So Who Had Palin in the Office Pool?

by

I know nothing about Palin, but that doesn’t stop me from sharing my initial thoughts:

#1: I like the pick right off the bat.

#2: I suspect the Democrats will hit two for two in the debates – both Obama and Biden ought to shine.

#3: Picking Biden says, “We’ve got foreign policy now, but our big CHANGE mantra took a hit.” Picking Palin says “We’re not just white men now, but so much for arguing how much experience matters.”

I’ve got to go to Civil Procedure class now, but any thoughts out there from anyone else?

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74 Responses to “So Who Had Palin in the Office Pool?”

  1. urbino Says:

    Who?

    That is the full text of my remarks on this issue.

  2. DeJon05 Says:

    Excuse my impropriety, but if she were Dana Perino’s running mate I’d probably change my vote for her.

  3. Sandi Says:

    Yes, I have a comment. This selection exemplifies the triumph of consumerism in American life and among the American people. This individual was selected on the basis of several disparate characteristics that were calculated to be appealing to certain demographics. It is the most cynical kind of pander I think I’ve seen in my adult life with the possible exception of Mitt Romney trying to sing “Who Let the Dogs Out?”.

    The fact that it does away with the lack of experience argument hardly makes up for how sad a day this is for American politics.

    Forgive my dramatic tone — I’ve had two glasses of wine. But still. But. freaking. still.

  4. urbino Says:

    Once the newness wears off, I expect a lot of people will have your reaction, Sandi.

  5. Sandi Says:

    I should add that the only thing about this that makes me happy is the prospect of watching Jon Stewart make fun of her for a few months (or years, whichever it turns out to be). He and Bill Moyers are the only things getting me through these days.

  6. J D Says:

    Wow… sour! oh well… I liked this article about her.

    http://stillsearching.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/is-she-a-game-changer/

    I like her much better than Obama’s insider choice. But that’s just me. I’m not interested in Obama or McCain or Biden. Finally someone who seems interesting and a regular person. Four years in Washington should change that…but for now… why are people dumping on her? Some jealousy … some just playing it down … dunno about you guys … that’s just a general comment.

  7. Joe Says:

    Go figure… I like this pick. A lot. Whit can back me up that I was hoping it would be Palin for a while now, but I didn’t think McCain had enough of the gambler’s streak in him to pick her.

    There’s a lot more to this choice than the fact she is a woman to negate the claim that the Rebublicans are “pandering” to disaffected Hillary supporters. Primarily, McCain has a credibility problem with the more conservative base of the Republican Party due to his “maverick” actions of the past. Palin’s purpose is more to solidify that base than to sway Hillary voters.

    This is a multi-layered pick:

    – She solidifies the conservative base with her staunch pro-life positions and fiscal conservatism.

    – Undeniably, the pick is the Republicans’ play for the identity politics that have dominated this campaign cycle.

    – She’s definitely a Washington outsider and a reformer that isn’t afraid to go after even those in her own party if they’ve screwed up.

    – The Obama campaign can’t level any inexperience attacks at her without inherently raising the question of Obama’s inexperience. (In my opinion, the evil RNC geniuses intentionally picked a relatively inexperienced VP candidate to do just this)

    – She brings an “everyman” quality to the ticket that the Dems don’t have and that McCain struggled with last week.

    – At long last, the Republicans have done something “cool.” There is a huge buzz on conservative websites about this pick and the Republican base is finally somewhat energized.

  8. Whitney Says:

    I back Joe up.
    I know you’re all shocked. Shocked!!

    Until today, I didn’t have sincere preference for either candidate. Didn’t even WANT to vote. Seriously. No love. No hate. (Of course, since I try to ignore most politics in general (Dems and Reps alike) because they are so ridiculously one-sided from the vocal minority emotionally blah-blah-blahing about them, I tend to be pretty apathetic anyway.)

    Palin is already catching the crap in the media, but we all expect that for every person on the ticket. Al, you surprised me a little! Good-on-ya for not just throwing her under the bus without any thought simply because she’s a Republican. I appreciate that you can be fair-minded.

    What I like most, though, is that she is, for now, what JD said, a regular person. That is, to me, quite refreshing. For none of the other three come even close to meeting that characterization.

    Or maybe I just like her because she looks much like a younger version of my mom. 🙂

  9. urbino Says:

    why are people dumping on her?

    Well, to me, so far as I can tell, she’s a nobody from nowhere who knows nothing about anything that matters right now or for the foreseeable future, chosen strictly out of cynical electoral calculation. She seems to have been chosen for exactly one reason: to grab the news cycle today and, if possible, this weekend.

    That’s a pretty crappy reason for picking somebody to be heartbeat away from the presidency of a guy who’s 72 and has a history of cancer at a time when the country is at war. It doesn’t say anything good about McCain’s judgment. It says he just desperately wants to win and doesn’t like his chances.

    The Obama campaign can’t level any inexperience attacks at her without inherently raising the question of Obama’s inexperience. (In my opinion, the evil RNC geniuses intentionally picked a relatively inexperienced VP candidate to do just this)

    The problem with that is the Obama camp doesn’t need to raise the issue of inexperience. She’s just a veep candidate (and one who apparently has significant political problems in her own state). It’s the GOP that has made the heart of its presidential campaign the other guy’s inexperience. What McCain accomplished with this pick is making it impossible for them to continue to make that argument. It was the one advantage McCain had over Obama, and now they can’t use it. They’ve got to completely recalibrate their campaign.

    I know many on the right are going to — as has already been implicitly done here — talk as if Obama’s inexperience is equivalent to Palin’s inexperience. That’s not a serious position, however, and I doubt it will wash with many undecided voters. Obama has federal policymaking experience; she has none. He has a public record of positions and policies on things like, oh, you know, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Israel, Russia-Georgia, etc. Every statement I’ve seen where Palin’s been asked, as gov of Alaska, about Iraq, her answer has been, “Oh, I focus on state matters, so I don’t really know anything about that. I sure hope we have an exit strategy, though. And, of course, go troops!”

