The choice of Sarah Palin as a vice-presidential candidate of the United States of America has baffled many Americans for various reasons. Despite the fact that Mrs. Palin has never been formally interviewed as a vice-presidential candidate, the McCain campaign is enjoying a slight lead in the polls. But how might foreigners interpret the choice of Palin? Below is a transcript of one conversation overheard at Doonesbury's Pub outside London, England on September 10th, 2008.
Charles: Terrance, did you see this article suggesting that John McCain is leading the polls for the United States presidency? Did you find that a bit odd?
Terrance: Oh, I did brush over that Charles. Well, it’s no surprise. Don’t they have different political parties over there? I’m sure he’s with the one in opposition of the one that imbecile Bush heads up. Not all that puzzling really.
Charles: No, no Terrance. He’s a Republican! He’s a member of the same party as George Bush, the man you just called an imbecile!
Terrance: Is that so? Well, I’m quite sure there’s a very logical explanation for the surge in Mr. McCain's election numbers. The man obviously has a lot of.. oh I don’t know… pizzazz. He’s probably very young Olivier-isk looking man with a lot of energy and gives dazzling speeches. I told you there were people in this world with a lot more charisma than that Obama fellow! He’s probably very appealing to those “union” blokes, you know, one of the working fellows. You know how the Americans love their.... um, oh, what is it they always say..??? It's beneath the dogs..???
Charles: I believe the term is under-dog. Actually old chap, he’s 72 years of age, not exactly a tiddler. And it says here he owns seven homes! I’m not sure that would make him one of the working fellows you just mentioned either.
Terrance: Good gracious, Charles! 72 years old? That’s impossible. Why, that’s a year older than me and I can hardly make it up the stairs of my flat?!! Don’t they stay in office for 3 years at time? Why that would make him 75 when he’d be up for re-election!! No one’s going to vote for a 75 year old man!!???... And seven homes? I don’t think Prince Charles owns seven homes! Good Gracious! How lucky his wife must be to marry a man with such wealth! Well, it’s a good thing they have those “vice-presidents.” Sounds like this old chap will be using his quite abundantly. For Heaven’s sake, he’s 12 years past retirement! But I suppose in America they have all those wonderful drugs.... And don’t those vice-presidents essentially run the country anyway? I mean, doesn't that Cheney pull the strings while Bush smiles for the camera with his rugged good looks and James Wayne swaggger. Surely, he has a competent running mate who is undoubtedly supremely qualified to take office should something happen to the old chap.
Charles: I believe it's John Wayne, the American western actor you're referring to, and I'm not sure where you got that one.. Ummm...But.. Yes, um, he doeszzz have a running mate, only the papers seem to indicate that many Americans feel that they aren’t qualified or ready to step in should something happen to Mr. McCain.
Terrance: Oh, Charles, don’t be a bloody fool. What kind of tabloids are you reading? You don’t understand Charles, in America the other side is always printing papers that suggest that someone is incompetent. They’ve been doing it for years and years! I’d be willing to bet he has had executive experience that's being undermined by the opposing side.
Charles: (Scanning the paper) Well SHE (Terrance’s eyebrows raise in perfect unison after hearing this) has had some sort of executive experience, but I can’t seem to find what is she was doing – very attractive lady, hmm, beauty pageant....right you are...(mumbling) only in America... Mayor...uh-hu.... hmm….. PTA – not sure what the bloody hell that is..?
Terrance: I believe PTA stands for Pan Trans-Atlantic Airlines. She’s probably a former chief executive officer. Those chaps are typically quite clever with the old finances. I’m certain she’s some sort of Wall street financial wizard given all the complaining the Americans are doing about their bumbling economy.
Charles: You’re probably right. Well, it says here, Alaska - governor for 2 years.
Terrance: Alaska? Do you mean to tell me John McCain’s running mate’s name is Alaska and she has been a “governess” for 2 years? Poor girl. Was probably made fun of constantly for having been given a name like Alaska.. (Charles finds this quite humorous and can’t bring himself to interject; Terrance continues) I suppose it is a bit odd that the Americans believe a governess is qualified to be president..? Oh don’t get me wrong, I once knew a governess who had to take care of 4 children after their mother had all but abandoned them and run off to fulfill her own ambitions. If I'm not mistaken one of the children had some sort of social problem... I can't remember what it was but I remember thinking this woman should locked up and they should throw away the key for such treatment! It turned out that she was attracted to another ambitious old chap -much older and quite possibly senile - who was known for telling heroic war stories and promising some sort of world-altering change to all his "followers"... I know, quite silly and foolish, BUT he did have a loyal following. Well everyone -that is everyone who was sane and sober - knew this bloke and his snobby friends weren't going to change a bloody thing! Those blokes didn't give a pence about anyone, or TO anyone if you know what I mean! Eventually they were all ruined - emotionally, spiritually, and after four years of absolute despicable verbal abuse filled with empty promises by the old man, the mother finally answered her children’s prayers and returned home.
