Time to detox from nearly two years of pressure. I should be back online in a day or two. In the meantime, here is the quote of the day from Joe Klein, not usually my favorite pundit:

[McCain adviser] Steve Schmidt has decided, for tactical reasons, to slime the press. He wants the public to believe that there is an unfair–sexist (you gotta love it)–personal assault going on against Palin and her family. This is a smokescreen, intended to divert attention from the fact the very real and responsible vetting that is taking place in the media–about the substance of Palin’s record as mayor and governor. Sure, there are a few outliers–and the tabloid press–who have fixed on baby stories. That was inevitable….the flip side of the personal stories that the McCain team thought would work to their advantage–Palin’s moose-hunting and wolf-shooting, and her admirable decision to have a Down Syndrome baby. And yes, when we all fix on the same story, whether it’s a hurricane or a little-known politician, a zoo ensues. But the media coverage of the Palin story has been well within the bounds of responsibility. Schmidt is trying to make it seem otherwise, a desperate tactic.

There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is “a task from God.” The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

No matter what we say now about Palin, the right will reflexively brand it as sexist and cruel and evil. Anyway, I just want to ask them: of all the possible people to be president of the United States – which McCain’s veep may well become – is Sarah Palin the best and most qualified? If someone has to step into McCain’s shoes on Day 2, is Palin the one in whose hands we most want to put the fate of the world? The one to stand up to Putin and Hu and Mugabe? Is Palin The One?

Disaster, I say. Total disaster. See you all soon.

The Discussion: 103 Comments

I don’t mind that they are trying to figure out Sarah Palin, but I just wish that they would try and figure out Obama. No one has questioned him or attacked him on Ayers, or any of his other crap that he has done, the liberal media is “real” every anchor man or woman is big time liberal. Hillary was right when she said the media was giving Obama a free pass. Since the liberals hate america, and they want us to lose in Iraq and have universal health care, why don’t they just move to Canada, or England or Sweden, where they already have universal health care and leave us alone. America is great, because people dig down in themselves and have the freedom to become whatever they want, and they don’t have government controlling them. Leave America alone, and let us be the best country that there is. Econimic wise there are cycles with the free market, we can survive this the liberal media can just move away and go somewhere else thanks. It is okay for journalists to dig up stuff, but work just as hard on the democrate side as the republican side. Lou Dobbs is independent, but he even admitted last week that Obama has been on the front of Time magazine 7 or 9 times, and McCain only twice…uhm….also the US magazine was ridiculous saying “babies, lies and scandales” with Palin, and yet with Obama the cover was “why he loves Michelle” oh PLEASE try and be somewhat fair and kind, we are sick of it….

September 4, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

>>There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized.

No! How can it be?? Actually, come to think of it, this makes sense. Since the media are constantly criticized.. now I know why they are in a permanent state of cringing withdrawal.

September 4, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

I’m sick of all the western media bias against politicians.

September 4, 2008 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

oops I didn’t know that you aren’t suppose to use your real name, (not that I did), this is the first time I have typed on a blog, I’m hoping you can change the name from the one I typed in earlier, that matches my e mail, and do this new name … which are the letters of the first names of the ducks in the book “Make way for ducklings” by John McClowsky, based on the cute duck family in Boston. My husband is asleep and I should have asked him how to fill in the required name thing, I am way too innocent. once again please change the name…thanks I don’t mind the western media bias, whatever, I just want them to treat all of the politicians the same, goodness me

September 4, 2008 @ 2:19 pm | Comment


That was a hilarious parody! Keep it up. It was really perfect..right down to the grammar and spelling errors. 4 Stars!

September 4, 2008 @ 2:35 pm | Comment

I watched her speech. She looked good on camera, has a good voice, has an easy demeanor which common people in small towns could relate to. But the substance in her speech was thin. The energy policy was the same old, she didn’t say that the Iraq gov’t already has surplus but still taking so much money from the US, and didn’t talk about a plan to pull the troops, didn’t talk about health care, how expensive and unavailable for so many people. She is a bull dog which is a bit fearless, but I feel bad for her daughter, the pregnant one, she looked so uncomfortable, and the boyfriend looked glowing in that environment, I think he would fool around with young women who just want a piece of him now that he is known. No McCain, after the excitment of Palin’s speech. I don’t want to see off shores drilling, when there are technologies available to make cars go longer using less fuel, when there are solar, wind, when there are existing available permits for oil companies to drill. I don’t want a Christian fundamentalist to tell me how to teach my kids birth control(Even though I have no kids, I don’t like that idea), and when does life begins-when so many people in the US are not Christians, and believe in science and evolution. Republicans stress individual freedom and less gov’t all the time, yet they are always budding into people’s personal choices on how to have sex in their own privacies, and what they do with their bodies.

September 4, 2008 @ 2:41 pm | Comment

is Palin the one in whose hands we most want to put the fate of the world? The one to stand up to Putin and Hu and Mugabe?

No idea, but then again my whole fear over Obama is exactly the same question.

September 4, 2008 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

Cathy, exactly. She does look good. So does Obama. But Obama, for all his alleged failings, has a track record of standing up for causes, for thinking about societal improvement and taking a stand on issues. She’s got zilch, zero.

Laurel I think you are a satirist, no? Obama has been slammed and examined on every front, the words of sermons from his pastor years ago pored over looking for controversy, the Ayers accusations made 1,000 times (if you care to look). “liberals hate America” – I am liberal, and I like a America a lot – it can be a swell country. Satire, right?

Raj, do you really put Obama on the same level as anti-stem cell research, pro-Creationsm, corrupt and depthless blank slate Palin? I repeat what I have now said many times – Obama’s record of deep involvement in social causes and taking a stand and then acting on it can be charted from at least 1985. Where is Palin’s track record? She has one, only it’s not so pretty, as Joe Klein’s quote above illustrates. And at least Obama has a real candidate running with him as vice president. Again, the whole thing is much more a statement about McCain. He’s bad news, he’d be a bad president, and this wasw a very, very bad choice on his part. Do you think she is the right one, the best one to lead the world? (And I am not asking you to compare her to Obama. It’s a self-contained question.)

September 4, 2008 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

I find this analysis by TED ANTHONY “GOP contradicts self on Palin family” rather on the mark.

The Republican message about the Palin offspring comes across as contradictory: Hey, media, leave those kids alone — so we can use them as we see fit.

My first reaction, which is a cynical one, after reading this analysis is that whoever staged this whole sequence of events in the GOP convention, be that Sarah Palin or her handlers, is purposely trying to use her teenage daughter and her boyfriend as baits to lure attacks from the left in order to generate some backlash.

September 4, 2008 @ 3:16 pm | Comment

Richard, would that Obama has the track record you say he does. Again, I say to you, FISA. His record is thin and I don’t see the consistency you speak of. I think he has spent most of his career running for the next office before he’s finished the job he was elected to do. Just look at his record on the environment, what you can find of it anyway.

That doesn’t mean I won’t support him, ultimately. I figure I’ll end up closing my eyes and thinking of the polar bears. But I have no illusions about what I’m getting with him.

McCain and Palin are completely unacceptable, but I am not going to go down the “she’s not qualified” or “she’s inexperienced” route. I don’t really know that, and I DO think there is an element of sexism to it. I reject them on their policies and where they would lead the country.

September 4, 2008 @ 3:31 pm | Comment

I like that “close my eyes and think of the polar bears” bit. I wasn’t aware of Obama’s long record of standing up for causes, outside the education effort in Chicago. How come we don’t see more about it? The hopiness and changitude wear thin after a while. But yes, inexperience is a card the Obama folks wouldn’t want to lean too heavily on. At least this blog hasn’t gone into “She should be staying home to take care of the children!” mode.

September 4, 2008 @ 4:33 pm | Comment

“McCain and Palin are completely unacceptable, but I am not going to go down the “she’s not qualified” or “she’s inexperienced” route. I don’t really know that, and I DO think there is an element of sexism to it. I reject them on their policies and where they would lead the country.”

This is about one of the most level-headed criticisms I have heard of the issue. Sorry, Richard, I disagree with you because you seem to be falling into the “Palin is inexperienced so would make a lousy VP, Obama is experienced (chortle) so would make a fine president) trap.

“Palin the one in whose hands we most want to put the fate of the world? The one to stand up to Putin and Hu and Mugabe? Is Palin The One?”

Well I don’t see how Obama would do so much better in this case. He is hardly a foreign policy veteran. He hasn’t even been in Washington very long. Personally, I would rather have an inexperienced politician as the understudy of an experienced one that holds the Oval Office (yes, even for just a year or two) than have an inexperienced one sit in the president’s chair on day one.

If you don’t like McCain or Palin or what they stand for, that is your right. But you should at least be able to admit that the candidate that you do support carries many of the same risks as Palin does AND is running for president (not VP).

Finally, you say “No matter what we say now about Palin, the right will reflexively brand it as sexist and cruel and evil.”

Richard, a lot of what I have been reading IS cruel. Giving a family the tabloid treatment when they have really done nothing worse than many American families is gutter behaviour. There is a reason why Obama himself has branded talk about Bristol Palin, the Trig Palin, the future son-in-law (heh, let’s see where that goes), and the hubby’s crime two decades ago off limits. Because he sees how negative such talk can be and is, and how unhelpful it is, not to mention the fact that it is a turn-off to many other people.

A lot is also sexist. I can’t count the number of times I have read opposing criticism saying that she is, at the same time, not accomplished enough AND doesn’t spend more time with her family. I have read almost verbatim things to the nature of: How competent a VP could she be with a family of five kids, one of who has Down Syndrome and the other who had an underage baby?

I don’t think anyone has said that ALL of the media’s criticism (including the blogosphere) is sexist and cruel. But certainly a lot of it is. If you haven’t seen examples like the ones I cited above, or you do not see how they are sexist and cruel, then you are blind.

Yeah, criticise her TYPE of experience (she does not have less than Obama), criticise her political leanings, criticise her ethics if you see a problem, even criticise her personality if you don’t like it. But don’t forget that many go way beyond this, and it IS disgusting.

September 4, 2008 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

It’s kind of exasperating – I have always said Obama is thin on experience. All I am saying is Palin is much, much, much, much, much thinner. I put up a post blasting Obama for FISA, but I can let it go because for now he’s what we’ve got, I am impressed with some of his other skills and his intelligence, and especially with his command of rhetoric, which is what America badly needs after 8 years of bushiness. And as I keep saying, he has shown passionate commitment to the improving the lives of others since 1985. Is he ideal? No. Did he speak to issues and communicate with the American people in an intelligent manner that touched upon the issues they care about without damning the competition? Yes, he did. Listen to the speeches by sneering Giuliani and PTA Palin. We don’t want these people in power anymore.

I was upset by Obama’s FISA flip-flop. I was equally upset by Hillary Clinton’s cynical endorsement of the “gas tax holiday.” Politicans are not perfect. I realize both of them made those bad decisions for the sake of political expediency. Had Hillary won, should I harbor permanent hostility over the gas tax stupidity? That is just what the other side would love us to do. We need to avoid litmus tests and finally stand together and get over the single-issue fixation that politicians love to exploit.