    Obama has significant experience of the world, having lived abroad for chunks of his life. Has Palin ever been out of the country? (Canada doesn’t count.) We’re just finishing 8 yrs. with a guy who’d basically never been out of the country before he moved into the WH; most people don’t seem to think that’s worked out so well.

    Obama’s gotten himself one of the best legal educations this country can provide. Good enough to have taught constitutional law at one of the top 5 law schools in the country. He’s worked as a community organizer. He’s been a lawyer. All relevant and valuable preparation for being president. What’s Palin done?

    Well, she’s spent her life in one of the oddest states in the Union. She was mayor of a town smaller than Obama’s state senate district. I see some conservative blogs crowing that she “has more executive experience than the whole Democratic ticket put together.” She’s been gov for less than 2 years of a state with a population smaller than about 20 American cities — a state where, because of the size of its oil deposits, the economy works nothing like that of any other state or of the federal government. Is that “executive” experience particularly relevant to being vice president or president of the US? Honestly, I don’t see how.

    I’ll admit that McCain didn’t have many good options to pick from (and I don’t say that just to pile on), but this was a terrible, irresponsible choice.

  10. alsturgeon Says:

    One of those wonderful legal phrases that I have learned in surviving my first week of law school is “reasonable minds may differ,” and I think the statements above display this well.

    I especially like Joe’s point on the “cool-ness” of the pick. That’s a huge concept in this particular election – Obama has taken that to a level not seen since possibly JFK.

    And I especially appreciate JU’s distinction between Obama and Palin’s experience. Not even close in my estimation.

    McCain showed his maverick-ness in this pick, and maverick-ness is something I admire in political conservatives (and that isn’t meant as pejoratively as it might sound). However, although I think it was an interesting political move, I conversely don’t think it was a pick made with the potential good of the country as top priority. And that’s worth noting to me.

  11. Terry A. Says:

    “I especially like Joe’s point on the “cool-ness” of the pick. That’s a huge concept in this particular election – Obama has taken that to a level not seen since possibly JFK.”

    Shocking how quickly we’ve forgotten the coolness of Bob Dole.

  12. alsturgeon Says:

    Good point. And Al Gore, too.

  13. urbino Says:

    On Aug. 10th, these were Karl Rove’s thoughts on who Obama would pick for veep:

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

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

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

    Um.

  14. urbino Says:

    McCain showed his maverick-ness in this pick

    See, I don’t agree. There’s nothing mavericky about this pick. It’s just rash. He, himself, doesn’t even know Palin. It’s just a rash overreaction to Obama’s speech Thurs. night and the press’s reaction to it. Just like his reaction to the Russia-Georgia problem was an incredibly rash overreaction.

    The man may have a lot of foreign policy knowledge and experience, but he’s got a serious lack of judgment despite all that experience.

  15. urbino Says:

    Ho. Lee. Crap.

    I realize, of course, that she’s totally unqualified to be President at this point in time. If McCain were to die in February 2009, I hope Palin would have the good sense to appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor.

    And that’s from one of her supporters!

  16. Jamie D Says:

    Urbino, I’ve wondered the same thing myself. Did McCain see the 84,000 at Invesco Field, and the others watching from Times Square and around the country and make an 11th hour decision to shake things up? Do you think it’s possible that he actually had Pawlenty or Romney tapped and then backed out?

  17. urbino Says:

    According to one report, he had to be talked out of Lieberman at the 11th hour. He doesn’t even know Palin, so she can’t be a choice he’s been thinking about for very long.

  18. Terry A. Says:

    McCain, then, is a patriot. Because faced with the choice of having to see Lieberman’s mug everywhere for the next 2 months to four years or Palin’s, he asked himself: What would America want?

    Or maybe he asked himself: WWBD? What Would Bubba (Clinton) Do?

    Palin’s potentially the hottest VP since Spiro “The Body” Agnew.

  19. Sandi Says:

    JU, I agree with everything you’ve said. Lack of judgment. Irresponsible. Desperate. Those are the themes. I was commenting on another blog recently where this question was posed and one commenter did the math on how many presidents have left office unexpectedly, and it was not a low number (skewed of course by people like Zachary Taylor, but still, one never knows, esp. given the cancer history and the fact that he would be the oldest president ever elected to office for the first time). The purpose of the vice president, other than to “attend funerals” and the like (McCain’s words on what the VP’s job is, which was a tad better than “what does the vice president do all day?” from the woman herself), is to be ready to step in as president should something happen. Who on earth thinks this woman is even remotely prepared to be president of the United States?

    I see the whole “breath of fresh air” factor, the fact that it’s appealing that she seems like a regular, and her own, person. I call it the Jesse Ventura factor. People are sick of most politicians most of the time, and it does get some people energized and excited to be able to vote in a contrarian way for a contrarian person. The problem is that that only works in states like Minnesota or Alaska where the stakes are small enough that you can’t f**k things up too much if it turns out you’re actually no good at this whole governance thing. The presidency is a whole different ball game.

    According to the reports I have heard, he first talked to Palin on the telephone last Sunday, before her name was released as the pick that Friday morning.

    Sorry to the Republicans in the house for my bluntness. I’m not trying to be “sour” — just sharing my impressions in an honest way. I have no reason to be sour, because ultimately I don’t think this pick can possibly be more helpful than it will be hurtful to the McCain campaign.

  20. DeJon05 Says:

    And the plot thickens.

  21. J D Says:

    An excellent addition to the discussion from Patrick Mead.
    http://patrickmead.net/?p=377

  22. DeJon05 Says:

    Mead says

    Obama came to the Senate through the Chicago political machine. He courted the right people, got the right jobs, and made sure he never had to run against anyone (he found legal ways to remove his opposition each time so that he could virtually run unopposed). Palin took on the Republican party in Alaska and fought its corruption, starting at the mayoral level and continuing, ousting a corrupt governor against the wishes of the Republican party.

