So … there’s been a lot of discussion lately of what the likely press/blogosphere/echo-chamber response would have been if the Obamas had a daughter who was in the same situation as Bristol Palin. Of course it would be a gigantic disaster, of course it would be deeply racist, and of course there would be legions of talking heads solemnly explaining why attacking a teenage girl personally is totally relevant see it goes to judgment and leadership and … and … and …
Anyway. I’m in agreement with virtually everyone on the left that this is bullshit and that Bristol needs to be left alone, but I actually wanted to play the same kind of thought experiment on a slightly different topic:
Can anyone imagine what the response would be if Barack Obama nominated a Vice President who’d belonged to a radical secessionist party?
I mean, John McCain has been playing cutesy games impugning Obama’s patriotism (based on fuck-all) anyhow … what if there had been an actual reason? Can anyone imagine that it would mean anything except the end of the Obama candidacy?
But somehow, when John Mccain does it, it’s okay. The usual commenters on the right who would be declaring anone else a worthless no-good un-American un-patriotic traitor are silent. Is this an ‘only Nixon can go to China’ kind of thing? Is McCain’s patriotism so assumed that it won’t be questioned even when he does something that is actually and literally un-American?
The thing to keep in mind about the phrase ‘only Nixon can go to China’ is why. Only Nixon could engage China diplomatically because if anyone to his left had done it, he would have seen to it that that person was smeared as a soft-on-communism appeaser, if not a closet communist himself. And Nixon could rest assured that the national press would have aided and abetted this characteriation of his enemies. The same thing is true here.
John McCain has no problem nominating a radical extremist with ties to secessionist groups, because he knows that he’s the only one who could get away with it. Once again, it’s okay if you’re a Republican.