Open Sarah Palin Thread

by Kieran Healy on August 29, 2008

Interesting choice. My immediate reaction is that it’s a funny old world. We’re guaranteed either an African-American or a woman in the White House next year.

Like the vast majority of people, I know nothing much about Palin. Based on her potted biography, my feeling is that, if you’re unrelated to powerful people, you don’t get to be Governor of a corrupt state by being ambitious but stupid. But neither, mostly, do you get their by remaining wholly untouched by corruption — maybe there are some well-known skeletons in her closet in that regard.

I imagine McCain wants to go after Clinton supporters on the grounds that a vote for him is a vote for change too; he wants to pacify the religious right; and he wants to restore his image as an unconventional politician. If choosing Palin is an effort to achieve those aims, this must nevertheless have been balanced by his campaign against the fact that she completely undercuts everything McCain has been saying about the importance of experience, and also potentially returns the focus to McCain’s age and ill-health.

Beyond that, though, what’s going to be interesting is the fact that she’s an unknown quantity on a national stage. That means that a good deal will depend on her temperament and style in speeches and, especially, impromtu interviews and debates: if she’s like Harriet Myers (or Pauline Hanson), it could all go down in flames. But if she’s smart, likable, and unwilling to put her foot in her mouth, it could be quite difficult for the Obama campaign to attack her without sounding like sexist assholes and, similarly, tricky for the likes of Biden to show her up in a debate without looking patronizing. (And I wouldn’t be surprised, by the way, if we get a lot of basically sexist stuff from Obama-supporting bloggers and talking heads in the next while, probably along the lines of Palin being set to be the world’s most powerful Soccer Mom.) I imagine that the next couple of days will see a lot of twisting around in the media as they search for a narrative to place Palin in.

{ 197 comments }

1

Kelly 08.29.08 at 5:34 pm

Her ex-brother-in-law better look out. She can turn an abuse of power story into a standing up for her family story if he’s an evil guy.

2

hermit greg 08.29.08 at 5:37 pm

1) She’s an anti-Cheney pick.
2) Given how deep the Alaskan state government is in the pockets of mining interests (and their environmental consequences), how is she different from picking a West Virginian?

3

signsanssignified 08.29.08 at 5:38 pm

The attitude behind the choice of Palin is deeply cynical: An anti-choice woman chosen to theoretically appeal to the disgruntled supporters of a pro-choice female candidate. McCain and his advisers seem to have the same attitude toward women as the guy cleaning porto-sans in National Lampoon’s Lemmings had towards kids in the 1960s: “Long hair, short hair—what the hell’s the difference once the head’s blown off.’

4

Kenny Easwaran 08.29.08 at 5:42 pm

Following Brian’s time zone post of the other day, it’s also historic that we’ll either have a president born in the Hawaii time zone, or a VP who most recently comes from the Alaska time zone. I haven’t checked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if both Delaware and Arizona are so far unrepresented in the white house as well.

5

Kieran Healy 08.29.08 at 5:44 pm

Arizona has a long history of failed Presidential candidates.

6

Michael Drake 08.29.08 at 5:53 pm

Can wait until Jay Nordlinger starts fret about all of Palin’s “kvetch[ing] about glass ceilings.” (My God — did Thatcher, Gandhi or Meir ever stoop so low?)

7

Thom Brooks 08.29.08 at 5:56 pm

I am very surprised by the choice. As you’ve noted, McCain has made a bit stink about Obama’s inexperience. If this is McCain’s genuine view as of, well, this morning when his spokesperson discussed his reaction to Obama’s speech, then it is very surprising he would announce Palin as his running mate. What a rise up the ladder: a few years ago she was a mayor of a small town of 9000 people and now she is McCain’s running mate. I can’t help but think anyone in such a position has a mountain of a job ahead to convince the country that she could serve as President if necessary under a McCain administration.

8

dr 08.29.08 at 6:03 pm

I think the pick is going to backfire. To begin with, it’s obviously a craven political choice. Palin wasn’t chosen because she brings anything substantive to the ticket, but rather because the McCain camp thinks having a woman on the ticket — no matter which woman — will swing undecided women voters toward the GOP. But American women aren’t stupid, they’re going to see through the trick. And, more to the point, they’re going to see that McCain didn’t nominate a woman — Kay Bailey Hutchinson, for example — who could interact with him as a peer. No, he picked a lightweight with a pretty face.

9

Crystal 08.29.08 at 6:12 pm

“See, we DO TOO care about teh ladeez!” Wouldn’t Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe, or even Condoleezza Rice have been better choices if McCain and Co. wanted a woman?

My first and oh-so-cynical thought upon seeing the Palin pick was “Is McCain trying to get a certain male demographic by picking a very attractive fortysomething woman as his VP candidate?” Maybe McCain is trying to make up for the fact that Obama and Biden are both handsome men, and he is not?

I’m hoping that people won’t vote on the basis of who is a hottie, but this is the electorate who voted for Bush because he seemed “likable.”

10

Martin James 08.29.08 at 6:14 pm

Can he take a mulligan?

11

mollymooly 08.29.08 at 6:21 pm

You won’t have a woman in the White House, you’ll have a woman in Number One Observatory Circle.

12

Dreadnaught 08.29.08 at 6:30 pm

A woman, oh glory a woman. Call the NOW.

13

Dave Weeden 08.29.08 at 6:34 pm

… if you’re unrelated to powerful people… Could she be related to Michael? (I won’t go into the twisted logic that saw the link between that video and John McCain.)

14

abb1 08.29.08 at 6:35 pm

So, it’s not Michael Palin? Damn.

15

Thomas 08.29.08 at 6:44 pm

The choice suggests to me not just that McCain wants to reach out to disaffected Clinton supporters, but that the “McCain’s so out of touch he doesn’t know how many houses he owns” line was thought by his campaign to be damaging. If that was working, it suggests that Romney–arguably the best prepared choice–wouldn’t be a good one. If the campaign wanted someone who can’t be characterized as out of touch, Palin’s the obvious choice.

16

abb1 08.29.08 at 6:51 pm

Here, some background:
http://www.slate.com/id/2198949/?from=rss

…The “Draft Palin” movement picked up momentum in more mainstream media, including a column last summer by Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard. Others followed, including talk over the past couple weeks from conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. [Actually, Limbaugh’s been chatting up Palin since Feb. 2007…

17

Righteous Bubba 08.29.08 at 6:56 pm

it could be quite difficult for the Obama campaign to attack her without sounding like sexist assholes

They’ve already beaten the Anointed Candidate in the primary so they should do fine.

18

Randolph 08.29.08 at 6:58 pm

“But if she’s smart, likable, and unwilling to put her foot in her mouth”

She placed second for Miss Alaska. Probably can fake it well enough, at least.

19

P O'Neill 08.29.08 at 7:01 pm

How long before McCain is arguing that because of the way she cleaned up Alaska (Intertubes Ted notwithstanding), she’s just the person to clean up corruption in Iraq?

20

SamChevre 08.29.08 at 7:03 pm

She’s very well-regarded and fairly well-known in pro-life circles.

It’s an interesting, but fairly desperate, pick; if you are the Republican candidate, you shoudl have the pro-life vote sewn up by the convention.

21

barbara feinberb 08.29.08 at 7:03 pm

We’re looking at this potential candidate in terms of her running; are we looking at her vis-a-vis the powers that would accrue to her in the office of Vice President that have now been aggregated? All that Fourth Branch argumentation? Who would be pulling the strings?

22

robert the red 08.29.08 at 7:10 pm

She will energize Republican-leaning women who would otherwise sit out the election. This assessment is based on a N=1 sample.

23

Thom Brooks 08.29.08 at 7:21 pm

I agree. I think this pick shows how out of touch McCain is with voters. I cannot imagine either McCain or Palin doing well in the debates.

24

Pope Ratzo 08.29.08 at 7:21 pm

It’s a shame that it’s got to happen to such a fresh face, but Ms Palin has to be smeared with the same brush that paints Bush, Cheney and McCain.

I don’t want to hear about how we have to have a “hands off” approach to the delicate Ms. Palin. It’s “take no prisoners” time.

If she’s got an “R” after her name, she’s scum who wants to bring all but the richest Americans to their knees. If the GOP is going to try to claim that by associating with an old Weatherman, Obama has dirtied himself, than we’ve got to hang every single filthy Republican around the ex-Miss Alaska’s neck.

I hope the Dems’ oppo research is ready to do a number on little Sarah. And if they find pictures, so much the better. We cannot afford 4 more years of Republican rule. No how, no way.

25

Q-Tip 08.29.08 at 7:26 pm

We’re guaranteed either an African-American or a woman in the White House next year.

No we are not guaranteed a woman in the White House, a McCain victory will ptu a woman at the Naval Observatory who would occupy the White House should McCain pass away. It is far from certain how much influence the resident of the Naval Observatory mansion wil have over the White House. Social conservatives didn’t get Roe overturned when Quayle rode GHW Bush’s coat tails, and likewise reality, not the vice president, brought a semblance of fiscal responsibility to the supply side dreams of the first Reagan presidency.

26

matt wilbert 08.29.08 at 7:26 pm

I’m sure they wouldn’t admit it (and maybe it isn’t true) but I think this is an attempt to shake things up and hope the McCain ticket gets lucky. While it is true that McCain hasn’t been far behind, the fundamentals of this election and the charisma gap between McCain and Obama make it seem unlikely (to me, anyway) that McCain was going to win without doing something startling. It still probably won’t work, but I can see the logic.

However, practically, I don’t think she is a good choice for a prospective president who is as old as McCain–people will probably focus a bit more on her than they might if he were younger.

27

virgil xenophon 08.29.08 at 7:42 pm

All the lefties here miss the point that Palin has more Executive experience as Governor than anyone else running. If I were Obama–or
even Biden–I wouldn’t go down that road very far. Foreign policy experience? McCain’s got that and besides, Alaska is only State in Union whose border is next to Russia. On a practical every day level–Barrents Sea and Arctic fishery and oil rights, air-sea rescue, military bases whose orientation is to Russia, BEMEWS sites and the State’s logistical support for them, negotiating oil sales to Japan. etc ., she has far more hands-on Foreign policy experience than either Obama or Biden.

And the debates? Anybody here ever heard her speak? She won’t be at all shy of taking it right to Biden or Obama, for that matter. The Donkeys have so many skeletons in their past they’ll have to build an addition onto their house just so they’ll have enough closets to put them in.

28

mrsldgibson 08.29.08 at 7:48 pm

McCain wants to make history too. Unfortunately, it is still not as dramatic or cataclysmic as the first black Democratic Nominated Candidate for President being named so on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech. Beyond that are the women voters willing to give Hillary a chance that gullible that they would simply switch to McCain simply because he has a female running mate? Women are emotional creatures, but we’re not stupid creatures. There is a vast difference between Hillary and this woman. We realize that. This was a calculated risk, but not completely thought out. This is consistent with the Republican Party – they always underestimate the American People.