Palin sucks. That is based on a lot of reading about her history, her lies about the bridge to nowhere, her multiple orgasms over the Iraq War, her exploiting her daughter and son-in-law-to-be and their child-to-be at the convention (they’re fair game now) and her evangelical, gun-loving, book-banning outlook. In every way she is the antithesis of what our country needs, and most damningly, she is the antithesis of what McCain stands for!Or used to stad for. I once admired him; now I think he is either very cynical or somewhat senile. How else to explain this artery-popping choice?

Time for all of us to put the concerns over this or that aspect of Biden or Obama that we don’t like and focus like a laser on saving America from another 8 years of Rethuglican tyranny. I know the concerns, I get them, I have them myself. But I’ve got to see the bigger picture, and within that vast mosaic these individual issues seems small indeed. 8 more years of tax cuts for the super-rich and a shittier life for the working poor and middle class, or a new start with a team that for all their faults have run a masterful campaign and seem to exude the one quality McCain and Co. clearly lack: competency.

September 4, 2008 @ 5:13 pm | Comment

Raj, do you really put Obama on the same level as anti-stem cell research, pro-Creationsm, corrupt and depthless blank slate Palin?

I did nothing of the sort. You raised the question of whether Palin would be ready to confront world “baddies” – I asked whether Obama would be. This is what lisa has been going on about. If Democrats question Palin on things that Obama is also regarded as being weak on, the Democrats will come out the worse in the end on at least that front.

For the floating voter who doesn’t strongly dislike any of the candidates, the option in regards to foreign policy would seem to be this.

Republican – McCain for president, who is regarded as experienced and tough on foreign policy, with Palin as vice-president who might take over the rest of a first term and is an unknown.

Democrat – Obama for president, who is regarded as inexperienced on foreign policy, with Biden as vice-president who would probably not take over the rest of a first term and lends “credibility” to the ticket’s foreign policy.

There are many issues in the campaign, but if one addresses foreign policy then on that the Republicans have the advantage. Palin might be an unknown, but it is still more likely than not that she would not have to step in. Whereas Biden isn’t going to take over, so even if he is regarded as “stronger” on foreign policy than Obama it isn’t going to make him better – unless Biden is going to control that area of the administration and Obama will just smile and nod.

So again, as lisa said, there’s little to be gained and a lot to be risked by questioning whether Palin is “ready” to be vice-president when similar queries remain about the Democrat presidental candidate. Same applies to the daft suggestions by some hacks that Palin should have a DNA test to prove she is the mother of her baby. Democrats should be focusing on matters regarding policy where they can expose Palin as being hypocritical or just wrong.

September 4, 2008 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

Oh, Raj, you’re such a, … a, … a realist! Where’s the glow, the magic?

September 4, 2008 @ 5:22 pm | Comment

As a non-American, I can’t understand how Americans could regard McCain as stronger on foreign policy. The guy is so unpredictable and such a loose cannon, I shudder at the thought of him and possibly Palin in control of the worl’ds biggest war machine. His language knee-jerk and reactionary, but the world is a nuanced place that requires carefully thought-out positions. Compare that with Obama and his stressing of the importance of dialogue, and its like a breath of fresh air.

With the experience thing, I have to say I completely agree with Richard. Obama just defeated one of the most powerful political families in the world to get nominated as the first African American candidate for a major party. That shows that not only does he have the political skills necessary to run the country but also that he is surrounded by a team of shit-hot political operatives who can effectively and consistently communicate their message. Palin, on the other hand, was hand-picked to the position of potential VP because she fit a demographic profile. Even her own mother-in-law is considering voting Obama!

I used to have some regard for McCain but I shudder at the negativity and divisiveness that is creeping into his campaign. Palin’s speech was a case in point. Please people, no more Republicans! Pleeeaassse!

September 4, 2008 @ 5:40 pm | Comment

I have not heard the Republicans talking about how bad the economy is, how alienated the US is becoming among its allies, the Republicans played on the fear factor-look out for another 911 attack, and McCain could then do the right thing, to save the US from evil, it’s completely scare tactics, and Palin talked nothing about the cost of medical expenses many people this country have to face, and that’s strange to not have this talked about by a woman, a mother. I don’t think there has been sexist comments from the Obama camp, I think McCain camp made it up just grabbed something said from the media and blogs regarding Palin. Frankly, terrorists need to not attack the US any longer, the US is weakening by its own doing at the current rate, the Bush administration has drained all the funds and the US is broke, there’s no need for terrorists to scare the US by attacks, unless they want to have another Republican President in the house because Republican administration’s foreign policy has been working to the terrorists’ advantage.

September 4, 2008 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

Regarding the gender issue, another thing I would call sexist(including on this blog) is women voting for McCain/Palin in order to see a woman VP. Voting for someone on the basis of their gender rather than the fact they have intelligent and well-thought out views on how to take the country forward. This woman could potentially change the course of history (from an international perspective, that looks ominous), and some people want to vote her on because she doesn’t have a dick? A true victory for women, or anyone for that matter, is if they win this thing on the basis of their vision and ability. (That is a bit naive I know, but c’mon!)

September 4, 2008 @ 6:03 pm | Comment

“Of course you are entitled to your opinions, but I think you lose credibility when you frame things in such a dichotomous way. You try to be balanced on China, and that is admirable. I wish you saw America the same way.”

He is right. I said so the other day about another issue.

As for Palin, what I see you saying, whether you think you are saying so or not, is that Palin is not qualified because you don’t like her. As I said, she does not have less experience than Obama. Get out a calculator and her resume and do the math. She has a different type of experience, and believe it or not, many people will vote for her because of that reason, not despite it. Myself, I don’t see the major objectionables in her past or in her resume that you do. Now, she could be found guilty in Troopergate. Perhaps something else nasty about her may emerge that might also change the situation. But the woman is no less qualified than Obama, and Obama supporters are wrong to make it about experience, especially since, as others here have said, Obama has the same experience issue.

September 4, 2008 @ 7:08 pm | Comment

“how alienated the US is becoming among its allies”

Ever thought that this may be due to the changing nature of the international environment and the dissipation of the cold-war protection-from-russia world situation? You should.

September 4, 2008 @ 7:09 pm | Comment

Rhys, I don’t know what Australians are like on what they think good foreign policy is, but I know that a lot of Europeans differ to what Americans think are important. Europeans repeatedly like the stress on dialogue, almost to the point of getting nothing done (to them rhetoric is often better than action). Note the constant pressure on many European governnments whenever a single body-bag comes back from overseas.

On the other hand I think that a majority of Americans see “resolution” as being better – not kicking off a war everywhere, but at least the possibility of something being behind the rhetoric. It is not surprising that Obama has received so much support in Europe because the way his foreign policy has been presented appeals to them maybe even more than Americans. That’s his problem. In stressing dialogue he has been unable to clearly convey to voters what would follow it if talking failed. That’s why in the UK people get annoyed with the government when speeches and verbal jousting result in nothing – they want to see something happen. In contast many Europeans regularly shrug their shoulders and say “well our leaders have tried everything so that’s it”. We’re closer to the US than the rest of Europe when it comes to our attitudes towards foreign policy, even if specifics differ.

McCain’s temper is a down-side, but voters haven’t seen him explode on foreign policy (or anything big) yet. As for Palin, do you think Biden was chosen because he was the “best” VP or because he’s an older guy who everyone knows? Plus cynics might suggest that Obama was appointed in his own way by the media buzz, even if he still fought a good campaign.

September 4, 2008 @ 7:15 pm | Comment

So what is your point, exactly? You think that McCain offers a better alternative to Obama because he is better at resolution? I haven’t seen anything that he said which inspires confidence on that part.

September 4, 2008 @ 7:49 pm | Comment

@Raj – As a Brit, I know that US elections are none of my business except in as much as they effect the US’s policy towards the UK. Just speaking as an observer though, it’s times like these that I really despair of our American cousins – how can someone with barely any political experience or provenance be hand picked by one man to be put forward as his party’s nominee for the second highest spot in the land? Hopefully the American voters will do away with this nonsense.

September 4, 2008 @ 8:34 pm | Comment


So what is your point, exactly? You think that McCain offers a better alternative to Obama because he is better at resolution?

Did you read what I said, or react on auto-pilot? I clearly was trying to give a reason as to why Americans don’t see eye-to-eye with Europeans and similarly minded people on matters like foreign policy. I was not commenting on my views at all.


To be honest our leaders pick relative unknowns to be ministers and even secretaries of state all the time. Many MPs have even less experience of politics than someone like Palin when they’re elected – I don’t think sitting as a backbencher or even being a junior minister for a brief while qualifies one for being in the Cabinet, but there you go. Our current foreign secretary looks like someone who just left school.

The presidental system is there to stay in the US, whether we like it or not – as is the barmy method of electing people by states rather than total votes cast nationally. I’m not a fan of having a president in the UK, but I think it works in the US.

September 4, 2008 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

Just to clarify, I wasn’t suggesting that Palin is the equivalent of a MP. Only that they usually come to Parliament with no real political experience bar campaigning and what they might accrue subsequently isn’t necessarily a lot.

September 4, 2008 @ 8:50 pm | Comment

Well I wasn’t commenting on how Americans see things either. I was just making a plea from my own point of view. That’s why I ended by saying pleeeeaaase.

September 4, 2008 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

who, yes i did. my bad. i forgot about my first line…haha.

September 4, 2008 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

Some posters here making some excellent posts. Ditto @raj and @otherlisa… I’m with B.Smith here… Richard, things are so much more complex than you write about when it comes to American politics. Your sometimes knee-jerkiness is startling and a little scary. Love you dearly though.

September 4, 2008 @ 9:30 pm | Comment

The unmitigated gaul of those who seek to be in the spotlight, but immediately go on the defensive when questions are asked about family members just sickens me. If one throws one’s self into the fray the consequences are open season. If, however, you choose to live a private life and the media intrude into it it’s a completely different story. Obama has to come home to Michelle and the girls and they are an integral part of his life. McCain lives the life he does becuase Cindy is so affluent. Palin’s life is obviously filled with family drama that certainly must affect who she is, what she thinks and does. So, it;’s fair game to dissect their lives. Calling for rules and sportsmanship is like the British redcoats arguing that the American who hid in the trees and shot them weren’t playing “fair.”

I finally agree with you on something. None of the candidates give me any reason to think the nationa’s problems will be addressed effectively and in a timely manner. Though I will vote for Obama just to keep scum like McCain and Palin out of the White House, I’m not impressed by Obama either.

The only candidate that addressed the real issues of Iraq, the economy, national energy policy and Americas crumbling infrstructure was Kucinich and he was laughed off the stage. One wonders when comparing China and the US about the differences in the citizenry: The Chinese do not have access to timely, complete information or to a government that is accountable to their needs. Americans have all that, but choose to sit on their overweight butts and contemplate creationism and the existence of angels.