    No offense, but I find this to be a vapid comparison typical of partisan hackery preying on irrational fear that runs all-too rampant.

  23. Joe Says:

    I’m sorry, Dej, but just what is so vapid about this comparison? They’ve travelled different political roads and gained different political experiences. The writer merely points out the contrast, while also mentioning how Obama made use of the well-known Democratic Chicago political machine. I realize it is nigh sacreligious to suggest that Obama rose throught the political ranks on something other than principle and populism, but here’s a CNN article that talks about some of the tactics Obama used in his first campaign.

    And exactly what irrational fear does it prey on? The fear of a “politics as usual” candidate masquerading as something else?

    You know I love you man, but the use of the terms vapid and hackery without stating exactly what it is that you find vapid or hackish strikes me as vapid hackery.

    What about the vapid political hackery that has drawn Bristol Palin into the discussion as a “teaching point” on the failure of abstinence only education? I find that much more distasteful. Not to mention the slanderous conspiracy theories that were a precursor to the Palin’s statement about Bristol’s pregnancy. Andrew Sullivan should be shunned for his part in that.

    And JU’s point about the Palin pick being more of a political choice than a governance choice…. well, duh! McCain can’t do much governance unless he gets elected to office. I’m sure that he, along with a lot of other Americans, believes that it’s better for the country’s governance that he get elected as President instead of Obama. Given the dynamics of this campaign, he probably couldn’t do that without making a bold choice to gain some momentum for his campaign. He’s trying to win this election and provide the governance our country needs. That’s still putting “Country First” to me.

    (Disclaimer: Although it may be a savvy political slogan, I don’t necessarily agree with McCain’s “Country First” mantra. Just one of the many, many reasons I will never hold such high office.)

  24. DeJon05 Says:

    I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, but recognize I could’ve been more specific.
    So specifically the writer uses broad assertions with scant details as to what it means that Obama (as Mead describes) found “legal ways to remove his opposition.” And isn’t this a thinly veiled assertion that Obama was improper. Was he? If so, how so? Don’t just suggest Obama is a flagrant opportunist. Show me how he is, or, perhaps denigrating his entire record of service is only necessary to “win” in the political arena. And, yes, I find it disconcerting.

    And what does it mean that “Palin took on the Republican party in Alaska and fought its corruption.” This makes her sound like Batman.

    The post offers nothing that is stimulating or challenging (vapid), but only stokes the fires of hatred against Obama and firmly placing Palin in the heroic posture.

    What I’m not saying is that the roles should be reversed where Obama is the hero and Palin is the wrongdoer (although the leftists do so with the same grace that Mead demonstrates).

    What annoys me is the requirement to bend and distort facts to fit the archetypes that make political demagoguery work.

    Please, can we all just admit that Obama is not evil nor is he a superhero? And the same for Palin.

    To assert otherwise is political hackery.

  25. alsturgeon Says:

    You sound like a lawyer, DeJon, breaking down the elements of the issue and all. 🙂

    Getting ready for torts right now… Hope your day is a good one…

  26. DeJon05 Says:

    I’m a poor student. I wrote that to Joe while sitting in torts as a classmate briefed “the hairy hand” case from The Paper Chase. How surreal.

  27. alsturgeon Says:

    We did the hairy hand case in contracts!!!!

  28. DeJon05 Says:

    We gave it passing mention in torts re: negligence and med mal (that’s what they call it in in the business I’m told.)

  29. urbino Says:

    McCain can’t do much governance unless he gets elected to office. I’m sure that he, along with a lot of other Americans, believes that it’s better for the country’s governance that he get elected as President instead of Obama. Given the dynamics of this campaign, he probably couldn’t do that without making a bold choice to gain some momentum for his campaign. He’s trying to win this election and provide the governance our country needs. That’s still putting “Country First” to me.

    So if a candidate truly believes it’s really, really important that s/he be the next president, and not enough Americans agree with that candidate to give him/her a lead in the polls, then anything they do to win — no matter how pandering, no matter how ill-considered, no matter how irresponsible for the actual future of the country — is still putting country first. Is that it?

  30. urbino Says:

    What about the vapid political hackery that has drawn Bristol Palin into the discussion as a “teaching point” on the failure of abstinence only education? I find that much more distasteful.

    I don’t like it, either, but it is what necessarily follows, sooner or later, from making “family values” a campaign issue: when you do that, people have to look at your family to judge the sincerity and validity of your claims. I’d rather a 17-y.o.’s sex life not be part of a freaking presidential campaign. It’s stupid. I’d rather have presidential campaigns be about things that, you know, have some national importance.

    But the sex lives of teenagers wasn’t introduced as an issue in this and every other campaign for the last 20 years by liberals or Democrats or the media or bloggers. This is the GOP’s issue. This is the Religious Right’s issue. They brought it into campaigning. They declared it central to our national life. They made the “right” position on it a litmus test for elected office. They picked Palin specifically for this issue, and specifically argued that this issue was central to her qualifications to be vice president.

    One doesn’t get to say, “X is an issue that’s really, really important to our national life, and all candidates should campaign on its importance and, if elected, demonstrate their devotion to it,” then turn around and say, “No, no. It’s inappropriate for you to ask for or look at actual evidence of candidate Z’s sincerity or seriousness about X. That’s private. You’re all horrible people for not just accepting that candidate Z is campaigning on X.”

    If one insists that X is important, one can’t object when people treat it as if it’s important.

    Conservatives are trying to have their cake (“family values” as a campaign issue) and eat it too (not have anybody’s family examined for its values).

  31. Joe Says:

    So if a candidate truly believes it’s really, really important that s/he be the next president, and not enough Americans agree with that candidate to give him/her a lead in the polls, then anything they do to win — no matter how pandering, no matter how ill-considered, no matter how irresponsible for the actual future of the country — is still putting country first. Is that it?

