Date: August 28, 2008
Prologue: Two men engage in a year long battle. One man, who continues to play by his own rules, gains momentum, but realizes that he is unable to achieve victory on his own. He summons a previously unknown maiden from the land of ice and snow, to aid him in his mission. Quickly though, this Ice Queen begins to overshadow the very man that she was supposed to assist, which puts things on an irreversible path.
August seems like a lifetime ago by now, doesn't it? In reality though it has only been a little over 4 months since John McCain introduced the world to Sarah Palin, and the course of the campaign changed in a matter of minutes.
Back in August, John McCain was taking a chip out of Obama's huge lead, with the extremely successful "World's Biggest Celebrity" advertisements. Obama had just made a safe albeit boring running mate selection of Joe Biden, which hardly set the world on fire. However, his convention came pretty close to (figuratively) setting things ablaze. It had the emotion of Hilary Clinton's speech, and the stunning visualization of Obama addressing 80, 000 people on a Denver night.
McCain knew that he needed to do something to both upstage Obama's running mate, and get peopel to stop talking about his acceptance speech. John McCain, ever the maverick, did not take such likely candidates as Pawlenty, Romney, or Liberman, instead he went with a much wilder pick that certain got people talking. He chose Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin.
At first, this was a huge success. People wondered who this young, unheralded, and attractive woman was. They saw her as a an excellent "outsider" both as a woman in a man's world, and as someone who has little connection in Washington. Also, people who had originally supported Hilary Clinton, seemed to flock towards Sarah Palin.
She became a huge star in no time.
And that was the biggest problem.
Everyone wanted to know more about this mysterious Palin. We had gotten two years to get to know Obama on a national stage, but had no idea who this woman was. Quickly, John McCain became an afterthought, as people began to flock towards his running mate.
Palin ralies became huge events, drawing massive crowds, while McCain's ralies had far smaller numbers.
And that was the next biggest problem.
Palin became in control of the campaign. McCain had pledged long and hard to run an honourable campaign, however, Palin made no such promises. She began to accuse Obama of "Pallin' around with terrorists", and an intense amount of hatred and blatant racism would begin to emerge at her rallies, as she began to fan the flames of hatred. Certainly not an honourable campaign that John McCain wanted.
Since Palin became an overnight sensation, the media wanted to get a hold of her for an interview.
And that was the next, next biggest problem.
She really had no idea how to handle any sort of questions. She was either completely unprepared or completely ignorant, or perhaps both. Take a look at the most infamous blunder of hers from an interview with Katie Couric.
Now that certainly is "gotcha" journalism, with that tricky Couric asking a hard question.
Other proud moments for Mrs. Palin, include her not understanding the Bush Doctrine, getting confused as to the role of the Vice President, and thinking that Africa is a country. Certainly something that someone who wants the second highest office in the land should know.
Also, a new sueprstar in politics, especially one with such gaping holes in her knowledge set, became excellent fodder for satire. Including this, perhaps the most memorable moment of the 2008 campaign.
After eight years, jokes at George W. Bush's expense were in need of freshening up, and thankfully, the Republicans came through yet again for us. Not only did 2008 give us a richer target for satire, it gave us a more polarizing character than we have seen in a very long time. Due to her age, and relative freshness on the national stage, this is one that will not be going away soon.
Epilogue: In the end, Palin became an absolute cancer to the McCain campaign. Five days before the election, almost 60% of Americans thought that she was unprepared for the job of Vice President (to say nothing about President), and over 40% had an unfavourable opinion of her.
In case you haven't heard, McCain-Palin were absolutely crushed in the election.
Sarah Palin is considered an early contender for the Republican nomination in 2012.
Until next time,
Achieved Year in Review Posts:
The Fall of the Prophet - January 6th
The Rise of the Ice Queen -January 7th
An Unlikely Fruition - January 7th
Attack of the Three-Headed Terror - January 9th
A Most Sincere Inquiry - January 10th
The Golden League - January 14th
The Fall from Grace - January 16th
The Eighth Layer of Injustice - January 16th
The Transmuter of Nations - January 22nd