Rickey spent a sizeable part of this past holiday weekend watching nonstop Hurricane Gustav coverage on Fox News. It’s somewhat of a guilty pleasure—strangely riveting stuff. You give Rickey a bowl of snack food, a natural disaster, news anchors in windbreakers, and a Fox News set that looks like the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise and you’d damn well better believe Rickey will spend a large chunk of the day soaking it all in. The most enjoyable moment was when intrepid news personality Geraldo Rivera was broadcasting live from New Orleans and a massive propane tank broke loose and started drifting about precariously and suddenly out of nowhere, some completely insane Army Corps of Engineers guy dives into the water after it, and heroically attempts to tie a rope to the wayward propane tank. The guy’s bobbing around in harsh water, Geraldo is in full blown sensationalist mode and screaming at the top of his lungs, and Rickey is sitting on the couch with a bowl of pretzels yelling at the tv: “paddle you magnificent civil servant, paddle!” Now that’s just damned fine television.
But then Rickey’s decidedly unhealthy television session was interrupted as Ms. Henderson cajoled him into going for a nice walk outside. Which was a complete shame because Rickey totally missed the second fun filled storm of the day: the Sarah Palin debacle. Indeed, the more information that trickles in about Palin, the more Rickey is convinced that he spent more time deciding which shoes to wear this morning than John McCain did on picking his running mate. And while some of you more upright and principled bloggers might feel that’s it’s unsporting to focus on this baby daddy scandal, and that family is “off limits” because the candidates' kids aren't seeking office, Rickey asks of you: what office was Chelsea Clinton running for when John McCain made a disparaging remark about her being fathered by Janet Reno in 1998? Come now, do you seriously think Rickey is going to turn down the opportunity to lambast the GOP version of Juno? Sorry, but the entire Palin family is fair game primarily because they’re the latest embodiment of conservative hypocrisy and all around poor judgment on John McCain’s part. So, uh, how’s that insistence on abstinence only sex education working for you Mrs. Palin? Perhaps a government mandated chastity belt program would’ve worked better? You better believe that when Rickey has a kid that he’s getting the full monty in sex ed from a very early age on. The child will either go on to become the Surgeon General or the second coming of Ron Jeremy. Either way, Rickey will be proud.
And this sort of scandal is what happens when you essentially pluck a flaky family out of an MTV reality show and put them front and center. Somehow, we doubt that Joe Lieberman’s family could ever have provided this level of titillation (maybe a bit of grumbling here and there about Joe’s kids not turning off the lights when they leave the room, but that’s just about it). Bottom line, if you present the public with a vice presidential candidate who is clearly better suited for a reality television show, then you can’t be shocked when the public starts treating your campaign like an episode of Jerry Springer. Take a peek at the Palin family. Look at a picture of them sometime. You know these people, they’re cookie cutter red state Americana: they wear hooded sweatshirts, they drive massive SUVs, they’re not too keen about reading, they go crazy for sweet sixteen parties, and they get dolled up for church each week. These people are assholes, plain and simple, and while we’re sure they’d fit right in on an episode of “Laguna Beach,” they seem no less out of place on the campaign trail than Harriet Miers was when she was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court.
But hey, what else should be expect from a campaign that has demonstrated it’s willingness to traffic in pop culture themes by using attack ads comparing Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton? If you ask Rickey, the chickens have come home to roost, because drunk driving and teenage pregnancy are two things that the Palin family shares with the Spears and Hilton families. Like it or not, the Palin family is America’s real face, and if McCain is going to stick with Sarah Palin in order to relate to average joe voters, then he’s just going to have to deal with the inevitable baggage and accompanying ridicule. Rickey’s still voting for the guy who wrote for the Harvard Law Review, thank you very much. Funny, in all this, we didn’t even get around to discussing any substantive politics. But honestly, who needs an in depth political discussion when it already says an awful lot about Sarah Palin that she’s perfectly ok with her daughter marrying a winner like this Levi Johnston fellow? Here’s to hoping for a Rose Garden shotgun wedding, complete with pickups on the front lawn.
[Vote for Rickey’s post at Humor Blogs]