    You neglect the “undecideds” or the conservatives that were going to sit out the election until McCain did something that appealed to them. He needed to make a move to re-restablish his conservative bona fides in a lot of people’s minds. You just assume that because Obama leads in the polls, he is the preferred choice for all America. There are still plenty who haven’t made their choice.

    The Palin is not irresponsible. That is unless you care to stipulate that John Edwards as the last Democratic VP candidate or B.O. as a Presidential candidate are irresponsible choices as well. She can go toe to toe with either of those guys on experience and come out favorably.

    I also see that you’ve bought into the media myth that this was a last minute selection with a rushed vetting process. She’s been mentioned as a possible running mate since McCain locked up the nomination, just not in the mainstream press. McCain’s vetting team interviewed her in May.

    I have no problem with someone bringing the Palin’s “family values” into the spotlight. Let’s examine them for a moment. They have a 17 year-old daughter who is pregnant and unmarried. Rather than shun her, they have expressed support and respect for her decision to be responsible and be a parent to the child and to strengthen her relationship with the father of the child. Seems to me that their example holds up pretty well when looked at through the “family values” prism.

    What I have a problem with is that people call Palin a hypocrite because of her daughter’s choices. They hold her daughter out as a case study in failed sex education. The “if she can’t make it work in her own family” argument is incredibly inappropriate, and that’s what the focus is. Not on “family values.”

  32. Joe Says:

    Of course my second paragraph should start with “The Palin pick”

  33. urbino Says:

    You neglect the “undecideds” or the conservatives that were going to sit out the election until McCain did something that appealed to them. He needed to make a move to re-restablish his conservative bona fides in a lot of people’s minds. You just assume that because Obama leads in the polls, he is the preferred choice for all America. There are still plenty who haven’t made their choice.

    I’m not sure what your point is, Joe. The above only strengthens my argument, so I’m sure I must be reading it wrong.

    The Palin is not irresponsible. That is unless you care to stipulate that John Edwards as the last Democratic VP candidate or B.O. as a Presidential candidate are irresponsible choices as well. She can go toe to toe with either of those guys on experience and come out favorably.

    The Palin pick is deeply, deeply irresponsible, as even a number of high-profile conservatives at National Review and elsewhere have acknowledged. As detailed above (and also acknowledged by high-profile conservatives), her experience is in no way — none, zilch, nada, bupkes — comparable to Obama’s. It’s a patently silly argument to say it is. Patently silly. So silly even the MSM hasn’t fully swallowed it. She doesn’t just have no foreign policy experience, she doesn’t even know anything about it, has never thought about it, isn’t even interested in it, and has never expressed an opinion on it.

    One could say the same thing about almost any domestic policy issue. By her own admission, she has focused on Alaska issues, not national issues. (That’s a fine thing for an Alaska governor. It’s not a fine thing for a v.p. nominee.)

    I also see that you’ve bought into the media myth that this was a last minute selection with a rushed vetting process. She’s been mentioned as a possible running mate since McCain locked up the nomination, just not in the mainstream press. McCain’s vetting team interviewed her in May.

    I haven’t bought any myth, but thanks for the compliment. I’ve seen the reports from Alaska, and I’ve seen the reports from the McCain campaign. I believe they did some basic checking on her, but I don’t believe they did the kind of vetting one does on the people considered likely vp picks.

    There are too many highly relevant people in Alaska reporting that nobody ever talked to them about her.

    Rather than shun her, they have expressed support and respect for her decision to be responsible and be a parent to the child and to strengthen her relationship with the father of the child. Seems to me that their example holds up pretty well when looked at through the “family values” prism.

    The way I was raised, having a teenage daughter who gets knocked up was a sign of bad parenting. I guess as long as you react to it the right way (shotgun wedding, no abortion), premarital sex and teenage pregnancy no longer matter. “Religious Conservatives: We’ve come a long way, baby.”

    What I have a problem with is that people call Palin a hypocrite because of her daughter’s choices. They hold her daughter out as a case study in failed sex education. The “if she can’t make it work in her own family” argument is incredibly inappropriate, and that’s what the focus is. Not on “family values.”

    I don’t see how that would make Palin a hypocrite, either, but it does provide a pretty glaring example of the problem with her political position on sex education. Much too glaring and ironic to expect the media to overlook.

    And I still have my basic question, Joe: how is it that it’s okay to make “family values” central to your campaign, then cry foul when people investigate them and talk about them? When you run on your kids, your kids are going to be in the news.

  34. Joe Says:

    How do you know what she knows about foreign policy? At least give her a chance to show you what she knows before you broadly declare that she doesn’t know anything. You seem to completely discount the executive experience she has, with to me is a patently silly thing to do. Patently silly. She has experience as a mayor, as governor (which the Obama campaign shoose to ignore), and as chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. That last job gives her a keen insight for one of the central issues of this election: Energy Policy. You think any of the other three can match her experience in that arena?

    I just don’t agree with your assertions that the Palin pick is grossly irresponsible. There are plenty of pundits on the right that have expressed some concern, but far more have expressed relief that McCain picked a truly conservative running mate and excitement that it is a dynamic outsider with potential to sway many fence-sitting voters. And let me put this into play… the McCain campaign took in over $10 Million in just the first three days after the Palin pick was announced. Now that is an energized base.

    The way I was raised, having a teenage daughter who gets knocked up was a sign of bad parenting. I guess as long as you react to it the right way (shotgun wedding, no abortion), premarital sex and teenage pregnancy no longer matter. “Religious Conservatives: We’ve come a long way, baby.”

    Maybe we have come a long way in the arena of love, support, and forgiveness while upholding a fundamental belief in the sanctity of life and the importance of family. That’s a good thing to me. And there are many, many “shotgun marriages” that end up developing into wonderful families.

