There is an old Akan (West African) story about how Anansi the trickster spider/ spider-man brought stories to the world, by completing three tasks given to him by the Sky God who owned all the stories. One of the tasks was to capture Moatia, a fairy whom men never see. To make a long story short, he accomplishes this by creating an inanimate tar-covered baby who angers Moatia by refusing to answer her, causing Moatia to react by hitting her, getting stuck on the tar. thereby enabling Anansi to capture her.
One of the functions of Sarah Palin as McCain's V.P. pick is to serve as a tar baby for Democrats on the issue of experience.
Every time a Democrat attacks Palin's lack of experience, it reinforces the frame that McCain wants to use against Obama. If the Republicans can define the central issue of the campaign as experience, McCain wins.
A lot of Democrats seem to think that McCain has given away the experience issue by picking Palin, but I think it's the opposite. If Democrats are mired in the tar of arguing whether Obama is as experienced as the Republicans' V.P. candidate, we are in a world of hurt.
And we seem to be falling for it, to be letting McCain frame the debate.
We need to make a different, truer frame: that Obama has ideas, while the Republicans have none, except hatred for government, and continuing the failed policies of George W. Bush.
We need to talk about how Obama will lead us in using our government as our tool in addressing and solving our crucial problems.
We need to highlight Barack Obama's plans for building a more secure world for the U.S. by rebuilding a world where mutual security and cooperation for sustainable development work for all. We need to contrast that with McCain's irresponsible war-talk, untrustworthiness in foreign affairs, and the economy-wrecking effects of endless militarism.
We need to talk about how Obama stands for sensible regulation to restore the damage of knee-jerk anti-government deregulation, from public health and the food supply to imported toys to Enron to the current spectacular if horrifically threatening mortgage and credit crisis. We need to expose McCain-Palin anti-tax rhetoric as skewed to the rich and continuing the Bush pattern of borrow, borrow, borrow, making us vulnerable internationally and harming our children, grandchildren and our own old age.
We need to talk about how Obama stands for civil liberties and civil rights, for the right of women to control their own bodies and the right of workers to organize unions free of intimidation, while McCain and Palin want to expand government when it comes to constricting our rights and freedoms.
Sarah Palin is wrong for Vice-President because she represents and will support John McCain in pursuing the same old failed Republican policies that have brought the country to its current parlous state. The issue is not her experience, it is her bad ideas.
More deeply, the issue is John McCain's bad judgment in sharing those same bad ideas with her and with George W. Bush.