29

harry b 08.29.08 at 7:53 pm

I agree with virgil about the debates. However bad she is, Biden cannot beat her up because he’ll seem like a schmuck to the very sector of the electorate he’s trying to reach. If he is supposed to be the attack dog, this is a problem for him.

And, I hate to say this but its true — a good number of women voted for Thatcher in 1979 because she was a woman. Obama/Biden have to go negative on the conservativeness of this team in a way that jeopardises Obama’s “no politics as usual” face.

30

Anderson 08.29.08 at 8:00 pm

All the lefties here miss the point that Palin has more Executive experience as Governor than anyone else running.

So did Dubya.

31

GK 08.29.08 at 8:17 pm

The debate about whether Palin does or doesn’t have more politically significant experience than Obama is kind of beside the point, isn’t it? The Republican line about Obama’s lack of experience has always been just one of several formulations of their larger strategy: trying to convince voters that we don’t really know Obama & can’t trust him. They still have several means of pressing that attack, which I’m sure they’ll continue to deploy for all they’re worth.

32

abb1 08.29.08 at 8:19 pm

Women are emotional creatures, but we’re not stupid creatures.

Certainly there must be some stupid creatures among the women? All they need is 2-3% of them all.

33

GK 08.29.08 at 8:21 pm

Correction: I mean, that debate is beside the point with regard to the impact the Palin pick will have on the campaign. The substantive issues about what experiences a president or vice-president should have had before taking office are another matter: but frankly, in the short run they don’t. (Matter, that is.)

34

Craig 08.29.08 at 8:27 pm

Well I like her. I think she is a good pick. I even like her more than McCain, and like them both more than Osama Obama.

We have enough professional politicians in government.

As far a Obama goes, no “victims” in the White House is my policy. He played to the I’m / You are a victim crowd to get where he is at today.

35

Dave Weeden 08.29.08 at 8:35 pm

Harry B and Virgil: I disagree. First, I think that Obama’s acceptance speech, amongst other things, laid out the ground rules for civilised debate. True, Biden cannot be nasty or patronising to Palin, and yes that has been used in the past in these debates. But I think the way the Democrats will play is plain – they’re taking the high moral ground. (And this is a cunning tactic because McCain is the sort of person who always fights the last war – and he lost in 2000 to Bush because Bush smeared ‘better’. If you want a flawed analogy – McCain played paper and Bush beat him with scissors. So McCain will play scissors this time. The Democrats have gone for rock.)

Look, I hate making generalisations about ‘women’ as much as the next sorta-new-man. But I think this: women don’t like weak men and they like weak men even less than they dislike brutes. If Biden throws a debate, part of that constituency he’s trying to reach will despise him.

Lastly, I don’t know about women voting for Thatcher because she was, er, female. (OK, poor taste, sorry.) I remember what seemed like constant debates in the Guardian (I was too young to vote by 11 months). Labour polled more votes than the current government did in 2005 – and they lost. The Tories had the Winter of Discontent on their side, an unelected Prime Minister, and confusion in the Labour ranks. Thatcher didn’t need many women, and I don’t believe she got them.

36

BillCinSD 08.29.08 at 8:39 pm

I would think what Biden can’t do in the debates is be patronizing and patriarchal. If he treats her as an equal and pounds her into dust that should be fine. it would be calling her sweetie or honey that would be bad

37

Dinsdale 08.29.08 at 8:40 pm

All the lefties here miss the point that Palin has more Executive experience as Governor than anyone else running.

Including McCain then.

38

dr 08.29.08 at 8:43 pm

Those who say that this will cramp Biden’s attack dog style in the debates seem to be operating on the assumption that his target in those debates has to be Palin, but that’s just not so. Biden can be gracious to her, can talk about how wonderful it is that the GOP has nominated a woman, and then skewer McCain for everything under the sun.

39

Guez 08.29.08 at 8:49 pm

I disagree with GK. I believe that McCain has shot himself in the foot here with respect to the question of experience. The point is not that the Dems will suddenly be able to attack the GOP ticket on experience grounds. The point, rather, is that the whole question of experience has become a whole lot muddier and complex. When your campaign is based on fear, complexity is a bad, bad thing.

Things were looking up for McCain. After a year in the limelight, people were tired of Obama and his cult of personality. They were worried about Russia. Now what has McCain done? He has pulled a media stunt that undermines his whole message and puts *his* judgment and his running mates qualifications under a microscope.

So why did he do it? I have no idea. Maybe the McCain campaign has some polling information that we don’t and is desperate. Maybe they outsmarted themselves? Maybe this “bold” move is really the result of some compromise with the right wing of the GOP (they get their conservation, McCain gets a maverick).

40

Righteous Bubba 08.29.08 at 8:51 pm

The philosophically inclined may be intrigued by Palin’s membership in Feminists for Life, as they have adopted the slogan “Refuse to Choose”.

http://www.feministsforlife.org/index.htm

41

Steve LaBonne 08.29.08 at 8:53 pm

dr wins the prize. Biden’s job in the debate is to beat up McCain– in ways that Obama can’t be seen stooping to- not his opposite number. This would be true no matter who McCain had chosen.

42

Josh R. 08.29.08 at 8:54 pm

All the lefties here miss the point that Palin has more Executive experience as Governor than anyone else running.

In discussing executive experience, are we constrained to considering governmental types of this experience? I remember Mitt Romney making great hay out of his running the Olympics, for instance.

Why is being governor of a tiny [in population] state whose legislature is in term for 90 days a year (making her actual executive experience a paltry three months) more impressive than running a successful national organization for nearly two years?

[Being the head of one’s campaign is not strictly analogous to the duties a President or Governor has, but they are similar enough; it is a type of executive experience, even if it’s not hyped as such. Or am I wrong? What types of activities would a Governor have to deal with that is not covered as campaign head? )

43

Josh R. 08.29.08 at 8:55 pm

I’m sorry, let me correct my math: six months, not three. 90×2=180 days/30=6months. My apologies.

44

mrsldgibson 08.29.08 at 8:56 pm

dr, your last point was beyond valid.

45

Thomas 08.29.08 at 9:07 pm

BillC–yes, the Democrats just need Biden to be gaffe-free and not condescending. Anyone want to lay odds on that?

I’ve now read Palin’s speech. Summary: I’m not of the creative class. And yet her bio is more contemporary than Obama’s–the athlete and the beauty pageant winner, the mother of five and the governor, the woman on the PTA and in the local community and the outsider taking on the incumbent governor. That kind of straddling of gender roles is something that I think many people will identify with.

46

abb1 08.29.08 at 9:12 pm

Dr’s point is not valid. Like everything else in American politics, the debates are not about what is being said. It’s all about the tone, the makeup, grimaces, gestures, other kinds of body language, etc. Biden can’t look aggressive no matter what he’s saying. Neither can he look meek. He is fucked.

47

mrsldgibson 08.29.08 at 9:16 pm

Has Anyone seen this?

2:29 p.m. | On the Other Hand… Mrs. Palin was fairly unenthusiastic about the vice presidency when she was asked about it during an Aug. 1 interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC.

I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the V.P. does everyday? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that V.P. slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.

My persepective: (1) she does not know what she has gotten herself into; (2) she knows its going to line someone’s pockets with oil money. I think America has suffered enough for the cause of oil. Now we are going to turn our guns on ourselves; cripple our own country for the cause of oil?

48

engels 08.29.08 at 9:20 pm

they like weak men even less than they dislike brutes

I think something has gone wrong with this sentence…

49

Matthew Kuzma 08.29.08 at 9:33 pm

But neither, mostly, do you get their by remaining wholly untouched by corruption

there.

Also, if calling an inexperienced woman a soccer mom is sexist, does that mean calling an inexperienced man a cowboy is sexist?

50

Daniel Rosa 08.29.08 at 9:37 pm

[url=http://s3.amazonaws.com/0SAJ7JN5VFAWT249NNR2.anigifdel/52655a293dd83d8907715bb13c7dc39d] The Dems react to McCain’s VP nomination[/url]

51

Daniel Rosa 08.29.08 at 9:38 pm

52

Uncle Kvetch 08.29.08 at 9:52 pm

Alaska is only State in Union whose border is next to Russia

I really really really hope they run with this one, as it has to be the most profoundly silly Veep-related argument since we were told that Dan Quayle’s youthful good looks would bring female voters to the GOP in droves. And from the looks of things, I’m going to get my wish. Yay!

53

peter 08.29.08 at 9:58 pm

What is it with McCain and former beauty queens?

54

Martin James 08.29.08 at 10:02 pm

I’m trying to cheer myself up by thinking of some possible Rovian reason he picked Palindrone.

The best I can do is that its a charisma and experience Jujitsu move. The idea is that the reaction will be to say she she’s inexperienced they have to quit talking about experience but that leads to comparing Obama with Palin. That’s the grand plan…once the comparison becomes Obama and Palin you play on the subconscious racist/sexist tropes of who is an assistant versus who is in power: smarts, looks and ambition are for upstarts.

I gotta hand it to them for trying but still… not a WASP among the four of them.

55

Zeno 08.29.08 at 10:05 pm

McCain’s partisans will laud him for a courageous choice, but it looks more like an act of desperation to me. He picked someone he hardly knows? With hardly any experience? It contradicts all the noise he was making about the importance of a personal relationship and the need for government experience. It’s a Hail Mary pass.

56

glory 08.29.08 at 10:56 pm

yea, it seems the narrative that is playing out is that mccain is a dumb ass :P original maverick!

57

Dave Weeden 08.29.08 at 11:04 pm

Engels, quite right. Sorry, slight thought correction mid-sentence and didn’t spot in the preview. Hint to Kieran. ;-)

58

bicycle Hussein paladin 08.29.08 at 11:06 pm

My best guess is McCain sees it as a mavericky, no-nonsense thing to do. I don’t see it as cynical at all.

As for Palin herself, she reminded me a bit of Dana Perino. Her style, as best I could gather from her acceptance speech, is very much in the (affected) humility tradition of George W Bush, where putting up a candidate without any great qualifications or achievements, somebody who seems small in comparison to the office they’re proposing to occupy, reads to true-believers as a kind of piety and faith in the institutions of government. In this mindset, we don’t expect the government to do much, the best it can do is kind of stay out of the way and fulfill basic functions. A connection is implied between qualified, ambitious candidates, and over-ambitious, arrogant government. The subtext is that a barely-qualified, mediocre(-by-any-objective-measure) candidate is somebody who will run things the way “you” (the conservative voter) would run things, won’t have any big plans for the government, and won’t mess anything up too bad. Valuing intelligence and qualification is elitist, and elitism is bad because it means somebody might be smarter and more qualified than you and they might use those capabilities to do something you might not want them to. Knowledge is power, and therefor it is feared.