    To your last question: Palin herself hasn’t cried foul. She asked for privacy, but isn’t getting it. She’ll deal with, and I think her daughter’s got enough of her mother in her to deal with it as well. I think the way that most of the media, and especially the left wing blogs have gone about addressing the situation is inappropriate. The level and intensity of the coverage was just so disproportionate to the issue.

    On a related note, I read a good joke yesterday:
    Q. How could the Palins have gotten the media to ignore Bristol’s pregnancy?
    A. Let it leak that John Edwards is the father.

  35. DeJon05 Says:

    A few quick hits…

    I am very thankful Joe and JU take the time to have this discussion. I am very grateful.

    I couldn’t agree more with Joe when it comes to the lefty bloggers and their antics in discussing the Bristol Palin situation. The conspiracy theories and recklessness with which they attacked the Palins was shameful, and regrettable.

    Eight days ago I couldn’t pick Sarah Palin out of a lineup, so I don’t can’t form an opinion about what she adds to McCain’s ticket. But I did find the video below interesting. In it Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan share their thoughts on the Palin pick when they thought they were off camera. It is truly the unvarnished truth.

    The video

  36. DeJon05 Says:

    As a follow up, Noonan addressed the incident in her WSJ column.

  37. urbino Says:

    Q. How could the Palins have gotten the media to ignore Bristol’s pregnancy?
    A. Let it leak that John Edwards is the father.

    Heh.

    Q: How could John Edwards have gotten the wingnuts not to care about his affair?

    A: Announce the mistress was pregnant and they were keeping the baby.

    Maybe we have come a long way in the arena of love, support, and forgiveness while upholding a fundamental belief in the sanctity of life and the importance of family.

    It’s been a very recent development, if true. Hillary’s decision(s) to respect and preserve the sanctity of her marriage to Bill after his dalliances got her absolutely savaged by the Right. Elizabeth and John Edwards have kept their marriage together despite his affair, but “love, support, and forgiveness” weren’t what I was hearing from the Right.

    Let’s face it: the Right hasn’t had a sudden change of heart; they’ve just got a double standard. One standard for politicians who profess to be one of them — all that matters is how you react to having screwed up your family — and another standard for politicians from the other side — all that matters is that you screwed up your family.

    How do you know what she knows about foreign policy?

    From her own statements. When asked about it over the past few years, she’s said she doesn’t know anything about the Iraq War generally or about the surge. As far as anyone’s been able to find in the record, she’s never expressed herself on any other foreign policy matter. Ever. Not to agree with a president. Not to disagree with a president. Not to make a suggestion. Nothing. She’s simply shown no interest whatsoever.

    You seem to completely discount the executive experience she has, with to me is a patently silly thing to do. Patently silly. She has experience as a mayor, as governor (which the Obama campaign shoose to ignore)

    Again, as described above and by many conservative commentators, her executive experience is silly. Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska? You’ve got to be kidding me. Arguing that that’s relevant to being ready to occupy the White House because they’re both executive functions is like arguing that a lightning bug has a good understanding of lightning because they’re both lighting functions. It’s nothing but a word game.

    The same goes for being governor of Alaska. Aside from being one of the least populous states in the union, it functions completely differently than any other state or the federal government. It’s an oil emirate. In terms of economic management, being governor of Alaska would be more relevant experience for becoming emir of Kuwait than for vice president of the US. Where else does the leader get to hand out welfare checks to every citizen because the government’s making so much money on oil? Big chunks of the Alaskan economy — not even counting the oil sector — are owned by the state. They aren’t free enterprise, private property businesses. If a Democrat picked a vp with a record of running that kind of government, every conservative in the nation would shout “Marxist!” with one voice.

    I’ve also seen/read conservatives arguing that her experience as commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard is somehow foreign policy experience, even though she has absolutely no control over how or when the ANG is used when it goes beyond the boundaries of Alaska; according to the commanding general of that fearsome fighting force, neither he nor Gov. Palin are even informed of what the Pentagon’s plans are for the ANG. And I’ve heard conservatives argue that the fact that Alaska is close to Russia somehow qualifies as foreign policy experience.

    If we’re to take these “executive experience” arguments seriously, why not point out that Gov. Palin also has more of it than John McCain. He’s never been an executive, either. Since “executive experience” is so important, shouldn’t the GOP flip their ticket?

    and as chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. That last job gives her a keen insight for one of the central issues of this election: Energy Policy. You think any of the other three can match her experience in that arena?

    Seriously? Being on an oil & gas commission is great experience for the energy problems we’re facing? All her experience has led her to propose is that we prolong our dependence on oil and gas by drilling more. That’s not a solution. It’s not even a serious suggestion. Dependence on fossil fuels is our problem. Prolonging that dependence is not a solution, it’s delaying finding a solution. If we tapped every possible offshore and Alaskan source of fossil fuels, it would get us, what, maybe an extra 20 years of fossil fuels? It’s throwing good money after bad, and her only interest in it as governor or as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was to enrich her state. Not to find a national solution to our national energy problem. I’d wager she’s never even thought about the issue outside the context of what it could mean for Alaska’s coffers.

    far more have expressed relief that McCain picked a truly conservative running mate

    I bet the guys at National Review would be surprised to learn they aren’t true conservatives.

    and excitement that it is a dynamic outsider with potential to sway many fence-sitting voters

    Since her announcement as vp, Gallup has shown independents and fence-sitting Democrats swinging to Obama. It’s a long way to election day, but fence-sitting voters don’t seem to be overcome with joy at her dynamic outsiderhood.

    BTW, wasn’t John McCain supposed to be the dynamic maverick with appeal to fence-sitting voters?

  38. DeJon05 Says:

    Unfortunately, JU’s assertion that Palin didn’t comment on foreign policy in her capacity as Governor has already changed.

