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Reflections on the Palin Pick:

Unlike Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden, John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin seems to have been largely driven by campaign calculations. From an electoral point of view, she brings three assets to the ticket: she's a woman, a staunch conservative, and relatively charismatic. Her gender will give McCain some favorable headlines and perhaps a chance to pick off some pro-Hillary Clinton Democrats and moderates. I'm skeptical that many women or feminists will switch to the GOP ticket merely because the Republicans have a female veep candidate and the Democrats didn't nominate Hillary. But if a few do, it could perhaps make a difference in a close election. Palin's conservatism will help shore up the support of the GOP base, which isn't exactly thrilled with McCain. Finally, her charisma will help in TV appearances and in debates. Since she's articulate and a onetime beauty contest winner, she will certainly cut a better media image than Biden. Though no one else on either ticket this year can match Obama's star power.

As I've argued in the past, the most important attribute of a veep candidate is her potential as a possible future president. How does Palin stack up on this score? In my view, she has one big positive that has to be weighed against a major potential negative.

The big positive is her apparent support for limiting government power. As co-blogger Todd Zywicki notes, she has gone against Alaska's ubiquitous political culture of porkbarrel spending and advocated major cuts in government spending. Sadly, this is an exceptional accomplishment in today's "big government conservative" GOP. Her record in this regard certainly isn't perfect, but it is impressive relative to that of most other prominent politicians in either party. Moreover, the fact that her stands on these issues went against the preferences of powerful interest groups in her state suggest that they are at least to some extent genuine and not solely the product of political calculation. Radley Balko - who is generally very critical of the Republicans - writes that Palin "seems to be about as good a pick from a major party as libertarians could hope for." I tend to agree.

The negative is her lack of experience with foreign policy issues, which are arguably the central focus of the modern presidency. No amount of Republican spin can dissipate this weakness. However, it may be partly mitigated by the fact that she will likely have some time to learn these issues on the job before she has to assume the presidency (if she ever does). Moreover, history suggests that there is at best a weak correlation between prior foreign policy experience and performance in office. Lincoln and Reagan, among others, did an excellent job of managing foreign policy despite having little or no prior experience with such issues. Dick Cheney probably had more foreign policy experience than any other recent vice president; yet his performance in office was far from stellar. Overall, I think that ideology and general political competence are stronger determinants of political leaders' performance in office than issue-specific experience.

Sarah Palin probably would not be my choice if I had the luxury of picking a vice presidential nominee without reference to campaign calculations. Nonetheless, I am guardedly optimistic about her. She seems to be a skillful politician and her positions on size of government issues strike me as a good deal better than what we have gotten from either party in recent years. The idea of a President Palin is more appealing to me than President McCain, President Obama, or President Biden. That, of course, may not be saying much given my grave reservations about all three of the others. Still, I look forward to having her as a VP or as a leading contender for the presidency in 2012 or 2016.

iambatman:
What to VCers think of Palin's support for Pat Buchanan? And no, not back in the 90s. This was in 2000.
8.30.2008 8:38pm
The Ace (mail):
The negative is her lack of experience with foreign policy issues,

This is hysterical.

Um, Obama has none. That would be zero.
She at least negotiated the pipeline deal with Canada. Obama has done nothing and neither has Biden for that matter.
8.30.2008 8:40pm
lwolv (mail):
I frankly don't see how any governor can have foreign policy experience, unless they come with D.C. service in that area.
The merits of picking a person from the governor ranks far outweighs, in my view, the foreign-policy or D.C. experience credential.
Sarah Palin can be fairly faulted for the shortness of her gubernatorial and its associated administrative experience.
8.30.2008 8:45pm
Federal Dog:
"What to VCers think of Palin's support for Pat Buchanan?"

A link to supporting information would be necessary to evaluate this claim.
8.30.2008 8:49pm
wb (mail):
Condi is reputedly a Russia expert and she has failed miserably in guiding US policy with respect to Russia. So called experience is no guarantee of success.
8.30.2008 8:50pm
The Ace (mail):
When is the last time Obama did something like this?



Governor Sarah Palin presented information about Alaska's gas pipeline to the Hoover Institution Board, which is the Stanford University-based public policy research center, on Feb. 26, 2008, in Washington, D.C


Answer: Never
8.30.2008 8:51pm
OrinKerr:
The Ace,

I understand that Palin is an expert in energy policy. Is your view that her knowledge of energy policy also makes her a foreign policy expert?
8.30.2008 8:56pm
byomtov (mail):
Wow Ace,

She made a presentation!! I'm impressed!!
8.30.2008 8:58pm
iambatman:
8.30.2008 8:59pm
Josh E.:
I'm thoroughly enjoying the doctrinaire Republicans rationalizing Palin's inexperience whilst still hitting Obama on the same theme.
8.30.2008 9:00pm
Obvious (mail):
The irony of Ilya, longing for limited government, bemoaning Palin's lack of foreign policy expertise; at the time we had a limited government, lack of foreign policy expertise was not a big deal. Foreign policy expertise is a sine qua non only when we police the world. Policies promoting peaceful trade with all and entangling alliances with none do not require the knowledge of a Condi, a Biden, a Gore, etc. Some see this as a feature, not a bug.
8.30.2008 9:02pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Mr. Somin:

It is clear to me that McCain's pick of Palin was driven by her conservative/libertarian philosophy, her leadership skills (she has an approval rating in Alaska of over 80% month-in, month-out - which is almost unheard-of for Governors - or any politician), her inspiring life story, and her track record of fighting corruption and entrenched interests in Alaska.