“She’s been the governor for a short time, but look, she’s also a mom, with X kids, and isn’t that the really difficult job, being a mom?” It’s appealing, even flattering to people with a strong sense of community and modest material ambitions. Or to put it a bit differently, people who believe their material ambitions to be modest because they’ve never had to deal with, aren’t really aware of systematic injustice, and therefor don’t see the need for ambitions like providing affordable healthcare to everybody or ending poverty. The “more humble”, more appropriate ambition is to take care of yourself and your own family. That I think is the kind of mindset somebody like her appeals to, and if there wasn’t such widespread dissatisfaction, I think it would be effective. It may be anyway.

This is why attacks and negativity are so crucial to Republican politics. It’s because there isn’t actually a lot to recommend their candidates, and this is true even in the minds of supporters. The adoration that true believers have for figures like Dubya is very non-specific and has to do with their being “historic” or other vague notions. Character strengths don’t really matter to people who have bought into this mentality–and I think there’s enough of an anti-intellectual current in the US that many, many people do buy into it to some extent–only character flaws, so Republicans make their campaigns all about character flaws. That’s why attacking the opponent’s strengths works, because the expectations for the Republican candidates are already low, but people connect with them on the level of identifying with them. If they keep people from connecting with Democratic candidates in the same way, and Democratic candidates don’t have a really strong game in that regard, like Kerry hunting, or Dukakis in the tank, they fail.

I think the best way to fight this is to expose the underlying psychology and highlight the contradiction between having respect for the institutions of the presidency, etc., and wanting to fill them with less-than-most-qualified individuals. And of course doing as much as possible to make Democratic candidates easy to identify with and likable. That’s why this is so important for Democrats, because they are trying to appeal to people who demand real qualifications, as well as to people for whom qualifications are, potentially, irrelevant (they will imagine people they identify with as being qualified, objective standards be damned) or even somewhat threatening.

59

tom bach 08.29.08 at 11:23 pm

As I understand this Palin is under investigation over abuse of power and has already admitted to lying about her minions, or whatever they are called, actions. This pick is just plain weird.

60

Ben Alpers 08.29.08 at 11:54 pm

Just a brief correction to an aside in the post: Harriet Miers nomination was not withdrawn because of her temperament or style. It was withdrawn because the hard right feared that she was what British Tories would call “wet,” and also understood that her manifest mediocrity would be less useful for her than a reliable conservative ideologue with serious judicial chops. Their fear was that she would turn out to be a David Souter, not merely that she was unimpressive or gaffe prone. And the very effectively pressued the Bush administration into prioritizing ideology over cronyism (the latter being the driving factor in the Miers choice). For their part, Senate Democrats basically sat on the sidelines and let the GOP rip itself apart for a few days (not a bad choice, really), but then rolled over and refused to filibuster the real right-wing dream candidate who followed Miers: Samuel Alito.

61

Brandon Watson 08.30.08 at 12:02 am

Also, if calling an inexperienced woman a soccer mom is sexist, does that mean calling an inexperienced man a cowboy is sexist?

No, for the obvious reason that, sexism being what it is, aspersion by type is not sex-symmetrical. Did that really need to be answered, or was there some rhetorical point being made here that I missed?

62

Canadian 08.30.08 at 12:15 am

The comments reflect a sense of incoherence and panic which is what McCain intended. Perhaps he can’t win but it did not hurt his chances.

63

bicycle Hussein paladin 08.30.08 at 12:27 am

Where do you get that there is panic? The fact that people can’t think of a good reason why he picked her, or can’t agree on the best strategy given that choice, doesn’t mean they are set up to fail somehow. It could be she is just a really mediocre choice, and that’s all there is to it.

64

virgil xenophon 08.30.08 at 12:53 am

I just love the casual elitism of bicycle H paladin and others here, people who obviously are possessed of that “Vision of the Anointed,” only true “progressives” may harbor and who obviously value their own “intelligence” highly indeed. I especially liked Hussein’s bit about democrats appealing to people who demand “real qualifications.” Considering the paucity of Obama’s footprints in the accomplishment/qualifications arena, I’m not sure that’s a road lefties want to go down. Palin has more solid accomplishments where the rubber hits the road under her belt in the short time she has been in politics than Obama has achieved in his lifetime. And her spouse, unlike Obama’s affirmative action wife with her make-work political payoff job at the Univ. of Chicago, has at least accomplished real things on his own merits. And he and her children are bi-racial as well, but I guess that only “counts” in the Donkey Party.

65

Thomas 08.30.08 at 1:01 am

virgil, that’s not fair: Obama was on law review at Harvard! If that doesn’t qualify one to run the country, what possibly could?

66

Lee A. Arnold 08.30.08 at 1:17 am

The choice of Palin shows two things: (1) The Skull is having trouble with the hard-right Republican base, and (2) he likes doing surprising, bounce-off-the-wall things. Which we already knew.

Ultra-conservatives will be a little more energized to come out — and because this is a close election, it may make the difference.

But when Democratic women find out Palin’s views on abortion and the environment, (global warming is not man-made?!,) they will not be crossing over.

McCain/Palin have clearly made the decision to position themselves as anti-corruption reformers, as fresh mavericks — but these are not issues that really work against the Dem ticket, since they are not accused of corruption and of course Obama presents an historical change too.

Perhaps they are hoping to bring up drilling in ANWR as the solution to energy woes, but on the energy problem the Dems already have smart and serious positions, so Palin’s choice doesn’t necessarily work to advantage.

McCain’s other main selling point, the fact that he was in the military and fought for the country, was mentioned by Palin a few times in her speech today. But the Dems effectively counterattacked at their convention that this does not provide a lockhold on patriotism, nor does McCain’s voting 90% with Bush demonstrate good judgment.

On another issue brought up in comments here above: the whole “executive experience” thing is greatly overhyped. The presidency is a position held entirely by amateurs, and everybody knows it. People won’t vote for someone who is obviously callow or shallow, and none of the candidates can be accused of that anymore.

Obama has maintained a slight lead in the total electoral college but Palin doesn’t help McCain much with that, since Alaska has only three electoral college votes.

Still it’s a very close election, as your less-than-humble reporter predicted many moons ago, and it is likely to be decided in the first couple of debates between the tops of the tickets.

67

tom bach 08.30.08 at 1:18 am

It is one thing to assert that Palin has the same level of experience as Obama; however, it is quite another to over come her various public utterances about ignorance of what the VP does all day or that she has never really thought about Iraq. And so on.

Via Sullivan:
Alaska Business Monthly: We’ve lost a lot of Alaska’s military members to the war in Iraq. How do you feel about sending more troops into battle, as President Bush is suggesting?

Palin: I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe. Every life lost is such a tragedy. I am very, very proud of the troops we have in Alaska, those fighting overseas for our freedoms, and the families here who are making so many sacrifices.

68

bicycle Hussein paladin 08.30.08 at 2:22 am

@62, My observations about Palin were more about how she markets & presents herself and the experience she has than about why she was chosen and what that experience actually is. Her demeanor has been very casual and understated, not trying (it seems to me) to come across as somebody as exemplary as I think we usually expect presidents to be. G W Bush has a similar style, in my opinion, and a lot of people are baffled by that–by how candidates who sound so casual about what they’re doing–clueless, even–could appeal to anybody at all. Democratic politicians affect a lot more gravitas, at least it seems that way to me. And, I think, if they didn’t, they’d be pilloried for it in the press. If Obama said he didn’t understand economics as well as he should, or what have you…

As for their actual qualifications, something (maybe it was terms like “lefties” and “casual elitism”?) tells me a discussion over what it means that McCain mixed up Sunnis and Shi’is, or Bush’s incompetence in general, much less the extent of Obama and Palin’s actual qualifications, would be a waste of time. Not that I’m totally enamored with all of Obama’s statements, mind you, but he has yet to throw out a whopper like Iran funding al-Qaeda, and most of what I’ve heard him say has actually been pretty intelligent, at least with regard to those parts of the world and issues I know a little bit about.

69

Jon H 08.30.08 at 2:28 am

“the whole “executive experience” thing is greatly overhyped.”

Exactly. Bush had ‘plenty’ of state-level executive experience, and was accompanied by Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, each of whom had run the Pentagon. All three were former CEOs.

70

bicycle Hussein paladin 08.30.08 at 2:48 am

@67

It is one thing to assert that Palin has the same level of experience as Obama; however, it is quite another to over come her various public utterances about ignorance of what the VP does all day or that she has never really thought about Iraq. And so on.

Exactly–the thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s being a little bit modest about this (though, I wouldn’t take it for granted that she actually knows more, either, since she hasn’t been planning a run for VP anywhere near as long as Obama was planning his run), but I don’t think that kind of statement is something you would ever, ever hear from a Democrat. If anybody can provide counter-examples, by all means do so.

And I don’t think that’s entirely because Democrats are more concerned with projecting an image of competence, or entirely because they are more thoughtful. I think it actually reflects different values and different expectations about government–a “minding the store” approach on the part of conservatives, with a very cavalier view towards foreign policy and the importance or relevance of other countries, vs a “grand aspirations” approach that Democrats prefer. Of course a lot of what Democrats call “grand” aspirations, like a national health-care system, are things that many other countries have achieved. Other “grand” aspirations are about serious moral issues like entrenched social injustice. Democrats might talk about a grand aspiration of overcoming centuries of racism, while Republicans don’t (at least from what I’ve heard) talk about having a grand aspiration to protect the unborn–it’s just something you should do, I guess?

I can’t quite wrap my mind around it, in any case. Those important issues are important! People should treat them that way. I don’t think the political tactic of portraying that casualness as an indicator of being out of touch is really wrong or disingenuous.

71

Markup 08.30.08 at 3:19 am

Not that I’m totally enamored with all of Obama’s statements, mind you, but he has yet to throw out a whopper…

Hey, it’s almost duck season, I hear JK is willing to lend his outfit.

Roughly the M/F in Y2K vote went about F+11% to the D’s; in 04 it was down to about 7%. There are enough “dumb*” women who will vote for a woman regardless or are blue puppy D’s that may well lean R to make a significant difference in a close race.

*obviously by those %’s there are still more dumb males [but y’all knew that already]

Now here’s something to worry about Alfred
http://men.style.com/gq/features/full?id=content_4268
Rated PG-15 +/-10

72

Angry African on the Loose 08.30.08 at 3:21 am

Okay. Let’s never throw the “Obama isn’t experienced” card out there again. She became governor in 2006… She answered a question on the rumors of her becoming VP with the answer “What does a VP do?” Just a month ago… She is being investigated right now… Go do some searches. You’ll see she flip-flopped on why she fired the guy. First she said it was because she wanted him in a new job to focus on alcohol abuse in Alaska. And then, less than a month later, she said she fired him because she didn’t believe that he could control alcohol abuse in Alaska. And she replaced him a guy with a sexual harrassment and letter of reprimand against him. And she knew about it. She has been in charge of a state with more reindeer than people. There is a big different in pushing the button to switch on the lights in a god-forsaken town in Alaska and having your finger on the red flashing button. What happens, God forbid, if something happens to McCain (if he becomes President) and she becomes President. The sad thing is that there are many more competent women he could have chosen from. But he took this decision because he will do everything to become President. He did it because it is good for him. Not what is good for this country. It is a sexist decision trying to play “women” to get their vote. Shame on McCain.