    I, for one, preferred the silence to this…

    Palin: Iraq war ‘a task that is from God’

  39. urbino Says:

    Well, I got stuck at work and didn’t get to see her speech. Thoughts from those who did? (I gather from reports that it featured a lot of red meat for the base.)

  40. alsturgeon Says:

    Didn’t see it. At the Christian Legal Society Bible study, followed by law school study.

  41. urbino Says:

    Just imagine. If you’d done this law school thing a few years ago, that CLS membership would’ve qualified you to be Assistant Attorney General in the Bush administration. Oh, the places you’d go.

  42. alsturgeon Says:

    LOL! Yeah, my timing sucks. Oh well, not the first time.

  43. alsturgeon Says:

    Okay, real quick and then I’ve got to hit the books. (I’m talking to myself.)

    Just caught a quick glimpse of a Palin-induced debate on the tube this morning – the “should a mom w/bunches of kids, including a special-needs child, be pursuing a job that takes her away from her kids” debate.

    I’m just throwing this out here for the political strategy debate (you guys probably know me: I don’t care if its a stay-at-home mom or stay-at-home dad or neither stay at home or nanny stay-at-home – whatever floats your boat – I have my personal opinions, but that’s all they are…).

    I find the political strategy interesting.

    The feminist side is traditionally Democratic (go to work, girl!), and the traditional family values side (women in the workplace has led our country down a bad road) is traditionally Republican.

    Listening to the clip where Rudy yells, “How come they never ask these questions of MEN!” at the convention makes me wonder if the risk of alienating a significant part of your base in this instance is worth the potential of gaining supporters from the other side.

    Just strategically.

  44. DeJon05 Says:

    I watched it. My thoughts:

    – She definitely came out swinging at Obama, but not in the Rush Limbaugh kind of way. A little less venomous, but still relentless.

    – I was surprised she broached her two most controversial subjects: the bridge to nowhere and Bristol’s pregnancy
    — She said she told Congress “‘thanks but no thanks’ on that bridge to nowhere.” (Alaskans aren’t too happy)
    — She only hinted at her family situation by saying, “From the inside, no family ever seems typical. That’s how it is with us.”

    – ISTM she got a bit wonky on the economy which is probably a good thing, but as I’ve said before discussions on the economy induce my narcolepsy. I have not qualitative opinions on this part of the speech.

    That’s what I can remember.

  45. Sandi Says:

    The more I hear about SP, the scarier she sounds. Doesn’t believe in global warming, wanted to ban books from the library, favors teaching creationism in science classes, thinks that more drilling is the answer to our oil dependency problem, saying the Iraq war is a “task from God” . . . the list goes on and on. I could care less about her daughter’s pregnancy and even the fact that she’s not being a present mother for her new special needs child. The fact is that on the issues (the ones the Republicans spend all their time trying to make people forget since most people disagree with them on that basis) this ticket is the road to hell. If the American people fall for this, I think my faith in humanity will be gone for good. By the bye, how hard is it to get Danish citizenship?

  46. Jody Says:

    I try to stay out of the political discussions because all of you are so over my head, but I do have an opinion on this one. My issue is not that she is a working mother, so am I; it is not that she has a teenage daughter that is expecting, so was I. My concerns are for the daughter. As a mother I could not put “Country First” and “Daughter second” which is what (in my opinion) Sarah Palin has done. I would never expose my daughter to that kind of media attention. I agree with everyone that has said the children should be left alone but I am also smart enought to know that is not going to happen.
    Even with the best support system this will be a difficult sitution for Bristal to get through. Everything in her life is changing and at 17 she will not mentally, emotionally or socially ready for what is about to happen. Then you add to all of this the public attention that her mother chose to bring to the situation, for me that is self-serving and not in the best interest of family.

  47. urbino Says:

    Listening to the clip where Rudy yells, “How come they never ask these questions of MEN!” at the convention makes me wonder if the risk of alienating a significant part of your base in this instance is worth the potential of gaining supporters from the other side.

    I dunno about alienating the base, but I don’t think there’s much chance of Rudy gaining supporters from the other side.

  48. DeJon05 Says:

    Funny and true by Jon Stewart

  49. joe Says:

    Just dropped in to say that I really enjoyed her speech last night and am looking forward to the next couple of months. Should be interesting.

    By the way… the Astros just completed a six game stretch during which they swept the Cardinals and the Cubs. That is all. 😉

  50. mrspeacock Says:

    I really wasn’t planning on joining this discussion, but, urbino, you give me no choice.

    I don’t like it, either, but it is what necessarily follows, sooner or later, from making “family values” a campaign issue: when you do that, people have to look at your family to judge the sincerity and validity of your claims.

    So the fact that her 17 yr. old daughter got pregnant must mean that Palin is insincere about family values? Are you kidding me? Ugh. I’ve brought up before that I am, in fact, from a family that had its own teenage pregnancy. I can tell you with 100% certainty that it was not a result of insincerity on my parents part in their desire to instill “family values.” I know, I know, you’re not talking about my family. But, in essence, you’re talking about every family that has dealt with teen pregnancy. Urg! Blech! I have lost all powers of speech.

  51. mrspeacock Says:

    For the record, I’m not even a McCain supporter. I just hear crap like this and feel the need to chime in. Okay, okay, I’m done with the emotional rant. Carry on!

  52. Whitney Says:

    Al & DeJon, I feel compelled to apologize for Joe’s grandstanding about the Astros. (Although I admit to sharing his enthusiasm.) I think his current 19-hour work days are the only thing that kept him from screeching around the house like a 10-year-old boy last night. 🙂

    I’ve decided I might be apolitical. Is that a term? But yes, I will vote. If I don’t, where I do have room to complain about whoever gets elected?

    Mrs. P, well put. I’m glad you chimed in. Our family, too, has faced unplanned, teenage pregnancy. The most heartbreaking thing about it were seeing two people I love very much wondering where they went wrong with one son when the other one turned out to be a strong Christian example to those around him. The result has been a 5 year marriage, that, although is not perfect, has resulted in two extremely immature people learning to work through this thing we call life in a relatively mature manner. The marriage (along with loving care for the child) would never have survived without the support of the family. That is what I call “Family Values”.