September 4, 2008 @ 10:02 pm | Comment

Lets just say that Obama’s own policies list is a crap too. He wants to do everything and cut tax? Where does he expect to get the money?

September 4, 2008 @ 10:18 pm | Comment

I miss the 粪青…

September 4, 2008 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

I think Ms. Palin will do fine as a VP.

She has more experience than Hillary Clinton.

She has the same foreign affairs experience as Bubba when he was first elected.

Obama is nothing but a sock puppet who will be the biggest pansy as President since Lee Harvey Oswald.

McCain is a loud mouth who graduated last in his class at Annapolis; allowed to go to pilots school, and crashed five planes. He got away with all this because he is the son of an admiral.

Ms. Palin is a breath of fresh air.

September 4, 2008 @ 11:30 pm | Comment

came here to get away from blogging about palin. darn.

Governor Palin is sarcastic like Mayor Guiliani.

Govenor Palin has the same leadership abilities as Governor Huckabee.

Governor Palin has the same policy ideas as Governor George W Bush.

Governor Palin is as honest as VP Dick Cheney.

Does the idiot plan to sell Air Force One on Ebay?

Fred Thompson has declared that ability to field dress a moose in the alaskan wliderness is critical requirement to serve in the executive office. I find it hard to believe that this woman has ever field dressed a 1000 pound moose in the alaskan wilderness. Suspect she may have watched this once, this is most likely a story to pander to the alaskan yokel vote. Request a team of WWII vets be sent to Alsaka to observe and verify Palins field dressing capability and it be televised in prime time.

When Governor Palin goes to washington will her tranistion team coordinate with the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney on how to “reform” washington. Will Dick Cheney prepare a series of actionable items to assist her? No 1 on the list will be “continue holy war in middle east”?

Will Governor Palin receive advice on “reforming” washington from her political mentor Senator Stevens?

Questions for Governor Palin to answer her self live and un prescripted:

What is a hockey mom and how many times will you use that phrase between now and november?

Will you be spending 1/3 of every speech introducing your family?

Is it true that most unemployed bums in Alaska like your husband list “commerical fisherman” as their occupation?

How much money has the Republican Administration in Washington spent on Iraq since 2003?

How many americans and iraqis have died since 2003?

Is the surge working? Is the mission accomplished? Is the job done yet in Iraq?

In your own words describe what the job is in Iraq?

How are your positions on energy and your leadership style different from Governor George W Bush from Texas?

Why should the american people believe that voting for you is any different from re-electing Bush and Cheney for four more years?

September 5, 2008 @ 12:54 am | Comment

The problem is, now everyone is looking at Palin’s views on issues, and she is only the VP, she has overtaken McCain, and that’s not right, we need to look at McCain’s views on things. I don’t like Palin’s nasty style on attacking Obama’s camp without mentioning how she and her party plan to fix anything-how would things be different? She said Obama is against drilling, and it’s terrible to do nothing, that’s not true. Obama’s campaign has been stressing on drilling on “Already existing” lands, permits already granted, and continue on developing solar and alternative energy, and for average families, it’s possible, with current technology, that in 10 years, that we could get electricity by having more solar roof and driving alternative energy run cars, it’s already happening.

September 5, 2008 @ 1:13 am | Comment,8599,1838571,00.html

“Both the major-party candidates for President have now made their first major decision — on a running mate — and I can’t remember a year when the selections were more revealing about the character of the candidates. What we have is a choice between a conservative and a radical.
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The conservative is Barack Obama. He is a careful man, perhaps to a fault. His vice-presidential selection process was quiet, orderly and comprehensive. The selection of Joe Biden was no great surprise — he added experience to the ticket, a reliable loyalist and gleeful attack dog, a working-class Roman Catholic with a terrific personal story. The process was in keeping with the rest of Obama’s candidacy: he has taken no great risks. His policy positions are carefully thought out and eminently reasonable, reflecting the solid middle ground of a Democratic Party that is more united on substance than I’ve ever seen it.

This small-c conservatism is, in part, a calculation. Obama doesn’t want to seem angry or threatening, for obvious reasons. But it is also a reflection of who he really is: a fellow who does not like to disappoint anyone, who is obsessed with finding common ground. That may be a great advantage in a President at this ugly moment in our history — but I would feel more comfortable with Obama if he took an occasional play from John McCain’s book of partisan transgressions and gored some Democratic oxen. It would be nice if he, say, challenged the teachers’ unions, which didn’t support him anyway and whose work rules choke out any chance of creative experimentation in the public-school system. Or if he stood against the atrocious Farm Bill, which spreads unnecessary fiscal fertilizer upon an already profitable industry. Or if he didn’t feel the need to promise a tax cut to 95% of American families.

But Obama’s weakness for undue prudence seems downright virtuous compared with the recklessness that McCain showed in choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. He had months to make this choice, but he allowed it to come down to a chaotic scramble in the last week — a reaction, it seems, to the fact that the Republican Party elders had vetoed his first two choices, Senator Joe Lieberman and former governor Tom Ridge. McCain wasn’t going to give the bosses the choice they wanted — Mitt Romney — and he cast about, deciding on Palin, an occasional maverick, at the last minute. He had never worked with the governor. He had spoken to her a few times. His team, it now seems clear, had not vetted her very well. In her first appearance alongside McCain, she claimed to oppose the “bridge to nowhere,” that Alaskan icon of pork mythology, but she had supported the bridge until it was clear that the hullabaloo would prevent it from being built.

As the week progressed, it became apparent that Palin stood diametrically opposed to McCain on issues large and small. She passed a windfall-profits tax on the oil companies — the very sort of tax that McCain excoriated Obama for favoring — which successfully swelled the coffers of the Alaskan treasury. She didn’t believe global warming was a man-made phenomenon; McCain had confronted Republican orthodoxy on that issue — boldly, at first, and timidly more recently.

Palin was a blatant porker when she was mayor of Wasilla, hiring a lobbying firm to rake in the projects; she was close to the corrupt megaporker Senator Ted Stevens, a frequent McCain adversary and champion of the mythic bridge. Rather than putting “country first,” her husband had been a member of a local secessionist fringe group called the Alaskan Independence Party, whose slogan is “Alaska first,” and Palin apparently attended or spoke at several of the group’s meetings. Her lack of interest in foreign policy and national security was the opposite of McCain’s obsession with such issues. She called the Iraq war a “task that is from God.”

Indeed, it seemed Palin and McCain held common ground on only two high-profile issues — an admirable rebelliousness when it came to their party’s hierarchy and their opposition to abortion rights. Given the fact that McCain’s top two choices for Vice President, Lieberman and Ridge, favored abortion rights, it would not be unfair to conclude that McCain’s devotion to this issue was more political than personal.

The Palin selection — peremptory, petulant — was another example of McCain’s preference for the politics of gesture over the politics of substance, as is his sudden fondness for oil exploration (“Drill here, drill now.”) and hair-trigger bellicosity abroad (Syria, Iran, Russia). His lack of interest in actual governance is disappointing; his aversion to contemplation seems truly alarming. He has done us all a favor with this pick: he has shown us exactly what sort of President he would be. “

September 5, 2008 @ 1:28 am | Comment

Tonight McCain will have the spotlight.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:48 am | Comment


Just wondering, was Karl Rove being “sexist” when he questioned the experience of Governor Tim Kaine for once being the mayor of the “105th largest city in the US?”

see here:

Truly hilarious.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:59 am | Comment

Who says Sarah Polin is not qualified to be our commander in chief?

She is the governor of a state separated just by a river from Russia. She is in the front line defending our nation from the bad Russians.

Sarah keeps us safe.

September 5, 2008 @ 3:34 am | Comment

HongWang, nope, but the point here is that few people questioned Kaine’s experience level compared to Palin’s. And please tell me when a male candidate has ever been questioned about how he will take care of his family when running for office.

Don’t get me wrong; sexism permeates the Right and I also think that denying women the right to choose is misogyny at its core. But I expect sexism from the Right. When it happens among people who are supposed to be on my side, that really hurts.

Also, Richard, I don’t see how can compare Obama’s betrayal on FISA to Clinton’s support of a gas tax holiday. Shredding the Constitution versus a handout to working class voters?

IMO, you can’t compare the two.

Yep. Close my eyes and think of the polar bears.

September 5, 2008 @ 3:38 am | Comment

Governor of a state is not commander in chief, they don’t have the authority to move troops, so don’t tell me just because Palin is Alaskan, that she is qualified to be commander in chief. In terms of that department, she and Obama have zero experience, but I don’t want a right wing fundamentalist at the highest office, I don’t want her to influence on, religion, abortion and sex education into public schools. I don’t want extreme views of the Republicans to influence the entire nation. I don’t want her and McCain’s views on privatitising social security, keep health insurance system as is, I don’t agree with most of her views on issues, I don’t think religion base ideas should be forced on citizens of the country, when religion and laws should be kept seperate.

September 5, 2008 @ 4:05 am | Comment

“Keep us from the bad Russians.”? What kind of back warded thinking that is! We are in a global economy, 21st century, not the cold war anymore, it’s this kind of words and phrase that keep people fearing, instead of approaching them rationally and affectively.

September 5, 2008 @ 4:10 am | Comment

>>but the point here is that few people questioned Kaine’s experience level compared to Palin’s.

Maybe because Kaine was Mayor of a city more than 20 times the size of Wasilla, Alaska, was Lt. Governor of Virginia for 4 years, and Governor of Virginia for 3 years (twice as long as Palin). Also, Kaine wasn’t actually picked. If he were, plenty of people would be questioning his qualifications. Palin actually was picked and has a much thinner resume than Kaine.

Anyway, if you want to argue that someone who was the mayor of town of 7,000 people 18 months ago is just as qualified as Kaine, then I’d say you are as delusional as Rove.

>>When it happens among people who are supposed to be on my side, that really hurts.

So Democrats can’t ever question the credentials and experience of patently unqualified women? I didn’t realize that it was automatically sexist to question a woman’s experience. But I guess this is the very crude calculation that McCain made when he picked her. I don’t think most of Hillary’s disaffected supporters are that dense, though — anymore than most black people were fooled by Clarence Thomas.

If McCain had picked a woman who was actually remotely qualified like Snowe, Rice, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Collins, etc., and then people were questioning their qualifications, you might have a point. But this isn’t even close. Do you really believe that a man with Palin’s resume would have been picked by McCain? This is tokenism at its most obvious — and not only because she is a woman, not even mainly because she is a woman. She is a far-right evangelical who tried to ban books because they had the word “ass” in them or claimed that the earth was more than 6,000 years old. She is the quintessential anti-feminist who believes that Jesus rode around on a dinosaur.

Re caring for her family while running for office, I’ll give you that one. But I think most people are bringing that up more to point out the hypocrisy of the “traditional, family values” GOP, who would surely level that charge if Palin were a Democrat.