You say McCain's choice of Palin was "largely driven by campaign calculations"? Do you remember a time when your thinking wasn't entirely driven by cynicism?

You might at least consider the possibility that McCain meant what he said:

McCain's speech on why he picked Governor Palin

Next you say that: "No amount of Republican spin can dissipate this weakness [i.e., the perceived weakness by the left regarding Palin's foreign policy experience]."

No spin is required. Just a little common sense.

This "foreign policy experience" argument is non-serious. What was the "foreign policy experience" of Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher? If you don't like Reagan 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?

Perhaps you're not really concerned with "foreign policy experience" at all - otherwise you'd also be complaining about Obama's lack of "foreign policy experience" that "[n]o amount of ... spin can dissipate."

Perhaps you simply prefer the more liberal candidate. That's fine - but you should at least admit that's what's driving your thinking here.

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

In any event, with regard to "foreign policy experience" - 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?

Is this the Obama "foreign policy experience" which you find so compelling?
8.30.2008 9:02pm
The Ace (mail):
byomtov,

When is the last time Obama did something like that?

Want to take a guess as to why you didn't answer?
8.30.2008 9:04pm
The Ace (mail):
Is your view that her knowledge of energy policy also makes her a foreign policy expert?

No.

It is my view that there is nothing substantive about "foreign policy experts."

If you, or anyone else reading, is going to content that Joe Biden is an "expert" on foreign policy, I'll be happy to post contradictory quotes of his about the importance of the US being in Iraq.
After I point out he voted against Operation Desert Storm.

This idea that there are "experts" on foreign policy (what, pray tell, do these people do?) is obscene.
8.30.2008 9:06pm
OrinKerr:
The Ace,

Just so I understand, you don't think there is such a thing as a foreign policy expert, but you are very impressed that Palin once gave a talk to a think tank?
8.30.2008 9:09pm
The Ace (mail):
I'm thoroughly enjoying the doctrinaire Republicans rationalizing Palin's inexperience whilst still hitting Obama on the same theme.

I'm thoroughly enjoying Obama voters pretending that if they wave their arms and shout "Palin" (who again, has more accomplishments than Obama) Obama's lack of experience and poor judgment will magically disappear.
8.30.2008 9:10pm
WOS:
I read somewhere that while Palin was seen with a Buchanan sticker in public, she wrote a letter to the local newspaper the next day admonishing the paper for using that picture as inferring she supported Buchanan. She explained that she would wear a button to show welcome to any candidate who visited Alaska.

This information was not cited, so take that with a grain of salt.
8.30.2008 9:12pm
The Ace (mail):
you don't think there is such a thing as a foreign policy expert,

As was pointed out above, Condi Rice was and I guess is considered a "foreign policy expert"

How is that going?

Again, what do "foreign policy experts" do?


but you are very impressed that Palin once gave a talk to a think tank


When is the last time Obama did something like that?

I never said I was "impressed."

But, now that you have me thinking Orin, how could such a rube with a degree from Idaho do such a thing?!
8.30.2008 9:12pm
The Ace (mail):
Is your view that her knowledge of energy policy

What would Obama's signature policy be?

He rose to prominence touting his "judgment" that he opposed the war in Iraq from the start. He then lied about, and then tried to cut off funding for "the surge."

He now says he would keep troops in Iraq until mid 2010.

So, what issue could we say he has "knowledge" on?
8.30.2008 9:16pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Professor Somin:

This may help alleviate your fears about Governor Palin's lack of "foreign policy experience":

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.

* * *

Of course, Governor Palin is the Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard. Alaska is by far the largest State in the nation - and it has two international borders.

Of course, for the reasons I've explained in an earlier comment here, I think your discussion on "foreign policy experience" makes little sense as:

(1) Obama has no "foreign policy experience" - at least not in a decision-making capacity; he's listened to others talk about foreign policy issues I'm sure - but, then, so have you and I - and Governor Palin,

(2) executive and leadership experience is what will most help a President - especially in foreign affairs; McCain and Palin have executive and leadership experience, Obama and Biden do not, and

(3) there are many great Presidents and world leaders who came to office with little in the way of your version of "foreign policy experience" - Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher for example - or, if you prefer, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

Nonetheless, if you must raise "foreign policy experience" - and apparently you must - Governor Palin certainly has "foreign policy experience" in the same sense that Governor Clinton did - as Clinton described in detail in the above article. Wouldn't you agree?
8.30.2008 9:27pm
Ben Franklin (mail):
Somehow, I don't think we would even be having this conversation were Palin a man or were she a Democrat. John Edwards was as empty a vessel as has ever strode the earth and there was very little worry over his lack of experience. Were there multiple articles on this site discussing the subject? To this extent?

I think Palin complements McCain very well. She is strong on domestic issues and he is strong on foreign policy. Together they should be able to make a very effective team IMO. What they both have in common is what congress needs most right now and that is a desire to go after graft, pork and other types of malfeasance. If they run against congress they should do very well indeed. Afterall, the dems are running against Bush. The difference is that congress will still be there after the election. Bush, love him or hate him, is history.

