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President Palin:

I've been trying for the last day to figure out how I feel about McCain's pick for Vice President. My first instinct was to think that this is a breathtakingly bad choice. It's bad politics because it highlights the reckless side of McCain's admirable boldness. And, far more importantly, it's bad for the country because Palin is unusually unready to be President, yet was chosen primarily as a political stunt to drive wedges and manufacture excitement. All of this puts a dent in McCain's commitment to "Country First."

The more I've learned about Palin, however, the more I admire and respect her. Her personal story is unquestionably compelling. Her religious beliefs and views on some social issues are not mine, but she's in the best tradition of Republican reformism against wasteful spending and entrenched bureaucracy. She brings an outsider's willingness and ability to think anew about what government is doing well and what's gone wrong. And she brings the newcomer's enthusiasm and idealism to that effort. I would have voted for her as governor.

However, as McCain himself described his criteria for a veep choice last February, the first question for those of us inclined to vote for him is now this: Is Palin "fully prepared to take over" as president?

Many of the defenses of Palin's readiness have been partisan hackery. This morning, for example, Newt Gingrich offered up her ex officio role as head of the Alaska National Guard as "military experience." But several defenses or near-defenses have come from people whose views I take very seriously, including some of my co-bloggers. These have caused me to think harder about why it is I'm uncomfortable with this choice.

Especially impressive is the blog post by Bill Stuntz (noted earlier today by Jim) taking apart the arguments about "experience" now filling the airwaves and commentaries. Stuntz's taxonomy of the types of experience -- time in D.C., time in some "executive" office, and actual accomplishments while in office -- is astute. Palin has no experience on the first dimension and little on the second. On the third, she's more impressive but still thin, given only 18 months as governor.

But we have to ask, compared to whom? Obama himself has had little time in D.C., no time in executive office (running a campaign is not the same thing), and, despite his obvious intelligence and thoughtfulness, an undistinguished record of actual legislative accomplishment either as a state legislator or U.S. Senator. As a feminist friend of mine pointed out, the knock against Palin is that she's one 72-year-old's heartbeat away from the presidency, but the Democratic nominee is the living heartbeat of a potentially vacuous president.

Let me suggest a fourth dimension of "experience" that ought also be weighed: sheer exposure and vetting at a national and international level. By this I mean experience over time in answering hard questions about a wide range of issues, meeting with other national and international leaders, and responding on the record to crises and other developments as they arise. This kind of experience gives the country a chance to see how you think, to see how you handle high-octane pressure on the relevant national and international stages, to observe how you adapt when things don't go as you thought they would, and so on. It also forces you to learn about, and to develop views about, important and complex national and international questions. Voters deserve to know these things about you. On this fourth dimension of experience, I'd rank McCain and Biden about even. I'd put Obama distinctly third. Palin doesn't even register.

All of this may be academic in short time. The current defenses of McCain's choice may look downright silly after Palin gives a few uninformed and embarrassing answers to basic questions of policy. The simmering scandal in Alaska over the firing of her ex-brother-in-law (or some other heretofore unexamined matter) may boil over in the heat of a national spotlight, revealing a personal pettiness and vindictiveness behind the earnest persona. For all the optimism we're now hearing in conservative circles, McCain may be put in the position of having to win despite his veep pick, just as the first President Bush had to do.

None of this is decisive on how a person should vote. Having the relevant experience at the top of the ticket is still more important than having it at the bottom. Even on the experience question, there's some ground to believe that Palin is smart enough and dedicated enough to ramp up fairly quickly. She'd at least have some time and experience in all four dimensions before she might have to take over as president.

Further, lots of things besides experience matter in a presidential election. We've had some "experienced" presidents who were terrible and a few inexperienced ones who were quite good. Substantive policy views matter tremendously. I'd rather have an inexperienced president haphazardly advancing good policies than an experienced one effectively pursuing destructive ones. Intelligence, broad knowledge, willingness to consider opposing views and evidence, and temperament matter, too. On some of these criteria, Palin seems like a good choice, on others not so much, and on still others, we don't yet know.

But for at least some of us who have welcomed the thought of President McCain, the prospect of President Palin is, at least for now, unsettling.

Brett Bellmore:
As the only major party ticket member for President who's not a dedicated enemy of free speech, she doesn't unsettle me nearly as much as the other three dudes.
8.30.2008 4:17pm
Hoosier:
"But for at least some of us who welcome the thought of President McCain, the thought of President Palin is, at least for now, unsettling."

"Welcome the thought of President McCain"? I dunno, but I heard a rumor that he was actually IN PRISON back in the 'Sixites!!!!!

Why won't the media look into this?
8.30.2008 4:21pm
Michael B (mail):
"Many of the defenses of Palin's readiness have been partisan hackery."

In fact and as a whole they've been decidedly more substantive than the hackery emanating from the Left and nearby precincts.

And I heard Newt Gingrich mention the Alaska Natl. Guard, he wasn't overly leveraging it and making it to be more than it is.
8.30.2008 4:26pm
krs:
How is Obama any better than Palin?

He can give a good speech, but that's about it. As far as I know (and I've heard of Palin for a total of 2 days), Palin has at least been executive of something and in a position where she's unable to hide behind colleagues or superiors.

Obama, on the other hand, has been a professor and a legislator. As a legislator, he's been free to skip votes, vote "present," or blame others when people criticize what Congress has done or not done.

He's black, he got good grades in school and he can give a good speech. I don't know much about Palin, but as far as I can tell there's no reason for me to believe that Obama's supporters have a leg to stand on when they criticize Palin.
8.30.2008 4:26pm
David Warner:
"But let me suggest a fourth dimension of "experience" that ought also be weighed: sheer exposure and vetting at a national and international level."

I think this is the strongest anti-Palin argument so far advanced.
8.30.2008 4:28pm
wb (mail):
The realities of the "heart beat away" depends on 1) how fast a learner the VP is and 2) whether the VP is closely tied into the loop. A VP who was seriously mentored by the senior management team from day one, might be in a strong position after a year or two. If that is the scenario McCain wishes to reassure us with then he would do well to name his inner cabinet - State, Defense, Treasury, AG - a few weeks (I like 3) before the election. These picks would have to be people who have already had a lot of vetting. That probably means that they run for national office or a sitting US Senators. Fill in your own list.
8.30.2008 4:30pm
Estragon (mail) (www):
she's in the best tradition of Republican reformism against wasteful spending

Have you looked into her history as mayor? Or her embrace of windfall taxes on oil companies to head off a budgetary shortfall as governor? Though if by "the best tradition of Republican reformism" you are speaking properly and mean "talks a big game about cutting spending but actually grows the state bureaucracy and generates a public debt", there's no inaccuracy here.
8.30.2008 4:34pm
The General:
The running a campaign (as exec. experience) argument is a silly one. every time Obama's campaign slips up, he blames a staffer (hair trigger, etc).

Also, electioneering and governing are not the same. Bill Clinton instituted the "permanent campaign" style of government. Given that the only thing he's ever accomplished is convincing a bunch of brain dead Obots to vote for him, Obama will, of course, govern that way, if he wins (God forbid).
8.30.2008 4:35pm
Ex parte McCardle:
As a McCain supporter, I think the Palin selection telegraphs an important (to me, unjustified) message: panicky desperation. Charles Krauthammer's column in this morning's Washington Post called the selection of Palin "near suicidal."

I follow politics more closely, I think, than the average American, but I know almost nothing about Sarah Palin except her name and the fact that she's the governor of Alaska.

And I've been refraining from saying this in the Volokh forums but one thing I do know about her makes me seriously question her judgment. She has a 4-month-old baby with Down syndrome, but she's headed out on a national campaign This is not meant as a criticism of her; I really think one can't know what motivates any other parent. But speaking just as a parent, I absolutely wouldn't do it. My boys are 5 and 18 months--when they were newborns, it would never have entered my mind to leave them.
8.30.2008 4:37pm
Michael B (mail):
"But let me suggest a fourth dimension of "experience" that ought also be weighed: sheer exposure and vetting at a national and international level."

This goes without saying. It is something many of us not only welcome, but are positively enthusiastic about.

Of course "vetting" includes counter-vettings and counter-critiques as well. Countering both subtle and more blatant deceits that will creep into these varied and sundry vettings, and "vettings."
8.30.2008 4:40pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Get ready for another Harriet Miers. Palin will be forced to withdraw her name as the VP nominee.
8.30.2008 4:40pm
Matthew K:
I like your post a great deal. I still think Palin is a terrible choice for VP, but wait-and-see is the right perspective. If she's really bad, we'll know in a month or so and there really isn't an advantage to speculating wildly about it now.
I also think your fourth dimension of experience is right on the money. For me, the best experience comparison is Bill Clinton, not Obama. Clinton was also an undistinguished governor from a puny state, but he'd been building a national portfolio for years. I haven't seen much sign that Palin did likewise.
8.30.2008 4:45pm
pluribus:
A good post, and an honest attempt to look at Palin without preconceptions. I like the following point:

But let me suggest a fourth dimension of "experience" that ought also be weighed: sheer exposure and vetting at a national and international level.

This brings to mind Abraham Lincoln (and I think it is valuable to bring him to mind whenever we discuss topics of this kind, as he is widely conceded to have been our greatest president). Lincoln had two years of experience in Washington, D.C. (one term in the U.S. Congress twelve years before he was elected president). He had served four terms in the Illinois State Legislature--a part time job. He had absolutely no "executive" experience. He had however been extensively exposed to and vetted at a national level, through the Lincoln Douglas debates which were reported and followed avidly throughout the country, and his great speech at the Cooper Union in New York City in 1860, which laid out his views on slavery (the great issue of the day) in detail. His speeches were in print and available to readers throughout the country. He was personally admired for his character, but not for his "experience" in government. His chief rivals for the Republican nomination (Seward and Chase) had both been U.S. senators and governors of their states. Looking at Lincoln, I frankly believe that "experience" of the conventional type (time in the U.S. Senate or a governor's chair) is immaterial. But but having articulated views that are widely known around the country is vitally important. McCain, Biden, and Obama have all campaigned for president throughout the country, been attacked, been extensively investigated and reported on, and answered press questions repeatedly. Palin hasn't. We don't know her views on some key issues. The economy? Trade policy? Guantanamo? Supreme Court nominees? Etc., etc. Apparently she doesn't know her views on some issues herself. She is basically an unknown quantity. Her job in the next few days and weeks has to be to educate American people on what she stands for.
8.30.2008 4:45pm
Jim Hu:
Palin's rapid rise in Alaska suggests that she's a fast learner, but it is still questionable whether McCain and his vetters could know enough about her to put her at the top of a list of those who would be ready to take over in case of emergency. She might be by January or later, but it's not knowable.

That said, one has to ask: compared to whom? I think there are others, including several women, who would have been more comforting on the experience scale. But experience is only one factor in the choice, and experience is a double-edged sword when one of the themes in this election is that the system needs change. That's the problem with Biden, but it's a bigger problem when you're the party in power. "Experienced outsider" is either an oxymoron, or it describes a loon like Ralph Nader.
8.30.2008 4:46pm
Estragon (mail) (www):
Get ready for another Harriet Miers. Palin will be forced to withdraw her name as the VP nominee.

I doubt it. For one thing, if she did withdraw -- and unlike the SC -- decent alternates aren't exactly going to be lining up to hitch their wagon to McCain's horse's ass of a decision process. For another, she seems tough enough and pretty smart. The question is more whether she will hold up on the national stage and be a charming straight-talker, or whether she will flame out along with the whole campain, either because of some Alaska scandal, some live-TV foot-in-mouth incident, or because McCain discovers he hates her and gets all cranky. Based on his intro of her in Ohio, he was already having a hard time ceding the spotlight and god forbid she thinks she should have her own view on things (as opposed to what McCain tells her). He and his team don't know her at all, and may have gotten more of a maverick than they bargained for.
8.30.2008 4:47pm
Jim Hu:
Upon reflection, I'd concede that McCain himself could be painted as an experienced outsider. Jeff Flake or Tom Coburn could also be seen as reformers inside the system. But I don't see Flake or Coburn as serious VP contenders, at least in this cycle.
8.30.2008 4:49pm
PC:
Her religious beliefs and views on some social issues are not mine


That's an understatement if any of this is true. Vote McCain/Christian Dominionist 2008!
8.30.2008 5:03pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
mmmm - McCain likey - funny

one heartbeat away - also funny

Rachel Lucas on Governor Palin

Mark Steyn on Governor Palin

"Experience" is an argument where the Dems have nothing but bad news: a partial-term Senator from Illinois (with lots of experience hob-nobbing in Chicago high society with admitted domestic terrorist Bill Ayers) and a serial plagiarist. Great experience.
8.30.2008 5:04pm
ARCraig (mail):

I'd rather have an inexperienced president haphazardly advancing good policies than an experienced one effectively pursuing destructive ones.



Bingo!

"Experience" is totally subordinate to the actual positions the candidate holds. But of course, for all the hand-wringing about "experience" this election cycle, we've seen, and are no doubt going to continue seeing, a total lack of substantive policy debate.

A pox on both their houses. Obama and McCain both completely buy into the Cult of the Presidency, as Gene Healy called it- the idea that the President is some perverse combination of national pastor, Supreme Warlord of the Earth, and Santa Claus, responsible for every single thing that happens anywhere in the world.

We don't need another damn "leader" for President, who thinks it's his job to herd the American people like cattle towards whatever collectivist goal he sees fit. We need someone willing to be Washington's humble chief magistrate, the simple enforcer of the laws, and above all is willing to step back and say "That's not my job" when necessary.

He's far from perfect himself, but I'm voting for Bob Barr.
8.30.2008 5:13pm
JR Richardson (mail):
Unlike you, I had heard of Governor Palin long before this pick, in the contexts of the whole flap over 'the bridge to nowhere' as well as her pregnancy and her decision to bear her child.

I think your initial reaction was well off the facts, and I think you miss a very very important factor. Palin is the only reason I will be voting for John McCain this November. I don't believe I'm alone in this. Prior to the announcement I had planned to write in Fred Thompson, as I did not believe McCain was reform minded or fiscally conservative enough to warrant my vote. That has changed due to the selection of his Vice Presidential running mate.

I don't care about her gender, I care deeply about her principles.
8.30.2008 5:21pm
Michael B (mail):
Sarah Palin interviewed by the Money Honey, a twelve minute interview, just days prior to the pick being announced by McCain. Touches upon, yet concisely and thoughtfully frames several of the issues related to the 2,000 acres represented in ANWR (i.e. the environment, wildlife, energy, jobs, the economy in general, constitutional issues and basic rights/responsibilities, how it relates to broader foreign policy issues), she also gets in some substantial and nicely articulated criticisms contra Biden and Obama as pertains to this issue. h/t Powerline
8.30.2008 5:22pm
SarahB:
As a mother, Ex Parte Mc, makes the comment, that is really bugging the heck out of me but which I felt I could not say. Thanks. I can't even imagine taking that kinda time, away from my 1 or 4 year old, let alone when they were 5 mos.
8.30.2008 5:24pm
Mark A.R. Kleiman (mail) (www):
The right question here is not "Would Palin make a good President?" but "What does the choice of Palin tell us about John McCain?" He chose a hardcore cultural conservative and former Pat Buchanan supporter
with a history of abuse of power and of lying to cover it up. Whatever she might become in the future, Palin is grossly unready to be President next year; even as governor, she has displayed indifference to the detailed work of actually governing, and she has no published positions on most national issues.

