The Odd Couple: John McCain and Sarah Palin

John McCain sure looked tired during his acceptance speech last night. And I don't just mean the bags under his eyes or the lackluster delivery or how he couldn't wait to get off the stage. Cindy was beaming (an aside here: did you see how happy she was the night before holding baby Trig while mom gleefully blasted away at Obama, like he was so many caribou?) but McCain just looked sour. Talk about not enjoying the moment! He'd finally achieved his years-long quest to be the Republican nominee for president, but he was as deflated as a popped balloon.

Maybe McCain should start taking cues from Eckhart Tolle instead of Karl Rove?

He didn't have anything new to say, either, despite his baffling vow to end the bickering in Washington and work with those do-nothing Democrats to get things done for the American people. Like cut taxes for rich folks, make the middle-class pay for health care they can't afford now, spend billions more on defense, and drill, baby, drill! Now that's a breath of fresh Alaska air, isn't it?

Did McCain forget which party's been in charge the last eight years? (News flash: it starts with an R). A time during which the economy has tanked, we got mired in an expensive needless war, oil prices have skyrocketed, unemployment has soared and millions of Americans have lost their homes to shady loans. Not to mention the untold Iraq war vets who've returned home with PTSD or brain injuries or without their legs. Where was the maverick then? Sleeping in Sedona?

But that's all water under the Bridge to Nowhere, right? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) And McCain told the nation that he wants to play nice now, to change the culture of Washington. He might want to run that by his running mate, whose take-no-prisoners approach to governing might not mesh well with that. Palin, who recently bragged to the New Yorker that she hasn't talked with the head of Alaska's Republican Party since she got elected governor, is actually proud of not getting along with other politicians! (I know I'm not supposed to mention the beauty pageant, but how did she ever win "Miss Congeniality?") They don't call her Sarah Barracuda for nothing. (Living in the lower 48 on one of those elitist coasts, I'm wondering if "Sarah The Great White" might be a better fit?)

Shortly after she became mayor of Wasilla, she fired most of the department heads, including the police chief who helped get her elected, which led to a brief recall effort. Later Palin tried to fire the town librarian when she wouldn't ban certain books the mayor deemed objectionable. But she backed off when people rallied against her. She didn't even back her own mother-in-law, a Democrat, when she ran for mayor after Palin was termed out. Nice!

She also parts with McCain on some pretty fundamental (fundamentalist?) issues. Like teaching creationism in the public schools, exceptions for abortion, global warming, and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But perhaps the most striking difference is their approach to earmarks. He hates them, she loves them. In fact, as mayor of tiny Wasilla, Palin hired a private lobbyist and sucked $27 million from taxpayers in the lower 48 for her pet projects. (She also left Wasilla $20 million in debt. But no matter. There's oil under those polar bears. And a $30 billion gas pipeline that God is very into.) Some of those very same projects, strangely, were dinged by McCain.

Pretty cool for the hottest governor from the coolest state! As those buttons they were handing out at the convention trilled. Now that's not sexist, is it?

I know we're not supposed to mention her qualifications, or lack thereof, to be VP. Because that would be sexist. Speaking of Palin (though I do so at apparent professional risk since she has been declared off-limits to the media, unless it involves fawning over her ability to read a teleprompter and make a Harvard Law graduate, constitutional law scholar, accomplished senator, brilliant campaigner--a politician Carolyn Kennedy has famously likened to her beloved father and who actually writes his own speeches--sound like rotten moose stew), she certainly can smile pretty while lying through her teeth. (That plane she sold on Ebay? She didn't.)

Is this a skill she developed hopscotching from one of five or six colleges to the next, eventually earning a degree at the University of Idaho? Or later as governor, when she whipped the good 'ole boys in Alaskan politics? And got oil giant BP to sponsor her inaguration?

"I can't wait to show Sarah Palin around Washington!" McCain gushed during one of the few lively moments of his speech.

News flash: I don't think Sarah Barracuda needs a tour. But you guys should probably have a talk.