September 5, 2008 @ 7:03 am | Comment

Somehow Palin reminds me of Michelle Malkin.
kind of scary for some, but attractive for the republicans.

September 5, 2008 @ 8:08 am | Comment

HongWang, my other argument is that it’s extremely bad strategy for Democrats to make an issue out of Palin’s experience with Obama as the nominee. What happens is that you end up comparing a VP candidate to a Presidential candidate – and this is not how you want to frame the contest.

Obama had a great response to the debate about Palin’s family, and Hillary was great responding to the pick initially – but way too many Democrats’ have been flat-footed and wrong-headed on this. As I said initially, the choice of Palin is a trap – and I’m watching too many Dems and progressives head straight into it.

September 5, 2008 @ 8:20 am | Comment

otherlisa, Just to add one thing here. I think I have to concur with Tom Brokaw here:

This idea that Palin is really being questioned because she is a woman with a family to raise is just a straw man. Who has brought this up other than some anonymous blog commenters? I haven’t seen that question asked in the MSM once. But this is the frame that the McCain campaign is trying to use: “stop attacking Palin’s family and stop with the sexist attacks!” They are just trying to deflect the legitimate questions that are actually being asked that have nothing to do with her children or the fact that she is a woman.

I agree that the Obama camp shouldn’t really go after her lack of experience, mainly because they don’t need to. It is obvious to everyone by now. But I don’t really see the danger you see here. The point that needs to be hammered home is that McCain picked someone who is not qualified to replace him purely to get his (new) base riled up for the election. Politics over governance. (Most people have had enough of that over the past 8 years.) That is the point. Not that Obama is more qualified than Palin. This is a “competence” election as much as a change election. And this selection makes McCain look incompetent.

September 5, 2008 @ 8:32 am | Comment

I refer you all to Shakespeare’s Sister Palin Sexism Watch. They are already up to #8. This one isn’t as strong as some of the others but has all the links to the earlier editions. They are a progressive, feminist website who did the same for H. Clinton (that one broke 100 posts), Michelle Obama and also did a “Scary Black Man Watch” for Obama. The point is not whether we agree with Palin or not – I sure as hell don’t – but whether she is being treated differently than a male candidate with similar qualifications.

And HongWang, I think what you’re saying about Obama and McCain cuts both ways. If you can’t make a serious argument that Obama is much more qualified than Palin, you’ll have a hard time making it stick. You’re stuck with things like, “He’s been campaigning and that counts as experience,” – an argument I have heard made with complete seriousness. If you accept the merits of that, then you also have to accept, “Well, she may not know all this stuff now, but if McCain dies in office, she’ll still have been Vice President for X period of time and she’ll gain all the necessary experience that way.”

A lot of people have a lot of questions about Obama’s qualifications; focusing on Palin’s qualifications (and again, comparing a potential President to a potential Vice President) just keeps those doubts churning.

Another reason to be careful of how you attack Palin: the Republicans have been working really hard to paint Obama as an out of touch elitist. Spend too much time attacking Palin for being a small town mayor and the Governor of a rural state and you are adding fuel to that. I agree that there is merit to the argument that it makes a difference how many people you are governing so I’m not sure what the best way to approach that is. I’d be a little careful about it though.

On the other hand, arguing on issues and policies and where the leadership of these two teams would take the country is, I believe, a clear winner for the Democrats. What Obama needs to do, rather than depending on his oratorical skills to make people feel good, is tell us clearly what he wants to do and how he will do it. He started doing that during his acceptance speech. I think this is the winning approach for him. People will believe that he’s qualified and competent if he presents himself as a leader with a plan that is concrete and executable.

September 5, 2008 @ 8:49 am | Comment

To expound just a little more, you’ll recall that with the exception of African American voters, Obama did not do well with working class and older voters in the primaries. I’m not sure how much Biden helps him here (on the one hand, Biden is Catholic, a demographic Obama wants to shore up. On the other, Biden is Senator MBNA Credit Card guy. On the OTHER other hand, Biden has the experience and foreign policy credentials that many think Obama lacks…).

Anyway, I think it’s very important for Obama to reach out to these voters, to focus on what he is going to do for them, to improve their lives, and why he and the Democrats are a better choice than McCain/Palin.

September 5, 2008 @ 9:01 am | Comment

>>If you can’t make a serious argument that Obama is much more qualified than Palin

Well, we obviously disagree on that. I think it is quite easy to make a serious argument that Obama is much more qualified than Palin. Not only in terms of experience, but in terms of knowledge or (even interest in) foreign policy, constitutional issues, etc. 8 years in the Illinois legistlature, 4 years in the Senate — and 4 years of “vetting” and winning on the national stage. I think that stacks up well against part-time mayor of a small town and governor of a state smaller than Austin, Texas for 18 months. Maybe it is just me.

>>People will believe that he’s qualified and competent if he presents himself as a leader with a plan that is concrete and executable.

Does he do that using his “oratorical skills” or through osmosis? I really don’t get this “oratorical skill as liability for a politician” meme. The main thing politicians do is give speeches — in order to motivate voters and create coalitions. That is THE tool of the politician. It is sort of like criticizing a golfer for being good with a golf club.

Anyway, if McCain wins we’re all fucked. I think we can agree on that much. 😉

September 5, 2008 @ 9:03 am | Comment

HongWang, the Illinois Senate is part-time (and if memory serves he didn’t complete his second term), and Obama had served two years at most as US Senator before beginning his full-time campaign for the Presidency. He did not hold a single meeting of the Senate subcommittee he chaired (on NATO) during his term as a Senator. I really would stay away from this.

In terms of his speeches, let me clarify. There are a lot of people he did not reach with his oratory. I’ll include myself. It was one of those, “Am I watching the same channel here?” experiences for me. I’m a nuts and bolts kind of person. Anyway, he’s proved he can do soaring and hopeful. What he needs to prove is that he can make soaring rhetoric about change into concrete measures that will lead to change. It helps make the competency argument for him, which he really needs to do. Since so many people don’t know Obama (and think they DO know McCain, even if what they think they know is a bill of goods), it’s way too easy for opposition to paint a picture of Obama that is really unflattering. The “shallow rock star.”

I am pretty sure that if Obama talks about what he wants to do and why and how, and does it in a down to earth way, he can win this election. If Democrats keep working themselves into a lather over Palin, I’m not so confident.

September 5, 2008 @ 9:13 am | Comment

Really, you are just repeating GOP/FOX talking points and pointing out how really damaging and convincing they are. I guess that is where we disagree. “Obma’s a shallow rock star who is only good at giving speeches and all he does is convince people to support him through fancy oratory (but not me!)” I don’t find any of that remotely convincing or damaging. I find it laughable. And I’d wager that outside of the circle of people who already hate Obama for being a closet Muslim-Marxist-Terrorist and a small band of wounded Hillary supporters (90% of whom would never vote for McCain/Palin anyway because of the Supreme Court alone), not many others find any of that particularly convincing or damaging, either.

I don’t think anyone is “in a lather” over Palin other than the religious fanatics on the Right. Everyone else have plenty of legitimate questions about her lack of experience and her nutty, hard-core evangelical views, her corruption investigations, and constant lying, etc. Not to mention what her selection (and the way she was selected) says about McCain. But, in any case, this micro-news cycle over Palin will be over in a week. That is when the real damage will set in.

September 5, 2008 @ 9:31 am | Comment

I think we should all be grateful to the Republicans. By picking Palin and arguing that because Alaska is next to Russia, she has learned foreign policy “by osmosis” the Republicans have made all of us out here China policy experts.


September 5, 2008 @ 9:34 am | Comment

Seriously, I’m not sure if some people are joking when they say because Palin comes from a place not far from the most remote part of Russia she understands world affairs. But I know a lot of people who live in other countries are pretty scared by the thought McCain could pull off a statement like this with a straight face:
On ABC’s “World News Tonight,” none other than John McCain became the latest Republican to make the connection.
GIBSON: But as you know, the questions revolve really around foreign policy experience. Can you honestly say you feel confident having someone who hasn’t traveled outside the United States until last year, dealing with an insurgent Russia, with an Iran with nuclear ambitions, with an unstable Pakistan, not to mention the war on terror?MCCAIN: Sure. And one of the key elements of America’s national security requirements are energy. She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C., and she understands. Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that.
What does that even mean? She understands what, exactly?
For those keeping score at home, the first person to make this argument was Fox News’ Steve Doocy, who said, with a straight face, that Palin does know about international relations because she is right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia.” Cindy McCain was second, telling George Stephanopoulos, in response to a question about national security experience, “[R]emember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. It’s not as if she doesn’t understand what’s at stake here.”

September 5, 2008 @ 9:41 am | Comment

Rhys: “As a non-American, I can’t understand how Americans could regard McCain as stronger on foreign policy. The guy is so unpredictable and such a loose cannon, I shudder at the thought of him and possibly Palin in control of the worl’ds biggest war machine.”

I seriously think they should consider enfranchising us to help prevent them from making the wrong choice again.

Like a lot of people I’ve been getting my American politics from the Daily show. Team McCain sure provide them with some first class material. Great stuff!

September 5, 2008 @ 9:56 am | Comment

Actually I read a really funny article on that note a few years ago in which the journo suggested just that. The shame is there are bad (and good) governments elected in almost every country. It’s just that when the US elects a bad government the consequences are much greater (and vice versa).

Michael Turton
I beg to differ. By the McCain measure we are not the China policy experts themselves. We are the people that write the books that China foreign policy experts study.

September 5, 2008 @ 11:02 am | Comment

McCain’s speech was better this time, it offered more substance, but the real test would be at the debates.

September 5, 2008 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

Hongwang, I don’t know what your political history is but I’ve been a strong, involved Democrat for decades. What I’m talking about is how Obama is being painted by the media and by the Republican party. I’m adding in my own opinions, yes, but I think I can back them up. Where is the substance? Where is his experience? What are his positions? Why are we starting from a place where we have a nominee who has neoliberal economic advisors, supports liquid coal and corn-based ethanol and is wishy-washy on universal healthcare? Why, in an election where Republican ideology has been largely repudiated, do we have a guy who talks about post-partisanship, reaching across the aisle, and mouths Republican talking points about social security?

At this point I’ll take the risk because the alternative is just too scary and awful. Am I happy about the situation, given that this is an election the Democrats should be winning in a walk? Not so much. Right now it looks like it’s going to be way closer than it should be.

One of my biggest issues with the Obama “movement” is that any criticism of him is met with the response that, oh, you’re a closet Republican, McCain supporter. To which I say, “Bullshit.” I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life, and I’m not about to start now.

Hello, all you Obama supporters who were big Ralph Nader fans in 2000. How’d that work out for you?

Obama can win this election. He can do it by addressing issues in a substantive way. If he doesn’t, it becomes a contest in personal narratives and effective propaganda. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the grounds on which I want to see the battle take place.

