the most stubbornly thoughtless are aware that fossil fuels are on the endangered energy list. Our future and that of our children demands that we wind down the drills and rev up the windmills.

Her claims of foreign policy experience would be laughable were they not so frightening. Whether or not she can see Russia from her bathtub, it is clear that she is blind to the new reality. She cannot tell one war from another and she does not seem to understand the complexity of our mission abroad. Like George Bush she stubbornly insists that we must claim victory in Iraq. This after all of our Military leaders have assured us that victory is simply not possible. Modern wars are not winnable. The age of information and transportation has guaranteed that our enemies are ever evolving and cannot be vanquished by any army. For the foreseeable future, 'war" and or dealing with terrorists, will involve a complex mix of police action and diplomacy.

Then there is her assertion that she knows how families feel, what they are going through. Well maybe she knows how HER family feels, but she clearly did not give a hoot about Joe Biden's family. She had no reaction to his expression of true emotion on the eve of his son's deployment. Ms. Palin's indifference was not a pretty sight, nor was it attractive to see her sneer at those pesky low income borrowers. She clearly was not much moved by their story either. Didn't they realize that they were poor and not deserving of a home loan? It is easy to see why she feels no compassion for those folks ... her home is lovely, her net worth is quite substantial and her running mate is livin' large to say the least. Her aw shucks demeanor masks a steel-souled killer instinct. For all her winkin' and blinkin' she is more Ma Barker than Annie Oakley.

This brings us to her fondness for murdering wolves. Any modern hunter will tell you that killing predators is a no no. Today's ecologists have affirmed and reaffirmed the danger of removing carnivores from their habitats. We have learned from our mistakes. We have wiped out whole species in some National Parks only to find those areas overrun with prey, the flora and fauna trampled and destroyed by overgrown herds of buffalo, their rivers in ruin. It is only when wolves and bobcats were returned to these areas that nature's delicate balance was restored. A good ole' boy would never dream of slaughtering these creatures. It may be a modern convenience to kill wildlife from within the confines of a helicopter, but only a cave-man/woman could do something so stupid and callow.

I have a deep and abiding respect for America's two party system. I do not often agree with our friends from across the aisle but I grant them every right to their beliefs. This is what so unnerves me about the spectacle of Ms. Palin and her crowds of booing acolytes. How can she speak of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle when she is busy lobbing firebombs at her opponents? With her sneering manner and her willfull repetition of untruths she is not exactly laying the groundwork for compromise. There was great promise in the opposition of John McCain and Barack Obama. This election was an opportunity for a sober discussion about the future. Instead it has become a study in contrast on the merits of derision vs. vision, attack vs. advance and ignorance vs. enlightenment.

The Republicans can afford to lose this election, but they must win the battle for the soul of their party. Sarah Palin is a flame thrower and for their sake I hope that she burns out and fades back into the shadows of the arctic night. There are thoughtful, reasonable folks on both sides, and the voices of reason must win out. We need to hear from their economists, not their creationists, from their visionaries not their reactionaries. It is time to retire the old soldier to his beloved Senate and the old tactics to the Rove archives. Ms. Palin is a throwback, a narrow mind in time which urgently requires expansive thought. It is time for her to pack up her six pack and go home to her hockey fields. There are Republican leaders out there with great intellect and true hearts. The future is calling on you to fight your way to the forefront of your party It is time now for an authentic maverick to emerge and lead the Grand Old Party into the 21st Century.

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