McCain did so after one meeting with her and one phone call, without anything resembling an adequate background check.

That tells us that (1) McCain has completely given in to the extremists; (2) he's desperate; (3) when desperate, McCain is prepared to gamble the country's future for possible political gain; (4) McCain is reckless and impulsive; and (5) McCain doesn't insist on getting competent staff work.

"Country first"? I don't think so. "Ready to lead"? Looking more and more doubtful.

As to Palin's credentials as a fiscal conservative, they seem to be largely mythical. Palin supported the Bridge to Nowhere as long as it was federal taxpayers who had to foot the bill; only when the money was going to come out of her budget did she decide it wasn't such a good idea. (And her speech grossly misrepresented the facts, a poor reflection on her character and on McCain's staff work.) She took no principled stance against federal pork. During six years as mayor, she added nearly $20 million to Wasilla's debt: that's $3000 per resident. She just agreed to give a Canadian pipleline company $500 million in subsidies, without even getting in return a binding commitment that a pipleline would actually be built; a ("former") lobbyist for the company was her key adviser on the transaction.

Palin's deficiencies may be remediable. She could grow more knowledgeable, more thoughtful, more forthright, and more respectful of the limits of the powers of offfice. But with McCain, what you see is what you get. Faced with the one truly Presidential decision every candidate must make before his election, McCain an impulsive, under-staffed, reckless, juvenile, un-Presidential, and just plain dumb choice of a person with many sterling qualities, none of them really relevant to being leader of the Free World.

David Frum, among the many thoughtful conservatives who find McCain's choice troubling, put it this way:

If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency? ... It's John McCain, for all his white hair, who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.
8.30.2008 5:34pm
Matthew Friendly (mail):
Blah, blah, blah. It appears many of the contributors and commenters to the Volokh Conspiracy are quite uninformed outside of the legal realm. Governor Palin is an outstanding selection, who will dramatically bolster McCain's standing among conservatives, independents, moderate Democrats, and women in general, as will become quite apparent after the Republican Convention. Those who criticize her for lack of experience are perhaps some of the most willfully blind ideologues American politics has ever known. Ever taken a glance at Obama's presidential resume?? It's a bit thin, to put it kindly.
8.30.2008 5:40pm
Matthew Friendly (mail):
SarahB:

It is striking to me that you would presume to know how Sarah Palin handles her life with her children. I shouldn't really be too surprised, as liberal elitists such as yourself have always condescended to those who differ from them.
8.30.2008 5:44pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Biden makes McCain seem calm sweet reason by comparison, and that is saying something. IMO Biden is the scariest one of the four. He has a record of disastrous judgment, unpredictabiility and wild statements. I'd pray for Obama's good health a lot more than McCain's if either is elected.
8.30.2008 5:44pm
Kirk:
unusually unready
Yeah, you cut-and-pasted this from one of your recent posts on Obama, right? It's not plagarism if you're borrowing your own words, so go ahead and post the link. :-)
8.30.2008 5:44pm
EH (mail):
SarahB:
I can't even imagine taking that kinda time, away from my 1 or 4 year old, let alone when they were 5 mos.


Another bit of grist for why I think McCain has given up and there's something else going on here. I can't help thinking that after Obama's speech the other night nobody would take McCain's calls. Palin did, on the condition that her commitment not last past the election. Cue AUMF and Obama attacks geared merely to lessen the landslide and prevent the Republican Party from from being absolutely repudiated. This election has the possibility of being a referendum on the existence of the Republican Party itself, but that will depend on Obama's ability to resist incorporating aspects of it into his campaign and administration.

I mean seriously, does anybody really think McCain has a chance? No criticism of Obama is really sticking and I'm sure another reason Palin was brought in was because McCain is just plain tired from going around all the time reminding people. You saw the news yesterday that he's limiting his political engagements to one per day now, right? No, I think it's pretty much about the survival of the GOP from now on, to keep the spread under...say...10%.
8.30.2008 5:45pm
taney71:
I didn't realized how many Volokh folks were expert political scientists ready to provide us with their vast array of knowledge on the presidency and politics.
8.30.2008 5:48pm
yaz:
you tried so hard to sound thoughtful and evenhanded but your idiotic "vacuous" comment undercuts all of that. vacuous? you just said he was obviously intelligent and thoughtful. so what's your definition of vacuous? ah, but you quoted a feminist friend, so it's all good, right? question: does that mean you are not a feminist?
8.30.2008 5:50pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
EH,

I have managed campaigns, including a winning presidential primary camapign at the county level. McCain has more than a chance.

IMO the biggest effect of his selection of Palin will be in Congressional races. Before it was looking like a major, major pickup by the Democrats in Congress. Palin on the ticket will likely reduce the magnitude of the Democrats' pickup somewhat, and possibly hold it to under 5 in the Senate and under 25 in the House.
8.30.2008 5:52pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
"the thought of President Palin is, at least for now, unsettling."

Moreso than having Captain Zero at the helm for certain if he is elected?

Your lame concern is known as a "hypothetical horrible". It's an excuse for your biases. And as for "vetting": given that VP choices are announced near election time, if that thought had any validity, and it doesn't, then the only "valid" VP choices would be established conservative Washington insiders. Liberals will not receive in-depth investigation by the press. Your verbose negative argument is pathetic, as are its adherents.
8.30.2008 5:52pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Joe Biden??

Bring it.
8.30.2008 5:54pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Ever taken a glance at Obama's presidential resume?? It's a bit thin, to put it kindly.

Obama went to (depending on who you ask) the best or second best law school in the country, and he achieved one of the highest achievements one can achieve there (editor of the law review). He lectured in constitutional law at a top law school. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago and was, by all accounts, successful. He then served in a state legislature of a large state that confronts many of the same problems that are faced all over the country. He authored 2 best selling books. He went to the US Senate and has spent 4 years there. He has run a campaign that defeated one of the greatest political juggernauts of our times, and has constantly been in contact with some of the most respected experts on various important public policy issues that he may face as President. And when asked about those issues, he can give deep, thoughtful answers; indeed, the usual criticism is that he can't reduce his answers to soundbytes as is necessary for political success.

Now, what about that resume is "thin" when compared to a woman who went to an undistinguished state school, was a sportscaster, served as a city councilwoman and mayor of a remote town that nobody has ever heard of, and then just 2 years as the governor of a state, governing very few people, signing very few pieces of legislation, and addressing concerns that are idiosyncratic and have nothing to do with the rest of the country? (And add to that that she's spent a good portion of her tenure as governor tending to her pregnancy and her infant special-needs child.)

This is an absolutely egregious example of Republican anti-credentialism. Sure, Obama isn't as experienced as McCain or Biden. But the idea that there's no difference between editor of the Harvard Law Review / state senator in Illinois and a bachelor's degree from Idaho / sportscasting in Alaska / local government in a tiny Alaska town when it comes to who will gain relevant knowledge to assume the presidency is absolutely silly.
8.30.2008 5:56pm
SarahB:
Matthew "not so" Friendly: You, sir, don't know what your talking about. I revealed a concern that Ex Parte McCardle shared. I didn't presume anything. I assumed that running for VP is a demanding job and that being VP is even more demanding. Since I've voted Republican my whole life, I am conservative, and I am no more "elite" than the the candidate, you have no basis for your wild accusations.
8.30.2008 6:00pm
Not good.:
"The current defenses of McCain's choice may look downright silly after Palin gives a few uninformed and embarrassing answers to basic questions of policy."

You mean something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7niokOXyjs
8.30.2008 6:01pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Dilan Esper:

Sarah Palin runs the largest State in the Union - with two international borders. She's the Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard.

Barack Obama so far has only run his mouth. And he's on the TOP of your ticket.

Dems arguing "experience" are like the emperor with no clothes.

Mark Steyn's take on Governor Sarah Palin - and the Dems' argument about "experience"

Rachel Lucas' take on Governor Sarah Palin- and the Dems' argument about "experience"
8.30.2008 6:01pm
loki13 (mail):
I'd like to mae a request (a modest proposal):

After the election, can someone post an open thread for the following . . .

If Palin makes a serious mistake and costs McCain the Presidency, can all the frothing Republican posters please log on and mea culpa to what idiots they were?

If Palin makes no mistakes, AND brings in a major constituency (either working blue collar, Hillary supporters, religious conservatives, or *ahem* Alaska's electoral votes) that make the difference in a McCain victory, can all the frothing Democratic posters please log on and mea coulpa to what idiots they were?

And if the VP pick of Palin doesn't matter *at all* in the election (like it hasn't, arguably, since LBJ), then all of the frothing posters are welcome.

Sound good?
8.30.2008 6:09pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Ex parte McCardle:

Congratulations. Rush Limbaugh predicted that someone would use the excuse that she should not leave the house with a Down's Syndrome baby at home. Next thing we'll hear is that because of her campaign the kids are latch-key kids. Come on, I know you want to say it.
8.30.2008 6:10pm
Hoosier:
"compared to a woman who went to an undistinguished state school"


The most impressive scholar I work with on a regular basis went to Utah State. I must be an idiot, too, since I'm an alumnus of a Midwestern Catholic college--an acceptable school, but NOT an ivy. And the Democrat that I was hoping to vote for this fall is a grad of Indiana U.

So . . . why is it that Obama and his supporters have the reputation for being elitist snobs?
8.30.2008 6:12pm
Hoosier:
"Congratulations. Rush Limbaugh predicted that someone would use the excuse that she should not leave the house with a Down's Syndrome baby at home. Next thing we'll hear is that because of her campaign the kids are latch-key kids."

I remember Obama talking about how often he sees his girls. What was it again? Dinner once a week?

Could someone remind me? But that's OK, because he's a man.
8.30.2008 6:13pm
John Martin:
I know of myself and at least on other voter who will now vote for McCain because his selection of Palin.

Not because I like McCain any better - but the vote is worth it to have chance for Palin to be President in the next election.
8.30.2008 6:14pm
Hoosier:
"Kirk:

unusually unready

Yeah, you cut-and-pasted this from one of your recent posts on Obama, right? "

Heh-heh.
8.30.2008 6:15pm
pluribus:
Matthew Friendly:
When you come on a board like this and smear another poster you don't even know (but who happens to be a Republican) as a "liberal" and "condescending" "elitist," then pompously announce that Palin is "an outstanding selection, who will dramatically bolster McCain's standing among conservatives, independents, moderate Democrats, and women in general," do you wonder why I am just a little bit turned off? If you are representative of her supporters, or if this kind of blogging is representative of arguments for her, I am inclined to believe just the opposite. I am still trying to keep an open mind on Palin, but people like you are closing it a little bit each time you post. Did you ever hear the story about flies, honey, and vinegar?
8.30.2008 6:15pm
Hoosier:
EH "I mean seriously, does anybody really think McCain has a chance?"

No. You are right! He doesn't have a CHANCE!

So there's really no point in Democrats wasting time and energy--and BURNING FOSSIL FUELS!!!--to get to the polls on November 4. Might as well stay home, and do a favor for the environment.
8.30.2008 6:17pm
pluribus:
loki13:

Sound good?

Sounds good to me. It's one day after I first heard of Sarah Palin. I think there should be about 300 million other Americans in the same boat. Call me crazy, but I still think it's a tad too soon to pronounce judgment on her.
8.30.2008 6:21pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Sarah Palin runs the largest State in the Union - with two international borders. She's the Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard. Barack Obama so far has only run his mouth. And he's on the TOP of your ticket. Dems arguing "experience" are like the emperor with no clothes.

Metro, those are the talking points. But there were talking points with Dan Quayle too. Defeated the great Birch Bayh. Indiana National Guard. As much experience in the Senate as Jack Kennedy had when he sought the presidency. Remember how well that worked out for him?

This really is a contest between whether one simply looks at the world through slogans and talking points or whether one actually listens to Barack Obama and examines all the things he has actually achieved and then seriously and honestly claims that he isn't any more qualified to be President as Sarah Palin.

Elections aren't won on Hannity and Colmes. This pick may fire up some conservatives, and they certainly are prepared to defend it with talking points, but it is a terrible choice on its merits.
8.30.2008 6:22pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
The most impressive scholar I work with on a regular basis went to Utah State. I must be an idiot, too, since I'm an alumnus of a Midwestern Catholic college--an acceptable school, but NOT an ivy.

Hoosier, that argument only works if you take Harvard Law School and the University of Idaho out of context. If you go back and read my post, I never claimed that all HLS graduates are smarter or more qualified than all University of Idaho baccalaureates. Rather, I said that viewed in context with all the OTHER things that Obama accomplished, Obama is clearly a member of the intellectual elite and is extremely well-informed about the issues he might confront as President. In contrast, Palin's record, of which the college she attended is only one element, screams out that she is unprepared.

I didn't go to the greatest undergraduate institution either (though I went to a very good graduate school). But I am also smart enough to know that a very high percentage of the people who go to Harvard Law School are among the smartest and most accomplished young people in America, whereas a very modest percentage of the graduating class of my alma mater or Idaho fall in that category.
8.30.2008 6:26pm
pluribus:
Hoosier:

So . . . why is it that Obama and his supporters have the reputation for being elitist snobs?

Give me a break. So Jim Clyburn and John Lewis and Clare McCaskill and Bob Casey, Jr., and Chuck Hegel and Bill Richardson are elitist snobs? You have to think up a better epithet. I recommend to you, too, the story about honey, vinegar, and flies.
8.30.2008 6:28pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
to: "Not good.":

Let's focus on "a few uninformed and embarrassing answers to basic questions":

Obama is a gaffe machine. He claims the U.S. has 57 states - and Iran poses no threat:

Obama the gaffe machine

And Biden is a serial plagiarizer and long-winded clown:

Biden's admitted serial plagiarism

Biden's international reputation as a "windbag"

You want to see sterling oratory and clear convictions? Try this: Palin's acceptance speech

McCain and Palin are both the genuine article. That's the one thing the poseurs can't take: the genuine article.
8.30.2008 6:29pm
Brolin_1911a1:
I had a caller whose caller ID said "Democratic Headquarters" call this morning soliciting my support for Obama. I mentioned that the selection of Mrs. Palin must really be hurting them. The caller started about the "too inexperienced" line. I mentioned what accomplishments of Sarah Palin I could remember off the top of my head and asked what accomplishments Sen. Obama could claim after 12 years as a legislator. Instead of listing any, the caller thanked me for my time and hung up.

As someone pointed out in another blog, Alaska is the only state in which ALL of its borders are with foreign countries. As Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin already has far more experience in international affairs than Barry Obama.
8.30.2008 6:29pm
Hagar (mail):
In executive (as opposed to legislative) experience, Gov. Palin surpasses Senator Obama, Senator Biden, and Senator McCain, all combined. The ramarkable thing about "experience" in this election, is the complete lack of any executive experience on the Democratic ticket--that's unusual.

Admittedly, surpassing these three is not a very high hurdle, but she does bring some executive experience to the Republican ticket, which would otherwise lack it.

In foreign policy experience, she dwarfs Senator Obama, but is way behind either Senator Biden or Senator McCain.

In general government experience, she's in about the same category as Senator Obama; both are far behind Senator Biden, and Senator McCain.

Considering experience only (since that's what this analysis is about), Gov. Palin is far readier to be President than is Senator Obama. To consider her to be readier than Senator McCain or Senator Biden, would requrie that executive experience be counted extremely heavily. I would say no, but it would be possible to consider her to be the best qualified of the four.


Exposure to the press, and examination of a candidate's past, is a worthwhile consideration, but it's not how a candidate handles international coverage that's important, it's how he handles serious inquiry. A governor is hardly a non-entity. Question: What kind of press scrutiny has Gov. Palin faced? I don't know the answer, but I would not assume that it hasn't existed. I'm just not familiar with it.

Both Senator Biden and Senator McCain have faced considerable scrutiny over their carreers. Senator Obama has not. The Press' unwillingness to look at his history, accomplishments (if any), scandals (lots), and habbit of boldly voting "present", has been amazing. I don't know of any other case, in which a major political figure was caught being involved in so many shady deals, without the press scrutinizing any of them.
8.30.2008 6:31pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
People who are consistently wrong are as valuable as people who are consistently right. Either one is a guide to wisdom.

Dilan Esper is like the Virginian Pilot. I look at their opinions and do the exact opposite. Never fails. Thanks.
8.30.2008 6:37pm
BT:
Dilan Esper:

There are a number of instances where Obama was a less than a sucessful community organizer or legislator, but you would never know that from the glowing press he has received nationally. For instance, he was one of the key players with The Annenberg Challenge. It spent something on the order of 100 million dollars to improve education outcomes in the Chicago city schools over approximately a decade. There were several outside reviews and one internal review sanctioned by The Anneneberg Challenge and all came to the same conclusion: the program was a failure. This was the program where he worked hand in hand with Bill Ayers. Also he attempted to get more affordable housing in his Illinois senate district through the good works of one Tony Rezko. Most of the buildings that Mr. Rezko puchased with the help of Illinois and federal tax payers and Obama are now vacant and boarded up. The mismanagement of these buildings happend while Obama was still in the Illinois senate, not years later. Recently Obama's campaign attempted to thwart a local radio station from airing a live interview with an author who is investigating the workings of the Annenberg Challenge, a tactic right out of the hard ball Saul Alinsky school of politics that Obama assures us he is above. There is a whole lot we do not know about Obama. Writing books, give great speeches are fine for academics. Obama by many measures is not fit for the presidency.
8.30.2008 6:42pm
Nifonged:
I appreciate Dilan Esper's honesty, he's articulating a lot of the same points I made yesterday. If Palin was part of the political elite/intelligentsia many people wouldn't be questioning her experience yet ignoring Obama's relative absence of such.

That doesn't mean I agree. Braggingly, I had my pick of colleges and law schools and am arrogant enough to believe I could drink a fifth of halfway decent bourbon and an hour later score higher on the LSAT than 90% of the test-takers completely drunk and 99.8% of the test-takers sober (that I actually accomplished), that means nothing from a practical standpoint. Part of her appeal to some is not being part of the chosen paths to public service.

How many HLS grads would reduct themselves to being the mayor of a 9,000-person town. How many HLS grads would EVEN CONSIDER LIVING IN A 9,000-person town?

Its elitism, there are a lot of smart people posting on this blog that need to get over themselves. Going to an Ivy league undergrad (particularly today when undergrad admissions are a total crapshoot), HYS law (or T14 or whatever cut-off is acceptable), clerking on a circuit court and working NYC BIGLAW isn't the end-all/be-all of human achievement. At the end of the day we all put on our pants one leg at a time, breathe the same air everyone else does, and relieve ourselves in the same manner.
8.30.2008 6:44pm
loki13 (mail):
Brolin,

Not that this has anything to do with the VP pick (which is why I am commenting) but . . .

the whole border thing. So, Alaska runs its borders with foreign countries? Signs treaties with those countries? Hmmm.... it seems like there's some document that has something to say about that, can't quite put my finger on it . . . I, for one, am happy to learn that Alaska controls who comes in and out of the United States.
8.30.2008 6:48pm
yarrrrr (mail):
So... how does she compare with John Edwards?
8.30.2008 6:49pm
TJIT (mail):
I see Mark Kleiman is in floating misinformation on the trooper firing.

A more accurate timeline and accounting of the matter can be found at the link below.

Palin's Trooper'Gate: Beating MSM distortions to the truth


What we can derive from the timeline is that the investigations and complaints against Wooten as a State Trooper (not to mention with problems exhibiting a derelict father who tasers his step son, and is a physically and verbally abusive, unfaithful husband per the transcripts and testimony) had started prior to Palin's term as Governor.


The comments of the troopers supervisor.

The record clearly indicates a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable, and at times, illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession," Col. Julia Grimes, then head of Alaska State Troopers, wrote in March 1, 2006, letter suspending Wooten for 10 days. After the union protested it, the suspension was reduced to five days.

She warned that if he messed up again, he'd be fired.
8.30.2008 6:50pm
Sam Draper (mail):
When exactly is the national media going to start vetting Obama? After he visits all 57 states? Or not until he invades Pakistan?

Let's face it, Obama is not going to get vetted until after the election.

I too am deeply concerned about Palin. She only has 10 years of government experience, and absolutely no foreign policy experience. Of course if she went to Harvard and had a penis, she'd be perfect for the job.
8.30.2008 6:51pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Dilan Esper:

"This really is a contest between whether one simply looks at the world through slogans and talking points or whether one actually listens to Barack Obama and examines all the things he has actually achieved and then seriously and honestly claims that he isn't any more qualified to be President as Sarah Palin."

I agree that elections are - or at least should be - about substantive issues. And whereas I agree with McCain/Palin on substantive issues much more than I do with Obama/Biden - I'm sure you agree with Obama/Biden more.

That, of course, is largely the background for everyone who debates one side or the other about "experience." (It has typically been Democrats/liberals who have wanted to talk about experience over the past 24 hours. Surely it's alight for others - like me - to respond and point out their hypocrisy).

When it comes to substance, the summary analysis is that Obama and Biden are the 1st and 3rd most liberal politicians in the U.S. Senate. See here:

Obama is most liberal and Biden is 3rd most liberal in U.S. Senate

More here.

Sarah Palin is a conservative with a strong libertarian streak - which is a very Alaskan point of view. Sometimes I agree with McCain, sometimes I disagree - but he's certainly right on more issues than Obama/Biden from my point of view.

I would like to think we could discuss substantive issues in a way that may actually sway one or the other of us. Unfortunately, in my experience, that rarely happens.

But, we can at least present the arguments in a polite, fair way - and discuss things with a little humor. There is, after all, more to life than politics.
8.30.2008 6:53pm
loki13 (mail):
Sam Draper,

Actually, if Palin had a penis, she'd be on America's Next Top Model.

(C'mon... all the College Football Games are blowouts except for VaTech, and I got *rained on* at the game I attended)
8.30.2008 6:55pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
How is Russia considered "on the border" of Alaska? There is no border between them. The only place on the border of Alaska is Canada. Waterways do not consitute a border. Or is California on the border of Japan?

I see no requirement for "experience" to be president or vice president. In fact I personally favor those without "experience" because I think politics does little more than breed corruption. If an outsider gets up there and has a sound philosophical basis for how they act then I'm for them.

Of course, if they don't know how to politic and get things done, then that's even better. The less they do in DC, except in dismantling the tentacles of government power, the happier I am.
8.30.2008 6:55pm
Syd Henderson (mail):

Congratulations. Rush Limbaugh predicted that someone would use the excuse that she should not leave the house with a Down's Syndrome baby at home. Next thing we'll hear is that because of her campaign the kids are latch-key kids. Come on, I know you want to say it.


I would hope she discussed it with her husband and he's capable of taking care of the kids for two months. After all, he's had about twenty years of experience as a father.

I've been following Palin's career for two or three years at least and she had a reputation for fighting corruption before she was elected. I've been genuinely impressed, and not just by her looks. I was rather hoping she'd stay in office and run for president in 2012 or 2016 since she's so new in office and probably hasn't dealt much with national issues. Besides, there are still a lot of heads in Alaska for her to hunt.

Of course if McCain wins, or if he loses but Palin impresses people, she could well be running nationally in a few years with more experience under her belt.
8.30.2008 6:58pm
Ron Mexico:
Ooohh I can play this game too! Excellent. . .

Biden's only experience is as a serial plagiarizer. And Obama has no experience at all (he was apparently immaculately conceived yesterday). Oh wait, I forgot the new talking point "Obama doesn't run anything except his mouth" ... That was close! We're sure to win now!

How is this any different than saying "McCain's only experience is as a serial adulterer" and "Plain's only experience is getting rejected from all of the decent colleges in the country to be stuck at Idaho"?
8.30.2008 6:58pm
Hoosier:
Dilan Esper:

"This really is a contest between whether one simply looks at the world through slogans and talking points or whether one actually listens to Barack Obama and examines all the things he has actually achieved and then seriously and honestly claims that he isn't any more qualified to be President as Sarah Palin."

He is not "more qualified." I'm sorry if your intuitionist epistemology tells you otherwise. Perhaps you've read too much G E Moore?
8.30.2008 6:58pm
Kevin P. (mail):

Mark A.R. Kleiman (mail) (www):
[Palin is] a hardcore cultural conservative and former Pat Buchanan supporter
with a history of abuse of power and of lying to cover it up.


More background here:
Scrutiny of Wooten raises conduct questions

Palin's estranged former brother-in-law, who is at the heart of this matter seems to be quite a charmer:

Troopers eventually investigated 13 issues and found four in which Wooten violated policy or broke the law or both:
• Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.
• He illegally shot a moose.
• He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.
• He told others his father-in-law would "eat a f'ing lead bullet" if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.


And the guy is still on the police force!
8.30.2008 7:01pm
Hoosier:
"How is Russia considered "on the border" of Alaska?"

They share and archipelago.


"Waterways do not consitute a border."

Right. So Indiana does NOT border Kentucky. Nor Iowa Illinois.


Glad to have that clarified.
8.30.2008 7:02pm
TJIT (mail):
As a result of all the slime people are slinging at Palin over the trooper some wise acre came up with the following slogan.

"America cannot afford VP Sarah Palin: She's too hard on racist, child-abusing, wifebeaters"

Not a winning issue for the Obama supporters

Troopergate? Eh
8.30.2008 7:03pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Did you see where the Obama defense site set up an anti-Palin anti-gay web site?

Unbelievable!

8.30.2008 7:07pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Sorry I'm having trouble linking.

It's a few articles down here:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com
8.30.2008 7:09pm
Hoosier:
In the sunlit uplands of my dreams, one of Obama's top aides makes a very public comment denigrating Ohio State University, in comparison with Harvard. And he does so in October.
8.30.2008 7:09pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
He is not "more qualified." I'm sorry if your intuitionist epistemology tells you otherwise. Perhaps you've read too much G E Moore?

Hoosier, there is an intelligent critique of credentialism and a silly one.

The intelligent critique is that plenty of people (including our current President, by the way) achieve impressive credentials through connections, being in the right place at the right time, etc., and without really having a deep and engaging intellectual curiosity, while plenty of other people, for one reason or another, don't achieve those impressive credentials despite having great talent and aptitude. That is true.

The silly critique is that being editor of the Harvard Law Review tells us nothing about a person's acumen and you are just as likely to find someone just as talented by picking someone at random from the graduating class of the University of Idaho.

Now why, other than base political considerations, are you making the second version of the argument?
8.30.2008 7:11pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Is this a better link?

8.30.2008 7:12pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Victor Davis Hansen put it rather well:


We are supposed to believe that a first- term Alaskan governor is less qualified for the second spot than a first-term Illinois Senator is for the Presidency.
8.30.2008 7:13pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
But for at least some of us who have welcomed the thought of President McCain, the prospect of President Palin is, at least for now, unsettling.


Meanwhile, a lot of people who were dubious about the prospect of a President McCain have welcomed Palin's addition. They're less worried about the possibility that she may become President than they are pleased at the idea of (some of) her positions influencing a President McCain. Palin isn't there to attract votes from Independents, she's there at least in part to placate the conservative base.

Obama went to (depending on who you ask) the best or second best law school in the country, and he achieved one of the highest achievements one can achieve there (editor of the law review).


Yes, because what college one goes to must be a clear indication of one's intelligence and level of academic achievement.

He lectured in constitutional law at a top law school.


He wrote no serious papers, contributed little or nothing to the field.

He worked as a community organizer in Chicago and was, by all accounts, successful.


No argument here, since I never bothered to look at his time as a community organizer.

He then served in a state legislature of a large state that confronts many of the same problems that are faced all over the country.


He rarely stepped off the Daley line - when he bothered to vote anything but "present", that is.

He authored 2 best selling books.


Writing books about yourself isn't exactly an accomplishment.

He went to the US Senate and has spent 4 years there.


He spent 2 years in the Senate with no real accomplishments, then took the rest off to run for President.

He has run a campaign that defeated one of the greatest political juggernauts of our times, and has constantly been in contact with some of the most respected experts on various important public policy issues that he may face as President. And when asked about those issues, he can give deep, thoughtful answers; indeed, the usual criticism is that he can't reduce his answers to soundbytes as is necessary for political success.


So his primary accomplishment over 4 years on the national scene is developing a position. The political juggernaut he ran against half defeated itself, and even then he couldn't finish the job and had to wait for the superdelegates to do it. Meanwhile, his elections to state and national office were essentially unopposed.

Now, what about that resume is "thin" when compared to a woman who went to an undistinguished state school, was a sportscaster, served as a city councilwoman and mayor of a remote town that nobody has ever heard of, and then just 2 years as the governor of a state, governing very few people, signing very few pieces of legislation, and addressing concerns that are idiosyncratic and have nothing to do with the rest of the country? (And add to that that she's spent a good portion of her tenure as governor tending to her pregnancy and her infant special-needs child.)


I could go line-by-line down this list like I did with Obama, but I think you make the biggest point simply by comparing Obama with Palin rather than McCain. Obama's running for President with a resume comparable to Palin's. So every shot you fire at Palin's inexperience comes back to Obama twofold, because he's running for President and she isn't.
8.30.2008 7:16pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
This talk about who has more experience, Palin or Obama is really rather sophomoric. If time in office is the criterion, a resurrected Stalin or a healthy Castro has it all over any of the candidates.

The issue is who do you favor in terms of policies. If you favor a strong national defense, free enterprise and believe that America is exceptional you vote the Republican ticket. If you believe that America should subsume its policies to some sort of global order, that America is the biggest threat to world peace, that free enterprise is suspect, that incomes should be leveled and that our use of the world's resources is excessive and may even be immoral, you vote for the Democrat ticket.