73

Danny Yee 08.30.08 at 3:23 am

besides, Alaska is only State in Union whose border is next to Russia

That’s a really, really desperate stretch. If Palin has no foreign policy experience, the Republicans will do better to simply admit it than to come up with ridiculous arguments like this one.

74

Thomas 08.30.08 at 4:32 am

Angry, remember what Obama said: we all put our country first. Your line of attack is supposed to be out of bounds. Yes, she was elected in 2006; Obama began running for president in 2006, after two years as a Senator. Was he unqualified then, only to become qualified while running? How does that work? Can you tell me, what will Biden do as VP, if he were elected? Is it possible that Palin knows more about the role than you? It may well be that Palin flip-flopped on why she fired someone, but it isn’t clear why we should care. I mean, Obama has told several versions of the Rezco story, but I don’t think you’re interested in getting to the bottom of that. Am I wrong?

75

Righteous Bubba 08.30.08 at 4:37 am

I mean, Obama has told several versions of the Rezco story

You can’t even spell Rezko.

76

Thomas 08.30.08 at 4:45 am

Bubba, that’s ok, I’m not running for president. If I were, I wouldn’t be so casual, and I’d proofread these all-important comments before posting. I think I have a much higher IQ than you do.

77

dr 08.30.08 at 4:54 am

I’m becoming increasingly alarmed about Wooten-gate. It’s a rule of law issue. As state governor, Palin used the power of her office to pursue a personal vendetta. A justified personal vendetta, but even so. It isn’t okay for elected officials to do that, and it isn’t okay for a major party to nominate someone who is known to have done that.

78

Righteous Bubba 08.30.08 at 4:56 am

I think I have a much higher IQ than you do.

You let me know when your IQ solves The Great Rezko Mystery.

79

LogicGuru 08.30.08 at 5:36 am

Various comments draw the comparison to Harriet Myers. The first analogous case that hits me is Alan Keyes running against Obama for Senate in 2004. How do we beat Obama? We conjure up a BLACK Catholic pro-life ultra-conservative Republican. Don’t find too many of those around so we’ll overlook, um, the rest of it. Now do we beat Obama? Well, gotta find a FEMALE fundamentalist pro-life ultra-conservative Republican.

There may be some women who take the bait but I bet there’d be even more who recognized how contrived this move was and perceive it as insulting. You think we’re that dumb?

80

LFC 08.30.08 at 6:53 am

@64: “Palin has more solid accomplishments…in the short time she has been in politics than Obama has achieved in his lifetime.”
No, I don’t think so.
Also, what you say about Michelle Obama is unwarranted.

81

The Raven 08.30.08 at 7:23 am

I think she’s a tough, smart, corrupt, photogenic fanatic, sort of like W. Bush with her shit together, and now that she’s on the national stage, she has the potential to be a great deal of trouble. Please, folks, remember what it means for an intelligent woman to be anti-abortion (which she is, except in cases of direct risk to the mother’s life): Palin must have no empathy for women unlike herself at all.

82

jmh 08.30.08 at 8:24 am

On experience:
Obama:
In the US Senate, has served on the Foreign Relations Committeens, Homeland Secuirty Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, Health, Education, Labour & Pension Committee.
– In the US Senate Obama has written 890 pieces of legislation, and co-sponsored 1096 pieces of legislation.
– Before getting to the US Senate Obama served 11 years in the Illinois State Senate.
– has a law degree from Harvard Law School
– also has a degree in Political science specializing in International Relations.
– worked in Chicago, Illinois as a community organizer
– as the director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago, helped set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants’ rights organization
– worked as a consultant and instructor for a community organizing institute.
– worked as a Civil Rights lawyer for 9 years.
– University of Chicago Constutitional Law Professor for 12 years.
– the author of 2 best selling books,
– the leader of the Democratic Party, the winner of more than 19 million votes in the Democratic Primaries

Palin:
– was mayor of a very small town of approx 6,000
– has been governor of one of America’s smallest states for 18 months (and is under investigation for abuse of power)
– has a BA in Journalism from the University of Idaho

83

bad Jim 08.30.08 at 8:29 am

Palin is a photo-op, a one-day wonder. She’s a right-wing wackaloon. She wasn’t for Bush in 2000, she supported Buchanan, so she’s probably carrying some racist baggage. If that isn’t enough, she’s a creationist, or at least a cdesign proponentist.

I doubt she’ll last.

84

Terry 08.30.08 at 8:46 am

“Unwarranted”? Why not say “incorrect”?

85

Katherine 08.30.08 at 9:09 am

I think this pick is as stupid as it is cynical. I can’t see (m)any Hillary Clinton supporters switching to the Republicans on the basis of this – Palin is an anti-choice wingnut and pretty much diametrically opposite to Clinton politically. It’s also pretty clear that in the minds of the McCain campaign one vagina-holder is pretty much the same as another – or rather, that they think fellow vagina-holders think the same thing. Cynical and insulting in one mysogynistic package.

And it could actually turn off some of the utra-conservative right-wingers who already have problems with McCain. A woman in power? For fundamentalists going by the letter of the Bible, this is going to cause trouble.

86

abb1 08.30.08 at 9:20 am

Paladin, thanks, interesting comments.
Maybe I’m thinking about a different kind of Republican, but I think you misunderstand them, they do have aspirations. The usual right-wing aspirations: national unity, national greatness, that kind of thing. These are, in a sense, much ‘higher’ aspirations than your universal healthcare stuff.

Same story with the ambitions. Their politicians are ambitious, they will ‘restore honor and dignity’, they will ‘unite’, they will ‘lead’. A politician will make a speech – the nation will unite, raise to the occasion – now anything is possible. Universal healthcare is a pathetic little aspiration, the Grim Reaper himself will be defeated. These are huge ambitions indeed.

In this context it’s understandable why they want a person who speaks simple language, who’s not an intellectual, not an experienced manager, not intelligent even. Not intelligent, but clever in some folksy way. Someone who talks about “controlling legal authority” can not, obviously, ‘lead the nation’; the one who says “hunt ’em down” just might. In Russian fairy tales it’s always helpless Ivan The Fool who defeats the evil, wins the prize, and in the end turns out to be the wisest of them of. This is a powerful fable, man.

87

Smedvik 08.30.08 at 9:33 am

NO liberal woman would be swayed by the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket.

What? We’re going to forget about how we feel about laws on our bodies because of her? Forget about our fight for same sex marriage rights because of her? Did we all just lose our minds out of excitement? I don’t think so.

She’s no Hilary Clinton.

88

Emperor 08.30.08 at 9:44 am

Unbelievable choice for VP. If I was a Republican I would be pissed.

Sarah Palin: The Real Dope (pun intended)

89

Smedvik 08.30.08 at 9:59 am

And let’s not forget that come election day…most people look at the top of the ticket only.

Looking forward to debate time. Obama v McCain. Should be a good show and will lend more to decision making for the undecided than anybody’s VP selection.

90

a 08.30.08 at 10:13 am

“I can’t see (m)any Hillary Clinton supporters switching to the Republicans on the basis of this.”

I don’t think Palin is meant to appeal to Hillary Democrats. She’s supposed to appeal to soccer Moms who aren’t Hillary Democrats. I don’t know how many are in this set, though.

91

mac 08.30.08 at 12:05 pm

Palin may be MILFesque but she is also twisted in all the time honored GOP’ian ways.

She’s a creationist – wants the nonsense taught in schools even.
Anti-choice … no a b o r t i o n even in cases of rape and incest.
Thinks humans are innocent of all climate change charges.

The hotness thing will wear off the more she talks.

92

J Thomas 08.30.08 at 12:38 pm

If she’s acceptable to republicans who aren’t creationist etc then she’ll be a threat in coming years.

I’d never heard of Obama until he was chosen to give the nominating speech at sombody else’s nomination and people talked about what an up-and-coming politician he was, and nobody much had heard of her until now.

93

Kenny Easwaran 08.30.08 at 12:47 pm

I’m starting to think like J Thomas in #92 – what if McCain has just conceded this election, but set up Palin as the best choice for 2012? She could be very experienced and on top of things then, and she would definitely be a real threat to the dems then, I think.

94

Uncle Kvetch 08.30.08 at 12:51 pm

For those just coming in who haven’t bothered to read the whole thread, I’d just like to give big ups to bicycle Hussein paladin–his/her comments at #58 and #68 are remarkably perceptive. I’ve rarely, if ever, seen the psychological underpinnings of US politics laid out so cogently. Very well done.

95

Smedvik 08.30.08 at 1:11 pm

I don’t want to trash Gov. Palin. Her story is compelling and I will defend her right to believe in whatever she wants to believe in…I just don’t have to believe in it too.

5 days from now no one will be interested in Biden or Palin. It just isn’t about them. It’s about 2 players and if/how well they can effect positive change.

I live in the UK…and you better believe this election is very important to us. If we want our troops out of Iraq and more focus on our stumbling economy, the end result of the US election is a key concern for a lot of continents.

Obama presented very well over here and he embodies the breath of fresh air we are seeking. And he would do much to improve American positioning on the world stage. Currently, U.S. relations are strained…if not viewed with disdain.

McCain/Palin are seen as merely a changing of the guard from one bad administration to another…more of the same.

Just a peek into a view from somewhere other than home. We are both inextricably linked when it comes to the world economy and the effects of this on-going war.

96

Matt McIrvin 08.30.08 at 1:31 pm

The comments reflect a sense of incoherence and panic which is what McCain intended. Perhaps he can’t win but it did not hurt his chances.

I partly agree with you here–this choice, and the way it was rolled out, was to some degree a short-term tactical move. What McCain hopes is that he’s neutralized the entire Democratic convention bounce. He’s succeeded at grabbing the US Labor Day media buzz away from Obama’s terrific acceptance speech; a speech lauded at the time as one of the greatest such in history, and 12 hours later, it was down the memory hole as if it hadn’t happened at all.

Of course, what goes on on CNN and political blogs, and what goes on in voters’ minds, are not necessarily the same things–many voters actually watched Obama’s speech, so they don’t necessarily need people to keep talking about it. And winning the media cycle only helps you in the short term; we’re still a couple of months away from the election, with debates and the home stretch still to come. Two weeks from now, everyone’s strategy and punditry will have adjusted to Sarah Palin’s presence. Picking your VP with an eye to flattening the other party’s convention bounce with a big confusing surprise is not necessarily wise.

Andrew Tannenbaum on electoral-vote.com was discussing exactly this scenario months ago, and pointed out that McCain could spectacularly dominate a few media cycles by picking Palin. He then wondered what we’re all wondering–whether the longer-term negatives would outweigh that for McCain. (And even he eventually got faked out by the trooper scandal into assuming Palin was out of contention.)

97

Tarol 08.30.08 at 1:42 pm

I’m not sure it looks good, though.

McCain is old enough to be Palin’s father.

And Palin is young enough to be McCain’s wife.

