Get up -- they picked Palin!

Newsweek's "Secrets of the 2008 Campaign" reveals some hilarious, and some disturbing, dish on the Sarah Palin selection.

By Kate Harding

Published November 7, 2008 4:35PM (EST)

Like everyone else who spent the last two years obsessing about the upcoming election, only to wake up on Wednesday morning and go, "Now what?" I've been relying on Newsweek's "Secrets of the 2008 Campaign" series to ease the withdrawal symptoms. You've probably already heard about Sarah Palin greeting reporters in a towel, but as far as I'm concerned, that's one of the least interesting items found in the section that discusses the Palin selection.

First, a few of the anecdotes that can finally be revealed are hilarious. When David Plouffe called Obama's chief of staff, Jim Messina, in the early morning to tell him the news, Messina, incredulous, replied, "Fuck you. Why are you waking me up? Stop teasing me." Heh. Better still, Joe Biden's response echoed that of millions of Americans: "Who's Palin?" I was also highly amused to read that Lindsey Graham "mischievously enjoyed" getting 7-year-old Piper Palin -- she of the classic hair-smoothing video -- "hopped up on Mountain Dew." As excited as I am to never write about Sarah Palin again, I'm really going to miss the charmingly unpolished Piper, who "thought nothing of crawling across Joe Lieberman's lap to get to her mother." Yeah, kid, neither did McCain.

Which brings me to the unamusing part. "Secrets" confirms what we already knew: That McCain himself wanted Joe Lieberman to be his running mate, and if not Lieberman, then Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Problem was, aides advised that "a pro-choice pick would deeply antagonize the religious right, maybe even provoke a floor fight at the convention." Even if it's not news at this point, can we just take a moment to let that sink in? These people put the country at risk of ending up with a dangerously underqualified vice president, serving under an elderly cancer survivor, because they wouldn't chance choosing a pro-choice running mate who could actually do the damn job. And then they had the gall to sell Palin to us as a feminist role model, cynically crying "sexism" whenever people pointed out that this particular woman had no business being second in line for the presidency -- and even more cynically presuming that her vagina would mesmerize empty-headed women voters anyway. On the bright side, it didn't work. But the fact that these clowns used "country first" as a slogan while prioritizing the votes of extremists over the good of the American people ought to haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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