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Robert S. McElvaine Headshot

Wake Up, America! -- The Morning After America's Blind Date with Sarah Palin

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Has a huge portion of the American populace gone insane?

Periodically in American history, large numbers of people succumb to mass delusion. We are currently experiencing such a time.

After a Republican National Convention that culminated with one of the worst acceptance speeches in American history, John McCain has gotten a big bump in the polls.

Why? Almost entirely, it seems, because McCain chose as his running-mate someone about whom most Americans know almost nothing, whose views on most of the issues about which Americans care the most are opposite to those of a majority of Americans, whose experience to prepare her for the presidency is so inadequate that the Republican campaign is reduced to mentioning that she belonged to the PTA and that her state is close to Russia.

WTF?

According to a just-released USA Today-Gallup Poll, white women have moved from favoring Barack Obama by 8 points before John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate to backing John McCain by 12 points. Majorities of white women, this poll reports, say his choice of Palin increases their faith in McCain's decisions.

I repeat: WTF?

How far are the American people willing to go on a first, blind date?

Unless McCain has slipped Rohypnol into the drinks he served the electorate last week, newly infatuated and intoxicated voters ought have enough of their wits about them to know they don't want to give themselves up to a candidate with whom they completely disagree:

■ Most Americans want health insurance for everyone.

Sarah Palin opposes it.

■ Most Americans are not biblical literalists.

Sarah Palin is. In spades.

■ Most Americans favor a woman's right to choose in abortion.

Sarah Palin wants to outlaw ALL abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.

■ Most Americans favor environmental protections and understand that global warming is largely caused by human activity.

Sarah Palin doesn't.

■ Most Americans believe the findings of science.

Sarah Palin doesn't.

■ Most Americans do not think Tim LaHaye's "End Times" with millions of non-Christians drowning in rivers of blood while Jesus cheers are upon us.

Sarah Palin does.

■ Most Americans disagree with most of what has happened during the last eight years and with George W. Bush.

Sarah Palin is Bush's more-evil fraternal twin.

Americans need to get out of bed with this candidate, quickly, while their virtue is still intact.

The time has come for us to stop people we meet on the street and ask them, "Are you more likely to vote for the Republican ticket because John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running-mate?"

Every time someone answers, "yes" or "maybe," grab him or her by the shoulders and shake (gently), saying, "Wake up! Do you know anything about her?"

"Unless you are a member of the extreme "Christian" Right, you agree with Sarah Palin on almost nothing and you would be crazy to support her and McCain. (If you are a member of the extreme "Christian" Right, you are crazy, but, unlike most Americans, you are someone who logically should love Palin.)"

{Historian Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College. His latest book is Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America 2008-07-01-GTJcoversm.jpg.}

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