On a personal note, I don't like McCain much when it comes to domestic issues so for me this is the difference between staying home and going out to vote. He hit this one out of the park and it gives me hope that he isn't just all talk about the type of judges he will appoint.
8.30.2008 9:28pm
The Ace (mail):
Is your view that her knowledge of energy policy also makes her a foreign policy expert?

Would you like me to start posting quotes from elected Democrats, or prominent liberals, that "energy Independence" is a national security issue?
8.30.2008 9:32pm
OrinKerr:
Ace,

I think it is unfair for you to comment here when Sarcastro is off-duty.
8.30.2008 9:37pm
loki13 (mail):
OK,

The Ace is both the original post and Sarcastro's response all rolled into one. Commentary and meta-commentary. I've been of the opinion s/he is a high-level liberal/democratic plant enganged in a semiotic and hermeneutic deconstruction of over-the-top posts, the likes of which would cause Eco himself to shake his head in amazement and Bakhtin to roll over in his grave.

But I could be wrong.
8.30.2008 9:44pm
twgin (mail):
Orin,

The only way I can interpret your comment is as confirmation that Ace is Cleaning Clocks all over this discussion. Someone opined that McCain is playing a deep game, dangling the inexperienced Palin in front of Obama/Democrats/Liberals in order to galvanize the inexperience issue. I don't know if he is that smart, but look at the results. Any comment about Palin's inexperience immediately redounds to Obama's undeniable lack of any sort of executive responsiblity. As far as I can tell, there is only one thing Obama was in charge of and that was the Annenberg business. Everyone seems to agree that some 110 million dollars disappeared down a rathole with nary a consequence (at least public education in Chicago didn't decline !). Finally, Krauthammer's point today was telling I thought; no one from Obama's past has stood up for him. Those who might (Wright, Ayres...) are long ago under the bus. Nice job Ace...
8.30.2008 10:00pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
The Sarah Palin pick has nailed down the key demographic of Naughty Librarian Fetish voters. The Democrat are in full panic mode.
8.30.2008 10:06pm
iambatman:
[i]She explained that she would wear a button to show welcome to any candidate who visited Alaska.[/i]

I get it: anti-Semitism is alright as long as the bigot pays a visit to your quaint little berg? So the next time the president of Iran visits us we can be assured that Vice President Palin will wear a button supporting him? So much for Republican outreach to Jewish voters.
8.30.2008 10:19pm
CDU (mail) (www):
I think there is a huge element to the Palin pick that a lot of people seem to be missing. Palin is McCain's legacy inside the Republian party. Whether the McCain/Palin ticket wins or not, just by picking her, McCain has elevated Palin to the front ranks of the party and made her a national figure. Of all the people he could have picked, she probably is closest to McCain in her willingness to take on her own party. He has instantly turned her from the governor of one of our least populous states into someone who can make a credible run for the nomination in 2012 or 2016.
8.30.2008 10:34pm
Hoosier:
CDU--Good point. Bush I failed to do so when he chose Quayle, who was manifestly not up to the task of becoming the future of his party. Bush II didn't try.
8.30.2008 10:45pm
TCO:
Just say what you feel: PALIN ROCKS!
8.30.2008 10:48pm
Matthew K:
*rolls eyes*

Ace: Google Obama+Accomplishments. People have asked this question before and various supporters have complied answers. Please, basic due diligence. Also, visit snopes before peddling that ridiculous 57 state thing again.
8.30.2008 10:57pm
Hoosier:
loki13--I don't think Bakhtin would have any problem with The Ace on a purely theoretical level. He might take Ace as meaning what he says. Which is why I kinda have a soft spot in my heart (on my brain?) for him.

Not that he would have agreed with this:

"This idea that there are "experts" on foreign policy (what, pray tell, do these people do?) is obscene."

Ricahrd Haass would be one of those foreign policy experts. Near as I can tell, he runs the production of scholarship at the CFR. Which strikes me as an honest day's work for a day's pay.

But I may overlap at least a bit with The Ace on this matter: I HATE the use of the word "expert" in policy areas. The word seems designed to preempt debate with the person so-labelled on matters relating to his "expertise." The same person's status as a "specialist" in, say, Russian military budgeting, is at least beyond question, regardless of what you think of his conclusions. Why not say "specialist"?

I'm just one man, but for my part, I would never use the word "expert" to describe myself as a scholar of diplomatic history. Nor "expertise" to describe my area of specialization.
8.30.2008 11:00pm
SenatorX (mail):
Foreign policy experience...what's there to know? The socialists and other collectivist ilk are the enemy. Trade is good. Our allies are wussies but we need them so we run a giant protection racket. Make sure all enemies know that if we are nuked by another state we will respond in kind by nuking every major enemy city in less than 30 minutes. Kill the Taliban. The Russians hate us and always will. Try not to piss off the Chinese. Have I forgotten anything? Oh yeah, get the oil!