  53. Sandi Says:

    I think that your position, JU, on her daughter’s pregnancy being fair game because of her positions on abstinence only sex ed or whatever is not one that’s going to be helpful to us. Most people find the pregnancy relatable to their own lives in some way. I find it utterly irrelevant to the discussion we need to be having about which candidate’s policies are in the best interest of the people of the United States.

    At this point, I am more worried about climate change than any other single issue, including the Supreme Court. We cannot afford to elect a President and Vice President who do not understand the enormity of the crisis the world is facing nor have the desire to do anything to fix it and instead propose stopgap measures like offshore drilling as if they are real solutions. Increasing income inequality and our failing health care system are also incredibly important issues. Why are these things not being talked about? Have we really become so shallow as a citizenry that gossiping about teenage pregnancy and the physical appearance of a candidate are more important to us than issues that actually affect our lives?

  54. Sandi Says:

    “Increasing income inequality” = the fact that it is happening is an issue, not we should try to increase it. The distribution of income in this country is at levels not seen since the 1920s, the middle class is shrinking/disappearing, it’s harder and harder for working families to make ends meet because of increased living costs and stagnant wages, etc. This is the reality facing far too many Americans who thought that getting an education and being willing to work hard would ensure them a place in the middle class.

  55. terryaustin Says:

    Whitney said: “I’ve decided I might be apolitical. Is that a term? But yes, I will vote. If I don’t, where I do have room to complain about whoever gets elected?”

    I have not voted since 1996. Apolitical is a great stance, because when somebody starts crowing about the “other” candidate, you can always nod in agreement, even when you’re thinking, “Yeah, but your guy (gal) is worse.”

    You can always complain about who gets elected. It’s not unconstitutional or anything. I do it all the time, and I feel absolutely no remorse. Of course, I’ve been dead on the inside since about the turn of the century, but it’s not so bad once you get used to it. A little itchy, is all.

  56. Michael Lasley Says:

    I feel like I’m an irresponsible citizen because I really can’t muster up the energy for an original comment on all of this. So, I’m phoning this one in.

    I don’t think JU was saying Palin is insincere about her family. I didn’t read it that way. I think he’s talking about family values as a political issue. For instance (and I’m completely stealing this from some left-wing source that I’ll try to find later), what did we hear from the Right about Jamie Lynn Spears. Here’s what we heard from Bill O’Reilly: Jamie Lynn has bad parents because she’s 17 (or however old) and pregnant and how could her irresponsible parents let this happen. That’s a traditional position of the Right, not JU. But then when Palin’s 17 yr. old is in the EXACT same position, suddenly, the parents in the EXACT same situation aren’t irresponsible, they’re supportive. That’s an insincere position to take, one that is only explained by political expediency. It’s insincere because the Right (or at least Bill O, who claims to speak for them) is saying something completely the opposite in response to the self-same situation that happened however long ago.

    Or maybe JU was saying Palin is insincere. Or maybe I misread everyone’s comments.

  57. Michael Lasley Says:

    Sandy — I’m sure everyone who has seen MSN today saw this, but your environmental comment reminded me of it — another huge piece of ice is running away from home.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26529937/wid=18298287

    Wouldn’t be bad to have both sides talk a bit more about this.

  58. Michael Lasley Says:

    Sorry for misspelling your name, Sandi.

  59. Michael Lasley Says:

    Joe — thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’re mostly preaching to heathens, like myself, but I do appreciate hearing your ideas.

    Except about the ‘Stros.

    And, hand on a stack of Bibles, I’ve wanted to ask you a few times about your feelings on the Texans, seeing as they haven’t sucked as much as a lot of people thought they would after the “horrible” draft a couple of years ago.

  60. joe Says:

    I’m still very lukewarm about the Texans. I wish them well, and they will have to do well to win me as a fan. Does that make me fair weather? Probably, but I earned the right when the NFL stole my team. I am and always will be an Oiler fan. That said, I’d be a huge Texan fan if Mr. Vincent Young were their QB.

  61. joe Says:

    You’re mostly preaching to heathens…

    I’m actually trying to reach more than just the Cubs fans that are here. 8)

  62. urbino Says:

    What Mikey said, Mrs.P.

    I’ve written what I’ve written, knowing that teen pregnancy has touched the lives of several people here. It was risky, but I was trying to make a point about the incredibly frustrating and inconsistent sliding scale of family values used by the segment of our society that claims to be the heartfelt, true and only defenders of said values.

    People like Palin and her supporters rant and rave about the evils of premarital sex, especially among teenagers. If you take a liberal position on, say, sex education — that is, you think that, because teenagers are sexual beings just like all post-pubescent homo sapiens, and many therefore are going to have sex, the purpose of sex ed should be to teach young people the basics of good sexual health and contraception so they don’t wind up in Bristol Palin’s situation or worse — then you’re a horrible, horrible, immoral person who’s trying to steal the “innocence” of “children” and keep people from having to accept personal responsibility for their actions.

    But as soon as teen pregnancy touches their own lives, these same self-righteous protectors of “family values” suddenly decide that all that really matters to family values is that you’re supportive of the new premarital-family-to-be; and the same teenagers who supposedly were just children when the f.v. crowd was denouncing useful sex ed suddenly turn out to be ready to be a great mom or dad and wife or husband, and everybody’s just hunky-dory with it.

    If the people in question really are children and premarital sex really is a terrible moral failure, let’s not pretend otherwise after the fact. Let’s recognize that children having children is a terrible situation for everybody concerned, and try to take reasonable steps to prevent it — like, say, sex education that recognizes reality.

    And if personal responsibility is the key to all morality, then let’s hold people personally responsible for these supposedly terrible moral failings. Let’s not just smile and say what a great looking family teen-mom and teen-dad will make, or how wonderful the parents’ family values are since they’re being supportive of the daughter or son they failed to instill the supposedly most important of all family values in.

    My point is not about people who have children as teens. My point is about the moral incoherence and bankruptcy of what has come to be known as “family values.” My point is that if they were true to their own principles, there’s no way on earth they would celebrate the terrific “family values” of the parents of a teenage mom.

    I’m saying that mom’s “family values” have much less to do with their support for her than does the fact that she looks and sounds like them. Otherwise, they would throw her (and her husband) under the same bus they throw liberals under for supposedly attempting to corrupt the youth; the same bus they throw African-Americans as a class under because of teen pregnancy.

  63. urbino Says:

    I guess the shorter version is that what I’ve been saying is a product of just how incredibly tired I am of these people running around insisting they’re morally superior to everybody else — not just morally superior, but the only ones who have any morality at all — when what they say and do is both deeply immoral and demonstrably harmful to other people and to society.

    The Palin story and the reaction to it has been a near-perfect apotheosis of 25 years of this crap, and I’m incredibly sick of it.

    If what I said or the way I said it sounded like an attack on your loved ones — or on anybody here who’s been touched by teen pregnancy — I apologize. It wasn’t intended to be. It was intended to be an attack on the moral sickness I tried to describe in the long version, above.

  64. Whitney Says:

    JU, I don’t believe I’m morally superior to anyone (not that you said I do). I supposed that’s because my only real comparison other is Jesus, and that’s pretty darn humbling. I’m just a big schmuck there. Satan messes with me regularly trying to make me believe I’m “better” than other people–those sinners! It’s truly my weakness so I think I may be conscious of the personal struggle to stay humble. I suppose that’s why I tend to run from political conversations–because it always turns into an us versus they, me versus you, type of thinking, which always turns into I’m right-You’re wrong-I’m better than you because of it, and no we can’t agree to disagree. (That’s pretty jumbled, I hope you get what I’m trying to say.)

    I totally see the moral discrepancies you describe, but don’t be one-sided (you usually aren’t). I have a tendency to feel that Democrats think they’re morally superior because of their plans to do what they thing would be best for x issue “for the people” and for their faux focus on the middle class (Celebrities come to mind here). If people would just quit trying to think anyone is better, so to speak, than anyone, in a moral sense, and “do justly, and love Mercy, and walk humbly” we’d all be better off. My biggest issue with the way our culture is is our super-glue like adhesion to people who think like us. That’s why political commentators make so much money! ARGH. I just said to Joe last night, “What does it say about our culture when these people make millions of dollars? It says that we are a culture of people who want to hear what other people think and use it as our own instead of think for ourselves.”
    It’s why I cannot stand Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, or any of their type, regardless of political affiliation.

    Oh, and I didn’t think you were attacking. Just putting in my 2 cents on my own experience and how it leads me to think. For what it’s worth, I always felt sorry for Jamie Lynn Spears. But the media sensationalized it to the nth degree, like they do with all celebrity births whether in or out of marriage…the same media that slammed Bristol Palin.

  65. urbino Says:

    I have a tendency to feel that Democrats think they’re morally superior

    I guess the difference to me, Whit, is that I don’t generally hear Democrats wrapping themselves in the language of morality the way conservatives have for the past 20-30 years. That doesn’t mean they aren’t doing it; but I’m not hearing it.

    The arguments I usually hear for economic populism, etc., are economic rather than moral. (They do also approach a moral argument by appealing to “fairness,” but that isn’t the same kind of moral absolutist claim that conservatism makes. Or doesn’t seem so to me.) The arguments for useful sex ed are sociological rather than moral. &c.

  66. mrspeacock Says:

    Oh no, I didn’t think you were attacking my family. I’ve just been bothered by the entire focus on her daughter.

    It seems to me that both sides think they’re morally superior, just in different areas. Republicans think they’ve got the whole family values thing down (no premarital sex, no gay marriage, no abortion, etc.). And Democrats think they’ve got the the social justice thing down (universal health care, gay rights, etc). Or maybe they don’t think they’re superior per se, but they believe they are right about those particular issues. I think there’s a difference. I’m speaking of the average American here, not Rush Limbaugh (who appears to think he’s superior to everybody).

  67. DeJon05 Says:

    I submit a formal motion for one of two things to occur.

    Either 1) The Astros move to the NL West (They have 4 teams. The NL Central has 6. Not fair & they could develop a rivalry with the Rangers)

    Or 2) We give Houston back to Mexico. I never wanted to claim that town anyway.

    Do I hear a second?

  68. Michael Lasley Says:

    Seconded.

    And Amen.

  69. joe Says:

    Pssst… Dejon… Rangers are in the AL West.

    And I’ll agree that Houston can go to Mexico if we can give Louisiana back to the French. Deal?

  70. DeJon05 Says:

    Yes… I meant move the ‘Stros to the AL West.

    And since shipping La. back to France would not affect the pennant race, this is a concession I’m willing to make for the sake of negotiation. Sarkozy would probably have handled Katrina better anyway.

  71. joe Says:

    Wow… Dejon. The inevitable September collapse has barely begun and you are already in the 3rd stage of grief (bargaining).

  72. DeJon05 Says:

    Don’t worry, Joe. I know its coming. But my hope is real and enduring, and pretty soon I will describe my inevitable heartbreak the same way.

  73. Whitney Says:

    You two are so funny.

    Mrs. P., I like how you think.

  74. urbino Says:

    I just heard highlights of McCain’s first post-convention rally. He proudly proclaimed he never won “Miss Congeniality” in the Senate; an interesting rhetorical gambit, since his running mate did win Miss Congeniality. He also said he’d stood up to the “pork barrelers”; also interesting, since some of the pork barrel projects he’s singled out in the past as particularly egregious were either supported or specifically requested by his running mate, as mayor or governor.

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