The best thing Americans can do right now is to take Sarah Palin by the hand, lead her back up to Alaska and leave her there to frighten the moose population and send hairy lumberjacks running to their mommies screaming: “It’s horrible, it’s horrible! Heeeelp meeeee!”

What possessed Republican candidate John McCain to choose Palin as his running mate? Pick a woman, any woman. Make her president of the world. Will somebody put their heads back on, please? If she makes it to the White House, Sarah Palin will be more than Bush all over again. The woman makes Dubya look like a Sunday-school teacher. I’d sooner have another four years of King Kong Mini-Me.

It’s not about just choosing a woman because she’s there. Hillary Clinton worked, strategised and planned for years before setting course for the White House. She didn’t just pick up the phone and say: “Hi, I’d like to be your running mate. I kill for fun so Republicans will love me.”

By picking a woman virtually at random, McCain has imbued womanhood with all the importance and gravitas of a pack of cards. Women are made inanimate objects. Where’s the respect in that?

Women should be offended at his choice of Palin. I would hope that Hillary Clinton, a genuine candidate, not a female sop, would be offended.

There are women and there are women, just as there are men and there are men. Much like there being great cheeses (glorious cheeses that become sublime with age) and forgettable cheeses (plain, lifeless processed ones with no distinction whatsoever).

There are cheeses like the eminently forgettable Cretin de Bushe, and there are the Rooseforts and Churchillberts, whose distinction still echoes down the decades. Mind you, we are unlikely to forget Dubyakäse in a hurry, but not for anything that could be called an attribute, certainly not a distinction. Of course you also get those really nasty cheeses, the real stinkers that you keep at the back of the fridge, like Nixonthaler.

Give us a real woman in the White House. Give us an Eleanor Roosevelt, a Hillary Clinton, not a small-town hockey mom who shoots moose for fun and flashes big smiles at the PTA.

If Americans fall for Palin, then we must presume that everything we fear we have learnt about the average American in the past eight years is true — that they are a nation of narrow-minded, gun-toting, tunnel-visioned rightwingers whose only concern for the greater world is that it should not stand in The American Way. And God preserve the rest of us from that, at least in the fundamentalist Republican interpretation.

One glimmer of hope for sanity is that the polls seem to suggest that there are enough decent, sane people in the US to keep these warmongering hawks out of office. Now they need to vote for freedom and light and a gentler, kinder world for us all. That means voting against McCain and Palin, whether you like Obama or not. A vote for Obama is the only way to keep this woman out of the White House.

Obama’s campaign would do well to make an astute decision right now — to treat the campaign as if Palin were running for office, and not McCain. To a point, pretend McCain is not even on the ticket: fight Palin all the way, and McCain will fall alongside her. Expose her as the next Bush-in-waiting. By doing so, Obama will be making it clear that the real choice facing American voters in 2008 is a future in which they are led by a true visionary with the courage and sensitivity to steer a path to a new and kinder future, or a blinkered, leather-skinned hawk who will bludgeon her way through her time in office.

I don’t doubt that McCain epitomises that All-American Hero thing. But if you want to know whether he is fit to run a country, rather look at what he does now than what he has done in the past. Right now he’s made an appalling choice of a deputy. Sure, the man is a hero. Great. Well done. Now send him home to tend the hearth and be nice to the kitty. It doesn’t mean he has to run the country.

Hillary Clinton should be one very worried woman. She needs to get off her Democratic ass right now and hotfoot it over to the Obamas’ house and tell them she will do anything, anything at all, to help the Democratic ticket to ward off the nightmare possibility of the world being led by a gun-toting anti-abortionist who makes Margaret Thatcher look like a school dinner lady with wayward hair.

Fight Palin, and get Hillary on side.

God bless America, and God help us all.


Tony Jackman

Tony Jackman

Tony Jackman is a journalist, budding playwright and sometime chef. He's written two plays, An Influence of Ghosts and Blue Train Coming, and back in the day wrote loads of songs. He paints a bit in watercolours...

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