98

Studi 08.30.08 at 1:45 pm

Palin is the embodiment of the Pioneering Spirit that opened this country. She is a strong woman who has the guts too stand up to Biden. It takes a strong woman who has 5 children and still looks young. A Governer is higher than a Senator and needs more smarts in domestic and foriegn affairs too hold the office.

99

Studi 08.30.08 at 1:55 pm

MAC your’re full of it. Another believer in the Liberal Media lies. Most Republicans do not believe in creationism. Many Dems believe in creationism, but not all so how can you make such a stupid statement. Do you know that Martin Luthur King was a voting Republican? The Southern Democrats that controlled Congress were the ones responsible for all the Segregation in the South. Too be in the KKK you had to be a Democrat. The King Family supports McCain at this moment. Look up Dr. David Manning on You Tube as he speaks for the Kings.

100

abb1 08.30.08 at 1:56 pm

…many voters actually watched Obama’s speech, so they don’t necessarily need people to keep talking about it.

But they do. Without talking heads telling them, they will never know what they think about it.

101

Studi 08.30.08 at 2:03 pm

Obama is part of the Mayor Daly Chicago Political Machine. They are the most corrupt city government in the USA. Daly rules by intimidation and makes the Mob look like goodfellows. Daly and his cohorts run that city with an Iron Fist.

102

Studi 08.30.08 at 2:12 pm

Smedvik my mother was born in Briton and was a WAC in the War. I have many relatives in London and your comment is just as biased as MAC. Many Brits support the US in IRaq as they see what a mess lies just below the surface in England and Europe. Your countries have been infitrated by Muslem Terrorists and your communities have poor sections full of out of work Arabs where the epicenter of the Sh-te(in OLD English )will hit the fan.

103

bicycle Hussein paladin 08.30.08 at 2:18 pm

@94 Thanks!
@86 That’s a good point–you could say this style of conservative politics subordinates a certain category of ambitions, deemed “earthly”, which are mostly observable, measurable, materially-grounded things, to another category of ambitions, deemed “heavenly”. I was going to say it subordinates material ambitions to spiritual ones, but that would be accepting the premise that social justice is not a spiritual/moral issue, which I certainly don’t take as self-evident.

104

Thomas 08.30.08 at 2:20 pm

Bubba, I’m just having a bit of fun with you, quoting the uber-smart Joe Biden.

105

Steve LaBonne 08.30.08 at 2:24 pm

Here’s Karl Rove anticipating that Obama would pick Kaine:

“I think [Obama’s] going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice,” Rove said. “He’s going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he’s going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He’s not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president.”

Rove singled out Virginia governor Tim Kaine, also a Face The Nation guest, as an example of such a pick.

“With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished,” Rove said. “I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America.”

Heh.

106

Righteous Bubba 08.30.08 at 2:43 pm

Bubba, I’m just having a bit of fun with you, quoting the uber-smart Joe Biden.

There was no offense taken. I was just having a bit of fun with you for using Rezko as a scare without being familiar with the circumstances.

107

RCMoya612 08.30.08 at 3:12 pm

And I wouldn’t be surprised, by the way, if we get a lot of basically sexist stuff from Obama-supporting bloggers and talking heads in the next while, probably along the lines of Palin being set to be the world’s most powerful Soccer Mom.

You mean you haven’t already noticed it?

108

Maurice Meilleur 08.30.08 at 3:48 pm

Hmm. I lurk on CT a lot more than I post, and I daresay I recognize most of the regulars and irregulars, earnest and trollish alike. This thread is a day old and it already has 107 comments, many of which come from people I have never seen on the site, and a good number of which (Studi, I’m looking at you) are well below the normal level of discourse on the site (again, earnest and trollish alike).

Wonder why that is? Just asking.

109

shtove 08.30.08 at 4:09 pm

Speaking from the UK, I’ve never heard of this woman but was instantly impressed by her.

Most refreshing, compared to the other three candidates. And infinitely preferable to the Clinton Soup Dragon.

Why would anyone assume she’s going to be poor in debate? I’m hoping for another, “You, sir, are no Jack Kennedy” moment!

And she speaks seriously and coherently about THE big issue: US energy policy – drilling and renewables.

Just possibly a star is born.

110

Katherine 08.30.08 at 4:17 pm

“It takes a strong woman who has 5 children and still looks young.”

Yeah, cos that’s what’s important in a woman/potential leader.

111

bianca steele 08.30.08 at 4:31 pm

When I saw the picture of McCain and Palin in the paper this morning, I thought “Babbitt”; the two of them look like the mayor and first lady of some small midwestern city, the kind of place where the rich people aren’t “too rich” and rightly take all the elected offices.

Palin does kind of make me think of Jane Swift (former Acting Governor of Massachusetts) — gave birth in office, lives in the far northwest corner of the country/state. Maybe if Mitt Romney announces he’d really like the nomination, Palin will defer to him too. :)

Also, Kieran mentioned corruption — I found out this morning she ran as a “reform” candidate against the Republican establishment, which has been under a shadow (not clear who backed her). So, she’s a “maverick,” just like McCain.

112

noen 08.30.08 at 5:09 pm

Sarah Palin also has a strong populist streak in her. She admires Ron Paul in this MTV interview she says:

Palin calls controversial Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul “cool.” “He’s a good guy,” she added. “He’s so independent. He’s independent of the party machine. I’m like, ‘Right on, so am I.’ ”

She also left the finances of her town Wasilla in tatters. She is incompetent and corrupt. Personally, I think McCain should have nominated his horse, that would give this circus the right flavor.

113

Jay Conner 08.30.08 at 5:19 pm

I don’t think politics is politics anymore, it seems to have become theatre, and the question the Republicans seem to have answered is who do we cast to fill the role to appeal to the audience who elected GWB ? Twice.

It may be inspired casting, if she is a quick study.

And I would never underestimate a beautiful woman, with rock-solid conservative credentials, who knows how to shoot.

114

peter 08.30.08 at 5:35 pm

#112: “I don’t think politics is politics anymore, it seems to have become theatre, . . . “

The only rational explanation for the choice of Palin is that John McCain is a performance artist engaged in a critique of politics-as-usual, as a real-life Jack Tanner. Why else shoot himself in the foot this way?

115

Sumana Harihareswara 08.30.08 at 5:44 pm

dr, Crystal, Angry African on the Loose, and others who suggested that there are plenty of Republican women with more national and international chops than Governor Palin: right you are! Just to flesh out the list:

Elizabeth Dole, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Linda Lingle (Governor of Hawaii), M. Jodi Rell, Jane Swift, Christine Todd Whitman, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Olympia Snowe, Condi Rice, Gale Norton, Ann Veneman, Elaine Chao, Margaret Spellings, Susan Schwab (US Trade Representative), and Jo Anne B. Barnhart (head of Social Security for six years in the current Bush administration). Going a little further afield, we have Lynn Morley Martin, George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor and five-term Illinois Representative, and dozens of current and former ambassadors with decades of experience in the State Department.

But most of the women I’ve named are pro-choice, and that was evidently a dealbreaker for McCain.

Maurice Meilleur, I’m noticing the newbies too. Oh how I’d love to disemvowel a few of them.

116

Smedvik 08.30.08 at 5:59 pm

Studi: 102:

I think I was clear in stating that world politics will be greatly impacted by the U.S. election and that a change is needed to facilitate a move toward positive relations between our countries.

However, it is also clear that we differ in our opinions of what that direction should be. But I said I was offering you an opinion from someone who lives here and speaks for a lot of people. Take that for what you want.

The Bush administration is held in disdain and that disdain is projected onto the American people…which isn’t fair. We don’t see a distinction b/w Bush and McCain. Again, it’s that simple.

I applaud the efforts of our allies and countryfolk in previous wars. As I do McCain’s valiant struggle. Our histories are fraught with war heroes. But that doesn’t mean we should still be fighting the Germans.

Obama made a great impression in the EU. It’s that simple. We are looking for a change too.

Scare tactics should be a thing of the past. Let’s hope anyway. I do not fear my local neighbours. I fear poor world leadership. And I include our own leadership in that lot.

117

LFC 08.30.08 at 6:09 pm

Maurice Meilleur @108: I don’t have an answer to your question, but of course this is a blog, not a salon or the common room of an elite college or university. It would be a shame if a concern with “the level of discourse on the site” came to outweigh an appreciation of the virtues of an open forum. As for your distinction between “earnest” and “trollish,” earnest=those with whom I agree, trollish=those with whom I disagree (?).

118

PersonFromPorlock 08.30.08 at 6:24 pm

bicycle Hussein paladin 08.30.08 at 12:27 am

Where do you get that there is panic? … It could be she is just a really mediocre choice, and that’s all there is to it.

The panic shows up in the frenetic commentary. If she were ‘just mediocre’ nobody’d bother to pan her; instead, we have the Obama supporters coming seriously unglued on this thread.

119

Katherine 08.30.08 at 6:43 pm

Frenetic commentary =/= panic. Discussion =/= seriously ungluing. Despite all the wishful thinking in the world.

120

CoInetlPro 08.30.08 at 6:45 pm

she’s the perfect retrograde woman and she never met a corporate interest she did not like. Perfectly republican.

121

J Thomas 08.30.08 at 6:53 pm

The panic shows up in the frenetic commentary. If she were ‘just mediocre’ nobody’d bother to pan her; instead, we have the Obama supporters coming seriously unglued on this thread.

Have you ever noticed, playing chess with a mid-level player, if you make a move that’s so bold they didn’t even think of it, they tend to get all scared while they think it out? A really good player will look at it and if it’s flawed immediately exploit the flaw. But the mid-level guys get all paranoid even when it’s a stupid bold move.

“Oh my god he moved his queen right up and put my king in check, I’ll have to trade a bishop for that queen! What is he thinking? Where’s the catch? Am I about to lose everything?”

It might take them some time to figure out that it was a really dumb move, that just looked bold. If they figure it out quick enough they just take the queen and keep playing.

This is the first day panic at BuKaine’s bold move. It doesn’t mean much yet. If they’re still panicked a month from now then it will mean the bold move is actually working.

122

Mary Kitt-Neel 08.30.08 at 7:06 pm

I live in Tennessee, and all it took for me to go from suspicion to contempt was to find that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Hyper-Republican from here) just loves Sarah Palin.

Oh, well, at least Tina Fey will be making a few guest appearances on SNL before long, if looks are any indication.

123

Theresa 08.30.08 at 7:07 pm

Palin is genuine and has governed an entire state for two years after being a mayor. She has more experience with government and getting things done than BO does. BO has been influenced by muslim teachings. Muslims approve of lying to the enemy. Many people on this site cannot understand the lengths this man will go to in order to achieve his ends. Palin is so much more trustworthy that there is no comparison. She is smart and she is not shifty. OB cannot be trusted. Anyone who votes for him are bound to rue that day that did.

124

Smedvik 08.30.08 at 7:14 pm

117: I suspect the freneticism has more to do with television news ratings than it does anything else. It certainly has succeeded in diverting attention from the real issues.