September 5, 2008 @ 12:36 pm | Comment

Lisa, agree with just about everything you say in your last comment. I am no Obamamaniac by any means and for a long time I was annoyed at myself for having once endorsed him and donated money to his campaign (twice). Now I am resigned and also cautiously optimistic because I like what I’ve seen of him lately. And when I compare him to the alternative, he is a knight in shining armor. I will criticize him whenever I see the need, as I’ve done before.

Matt: Your sometimes knee-jerkiness is startling and a little scary.

Please provide a quote or link to what you’re referring to – because I have never been knee-jerk about McCain or Obama. And I am not now. I have come down hard on both of them, and praised both of them. If you go back to 2004 you’ll see I was a big proponent of McCain as a running mate with Kerry. I have strong opinions but they are never knee-jerk and they re always subject to change when I see evidence showing I was wrong. I’ve changed many opinions about China over the past two years, as I have my opinions about Obama and McCain.

Thomas, Canrun, Raj, Sam and others who think I am so good when I write about China and so bad when I write about America, some advice: Skip my posts on America. I know you see the American economy as looking good and I know you think Palin is acceptable. That’s fine. I never want to cause any readers any stress or anxiety, so if my position on these issues bothers, please don’t inflict it on yourself. Just remember, I tend to always be right. Clinical tests prove it. I am a liberal and proud of it, and thus I despise any entity that threatens individual liberty, such as the CCP and the GOP.

Cathy I am really enjoying your comments, thanks for visiting. Lindel, good to see you back. Rhys, same.

Lisa, also agree about being cautious in the attacks on Palin. I am limiting myself to the book banning, anti-stem cell research, abuse of power in “troopergate” and love of the Iraq War. She is exactly what we don’t need at the moment.

September 5, 2008 @ 1:13 pm | Comment

From a strategic point of view I think what the Dems need now is an attack dog – a maverick representative who can go for the jugular over Palin being selected, and, by extension, McCain’s judgment, but be distanced enough from Obama that he can affect a statesmanlike air and be seen to remain above the name-calling. Someone ruthless. Someone fearless. Someone with no morals….

Oh Hillary, will you be the one? Please? For the party and the good of the world?

September 5, 2008 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

My right-wing readers will just love this! What an asset Pain is.

September 5, 2008 @ 1:47 pm | Comment


You equate the CCP with the GOP?! THAT’s why people are forced to scroll past your comments on American politics.

I’ll be voting for McCain and Palin (and I’m a registered Democrat). I grew up in a small town in the States, have lived in cities (on three continents), and find the sneering condescension of people like you towards someone like Palin appalling. I’ve voted for both Democrats and Republicans, whoever I thought was the better candidate. You’ve allowed the irrationalism that is always just below the surface in politics to twist your mind. Your hatred of Republicans as a group of people is bizarre (but all too human in your case, it seems). As others have said, you allow your Manichean goggles to convert shades of gray into stark black and white. Again, that’s another reason why people here just shake their head when you discuss American politics — and not to mention how shrill you become.

September 5, 2008 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

This document about Palin has been vetted better than she herself was. Fascinating.

About Obama’s public service, Jwhich was derided by Giuliani and Palin, Joe Klein remarks:

So here is what Giuliani and Palin didn’t know: Obama was working for a group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. They hired Obama to help those stunned people recover and get the services they needed–job training, help with housing and so forth–from the local government. It was, dare I say it, the Lord’s work–the sort of mission Jesus preached (as opposed to the war in Iraq, which Palin described as a “task from God.”)
This is what Palin and Giuliani were mocking. They were making fun of a young man’s decision “to serve a cause greater than himself,” in the words of John McCain. They were, therefore, mocking one of their candidate’s favorite messages. Obama served the poor for three years, then went to law school. To describe this service–the first thing he did out of college, the sort of service every college-educated American should perform, in some form or other–as anything other than noble is cheap and tawdry and cynical in the extreme.

Perhaps La Pasionaria of the Northern Slope didn’t know this when she read the words they gave her. But Giuliani–a profoundly lapsed Catholic, who must have met more than a few religious folk toiling in the inner cities–should have known. (“I don’t even know what that is,” he sneered.”) What a shameful performance.

We may not adore Obama, but please, credit where due. And criticism where do, as well – I will always be among the first to step up and slam him if I think he’s being atrocious.

For those of you who think I’m knee-jerk n the subject, please see my post from not that long ago (you have to check the links in the original):

Can we still believe in Obama?
I’ll vote for him – I’d vote for practically any Democrat over “the Maverick” (who I once kind of respected until he showed sings of being Bush III). But all progressives with even a minimal portion of grey matter have to realize that something is really, really wrong. This is not the Obama who mesmerized us on those jubilant nights early on in the primary as he sailed from victory to victory, the one who was going to stand by principles above all else, never abandoning his moral compass. There is real cause for alarm here. Maybe, as some are saying, this is something he “has to do” to win over the center and independents. But how do we know which is the real Obama? That’s a scary question. Just how progressive is he?

And yes, I am still voting for him. And yes, I’m worried as hell as our last great hope transmogrifies into something quite different from what drew us to him a year ago.

Alarming tendencies. I’m deeply missing John Edwards and Al Gore.

I call it like I see it, as the expression goes, and am beholden to no politician. I still can’t forgive Obama completely for that. But as I said, we have a common goal here, and the tumor needs to be lanced and we won’t do it if we fall into the trap of single-issue obstinacy. I like the path Obama is now on. If I don’t like it later in the days or weeks ahead I’ll let you know. And I will be watching with a critical eye.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:02 pm | Comment

Finally, Ezra on why the GOP is pouncing n one of Obama’s strengths, his work as a community organizer:

But look, let’s call a spade a spade: When Giuliani sneered about community organizers on the “South side” of Chicago, it’s pretty clear what he was saying: Barack Obama spent his time rabble-rousing among black people. It’s no different then when the RNC called him a “street organizer.” A community organizer can be a PTA member or a Christian Coalition lieutenant. Indeed, there’s something deeply conservative about the vocation, which informally organizes citizens to demand better, fairer, and wiser treatment from detached government bureaucrats. But that’s really not what Palin and Giuliani and the RNC are getting at. Community organizer isn’t being used to describe a job but a background. Obama organized poor black people. Helped channel their anger and grievances and anxieties. That’s change you can fear.

Back to my vacation.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:05 pm | Comment

Hillary is on the job.

She is really good at this stuff.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:11 pm | Comment


If you (and Lisa, for that matter) cannot imagine voting for a Republican, then you shouldn’t really be involved at all in politics. This isn’t a contest between two football teams, where you cheer on either one side or the other. Each party has many, many candidates for numerous political positions, from the seat on a local council on up to the president. If you have never found one Republican worth voting for, then your choices have nothing to do with rationality — to you it’s just an irrational impulse similar to cheering on the Dallas Cowboys over the San Francisco 49ers.

Stick to your commentary on China, where you embarrass yourself less.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:12 pm | Comment

Jeffrey, I’ll put it to you this way…

The Republicans had the keys to the car for the last eight years. It’s been an utter disaster. Until they can prove to me that they aren’t going to drive the car into the ditch, I’m not giving them the keys.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:38 pm | Comment

>>What does that even mean? She understands what, exactly?

McCain meant that she understands that Russia is next to Alaska.

>>As others have said, you allow your Manichean goggles to convert shades of gray into stark black and white

You are voting for Palin-McCain because some people showed “sneering condescension” towards Palin? I think you missed the past 4 days of sneering condescension rolled out at the RNC. (not to mention the past 8 years). Also, do you find it works best to vote for people based on these sort of petty, “you sneered at my kin” issues rather than, you know, policies that the candidates support? Also, a McCain supporter complaining about the “Manichean goggles” of the Left…wow, I’ve heard it all.


>>One of my biggest issues with the Obama “movement” is that any criticism of him is met with the response that, oh, you’re a closet Republican, McCain supporter.

Well, if you are referring to me, I said no such thing. I said you were repeating GOP talking points and acting as if they had merit — which you apparently believe they do, as you just reiterated. I was just pointing out that most people who don’t already have some other beef with Obama don’t find those points all that convincing.

I could easily craft a list of positions that would discredit any claim Hillary has on being a “progressive” as well, which is what I suspect this is really about. But as far as Obama goes, I am not a “fan.” He simply had the best chance of winning among the major Democratic candidates. (Could you imagine the colossal goatfuck we would be facing right now had Edwards won?) And I don’t think the difference between McCain and Obama is nearly as small as you seem to imply. McCain is a clone of Bush on every major issue and has surrounded himself with the craziest-of-the-crazy neocons and Bush hacks. I think that pales in significance to Obama’s position on mandates or corn-based ethanol. And that doesn’t mean I agree with Obama on every issue. I think his position on FISA was a big mistake, for one.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

Well, I was a reluctant Hillary convert, to be honest with you. She was my last choice among the major Democratic candidates. I really figured I’d be supporting Obama. But while I have no illusions that Hillary is a big progressive, her stances on the issues are by and large more progressive than Obama’s. I also liked her down to earth way of communicating, her grasp of issues, her ability to reach out to working class voters. If you look at the primary, Obama pretty much crested in February – from then on out, Hillary did a lot better, and she smoked him in areas and states he really needs to win in the fall. I think that Obama’s strategists won based on their ability to game the caucus states (most of which will never ever ever go Dem in the general election) with the collusion of the DNC and a lot of Democratic Party movers who wanted the cash flow and the new donors that Obama brought in.

I think that Hillary would have been the stronger candidate. It surprises me to say this, but I really think it’s true. It still surprises me that I ended up supporting her. But that’s not where we find ourselves now.

As for my “parroting of Republican talking points,” I stand by everything I said. I think Obama can win, but the way to do so is not to pretend that these weaknesses don’t exist.

September 5, 2008 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

Jeffrey, I write this blog for me, not for you. As I said, if you don’t like what I have to say about US politics, don’t read it. I’ve covered politics as a news reporter, print and radio, and I’ve studied it for many years. If you think I am so off-base, I wonder why Obama is now doing so much better than McCain. I think that is what my friends here on the right are so bent out of shape about. Most Americans want change after 8 years of near-complete control of government by the GOP. Face it. They had their chance, and look where we are.

Jeffrey, I hate the Bush Republicans, not all Republicans, and certainly not as a group of people. Some of my friends and relatives are Republicans. It’s the Rethuglicans I worry about – the ones like Giuliani and Bush. And I don’t quite put McCain in their category, as much as he is trying to suck up to them. One last thing: I don’t mind disagreement. But I do want to ask you to be more polite, Jeffrey. Thanks. You have a bit of a history here.

Lisa, again I agree with you on just about all points. I believe if the Rev. Wright stuff had come out at the beginning and not the middle-end it would be a different race today. Still, while Clinton might have been the stronger candidate, let’s not sell Obama short – at least not yet. As I said, I’ve been increasingly impressed and am willing to give him a fair chance going forward.

September 5, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Comment

As I heard it, the HRC campaign had all the Wright stuff (heh) but didn’t want to use it.

