That's United Silly States of America, of course. I just spent my first night on American soil in 4 months, and I can tell you that I slept the sleep of the just. The governor of my birth-state may be just one skipped heartbeat away from the presidency, the entire Republican convention is organizing to save New Orleans, and the weather here in Boston is sunny and beautiful.
But it was good to get out of the U.S. for a while, if nothing else than to soak up that international perspective that makes this blog so witty and urbane. While away I managed to make it to Barcelona, London, Devon, Bristol, the new excavations at Stonehenge, and Edinburgh, the latter just in time to catch the end of the international festival and a performance of Matthew Bourne's superb all-dancing version of "Dorian Gray," which could also be called "Dorian Gray Goes Gay." (I am sure Oscar Wilde would approve.) By the way, if anyone here has never been to Edinburgh, be sure to put it on your list of must-visits; Edinburgh is one of Europe's, if not the world's, greatest cities.
I have returned to the U.S. at a fun time, however, because it is oh so enjoyable to watch how stunned so many Republicans are at the very big mistake McCain has made in picking Sarah Palin. Remind me what the reasoning was? Oh right, she is going to help pick off those bitter Hillary supporters who are so angry at how their candidate was treated, that, in a show of solid sisterhood, they will vote for McCain and Palin, both of whom are against reproductive rights and for reversing Roe v. Wade, thereby setting the women's movement back 100 years. What's that you say? Only right-wing women opposed to abortion will vote for Palin in the end?
There must be another reason then. Oh, right, it's to shore up the Christian evangelist vote because Palin is even more righteous on values issues than McCain. What's that you say? Conservative Christian voters will vote for McCain anyway, and besides all the pundits say that they are no longer the formidable, decisive force they were during the last two elections?
Okay, then it must be because she hunts moose and is opposed to gun-control. What's that? Hunters and gun nuts are already committed to McCain?
Well, I am running out of ideas. Maybe they just didn't want Obama to corner the market on "inexperience."
By the way, the best way to counter any theoretical boost that Palin might give to McCain's attempts to pull in disaffected Clinton supporters would be to put Hillary out there and let her take the biggest shots at Sarah. And I am glad to hear that Obama is going to start hitting McCain on abortion rights issues this week, given consistent polls showing that a majority of both men and women in the U.S. support women's reproductive choice.
More on Sarah: Talking Points Memo delves into the allegations that Palin tried to get her brother-in-law fired and then fired his boss when he wouldn't do it. If this story pans out in the long run, could be bad for McCain--just how much vetting did his staff do, anyway?
Still more: Robert Creamer in The Huffington Post covers the bases very nicely in a long and satisfying analysis.