Mason Speaks

How Can We Talk Politics at a Time Like This?

Tom Brady is out for the season. (And ESPN Page 2’s Bill Simmons deals admirably with the emailed fallout.)

This is no time to mourn a fallen American hero, though, not when four other Americans are sharpening their claws (or getting their campaign staff to do it) for the final two months of this rather protracted election season. We may not get to see Brady’s precision passing, but when even Larry King’s talk show is getting rowdy, I’m sure America’s favorite blood sport will provide numerous memorable moments.

It seems that everything is up in the air these days. Some polls show that women are moving over to the right due to McCain’s surprise choice running mate, others show the opposite, and with Tom Brady out for the season, who knows what is going to happen with anything this autumn. (Sorry, I digress. I’m upset. I hate Brady’s talent, mostly because I hate Belichick, but it’s hard to deny he’s a fantastic athlete to watch. Yes, politics…)

Astonishingly, it appears that McCain’s Rove-ian tactics are paying off. (CNN even has McCain ahead.) I say “astonishingly” because I thought the Republican Convention was rather lackluster — though, even as a “lefty,” I did find Fred Thompson’s speech recounting John McCain’s life story quite powerful, and who doesn’t get a rush out of an event that is constantly interrupted with raucous “U-S-A!” chanting? — and McCain’s choice of Palin has proven a little more contentious than many suspected.

But why, oh Lord, did Obama make his soon-to-be infamous pig and lipstick (and fish and “paper called change”) remarks? She worries me to my core, but you can’t ever let it look as though someone, no matter how frightening, has shaken you. It doesn’t look like Biden has fared much better.

Palin did make the mistake of ridiculing community organizers, a troubling gesture, but, still, Obama should have risen above it. (And, no, I don’t think he made a sexist statement. The whole pig-and-lipstick routine is as engraved into the American consciousness as baseball and apple pie. Though I guess baseball bats could be seen as phallic imagery, but pies — are pies sexist? I just thought they were delicious…)

And there’s no point us even getting into a tussle about it. In a day or two, someone will have said something else we can all misunderstand. I’ll save my strength for that fight.

On that note…

Palin is a time bomb that is going to blow up in the McCain campaign’s face. Mark my words.

The fuse is already burning — it started with a pregnant 17 year old (and how did McCain’s vetting team miss that?!), Palin poured a little fuel onto the fire with her ill-chosen community organizer taunt, issues have been raised about how the Republicans are packaging her faith, the Republican President of the Alaskan Senate asks “How can she be prepared to be vice president?”, her stance on the environment is disturbing, the aerial hunting is also disturbing, and this whole Bridge To Nowhere issue is becoming a bit of a fiasco. There’s more to come. There always is when you’re a new face on the celebrity scene. (Oh yes, Palin is now a celebrity… like Obama.)

Also, how much of a Maverick can you be when you find one of the most conservative politicians in the United States (and one of the least experienced — especially when McCain has been pounding away at Obama’s experience) to be your running mate? Sounds like someone was throwing a bone to the religious right and the NRA crowd. Voting with Bush 90% of the time, dancing to the tune of the GOP… This isn’t the John McCain I came to respect in 2000.

At least he has five houses. And nice Italian leather shoes. (And someone called me an elitist — or a fashionista, I can’t remember — because I was wearing beat Chucks.)

So the choice comes down to a possible new Jimmy Carter (oh, and maybe the first African American President of the United States, lest we forget) and a Not-So-Much-A-Maverick, eh?

U-S-A!

My new American Hero — Anderson Cooper.

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