I think I’m going to hide in a cave for the next two months. It’s going to be ugly.

September 5, 2008 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

I know it is pointless, but I just want to point out that I think it is odd for a Hillary’s ex-supporters to be attacking Obama’s lack of experience. She’s been in the Senate 4 years longer than he has and she was a President’s wife. That’s it. Whatever you want to say about her vote for the Iraq war, her “toughness,” etc., it isn’t like she has a lot more experience than Obama. Which is why I said that this isn’t really about his “lack of experience.” It’s about disappointment. And those who think that she would have done a better job against McCain than Obama has, I guess the proof is in the pudding (yeah, yeah, the tasting of..whatever): she couldn’t beat the “inexperienced speech-giver” Obama, how could she beat McCain?

September 5, 2008 @ 3:31 pm | Comment

Four years longer in the Senate is a lot longer. Period. And HRC wasn’t just a First Lady. She was intimately involved with policy in the WH. I would argue that just about any First Lady has serious, hands-on experience with how the Executive Branch works. I think the learning curve with her would have been a lot less steep.

HRC arguably got more votes than Obama did. She won in nearly all the big primary states, while he won in caucus states that are not “democratic.” There is also the whole nonsense about Michigan and Florida, and about how delegates are proportioned. I could go on.

But like I said, that’s not where we are right now.

Obama needs to prove that he’s ready to lead by showing us his grasp of issues and his ability to lead based on that and the policies he wants to implement. That will make up for the deficiencies in “experience.”

September 5, 2008 @ 3:36 pm | Comment

Thomas, Canrun, Raj, Sam and others who think…. I know you see the American economy as looking good and I know you think Palin is acceptable.

Oops, add Jeffrey to the mix. Don’t put words in my mouth buddy, I didn’t say the economy looks good; But think about it, compared to the absolutely apocalyptical tone of your economic pronouncements, the economy looks wonderful!

It’s not an anti-liberal conspiracy, Richard. You could more properly be described as Democrat-to-the-bone; what it is is an objection to the absolutely hyperbolic display of partisan derangement syndrome. In other matters, I would agree with Raj or o-lisa on very few things, but in this case I want to say to Lisa “take him aside and give him some common sense, will you?” They are providing so much realism and balance, by comparison it makes you look like someone who is more interested in throwing his toys out of the sandbox than in making progress. I’m just glad I’m not the only one pointing it out anymore.

September 5, 2008 @ 3:58 pm | Comment

Well Sam, tell me where the lack of balance actually is. Tell me where the “kneeherk reaction” is? Because I apply the same logic to my posting on the US that I do to China. I look at the facts as I see them, and to me Palin is a menace and I have now listed the specific reasons why I think so more than once, but that doesn’t seem to work. I always try to weigh one perspective against the other, to talk it out, to find the plusses and minuses. And I am never black and white. I give Bush high marks on his policies toward AIDS and Africa and, until recently, immigration. And I’ve said so. And when I call him a thug I have very specific reasons (gitmo, torture, Iraq, Karl Rove, Swift Boat Veterans, et. a;.). I may be emotional in my presentation (which is the only reason this blog has succeeded in differentiating itself), but I am pretty ruthless and methodical about backing up my statement with data and examples.

Meanwhile, the only ones who are “pointing it out” are you and the Raj’s, Thomases and Jeffreys of this world – so in all seriousness, I know I am doing something right. I disagree with and reject your political worldview, though always in a loving and tolerant manner. I understand where you deviated from the path of reason and I actually sympathize. Keep reading TPD and you’ll probably find your bearings again. (You guys must love it, hanging out here all the time.)

Lisa, HongWang – let’s not get caught in the argument of experience because it all depends on who’s doing the defining. It’s not just the length but the quality of the experience, and that’s where both HRC and Obama wipe Palin off the map. Would I prefer it if HRC were running? Irrelevant. The choice is what it is. Palin and McCain must not be given the keys to the kingdom, especially not now.

September 5, 2008 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

I would also like to say that I do not think the US economy is “looking good”, merely that it may not be as bad as some people feared. Time will tell. As for Palin, I simply don’t know – and I don’t know about Biden either. Richard, it would be nice if you could stop putting words in our mouths.

If you think I am so off-base, I wonder why Obama is now doing so much better than McCain.

Because he’s had his convention and polling hasn’t been carried out and published yet after the Republican one? That said the first poll that I found today shows a dead-heat (from CBS).

September 5, 2008 @ 5:09 pm | Comment

Meanwhile, the only ones who are “pointing it out” are you and the Raj’s, Thomases and Jeffreys of this world – so in all seriousness, I know I am doing something right.

That seems like an unnecessarily nasty comment, richard.

September 5, 2008 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

Not nasty at all – it’s just that you guys and the other rightists are all wrong, and I am right (correct). I hope you saw the humor in my last comment Raj – it was pretty blatant that I was being somewhat tongue in cheek, but still am, in all seriousness, certain that I am completely right (correct).

Obama is going to stay ahead for quite a while unless they come up with another Swift Boat onslaught, which he’ll weather anyway. Palin has energized the bible thumpers who needed an excuse to get excited about a McCain ticket because they view him with deep distrust. Palin is exactly what these people needed. The real people, the reality-based community, the people who are not of the herd mentality, the people whose IQs are above room temperature – to them Palin is an oddity, something of a freak. I put Our Lady of the Dolphins Peggy Noonan in this category – a smart person, a brilliant speechwriter (“1,000 points of light”) and a die-hard conservative. I hope you heard the tape where she said off the record wht she truly believes. Shocking. And wonderful. No wonder that the Obama camp has received a greater boost from Palin than the GOP.

Obama’s coffers have been filling since Sarah Palin attacked him repeatedly in St. Paul last night.

An Obama aide confirms Drudge’s report that Obama has raised about $8 million from more than 130,000 donors and is on pace to raise $10 million by the time McCain reaches the stage tonight.

UPDATE: Obama spokesman Bill Burton says, “Sarah Palin’s attacks have rallied our supporters in ways we never expected. And we fully expect John McCain’s attacks tonight to help us make our grass-roots organization even stronger.”

Yes, a brilliant choice. Speaking of McCain’s speech, his big moment: even the right-o-sphere appears singularly unimpressed. Look at how Rich Lowry of NRO struggles to convince us (and himself) that it wasn’t a total disaster:

Don’t focus on the oratory. If Mark Salter wanted to, he could have written prose for the ages, but it wouldn’t have seemed true to McCain. Don’t focus on the delivery. The election isn’t going to be decided on speech-making ability. Focus on the theme—a populist fighter for you. This is exactly where McCain needs to be. Just as Obama needed to ground his politics of hope last week, McCain needed to ground his politics of honor tonight. And he did. At least thematically. What’s still lacking is the substance.

Feel the enthusiasm wash over you like a fire hose? And conservative/libertarian Ann Althouse – how excited did McCain make her last night?

McCain’s speech. It feels rote sometimes and has an actorly passion sometimes. “I hate war,” woke me from one of my dozes. “I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege…. I was blessed by misfortune.” The speech felt very long and had its ups and downs. After many diverse phrases, he got it together over the idea of service and the slogan “Country First.” He spoke clearly and well about his early life, as a cocky selfish man, and his transition to a man in love with his country. Now, I’m watching the final waving, with the family and Sarah Palin. Where are the balloons? I obsess over the balloons. What if they never fall? Obviously, there is a huge balloon snafu. Finally, balloons. Why were balloons important? Ah, why is a speech important? The big idea is John McCain’s life, and somewhere along the way tonight that point was made. It was made over and over. It’s now for us to decide if we want this man to lead us for the next 4 years.

Feel the passion. Feel the rosy glow of the energized Republicans. Finally, Marty Peretz, the pro-Iraq war New Republic editor who I blame for dragging a once great pub in precisely the wrong direction (rightwards) offers an honest and realistic assessment of the nastiness of the GOP convention:

The Democratic opposition has actually been quite modest in its economic proposals (much too modest, I believe) and it has retreated a bit from its isolationist and soft power fantasies (but not retreated enough). Frankly, Barack Obama is no radical but a measured and scrupulously honest liberal… Given all this, I am still reeling from last night’s malign hysteria at the Republican convention. This is a rotten crowd, even the pious Christian Huckabee and certainly Mayor Guiliani and the aspiring vice president, Sarah Palin.

It was a lilly white congregation when it is increasing rare to see that in our society any longer. Virtually no blacks. It didn’t have many Hispanics either. Nor, for that matter, did I notice many Asian Americans. The assembly was in a trance about a politics there never was in America.

The uglier the remark the uglier the smile on Rudy’s face. If Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi had been decked out like soccer mom Sarah last night the G.O.P. would have called them tramps. Why, a hem two inches below the knee! So risque! I giver her her due: she is pretty like a cosmetics saleswoman at Macy’s.

Let’s face the truth: If Bristol were Joe Biden’s daughter or, worse yet, Barcak Obama’s, the epithet “slut” would be on everyone’s tongue in St. Paul. But since she is Palin’s daughter she has been treated as if she were a saint, maybe Mother Theresa incarnate. But, of course, Mother Theresa wouldn’t have had a child. Now, this pregnancy of an unmarried daughter could have happened to any of us, and it probably has to many of us. We would be accused of sexually loose morals and of not bringing up our daughters in the fear of both God and ourselves. Sex before marriage, a shame and a scandal.

Amen to that, Marty. What took you so long? It’s Palin. She has jump-started the reawakening of liberal consciousness in America. She has rallied the troops with her mediocrity and her venality. She is a godsend, a gift from heaven. Thank you, thank you John McCain.

Guys, this is not just me, some wild-eyed liberal (which I am not at all) talking – this is America. America is in trouble and it knows it, and it knows this ticket is not the answer, and while Obama may not be the best answer either, the choice of Sarah Palin made Obama’s victory practically inevitable. It is now Obama’s election to lose. Of course, no one is better at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory like the Dems, so let’s us keep our fingers tightly crossed that Palin keeps pounding the stake deeper through the heart of McCain’s aspirations. As I said from day one, we can all stand back now, say nothing, and let Palin self-destruct and bring down the party in her wake. It’s already happening. A blessing.

And I am still waiting for a straight answer to my earlier question: Do you in your heart of hearts believe this was the very best McCain could do? Is she the person in whose hands you would most confidently place the fate of all mankind? (Predictable Answer: “But OBAMA….” Heh. No one on the floundering right wants to answer a simple question.) And per Peretz’s point above, had this been Obama’s daughter who was pregnant, would the right be singing her and Michelle’s and Barack’s praises? Would they be crowing about the joys of out of wedlock childbirth and put the father on a pedestal? Hah.

September 5, 2008 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

my tuppence:

one of the few things that makes me thankful i am british rather than american is the politics. i have been confused and amused this week to find palin being touted as the “american thatcher” when the only thing the two have in common are that they are both women and belong to the right of the political spectrum in their country. other than that, nothing. palin has views that would not only make her unelectable in the uk, but quite possibly sectionable. the only thing she did in her speech from what i saw of it was turn the shrill dial up to 11 and say a series of things that were frankly undignified and crass. if she gets elected god help us all. mccain’s judgment is clearly wanting.

