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5:44pm on Sunday, 31st August, 2008:

It's Like a Foreign Country


Sometimes, it's easy to forget that America is a foreign country. Then, something happens that leaves absolutely no doubt.

See, in Britain, politicians don't promote an individual beyond their abilities in a blatant, cynical act of tokenism to try win votes from minorities. Well, sometimes they do, but then they lose not only the wider vote, but the votes of the minority that they were patronisingly trying to dupe into making think they cared.

When it happens in the USA, though, such an action does actually seem to offer the realistic prospect that votes will be gained.

OK, so I don't know a great deal about Sarah Palin. I know she has been governor of Alaska for two years, for eight months of which she was pregnant (the baby arrived early, but she doesn't seem to have taken much maternity leave), and that her children have the only-in-America names of Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig. Her husband is four-times winner of some famous snowmoble-racing contest, and she's more conservative than Lucifer. Plus, she's quite good-looking.

These facts, it would seem, are actually all I'd need to know about her if I were a member of the American electorate. They are apparently the qualities for which she was chosen as John McCain's running mate, and are expected to pick him up a pot full of votes rather than the campaign-breaking ridicule that such a clumsy and transparently manipulative act would merit here in the UK (well, anywhere other than in the Scottish Assembly, obviously).

It's just bizarre when you see things like that happen.

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).