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Deborah King Headshot

The Body Language of Political Bedfellows

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The romance is obviously over. If John McCain could have gotten away with not hugging Sarah Palin on stage at the rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania, he certainly would have done so. His body language spoke loud and clear as they fake hugged: "Let's get this over with. You're the worst thing that ever happened to me. You're going to wind up being the reason I lose the presidency." It's hard to look like good buddies who plan to run the country together--or like the prom queen and her grandfather--when I can see plainly that they can barely stand next to each other without silent daggers shooting from their eyes.

It's a long way from the outright adoration McCain had for Palin at the Republican National Convention. His arms opened wide, his smile genuine. "Swoon, swoon. She makes me feel like a young buck. She's going to energize the base. And she's so hot!" In Hershey, the sweetness was gone. Holding hands, they stood as far apart as possible. I see it like the body language at the end of a marriage - in public the couple is pretending all is well, when at home the slamming doors say more than words.

We don't need to be told that there is a major strain between Palin and McCain's advisers, with one of his aides describing her as a "whack job" who is ignoring their advice. Even as McCain was saying "When two mavericks join up we don't agree on everything, but it's a lot of fun." What fun? His attempts to look convivial were as fake as the rhetoric in his campaign ads. Hey, the crowd hadn't come to see him anyway. The barracuda received the loudest cheers, and some of the audience left after she had spoken and before McCain began.

Seems the "diva gone rogue" is busily hoping McCain doesn't ruin her future career -- whatever that may be. Her body language speaks loudly as well: "I've got this old coot wrapped around my little finger. I'll put up with him a little while longer. . . until I get what I want."

If there's one thing I know based on observing their body language, there is no love lost between these two. It's all fake smiles, fake hugs, fake hand holding, and two people leaning away from each other -- as far away as they can get. Politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows.