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Reader Comments (41)
I like how you left out the parts where she's currently under investigation for abuse of power, and against gay marriage. Also, she's a member of the Assembly of God, which isn't just garden-variety christian, it's fucking pentecostal speaking-in-tongues, literal interpretation of the jeebus and mary bible. It's also highly evangelical.
You don't want to get in an abortion debate, yet your argument is pretty lame. People have abortions because their child has Down Syndrome? (And yes, I've met people with Down's, and I've worked with one - generally they're incredibly friendly, nice people.) No - people have abortions because they're accidentally pregnant and they can't afford to have that baby, or they're too young, or it's their seventh baby! If they're getting pre-natal care and can even determine if their baby has a genetic or chromosomal disorder, they're way ahead of the game. Palin, by the way, is against abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
I appreciate you pointing those things out. In response:
* You left out any of the details of the 'investigation for abuse of power'. The verdict isn't in, but I think we'll find it's a load of old cobblers. It's all the Democrats have got on her, and they're going to be working it hard.
* You left out the part where she vetoed a bill that would have blocked gays and lesbians from health and other benefits provided to state workers' domestic partners. She enforced the law and equality and civil rights. I'm pro-gay marriage, and you're pro-gay marriage; but most Americans are anti-gay marriage and pro-civil partnerships. Achieving one thing at a time isn't the end of the world.
* I'm not thrilled that she's a Pentecostal Christian (or any kind of Christian, or any kind of fantasist), but the fact is you can't even run for President in the U.S. without being religious (effectively, without being a practicing Christian), and it seems to me more or less a private matter. That's why we have the strongest bulwark between church and state of any nation in history. You may take this for granted - but I live in a country with an established state church, and where the head of state (the Queen) is also the head of the church.
* As for being opposed to abortion 'even' in cases of rape or incest, I can't fault that. If you think abortion is the killing of a child, you think abortion is the killing of a child. I wouldn't want her to admit that it's okay in certain circumstances. This is the thorniness of the abortion debate. On the other hand, as a matter of policy, if you're concerned about abortion rights, you're right that you do probably want to be aware of (and may be alarmed by) her absolutist position on it.
* McCain is pro-choice. That will set the policy of the Administration. I don't think there's any realistic danger of abortion being outlawed in the U.S. (If I did, I might be more concerned about Palin's position.)
Update: The Sunday Times has upgraded her to "a 44-year-old, gun-toting, moose-burger-eating mother-of-five" and, later on, "the gun-packing, hockey-playing governor". Huzzah!
This fantastic piece in the Times
is well worth reading:
When Sarah Palin stepped into the spotlight as John McCain’s running mate in Dayton, Ohio, and promised that women could “shatter that glass ceiling once and for all”, it was an electrifying moment in a presidential election that had already produced its share of upsets and surprises.
History was on the march again the morning after Barack Obama became the first African-American to accept his party’s White House nomination. After the fireworks, the 80,000-strong crowd who had cheered Obama to the skies at the Mile High stadium in Denver woke up with a hangover.
“We may be seeing the first woman president. As a Democrat, I am reeling,” said Camille Paglia, the cultural critic. “That was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician. Palin is as tough as nails.”
After Obama’s acceptance speech was wiped from the front pages, even he was forced to acknowledge that she “seems like a compelling person . . . with a terrific personal story”. Republicans are hailing their potential new vice-president as the all-American girl of their dreams.
McCain isn't pro-choice (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/
Sorry I left out the details of the investigation, I thought the fact that she was CURRENTLY UNDER INVESTIGATION was compelling enough (she had someone fired who worked with her brother-in-law, for not firing him, who was, at that time divorcing her sister).
I don't know how separate a pentecostal can keep religion from their job - their religious job is to evangelize, and they're not being true to their religion if they're not. Yes, I get what you're saying about Christianity being an important part of a candidate's platform, but most of our candidates don't take a literal interpretation of the bible.
As an absolutist in the case of abortion, she lacks empathy for the women who comprise the very small percentage of abortions that come from rape/incest. We lock up people who murder other people, but in some cases we express understanding for the circumstances - I don't think this is that far from a self-defense explanation.
Here's an article that expresses another view of the Palin pick: http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/
I stand corrected on McCain's stance on abortion. Looking into it, I see he's got a nearly unvarying pro-life voting record, defines life as beginning at conception - and now supports overturning Roe v. Wade. If abortion rights are your concern, he's clearly not your guy. I wish his position were different.
I was rooting for Palin from the beginning.
though my comedic instinct took over and I accidentally congratulated Tina Fey on her nomination
I've lost a lot of respect for McCain over the way he's handled this election, and Sarah Palin is the last straw.
Her selection has been widely interpreted as an attempt to pick up disaffected Clintonites, but it was actually a shrewd move aimed at gathering up the religious right. As the Los Angeles Times noted, 'As a correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network reported Friday, evangelical leaders literally hugged each other "in joy" when Palin's name was announced.'
Sarah Palin doesn't support the banning of the teaching of evolution, but she demands that Creationism be taught alongside it in "science" classes. Not all possible religious theories of creation of course--that would make Creation theory look silly, wouldn't it?--but the carefully spun and doctored Christian "Creation Science." And she also advocates--as does her whole church--greater government support for religious schools as an alternative to secular education. That's what we need, alright--a system of madrassas.
There was a time when if faced with a choice between Mrs Clinton and Mr McCain that I would have jumped to the latter. But I'm ashamed of McCain's choice here. It was clever, from a political point of view, but I no longer accept he is a percon with strong and unyielding principles.
I wish I didn't have to say that, as he is one of the few politicians I admired (even when I didn't agree with him). But he hired Karl Rove's former team in mid-campaign, and since then he has made me slightly sick to my stomach.
I was just having this conversation with my sister Erin. David - I should pause to note that I really appreciate you posting your comments - but I feel that your entire argument is, as they say in legal circles, speculation as to state of mind. For starters, rather as with the Iraq intervention, I care a bit less what the instigator was thinking or gunning for, than I care about the results.
And, moreover, that's just the point - we can never know what the instigator was truly thinking. Your thesis that this was just a shameless attempt to sweep up the religious right is simply unfalsifiable. (You base it on the fact that evangelical leaders hugged each other in joy. Well, I shouted for joy at the announcement. Does that mean McCain picked her in order to lock up the gun-toting, athiest, vegan, obscure novelist voting bloc?)
My sense - perhaps based on a generous mindset and reading - is that what McCain was actually thinking was that he looked at the roster of boring, white, male, Washington insiders on the short list . . . and instead opted to go with his instincts and image as a maverick, non-partisan, no-politics-as-usual, free-thinking outsider, and pick someone who was from outside the beltway and who would really shake things up - and who is a woman (which I personally think is an absolute good, at least for the moment).
Maybe I'm right, maybe you're right, maybe (very much more likely) the truth is somewhere in the middle or spread around. Given that we'll never know, wouldn't it be more useful to spend our energy debating whether she's a good candidate for the office?
You're also mistaken - or at best overreacting - to claim that she "demands that Creationism be taught alongside [evolution] in 'science' classes." In a televised debate, she supported teaching both creationism and evolution in public schools. The next day she clarified her position to one of allowing the debate of alternative views and not of having creationism in the curriculum. (See http://dwb.adn.com/news/politics/elections/story/8347904p-8243554c.html - her exact quote is "I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.") That's rather different. Let's be fair.
Thanks a lot again for chiming in.
As to Palin's public position on evolution, I'm glad to hear she modified it--though her church certainly hasn't.
I have relatives in the Assmbly of God. I've even been to quite a few of their services over the years. I miss the pipe organ--they don't believe in musical instruments in church, either. If they had less members, they'd be called a "cult" rather than a religion.
I'd be happier if Palin also insisted that a number of other arbitrary crackpot beliefs be taught as well. Why should it be limited to just science and the one belief that happens to fit with her personal religious convictions? What about reincarnation, and the idea that souls evolve in a succession of material vessels? Billions of people believe that. What about the belief that God underbaked Causcasians and overbaked blacks, but got brown people just right?
I hope that if creation science is given air time in schools that they also trot out L. Ron Hubbard's "History of Man." The Scientologists have a view on the topic--and they have just as much scientific evidence.
Personally, I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster (flyingspaghettimonster.com) as the origin of all existence, but I have enough faith in my belief that I don't demand it be pushed in the schools.
I've never taken the effort to respond to one of your political statements before and my first instinct is to just say "blow it out your ear", but I'll refrain.
You brush aside the abortion issue much too quickly. The fact is that both McCain and Palin favor a constitutional amendment banning abortion under all circumstances. I strongly believe that the strength of the constitution is that it strictly (or not so strictly - depending on your point of view) limits what government may or may not do to the public while maintaining the strongest possible degree of freedom for citizens. Here we have candidates for the nation's highest office that expressly want to use the constitution to limit the behavior of citizens. They want to take the police power of government and use it to emforce their own brand of morality. If this, then what else is up for future restriction?
You commend McCain for his VP choice...I see it as one more sign that he has cravenly decided to seek the approval of the far right wing of his party. Had he truly been the "independent" voice he pretends to be, he would have stuck to his widely reported desire to select a moderate, pro-choice candidate like Tom Ridge of PA (ore even god forbid Joe Lieberman). Instead, upon hearing the indignation from his extremist party members he went out and chose a far right conservative.
I don't have a deep understanding of Palin's strengths or weaknesses beyond what I've heard over the past day or two. That being said, I'm already tired of hearing about her "leadership experience". Here's what I know:
She was a small town mayor for several years.
She has been the Governor of our 47th largest state for approx 20 months. She's recieved high marks from her constituents (what a shock given the State's share of oil revenues during a period of record oil prices).
She is the "Commander in Chief" of the Alaska National guard and has to my knowledge issued "commands" to send troops to Iraq (any other command decisions that you're aware of?). Her son is going to Iraq. I respect her son for enlisting. If you want to vote for him for VP (when he's old enough) go ahead, but why does she get the credit?
She prides herself on her fiscal discipline and cites her opposition to the infamous bridge to nowhere (even though she neglects to say that she strongly supported it until it became an embarrassment and a political liability).