But please, please no regime change. Seriously, she will be coached. Character and how well she speaks will be more important than her experience. How much valid "foreign policy experience" do any of these people really have anyway?
8.30.2008 11:02pm
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 11:06pm
Oren:

*rolls eyes*

Careful. If you keep reading delusional comments your eyes will roll all the way 'round a few times. Very painful to pinch the optical nerve like that but at least it makes for some cool hallucinations!
8.30.2008 11:17pm
Hoosier:
wuzzagrunt--Can you recommend any . . . umm . . . websites? You know, about that librarian thing?
8.30.2008 11:26pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Unlike Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden, John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin seems to have been largely driven by campaign calculations.
Nonsense. If McCain had already been elected President and could pick any VP he wanted, it is easy to imagine him picking Palin. She is perfect for him. OTOH, it is a lot hard to imagine Obama choosing Biden, if Obama could really have anyone he wanted.
8.30.2008 11:37pm
AKD:
How could foreign policy experience in a VP be the primary weakness when the opposition's candidate for president is similarly inexperienced. Even if this is in fact an actual weakness (and I'm not so certain of that) it is one that is unusable by the Obama campaign. Just witness the immediate crackdown on the "staffer" who opened the attack on Palin referencing experience, followed shortly by an official ad that focused on "more of the same" instead.

Maybe this weakens McCain's ability to charge Obama with inexperience, but maybe McCain has already gotten what he can out of that. We are rapidly approaching the point when Obama will start having to produce specifics (and in fact the nomination speech has provided some material already), and those specifics will provide new talking points galore.

Plus there will always be Clinton's and Obama's own statements about his lack of experience and its impact on his readiness to be president. These may never lose currency even if McCain doesn't utter the word "experience" once more in the course of this campaign.
8.30.2008 11:40pm
TCO:
She can get up to speed by going to funerals and such. And if they attack her plane like Hillary in Bosnia, Palin will pick up a gun and fight right back! Woohoo.
8.30.2008 11:49pm
AKD:
And small addendum to the above: even if McCain ceases to talk about Obama and experience, nothing about the Palin pick prevents him from talking about his own accumulated experience.
8.31.2008 12:00am
Anon Y. Mous:

Unlike Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden, John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin seems to have been largely driven by campaign calculations.

Can you really be that naive?
8.31.2008 12:01am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
BTW, our current foreign policy "experts" gave us a rampaging Putin and an Iran threatening to wipe Israel off the map. Congrats old-boys network of "foreign affairs experts". I'll take Sarah Palin's common sense over all of them.
8.31.2008 12:04am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
One thing all the instant pundits forget is that Sarah Palin represents a fundamental decency that appeals to most Americans. You can't spin it away.
8.31.2008 12:05am
Anonymous08:
"Still, I look forward to having her as a VP or as a leading contender for the presidency in 2012 or 2016."

How about as Pres in 2009? That is a possibility, you know.
8.31.2008 12:14am
John in MN (mail):
Troopergate is gaining traction. Here's a video describing Palin's current explanation (and lies):

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=6UojMnCgqVA
8.31.2008 12:34am
John in MN (mail):
Troopergate is gaining traction. Here's a video describing Palin's current explanation (and lies):

8.31.2008 12:35am
Porkchop:
I think that Sarah Palin's appeal will be less to women who supported Hillary Clinton, than to the blue collar vote in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania, a demographic where Hillary seemed to do well.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think anyone else on either ticket has actually worked with their hands, at least not recently. (Maybe Biden a long time ago? Flying a plane, even in combat, doesn't count as blue collar labor, even if you get shot down; neither does "organizing" in my book) The video of Governor Palin working on her husband's fishing boat may resonate with that demographic.
8.31.2008 12:37am
Waldo (mail):
McCain's pick does seem to be about winning the election, not about whether she can assume the Presidency on Day One. But it's not mainly that she's a woman or a conservative. Palin won the governer's job as a reform candidate, fighting corruption in Alaska's Republican Party. That matches with McCain's theme of fighting corruption in Washington. Palin was picked because she fits the McCain theme of running against Washington, and that she killed the Bridge to Nowhere further illusrates that. Palin's anti-abortion credentials certainly help with social conservatives, but it's her "throw the bums out" record that McCain will try to leverage to the Presidency.
8.31.2008 12:43am
Angus:

If McCain had already been elected President and could pick any VP he wanted, it is easy to imagine him picking Palin.
This is just laughable, and not even conservative pundits believe it. If compiling a list of Republicans ready to be President, I doubt if Palin would have made the top 100, maybe even the top 200.
8.31.2008 12:45am
Matthew K:

Careful. If you keep reading delusional comments your eyes will roll all the way 'round a few times. Very painful to pinch the optical nerve like that but at least it makes for some cool hallucinations!

Given the illegality and dangers of LSD and equivalents, perhaps I should look into marketing this as an alternative.
8.31.2008 12:52am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

The negative is her lack of experience with foreign policy issues, which are arguably the central focus of the modern presidency. No amount of Republican spin can dissipate this weakness.


Since her experience in foreign policy is just about as extensive as Obama's, it would appear that this is a strong argument for voting for McCain --- who is, after all, the one running for President. Contrariwise, if having Biden on the ticket insulates Obama from this issue, it would appear that your concern is also obviated about Palin.

I wish I could quote myself on this, but in fact Hanson said it:

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
8.31.2008 1:35am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Orin:

Is your view that her knowledge of energy policy also makes her a foreign policy expert?

Um, Orin, this pipeline required negotiation with the Canadian government. Sirt of Single-A diplomacy, I'll grant, but has Obama done anything comparable?
8.31.2008 1:37am
David Warner:
"This is just laughable, and not even conservative pundits believe it. If compiling a list of Republicans ready to be President, I doubt if Palin would have made the top 100, maybe even the top 200."

Depends on the pundit. This one would rank her significantly higher. The smartest money, and not just conservative, I'd say non-left, is cautiously very high on her.

I'm aware of the ridicule this prediction will bring upon me, but I see a young Victoria. A president is, after all, a Head of State, not just head of the executive branch of the government. This is also Obama's strength.
8.31.2008 1:41am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Troopergate is gaining traction.

I don't think you can bill for the same cut&paste in the same blog twice. In any case, if you really think that the general population is going to get excited about Palin potentially trying to push her ex-brother-in-laws out of a State Trooper job after he tasered his son and threatened to murder her father, I suspect you need a nap.
8.31.2008 1:46am
Roger Schlafly (www):
If I were compiling a list of Democrats ready to be President, Obama would not make the top 1000.
8.31.2008 2:34am
Mmmmm-hmmmm:
Why would Roger Schlafly be compiling such a list? Everybody's got hobbies, I suppose, but that's a weird one.
8.31.2008 3:15am
Harland Hirst (mail):
"Unlike Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden, John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin seems to have been largely driven by campaign calculations."

Dear Sir,
You either have a have an enormous blind spot regarding the political calculations of VP selections, or you are not serious with your words.
8.31.2008 4:53am
Harland Hirst (mail):
"Unlike Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden, John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin seems to have been largely driven by campaign calculations."

Dear Sir,
You either have a have an enormous blind spot regarding the political calculations of VP selections, or you are not serious with your words.

The perils of a 4 a.m. post...
8.31.2008 5:08am
wb (mail):
Can he (or she) do the job? Let''s look at the resume.

"I heard about that" = Aware

"I studied that" = Not clueless

"I have discussed that with peers" = Knowledgeable / expertise

"I wrote academic papers about that" = Expertise

"I have accomplished something in that" = Experience

Now who has the people foreign policy experience in this race? Who has real executive experience? Who has serious management experience? Who can convince voters to drink the Kool-aid?
8.31.2008 8:41am
Arkady:

The big positive is her apparent support for limiting government power. As co-blogger Todd Zywicki notes, she has gone against Alaska's ubiquitous political culture of porkbarrel spending and advocated major cuts in government spending. Sadly, this is an exceptional accomplishment in today's "big government conservative" GOP.


So, how to square this with the fact that Alaska has its nose in the federal trough deeper than any other state? Any evidence that she's ever moved to curtail the piggery? Oh yeah, and while she championed the killing of the bridge to nowhere (but she seems to have been for it before she was against it), Alaska kept the funds allocated for the bridge for use elsewhere.

And then there's the ongoing investigation into allegations of her abuse of power.

Limited government, right.
8.31.2008 8:52am
p. rich (mail) (www):
Maybe I'm naive about the allocated powers of government, but isn't foreign policy an Executive Branch responsibility? And if it is, could anyone other than a former POTUS or Secretary of State legitimately claim to have experience in the area? Just wondering...

And please don't bother with "there's a Senate committee on..." There's a committee on everything, which proves absolutely nothing.
8.31.2008 9:05am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

So, how to square this with the fact that Alaska has its nose in the federal trough deeper than any other state? Any evidence that she's ever moved to curtail the piggery?


Oh, dude, this one's too easy. She:

- resigned from the ethics board in protest when she felt the piggery wasn't being treated seriously

- ran against her own party operation on a "throw the bums out" ticket --- then won the primary over the sitting governor with an absolute majority in a three way primary, thereby removing Frank Murkowski from the Governorship

- her administration then won a conviction against Murkowski's chief of staff

- supported Ted Steven's recent opponent

- and turned down the "bridge to nowhere" money, saying that if Alaskans want a bridge, they'd build it themselves.

So yeah, I'd say there's some evidence.
8.31.2008 11:00am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Roger Schlafly:

If I were compiling a list of Democrats ready to be President, Obama would not make the top 1000.


Mmm-hmm:

Why would Roger Schlafly be compiling such a list?


Hello, 911? I'd like to report the death of the subjunctive.
8.31.2008 11:07am
pluribus:
<blockquote>
[I]f McCain ceases to talk about Obama and experience, nothing about the Palin pick prevents him from talking about his own accumulated experience.
</blockquote>
But he also has to explain why experience is important.
8.31.2008 11:13am
The Ace (mail):
Ace: Google Obama+Accomplishments. People have asked this question before and various supporters have complied answers

Uh, that isn't an answer.
Obama has no accomplishments.

Also, visit snopes before peddling that ridiculous 57 state thing again.

Um, Obama said he visited 57 states. Plain as day.
Snopes did not say what you think they said.
8.31.2008 11:19am
The Ace (mail):
Ace,

I think it is unfair for you to comment here when Sarcastro is off-duty.


Wow, Orin, that is pretty impressive.

I guess as the typical Obama voter you too can't engage in substantive criticism of him.
8.31.2008 11:20am
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
This isn't confirmed to my satisfaction, but it's possibly neutralizing:

"Palin...racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla — that amounts to $3,000 per resident. She argues that the debt was needed to fund improvements."
8.31.2008 11:51am
The Ace (mail):
Ahahahaha!
Remember, Obama's "command" of his campaign demonstrates his "leadership" skills!


Just hours after his campaign issued a first statement Friday ripping the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket, Barack Obama backed away from that statement — or at least its tone — and said that his own campaign had misrepresented him.

Obama often speaks of how important his staffers are to his bid and would be to his administration, and he's praised them for covering for each other's mistakes. But in the heat of the campaign, he's publicly called them out for everything from missing an event to misrepresenting his policy positions to using his office to aid a donor.

When asked about his campaign's attack on Palin, attributed to top spokesman Bill Burton, at a Friday afternoon media availability at a Pennsylvania biodiesel plant, Obama referred to a statement he and running mate Joe Biden had since issued that hardly touched on policy issues and called Palin "an admirable person and … a compelling new voice."

Obama disavowed his campaign's first response, telling journalists that "I think that, uh, you know, campaigns start getting these, uh, hair triggers and, uh, the statement that Joe and I put out reflects our sentiments," he said.


Sounds very "executive" to me...
8.31.2008 11:55am
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
On the accomplishment's thing, a Salon article lists:


* Senator Obama's fight for universal children's health care in Illinois.
* His success bringing Republicans and Democrats together (a huge selling point for me in general) on bills such as the one in Illinois requiring police interrogations and confessions to be videotaped.
* His leadership on ethics reform in Washington (the bill that lobbyists and special interests are complaining about right now has his name on it).
* His bill to make the federal budget far more transparent and accessible to Americans via the Internet -- we could use that openness in Texas.
* And his vital work with Republicans to lock down nuclear weapons around the world.



Which lists first an accomplishment in which he "fought for" something that didn't pass; and lists third an ethics reform bill that he sponsored, along with McCain, but then reneged, prompting one of the more scathing letters between Senators in recent memory.
8.31.2008 11:58am
Bob from Ohio (mail):
How does a Governor get any sort of foreign policy experience?

Governors go on trade "missions" which hardly counts. Other than that, zip.

The "foreign policy experience" theme says that governors are never qualified to be president. Is that really true?

What foreign policy did Reagan or Clinton have?

Yet they were the only truly successful presidencies since Eisenhower.

Nixon, LBJ, G HW Bush had plenty of foreign policy experience. They had their sucesses but overall, they were failures. On the other hand, Carter and President Bush had none either. So we have examples of experience cutting both ways.

McCain uses the foreign policy experience angle because he has some. Biden likewise. Obama does not because he has none.
8.31.2008 12:04pm
The Ace (mail):
I get it: anti-Semitism is alright as long as the bigot pays a visit to your quaint little berg? So the next time the president of Iran visits us we can be assured that Vice President Palin will wear a button supporting him? So much for Republican outreach to Jewish voters.

Laugh out loud funny!

Want to take a guess how "reverend" Wright feels about Jews?
You do realize Obama sat in his church for 20 years, right?
8.31.2008 12:07pm
Josh E.:
Sarah Palin on Barack Obama, from a few weeks ago:


"The theme of our campaign was 'new energy,' " she said recently. "It was no more status quo, no more politics as usual, it was all about change. So then to see that Obama—literally, part of his campaign uses those themes, even, new energy, change, all that, I think, O.K., well, we were a little bit ahead on that." She also noted, "Something's kind of changing here in Alaska, too, for being such a red state on the Presidential level. Obama's doing just fine in polls up here, which is kind of wigging people out, because they're saying, 'This hasn't happened for decades that in polls the D' "—the Democratic candidate—" 'is doing just fine.' To me, that's indicative, too. It's the no-more-status-quo, it's change."


From
8.31.2008 12:08pm
Hoosier:
Charlie (Colorado)

Let's not forget that the final one on the list is in fact something that had been proposed, passed, and funded long before Obama even ran for Senate. Lugar wanted a high-profile Democrat on the program, and so invited him aboard. It's good to know that he supports controlling the spread of loose nukes. And I don't criticise him for signing on--in fact, I can't imagine why ANY senator wouldn't.

But to label it one of "HIS" achievements is more than a stretch. It is a willful distortion. Nothing significant has been added to the program since he took a trip to the former USSR with Lugar.
8.31.2008 2:05pm
DerHahn (mail):
Regarding the political calculation behind picking Biden - Give Team Alexrod some credit for knowing where their candidate's weakness lies. There's a reason why they've been pushing Biden's (shallow) roots in PA and (supposed) working class background. Having a face that looks like the ones on dollar bills might make it a bit easier for those oldfashioned Democrats represented by Robert Byrd (D-KKK) to pull the level for the ticket.
8.31.2008 4:55pm
randal (mail):
Perhaps you're insane.

Moreover, history suggests that there is at best a weak correlation between prior foreign policy experience and performance in office.

The argument you are making here is roughly that there should be no bar whatsoever to being president. Any person will be as good as any other person, so long as they say what you want them to say about foreign policy.

Ok, President Palin here we come. For some reason the Republicans felt the need to get someone more ridiculous than Bush on the ticket. And here's Ilya defending the choice.

She reminds me of Harriet Miers. Except this time, Republicans don't get a second chance. So they are all pretending that she's reasonable. Including Ilya.
8.31.2008 5:09pm
The Dude (mail):
Joe Biden not driven by politics? Are you nuts?

If Obama wasn't letting politics drive his pick, he would have picked Tim Kane, who he really wanted to pick, and, ironically, had roughly the same experience (but less accomplishments) as Palin.

But he realized his resume was thin, so he needed someone with a thicker resume. So he picked Biden.

At worst, both let politics drive their pick, but one person has the experience at the top of the ticket, while the other one has it on the bottom.

I'd say experience is more important at the top of the ticket rather then the bottom.
8.31.2008 5:50pm
Arkady:
@Charlie (Colorado):


and turned down the "bridge to nowhere" money, saying that if Alaskans want a bridge, they'd build it themselves.


From Anchorage Daily News August 31, 2008:


Palin touts stance on 'Bridge to Nowhere,' doesn't note flip-flop

When John McCain introduced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, her reputation as a tough-minded budget-cutter was front and center.

The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects [my emphasis] -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.

"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.



So, bridge to nowhere out, but road to nowhere in because, otherwise, you know, the money would have gone back to the feds. Oh, and the bridge money is being used elsewhere in Alaska.
8.31.2008 6:41pm
Hoosier:
"She reminds me of Harriet Miers."

Why? Because she is female? Wears glasses? You are shallow?

Why?
8.31.2008 7:11pm
MarkField (mail):

If Obama wasn't letting politics drive his pick, he would have picked Tim Kane, who he really wanted to pick, and, ironically, had roughly the same experience (but less accomplishments) as Palin.


I see you missed the memo. Just a couple of weeks ago Karl told us all on MTP that Kaine was unqualified, and that if Obama picked Kaine, that would be evidence that politics was driving the pick.

Please try to keep up.
8.31.2008 7:39pm
David Warner:
"Just a couple of weeks ago Karl told us all on MTP that Kaine was unqualified, and that if Obama picked Kaine, that would be evidence that politics was driving the pick."

Karl is the direct-mail spam weenie who single-handedly brought the Republican brand to the edge of ruin. Palin is the anti-Rove.

Please try to keep up.
8.31.2008 8:30pm
MarkField (mail):

Karl is the direct-mail spam weenie who single-handedly brought the Republican brand to the edge of ruin. Palin is the anti-Rove.


I'm not sure what this has to do with Tim Kaine, who was the subject of the original comment and my response. In any case, I've noted your prediction and will await confirming evidence. I guarantee that I'd be no less happy than you if it comes true.
8.31.2008 8:56pm
David Warner:
Oops! Sorry, Mark, thought that was referring to Karl Rove. As for the prediction, if she can somehow get to Laura Bush positives*, it will. That was what protected her in AK. Every point short will significantly lessen the possibility.

* - don't laugh, we're entering virgin territory here. Good Queen Bess showed the way...
8.31.2008 9:08pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
I see you missed the memo. Just a couple of weeks ago Karl told us all on MTP that Kaine was unqualified, and that if Obama picked Kaine, that would be evidence that politics was driving the pick.

Please try to keep up.


Some people don't listen to Karl Rove's every word. I've said this before, but personally the big objection to Tim Kaine's experience from me is that it doesn't even begin to make up for Obama's lack thereof, hence Biden. McCain doesn't have that problem, therefore Palin isn't as risky of a choice.

Now, I remember you (or whoever I was talking to) responded with "but what if McCain dies in office?" Dude, the chances of McCain dying in office before Palin learns her way around are far slimmer than the 100% chance that the inexperienced Obama will be in office if he's elected. It's like the difference between picking a relatively inexperienced first mate and picking a relatively inexperienced captain for a ship, only more so because the first mate actually does something.
8.31.2008 11:01pm
RPT (mail):
"Karl is the direct-mail spam weenie who single-handedly brought the Republican brand to the edge of ruin. Palin is the anti-Rove."

There is and cannot be an anti-Rove in the GOP. He's still calling the shots from his liaison post at Fox News.
8.31.2008 11:11pm
Hoosier:
"There is and cannot be an anti-Rove in the GOP. He's still calling the shots from his liaison post at Fox News."

When he's not behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll.
8.31.2008 11:36pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
THE BALLAD OF SARAH PALIN
(Sung to the tune of Davy Crockett)

Born in the northern part of Idaho,
Destined for fame, she just didn't know.
Learned to hunt and fish, even in the snow,
Never was one to just go with the flow

Sarah, Sarah Palin,
lady from "The Last Frontier."

Moved to the North before she was one,
Landed in the "Land of the Midnight Sun."
Beautiful and strong, she likes to have fun,
She always works hard, but her work is never done.

Sarah, Sarah Palin,
lady from "The Last Frontier."

With her five kids and a man named Todd,
They carved out a life eatin' moose and cod.
Alaska had some waste and a lot of fraud,
So she went to work and laid down her fishin' rod.

Sarah, Sarah Palin,
lady from "The Last Frontier."

http://palinforamerica.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nOF4cq6qNc
9.1.2008 2:43am
Rock On (www):
If there is one single decisive fact for me about Sarah Palin, it is this: she is leaving a four month old child with Down's syndrome behind to go on the campaign trail. Children with Down's syndrome require a great deal of extra attention. If she is somehow elected to office, she will probably get to spend very little quality time with her child. That makes quite a few women I've spoken to extremely uneasy. It also makes me personally extremely uneasy.
9.1.2008 3:56am
Reg (mail):
I think what matters more than experience is accomplishments and judgment.