125

noen 08.30.08 at 7:29 pm

I don’t think politics is politics anymore, it seems to have become theatre

Politics has always been theater. Power usually wishes to remain hidden, unseen. What we call politics is the projection of power into the social arena. Naked (visible) power is not political, it makes demands and you either obey or you do not.

126

Brett Bellmore 08.30.08 at 7:42 pm

Just saying, but people who would crawl a mile across broken glass to avoid voting for a Republican probably should not be too confident in their judgment as to what appeals to people for whom casting that vote is a live option. Palin doesn’t get your vote, but so what, it was never available to be gotten.

If the general public shared your view of these things, Democrats would win every election…

127

Smedvik 08.30.08 at 7:48 pm

We’ve been learning from stories handed down to us for 1000’s of years. Theatre is just a more ‘developed’ name for it.

But we’ve always had the ability to be discerning in the stories we accept. It’s about whether or not we use it.

128

roy belmont 08.30.08 at 7:52 pm

Sadly agreeing with B.Bellmore.
Palin will continue to galvanize the same audience that elected Bush at the bidding of the Unseen Authority behind the television’s blinding curtain.

Even more sadly no one to agree with that the catharsis of sports-analogue politics is what’s in play, all that’s in play. Not issues, not policy. The game, winning and losing. The only issue that gets trotted out is abortion. And that’s not even foregrounded now.
People here should spend some time watching FOX and MSNBC.

Substance, issues, the fundamental differences between the two candidates as per the real world and its affairs, missing entirely.
Numbers, strategy, points gained and lost, that’s it.

noen:
Politics has always been theatrical. Rarely theater.

129

Smedvik 08.30.08 at 8:17 pm

Tell Abraham that.

130

Lee A. Arnold 08.30.08 at 8:28 pm

#108 Maurice, It appears to be happening on most of the blogs and news sites I read, too. It will be nice if we find a few independent thinkers out of it — but it is also very hard to believe that Rove & Co. haven’t fired up Troll Central.

This is probably a necessary “cover-all-your-bases” tactic, but it could also be a waste of campaign money on this new medium, since it has no effect on the two largest factors: (1) there are two months to go, so people can’t be prevented from thinking about this all the way through, and (2) there is another convention and major debates to come, so most of what is written now will be forgotten.

131

Righteous Bubba 08.30.08 at 8:32 pm

BO has been influenced by muslim teachings. Muslims approve of lying to the enemy. Many people on this site cannot understand the lengths this man will go to in order to achieve his ends.

I’ll bet he’d invade a country without good reason.

132

Smedvik 08.30.08 at 8:49 pm

WOW.

131 caps it for me.

I thought I’d found a site that was open to discourse, but in reviewing the on-going commentary I am whole-heartedly disappointed.

All I’ve found is more fear of other. Aren’t we full up on that yet?

Good luck to those of you who clearly have the best interests of all people in mind.

BUH-bye.

133

lARA 08.30.08 at 8:54 pm

PRIOR POST: but rather because the McCain camp thinks having a woman on the ticket—no matter which woman—will swing undecided women voters toward the GOP. But American women aren’t stupid, they’re going to see through the trick.

134

lARA 08.30.08 at 9:00 pm

PRIOR POST: but rather because the McCain camp thinks having a woman on the ticket—no matter which woman—will swing undecided women voters toward the GOP. But American women aren’t stupid, they’re going to see through the trick.

RESPONSE: oops. sorry. hit hte wrong button and it jumped into cyberspace.
Anyway, my logic agrees with you. But if so, why do we hear so much about HCRs supporters going to McCain rather than support Obama? If there were greater differences between HRC & Obama, or less difference between McCain and Hillary/Obama I could see it. But given the present choices, I haven’t understood the logic for a long time .

135

lARA 08.30.08 at 9:09 pm

PRIOR POST: Muslims approve of lying to the enemy.

RESPOSNE: Hmmm. Define “muslim.” And how do you know that “they” lie? how do you know they ALL lie? Why do you think that is unique to Muslims?

Do you know of any Christians who have exploited and/or subverted the teachings and religion for personal gain? (Hint: think The Crusades? )

Know any Christians who flaunt the IRS by taking political stands on issues but clinging to their tax exemptions.

Is it okay for Christians to lie us into a war? Pardon the people who would provide the evidence of your own corruption? Refuse to honor legitimate subpoenas. Require a litmus test of party affiliation to have access to the powers of government in a democracy!!!! blah blah blah

136

Kaveh Hemmat 08.30.08 at 9:30 pm

@117 What’s trollish you ask? Okay, see #123? That’s trollish. Barack Obama is a Muslim and Muslims are untrustworthy liars? I mean, come on. Nevermind level of discourse, that’s not discourse. I’m not saying we should censor comments like that, unless they grow in volume to the point where they drown out real discussion, in which case I think it would be totally appropriate to censor them. But, are you seriously going to tell me that’s not trollish? That right there is the bottom of the internet leaking in through a crack in the tubes or something. It’s either a run-of-the-mill internet prankster (that is, a troll, by definition), or a serious whack-job.

137

Kaveh Hemmat 08.30.08 at 9:31 pm

@132, You realize #131 was quoting the poster #123 and responding sarcastically? At least that’s how I read it…

138

noen 08.30.08 at 10:46 pm

It’s either a run-of-the-mill internet prankster (that is, a troll, by definition), or a serious whack-job.

It’s a Two Worlds collision. Real trolls have no fixed political ideology. They merely wish to disrupt and will change their political “beliefs” to suit whatever community they find themselves in. They are in a word sadists.

There are a large number of people who really believe that Obama is a secret Muslim, that entitlements should be eliminated, that corporations should not be regulated and so on. They knew about Sarah Palin and were rooting for her long before anyone here heard of her. “Trolls” are sometimes people who show up in the wrong community and try to argue from their perspective. Usually all you get is a flame war. That’s too bad.

Liberals can sometimes be just as closed minded as any conservative. Just as liable to label as troll anyone that strays from the accepted social norms. As an experiment try going to a liberal site and argue for a position outside of what is accepted and see what happens to you. Remember to do this as a conservative, not as a liberal pretending to be a conservative. You’ll get labeled a troll and flamebaited and banned even if you do your best to be polite. (Not everywhere but some places this is true.)

I don’t know of any neutral space where people from the many online communities could go to meet and discuss issues. It would have to be heavily moderated I suppose. Something like that is needed I should think or things will remain as balkanized as they are now. That can’t be good.

139

Canadian 08.30.08 at 10:54 pm

The judgments of the bloggers and commenters here on whether Palin is or is not not qualified are largely irrelevant. What matters is how she affects the swing voters in swing states. Obama may win the popular vote and lose the election. Its electoral politics that we are playing. And committed voters are irrelevant except that you can pony up some money. So open your wallet and not your male (?) mouth. The Chicago boys will have to play nice with Hillary. Polin made her day.

140

noen 08.30.08 at 11:11 pm

Is it okay for Christians to lie us into a war? Pardon the people who would provide the evidence of your own corruption?

Yes. There are a large number of Christians today who believe that once they are saved they can essentially do no wrong. If God speaks to you and you are doing God’s will then any means towards that end is justified. It is the “God exists, therefore all is permitted” kind of thinking. As long as you are following God’s will. In fact, they are the majority of Christians today and their numbers are growing.

141

Steve LaBonne 08.30.08 at 11:59 pm

Polls are already showing widespread skepticism about Palin’s readiness to assume the Presidency, as everyone realizes she might well have to do given McCains’s age and health history. People really are not that stupid. Those who think McCain may have made a diabolically clever choice should relax; it’s actually just as dumb and crazy as it seems.

142

bicycle Hussein paladin 08.31.08 at 12:09 am

@138
Yeah, I realize there are people who sincerely believe Obama is a closet Muslim trying to destroy the country, as there are people who genuinely believe a lot of ridiculous things, that doesn’t make them not ridiculous. I would put the odds that people saying what #123 said are malicious and disingenuous in some way a lot higher than the odds that they are people who just happen to disagree and wandered by. I mean, how are you supposed to dialog with self-identified neo-fascists, white supremacists, or hateful fundamentalist whatevers? Isn’t there a point where you just say, “we don’t welcome that kind of talk around here”?

No doubt this has been rehashed a zillion times, but… the fact that a certain ridiculous belief is mostly held by liberals or conservatives or Jews or Muslims or any other group doesn’t mean we should act like it’s not ridiculous. If I were to waltz on in here and start arguing that you’re all going to hell or that white people are inherently more intelligent than brown people, or that the US and Europe should be violently coerced into adopting communism, I don’t think the community would be out of line to call me a fool for saying those things. If I believe one of those things (and you know this somehow, say because I self-identified as a strongly believing “born again” Christian) but I don’t ever bring these beliefs up in discussion, I think it’s a much harder case to make that I should be declared a whacko or a troll just for believing something (I certainly wouldn’t try to make that argument).

143

bicycle Hussein paladin 08.31.08 at 12:13 am

…and following up on that, I don’t think “Obama is a secret Muslim and Muslims want to destroy the country” belongs in the same category as wanting to end all entitlements and corporate regulation. One is bigotry, the other is a political belief. Even if one believes they are equally misguided (how do you measure or rank-order misguidedness anyway?), they are misguided in very different ways.

144

LogicGuru 08.31.08 at 12:19 am

The more I think about this, the more I think that the most effective strategy for Democrats is to ignore Palin. McCain made his big splash by picking her, but she isn’t particularly appealing to women. Moreover, to Hillary’s most ardent supporters this choice just rubs salt into the wound. It’s the same old story: if you’re a woman you need to be young and pretty to achieve power. And you’d better gather those rosebuds now because when you get older people will make cracks about your thighs, represent you as a cackling harridan, and resent you for daring to run for public office.

Her real appeal is to religious conservatives. McCain might as well have chosen Mike Huckabee–also a likable character with a folksy political outsider image. And this pick won’t get him any more mileage than choosing Huckabee or any other folksy religious conservative unless Republicans manage to keep the faux-feminist theme alive.

A youngish, good-looking women has been picked to play second-banana to a powerful male. That’s an old story–hardly another crack in the glass ceiling, and certainly not a feminist victory.

145

Righteous Bubba 08.31.08 at 12:56 am

Hee hee.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/

WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania (CNN) – This might not be the best way to reach out to those disillusioned Hillary Clinton supporters.

In just her second appearance on the campaign trail with John McCain, newly-minted GOP running mate Sarah Palin was showered with boos on Saturday for attempting to praise Clinton’s trail-blazing bid to become the first female president.

146

LFC 08.31.08 at 1:06 am

Kaveh Hemmat @136: If you go back and read what Maurice Meilleur wrote at 108, you’ll see that his use of “earnest” and “trollish” does *not* refer specifically to this thread but rather refers to CT in general. Meilleur: “I lurk at CT a lot more than I post, and I daresay I recognize most of the regulars and irregulars, earnest and trollish alike.” That sentence is about the blog, not about this thread, and so is my response at 117. Maybe he’s right that there are “trollish” regulars and irregulars, but I was raising a question about that. So while I agree with you that the person who commented at 123 is nuts, that is tangential to the point I was trying to raise.