She is a hard core religious conservative (as can be seen by her support of Pat Buchanan in 1996 and her extreme position on abortion) that wants to appear like your average suburban mom. She has 5 kids. Congratulations and I respect her ability to raise a large family. Why is it worth mentioning when the number of children a man has is never an issue (unless they're not his wife's kids)?
Bottom line - she's a politician just like every other politician. She like McCain and Obama, has an underlying belief structure that molds their decision processes. I respect her right to her opinions, but I get very nervous when her opinions dictate that she and her faith can restrict mine.
Forget Troopergate....How about Down Syndrome Babygate?!?!
As if the timeline and *hella* shifty pregnancy story aren't enough to at the very least raise doubt, Bristol Palin to my (medical) eye appears pregnant, and at no time is there any photographic evidence that Gov. Palin was pregnant. (Your Honor, I preemptively reject any photoshop defense!)
I suppose this Immaculate Conception will only boost her popularity. Why haven't they been introducing her as the next Virgin Mary? Saving it for the convention?
Hey McCain campaign, as we say in the lower 48, "I think someone done FUCKED UP!"
At the very least this requires some response. Easy enough to prove it either way as desperate left-wing slander/muck-racking, or the most insane right-wing political move since weapons of mass destruction. Holy Maury Povich, Batman! Who's my baby mama?!?! A simple cheek swab from all the Palin women would prove maternity.
I should add, Daily Kos is often full of shit.
So let's just assume Gov. Palin has been telling the complete truth---that it is her Baby #5, that she is 44 years old, and (as she has widely been lauded for) she knew from prenatal testing that her baby had Down's---After entering premature labor in her high-risk pregnancy for an infant she knew would need specialized care, she still made the decision to take a long-distance commercial flight hours away from appropriate immediate emergency medical care.
Why? So her child would not be born a Texan? Really?
What does this say about her decision making? Her priorities?
What does this really say about her respect for life?
I'm glad I finally provoked Matt into chiming in. And he, and others, have made me realise that if you care about abortion rights, this ticket is clearly a threat. He's also quite right about the Bridge to Nowhere flip-flop (and my convenient omitting of that fact) - and probably right that some of her other "accomplishments" aren't any such thing.
On the other hand, Matt writes: "I strongly believe that the strength of the constitution is that it limits what government may or may not do to the public while maintaining the strongest possible degree of freedom for citizens. Here we have candidates for the nation's highest office that expressly want to use the constitution to limit the behavior of citizens." To write that is to miss completely or ignore willfully the pro-life position. Simply, for them, unborn babies ARE citizens. The government also restricts citizens' freedom to bash people in the heads with baseball bats. We limit behaviour all the time, especially as it impacts other people. That's how it works.
As for DownsSyndromeBabyGate: It smacks of the kind of hysterical certainty you often hear in conspiracy theory-making. But, who knows - perhaps it's true, and perhaps the truth will out.
In any case, you've all given me pause, for which I thank you. I've had cause to question my own intellectual integrity on this one - for giving a complete pass to this candidate for having stances or habits I find troubling at best (pro-life, hunting, hyper-religiosity). Perhaps I should fall out of love with her and be a bit more rational and critical.
Snitch belabors some BabyGate points:
What would the average reasonable person have done when faced with what could be construed as premature labor in a high-risk (meets medical definition) pregnancy?
Would any decent sensical person (much less a doctor!) evaluating this situation over the phone from 4500 miles away really tell you something along the lines of: "You don't need to go get evaluated at the nearest hospital. It sounds okay to me. You should wait all day, make your speech, and I'll see you as soon as you get back from your 10 hour flight and 1 hour drive?"
Why did she not seek the immediately available world-class medical evaluation and care in Austin for a situation that was potentially life-threatening to both herself and her fetus/infant?
Quick man! It's the pregnant Governor of Alaska! A phone call and she'd get the super duper VIP treatment at any tertiary care hospital anywhere. They could've easily kept it confidential and anonymous even (not like she had anything to hide right?) Perhaps she didn't miss her flight? Non-refundable Alaska Air tickets?
I understand Alaskans are a different sort of people. I understand that people are used to having to call the 1 doctor in 10000 square miles for a telephone evaluation/advice and then take some combination of moose ride, dog sled run, bear rodeo, snowmobile accident, and bush plane to get help. I understand that this is even a point of pride. But come on, she's the Governor. She was in Austin, TX not Papua New Guinea or some other godless (heh!) point on the globe 10-12 hours away from Anchorage.
I have a good friend who's a lawyer in Anchorage who's business is the AK political scene. He says it's seems that McCain has hardly vetted her at all. A team of McCain vetters just arrived today to look into her background more fully. Something you'd figure they would have done before...
I think this needs to be explained better. Put the conspiracy to rest at least. Maybe the McCain cleanup team can come up with a birth certificate or some medical staff eyewitness. Get the doctor to make a statement better explaining the situation, clear up the timeline, at least attest that she delivered Gov. Palin's baby.
Gov. Palin also needs to explain her thought process a bit better here. At best: it was poor decision making--just following the orders of her trusted family physician. It's a disturbing lack of critical thinking and common sense with many implications but possibly forgivable; everything did turn out ok.
She denies being a Buchananite a decade or so ago, but who wouldn't? It's just bad press. Also, her "teach both" philosophy in regards to ID/evolution just smacks of indecisiveness. Now that she'll be in the batting ring with the big boys, I'll be curious to learn how this up-and-coming VPILF (as I've often heard her referred to in the seedier internet circles) makes her mark during the elections. McCain's taken the bullhorn on "pork barrel projects", so Palin's PR folks are going to have to weed through a whole 'lotta soundbites from 2006 in order to stage her to have nixed the "Bridge to Nowhere". Let the backpedaling begin!
Forgive my Labor Day pun above. I'll be here all week...
But get this from none other than the Gray Lady. Palin now says Bristol is 5 months preggers to quash conspiracy rumors.
This is unfolding just a bit strangely.
My wifey to be adds: Can you imagine the volume of right wing, Fox News ejaculate if it came out that Michelle Obama had followed this course of decision making in one of her pregnancies? You'd need a snorkel and a squeegee to get through that.
I refrained from Bringing Up Baby (though I wasn't so circumspect on my blog, where I had fun with it).
But, as much fun as the Bristol's Baby story is, I can't really believe the McCain campaign didn't get to the bottom of it before offering her the slot. The rumor has been bouncing around Alaska for some time.
My significant other disagrees with with my viewpoint that the McCainites would have nixed her if that rumor were true. She argues that with the Karl-Rove crowd in control of the late stages of McCain's campaign, they'll simply and unabashedly engage in bald-faced lying and venomous character assaults on anyone who confronted them with the facts.
My own view of Amrican politics is nicely summed up by a bumper sticker I saw recently:
"Clinton: No Longer the Worst President in US History"
Clinton was (and is) a sonofabitch; but he was just about the best Democratic president a conservative could hope for: awesomely pro-free trade, completely effective welfare reform, no health care plan (in the end), tax relief for small businesses, decreased federal spending, and a balanced federal budget. Also, progress on gays in the military (hardly a conservative cause, but I like it).
Anyway, let's put the Kos/Olberman/nutosphere Babygate conspiracy to bed. Here's Palin either pregnant with her fifth child or wearing a fat suit:
And, as you've all read, the newly revealed fact is that
was already far too pregnant to have given birth to her brother. So let's let that ooze-mongering go - as
Obama admirably directs us to do
Okay, the conspiracy was mean-spirited fun, Daily KOS tabloid style. The rational part of you calls bullshit right away, but the cynical child inside still has to take a moment to have a horrified gasp, could you imagine? reaction. (Them Palins sure are fertile. I guess if Jesus and the Good Book is your birth control...) All joking aside, I still hope I get a better answer to my real questions around the birth of Trig though. I do feel tremendous empathy for Bristol though and more irritation towards her mom and McCain for putting her daughter on the national stage. You think any unintentially unmarried pregnant teenager would sign up for this? You think this wasn't judged a net positive in McCain's political calculations? As a loving parent, shouldn't she have made the more compassionate decision and said no for her daughter's sake?
After listening to me blather on, a friend asked. "What's the relevance of these baby-related topics?" Simply, it goes to judgment. Any instance of poor personal decision making in a modern political figure's life goes in the pot: from Obama's past drug use or dealings with sketchy real-estate developer, Edwards' affair, Craig's toe-tapping, Clinton's "cigar"-smoking. Those didn't make you think differently about your leader? Not fair, he said, shouldn't we be a little wary of blending parental/personal judgment with political/governmental judgment?
Separating personal/parental judgment from political/governmental judgment seems to me an impossible ideal. It's something to aspire to but ultimately unachievable. The logic: If you can't make reasonable decisions for yourself and your family, I don't want you making big decisions for me and mine.
A corollary: Everyone is entitled to the mistakes in their personal lives and we each deal with the personal consequences. But when your mistakes will impact those you represent/govern, the consequences are borne by others.
We're lucky enough to have some input in the choice of our leaders. By social contract, we give them power over us; they have to live up to a different standard because of that responsibility.
Good points. On the other hand, I know (and we probably all know) people people who are unbelievably capable (unstoppable even) professionally, but whose personal lives are complete disasters. Come to mention it, that's probably more the norm than the exception.
All this baby stuff and whether she is an only-in-America story, etc., seems completely irrelevant to me. (BTW, I disagree that it is 'only in America' because it seems much easier in the UK for an average non-rich person to be elected to public office, due to the fact you don't have to spend millions on your campaign.)
I want to know about policies. I don't care if her son's in the army or the sun shines out of her ass.
All that you have listed here are ones I'm against(e.g. her stance on abortion). Due to the lack of coverage of McCain in the UK media and my laziness in seeking out US domestic news sources, I have yet to hear anything I'd consider positive about the McCain/Palin campaign. Perhaps you could enlighten me. And don't talk about war stuff because we've already agreed to differ there...
Sorry to butt in on a fascinating intra-American discussion, but as a fellow-resident of Michael's country "with an established state church, and where the head of state (the Queen) is also the head of the church," it is fascinating to observe how broadly relaxed is the relation between politics and religion in the UK. Of course, fewer people in the UK are actively religious. Dare I suggest, however, that if anything the presence of religion in the UK is generally rather positive and liberal in the several of the better senses of liberal.
