"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer

1.9.08

Sarah Pale & Tall

No, I don't know every single person who lives in Alaska, but since I seem to be the de facto Man-on-the-Street for firsthand information on Sarah Palin, I will submit.

A gross miscalcuation of the American swing voter, at the least.

Her only previous chief executive experience is as two-time mayor of Wasilla, a little bedroom community north of Anchorage that primily serves as a place to get an Egg McMuffin before heading north for hunting or fishing. She also served less than six months as the State's Oil and Gas Commissioner before getting elected Governor on a wave of discomfort from four years earlier when the incument, Frank Murkowski, appointmented his daughter to take over his vacated U.S. Senate seat.

A self-described "hockey-mom," she does all the things Alaskans are "supposed" to do: i.e. fish, hunt, eat mooseburgers, own a shit-ton of guns, and not give a rat's-ass "how they do it it New York."

Given that she's strongly anti-choice and pro-gun, one has to wonder what was going on in John McCain's head when he chose her. The only possible way she balances out his ticket is that she has a vagina. And even that may not be enough for the suburban moms who feel cheated and bruised after coming out on the losing end of Obama's victory over Clinton. Being a woman isn't enough. They still want someone to support their views, and Palin is a political first-grader compared with Clinton's experience.

And with the electorate at large, McCain has virtually castrated himself (no pun intended), taking away his credibility to hit Obama with the experience charge, as no doubt that barrel will be leveled straight back at him and Sarah Palin.

John's apparent obsession with beauty queens is worse than previously realized.

She is in the middle of an ethics probe for allegedly trying to have her former brother-in-law fired from the State Troopers for divorcing her sister, and is also being investigated for involving her husband in official state affairs, as well. It's probably just as good she only served her six months as Oil and Gas Commissioner. The amount of influence over the state goverment by the energy industry is only beginning to be exposed, as evidenced by the coming downfall of Sen. Ted Stevens, and revelations that said industry practically built his house.

As I sat last night watching Gov. Palin get lobbed softball after softball by some heavily made-up CNN interviewer, she mostly addressed Alaska's relevance to the energy crisis, which she seemed to speak to fairly credibly. This can be the only strategic angle McCain may have correctly played in picking her. But listening to her answer only incensed me more about the inanity of more of the same, of more drilling.

The fact of the matter is this: it will take years for any oil to be flowing from new wells - in ANWR or off-shore. Five at least. And at best, the cost of energy will be lowered by a few cents per gallon only. That's not taking into the account the growth of consumption that will more than offset these gains in production.

McCain loves to make fun of Obama for calling attention to tire-pressure. That, however, is the most telling difference between these two candidates. They scream about an energy crisis, and demand more supply, yet nothing is spoken about changing our habits. Another fact is that if just a few conservation efforts went into effect, such as lowering the national speed limit or removing gas-guzzling vehicles from the personal-use market to improve the national fuel economy above a mere 25 mpg, we would eliminate our need for any foreign oil.

Yet, as I ride down the bike lane past blocks and blocks of gridlocked traffic, noting each SUV with a single person in it, I realize we won't change a thing about our habits without trying to kill each other first.

And so we continue to debate whether to drill or not while we drive ourselves to the gym to run on a treadmill or to our weight-watchers support group to cry to one another about how we can't even find the time to exercise or the willpower not to eat that entire pizza.

And the oil industry will continue to grease our politicians to further open up more and more protected lands for drilling, ostensibly to wean us off foreign oil. That of course, is a pipe dream, but their potential profits are certainly real.

And for that, I curse Bill Clinton.

By designating ANWR a national monument he served a shallow goal to create difference between the two parties for short-term gain, yet has set the table for a dangerous precedent for the long-term future.

ANWR is a red herring by itself. The gains to be realized are minimal, yet at the same time, so will be the impact. That is one thing I will give the oil industry. The regulation of drillingin the state has honed their footprint to just a shallow depression in Prudoe Bay. And it is not as though the snowmobile-driving, rifle-toting natives that inhabit the area are some idylic representation of a paradise soon-to-be-lost.

Yet, in the pursuit of profit, going into ANWR - now a regretably protected area - sets a precedent for invading far more important lands. Where will it stop? They'll just say, "you let us into ANWR? Why not here?"

Now, I must defend ANWR, as much as it pains me (that in itself the place doesn't really matter - are you planning a visit there anytime soon?), in order to defen the line and keep those drills and pumps out of Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite...

So don't be suprised as McCain and Palin try to make this the central tenet of their platform, as it will be the only thing they will be able to speak to with any authority, so as to give the allusion that Palin has some sort of authority, at all.

1 comment:

Topha said...

Interesting post. I agree on the irony of driving to a gym, that you pay for, "working out" to stay lean, fit, healthy or whatever a person calls it yet not change their wastefull habits such as driving EVERYWHERE they need to go. Whatever happened to human power? What will happen when gas gets to be insanely expensive? True, as of 10/09/08 gas prices are on the retreat but for how long, and what will be the new base price? Next summer a three dollar spike will put the price per gallon at +6 in many cities. How's that for SUV drivers? A hat's tip for your efforts in alternative transportation-the bicycle.