Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Does John McCain ever watch movies or TV or read books?

John McCain has done it. He is the equivalent of a black astronaut, the cop who is months away from retirement or the young soldier with a pregnant wife stateside. He is destined to die in office.

Picking a female vice-president is the surest way to guarantee that the president will die in office. Maybe his death will be long and slow, like Teddy Bridges. Maybe he'll die trying to prove his toughness. He should probably hire a food tester, because Palin might be out to kill him, Caroline Reynolds-style. When Glenn Close served as Harrison Ford's vice-president in Air Force One, we nearly had the immovable object versus the irresistible force of movie plot lines: Harrison Ford in an action flick (where you can assume he will save the day) vs. a male president in mortal danger with a female vice-president waiting in the wings (so you can assume he will die). Maybe he'll just be boring and die of a good old fashioned heart attack.

The Sarah Palin story is just too cliched. Go to Hollywood and pitch them this story:

"You've got a former beauty queen hockey mom who eloped with her high school sweetheart. She lives in Alaska and is living a normal life when she decides to run for City Council to make the small town where she lives into a better place. Before long, she ends up as the mayor. And then she is appointed to a powerful government board by a crusty U.S. Senator turned Governor. He ends up being corrupt, so she takes a big risk by speaking out against him and then running against him, trouncing him in the process. She spends two years as governor and finds herself pregnant with a Downs Syndrome baby. Not long after giving birth, she gets a discreet call asking her if she is interested in possibly running for vice-president. She figures she doesn't have a chance -- it'll probably go the former governor with perfect hair and the whitest teeth you've ever seen who got beat in the primaries -- but thinks it would be kind of cool to tell her grandchildren that she was almost vice-president. The Republican nominee is facing the first African-American presidential nominee and needs to shake up the race, so he meets with her and loves her and chooses her. She is introduced to the world and it isn't long before the press and her political opponents are digging up everything they can find. One of her sharpest critics is a gay blogger with a British accent. Suddenly the entire nation is buzzing about the fact that her 17-year old daughter is pregnant. People are questioning whether she will be able to stay on the ticket. She gives a great speech at the convention and starts prepping for a debate against a Senator who has been in Washington for 30 years and has a reputation as a loquacious blowhard and a superb debater."

The Hollywood exec would declare that it sounds way too cliched, but might ask how it would end.

We know how it would end. She would win the debate and help McCain win a narrow victory. Once inaugurated, she would discover that McCain has no use for her in actually running the country -- he only put her on the ticket to win. Left to a boring life of funerals and presiding over the Senate (a body which includes the losing president/VP nominees of the last election), she wishes she had stayed in Alaska. The mere mention of her name causes White House staffers to chuckle. About six months into his term, McCain will authorize a highly dangerous covert mission in Iran. Hours after ordering it, he will die of a heart attack in his sleep, leaving her in charge of a military mission that she knows nothing about. And this is the same time as her daughter's boyfriend/fiancee leaves her and the Downs Syndrome child is causing her trouble and heartbreak. Will she be able to balance it all?

Now you know why Bartlet never considered having a female politician replace Hoynes. Between that and multiple sclerosis, he would have been as good as gone.