As I watched the Republican drivel coming from the Xcel Center, I kept looking for signs of inclusiveness in the audience. I thought surely there must be some minorities in attendance. As the cameras panned the crowd, I kept looking and looking and looking.
I saw one or two – oops, maybe three – but no wonder. This year’s Republican delegation includes – hold your breath – 36 black delegates – a mere 2% of the total count of approximately 1800. So while McCain talks about how he will help all Americans, looking at the convention makes it pretty evident whom he will be helping.
One of McCain’s promises is that of lowering taxes. You bet he will lower taxes – for the wealthiest 10%. His philosophy is that when the wealthiest pay fewer taxes, the economy grows and grows and wealth will trickle down a la Ronnie Reagan. How did that work out for everyone?
Apparently not too well since wealth distribution in the United States is concentrated in the top 10% with 70% of the wealth in the hands of that 10% of the population. That means the 90% of us left get to share in the remaining 30%.
And Palin? Well, the more that time goes by, the more that will be learned about her. New revelations are coming out every day. For instance, McCain introduced her as someone who is a compatriot in fighting wasteful government spending. I guess that is when the spending is for states other than Alaska or towns other than Wasilla.
Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor. She sought $500,000 for a youth shelter, $1.9 million for a transportation hub, $900,000 for sewer repairs, and $15 million for a rail project — all intended to benefit her home town, Wasilla, which is located about 45 miles north of Anchorage. What a thrifty nifty fighter of waste!
But the ace in the hole for McCain is Palin’s energy views. Giuliani brought the crowd to its feet with his comments urging energy independence by drilling. As the crowd yelled, “drill, drill, drill, drill” ad nauseum, McCain must have been smirking. He recently caved on his previous coastal drilling position so the thought that Palin, who supports the “drill, drill, drill” philosophy, will be out there campaigning on his team must make him ecstatic. After all, what could be better than having the governor of the targeted state with all those coastal waters on your side?
The Republicans – especially the right-wingers – have clearly lept off the cliff at this point in their fanatical support of a hard-core conservative VP pick. The right was so hungry for some acknowledgment that they still mattered and that they still had some influence, that they were willing to accept anyone who remotely steered McCain to the right.
As I watched I couldn’t help but think that, while Palin has accomplished much, she will simply be a flash-in-the-pan in this election cycle. She has been selected for purely political reasons – to bring the right on board and to lure in the disaffected Hillary supporters. The right will climb on board, but I am betting that the remaining disenchanted Hillary folks won’t be fooled by McCain’s blatant and demeaning ploy.