September 5, 2008 @ 7:43 pm | Comment

Thank you Si. You have really impressed me this week. I despise shrillness.

September 5, 2008 @ 7:48 pm | Comment

I second that. Though other systems and politicians have their faults I still cringe when I hear presidential candidates talk about their ‘relationship with god’ or use words like “freedom’ ‘democracy’ and ‘evil’ to cast value judgments. I can’t see Obama relating to the rest of the world with such invective, but I could see McCain talking down to international leaders in this way (with ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, if not ‘god’). And I could definitely see Palin doing it.

I read a fascinating article a few years ago regarding the differences in the language used by British, Australians and Americans in the public domain. The author noted that when the US was settled/invaded by the English, the fire and brimstone sermons you see at US political rallies were very much a feature of the way the English talked at the time. By the time Aus was settled/invaded, public language had become much more sober. The author (an Australian) went on to note that because we share a language we assume we understand Americans, but that’s an erroneous assumption to make. After going there I had to concur – the US felt as foreign to me as almost anywhere I’ve been.

Anyway I’ve gone way off topic. Americans: If you love democracy and freedom, and hate evil doers and those whose hearts are filled with hate for democracy and freedom, impale Palin and cane John “Wayne” McCain! .

September 5, 2008 @ 8:23 pm | Comment

Obama doesn’t impress me, apart from his oratory skills. By talking tough on Iran (implying that he would order military strikes should it be necessary to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons), he has merely positioned himself as just another potential warmonger. He publicly panders to our nation’s bigots, and to the paranoid, because he knows that if he wants to enjoy widespread media endorsement then he needs to satisfy the aspirations of the ruling class. He tows the line, like a good little boy.

So the competition is between who? The REAL alternative choices are?

There is no real choice you guys. We’re to accept Obama or McCain, which is like being asked to accept either an apple or…..another apple. I intend not to vote.

September 5, 2008 @ 9:51 pm | Comment

One thing I forgot to clarify above: even though any differences that exist between the two apples may be superficial, one is certainly fresher than the other. I would prefer then to have Obama as my next President. But neither is fresh enough in my view to make voting worth the bother.

September 5, 2008 @ 10:29 pm | Comment

True dat Jason. If Obama gets in, one day soon after inauguration people will figure out he’s just another politician. He’s been angling for this for 20 years or more… keeping his nose out of any tough decisions, talking in platitudes, being unknowable and a blank slate, even to his close colleagues. God bless his well meaning but scheming political heart.

Richard, by knee jerk I mean reacting to everything quickly and to the nth degree. For example, by your admission you went in a few days to feelings of great, a woman! to she’s a moose hunting bible thumping redneck idiot scumbag. C’mon. People are nearly always more complex than meets the eye. I see her as pretty much normal, though skewed right of center (except for the moose hunting thing, but I live in the ‘burbs). I doubt her public policy is to shove any of these things down anyone’s throat.

I see much of myself in you, I like to react quickly to a story or a bit of data, and draw sweeping conclusions. Time usually helps me come closer to reality.

Like: the US dollar won’t sink forever, the US economy is in the pits but is not going under, gold tends to go up and down, McCain is the least Bush-like Republican senator I can think of now in office, Palin is not an idiot or warmonger or a monster, people can have heartfelt moral reservations about abortion but can also be staunch women’s rights supporters, many gun owners are rational and responsible, most Republicans think Bush sucks, and so on. And that’s on US domestic issues only.

September 5, 2008 @ 10:46 pm | Comment

Matt, I have a very clear picture of Sarah Palin and it is not knee-jerk at all. She is likable, a very good speaker, competent, forceful, dedicated. She’s also a bible-thumping moose-hunter whose credentials don’t wash with me or with much of America, That’s all.

You may be right, that there’s little or no difference between McCain or Obama. In which case, why are we even discussing this. We might as well all pack it in and resign ourselves to an eternally shitty government. I don’t know. But if there’s even a 1 in 10 chance that Obama will change course from the horrors of the Bush administration, then I am willing to at least give him a chance. The choice of president makes a very big difference in America, and the nation’s mood under Reagan and under Clinton were two very different things. Obama may well be a huge disappointment. But on many issues, especially economic and military, he does have a different position than McCain and has been relatively consistent about them. So I am at least willing to give him a try and lobby for his being elected rather than throwing in the towel and continuing with a government that panders to evangelicals, the anti-science crowd, the super-rich and contractors like Halliburton and Blackwater.

About the dollar – it may not go down forever, but it will probably go down for years to come. I hope you’re following the story of the bind China is in because of all the dollars it’s holding. Fascinating, and it tells me there is no relief in site for the dollar. Gold has indeed gone up and down. The dollar has gone straight to hell non-stop for years now, and it will continue to do so, partly because it suits America to lower it, no matter what the pols say.

September 5, 2008 @ 11:19 pm | Comment

Richard, why is being a “moose-hunter” a negative? I’m sure that there are plenty of people who object to hunting, but I doubt they would ever vote Republican. So why mention it?

September 6, 2008 @ 12:12 am | Comment

Raj, it’s a negative to me because she has touted moose hunting as if it were a positive. It should be totally irrelevant, but it’s more of the, “Look at me, I love NASCAR and sip Miller bill and kill wild animals.” She brought it into the equation, not me, and I find it a negative. It says something about her that she’s used it to define her political persona.

September 6, 2008 @ 12:19 am | Comment


Thanks for posting my comments. I struggle trying to balance my ability to reason with my emotions the same as you and everyone else here. In my opinion, sports and politics have the ability to tap into deep passions that are hard to control and difficult to analyze. Soccer hooligans and WTO protesters and Code Pink zealots are not that different.

September 6, 2008 @ 12:45 am | Comment

Jeffery, “rethuglican” is a phrase, not invented by me, like wingnut or moonbat, that maybe I shouldn’t have used. It refers only to the most extreme and noxious of the Republicans. I actually campaigned for two Republicans a long time ago. Most of my parent’s aunts and uncles are/were republicans. Rethuglicans are a different breed, and they’re the ones I and most Americans want out – the Cheneys and the Feiths and the Bushes and the Wolfowitzes and the Karl Roves and the Giulianis. The tie that binds is militarism, brass-knuckles ruthlessness, extreme ideology, a belief in unchecked executive power and a belief that wealth and power and privilege allow you to trample on the rights of others. All of these are thuggish characteristics that are part of my definition of Rethuglican. Sorry if you don’t like it or find this belief irrational, but millions and millions of American agree with me and I hope you wouldn’t discount their belief out of hand. The term does not apply to most Republicans, and perhaps not even to many – only to the hard-right base and the scoundrels in the White House today. I believe they will be defeated by an American public that agrees with me, though I could be wrong, as I once was in 1993.

September 6, 2008 @ 12:46 am | Comment

Thanks for that last comment, Jeffrey. luckily I myself am totally free of emotion and bias.

September 6, 2008 @ 12:52 am | Comment

Wow, the trolls are out tonight. Look, if you disagree with me, follow this simple process: Tell me what I said that you disagree with. Then explain why you disagree. Thanks. (This is a note to “Joe” whose obscene comment is gone.)

September 6, 2008 @ 1:07 am | Comment


Okay, we’re cool.

One point. Militarism? Hasn’t Obama said that he wants to focus the military on Afghanistan and that he might want to invade Pakistan? I might be wrong here, but that’s what I remember reading. I doubt very much that Obama will be less militaristic than George Bush. He will view the world differently if he finds himself sitting in the Oval Office early next year (and I see this as a positive).

September 6, 2008 @ 1:25 am | Comment

Did he say he might want to invade Pakistan or did he say he might want to expand the fight against al Qaeda into Pakistan? I am not sure. If you can point to a trend in his proposed policies or speeches that make the case that he is militaristic, as opposed to a random soundbyte that then got blown up in the media echo chamber, I will listen willingly. I repeat, I am no Obamamaniac and criticized him and for a while debated dumping him altogether. I can point very specifically to examples of McCain’s militarism, examples that together paint a pretty clear picture of his mentality, which can be paraphrased in three words: Attack, attack, attack! If you want to fish for stuff that might get me upset with Obama, feel free. And you don’t have to fish very much. I already have my concerns. This isn’t one of them unless I see something more substantive.

This sort of thing convinces me more than ever that some see this as a kind of game of gotcha. This is a debate about vital issues that could determine America’s future for generations to come. I have put up example after example of Palin’s mediocrity and unqualifiedness. No one here has ever answered my question, asked at least three times in this and other threads: Is she the very best, the one in whose hands we wish to place the fate of all mankind? It’s a yes or no question, but as I predicted earlier, if any of those here to the right reply, there first words will be, “But OBAMA….”

Check out this video of her at her church, with the pentecostals speaking in tongues. Watch both clips. Red the post, then scroll through some of the others on that site. She is certainly just what America needs.

September 6, 2008 @ 2:10 am | Comment

“America is in trouble and it knows it, and it knows this ticket is not the answer, and while Obama may not be the best answer either, the choice of Sarah Palin made Obama’s victory practically inevitable,” & previous etc. from Richard

In reply from and quoted on Yahoo News, “Generally, John McCain’s choice of Palin earns slightly better reviews than Barack Obama’s choice of Joe Biden.

“Perhaps most stunning is the fact that Palin’s favorable ratings are now a point higher than either man at the top of the Presidential tickets this year. As of Friday morning, Obama and McCain are each viewed favorably by 57% of voters. Biden is viewed favorably by 48%.”

To Richard,, here’s some good advice a la Oliver Cromwell, whom I’m sure you’d agree was neither the model of moderation or toleration as your own goodselves yet could ask in all sincerity, “I beseech ye, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible ye may be mistaken.”

September 6, 2008 @ 2:31 am | Comment

Richard–what’s so provocative about that video linked in your post? Seemed like a very mainstream prayer and talk.

Obama can win this campaign, but it’s not by scrutinizing the VP candidate.

Thinking about your question about whether or not she is the best. My immediate reaction is — you are correct — “but Obama”. There are serious doubts I have on his qualifications and experience. I think he may make a great VP candidate under Biden, or Richardson (my fav), or Clinton… but Palin — certainly not the best qualified candidate, but a shrewd move to win the campaign. Who else do you think would have made a competitive VP candidate? I can’t think of any of the usual suspects that would have made a splash, challenged Obama’s “change” theme, as well as giving us a nonconventional candidate — a female outsider who won against the Alaskan family-run machine. Picking Pawlenty, Ridge, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, all would probably have generated losses for the campaign.

While we are talking about candidates, let me drop this in here now: Bobby Jindal is the GOP’s future. Just sayin’. That cat is sharp.