As to whether 123 and similar comments should be censored, my answer is no. They should be able to write and post any nonsense they want, subject only to basic restrictions involving libel/defamation and, perhaps, obvious obscenity. A concerted attack on a site by posts of this kind might raise a different issue, but that does not appear to have happened here.

147

Righteous Bubba 08.31.08 at 1:08 am

There is a CT comments policy in operation regardless of what we commenters think should be expressed.

148

noen 08.31.08 at 1:56 am

@142
I now think that I took this too far off topic. It is something that interests me though and frankly I’m bored with Palin. She’s not that interesting. Basically I was just wondering out loud about the great divide of our times and thinking it might be a good thing for the two worlds to meet. Or maybe not, but not here.

149

J Thomas 08.31.08 at 2:14 am

RB, Clinton supporters might appreciate Palin reaching out to Hillary.

But GOP supporters generally seem to despise Hillary and don’t want to hear their candidate saying anything nice about her.

It’s a coalition made in hell.

150

Markup 08.31.08 at 2:21 am

People really are not that stupid. Those who think McCain may have made a diabolically clever choice should relax; it’s actually just as dumb and crazy as it seems.

The last two Presidential elections, ’04 particularly, disagree with the first. As to the 2nd point, “diabolically clever,” might be used if they win, but prio to that perhaps calculated desperation may fit better. The possibility of the R’s going 12-16 straight after the first 8 is pretty slim, but they have had a bit better long game of late than the other team; sometimes there is a strategery possible to punting on 3rd and long.

Given the choice of someone who cooked squirrels in a popcorn maker or whatever, or one who stalks the great bear in the woods, who would RR have picked [subject to Nan’s approval of course]?

151

Guest 08.31.08 at 3:10 am

Nobody defending Palin actually thinks she has any relevant experience, or is competent to participate in running the most powerful conglomerate on earth.

But as we’ve seen on a daily basis from the Bush Administration, defending absurdity at the top of your voice is much, much easier than defending a rational position – when you defend something ridiculous, you create a powerful wave of cognitive dissonance that disables the opposition and allows you to seize the initiative. If you’re defending a rational position, you leave yourself open to rational rebuttal and refutation.

152

Kaveh Hemmat 08.31.08 at 3:26 am

@ LFC 146, Okay, I see what you’re saying. fwiw I agree about if/when comments like #123 should be censored.

153

Kieran Healy 08.31.08 at 4:04 am

They should be able to write and post any nonsense they want, subject only to basic restrictions involving libel/defamation and, perhaps, obvious obscenity.

For the record, The Management are a tolerant bunch with a comments policy and everything, but seeing as they’re paying for the microphone they reserve the right to delete comments as they see fit. People are of course welcome to write and post any nonsense they want on their own blogs.

154

abb1 08.31.08 at 7:07 am

The more I think about this, the more I think that the most effective strategy for Democrats is to ignore Palin.

I think that’s right. I think there’s a danger (for the democrats) that somehow an illusion is created that Obama is running against Palin and McCain against Biden. That would be bad.

155

Matt McIrvin 08.31.08 at 11:48 am

somehow an illusion is created that Obama is running against Palin and McCain against Biden

I kind of doubt that this is at all likely to happen. Everyone knows who’s running for president. The idea that it could happen is an artifact of Palin’s novelty that will be gone two weeks from now.

Besides, the early reaction from Obama’s campaign seems to indicate that they know the score–they’re keeping the focus on what electing McCain means.

156

Slocum 08.31.08 at 1:49 pm

I don’t want to hear about how we have to have a “hands off” approach to the delicate Ms. Palin. It’s “take no prisoners” time.

Yeah, I don’t think delicate is really a problem — she hunts, she fishes, plays hockey, was nicknamed ‘Sarah Barracuda’ playing point-guard in high-school. Or so I hear. And I bet she doesn’t bowl 37. And she strikes me as something very much unlike a convention, conservative Christian women. Look at the admission of inhaling when smoking pot. Or the curiously hippie-sounding names of her kids (Willow, Track, Trig).

She has glamor comparable to Obama’s but of a very different kind–the Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, frontier sort of glamor. The ‘Deadliest Catch’ kind. Not the tall thin man from Harvard in a beautifully tailored suit kind. Interesting contrast.

And you could argue that her political rise is more attractive than Obama’s — an insurgent, outsider campaign to unseat an incumbent governer. Rather than, in Obama’s case, a campaign that was launched with legal maneuvers to get his opponents tossed off the ballot, followed by careful grooming by powers-that-be in the Illinois legislature.

Palin may turn out to be in way over her head, but Americans will give her a chance to show otherwise — I expect a lot of people will be tuning in to the vice-presidential debate. And the idea that Biden will necessarily wipe the floor with her is doubtful. Biden, after all, has something of a history of speaking disasters — claiming Neil Kinnock’s coal-mining ancestors as his own, obviously, as well as the famous “my IQ is higher than yours” boast.

157

Scott F. 08.31.08 at 2:29 pm

Frankly, I would like to hear more about how McCain selected Palin. From what I’ve read McCain met her once at his home in Sedona and talked with her another time over the telephone. There is also a article up on the WAPO that implies she wasn’t vetted extensively. If this is the first major decision a Presidential candidate makes, it really calls into question McCain’s decision making process. McCain needs to be grilled about why he picked Palin and why he thinks she is the best qualified candidate to be second in line for the Presidency.

158

jj2 08.31.08 at 2:47 pm

McCain/Palin’08.

McCain: Pale In ’08.

159

JSauer 08.31.08 at 3:22 pm

McCain has lost the election. Perhaps Palin can attract women that voted for Hillary primarly based on gender. Perhaps she can even further galvanize the Evangelical and pro-life voting blocks. She may even be able to reach out to the younger generation (something McCain is quite inept at doing). Yet she will be destroyed in any sort of foreign policy debate with Biden. Further, as much as I liked McCain before the primaries, many fear him as a warmonger regardless of the facts. His choice reminds me of his independence, only months ago, yet he is now a fully functioning GOP leader. He has no real choice if he wants to win. Had he nominated someone that had opposed him or was at least knowledgeable on the issues, he would have been better off. We are also begining to see her connections to big business in Alaska, one reason Romney scared voters. Moreover, in several articles published online, McCain sounds almost remorseful that he did not choose Biden. Her experience, less than Obama’s, will be noted. And we all know McCain is old. I think even the most staunch GOP supporter will question her ability to lead the country if McCain passes. I do think Biden may have a hard time not patronizing her during debates knowing his lacking ability to think on his feet. Yet the patrimony may further expose her lack of knoledge. The Mavrick gambled and it cost him the election.

160

LFC 08.31.08 at 4:26 pm

@153: Fair enough.

161

Righteous Bubba 08.31.08 at 5:07 pm

She has glamor comparable to Obama’s but of a very different kind—the Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, frontier sort of glamor.

Not when speaking.

162

Mark 08.31.08 at 9:22 pm

Read the wikipedia entries of the four people in question. Is that a way to see who is up to snuff and who is not? I think so, at least to some degree. It’s a good starting point anyway…

What I came away with from that activity is that: (a) Obama and Biden have quite a bit of coverage over serious and relevant matters spanning social services and constitutional law, and (b) McCain seems average and he’s been around a long time, and (c) Palin has a minor in political science and something of a ‘homecoming queen’ foundation for being President. Yikes.

If these were résumés I was reviewing to fill a position, I would definitely think more highly of Biden and Obama.

In alphabetical order…
Biden
McCain
Obama
Palin

163

snuh 09.01.08 at 4:46 am

164

glenn 09.01.08 at 6:47 am

Let’s face it, Palin’s biography is compelling, equivelent, more or less, to Obama’s. What the veep selection has been very succesful at – and this thread is just one small example – is that the headlines, chatter, and excitement have all moved quickly from BO to JM/SP. That being said, if you view the veep selection as the first presidential decision of a candidate, the Obama wins hands down, without question.

165

Lex 09.01.08 at 11:31 am

@156: speaking disasters? You mean the one time he made the same point that Neil Kinnock had made, and failed to point out that, while true of himself also, he was not the first man to say it? Gosh, that’s right up there with blurting out that you like internet porn, or your daddy was in the KKK.

Really, I would be more bothered about facts like Palin’s opposition to abortion for rape-victims. Go there, really, people should.

166

Lex 09.01.08 at 11:32 am

@156: speaking disasters? You mean the one time he made the same point that Neil Kinnock had made, and failed to point out that, while true of himself also, he was not the first man to say it? Gosh, that’s right up there with blurting out that your daddy was in the KKK.

Really, I would be more bothered about facts like Palin’s opposition to abortion for rape-victims. Go there, really, people should.

167

Rick Dubin 09.01.08 at 1:43 pm

Gee, how heartwarming to note that it is not only the Democrats who make stupid decisions. In a single step the McCain campaign has boosted Obama’s chances for election.

168

J Thomas 09.01.08 at 3:45 pm

I’m guessing Palin won’t have much effect on democrats, Hillary supporters or not.

The big effect is to bring in republicans who otherwise might want to sit this one out. The kind who thought that Bush was a good Christian man.

What I dont know is how it will affect independents. When I think Independent I think of people who’re like me. I didn’t care about the Democratic Party until the GOP turned so eldritch. Now I wind up supporting Democrats because by comparison they’re the party of sanity. But maybe a lot of independents aren’t like me. Maybe some of them would vote for McCain because of Palin, who would otherwise not vote or vote for Obama. I dunno. Independents are probably a pretty diverse lot.

169

Slocum 09.01.08 at 4:13 pm

You mean the one time he made the same point that Neil Kinnock had made, and failed to point out that, while true of himself also…

You can try to spin it however you like, but it was a disaster at the time — and one exploited not by Republicans, but his Democratic rivals. And this is just painful:

http://minx.cc/?post=271413

Not least because the boasting turned out to be bogus. How can you watch that and not think, “God, what a tool!” I can’t quite see Sarah Palin saying anything that stupidly tone-deaf and obnoxious.

“She has glamor comparable to Obama’s but of a very different kind—the Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, frontier sort of glamor.”

Not when speaking.

Really? She’s speaking here:

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1837608_1837607,00.html

170

Marc 09.01.08 at 5:11 pm

Slocum, do you care a white about whether Palin is remotely capable of performing her duties given the substantial probability that she’ll become president if elected?

Republicans seem to care about this purely as a tactical move, akin to cheering on Team Red. Your party is simply not serious about governing. That’s what this pick means.

171

Barry 09.01.08 at 5:20 pm

Slocum: “She has glamor comparable to Obama’s but of a very different kind—the Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, frontier sort of glamor. The ‘Deadliest Catch’ kind. Not the tall thin man from Harvard in a beautifully tailored suit kind. Interesting contrast.”

Wrong – Obama went from junior senator to Dem Presidential nominee, beating the Anointed One. Palin was picked by McCain to be his VP.