Individualism -- vote Republican; mass movements -- vote Democrat.

Since only about 50% of the eligible voters actually vote, the key to success is turnout and attracting the uncommitted. That "uncommitted" number is actually surprisingly small. Up until now, McCain has had problems with his base.

As I said HERE,

McCain's problem has been his impulse to burnish his "maverick" image by sticking his thumb in the eye of the Right. But for any Republican, that's his base. He can't win without it. And it's not just the base turning out on Election Day. It's the base going door-to-door before the election. It's the thousands of women in hundreds of Republican Women's Clubs who were going to give pro-forma lip service to McCain but will now work their hearts out for Palin's election. In one stroke, McCain created an army of volunteers that rivals in numbers, overwhelms in ability and surpasses in wealth the "youth" that Hussein has drafted.

You don't have to take my word for it; just ask my wife and her friends.


McCain didn't choose Palin to get the vote of the professoriate. Obama has that locked down. He chose Palin to energize the base and he did that with a vengeance.

The other thing he did was attract a lot of the uncommitted, especially the uncommitted women. And a good number of PUMAs who, as I said HERE

And finally, Hussein's troops have all the discipline of the drunken Russian army. Attacking Palin for lack of experience when that is the last issue they should be raising. Attacking her for her good looks, a tactic that will assure that undecided women either vote for McCain or don't vote at all.

Don't believe me? Check out the feminist blogs. They hate Hussein with a bright burning passion, and the bile thrown at his partisans is beyond belief.

I should add that attacking her for campaigning while she has small children at home is equally counterproductive. All of a sudden a woman with children should not pursue a career? When did that become a Liberal talking point?

In my opinion, anyone who thinks McCain got it wrong has spent too much time in DC or in the faculty lounge. Here in flyover country, all the "Bitter Clingers" love her.
8.30.2008 7:17pm
Nifonged:
.... just as likely to find someone just as talented by picking someone at random ..."

Again I appreciate the honesty but these arguments are silly, what's random?

The top student in my law school graduating class went to a "decent" midwestern, public (and large) undergrad. There were many Ivy league, top liberal arts college, etc. undergrads at my law school, but the aforementioned guy was the top student. Does that mean I could pick out "randomly" any student from that undergrad institution and expect that person to be just as talented? Of course not! The point was that he was that talented, and he happened to have graduated from that institution.
8.30.2008 7:18pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
The executive director of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was one Ken Rolling. The strange saga of the CAC can be read here. Essentially the CAC was a pot of money that everyone wanted his share of. Starting with good intentions, the CAC intended to fund bottoms-up proposals that would come from successful teachers and schools. But the Soviet bureacracy of the Chicago Board of Ed -- with its failed tops down model -- wanted control of the funds. COB Obama apparently did not leave his imprint on the CAC. To him, this was likely just another foundation like the Joyce Foundation.

And just how many people pass over the Bering Strait into Alaska?
8.30.2008 7:18pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
Dilian:
Hoosier, there is an intelligent critique of credentialism and a silly one.


When looking back at my post, I realized that in trying to compress my comment about Obama's education to a line I made it irrelevant. So go ahead and ignore that.
8.30.2008 7:18pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
Sorry. Here it finally is... (I hope)
Link
8.30.2008 7:20pm
loki13 (mail):

Meanwhile, a lot of people who were dubious about the prospect of a President McCain have welcomed Palin's addition. They're less worried about the possibility that she may become President than they are pleased at the idea of (some of) her positions influencing a President McCain.


Finally, after all this going back and forth, we have the *real* reason McCain picked Palin. It's . . . just like Lincoln! He picked a strong person who would disagree with him and influence him! That's it! How could I have been so blind. I'm sure Palin will be whisked off to an undisclosed location shortly after the election to run the real government, unlike almost all past VPs before Cheney (who did not ascend to the Presidency) who did jack squat. See also Harry "What Atomic Bomb" Truman.
8.30.2008 7:20pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Obama is not a gaffe machine. He's just lived in the liberal bubble so long he thinks it's normal. The fawning MSM hasn't given him the reality checks most politicians get. Beyond that he is somewhat less comfortable than most politicians when he lacks a teleprompter, and this creates a glaring contrast because he is so good with a teleprompter.

Biden, on the other hand, IS a gaffe machine, and the reason is that he's actually proud of them. This has gotten him killed in past presidential primaries. It won't hurt with the audience Obama chose him as VP nominee for, i.e., Democratic partisans in a general election, but this will at least somewhat offset, with independent and moderate Democratic voters, the gains Biden offers with Democratic partisans.

Plus Biden's gaffes are far, far more entertaining than Obama's.
8.30.2008 7:20pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
I'm not alone in liking Governor Palin's conservative/libertarian Alaska outlook.

Her pick for VP has really energized the base:

$7 million has poured in to the McCain campaign since he picked Palin. See here.

Has money poured into the Obama campaign since the Biden pick? Not so much.

Conservative/libertarians like me are greatly gratified by the choice of Palin for VP. And, heck, if she's going to be in the news cycle a lot once she's VP, it can't hurt that she's smart, conservative, and smokin'...

mmmm - McCain likey - funny

vpilf.com

Biden in the news cycle? Ewww.
8.30.2008 7:22pm
PC:
Anyone want to lay odds on Palin dropping before the election to "spend more time with her family?"
8.30.2008 7:25pm
perlhaqr (mail):
And, far more importantly, it's bad for the country because Palin is unusually unready to be President

Y'know what? GOOD!

First 500 names in the Boston phone book, and all that.
8.30.2008 7:25pm
Simon Dodd (mail) (www):
Dale:
<blockquote>Palin is unusually unready to be President....</blockquote> In an election where the Democratic nominee for <i>President</i> is a first-term Senator whose previous notable accomplishments are voting presnt in the Illinois state legislature and graduating from Harvard Law School you think that <i>Sarah Palin</i> is the one who's unusually undready to be President? Are you kidding?
8.30.2008 7:37pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
metro1, the 57 states nonsense is so silly it made it to snopes. It's pretty easy to dismiss the rest of your points, not a one of which answers the question of where Gov. Palin got an educational in national and foreign affairs. Indeed, they seem to be based in the rather perverse conservative desire to be seen as "authentic" by dissing higher education in favor of gut thinking. Cue Stephen Colbert. (They also seem to salute outdoor living from the comfort of parents' basements in large urban areas.)

So, would you address one particular issue. The idea that Palin has experience in foreign affairs as Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard is a non-starter. Can you point to something better, or hasn't that RNC fax come in yet?
8.30.2008 7:42pm
blabla (mail):
This a thoughtful post, much more so than your earlier one. Here's something else to chew on: McCain must have known (we hope) that Dems would focus on her lack of experience if he were to pick her. He must also have known that people would mostly forgive her for this lack of experience if she is capable of getting up on the national stage and speaking thoughtfully about major issues. In short, he should have anticipated this problem, and would only have picked her if he really thought she were ready. I hope.
8.30.2008 7:46pm
Nifonged:
"the 57 states nonsense is so silly it made it to snopes."

Indeed, it seems that some non-mainstream media outlets are just as apt to treat Obama with Kid Gloves as the mainstream media. I like snopes, but its never hid its political (left) leanings.

Actually, I don't think it was that big of a gaffe, he was probably fatigued and it doesn't change my views of him. We all make verbal mistakes. But if this was a GOP'er it would have been a bigger issue. No major candidate has been given the treatment Obama has been given the treatment Obama has enjoyed, its disconcerting to me.
8.30.2008 7:49pm
jackson:
I know vey little about Palin. She comes from Alaska, and small-state Western politicians get little press her ein the East.

The adverse reaction to her seems to me, a man, to be a mix of regional and gender bias. Most presidential candidates have little or no foreign policy experience, and the recen exception, Bush 1, was no great shakes. If she suddenly becomes Presdident, she can name Richard Lugar as her VP and be where Obama is now in terms of credentials.
8.30.2008 7:52pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
I have said it is too early to tell about Palin.

However, the slam at where she went to school needs to be addressed.

Palin is not a lawyer, so Harvard Law does not matter.

She went to college. Maybe the best she could afford. Maybe she just did not consider she could do "better". Or coming from rural Alaska, maybe she did not have the private school opportunity some candidates had. Maybe she just liked U. of Idaho. It could have been any reason.

She got a degree. She got a job doing something productive.

To most regular people, that is the whole story. That is the purpose of education, to prepare yourself for life.

Educational snobs are no better than any other kinds of snobs.
8.30.2008 7:54pm
Hoosier:
Andrew Lazarus: "Indeed, they seem to be based in the rather perverse conservative desire to be seen as "authentic" by dissing higher education in favor of gut thinking."


"Dissing" higher ed? Hmm.

I don't know that conservatives "diss" higher ed. In fact, many of us value it so much that we even value non-Ivy-League institutions. Take a look at the comments above addressing Palin's lousy journalism degree from that unimpressive (flagship) state university.

Then tell me who is doing the dissing.

"The idea that Palin has experience in foreign affairs as Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard is a non-starter."

I recall Bill Clinton making exactly the same claim in 1992 (mutatis mutandis, natch). I recall his supporters echoing this. I wonder what those same people are saying now.

Now, I am at home, so I haven't had a fax from the RNC telling me what to think. So I'll just have to go with that "gut thinking" you seem to dislike. But Obama is at the top of the Democratic national ticket, if I remember correctly. And he lacks all claim to significant national security experience.

Does this bother you? (Feel free to reply later, if you need to wait for the DNC fax.)
8.30.2008 7:55pm
Fury:
Re: post of Mark. A.L. Kleiman


Several of the URL's you reference don't report the same conclusions you assert they do.

You write:

He [McCain] chose a ... former Pat Buchanan supporter with a history of abuse of power and of lying to cover it up.

First, it is unclear by your assertion who abused power. The article you reference notes as follow:

They were at a fundraiser for me," Buchanan said of Palin and her husband. He called her a "terrific gal" and a "rebel reformer".

They attended a fundraiser, but no record of contributions on their part is found.



You write:

Whatever she might become in the future...she has displayed indifference to the detailed work of actually governing....

where the reporter writes:

...she tends to oversimplify complex issues, has had difficulty delegating authority, and clearly has difficulty distinguishing the line between her public responsibilities and private wishes...

The reporter provided no examples, other than ostensibly the last point being in reference to the "Troopergate" issue which is currently being investigated. You seem very willing to not dig deeper of what the reporter is referring to, instead relying on his characterization and then portraying it as in essence, a fact.



You write:

McCain did so ... without anything resembling an adequate background check.

The article at that URL does not even discuss background checks one way or the other. It discusses the reactions of local Alaskan politicians on the pick of Palin as a VP candidate.



You write:

As to Palin's credentials as a fiscal conservative, they seem to be largely mythical. Palin supported the Bridge to Nowhere as long as it was federal taxpayers who had to foot the bill; only when the money was going to come out of her budget did she decide it wasn't such a good idea.

Here is what Palin stated as reported by the Anchorage Daily News:

5. Would you continue state [emphasis added] funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?

Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now - while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.



It's a reach at best for someone to conclude that Palin wanted the Federal government to foot the entire cost of the bridge. The question was specifically asked concerning state funding. Palin answered in the affirmative and also indicated she was also looking for Federal assistance.



You write:

She took no principled stance against federal pork.

and provide the following URL for this assertion:

The article is titled "Palin not abandoning earmarks". I suppose we will quibble over what is meant by "principled stance", but here are some snippets from the article:


The Palin administration has ... request[ed] 31 earmarks, down from 54 last year [emphasis added]. Of these, 27 involve continuing or previous appropriations and four are new. The total dollar amount of these requests has been reduced from about $550 million in the previous year to just less than $200 million [emphasis added].

Further, the governor has insisted that each Alaska request must demonstrate an important federal purpose and strong public support [emphasis added].

We also have heard that, wherever possible, a state or local match should be provided. The state's budget requests incorporate this principle.

...

The Palin administration has responded to this unwanted attention in a number of ways. Certain previous decisions concerning transportation earmarks are being re-examined. Currently, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is conducting an audit to determine the status of all recent earmarks.

In addition, the department will have further discussions with local governments that are interested in particular earmarks. This discussion is precipitated not only by the earmark reforms in Congress but by requirements imposed on all states by the Federal Highway Administration.

The department wants to ensure that sufficient funds are available to complete earmark projects and that such projects are consistent with statewide planning and priorities.




You may not agree, but the reporter indicates that Alaskan government took several steps concerning earmarks. We can agree/disagree on if this is a principled stand.



You write:

During six years as mayor, she added nearly $20 million to Wasilla's debt: that's $3000 per resident.

and reference the following URL for this assertion:

In the URL, the following note is found on the claim you represent as fact:

I can't find confirmation for this claim published by Glenn Thrush of Politico



You write:

She just agreed to give a Canadian pipleline company $500 million in subsidies, without even getting in return a binding commitment that a pipleline would actually be built; a ("former") lobbyist for the company was her key adviser on the transaction.

and reference the following URL which then refers to a NY Times article.

First, the lobbyist did this work in 2003, five years prior. The work was not for TransCanada, but a TransCanada subsidiary. Second, you left out a key part of your claim concerning the $500 million "subsidies" to TransCanada. Steve Mufson from the Washington Port writes the following:

Palin got the state of Alaska to give $500 million to start the process if TransCanada would put up the same amount to get started [emphasis added]. The project will take more than a decade to complete.

The funding was approved by the Alaska Legislature and signed by Palin.



If you're going to represent what you say is essentially fact, at least have the intellectual curiosity to check the articles you provide as references.
8.30.2008 7:56pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
Finally, after all this going back and forth, we have the *real* reason McCain picked Palin. It's . . . just like Lincoln! He picked a strong person who would disagree with him and influence him! That's it! How could I have been so blind. I'm sure Palin will be whisked off to an undisclosed location shortly after the election to run the real government, unlike almost all past VPs before Cheney (who did not ascend to the Presidency) who did jack squat. See also Harry "What Atomic Bomb" Truman.


Snark what you like, but a large reason McCain picked Palin was to placate the conservative base. Considering how much buzz there's been over Palin, it seems like he's gotten what he asked for and more on that front. See metro1's comments...whatever you may think of the content, his enthusiasm makes my point for me.
8.30.2008 7:57pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

How many HLS grads would EVEN CONSIDER LIVING IN A 9,000-person town?

Heck, how many U Idaho grads would EVEN CONSIDER LIVING IN Palin's home town? I think a maximum of one. The determining factor is, where can that HLS grad pay off his $150K law school debt? If you can do that in Nome, fine.
8.30.2008 7:57pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
She has a lot of experience deciding when to take a shot and when not to. She (and McCain) have proved they're willing to shoot. That's the most important aspect of foreign affairs. Most of today's Dems are too cowardly to shoot and thus unready for the Presidency.
8.30.2008 8:07pm
Anne (mail):
If running a campaign and defeating Hillary constitute as experience, heck, we should be electing David Axelrod, not Obama.

Campaign strategies, scripted speeches, budgeting, administration, operations management, advertising, et al. should be credited to his campaign manager, not Obama.