September 6, 2008 @ 2:52 am | Comment

Scott, I still remember the last thread where you made quite a splash. Anyway, I saw a poll by Gallup today saying Obama moved 4 points ahead, I saw another that said the bounce was gone and McCain was pulling ahead, I saw another article that said women were fleeing fast from Palin, also based on a new survey. Let’s see, Scott. You don’t know and I don’t know. Palin is going to implode and take McCain down with her, is my belief. This is based on no emotional feeling but on this:

Americans don’t want a president who believes creationism should be taught in school.

They don’t want a president who believes that rape victims should be refused an abortion even if they were raped by their father.

They don’t want as president another evangelical fruitcake who would kill funding for stem cell research based on religious convictions

They don’t want as their president someone who sees the war in Iraq as “a gift from God”

They don’t want as their president someone who is caught up in a corruption case and is fast trying to stonewall and seal the public record

They don’t want as their president someone who never appears to have given any thought to foreign policy

They don’t want as their president someone who brings no new ideas to the table and who is terrified of appearing before the press because when pressed to describe her new ideas her advisors could not say anything.

Those are just my thoughts, but in case no one is noticing, I am backing each one up with specifics and putting my money where my mouth is. I of course can’t “win” because you’ve all made your minds up, but none of you has yet answered my question (I won’t even repeat it again), and despite the chorus from the rightie brigade, what it all seems to boil down to is that you don’t like Barack Obama, which I can understand. But if you want to discuss Palin, please address the points I have raised. I maintain Palin is unelectable. If you disagree, fine. I have put up my arguents and my examplesof why I feel this way. For all the talk, none of you has actually grappled with them, instead pointing to one of many polls (some of which support and some of which contradict your argument) or instead responded, “But Obama also doesn’t blah blah blah.” Palin is snide, nasty, far to the right at a time when America is moving left and a Christianist at a time when America is recovering from being held hostage by the Dobson cabal.

I have stated my case, and all I get from those to the right here is sniping – I’m nasty, I am deluded, I am irrational. Is one of you going to actually present a platform of counter arguments to my points? Repeat: Palin is a train-wreck for McCain and if he had properly vetted her he would never in a million years have chosen her, even if she gives him a momentary bounce from the evangelical, far-right fringe that lasts a few days or weeks. I can show you several polls over the next few days that show I am right, and just as many that show I am wrong. Just as I can find a few reports that show the US economy is improving though the trend is a dramatic downturn. Time will tell.

Matt, I didn’t use the word “provocative.” I just asked you to watch it and said I think it shows a scene that the American people will not be enamored of. The description that accompanies it in the post is fascinating, and I had suggested you read it. Here it is:

Good God! I watched that video of Palin at her church through twice. The Assemblies of God are Pentecostals, of course, the real “holy rollers”–ecstatic experience of the Godhead in your own body, rolling in the aisles, talking in tongues. When I got some exposure to them, they were extremely conservative and strict (no dancing, no lipstick, no short skirts) but Palin is evidence of how they’ve mainstreamed themselves.

I wonder if the average reader would hear the references she makes and understand them? Master’s commissions–this is a program they run to evangelize non-believers, in Alaska especially native Americans. Notice that our foreign and defense policy is simply God-given – not to be weighed, studied, deliberated, only to be implemented as we’re taught by our betters. And notice that her political program – build a sports complex, a pipeline, change a tax bill, all likewise simply becomes a matter of religion.

For twenty years the most hardcore Christianists have been held in the background. Now one of them is the vice presidential nominee next to a man who’s 72 and a repeated cancer survivor. This is mortifying. How could John McCain do this to our country!

September 6, 2008 @ 2:54 am | Comment

Do get on now, Richard, you are posting among fellow travelers. Those very few of us who’ve cautioned that the worst are full of passionate intensity now become “those to the right” and clodded together with caricatures of The Far Right, Evangelicals, Creationists, and – well, name a cabal.

Me? Seeing how ankle-biting terriers jump over themselves yipping over comments about beloved The Jing I expect streams of wee-wee over any comment questioning the popular wisdom delivered here.

September 6, 2008 @ 3:13 am | Comment

Richard, if reference to my last comments in a previous thread is an invitation for me to leave, I accept.

September 6, 2008 @ 3:19 am | Comment

I don’t know much about Pentacostalism. I’m more of an old-school, mainstream type of churchgoer and speaking in tongues makes me a little uncomfortable. But to each its own. I know they get fired up though. I watched Blues Brothers, and I’m impressed with some of their acrobatics. If I could flips like that, I’d join the Pentacostal church up the road tomorrow (or Sunday anyway).

September 6, 2008 @ 3:19 am | Comment

I don’t know much about Pentacostalism. I’m more of an old-school, mainstream type of churchgoer and speaking in tongues makes me a little uncomfortable. But to each its own. I know they get fired up though. I watched Blues Brothers, and I’m impressed with some of their acrobatics. If I could flips like that, I’d join the Pentacostal church up the road tomorrow (or Sunday anyway).

September 6, 2008 @ 3:19 am | Comment


I notice that there is a big McCain-Palin “Invest in Victory” advertisement on your left-hand column. Beautiful. And thank you, sir.

You know that Hillary is hoping for an Obama defeat, so she can run in 2012, right? And guess who her Republican contender would be: Sarah Palin.

Oh yeah, baby, the MOTHER OF ALL CAT-FIGHTS! In this corner, hailing from Arkansas, that feisty lawyer and politico HILLARY CLINTON! In that corner, Saracuda the Baracuda, the point guard from Hell, markswoman with a variety of lethal weapons, SARAH PALIN! Game on!

Hey, folks, if you — like me — would like to see this contest, vote McCain-Palin in November. Join me in this worthy cause.

September 6, 2008 @ 3:29 am | Comment


I watched Blues Brothers, and I’m impressed with some of their acrobatics. If I could flips like that, I’d join the Pentacostal church up the road tomorrow (or Sunday anyway).

Heh heh heh. Good one.

September 6, 2008 @ 3:32 am | Comment

What ever happened to the Huckabee phenomenon? Squirrel eating folksy populist evengelical Governor with even more executive experience than McCain. Oh that’s right he talked too much and everyone realized even though we still like Huckabee’s down home charm no one thinks he should be allowed any where near the oval office.

Palin is less then Huckabee. It is a charade. The celebrity sensation of the small town populist moose eating hockey mom. If Palin was given the same public exposure as Huckabee she would talk her self out of this charade. Maybe McCain did not know this last week, but after a week with her he has concluded a little Palin goes a long way. So now the plan is to shut down access to the celebrity social conservative political rock star to control the story and not allow her to talk unscripted in public between now and november. The debate will be a problem, right now they are focusing on coaching her for that.

If Sarah Palin is the admirable and formidable woman you assert then would not the other Republicans up for re-election in November would not they be begging the new star of the republican party to be out there campaigning with them?

The majority of republicans up for re-election in November avoid Palin and McCain like the plague and did not go to St. Paul.

If mcCain continues to limit access and bash the media over Palin then it is the duty of the media to ask all the Republicans up for re-election why are you not campaigning out there with a hockey stick, a pot of moose stew and Bulldog Sarah?

September 6, 2008 @ 3:49 am | Comment

Richard — I sense a vast right-wing conspiracy!

September 6, 2008 @ 4:09 am | Comment

Matt, good find. Those ads are generated by keywords and can be quite amusing.

Time to put this bloated thread to pasture, as we all know where the other stands. I want to thank most of you for coming around and agreeing that Palin will enjoy a dramatic but brief bounce as she energizes her base and charms a nation that knows less than nothing about her. Go back and look at how Geraldine Ferraro charmed the nation and brought a huge bounce to Mondale in 1984. The halo lasted a couple of weeks, and then stuff got in the way, like her husband’s taxes, and she then became a liability. Those who forget the past….

Meanwhile, one of the heroes of the right makes a good case for not going after the personal stuff with Palin, and I tend to agree. Words of a wisdom:

But before everyone gets all smug and self-righteous about the Palin selection, remember where you live. You live in a nation of gun owners and hunters. You live in a country where one out of three girls get pregnant before they are 20. You live in a nation of C students. Knocking Bush for being a C student only endeared him to the nation of C students. Knock Palin for having kids, for having a kid who’s having a baby, for anything that is part of her normalness — a normalness that looks very familiar to so many millions of Americans — well, you do this at your own peril. Assuming she’s still on the ticket two weeks from now, she will be a much tougher opponent than anyone expects.

Meanwhile, one of the heroes of the leftgoes on a leftist binge against St. Sarah:

In a stroke, McCain gratuitously forfeited his most powerful argument against Obama. And this was even before Palin’s inevitable liabilities began to pile up — inevitable because any previously unvetted neophyte has “issues.” The kid. The state trooper investigation. And worst, the paucity of any Palin record or expressed conviction on the major issues of our time.

Oh, those leftists.

And about those polls, the ones that gush and the ones that don’t, some words of wisdom from a professional:

From a pollster’s perspective, we are in something of the eye of the storm. As Gallup’s Frank Newport puts it, “a huge influx of election-related news [is] swirling around these days.” The convention speeches garner giant audiences; 38.4 million for Barack Obama’s acceptance speech last week, 37.2 million for Sarah Palin last night. And history tells us that the convention period can often alter vote preferences in ways that persist through election day.

So something about public perceptions of the candidates is changing, but the real-world limitations of telephone survey interviewing leaves us uncertain about exactly what. At this hour, if you’re willing to play what Mark Mellman calls “pick-a-poll,” you can make whatever case you want. Three surveys conducted over the last three nights — from Gallup, Rasmussen Reports and the Democratic Party affiliated Democracy Corps — all show “no dent” in the Obama advantage gained after the Democratic convention. However, one new survey conducted over the same three-day period from CBS News shows McCain closing an eight point gap since the weekend.

Of course, virtually all of the interviews for those surveys were conducted before Sarah Palin spoke last night. Given the huge audience, and the precedent for convention bounces, future surveys will likely yield a different result.

Some of you may have seen a survey conducted by SurveyUSA today that shows 60% of the voters surveyed giving Palin’s speech an “A.” But please note the fine print: The interviews were conducted earlier today and released by SurveyUSA at 4:55 Eastern time (according to the email release we received). That means they used their automated methodology to interview whomever happened to be at home during the day today. Do you think that might be a source of some bias in the results, even after weighting by age, gender and race? I’d say that is a very good possibility.

The bigger problem with this sort of survey is that it asks voters to react like pundits. How did Palin perform? Is she an “asset or a liability” to the Republican ticket? Does the selection “reflect well” or poorly on McCain? Only the last question begins to get at what matters, which is whether Palin’s selection or speech has changed voter preferences or their underlying judgements about McCain or Obama.

Thanks to all of you for coming and expanding your horizons. And there’s no charge, I do it for free.

(H/t to this blogger for several of the above links; he is doing an amazing job documenting both the bad and good stories coming out about St. Sarah. I strongly suggest you head over there and keep scrolling.

September 6, 2008 @ 11:09 am | Comment

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