Charles: Touching story Charles. What in bloody hell does that have to do with anything? We’re not talking about a mother abandoning her children for her own ambition and following some senile old man to depths of hell, we’re talking about politics! And for Heaven’s sake Alaska – you bloody fool - is the state in which she governs, not her name! They don’t have governesses!! It says here that Alaska is largest state in size but the second smallest in population. It’s located close to Russia and looks as though it’s attached to Canada.
Terrance: Charles, my dear friend, surely you know a misprint when you see one! I’m quite sure they meant to say that it is largest state in size the second largest population! (Terrance has a discovery) It really makes perfect sense Charles don’t you see? This McCain chap is quite brilliant. Given her geographical location, as well as her geo-POLITICAL position, there is no doubt this woman is probably a seasoned traveler and been all over the world 20 times over. Who in bloody hell would wants to live in what’s presumably a frozen tundra near Russia? In Alaska, passports are probably handed out to children during that spooky holiday! Good Heaven’s - she’s America’s secret weapon when it comes to foreign diplomacy! Brilliant! Not qualified, come now Charles! You really need to read between the lines and stop being so naïve. The image of being such a strong, powerful nation is much too important to the Americans. By choosing someone who might be under qualified there’s a chance they might seem weak in the eyes of other nations, or even the world. They’re much more clever. And I will be the first to caution you that your hop-scotch to conclusions might one day prove to be problematic if you aren’t careful. But since you brought up this issue of winning the election, what a brilliant move choosing a woman! Wasn’t that Hilary Clinton quite popular?
Charles: Yes, Terrance, I believe she was. But she was part of same party as the Obama fellow.
Terrance: Yes, but Charles, don’t you think this woman running with McCain has the same types of views as Mrs. Clinton? I mean think about it. The Americans are not happy with their current administration, and Mrs. Clinton was immensely popular and a rival of Mr. Obama. They hated each other! It makes perfect sense!
Charles: (scanning the paper again) Well, you might be on to something there Terrence. It does say something here about Mr. McCain going across party lines…
Terrance: Of course it says that you bloody fool! McCain is genius! It’s really very brilliant. He has chosen woman who is a brilliant foreign diplomat with expertise in Russian relations who can neutralize foreign conflicts faster than you can boil a pot of tea. Doesn’t she also have C.E.O. on his resume if I’m not mistaken? Not that I give a wish-wash about the US economy. But I do believe if this McCain fellow is successful it will be the best thing ever for the citizens of the U.K., and I don’t give a wish-wash if Gordon Brown IS supporting Mr. Obama! Ms. Alaska will..
Charles: For Heaven’s sake Terrance, her name is Palin, Sarah Palin.
Terrance: Any relation to Sarah Ferguson?
Charles: No Terrance, I don’t believe so.
Terrance: Well, I happen to know a lot of Sarahs and I know that she will undoubtedly put an end to the war in Iraq. Mrs. Clinton was going to put an end to war in Iraq! And I’m certain Ms. Palin is Mr. McCain’s Mrs. Clinton! Mr. Obama is probably in much great danger than we thought! Did you see the way Mrs. Clinton disarmed journalists during interviews as if she had a bazooka and they a water pistol? Politicians absolutely love interviews but I'm sure the press is having the utmost difficulty keeping up with global-economic expertise she is dispensing at a relentless rate! And my good friend - didn't Mrs. Clinton have a lot rubbage from her past??! There’s no way that’s the case with Ms. Palin. She’s from Alaska, the frozen tundra, how much trouble could she have possibly gotten herself into? Oh it’s not looking good at all for Mr. Obama. Perhaps he should have sought out a running mate who might fill the chinks in his armor the way Ms. Palin is a virtual force field for Mr. McCain! Poor Mr. Obama and all his new-age, enviro-centric, honesty is the best policy, rubbish he’s been spewing for months. He could really learn something from this McCain fellow. 72 you say..?? Perhaps there’s still time for…
Charles: Oh shut-up Terrance!! And Enviro-centric? Where the bloody hell did you hear that term?
Terrance: Oh, Charles, I don’t know… Probably the BBC – I simply don’t recall and all this excitement has exhausted me. I'm 71 years old- you act as though I'm 46 with all the energy of spark plug! And you know Charles, I can't teach you everything about contemporary American politics. Perhaps you should turn on your telly - the advertisements between programming will give you ample information...
Terrance limps out of his chair and stumbles to the door. Charles is left shaking his head and resumes reading the paper.