Once it was clear the nominees this year would be Obama and McCain I was disheartened. I always vote. I haven't voted for a Democrat for anything meaningful in more than 30 years, but that doesn't mean I always vote for Republicans either. McCain was just the sort of Republican I have rejected in the past. Suddenly the election shaped up to be 1976 all over again with Obama as Carter and McCain as Ford. National politics in the 70's were almost universally awful and the culmination of that horrible decade, for me, wasn't Watergate but the election of 1976.
With the choice of Gov. Palin for VP I got on the train for McCain. Well, not really. I got on the Sarah Palin bus and the only way I can vote for her is to vote for McCain. Last night I didn't watch John's speech. I was busy having root canal surgery without anesthesia instead. But from the clips I've seen this morning I can tell that the 1976 comparison still largely holds true, despite the Pontiac Game Changing Moment of adding Gov. Palin to the mix. In '76 there was a fellow who energized the crowd at the Republican convention. He wasn't the candidate. Ford would go on to lose narrowly to Carter. Carter would turn in the worst performance of a US President in the 20th century and in 1980 Ronald Reagan would sweep to victory.
I do not mean to say that Palin is Reagan as others have started doing since her Wednesday night speech. It is not fair to Sarah Palin to be compared to the greatest US president of the last century. But, it could be the start of a very important national political career and that is where the 1976 analogy breaks down. In '76 Reagan could afford to lose to Ford and then come back and defeat an unpopular incumbent. Sarah Palin can't do that from a position on the ticket. For her to usher in a new era of Republicanism (with a small "l" libertarian streak a mile wide a la Reagan, by the way) in Washington she has to win the Vice Presidency. There are already plenty of Republicans waiting for 2012-- Romney and Huckabee to name two. No, she has to win this election. And then, hopefully, with other great young figures like Governor Jindal she can help put the Republican Party firmly on what President Reagan called the four pillars of freedom: Individual Liberty, Economic Opportunity, Global Democracy and National Pride.
So, I'll vote for McCain/Palin. But don't make me listen to him talk about reaching across the aisle in the spirit of bipartisanship to "get things done", OK? Bipartisanship means, "get out your wallet, taxpayer." Bipartisanship means, "here's another dumb idea for more government that got enough votes to pass."
And here's a little thing about Reagan's 4 Pillars of Freedom, Senator McCain.
Obama/Biden/Pelosi and Reid don't like much of that stuff.