172

Jim Harrison 09.01.08 at 5:34 pm

Now that it has come out that Palin’s unmarried daughter is five-months pregnant, all these comments are obsolete. We are now in the midst of a world-class soap opera.

More proof that history is indifferent to considerations of good taste.

173

Righteous Bubba 09.01.08 at 6:11 pm

Not when speaking.

Really?

Really. The glamour is wholly biographical.

174

Righteous Bubba 09.01.08 at 6:12 pm

I hate having to retag every paragraph.

175

Righteous Bubba 09.01.08 at 6:15 pm

We are now in the midst of a world-class soap opera.

Oh lord, I’ve just caught up.

Congratulations on your vetting team Mr. McCain.

176

abb1 09.01.08 at 6:30 pm

Like it’s ever anything other than a soap opera. And how could it be when you vote for a person rather than a set of policies.

177

Slocum 09.02.08 at 12:41 am

Slocum, do you care a white about whether Palin is remotely capable of performing her duties given the substantial probability that she’ll become president if elected?

Sure — but it’s not at all clear that her resume is thinner than Obama’s and she’s not on the top of the ticket. The post of governor has (in the last half century, anyway) been a far more common qualification for president than senator. We’ll have plenty of opportunity to see if she knows what she’s talking about before the election. I can wait.

And I have to say, I don’t like Biden. Not just his personal qualities and love of hearing himself speak, but his record as a drug warrior, his support of the RIAA, and his being known as the ‘senator from MBNA’ rub me the wrong way. Also his Iraq partition plan. In terms of being the preferable candidate for the vice presidency, she just doesn’t have a very high bar to clear.

Republicans seem to care about this purely as a tactical move, akin to cheering on Team Red. Your party is simply not serious about governing. That’s what this pick means.

The Republicans aren’t ‘my’ party. I voted for Democrats in 3 of the last 4 elections, including Clinton twice. If there were a Democrat this year running on free trade and the ‘end of big government’ as Clinton did I’d be inclined to vote for him (or her) too.

178

Righteous Bubba 09.02.08 at 12:45 am

Sure—but it’s not at all clear that her resume is thinner than Obama’s

Yes, it’s clear.

179

Marc 09.02.08 at 3:30 am

When I read your first sentence Slocum I can save myself the effort of reading the rest. If you honestly believe that an 18 month stint as governor in Alaska equals running a national campaign and years of public exposure on national and international issues…what can I say. Except that I think you’re smarter than that. You’re spouting pre-fab talking points here, and I can tune into anywhere to hear those. Which is too bad, because in my memory you’re capable of more.

You’re not defending a generic governor; you’re defending a particularly spectacular train wreck who is utterly unsuited for the job and whose candidacy is melting like a popsicle in the sun.

180

J Thomas 09.02.08 at 11:13 am

Marc, a vote for Palin is a vote for motherhood. A lot of people are in favor of motherhood.

181

Barry 09.02.08 at 3:25 pm

Slocum: “Not the tall thin man from Harvard in a beautifully tailored suit kind. Interesting contrast.”

WTF? Thin is what? – Elitist? ‘beautifully tailored suit’ – well, it’s true that Obama looks better than Bush, even when Bush is in his $3,000 bespoke suits from Scotland.

182

roy belmont 09.02.08 at 4:04 pm

Jonathan Martin:
“Let it be noted that McCain aide/blogger Michael Goldfarb was on the Palin train way back in February, when he was still writing for The Weekly Standard.
He touted the little-known Alaska governor so much, actually, that editor Bill Kristol had to rein him in.
That is, until Kristol also caught the Palin fever.
Appearing on Fox in June, Kristol (perhaps with a touch of humor) predicted McCain would tap Palin.”
http://tinyurl.com/652584

Daily Kos:
Q: Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

Palin: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance
http://tinyurl.com/5t6x2k

183

Slocum 09.02.08 at 4:32 pm

If you honestly believe that an 18 month stint as governor in Alaska equals running a national campaign and years of public exposure on national and international issues…

I find the claim that one of Obama’s principal qualifications for president consists of running a presidential campaign and being generally exposed and known … not very convincing.

There is no doubt that we know Obama better than Palin and have a much better idea of his ideas about national and international issues — and if we get to November and still have no idea what Palin’s position is on those issues, or find she has no position, or feel that she generally doesn’t know what she’s talking about, that would be a reason to vote against the ticket.

WTF? Thin is what? – Elitist? ‘beautifully tailored suit’ – well, it’s true that Obama looks better than Bush, even when Bush is in his $3,000 bespoke suits from Scotland.

No, tall and thin is just what Obama looks like. I was talking about Obama’s image, which is one of elegance — in dress, manner, and background (Harvard Law, University of Chicago). He does look better than Bush in a suit. He hasn’t cultivated a ‘regular guy’ image (faux or genuine) nor even one as a yuppie outdoors enthusiast in the ‘what white people like’ sense:

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/03/11/87-outdoor-performance-clothes/

So Obama’s coolness is of a particular and different type than Palin’s ‘loading the family and the fishing gear into the seaplane’ — that’s all.

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roy belmont 09.02.08 at 4:58 pm

Better than regular:
http://tinyurl.com/5jjlge

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bicycle Hussein paladin 09.02.08 at 5:30 pm

I find the claim that one of Obama’s principal qualifications for president consists of running a presidential campaign and being generally exposed and known … not very convincing.

I don’t know who would say that it’s one of his principal qualifications, but how somebody runs their campaign, especially in comparison to Obama’s competitors and other campaigns over the years, could speak very well about Obama’s management skills. Clinton also ran a nation-wide campaign, but it was a mess, a real train-wreck. You get these anecdotes leaking out about how the people running it hate each other’s guts, and that the campaign was running out of money but the person (Patti Solis Doyle) in charge of their finances (I think) didn’t tell this to Hillary Clinton until they were near the point of broke (and promptly resigned). I at least haven’t heard anything comparable to that about Obama, or about McCain, other than his recent VP pick and anecdotes about how his handlers have to keep him in check. Then there are the stories about Rove’s tactics during Bush’s 2000 campaign, especially against McCain in S Carolina. That Obama has managed to run a campaign this long with this much scrutiny, without any stories like that coming out, that is at least encouraging evidence about his management skills. You might say, “well of course he has good management skills, that’s a minimum we expect from a presidential candidate,” but some of these campaigns reveal that they don’t have great management skills, or other troubling things about them.

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Righteous Bubba 09.02.08 at 7:18 pm

if we get to November and still have no idea what Palin’s position is on those issues, or find she has no position, or feel that she generally doesn’t know what she’s talking about

Quite right. It’s September and we are not allowed to have opinions yet.

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David in NY 09.02.08 at 7:49 pm

I don’t get this “executive” experience thing. A couple of my favorite Presidents are Truman and Kennedy — they did fine with as little executive experience as Obama. And Lyndon Johnson, too, though he lacked good judgment with regard to Vietnam. (Does being a Vice President who is not Dick Cheney count as executive experience? If not, then there’s Nixon, too — deeply dishonest but certainly competent. And Gerry Ford.) And on the other hand, there’s Carter and Bush II as examples of former “executives” who didn’t do so well as Presidents. I call BS on this factor, as they say.

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David in NY 09.02.08 at 7:52 pm

“I was talking about Obama’s image, which is one of elegance…” #183

Oh give me a f…..ing break. He’s a skinny black guy with big ears. Quit trying the Rove trick of making him into the snooty guy at the country club. It won’t work.

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Slocum 09.02.08 at 9:29 pm

“I was talking about Obama’s image, which is one of elegance…” #183

Oh give me a f…..ing break. He’s a skinny black guy with big ears. Quit trying the Rove trick of making him into the snooty guy at the country club. It won’t work.

So is this kind of thing some sort of Karl Rove-inspired hatchet job, then?

http://news.scotsman.com/barackobama/Obama-The-GQ-candidate-.4310033.jp

Or this:

“An Obama victory in November would, of course, constitute a far more remarkable historical breakthrough, with the election of the first African American to the White House, a prospect utterly unimaginable in John Kennedy’s day. Both are young – indeed a President Obama would be five years older than JFK when he took office. Both have grace, charm and elegance. They share a cool, at times sardonic, detachment.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-echoes-from-another-era-of-american-liberalism-909599.html

Who knew that Rove’s sinister influence extended to ‘The Independent’ in the UK?

I’m not sure why you’re getting your shorts in such a twist. Obama has a urban, elegant kind of coolness. It’s an attractive image, and it fits him. So far, he hasn’t tried to change it in ways that seem phony or silly, and that’s to his credit.

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Righteous Bubba 09.02.08 at 9:53 pm

Obama has a urban, elegant kind of coolness. It’s an attractive image, and it fits him.

Let me agree with Slocum just for fun, while noting that it’s not hard to look polished next to the current occupant of the White House, or the current incarnation of John McCain for that matter.

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David in NY 09.02.08 at 10:21 pm

“tall thin man from Harvard in a beautifully tailored suit”: Slocum

“He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.” : Rove

Similar? Similarly inspired? We report, you decide.

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Righteous Bubba 09.02.08 at 10:48 pm

Similar?

I don’t think so. Rove’s bit tells you a whole lot more about Rove himself. It’s probably the case that to some people “X is graceful” – an innocuous and true statement in the case of Obama – means “X is a FAG!” but those are unlikely to be the folks a Democrat needs to win over in any case.

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Tony 09.03.08 at 7:44 am

The issue of experience vs. education is interesting.

Obama has twelve years experience as a lecturer in Constitutional Law at Columbia. How come no-one seems prepared to contrast that with Palin’s bare BSc. in journalism?

Does 12 years lecturing in constitutional law not count as experience?

Does having a higher level of general knowledge and education not make you more suitable for what is the world’s most challanging job?

Were I American, the least thing I would expect from a candidate for high office is that he or she had taken the time to formulate an opinion on Iraq.

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Tony 09.03.08 at 7:50 am

Check this out.

“Sarah Palin on Foreign Policy:
No issue stance yet recorded by OnTheIssues.org. ”

http://www.ontheissues.org/Sarah_Palin.htm

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bicycle Hussein paladin 09.03.08 at 1:48 pm

Tony makes an excellent point about education. Education and experience are more complements than substitutes.

I actually consider Obama’s having been raised in Hawai’i and Indonesia and having gone to international schools a big point in his favor. It seems like he actually interacted from kids from different cultural backgrounds, and had an Indonesian stepfather for a while if I understand correctly. As far as I know that’s very uncommon for people in US politics.

I don’t know if this is true, but I heard that something like 2/3 of US senators don’t have passports, i.e. they have never left the country.

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Bloix 09.03.08 at 3:23 pm

I don’t know about senators, but Brits often express amazement that most Americans don’t have passports. The difference is that we don’t need them in order to go to the beach or to go skiing.

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nick s 09.04.08 at 6:19 am

The difference is that we don’t need them in order to go to the beach or to go skiing.

Such finely detailed geographical knowledge also feeds into one of the stereotypes the British tend to hold about Americans.

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