The criteria for me will be measured by results, not pedigree, nor education, nor even experience. Given his/her track record, have they delivered on their promises? I need to know if their promises were simply lies told to get elected, or if they honored their word.
8.30.2008 8:07pm
armchairpunter:
When the voting public learns that Palin did not go to an Ivy League law school like Obama, this election will be as good as over. Pray tell, who will have won?
8.30.2008 8:08pm
byomtov (mail):
Sarah Palin runs the largest State in the Union - with two international borders. She's the Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard.

Of all the arguments about Palin, for and against, this has to be the dumbest. Are we supposed to believe that the Alaska National Guard is some kind of front-line defense against a Russian invasion across the Bering Strait or a Canadian attempt to seize Alaska? Or that Palin is involved in dealings and negotiations with Putin?

Some of this stuff is from fantasyland.
8.30.2008 8:10pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Andrew J. Lazarus:

You want to discuss experience? And you're an Obama supporter. You must have a death wish.

Barack Obama has zero executive experience.

Joe Biden has zero executive experience.

John McCain has military command experience.

Sarah Palin has executive experience as Governor of the largest state in the Union - and as Mayor of the fastest-growing town in Alaska. (Personally, I like small-town America).

On the experience issue, McCain and Palin win.

Besides, the "foreign policy experience" argument is non-serious. What was the "foreign policy experience" of Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher? Since you, undoubtedly, don't like Regan or Thatcher - what was the "foreign policy experience" of Bill Clinton?

What was the "foreign policy experience" of Obama's almost-VP-pick, Governor Kaine of Virginia? Did his lack of "foreign policy experience" concern you with regard to Kaine? No? Hmmm - I wonder why. Oh yes - you're not really concerned with experience anyway - otherwise you wouldn't be backing Obama. You'll always vote for the most liberal candidate. That's fine - but you should at least admit that's what's driving your choice here.

A great President is a great leader. Leadership skills are most clearly seen in people who have actually led: like McCain and Palin.

The "foreign policy experience" argument is actually slightly a negative to me. I'd rather have someone with clear leadership skills as an American chief executive (like Governor Palin) - or military command experience (like McCain) - not someone who sat on some foreign affairs committee in Congress (like Biden).

Of course, it's unclear what "foreign policy experience" Obama has - he's sat on a committee during his partial term as a U.S. Senator? That's not decision-making under pressure - that's not "foreign policy experience" to be President - that's sitting in a room and listening. I can listen to speeches by others on foreign policy issues - and I have - does that give me "foreign policy experience" to be President?

Also - Palin's approval ratings in Alaska have consistently been over 80%! She's a leader. So is McCain. Obama and Biden are legislators - they've never held an executive or command position in their lives.

On experience McCain and Palin win.

Sarah Palin runs a State. Barack Obama runs his mouth. (And Obama's on the TOP of the ticket - sheez).

See Mark Steyn and Rachel Lucas on the laughable argument from the left on "experience."

Sure - let's keep talking about experience. The GOP VP candidate has much more executive and job-in-the-real-world experience than Obama will ever have. The Democrats' Presidential candidate has less experience than the Republicans' VP candidate. Yes - let's keep talking about experience.

Oh - and when you tell me more about Obama's and Biden's wonderful "experience" please remember all of it:

See this from the Obama's experience launching his political career in the home of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers

Obama's experience working with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers

Biden's experience as a serial plagiarizer

And lastly, you refer to "that RNC fax" - should I refer to a "DNC fax" for you? Is it possible that I'm just a working-stiff unaffiliated with any party and with traditional conservative/libertarian views? Would that even be possible in your world view? Or are you surrounded by conspiracies in all things?
8.30.2008 8:11pm
PC:
She (and McCain) have proved they're willing to shoot.


You mean like McCain wanting to get Georgia into NATO so we could start a shooting war with Russia? Yeah, that was a brilliant idea.
8.30.2008 8:17pm
JeanE (mail):
Gov Palin is certainly not the "safe" pick for VP, but I genuinely think that much of the criticism about her lack of experience would be dispelled by her very real accomplishments in elected office if she were a man.

Let's compare her record to Obama's.
From 1992-1996 while she was serving on the city council, he was working part time in private practice and part time as an instructor at U of Chicago Law school. He also took some time off to go to Bali to finish his autobiography.

In 1996 he was elected to the Illinois senate after getting all opponents removed from the ballot in the primary election. Palin was elected as mayor, defeating the incumbent with her message of fiscal restraint and reform.

For the next six years, she served as full time mayor, managing a 6 million dollar budget and 50 employees. Obama served as part time state Senator. Wasilla grew into a thriving community under Palin's leadership. Residents in low-income housing in Obama's district were forced out of housing that was uninhabitable.

After her 2nd term as mayor, she was appointed to the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission. When she discovered corruption in the organization she worked to clean it up, eventually resigning in protest in 2004 and filing charges against the offenders. In 2004 Obama ran for US Senate, with financing from the developers of those low income housing units that were uninhabitable.

In 2006, Palin took on the incumbent Governor in the primary, defeated him and went on to win in the general election. As Governor, she has continued to fight corruption and has worked with the legislature to gain approval for the Transcanada pipeline. As US Senator Obama has opposed the surge in Iraq and run for President.

It's hard for me to accept that a part time position in the Illinois senate is really far more demanding than a full time job as mayor in a growing community. Likewise, is almost 4 years in the US Senate vastly more experience than almost 2 years as Governor of Alaska? Aside from the length of experience, who accomplished more for the citizens they represent? Critics assume that she is only on the ticket because she is a woman, and don't look at her record. If she were a man, they would examine the record to see what qualities McCain saw in this particular candidate.
8.30.2008 8:18pm
GaryC (mail):

Andrew J. Lazarus:
So, would you address one particular issue. The idea that Palin has experience in foreign affairs as Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard is a non-starter. Can you point to something better, or hasn't that RNC fax come in yet?

If it was good enough for Bill Clinton in 1992...
8.30.2008 8:18pm
byomtov (mail):
Sarah Palin runs a State. Barack Obama runs his mouth.

Gee, that's original. Did you guys pick that up from Rush or someone? How often are you going to post it before soemone gives you a new slogan?
8.30.2008 8:29pm
GaryC (mail):

Nifonged:
"the 57 states nonsense is so silly it made it to snopes."

Indeed, it seems that some non-mainstream media outlets are just as apt to treat Obama with Kid Gloves as the mainstream media. I like snopes, but its never hid its political (left) leanings.

Actually, I don't think it was that big of a gaffe, he was probably fatigued and it doesn't change my views of him. We all make verbal mistakes. But if this was a GOP'er it would have been a bigger issue. No major candidate has been given the treatment Obama has been given the treatment Obama has enjoyed, its disconcerting to me.


The Snopes page doesn't debunk the "57 states nonsense" itself, since he did say it, so much as some of the more silly attempts (by conservatives) to explain it. It really was just a silly mistake, probably due to being tired, not some deep homage to the Organization of Islamic States.

I have a harder time understanding is assertion last year that a tornado had killed 10,000 people by wiping out a town in Kansas. The real death toll was 12, and Obama used the exaggerated death toll to criticize the Bush administration for having so much of the Kansas National Guard in Iraq that the recovery operations were being slowed down.

This wasn't a slip of the tongue. Watch it yourself. He was using a bogus statistic to make a major political point.

10,000 Dead in Kansas
8.30.2008 8:37pm
The Ace (mail):
He worked as a community organizer in Chicago and was, by all accounts, successful.

Keep going, I love it!

You couldn't name 2 things he did as a "community organizer"

You leftists are delusional.
8.30.2008 8:44pm
The Ace (mail):
But the idea that there's no difference between editor of the Harvard Law Review /

The idea that being on the Harvard Law Review has anything to do with being 'prepared' to be president or is of any value is laugh out loud funny.

Again, you Obama voters are talking about experience.

Please, keep doing so.
Please.
8.30.2008 8:48pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
byomtov:

"Sarah Palin runs a State. Barack Obama runs his mouth."

It's pithy - but it's true.
8.30.2008 8:52pm
AKD:
byomtov:

Of all the arguments about Palin, for and against, this has to be the dumbest. Are we supposed to believe that the Alaska National Guard is some kind of front-line defense against a Russian invasion across the Bering Strait or a Canadian attempt to seize Alaska? Or that Palin is involved in dealings and negotiations with Putin?

Some of this stuff is from fantasyland.



Well, Alaska has far more serious national security concerns than Arkansas.


Clinton Cites His National Guard Decision-Making
AP

NEW YORK - Bill Clinton said today his experience deploying the Arkansas National Guard has helped prepare him to be commander-in-chief.

Clinton, appearing with running mate Al Gore on "CBS This Morning," was asked about his qualifications, if he were president, to send U.S. troops into war.

He said he's made tough military calls in Arkansas: sending the guard to train in Central America; authorizing force to quell a riot of Cuban refugees in 1980, and using the guard to remove extremists from armed camps in Arkansas.

"I'll make the best judgment I can based on the expert advice I get from military leaders and based on what needs to be the right thing to do for the American people at the time," Clinton said.

link


But he did go to Yale Law School, so all is forgiven. ;)
8.30.2008 8:53pm
byomtov (mail):
AKD,

So if Clinton said something dumb that means it's OK for others to say the same thing?

"Look. There's Bill Clinton," is not an argument.

National security concerns? What are you talking about? Two international borders? Are you people serious? Is this a way to get McCain commenting points or something?
8.30.2008 9:11pm
Hoosier:
His "57 states" comment was NOT a gaffe! Nor was it the result of exhaustion.

It was a coded signal to Teresa HEINZ Kerry.

Everyone with a brain knows it.
8.30.2008 9:27pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
If the CINC of the Natioal Guard in one's state is not a qualification, I would have expected dems to laugh at Clinton for trying it.
Any examples?
No?
Didn't think so.

Point is, guys, if you didn't sneer at Clinton, you don't get to sneer at Palin unless you have your partisan/hack/hypocrite club membership paid up.
8.30.2008 9:57pm
byomtov (mail):
Point is, guys, if you didn't sneer at Clinton, you don't get to sneer at Palin unless you have your partisan/hack/hypocrite club membership paid up.

Why not?

Clinton's statement was made in 1992. Mysteriously, it didn't attract much attention on the Internet at the time.

As for partisan/hack/hypocrite club dues, I'm curious, Richard. What do the Republicans charge?
8.30.2008 10:10pm
therut:
She is the best thing that has EVER happened on the National level for 2nd amendment rights. Being female just puts the icing on the cake. I have waited for years for such a person. That alone makes her GREAT in my book. She will change the idea that women hate guns, women do not use guns, women are afraid of gun, a mother and guns do not mix and all gun owners are NUTS. I LOVE HER. With her you see a woman holding a firearm and it is NOT to ask for gun control. My prayers have been answered. Hoorah for a REAL WOMAN. That is just the beginning of why I am elated!!!!!!!!!!!!! p.s she also has a REAL man for a husband no metrosexual softie there. YEAH!!!
8.30.2008 10:12pm
Barry Dauphin (mail) (www):
Is Sarah Palin less qualified to be VP than John Edwards?
8.30.2008 10:14pm
iambatman:
John Edwards is not a fan of Pat Buchanan, so I would say yes.
8.30.2008 10:20pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Of course it is not true that all conservatives diss higher education, but it's not possible to read some of the comments on this thread as an attempt to belittle Ivy League education. Take this one, for example: First 500 names in the Boston phone book, and all that.

Metro1 continues to robopost (forgive me, metro, but I don't think you're a conservative/libertarian independent, I think you are clearly a Republican hack). What sort of drivel is this?
Sarah Palin has executive experience as Governor of the largest state in the Union - and as Mayor of the fastest-growing town in Alaska.
Even if Wasilla is the fastest-growing town in Alaska, it's still extremely small, less than half the total enrollment at Harvard University. Mayor was a part-time job and, frankly, I doubt if the executive responsibilities exceeded that of a typical local school superintendent. As I said before, Governor counts for something, although the population of Alaska (49th?) is a much better measurement of the level of executive experience entailed. In any case, as I pointed out repeatedly, Alaska's economy and state budget don't extrapolate well to the nation as a whole. Can you point us to her opinions on major national issues other than energy? Gov. Schwarzenegger, for example, has well-known views on education, energy, and political reform. Some of them I even agree with. Something similar is true of former Gov. Jeb Bush, on different subjects. This is a significant and insightful criticism of her nomination in the original post, and it can not be refuted by a sixth link to Mark Steyn's teenage-like fantasy about women fishermen.

You and the Ace are close to failing the Turing test.
8.30.2008 10:26pm
Barry Dauphin (mail) (www):
John Edwards is not a fan of Pat Buchanan, so I would say yes.

Much adoo-doo about nothing.


McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb writes: "Governor Palin has never worked for any effort to elect Pat Buchanan -- that assertion is completely false. As Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin did attend an event with Mr. Buchanan in her home town where reports described her wearing a Buchanan for President button. She wore the button as a courtesy to Mr. Buchanan and in an effort to make him feel welcome during his visit, but immediately sent a letter to the editor of her local paper clarifying that the button should not have been interpreted as an endorsement of any kind."

And indeed, another AP story from August 7, 1999 -- one month after the Buchanan trip to Wasilla -- states that joining state sen. Mike Miller of Fairbanks on the Forbes campaign's Alaska "leadership committee will be Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin, and former state GOP chairman Pete Hallgren, who will serve as co-chairs."


Ah yes, the new leftie wet dream that Sarah Palin is in the closet for Pat Buchanan. I think the Dems are starting to look like they are the ones throwing Hail Mary's. Enjoy your guy John. At least he's a lawyer.
8.30.2008 10:38pm
byomtov (mail):
Well. If a McCain spokesman says so it must be true.
8.30.2008 10:49pm
RAH (mail):
She has executive experience and even got more done to correct the overspending in Alaska and turned a deficit to surplus in 2 years. So she gets more done than other governors who are in power for several terms.

She is apparently a natural leader. Mayor to Ethics panel to Governor is a very short time span.

As a conservative she is small government, pro drilling in ANWR, pro second amendment, pro life, fiscal conservation and cleans up corruption.

This woman did not get support from the GOP since she went after a GOP incumbent and won. She is not riding on the coattails of a relative to get political power to be Governor. She literally became a Governor on her own efforts and merits. She must be good to do that bucking her own party.

So she is good on domestic policies and as good as some prior presidential candidates on foreign policy, which means none. She can learn. VP is a position that is on the job training.

However her family and her are in for a surprise in the meanness of national politics.
8.30.2008 10:57pm
BillW:
Sarah Palin runs the largest State in the Union - with two international borders. ...

byomtov: Of all the arguments about Palin, for and against, this has to be the dumbest. ... Or that Palin is involved in dealings and negotiations with Putin?

It wouldn't surprise me to find out that there are some sort of arrangements between Alaska and western Siberia to cooperate and consult on border issues. At the closest, they're only two miles apart. There probably aren't too many wetbacks coming over the Bering Strait, but there are bound to be disputes about fishing and such.

It would surprise me if there weren't such relationships with the Canadians. And there's that pipeline project across Canada, which must have involved some amount of international negotiations.
8.30.2008 11:00pm
Acksiom (mail) (www):
As I posted over at Wachel's earlier -- um, could those of you beworrying yourselves about Governor Palin being first in line in the POTUS order of succession please explain how this is supposed to take precedence of concern for the rest of us over the fact that Nancy Pelosi is already second?

No, seriously. How and why exactly is Governor Palin's potential insufficiency of experience supposed to be more of a concern for us than Nancy Pelosi's already demonstrated fundamental incompetence?

Also, as far as the idea goes that Governor Palin is a less-than-optimal pick because the media will jump savagely on any mistakes she makes. . .again, wait; how and why exactly is she supposed to be at all different in that respect from any other conservative VP nominee?

Again, seriously -- wouldn't anybody McCain picked be facing that kind of scrutiny regardless?
8.30.2008 11:01pm
Hoosier:
Mr. Lazarus: The "500 Names" quote is WRONG! I recall hearing Buckley speak on this in the late '80s. He was actually quite populist in his leanings: It was the first *2000* names in the Boston phone directory. So there!

I think he honestly meant it.

I KNOW that I honestly agree with it. Far from being a "disser" (is that a word?) of universities, I've spent almost my entire adult life in them. And I am the son of an admissions director, for what it's worth.

But I would NEVER want to be governed by college professors, and would rather take my chances with a bunch of people whose last names begin with "A". If we instituted a faculty-ocracy, fascism would be the BEST we could hope for. ( At least until they all killed each other.)
8.30.2008 11:08pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
tjit:

the investigations and complaints against Wooten as a State Trooper … had started prior to Palin's term as Governor


Indeed. They started precisely at the time that Molly's (Sarah's sister) marriage was breaking up, in 2005. And they were mostly in connection with incidents that had happened years before, which no one seemed to make a fuss about, at the time.

a derelict father who tasers his step son


Aside from doing a dumb thing with a Taser, there is no evidence that Wooten is "a derelict father." And the taser incident is being greatly distorted. The kid volunteered, because he was curious. And then he said he wanted to do it again. The details are here.

is a physically and verbally abusive


Yes, Molly complained about that, but was never able to substantiate those complaints.

unfaithful husband


Granted, Wooten messed around. Just like McCain.

The record clearly indicates a serious and concentrated pattern of unacceptable, and at times, illegal activity occurring over a lengthy period, which establishes a course of conduct totally at odds with the ethics of our profession


Yes, Wooten broke some rules. For example, he was out hunting with his wife, and he shot the moose instead of making her shoot it (she wanted him to do it). Her name was on the hunting license, so technically what he did was illegal. This is the "illegal activity" he did. Big deal. It sort of reminds me of someone else who went hunting without "proper hunting credentials."

Most of the allegations made against him in 2005 by Molly and Sarah turned out to be unsubstantiated, after a thorough police investigation. About 15 people were interviewed.

She warned that if he messed up again, he'd be fired.


Yes, and he hasn't messed up again, so he hasn't been fired. But Sarah Palin wants him fired anyway, as post-divorce retribution on behalf of her sister, so she fired the guy who refused to fire him. And is now trying to cover the whole thing up.
8.30.2008 11:20pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
kevin p:

Palin's estranged former brother-in-law, who is at the heart of this matter seems to be quite a charmer


I'm thinking of a person who acts out a lot. Breaks lots of rules. Gets into trouble. Who am I thinking of? John Mccain, in the Naval Academy.

Yes, that's what Wooten is like. He's has had problems. He was also in the Air Force for 10 years, and he has served on the state SERT (SWAT) team. And there are actually people who say some nice things about him. Like a person I cited here.

It turns out that no one had any major complaints about him until his marriage with Molly broke up. Then the Palin family started raising hell.

Troopers eventually investigated 13 issues and found four in which Wooten violated policy or broke the law or both


Indeed. Most of the allegations made against him by the Palins turned out to be unsubstantiated.

Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.


I discussed that above.

He illegally shot a moose.


I discussed that above.

He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.


Not good judgment on his part. He earned his five-day suspension.

He told others his father-in-law would "eat a f'ing lead bullet" if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.


Let's review who those "others" are: Molly (Wooten's ex-wife and Sarah's sister), Sarah Palin, and Sarah's son Track. The latter two were not there in person; they were allegedly listening, over the phone, to a conversation that took place between Molly and Wooten. Wooten says they're lying.

Here's an odd thing about that anecdote: the sisters kept it to themselves for about a month, before telling dad. Even though Sarah said this (pdf):

My fear was that what I didn't want to see was him [Wooten] not only harming MOLLY or the kids but getting back in his rig and running over to my dads house and actually shooting him


Also from a police interview of Sarah Palin (pdf):

Palin was also questioned as to why it took her two weeks to advise her father of Wooten's threat. Palin then stated that it was because Wooten had no reason to shoot her father.


Huh? She claims that she heard Wooten issue a death threat, and she was worried about Wooten "running over to my dads house and actually shooting him." But then she says "Wooten had no reason to shoot her father," and that's why she didn't bother calling 911, or even telling dad. For a month (not two weeks). I think she's having a hard time keeping her story straight.

the guy is still on the police force!


Indeed, because after a very thorough investigation, he was found guilty of nothing that warranted more than the 5-day suspension that was imposed.

Here's the amazing thing: this vindictive, corrupt woman might end up living in the White House.
8.30.2008 11:20pm
Barry Dauphin (mail) (www):
Well. If a McCain spokesman says so it must be true.

Good job on reading the entire link or the (AP) part. Or how about David Bernstein's post on this very blog:

I guess wearing a Buchanan button, once, when he visited Palin's town is supposed to tell us a lot about Palin's character, and perhaps her feelings about Israel and Jews, but Obama's 20-year intimate history with Rev. Jeremiah Wright is supposed to tell us nothing about Obama.

Thanks for playing. I'm sure Don Pardo has a nice parting gift for you.
8.30.2008 11:33pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
She has executive experience and even got more done to correct the overspending in Alaska and turned a deficit to surplus in 2 years
I don't suppose the price of oil had anything to do with that? I've heard she went for an Obama-like windfall profits tax, even.

I agree I wouldn't make much of the Buchanan button.
8.30.2008 11:55pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
She is an energy expert.

She governed as a libertarian.

She wants to win the war.

She wants to undercut oil despotism. And she was a TV sportscaster. She will do fine when asked questions.

Dale - let me just say: get out more.
8.30.2008 11:56pm
Hoosier:
juke is a good example of the state of panic setting in among the Obamanics.

"Aside from doing a dumb thing with a Taser, there is no evidence that Wooten is "a derelict father." And the taser incident is being greatly distorted. The kid volunteered, because he was curious. And then he said he wanted to do it again."

Heh-heh. I'll keep that in mind when my son asks for whiskey and the car keys. "Derelict father MY ASS, jusdge! The kid as't me for 'em! An' he wansta do it agin!"
8.31.2008 12:05am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
All I need to know about Sarah Palin are 2 things:

1. Her fundamental decency and great family
2. The leftists and paleocons are going apeshit over this selection.

FTW McCain, you sly old coot.
8.31.2008 12:07am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Bottom line the single biggest problem for Obama is he's the biggest liberal in the Senate. He can't overcome that. No liberal Democrat has won the presidency running as a liberal since LBJ in 1964.
8.31.2008 12:18am
Loophole1998 (mail):
She and her snow machine racing husband have raised their children to be great atheletes. Or at least McCain says so. That's enough for me.

USA USA USA USA USA
8.31.2008 12:22am
David Warner:
"And is now trying to cover the whole thing up."

Link?

Judging by the "my John Anderson-voting immediate family" demographic, the Palin pick actually hurts McCain's chances in this election. The knee-jerk response was the "this is a gimmick" and many so-called rationally ignorant independents never get beyond the knee-jerk.

McCain had a decent chance of defeating Obama on the back of residual racism among the demographic that actually votes and the tried-and-true get-out-the-vote strategy of highlighting the faults of the Dem. This one happens to have a lot of them. He also demonstrates unique strengths that appeal to those with a lot of influence outside of politics, especially those whose political allegiance is actually in play.

The thing is, such a "victory" may have been the death knell of the Republican Party, at least for a generation, as an Obama defeat at the hands of the above tactics would turn him into a Goldwater for a liberal resurgence among the aforementioned influencers who supported him and saw him defeated via such uninspiring tactics. It would serve to galvanize their political allegiance.

On the other hand, this demographic is also likely to take the time to do the research on Palin and see there a kindred spirit, if under experienced this go round. If the Dems adopt the same tactics against Palin that would have turned this demographic off so deeply when used against Obama, they might still vote Obama, but their allegiance will still be in play in future elections. And given Palin's actual positions and accomplishments so far, for good reason.

A Republican party of Palins would be far better for the country than a Republican Party of Roves.
8.31.2008 12:27am
big dirigible (mail) (www):
I'm really looking forward to voting for two candidates who aren't just another pair of f'ing lawyers.

Finally!!!
8.31.2008 12:30am
Steph (www):
Byomtov
"Well. If a McCain spokesman says so it must be true."

Right brother she was a Buchanan supporter, just like Trig is not realy her son, but her grandson. You people are so deperate it is just sad.
8.31.2008 12:35am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Prediction:

McCain is going to kill Obama - a rout.

The Rs will be the majority party in both chambers. The game plan if you are watching is a killer.

If you haven't been watching - Watch Here

Those are going to be the themes of the campaign.

Sarah Palin - the first woman President of the USA. Barring accident.
8.31.2008 12:57am
loki13 (mail):
M. Simon,

Will you be here for your mea culpa if your prediction doesn't come true? McCain winning- that's possible (rout? eh, unlikely, but that's your prediction). Republicans getting both chambers? Um, wow. That's the kind of crazy you rarely see sold without a wink.
8.31.2008 1:02am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
In fact let me go further:

The odds of a Palin/Jindal ticket if Jindal governs as a can do libertarian and leaves his personal views about religion out of governance are very high. Very.
8.31.2008 1:06am
Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
loki13,

I wouldn't be so quick to poopoo Simon's prediction: have you seen the thirty second McCain-Palin ad he linked to? I'm convinced.
8.31.2008 1:08am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
loki13,

I'm in touch with a Congressional Staffer who has asked for my help and advice. I know a part of the plan. It is a killer. Just killer.

The Ds will either have to abandon all their tired positions - advantage McCain, or they will lose - advantage McCain.

McCain/Palin and the Rs are going to shape the next Congress to their liking. I may be a little overboard on change of control. I am not overboard on a change of direction.
8.31.2008 1:12am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I recall M. Simon predicted a blowout win in 2006, but for the Republicans. Now I know McCain is doomed.
8.31.2008 1:23am
Dave N (mail):
Andrew J. Lazarus,

And who did you predict would win the Presidency in 2004?
8.31.2008 1:26am
loki13 (mail):
M. Simon,

If you are correct sir (madam), I highly suggest one of the following:

a. Going to Vegas and/or buying lottery tix.
b. Going big into the stock market.

Because you are either lucky or a prognosticatin' genius.

If wrong, again, might I suggest diversifying your news/informational sources?
8.31.2008 1:28am
loki13 (mail):
Dave N,

I don't think that's a fair comparison. Everyone knew (or should have known) that 2004 would be close. Conversely, not knowing which way the wind is blowing for Congressional races in 2006 and this year (to date) is odd. If M. Simon is correct, I will be astounded. But I think the odds of the the Republicans taking both houses (or significantly gaining in numbers) is less than that of the Democrats gaining 60 Senate seats.

For the record, I don't believe the Democrats will gain 60 seats (nor do I want them to -- gridlock has some advantages), but in terms of resignations, seats to defend, incumbency trends, fundraising and polling, this is an amazingly bad year for the Republicans so far in the Congressional races.
8.31.2008 1:34am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Palin is also attracting a lot of Clinton supporters who hate the corruption of the D party.

Go to any PUMA site or No Quarter for a taste of the enthusiasm for Palin.

Did I mention she has an 80% approval rating in Alaska?
8.31.2008 1:40am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
For the record, I don't believe the Democrats will gain 60 seats (nor do I want them to -- gridlock has some advantages), but in terms of resignations, seats to defend, incumbency trends, fundraising and polling, this is an amazingly bad year for the Republicans so far in the Congressional races.

Loki,

I would have agreed with you BP (before Palin).

AP it is different. She solidifies the R themes in a way that makes people pay attention. An inspired choice.

As usual - time will tell. In fact I predict you will know two weeks after the GE campaign begins. No need to wait a whole month.
8.31.2008 1:47am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I mis-predicted 2004. I mis-predicted OH, IA, and NM. (Also NH.) I also mis-predicted 2000, getting FL "wrong".

I submit that these errors are a couple orders of magnitude less than believing the GOP would actually pick up seats in 2006, instead of suffering the first election in American History where one party failed to flip a single House, Senate, or Governor race. That's a Literary Digest level blunder. Literary Digest at least had the decency to go out of business.
8.31.2008 1:54am
bc (mail):
So much is being said about her peeling off the women vote from Obama. Trust me, the men are going to love this gal even more than the women. Not the gutless wonders from the university towns, I'm thinking of the lunch pail toting union guys and the squirrel hunters, well, Katy bar the door.
8.31.2008 2:34am
Deo Vindice:
Why is it that all these academics are screeching "Palin is unusually unready to be President" yet these same are fawning over Obama who is LESS qualified than Palin.

This makes absolutely no sense. None whatsoever. You are going to question the experience of the VP candidate on one side of the ticket, when the TOP of the ticket on the other side has LESS experience?

(Waiting for the panting rants claiming that "community organizer" and "law review editor" qualifies Obama.)
8.31.2008 2:54am
Thomas_Holsinger:
M.Simon,

IMO the GOP will take a big hit in Congress regardless of who wins the White House. If McCain wins (likely IMO), Palin as VP will probably reduce the GOP's losses in Congress somewhere between a little bit and a fair amount. But we'll still be hurting.

The ONLY possible way I can see the GOP just breaking even in Congress this year is if we take another major terrorist attack at home. Which I doubt will happen, and no one except true nutballs hopes such a thing would happen.
8.31.2008 3:00am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
The thing about Congress is that most of the seats being seriously contested are Republican seats; therefore, the GOP has nowhere to go but down. It doesn't have much to do with the tide of the Presidential election.
8.31.2008 3:07am
Deo Vindice:


The ONLY possible way I can see the GOP just breaking even in Congress this year is if we take another major terrorist attack at home. Which I doubt will happen, and no one except true nutballs hopes such a thing would happen.


But you have Democratic DNC Chairs openly gleeful about a catastrophic hurricane strike on NOLA.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrBus8ORR78
8.31.2008 3:20am
Andy Freeman (mail):
In what universe is "She tried to have her sister's loser ex-husband fired" going to cost Palin votes? She's more likely to lose votes for failing than for trying. (The loser ex-husband and sympathizer demographic is fairly small.)

And, if we're going to argue influence peddling, it's small potatoes compared to what Obama and Biden have been doing for years.

She may have requested $200M in public works earmarks, but she didn't get vote on the decision. How much did Biden bring home to MBNA with the bankruptcy reform act alone? How much did Obama bring to Chicago?

Surely Obama is going to take credit for bringing home the pork. What else has he done?
8.31.2008 3:40am
Shill (mail):
Dilan Esper,

You asserted above that Obama was a community organizer, and by all accounts, successful. I had been under the impression that, by all accounts, he had failed to improve the community.

Obama's most prominent role in his career of community organizing was, of course, the Annennberg Challenge, a $160,000,000 program meant to improve education. The word Annennberg used to describe this mission was "FAILURE". It accomplished nothing except to spend a ton of money. Obama was the Chairman, the highest leader, of this extremely massive and absolute failure.

So, I think it's safe to say you're just in the tank for Obama. Yeah, he is clearly a very smart man to have made such great grades and the most competitive law school, but being a lawyer is not a recipe for being a good executive. Palin's executive record, aside from requiring diplomactic skill enough to make enormous deals with Canada, also inclue pleasing Alaskans. Palin has the highest approval rating of any governor in the union.

Her job is 100% of the time. She can't vote present or skip votes like Obama. She's the #1 rated Governor in the USA, according to the people. She's as much a function of identity politics as Obama, and it's clear neither of them would be notable if they were white men, but that's just the way it has to be.

Biden had two sons who were motherless when he began his career. Biden didn't care for them personally, a servant did. Obama has children who are young, and no one complains that he's been running for president for over a year. Palin has sevearl children, but like most families of that size, the older children gain maturity by helping raise the younger. Those people who are claiming Palin should raise her kids are brutally sexist.

Many disagree with Palin on the issues. I am liberal on social issues and would not have chosen Palin if she had 100 years of governor experience. But she's clearly more experienced than Obama. 1 day as Governor has to be equal to no less than ten days as Senator when Senate is in Session. Obama has had fewer than three months of actual US Senate experience, and before that, he was a part time Senator who barely voted.
8.31.2008 5:18am
Dave!:
"Sarah Palin runs the largest State in the Union - with two international borders."

Can we stop with the ridiculous talking points on both sides? First, Alaska's only the largest state in terms of land mass. It's *46th* in population. Second, it shares an international border with *Canada* and Russia. Russia over the Bering Straight, which is 58 miles of water--unless you count two tiny islands. There may be fishing disputes up there, but not illegal immigrants pouring over those borders.

It seems to me I recall someone who was the Governor of the 2nd largest state in the union--in land mass *and* population--for six years. A state that has an international border. In fact, an international border that actually has an immigration problem.

How'd that guy work out?

Seriously, though, if we're comparing experience:

McCain > Obama
Biden > Palin

So what? Even if you concede that Palin's "experience" leading the 46th most populous state qualifies her for anything (which I don't think it does) the race should be about *policy*.

I haven't heard much about Palin on policy yet. Yes, we know she's pro-life and pro-gun. Again, so what? Let's her about her policies on terrorism, foreign relations, Iraq, Iran, Korea, Russia, Israel. What about her energy policy, economic issues, taxes, etc. It will be interesting to see that. And we really haven't yet.

I think her policies--well formed or ill formed--should make or break her, not the experience issue. Where the experience issue will really come into play is whether or not she will shine on the national stage, or whether or not national scrutiny will eat her alive like a polar bear and a salmon. Only time will tell that, in spite of VC readers (myself included) best guestimations.
8.31.2008 11:26am
Dave N (mail):
Loki,

I agree that the Republicans will lose seats this year (Louisiana is the only Democratic seat in play) and will lose some house seats due to retirement. Virginia is certain to flip as well as New Hampshire. Last analysis I did was 55-56 Democrats versus 44-45 Republicans next Congress. That's my prediction and I am sticking to it.

Perhaps I was too harsh in my snark. My point is that we all are wrong at times (think of all those people who bet on Romney at inTrade).
8.31.2008 11:41am
undefined (mail) (www):
Dave N,

Again, we agree. Let me offer an analogy. The first time watched a criminal trial, with a group of fellow students (back in the day), we were all debating each day's events, every single point won or lost by the prosecutor and the defense atty. etc. Before the verdict, we took an informal poll of what we thought the verdict would be. The opinions ranged from not guilty to manslaughter. The jury returned 2d degree. How could we get it so wrong? Because we were caught in the details, and missed the big picture that the jury was paying attention to.

I'm afraid that people who get too close (to politics, for example) often lose sight of the big picture. M. Simon, above, is obviously very excited about Palin. Good for him! I hope he goes and supports the Palin/McCain ticket -- civic involvement is a virtue. But I would be shocked if it had almost any affect on the downstream races (honestly, I would be shocked if it had any affect on the main race, as the last VP to affect the Presidential race was LBJ, and Palin lacks the, uh, factors that made LBJ a political virtue).

As an aside, I saw Pawlenty interivewed on MTP this morning, and he did a good job despite some very tough questions. I came away impressed. I also came away somewhat more skeptical about Palin. I think she will be amazing during the next week (assuming the convention happens), but the press loves fresh meat; all the preparation isn't going to help her for the reporter who asks her who the *President* (Medvedev) of Russia is, and that narrative would be unfortunate. I wish she had the chance for some more national exposure before this.
8.31.2008 12:02pm
loki13 (mail):
BTW, I was predicted Titanic and Forrest Gump would be massive flops, so take my prognistications with a ton of salt.

As for politics, I don't even know what I do not know. I do know that I am not the "Average American" voter (nor am I better, just different) so I do not presume to speak for them; but I also know that anyone blogging regularly on VC two months before the election isn't likely to be in the undecided demographic likely to decide the election.

Here's a thought puzzle for you- how many of those ardently pro-Palin supporters would have been happy with someone with an identical resume if Obama had picked her? How many pro-Biden supporters would have been happy if with someone with an identical resume if McCain had picked her? The same attack lines would be used, just with a party switch.
8.31.2008 12:07pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Let's count the stereotypes
Not the gutless wonders from the university towns, I'm thinking of the lunch pail toting union guys and the squirrel hunters, well, Katy bar the door.
One, liberal intellectuals are pansies. Two, blue collar hunters are so authentic (i.e., stupid) they vote for a good-looking outdoorswoman regardless of policy.

Those are bc's stereotypes. Mine (Number Three) is that blog commenters who idolize blue collar workers from afar are nerds living in their mommy's basement.
8.31.2008 1:10pm
Anonymous #000:
Yeah, it's not as if "no abortions" and "no gun control" are policies.
8.31.2008 1:14pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
See Goldberg..

* * *

Commander of the Alaskan National Guard

Before you dismiss that Commander of the Alaska National Guard stuff. This came from a reader who plays the game and it jibes with my knowledge.

Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. It's on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden's.

She's also the commander in chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security's counterterrorism plans.

Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country's defense. Given Alaska's proximity to Russia, she may have security clearances we don't even know about.

According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets.

She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is.

Alaska's government lives pretty much entirely off oil revenues, understanding of international energy markets requires a grasp of international affairs as well.

* * *
8.31.2008 1:58pm
Another Effing Lawyer:

I'm really looking forward to voting for two candidates who aren't just another pair of f'ing lawyers.

Finally!!!


Yeah it's a really great idea to put in the executive office--so named because its purpose is to execute the LAWS--two people who aren't trained in the law. That's excellent. Maybe next Olympics we should just pass over the people who have spent years training in their respective sports in favor of people we just really like instead.
8.31.2008 2:06pm
Richard Sharpe (mail):
Estragon says:


Have you looked into her history as mayor? Or her embrace of windfall taxes on oil companies to head off a budgetary shortfall as governor? Though if by "the best tradition of Republican reformism" you are speaking properly and mean "talks a big game about cutting spending but actually grows the state bureaucracy and generates a public debt", there's no inaccuracy here.


Have you actually looked into the so-called "Embrace of windfall taxes?"

See, for example: Don't be misled into thinking that Gov. Palin has championed the same sort of "windfall profits taxes" on oil companies that Obama has

It seems to me that so many intellectuals are out of touch with ordinary people everywhere. (If you don't think of yourself as an intellectual, please accept my apologies.)

It also seems that so many fire from the hip without actually investigating anything.

I think that Palin's behavior is beyond reproach, unlike a lot of the male political leaders we see in DC these days.
8.31.2008 2:12pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
So, metro: Has Palin ever visited Russia? Does she speak Russian? Does she know jack about Russian history? Russian politics? No. Endless repetition of the same official talking point doesn't make it any more sensible. (I love the part about maybe she has secret security clearances we don't know about! Maybe Obama can cure cancer with the laying on of hands and we just don't know about it yet. Two can play that game.)

Carpenter asked, where's some sign that Palin has had to develop serious ideas on either national or foreign policy? Had to defend her ideas?

Zilch.
8.31.2008 2:13pm
Richard Sharpe (mail):
Andrew J Lazarus says:


I don't suppose the price of oil had anything to do with that? I've heard she went for an Obama-like windfall profits tax, even.


Do you always believe what you hear? It's not hard to use Google to verify these things or find other view points.

Can you tell us the source of your info?
8.31.2008 2:25pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
It's OK to fire your a-hole ex-brother-in-law. It's not OK to fire someone because he used his independent judgment not to fire your ex-brother-in-law -- that's retaliatory discharge. Although Alaska is an at-will employment state, good cause for termination must exist before an employee can be discharged.

Here's
the story on Wooten from July. He just seems to be a good ol' boy, not evil:

• Wooten used a Taser on his stepson.
Wooten had just returned from being trained on it, which included demonstrations. The kid begged him to, and Wooten applied a minimal pulse without harm.
• He illegally shot a moose.
Wooten filled his wife's tag. While this is unethical as well as illegal, "party hunting" is a common practice.
• He drank beer in his patrol car on one occasion.
The same guys who party hunt see nothing wrong with the occasional "road soda".
• He told others his father-in-law would "eat a f'ing lead bullet" if he helped his daughter get an attorney for the divorce.
People in the midst of a breakup say a lot of things they don't mean when enraged.
8.31.2008 2:39pm
Dave N (mail):
Although Alaska is an at-will employment state, good cause for termination must exist before an employee can be discharged.
Actually, as an at-will appointee of the Governor, she could fire him because she didn't like the color of his socks and it would be legal.
8.31.2008 4:16pm
Brian G (mail) (www):

And, far more importantly, it's bad for the country because Palin is unusually unready to be President


Professor, you could say that about Obama even quicker than Palin.

How funny, since McCain picked her, we now hear about hpw bad "identity politics" is when all we have been hearing about important Hillary's candidacy is because she is a woman and Obama's because he is black.

By the end of this election, we'll be hearing from Dems how important it is fvor Palin to stay home with her kids because women shouldn't be outside the house working. It is all too hilarious.
8.31.2008 4:39pm
LM (mail):
loki13:

BTW, I was predicted Titanic and Forrest Gump would be massive flops

... and I predict that when order is restored in the Universe, they will be.
8.31.2008 5:00pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It's OK to fire your a-hole ex-brother-in-law. It's not OK to fire someone because he used his independent judgment not to fire your ex-brother-in-law -- that's retaliatory discharge. Although Alaska is an at-will employment state, good cause for termination must exist before an employee can be discharged.
I think you're confused. One of those statements, by definition, is wrong; "at will" and "good cause must exist" are opposites. Either you meant to say something else, or I'm misinterpreting you, or you're wrong.

In any case, while it's likely that she wanted the PS guy to fire Wooten, the claim that she fired him because he didn't fire Wooten are based on his word.
8.31.2008 5:05pm
Mark Field (mail):

In any case, while it's likely that she wanted the PS guy to fire Wooten, the claim that she fired him because he didn't fire Wooten are based on his word.


I don't think all the evidence is in yet, so I wouldn't be too quick to defend her on this ground. See Josh Marshall's summary here.
8.31.2008 6:21pm
Pon Raul (mail):
To loki13:

I would have been pissed if McCain had picked a Senator with 35 years in the Senate. I don't know if there is any Republican Senator like that. McCain is close, but less dishonest, but I don't like McCain very much. I am very happy with Palin.

As a pick, I think that Biden is not that great. When I heard a rumor that it would by Byah, I was worried that that would have been a great pick for Obama because Byah is a former governer and seems moderate and from a red state. I guess that Byah is also boring, somewhat like Minnesota Tim, but I would have been fairly happy with Minnesota Tim if he had been selected.

Who on the Democrat side is like Palin. I guess that the gov. of Kansas is like her, but I don't think that she is as interesting. If there was actually a Democrat that exposed corruption and fought against powerful people in the Democrat party, I would have thought that a great pick, but I can't really think of anyone.
8.31.2008 7:00pm
David Warner:
"If there was actually a Democrat that exposed corruption and fought against powerful people in the Democrat party, I would have thought that a great pick, but I can't really think of anyone."

They're rare in either party. Palin survived only because of her massive approval ratings. Kinda like Good Queen Bess back in the day. Palin better have some pretty damn good Walsinghams working behind the scenes.
8.31.2008 8:42pm
MarkField (mail):

Palin better have some pretty damn good Walsinghams working behind the scenes.


All Kit Marlowe wannabes better duck and cover stat.
8.31.2008 8:58pm
LM (mail):

I would have been pissed if McCain had picked a Senator with 35 years in the Senate. I don't know if there is any Republican Senator like that.

None not under indictment.
8.31.2008 10:22pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
That great foreign policy expert Sarah Palin got her first passport a year and a half ago.

Let's get real: whatever merits, or quick-study skills, Gov. Palin has, she probably couldn't find Kurdistan or Georgia on a map.
9.1.2008 12:21am
byomtov (mail):
Commander of the National Guard. Right.

From the AP:

Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin "extremely responsive and smart" and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder.

But, in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, he said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.


So I guess she's not secretly negotiating a Middle East peace treaty after all.

As I said, the whole "two international borders/Alaska National Guard" talking point is the absolute dumbest argument in the whole discussion of Palin. Anyone who advances it, including Cindy McCain, is mindlessly repeating idiotic Republican talking points.
9.1.2008 12:52am
TruePath (mail) (www):
Christ people what is it that makes people on both sides resort to ridiculous allegations based on flimsy allegations. I mean I know why campaigns repeat this stuff (it works) but why do real people (as in these comments) do crap like bring up the fact that some guy Obama knows casually (Ayer) is a terrorist or make crazy allegations over the fact that McCain was in his limo for part of Obama's interview with that pastor.

Short of compelling evidence to the contrary it's totally absurd and irrational to believe that either McCain or Obama is some crazy loon/cheater/evil or some messianic savior. They are both just politicians who are trying to do what they think is right while still getting elected (which includes some degree of pandering to constituencies you yourself wouldn't otherwise favor...tho less is better). Of course they have very different ideas of what is the right thing to do but as the candidates say themselves the other guy is a reasonable person who seriously disagrees with them.

I mean if you think there is good evidence to back up any of these crazy smear charges against the other canidate you must also think your own candidate is a bald face liar. After all both candidates surely have access to the evidence you do about the other guy and have made a point of explicitly saying that the other guy is honestly trying to do good for the country but just has different views about what that is.

Can't people believe someone would be awful for the country without thinking they are some kind of terrorist loving bomber or senile mental patient???
9.1.2008 12:57am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Anyone who advances it, including Cindy McCain, is mindlessly repeating idiotic Republican talking points.
I don't think it's mindless at all; it's intended to drown out the obvious truth.
9.1.2008 1:18am
David M. Nieporent (www):
I don't think all the evidence is in yet, so I wouldn't be too quick to defend her on this ground. See Josh Marshall's summary here.
Mark, I didn't defend her on any ground; I just noted what evidence we had. I've seen the TPM piece you link to already; his entire argument is " (Palin claims, not credibly, that she fired Monegan over general differences in law enforcement priorities.) "

Again, the claim that she wanted Wooten fired isn't the issue; the claim that she fired Monegan because he wouldn't fire Wooten is. (I'm not sure that this actually constitutes wrongdoing, but it's the only thing which might.) So turning up a million pieces of evidence that she wanted Wooten fired still won't prove the actual charge against her.
9.1.2008 1:52am
David M. Nieporent (www):
That great foreign policy expert Sarah Palin got her first passport a year and a half ago.

Let's get real: whatever merits, or quick-study skills, Gov. Palin has, she probably couldn't find Kurdistan or Georgia on a map.
Of course not. Attractive women don't know geography.

Look, the claim that she's an expert based on the location of her state is loony -- though no loonier than the idea that Obama's an expert based on the fact that he lived in Indonesia for a few years as a middle schooler. (Or was it elementary school?) But where do you get off attacking her general intelligence/knowledge?
9.1.2008 1:55am
Anonymous #000:
but why do real people [...] do crap like bring up the fact that some guy Obama knows casually (Ayer) is a terrorist?

Casually? It was professional. Obama served the top spot of the foundation that Ayers founded and worked in. The foundation's meetings minutes show professional contact. That's all we can prove, and the recently-released documents do it. Now add the already-acknowledged personal relationship. Now add Obama's campaign's tactics: siccing their dogs to shout down a radio show, as opposed to giving their own sane reply. Yeah, that doesn't sound anything like a leftist protestor.

In any case, the choice of Palin has done well to show us what happens when the identity politics platform has been perceived as under cut by the opponent.
9.1.2008 2:06am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

So turning up a million pieces of evidence that she wanted Wooten fired still won't prove the actual charge against her.


That she "wanted" him fired is not the issue. She's free to want whatever her heart desires. The problem is that she tried to get him fired. It was not appropriate for her to do so, because he had already been punished for his bad conduct, and there was no evidence of further bad conduct.

A further problem is that she lied, and denied trying to get him fired. Her denial is here (pdf):

To allege that I, or any member of my family … directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous


There's lots of proof that she tried to get him fired, with more proof likely to appear. One piece of proof is a phone call made by one of her aides, Frank Bailey. The entire 24-minute conversation can be heard here. Bailey makes a bunch of accusations against Wooten, and then says this:

why is this guy still representing the department? … she [Palin] really likes Walt [Monegan] a lot, but on this issue, she feels like it's, she doesn't know why there is absolutely no action for a year on this issue. It's very, very troubling to her and the family. I could definitely relay that


When this tape emerged, Palin denied that Bailey was relaying a message from Palin, but his plain language ("I could definitely relay that") makes that claim laughable.

Palin also admitted that "members of her staff had made about two dozen contacts with public safety officials about the trooper," but she claims that "I have only now become aware of it."

Which is an odd claim, because if it's true she's admitting that she's pretty ignorant about the activities of her staff. Anyway, Monegan claims that he was pressured personally by Palin and Palin's husband. And Monegan claims he has emails from Palin on the subject. So her denial is rapidly unraveling.

She's going to be deposed soon. The results of the investigation are supposed to be released at the end of October.

It's not the crime, it's the coverup.
9.1.2008 4:06am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

I'm not sure that this [firing Monegan because he refused to fire Wooten] actually constitutes wrongdoing, but it's the only thing which might


Wrong. It's not the only wrongdoing. It was also wrong to try to get Wooten fired. I just explained why. And it was also wrong to lie and claim that she had not been trying to get Wooten fired.
9.1.2008 4:10am
Relay Race:
Bailey: "I appreciate that so much. And I'm telling you honestly, you know, she really likes Walt a lot, but on this issue, she feels like it's, she doesn't know why there is absolutely no action for a year on this issue. It's very, very troubling to her and the family. I could definitely relay that, so. …"

Dial: "Well, please tell her that I certainly am concerned and I'll immediately get on the phone after we're done and see if there's something that the department does not know about this, something more that can be done, maybe some additional information that you don't have that I can pass on."


- "[S]he doesn't know why there is absolutely no action for a year on this issue. [...] I could definitely relay that[.]"

- "Well, please tell her that [...]"

On the first two readings, because of how I use the word, the meaning I got was "she doesn't know why there's no action, and I could relay your response" and "well, please relay this response". As opposed to "I could definitely relay what I already said to you two seconds ago," which makes less sense.
9.1.2008 8:25am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
relay:

[I think Bailey meant] she doesn't know why there's no action, and I could relay your response


A valiant Clintonesque attempt on your part, but one that makes no sense whatsoever. Listen to the audio here. The relevant portion is at about 20:00. Pay special attention to the portion that precedes and follows the portion you cited (in other words, pay attention to the portion that is not transcribed).

What Dial and Bailey are both generally talking about, both before and after the portion you cited, is information traveling down, not information traveling up. Bailey is conveying to Dial a laundry list of Palin's complaints about Wooten (including such things as an allegation that he lied on his initial job application). Before the cited passage, Bailey has been enumerating those complaints. Immediately after the cited passage, Dial reads them back. That is, Dial checks to make sure that he heard all the complaints clearly. And Dial explains that he will pass Palin's complaints along to Wooten's bosses. In other words, they're both generally talking about information moving down, not information moving up.

Anyway, your analysis would make sense if the arrow of time moved backwards. Trouble is, it doesn't. What Dial said ("tell her that I certainly am concerned") immediately after Bailey said "I could definitely relay that" has little or no relevance to interpreting what Bailey meant by those words. Because Bailey can't predict the future, and he didn't know how Dial was going to respond. Your analysis pretends that Dial's words preceded Bailey's words. But they didn't.

Further, in this instance, we have not just a transcript, but actual audio. So we can hear Bailey's emphasis:

she doesn't know why there is absolutely no action for a year on this issue. It's very, very troubling to her and the family. I could definitely relay that


Aside from simple common sense in reading the sentence, Bailey's emphasis on the word "that" indicates that the word is a reference to what he just said about Palin's concerns. His sentence ("I could definitely relay that") obviously is just a way to emphasize what he just said. It's like him saying 'I feel very confident telling you that my description of Palin's wishes is authentic.'

Based on who he is, and based on what he says throughout the conversation, Bailey is clearly conveying the idea that he's acting as Palin's agent, and relaying Palin's concerns. Palin is now trying to argue that Bailey was acting on his own. Yeah, right.

I notice you haven't bothered to try to address what Monegan said: Palin communicated to him directly on this issue, both in-person and by email. Don't you think you folks should get started swiftboating Monegan? Did his third cousin ever donate money to the ACLU? There must be something you can come up with.
9.1.2008 11:38am
Relay Race:
"A valiant Clintonesque attempt on your part,"

I'm sorry. I thought we were having a discussion, not a pissing contest.
9.1.2008 11:43am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I thought we were having a discussion


Someone who tries to get away with reading a transcript backwards is obviously not very interested in "having a discussion." They're interested in being Clintonesque.

Anyway, I realize that hiding behind indignation is easier than attempting a substantive response.
9.1.2008 11:55am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Another interesting fact about Monegan. He said no one from McCain's camp ever got in touch with him. Which means that any effort McCain made to check into Palin's vulnerabilities was utterly superficial and careless. If McCain's people had any interest at all in Palin's skeleton's, Monegan should have been one of the first people they talked to.

McCain is a reckless, impulsive gambler. He loves to take dangerous risks. That's why he plays craps in Vegas for 14 hours at a time. That's why he wrecked so many planes. That's why he decided to take chances chasing after someone barely half his age even though he had kids at home. And that's why he picked Palin. Many people across the political spectrum are correctly using various forms of the word 'gamble' to describe McCain's decision.

Picking Palin shows that McCain has exceptionally poor judgment. And it's not just that he picked her. It's that he picked her without bothering to check her out. He had barely met her. And there are many facts emerging in Troopergate which prove that Palin's judgment is just as bad as McCain's.
9.1.2008 11:55am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
While McCain was apparently not very interested in looking into Palin's background, he does seem to be quite interested in looking at Palin (video, video). Or at least certain parts of her. Pay no attention to the fact that he does this while fiddling with his wedding ring. After all, this doesn't remind us of anything about McCain's history.
9.1.2008 12:12pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Hoosier, okay, you got me. I said "waterways" which includes rivers of course, but I thought people would be intelligent enough to realize that I meant "waterways that include ocean straits, massively large lakes with several other countries bounding it, seas, oceans, and other bodies of water not including mere rivers with parallel banks, especially those rivers with parallel banks in the middle of continents." I thought that was obvious enough not to go into. Alaska does not share a border with Russia anymore than Texas shares a border with Cuba.
9.1.2008 12:25pm
Dan Weber (www):
The realities of the "heart beat away" depends on 1) how fast a learner the VP is and 2) whether the VP is closely tied into the loop. A VP who was seriously mentored by the senior management team from day one, might be in a strong position after a year or two.

Let's see how the next month goes. If McCain & Co. make serious attempts to educate Palin about America's foreign policy and have her make a world trip like Obama did, it could mean they're serious about making her ready.

It's fine that Palin never wanted to be Vice President -- in fact, it's probably a Good Thing. However, now that she's been picked for the job, she needs to actively demonstrate that she will be ready.
The running a campaign (as exec. experience) argument is a silly one. every time Obama's campaign slips up, he blames a staffer (hair trigger, etc).

I'm only half-kidding when I say that this sounds like perfect executive experience.
9.1.2008 4:30pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Wrong. It's not the only wrongdoing. It was also wrong to try to get Wooten fired. I just explained why.
As is always the case, your explanation was wrong. The fact that he was "already punished" does not mean it was wrong to try to get him fired. The notion that cops giving a mere slap on the wrist to a bad cop somehow means nobody should question it is loony even for you. He tasered a kid for no valid reason. He drunk-and-drove on duty. A governor would be negligent in not trying to get such a cop fired. (That doesn't even get into the death threat.)

And it was also wrong to lie and claim that she had not been trying to get Wooten fired.
Monegan says that she brought up Wooten to him, but that she never asked him to fire Wooten. Every one of those specific allegations is about someone else -- husband or staff. She says that the staffer who made the taped phone call was not acting at her direction. The staffer who made the taped phone call says he was not acting at her direction. You can choose not to believe them, but your choice not to believe a statement does not establish that it is false.
9.2.2008 12:02pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The fact that he was "already punished" does not mean it was wrong to try to get him fired.


It was indeed wrong for Gov. Palin to try to get Wooten fired. Even if one believes that the original investigation was tainted, and that Wooten deserved further punishment, Palin's personal connection to the matter was a reason for her to recuse herself, and let other authorities handle it. The fact that she got involved personally, as governor, was very poor judgment on her part, because she cannot possibly be seen as impartial. Even if everything she said about him was factually correct. And the investigation had already concluded that most of her allegations against him were unsubstantiated.

Palin knew her acts were improper, which is why she tried to hide them. If it was actually legitimate for her to try to get Wooten fired, she could have and would have pursued that process openly.

In fact, she did pursue that goal openly in 2005. Once she became governor, she continued to pursue the same goal, except she tried to hide what she was doing. And is still trying to hide it.

The notion that cops giving a mere slap on the wrist to a bad cop somehow means nobody should question it is loony even for you.


It's not that "nobody should question it." It's that a governor with a very personal connection to the matter is definitely the wrong person to "question it." If she felt there was good reason to "question it," then she needed to find some other legitimate authority to carry that ball, and she needed to hand off her concerns in an open, transparent manner.

But that already happened, in 2005 and 2006. She made complaints, and a proper investigation was done, as a result of those complaints. She just didn't like the outcome. And she had no legal basis to overturn the outcome (and no evidence of further bad conduct by Wooten), so she tried to overturn the outcome just by wielding her power as governor.

She thought she could get away with this. But there are various things she didn't take into account, like the fact that a tape would surface.

He drunk-and-drove on duty


Please don't imply that he was "drunk." There was a finding that he was drinking and driving, but not a finding that he was drunk. By the way, the only witnesses to this are a couple that is close to Palin's father.

As far as I know, Wooten has never been arrested for drunk driving. That puts him ahead of Bush, Cheney, and Palin's husband. And his hunting violation puts him in the same class as Cheney and Palin herself.

that doesn't even get into the death threat


I notice you're not bothering to explain why the Palins didn't report the alleged threat to police until two months later. This creates some doubt about their allegation. Likewise, they waited two years to report the Taser incident.

Monegan says that she brought up Wooten to him, but that she never asked him to fire Wooten


Yes, Monegan admits she never made the order explicit. But she came close enough, both via her own statements and the statements of her husband and staff.

She says that the staffer who made the taped phone call was not acting at her direction


She has been forced to admit that half-a-dozen of her staffers made about two dozen calls to various people on this issue. If we accept your perspective, then we are left to conclude that Palin doesn't know a whole lot about what her staff is doing. And that Palin is someone who hires people who go off and do various questionable things on their own.

You can choose not to believe them, but your choice not to believe a statement does not establish that it is false.


Good luck convincing anyone that the two dozen phone calls bad-mouthing Wooten, coming from Palin's staff, had nothing to do with Palin. Since it was no secret that Palin had been on a crusade against Wooten since before she even ran for governor.
9.2.2008 3:06pm
LM (mail):
jukeboxgrad,

It was indeed wrong for Gov. Palin to try to get Wooten fired. Even if one believes that the original investigation was tainted, and that Wooten deserved further punishment, Palin's personal connection to the matter was a reason for her to recuse herself, and let other authorities handle it.

... especially if she's going to be touted as a corruption buster. And if, hypothetically, she wasn't improperly motivated by her personal interest, that the governor of Alaska has time to routinely involve herself in low level personnel matters belies it being a job we should take seriously as the main preparation for being a heartbeat from the Presidency of the United States.
9.2.2008 5:05pm
David Warner:
LM,

"... especially if she's going to be touted as a corruption buster. And if, hypothetically, she wasn't improperly motivated by her personal interest, that the governor of Alaska has time to routinely involve herself in low level personnel matters belies it being a job we should take seriously as the main preparation for being a heartbeat from the Presidency of the United States."

Whatever it takes to help you sleep better at night...
9.2.2008 5:14pm
LM (mail):
David Warner:

"Whatever it takes to help you sleep better at night..."

No, if there's are one thing Troopergate has nothing to do with, it's a clean conscience.
9.2.2008 8:58pm
LM (mail):
are
9.2.2008 8:58pm