I look at McCain, and I see a lot of experience, some accomplishments, and fair judgment (bad temper, vain, picking bad fights in his own party, but also some good ones, Keating).

I look at Obama, and I see little experience, no accomplishments, and poor judgment (Rezko, Ayers, and Wright?)

I look at Palin, and I see little experience, some real accomplishments in a short amount of time, and good judgment (took down corrupt Alaskans in her own party).

I look at Biden, and I see a lot of experience, some accomplishments, and poor judgment (I just don't trust the guy, his plagarizing speeches and lying about his academic record suggest he's insecure, and that smarmy look and act make him seem a used car salesman).
9.1.2008 4:53am
NickW:
Rock On: I think you missed the party line spin point. She's a hero for not aborting the baby.
9.1.2008 11:44am
byomtov (mail):
she has gone against Alaska's ubiquitous political culture of porkbarrel spending and advocated major cuts in government spending.

Not true.

From the Anchorage Daily News


But Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.

"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.


So this wonderfully ethical right-thinking woman couldn't get through a single day as VP pick without lying. And the GOP robots all repeat it.
9.1.2008 12:45pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
One of McCain's reasons for choosing Palin as VP that I haven't seen anyone pick up on:

Being a VP is considered qualifying experience for the presidency. One of the people debating her experience in a previous thread in fact admitted this when he created a list of experience-qualifying jobs... and VP was at the head of the list.

McCain isn't just picking someone to help him win the ticket - he found a like-minded soul on corruption and pork-barrel and is attempting to jump her to the head of the queue for republican leadership... before the porkmongers of the party could marginalize her. He's looking for a win not just against the democrats... but against the republican powers-that-be, as well.

The best part is that the republican leadership can't even complain about it... they certainly can't claim she isn't conservative enough, after all!
9.1.2008 2:36pm
David Warner:
"McCain isn't just picking someone to help him win the ticket - he found a like-minded soul on corruption and pork-barrel and is attempting to jump her to the head of the queue for republican leadership... before the porkmongers of the party could marginalize her. He's looking for a win not just against the democrats... but against the republican powers-that-be, as well."

We have a winner! We're watching what has the potential to be a (literal) coup.

Unfortunately, as with DLC Clinton/Gore in 94, the other party has it in their power to take her down, against the country's interests. Back then, Clinton resurrected the corrupt and brain dead left to save his own butt. Hope things play out a little better this time.
9.1.2008 3:22pm
David Warner:
"There is and cannot be an anti-Rove in the GOP. He's still calling the shots from his liaison post at Fox News."

He can call all he wants - who's going to listen?
9.1.2008 3:25pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
charlie:

if you really think that the general population is going to get excited about Palin potentially trying to push her ex-brother-in-laws out of a State Trooper job after he tasered his son and threatened to murder her father, I suspect you need a nap.


Getting here a bit late.

If you really think that your words are a fair summary of Troopergate, you're fooling no one but yourself.

There are a few problems with your analysis. If your defense of Palin consists of saying she was justified in "trying to push" Wooten out of his job, then you need to do a better job of coordinating your talking points with her talking points. Because she denies that she was "trying to push" Wooten out of his job. But of course, that's exactly what she's been doing. In other words, she's been caught lying about this.

Also, he "tasered his son" in 2003, after the son asked for a demo. And then the kid immediately told his mom he was OK, and asked to be tasered again, and bragged about it to his friends. In a short demo like this, "it would feel like your funny bone was hit."

While this was happening, mom was upstairs, and she knew what was happening, and she didn't go downstairs to intervene.

No one complained about this until 2005, when a messy divorce was happening. That's when the Palins finally decided to report this event to the police. A police investigator asked Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol why they were finally reporting it two years later, after being silent for so long. She said "because of the divorce."

threatened to murder her father


This alleged threat was supposedly heard by Molly, who was in the room with Mike. Sarah and her son Track were listening over the phone. There were no witnesses besides these three people.

This group took the threat so seriously that they decided there was no need to tell Dad until a month later. And that there was no need to tell the police until two months later. The alleged threat was reported to the police on the same exact day that Molly filed for divorce.

The failure to report the threat promptly tends to create the impression that either it didn't happen or it was obviously not seen as a serious threat.

Let me know if you want to hear the details about the dead moose.

Wooten is guilty of some bad conduct (like the tasing), and he was punished for that conduct in 2006. A thorough investigation led to a suspension. But this resolution did not satisfy the Palin family, so Sarah Palin carried her grudge into the governor's office, and made a concerted effort to ruin his career. Even though he had already been punished for his prior bad conduct, and there was no evidence of new bad conduct.

This was a serious error in judgment on her part. And she's been caught lying about the whole thing. And it's only going to get worse.

Sarah Palin has a hard time making up her mind about Wooten. She once called him "a fine role model for my own children." Wooten was in the Air Force for 10 years, and he served on the SERT (SWAT) team for AST (Alaska State Troopers).

A really good summary of Troopergate is at TPM.

Some other details here.
9.1.2008 7:51pm