I don't pretend to understand this very much, but your church and state division seems to have become a backstop to keep in check a substantial (and growing?) minority of wierdos. In the UK if you are unable to demonstrate the cultural, personal or intellectual plausibility of your outlook then you keep quiet to avoid ridicule. Not so in the US, it seems, where all you need is a church of the like-enthusiastic and suddenly you are a political constituency. US cultural privatism seems to have done something rather odd to religion in your part of the world.
In the Spaghetti Monster we trust.
At Michael's request, I'm adding my comments to this lovely little discussion. I notice there was no similar discussion about Biden. :>
I'm thrilled that on my ballot this fall, I'm guaranteed to see a woman VP candidate (who is entirely likely to succeed McCain into the top spot) and a black Presidential candidate. The election results don't really matter in terms of social advancement, the fact that the choice is there was the victory.
Now on to Gov. Palin. All other questions aside, I have only one concern, and it can be boiled down into a single question asked of her by any reporter:
"How old is the Earth?"
The question is central, because it tells us how she would resolve her personal worlds view with a wider world view necessary to govern well. Will she, as president, subserve her belief system to better serve the state, or will she remain in a fixed point of reference and expect the world to revolve around her? Will she nuance the her answer to placate all listeners. All other decisions of governance will stem from this central personality question including abortion, religion in schools, supreme court appointees, support for and acceptance of the various branches of science (including medicine), and even an acceptance that the world changes over time- including environment and climate.
In fact, by logical extension, if she is in denial about answer to the above question, she is likely fundamentally against representative governance and even free-will. You can’t believe in a king to rule mankind and still believe that people should govern themselves. In order to be honest to her professed morals- and I believe she is- she has to either believe in literalism or have a flexible world view on all matters. The church she belongs to is a literalist branch of Christianity. It remains to be seen how fully she embraces their doctrine.
BTW, the correct answer is: “My religion tells me the Earth is 4000 years old. Science tells us it is much older.”
Washington post (early Sep.2008) says that she iagainst abortion in cases of rape but not of incest. i'm finding it difficult to wrap my mind around that position.
more evidence of Sarah Palin's experience and ability as CEO?
“People who don’t have children or who have only
one or two are kind of overwhelmed at the notion
of five children,” Ms. Schlafly continued,
mentioning that she had raised six children and
run for Congress as well. “I think a hard-working,
well-organized C.E.O. type can handle it very well.”
Before viewing this post, please emsure that your
tags are functioning properly.
as it tuened out, it was *my* tags that were
misfunctioning. It should have read as follows:
more evidence of Sarah Palin's experience and ability as CEO?
“People who don’t have children or who have only
one or two are kind of overwhelmed at the notion
of five children,” Ms. Schlafly continued,
mentioning that she had raised six children and
run for Congress as well. “I think a hard-working,
well-organized C.E.O. type can handle it very well.”
Before viewing this post, please ensure that your
~irony>~/irony> tags are functioning properly (where "~" is to be read as "<").
Irony -- it's not just for metalworkers any more.
Maybe this is stating the obvious: What's driving all this beyond the expected curiosity over Gov. Palin as a dark horse pick? Deep deep reasonable worry about John McCain's continued existence. Simple and scary. In many an alternate universe and very possibly in this one, he becomes president. He's postponed death multiple times in his absolutely gripping life story, but now he's bumping up against the actuarial tables and there's only ever one winner in that contest.
I'm sharing/commenting on the following two excerpts from a great Opinion by Sam Harris (Founder of the Reason Project and the author of "The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation") in the LA Times today: (9/3/08):
"The actuarial tables on the Social Security Administration website suggest that there is a better than 10% chance that McCain will die during his first term in office. Needless to say, the Reaper's scything only grows more insistent thereafter. Should President McCain survive his first term and get elected to a second, there is a 27% chance that Palin will become the first female U.S. president by 2015. If we take into account McCain's medical history and the pressures of the presidency, the odds probably increase considerably that this bright-eyed Alaskan will become the most powerful woman in history."
Mr. Harris conservatively mentions only the risk of death. We must add to that the risk of any significant disability. Odds just keep worsening for a fully healthy McCain presidency. [Q: How disabled can a president be and still stay in office? A: Granted, pretty disabled. Ref: Reagan's 2nd term. But he had CIA spymaster backup in Bush #1.] In our hyperinspection of Gov. Palin I think we are doing this grim subconscious math. At this point, the race is truly too close to call and America is seriously calculating the odds that she will be president at some point. Because of this, the way we evaluate/scrutinize the Republican ticket is fundamentally different than our scrutiny of Obama/Biden. The macabre conclusion: I think we all have already put McCain partially in his grave (exactly how far is up to you). Naturally then, we must talk about Gov. Palin as if she's the one running for President.
Mr. Harris continues:
"Americans have an unhealthy desire to see average people promoted to positions of great authority. No one wants an average neurosurgeon or even an average carpenter, but when it comes time to vest a man or woman with more power and responsibility than any person has held in human history, Americans say they want a regular guy, someone just like themselves. President Bush kept his edge on the 'Who would you like to have a beer with?' poll question in 2004, and won reelection."
