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“Electable”: What the heck does this word mean, anyway?

It’s official. Some poll we’ve never heard of has determined, within .009% probability, that Mitt Romney is “electable”, and that Sarah Palin is “unelectable”. Well, now that we’ve gotten THAT out of the way, why even bother having an election in 2012?

Why waste time with all these piddling debates, all that shoe-leather campaigning, and primaries, for heaven’s sake? These polls seem to be piling up, one on top of another, like leaves in the mulch-pile; and they all say the same thing: Sarah, you see, isn’t “electable”, and she needs to bow out now, before the firmament above the GOP is rent asunder. If she even so much as THINKS about running for President of the United States, sure as God Made Little Green Apples, Barack Obama will wipe the floor with her up-do.

What does this mean, exactly, “electable”-? I remember the term being bandied about by serious, sober men when discussing a certain Mike Castle, despite the fact that–at least as far as the Deleware Senate seat was concerned– the old coot had never been elected to squat. Yet, he was electable.

NOT getting elected makes you “electable”. As I say, someone needs to send Karl Rove around to my house to explain this tortured, misshapened logic to me.

“They” said such things about another person that comes to mind: Walter Mondale. In 1984, the other possible candidates weren’t “electable”. After all, Jesse Jackson was, well, er…black. (Here in the Age of Obama, we all know that rules a guy out). John Glen was a space cadet. Gary Hart(pence) was a flake, etc., etc. MONDALE–now, there’s the guy to slay Ronald Reagan! His Gucci loafers, his saviore-fare, he early union endorsements. By golly, THAT’S an electable guy–never mind the fact that he could put a convention of insomniacs to sleep, and his politics were somewhere to the left of Castro. But, by gum, he’s electable.

Rudy Giuliani, of course, was electable. He’d gotten himself elected in New York as a Republican, and who can gainsay that? Oddly, after most of his constituency had packed up and moved to Florida, he was no longer “electable”, as was empirically proven by, of all things, the 2008 Florida Primary. By the way, The Mother of All Electable Candidates emerged in 2008 in the personage of a brittle, grumpy, really, really white guy named John McCain, who was trumpeted by the New York Times as the ultimate GOP candidate… until there was a democrat bookend named Barack Obama, and then all bets were off.

So much for official “electablitly”.

On the morning after election day in 1962, Richard Nixon stumbled into a meeting room of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles (oddly, on the same day that Elanor Roosevelt died), and supposedly wrote his political obituary: He’d just run, and lost, the California Governor’s race to Edmund Brown (Jerry’s daddy), and was asked to give a statement to the press. At first demurring, he later came down to the fusillade of microphones and flash-bulbs, and  ripped into the establishment press that had always hated Richard Nixon for exposing Alger Hiss and his commie-symp State Department.

“Well, you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, gentlemen,” he said, tired and defeated, “Because, as of today, this is my last press conference.”

The New York Times lapped it up, declaring Nixon’s political life over, reporting that no snarling, mean, dogmatic lout like a Richard Nixon could ever be… electable.

Then Richard Nixon spent a couple of years golfing with Randolph Scott, picking up political chits, and then, one spring day in 1966, played the piano on the Jack Paar Show… and America rather discovered that Richard Nixon was a human being after all. The past, as they say, is prologue.

Is Sarah Palin electable? Is some back-bench state legislative street agitator electable? What about some unctuously goofy barker in the Carnival of Global Warming Bunkum, like Al Gore– Is he “electable”? Why is Harry Reid, a mentally unstable, mean, vindictive, inarticulate weirdo “electable”, but Sharron Angle was “unelectable”?

Who decides this crap?

Not only is Sarah Palin electable, she is electrifying. And that scares the living hell out of those that despise everything she represents: She’s spent her entire life somewhere west of Butte, Montana. She’s entirely self-made, and has used none of the prescribed nostrums for a woman in America to achieve political power: She isn’t liberal (-of course, the Unconquerable Sin), she isn’t floating into office on family primogeniture, she doesn’t speak in Beltway Jargonese, and, as Rush Limbaugh once wryly observed, she had definable ankles. She is a Renaissance woman, but her extremely varied interests are beyond the comprehension of the Professional Observer Class. To them, wide and varied interest for a politician is for him or her to be a writer… of books about politics. Hunt? Fish? Camp? Worship? Broadcast? Tilt!

Will I vote for her? Who knows? Oceans of water flow beneath that bridge before the decision is made. But, with each yelping, snarling cry of “unelectablity” I detect, every seething bit of clench-teethed rage I hear about Sarah Palin has the effect of convincing me that–

She’s electable.

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