Sarah Palin is a modern day Alaska gold mine. The media is unleashing so much information about the hockey mom/right-wing radical Christian evangelical/dead ringer for Tina Fey, it's hard to make sense of all the emerging storylines. Should I judge her over her teenage daughter's pregnancy? Yes, she lied repeatedly about Troopergate, but did she break any laws? What in tarnation is the Alaska Independence Party? And the question all Americans who only want to spent 20 minutes on the campaign before getting on with their lives are asking: "How do I make sense of all of this?"
Because I care about the future of our country, and have spent the last 36 hours glued to the internet and am starting to feel dizzy from lack of food, I have prepared the following viewer's guide to the nomination of Sarah Palin. Now you don't have to follow the media frenzy! Just print out this handy guide and follow it in deciding how to vote. It contains everything you need to know.
1. Remember eight years ago, when George Bush first ran for President? Remember how he seemed like a really, really great guy? Someone you'd want to invite over for some barbecue and a beer? Someone who could never do anything bad because he seemed like such a decent human being? Hold that thought.
2. Note that Palin's nomination has been greeted by radical right-wing fundamentalists almost as enthusiastically as the second coming of Christ. Focus on the Family kingmaker James Dobson immediately endorsed McCain, and McCain turned in his best fund-raising month ever, bringing in $47 million.
3. Ask yourself why this is.
4. Now remember back to the last time the radical right was this excited about a national candidate? When was that? Oh, yes, I remember: It was when the Republican party nominated George Bush.
5. Note, more ominously, that the radical right is so excited over Sarah Palin coming within one feeble heartbeat of the presidency they are happily overlooking her teenage daughter's pregnancy. Now, I have nothing against Bristol Palin, who only appears to be the unwitting victim of abstinence-only sex education and a lack of easy access to birth control. I wish her the best. But think about this: In any other circumstance, America's right wing fundamentalists would be blaspheming poor Bristol to Hell for her sins and praying for her redemption. They would be vilifying iTunes and the NBC fall line-up for causing the promiscuity that led to her pregnancy. Instead they act like the hippy parents who've discovered a Ziploc of marijuana in their daughter's purse. So ask yourself: What would make such intolerant people suddenly become so forgiving? A larger purpose, perhaps?
6. Keep in mind that the radical right knows things. They have an entire underground network we only see when it pops up every few years, to keep Terry Schiavo on life support or ban My Friend Flicka from a school library. While the rest of us lead balanced lives, dividing our time between work, our loved ones, and an assortment of eccentric hobbies, these people are zealously devoting themselves to the single purpose of amending the Constitution to conform to the Bible. Well, that and overturning Roe v. Wade. The point is, they know things about Sarah Palin that we, as a nation, cannot be expected to learn and understand in only two months' time. Especially with football season just gearing up.
7. Here's all you really need to know about Troopergate: Sarah Palin hates Alaska state trooper Mike Wooten. I mean she really, really hates him. During her sister's divorce from trooper Wooten, the Palin family went after him so ferociously the judge in the case said it appeared they were going after his livelihood. When she became governor she raised the accusations against trooper Wooten from the divorce a second time with Alaska State Public Safety Director Walt Monegan and pressured Monegan to fire him. When Monegan refused, she fired Monegan. When asked about pressuring Monegan, she lied. Now that the state legislature has begun an investigation she's stonewalling it, after earlier promising she would cooperate. Ask yourself: If Sarah Palin hates trooper Wooten so much she would do all of this as Governor of Alaska, what would she would do as Vice President?
8. Say "trooper Wooten" to yourself over and over. Hilarious!
9. What does all of this mean? The friendly, apparently all-American demeanor? The rabid support of radical right-wing fundamentalists? The dogged, inexplicable hatred of trooper Wooten? It means if you liked the last eight years in America, you're in luck! They are about to repeat themselves.
10. Finally, it means that if you happen to be Alaska state trooper Mike Wooten, you should probably consider moving to New Zealand.