Exactly what we need in the highest office...a normal 'average' American. Maybe that's okay for student body president, local government, even at the state level, but I've never understood why we are this way when the stakes are quite high. I guess we want to like our leaders and we like those who appear to be most like us. There's an evol. bio. explanation in there so we can just blame our lizard brains again. We are still a stupid tribe.
Spaghetti Monster forbid we follow the best among us!
But it's so bullshit. It's interesting that even as they politically push their 'averageness', Gov. Palin (not to mention any of the other contestants on the national stage) is by no means the normal or average American. It minimalizes and trivializes her hard-won accomplishments. Whatever unique combination of character and circumstance that comes together to create our leaders, it does not happen to many of us. It is another great American myth that *anyone* can be President. Just technically, but nope, not really.
Everyone will have to pardon me for being "that crazy pragmatist" on issues, but here's how many of these topics will actually play out in real life:
1) The Pro-Life thing is an interesting intellectual debate and, being Pro-Choice myself, I find the whole thing mildly disturbing. That said, the chances of Palin, McCain, or anyone else in the U.S. actually getting a constitutional amendment passed to ban abortion is precisely 0.0000%. From a practical standpoint this is a complete non-issue.
2) The notion that McCain might die in office are certainly well-founded when you look at the situation from a theoretical, gross statistics standpoint. As someone pointed out: "'The actuarial tables on the Social Security Administration website suggest that there is a better than 10% chance that McCain will die during his first term in office.'" Frightening, eh? Yes, but only if you live in theory-land. The practical facts of the matter are that McCain, while having a history of skin cancer, will have the very best medical attention that humanity has *ever* had to offer a person and his chances of dying accidentally are effectively zero (unless, perhaps, he goes hunting with Dick Cheney ;-) So, is it really wise to base decisions about a VP pick on a substantially-less-than-ten-percent probability? Hmmm...probably not. Again, this is most likely a non-issue.
3) The gay marriage issue is more of the same. I'm all for gay marriage. I've tried heterosexual marriage twice and failed both times - who am I to judge? :-) The reality is that Palin has opposed gay marriage but supported same-sex benefits. In purely practical terms, that's what really matters. That's non-issue #3 for those of you who are counting.
4) The "she's under investigation for ethics violations" issue, while appearing to be possibly damning, is (at this point) nothing more than an investigation into the firing of Walt Monegan, who allegedly refused to fire a state trooper who was involved in a bitter divorce with her sister (who also just happened to have been suspended by Monegan himself for 10 days, later reduced to 5, after he ADMITTED TO TASERING HIS OWN 10-YEAR OLD STEPSON):
"A week later, Monegan told NBC affiliate KTUU of Anchorage that he thought it was likely that he had been dismissed because he resisted pressure from Palin’s staff and husband to fire the trooper, who was involved in a bitter custody battle with the governor’s sister after their divorce in 2005."
OK, now seriously, he *thought* that it was *likely* that he was fired for not firing a child-tasering law enforcement employee? Oh yeah...damning charges if there ever were.
Even forgetting all of that, the practical reality of the situation is that people are giving equal weight to an investigation into an *alleged* abuse of power and a *verifiable* track record of doing more to clean up political ethics in her state than anyone...ever. And did I mention that she fired a shitload of other people in the state government as well? Yet again, pretty much a non-issue and certainly one that won't be resolved by November.
5) The experience issue is just comical. She's run a small town and a U.S. state and she's the VP pick. Obama is running for President and, as others in this thread have pointed out, has never run *anything* of any significance in his life. Let me put this into perspective for you: if you were on the board of directors of the world's largest corporation, with *trillions* of dollars in annual revenue and the single largest employer in the world, would you vote to hire a CEO that had never managed more than a small handful of people in his or her life? You'd have to be ABSOLUTELY OUT OF YOUR *MIND* to do something like that. But, according to the latest polls, 48% of American citizens are prepared to do so. Human stupidity knows no bounds.
So, for me, this all boils down to practical reality vs. theoretical ideology. I fundamentally believe that a McCain / Palin ticket will be more beneficial to the citizens of the U.S. and the drive for democracy and freedom throughout the world than an Obama / Biden ticket. But, as is always the case in politics, it's about choosing the lesser of two evils. Pick your evil carefully...
Here's an email from an Alaskan that is getting passed around stateside giving a hometown view of Palin....just thought I'd add it to the colorful mix (and Mike, try to bring you down off your crazy Palin-high:)
As an Alaskan, I am writing to give all of you some information on Sarah Palin, Senator McCain's choice for VP. As an Alaska voter, I know more than most of you about her and, frankly, I am horrified that he picked her.
The most accurate description of her is red neck. Her husband works in the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay and races snow mobiles. She is a life time member of the NRA and has worked tirelessly to allow indiscriminate hunting of wildlife in Alaska, particularly wolves and
bears. She has spent millions of Alaska state dollars on aerial hunting of these predators from helicopters and airplanes, dollars that should have been spent, for example, on Alaska's failing school system.We have the lowest rate of high school graduation in the
country. Not all of you may think aerial predator hunting is so bad, but how anyone (other than Alaska wolf-haters, of which there are many, most without teeth), could think this use of funds is appropriate is beyond me.
She has been a strong supporter of increased use of fossil fuels, yet the McCain campaign has the nerve to say she has "green" policies. The only thing green about Sarah Palin is her lack of experience. She has
consistently supported drilling in ANWR, use of coal-burning power plants (as I write this, a new coal plant is being built in her home town of Wasilla), strip mining, and almost anything else that will unnecessarily exploit the diminishing resources of Alaska and destroy its environment.
Prior to her one year as governor of Alaska, she was mayor of Wasilla, a small red neck town outside Anchorage.The average maximum education level of parents of junior high school kids in Wasilla is 10th grade. Unfortunately, I have to go to Wasilla every week to get groceries and
other supplies, so I have continual contact with the people who put Palin in office in the first place. I know what I'm talking about. These people don't have a concept of the world around them or of the serious issues facing the US. Furthermore, they don't care. So long as they can go out and hunt their moose every fall, kill wolves and bears
and drive their snow mobiles and ATVs through every corner of the wilderness, they're happy. I wish I were exaggerating.
Sarah Palin is currently involved in a political corruption scandal. She fired an individual in law enforcement here because she didn't like how he treated one of her relatives during a divorce. The man's performance and ability weren't considered; it was a totally personal firing and is currently under investigation. While the issue isn't
close to the scandal of Ted Steven's corruption, it shows that Palin isn't "squeaky clean" and causes me to think there ay be more issues that could come to light. Clearly McCain doesn't care.
When you line Palin up with Biden, the comparison would be laughable if it weren't so serious. Sarah Palin knows nothing of economics (admittedly a weak area for McCain), or of international affairs, knows nothing of national government, Social Security, unemployment,
health care systems - you name it. The idea of her meeting with heads of foreign governments around the world truly frightens me.
In an increasingly dangerous world, with the economy in shambles in the US, Sarah Palin is uniquely Unqualified to be vice president. John McCain is not a young man. Should something happen to him such that the vice president had to step in, it would destroy our country and possibly the world to have someone as inexperienced and inappropriate
as Sarah Palin. The choice of Palin is a cheap shot by McCain to try to get Hillary supporters to vote for him. when McCainintroduced her today, Palin had the nerve to compare herself with Hillary and Geraldine Ferraro. Sarah Palin, you are no Hillary Clinton.
To those of you who, like me, supported Hilary and were upset that she did not get the nomination, please don't think that Sarah Palin is a worthy substitute. If you supported Hillary, regardless of what you think the media and the democratic party may have done to undermine
her campaign, the person to support now is Obama, not Sarah Palin. To those of you who are independent or undecided, don't let the choice of Palin sway you in favor of McCain. Choosing her shows how unqualified McCain is to be president. To those of you who are conservative, I
guess you have no choice for president. But please try to see how the poor choice of Palin tells us a great deal about McCain's judgment. While the political posturing inherent in the choice of Palin is obvious, the more serious issue is the fact that the VP is, literally,
a heartbeat away from the presidency. Sarah Palin is totally and unequivocally unqualified to be vice president, let alone president.
I know this is a lengthy and emotional email, but the stakes are high. I thought it might help for all of you, regardless of political affiliation, to know something about Palin from someone who has to live with her administration in Alaska on a daily basis.
McCain, Obama, Biden are all hitting the Sunday morning newsshows for policy-driven interviews.
[Cue Ben Stein]
Oh yessir, she's sure ready. Lots of experience. Best person for the job. Yup. Not even ready to handle say, Larry King.
She's not even agreed to take live questions from FoxNews. Not like that would be anything other than a series of scripted questions and prearranged answers. Maybe it's because she's already proven she can read a prompter and follow someone else's notes.
In response to Mr. Huckabloon's comments paragraph 2:
A 72 year old man with a history of melanoma and decorated Vietnam POW died peacefully in his sleep today.
Although sad, what exactly about that sentence is surprising? There is a 100% chance that this exact situation really happens in our country. Please tell me why John McCain might be immune/different. As it is for all of us, it is simply a matter of when not if. And his when will most likely be sooner rather than later.
Put another way: MR. McCain may live to be 96+ like his mother, or he may keel over tomorrow. (I do wish him many more happy and productive years.) However to fulfill his duties and responsibilities as leader of our country and the free world (tm), PRESIDENT McCain HAS to live and function at his absolute mental and physical best for at least 4 years. Can anyone guarantee that? The risk of Gov. Palin assuming the presidency is not something I think we should or can afford to take lightly. To me it is an increasingly irrational choice since there is a reasonable and competent (ignoring the policy/political differences just for the sake of argument) alternative choice of leadership. If you somehow believe that Gov. Palin is fully ready to lead this country and best represent its interests tomorrow (literally), if you would be happy that she is our president; only then does the real risk (no matter how big or small) of John McCain's mortality/incapacity not matter.
The best medical care in the world can not stave off your natural death. Mr. McCain's campaign released his medical records: 1200 pages covering 2000-2008. Mr. Obama's medical record for the past *21* years fit on 1 page.
Hope this helps take it out of theory-land. No one lives (or dies) in theory-land.
