10/03/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

From "Mr. Gravitas" to "Miss Congeniality"

For eight long debilitating years we have had a vice president who reminds us every time he opens his mouth that we all should quake in fear because we live in such a dangerous world with Islamic terrorists ready to devour our young the moment we let our guards down. Vice President Dick Cheney's gravely emotionless voice echoes in our ears gloomily warning of the impending doom if we were ever to elect a Democratic president because only strong, authoritarian Republicans who know how the real world works can protect you from those who wish to do us harm. In 2000, George W. Bush added Cheney to the ticket to provide gravitas and experience -- a former Defense Secretary during Gulf War One and a long-time national security insider, Cheney has been the face of the perilous times in which we live where we must sometimes resort to buying duct tape and plastic sheeting to bubble wrap our homes to thwart the inevitable anthrax attack. "Be afraid people -- Be very afraid!" has been the Veep's mantra.

But now the Republicans say: "Never mind." We don't need a heavyweight defense hawk to protect us in this dangerous world any longer. No, what we need is a chirpy, peppy "hockey mom" who won "Miss Congeniality" in the 1984 Miss Alaska beauty pageant. What we need now is a 44-year-old "mom" who got her first passport in 2007 so she could visit the Alaskan National Guard troops stationed in Kuwait. What we need now in a vice president is someone with zero foreign policy experience, who is not a national security insider, and who has never written a piece or legislation or served in any official capacity at the federal level. What we need is the former Mayor of an Alaskan suburb called "Wasilla." And she was "Miss Wasilla" too. A pretty, former TV sportscaster with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Idaho. Not a lawyer or a Ph.D. in some kind of exotic subject -- but only a B.A. in journalism (with a minor in poli sci) from the University of Idaho -- a school not well known for its academic rigor or prominent placements of its alumni. Our new Republican vice president's claim to fame is that she has five kids, one with Down syndrome, and one that is under age and pregnant, which would be no biggie if she didn't so vociferously and self-righteously oppose sex education or contraceptives in favor of "abstinence" only. Abstinence failed in her family, gee, I wonder if it failed other families as well?

So there you have it. The Republican masters of the universe, sitting in their dark lair planning "strategy" decided that a female Christian fundamentalist, who is anti-abortion, anti-environment, anti-stem cell research, who hunts and wears fur and is a former beauty queen with no gravitas at all is just as qualified as Dick Cheney to be vice president. The choice of Sarah Palin must really rub Cheney the wrong way because it makes him and his gravitas act all these years nothing but a big joke. If Palin is qualified to fill Mr. Gravitas's shoes, then what does that say about all the alarmist authoritarian bugaboo we've heard from Cheney all these years?

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