In response to Mr. Snitch's comments in paragraph 3 (which I do not completely disagree with):
"PRESIDENT McCain HAS to live and function at his absolute mental and physical best for at least 4 years. Can anyone guarantee that? The risk of Gov. Palin assuming the presidency is not something I think we should or can afford to take lightly. To me it is an increasingly irrational choice since there is a reasonable and competent (ignoring the policy/political differences just for the sake of argument) alternative choice of leadership."
While I agree that the risk of Gov. Palin assuming the highest office in the free world is not something to be taken lightly, I must also reiterate my belief that the 100% chance of Senator Obama assuming that office (should he be elected) is actually a far more disastrous consequence. The man has no executive experience whatsoever and 46% of the people of the United States (according to the latest polls) are actually willing to elect him to the highest executive office in the history of the human species.
Putting politics and religious beliefs aside (most of which I side with Obama on, BTW), the objective and practical reality of the situation is that Obama might be a great presidential candidate in a few years and I might even vote for him, but he is not ready to take on the myriad challenges of running an enormous government and dealing with perhaps the most significant foreign policy situation in a generation.
Again, to put it into perspective, if we were talking about electing the CEO of IBM or GE or a similarly large company, there would be no debate whatsoever (all of you who are for Obama would get your asses laughed out of the boardroom). I realize that a government isn't just a business and, as such, should not necessarily be run as one (God help us if it ever is...completely), but it comes down to the simple matter of experience. Obama has none. Period. End of story.
McCain has his military leadership/service, but if you choose to only use the more restrictive definition of executive experience that supporters of Gov. Palin (and detractors of Obama) are trotting out, then McCain also has none. Along with his self-admitted lack of economics knowledge, McCain would not be qualified to serve as a large company CEO either.
Palin for President then?
Religion doesn't seem to be coming into play so much in this election cycle. The fact is, politically, McCain out-manuevered Obama in the short run by picking Palin. She is now the "celebrity". People seem to like her, she looks good on TV (except for part of the Charlie Gibson interview), and she speaks her mind. Even if people don't agree with her views, people still seem to like her (reminds me of that thing that Reagan had). Obama's team better sharpen up and get ready for a fight. I am hoping they trounce McCain/Palin in the debates.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiornia was asked whether she thought Sarah Palin was qualified to lead a company like HP. Here, courtesy of St. Louis's KTRS radio, is her answer:
HOST: "Do you think she has the experience to run a major company like Hewlett Packard?"
FIORINA: "No, I don't. But that's not what she's running for."
Well, everyone's pretty much said everything I would
have liked to say, only better. Just two things remain
for me to say:
- the United States may nominally have a 'bulwark' between church and state, but in reality surely it's a nation much more in thrall to Christianity than the UK is? The very fact that US politicians can't consider running for President unless they have, and make public, their Christian faith illustrates that, surely?
- I just joined a Facebook group called Fuck Sarah Palin.
"Has the McCain campaign broken Sarah Palin?"
Good (very charitable) points made by Chris Orr about Ms. Palin's current political death spiral. Sports fans, there's even a (lame) armchair "over-coaching the talent" analogy to end it.
Guess I'm feeling karmically bad about all the mean things I say about her. Shouldn't make fun of the stupid/overwhelmed. Trying to be a little nice. It's not all her fault and maybe the only mistake that is 100% hers was not saying to McCain, "Thanks, but...."
Since you and Couric share an alma mater, I thought you'd be interested in this interview:
Also, I'm interested in your thoughts after watching this on whether or not Palin has the chops and the intellect to lead the country. (Don't forget to click on the second video.) You can also check out Palin w/ Charlie Gibson on youtube. I'm honestly interested in what you think of these interviews. (You're the only McCain supporter I know well.) Call me if you'd like to debate in real time ;)
Bringing it full circle from Danielle's original post...
Snarky Spoiler: Sarah Palin apparently (inadvertently) supports Roe v. Wade!
Not only does Palin not really know how Supreme Court rulings and our constitutional government work (states can't interpret the federal constitution as they wish), she also clearly does not understand what Roe v Wade established: the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision; that a woman's choice to have an abortion is protected as a private decision.
By agreeing that there is such a constitutional right to privacy (esp. in the context of a discussion of Roe v Wade/abortion) isn't Palin fundamentally agreeing with Roe?!?!
Couric must have logically been expecting a "No, I don't believe there is a constitutional right to privacy; ergo I don't believe Roe is valid...activist judges, blahblah" type of answer. Right after Palin agrees that there is such a constitutional right, Couric even clarifies, "The cornerstone of Roe v Wade?" and still Palin agrees.
She clearly only understands Roe v Wade/abortion in a generic, "it's a states' issue", "culture of life", superficial pro-life talking points kind of way. Her responses absolutely convince me that she doesn't have any real understanding about a topic that is at the very core of her political/personal identity. Don'tcha know?
Well, I hate to pile it on cuz, but you were off on another point.
"...Does that mean McCain picked her in order to lock up the gun-toting, athiest, vegan, OBSCURE novelist voting bloc?)" (For full disclosure, I made the word "obscure" all caps for emphasis.)
Congrats on the 100,000 books sold mark! Quite an achievement and I'm pretty sure that excludes you from the "obscure novelist" category.
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