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What the Blogosphere Needs Right Now:
An Factcheck.org site about VP Nominee Sarah Palin, run by a neutral third party with no agenda. The site would sift through the latest info on Palin (including the latest rumors on the blogs, whether right or wrong) and tell us the latest about what we know and what we don't. That would be pretty cool.
Crust (mail):
That would be cool. Though there's so much stuff coming out so fast it would be hard for one person or a small group to stay on top of it in a definitive way.
9.3.2008 1:35pm
huskerfan:
I believe that is what they call the vetting process, or until this point, was suppose to be the purpose of the vetting process, to distinguish between fact and fiction.
9.3.2008 1:39pm
Kieran (mail) (www):
It would be cool if factcheck.org worked like that, too.
9.3.2008 1:39pm
OrinKerr:
huskerfan,

No, I believe the vetting process is done in private. I'm referring to a site about what is being reported in public.
9.3.2008 1:41pm
huskerfan:
Orin,

I think you are correct. The point is that if the vetting process was done at all, then the campaign could push back against these attacks. Since they only started on the Wednesday before, they don't know about much information and simply can't respond to all of the information, because they also don't know what is true or false.
9.3.2008 1:42pm
Crust (mail):
Kieran, your link was just hilarious.
9.3.2008 1:43pm
AKD:
This isn't sufficient?

http://www.palinfacts.com/
9.3.2008 1:44pm
OrinKerr:
Huskerfan,

The McCain campaign has actually been pretty quick to respond: So far, within 24 hours for most of the rumors. I'm thinking of a third party that collects the rumors and responses, not a third party that generates responses more quickly than the campaign. (The problem in part is that major news sites don't want to report on Internet rumors.)
9.3.2008 1:46pm
Sk (mail):
Isn't that the function and purpose of the media?

Sk
9.3.2008 1:50pm
Gino:
Well, you know what they say: you're either part of the solution or part of the problem. Get to work!
9.3.2008 1:51pm
Prufrock765 (mail):
Sk
the function of the media is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable...they just throw in the ball scores for free
9.3.2008 1:52pm
seriously annoyed at msm:
Palin was vetted. McCain communications are telling the press the difference between fact and fiction, and it's not getting reported, and then the press and left-wing blogs repeat the lies that were refuted two days ago. Doesn't help when the press makes up stories about the vetting that have nothing to do with reality. Some mid-level staffer wasn't in the loop and thinks he's a macher and therefore anonymously complains there must not have been vetting because he personally wasn't told about Bristol's pregnancy before the grandparents found out.
9.3.2008 1:53pm
Deoxy (mail):
run by a neutral third party with no agenda.

good luck finding one of those...
9.3.2008 1:54pm
Anonymous #000:
Isn't that the function and purpose of the media?

I honestly tried to respond without snark in a way that conveys what news outlets' role ideally should be with regard to lubricating the market of ideas, but I don't think that's possible at this time.

Go give those guys at The Onion a raise or a break. A high tide can put sprinkler manufacturers out of business.
9.3.2008 1:54pm
Splunge:
Oh, yeah, right. While we're at it, why don't we just give all the power in the world to this amazing "neutral third party" and have them make all the important decisions, thus removing the grubby stain of partisanship and politics from our lives forever?

Goodness, what a naive and silly thought.

Now here's a better one: how about if we each individually grow up a bit, stop looking around for long-lost Mom and Dad who can just tell us what to believe and say and do, and make our own decisions, without taking on complete trust anyone's statement about anything?

Yes, it sucks that the world is an imperfect place, full of lies and deceit and people trying to coerce and bullshit you into doing stuff for their benefit, not your own. Deal with it.

Yes, it would be very nice if God had left us a good user manual, or if He popped in with revelations and messages from time to time, or if science had all the answers, or The Party, or Federalist No. 10, or the Gospel of St. John, or "a neutral third party" and a "bipartisan blue-ribbon commission," or the poetry of Whitman combined with the Golden Rule and the FDA's Food Pyramid. But life doesn't work that way. Never has, never will.

As long as we wish for relief from the burdens of adulthood, we will reap the unfortunate consequences of childishness.
9.3.2008 1:55pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Agreed that a neutral third party site would not be a bad thing.

But I have an ever better idea -- let Sarah Palin speak for herself. The McCain campaign has refused to let her be interviewed; she has not had a press conference. Nothing. Zilch. And after CNN had the audacity to press a McCain surrogate re what Palin's qualifications were for President &Commander-in-Chief of the military (note, not Commander in Chief of the US), McCain has decided to ban CNN. Amazing. If Palin is qualified to be VP (and thus by implication to be President), she should be able to, you know, answer some questions.
9.3.2008 1:55pm
huskerfan:
Orin,

I would disagree. They ( the McCain campaign) actually haven't had her put on one interview since the announcement was made. None of the surrogates were able to talk on her behalf. I don't think they are actually refuting the facts about her being in favor of the bridge to nowhere, going for millions of dollars in earmarks, belonging to a pretty crazy church, or seeking support from a pretty crazy political party in Alaska either. Instead, the campaign is responding to rumors that aren't being published in order to not talk about the issues. Pretty brilliant, but not honest.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/212778.php
9.3.2008 1:56pm
Crust (mail):
OrinKerr:
The McCain campaign has actually been pretty quick to respond

Really? That hasn't been my impression. E.g. I haven't seen their response to the apparent fact that Palin campaigned in favor of the Bridge to Nowhere when she was running for governor (for it before she was against it and all that).
9.3.2008 1:59pm
OrinKerr:
Splunge,

To be clear, I'm just saying that it would be cool to have the equivalent of press coverage for Internet rumors -- it would save time reading dozens of websites to try to get the latest, as the info would be gathered together in one place. I don't know why you see that as "relief from the burdens of adulthood."
9.3.2008 2:01pm
Adam J:
Of course, neutrality is hard to find, and even harder to see when you find it. And even if a neutral third party were to factcheck Palin, they would be derided by democrats if nothing of substance was found, and derided by republicans if anything was found.
9.3.2008 2:02pm
OrinKerr:
Gino -- thanks for volunteering! Just send me a link when the site is up.
9.3.2008 2:05pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
The Annenberg Political Fact Check site seems pretty neutral to me. They don't seem to have gotten onto the Palin affair yet, though, perhaps because it is being so hotly covered that they don't feel the need.
9.3.2008 2:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
seriously:

McCain communications are telling the press the difference between fact and fiction


Which sounds nice, until you start noticing proof that McCain is putting out fiction.
9.3.2008 2:14pm
A.S.:
I don't really see what function those sites play. Does any person change their vote based on a Factcheck.org statement that a politician is stretching the truth? I sincerely doubt it.

If you are interested in whether a politician's statement is true or not, you can evaluate it for yourself - you don't need the judgement of some third party site that has no more expertise in the matter than you do.

I wouldn't mind some type of aggregator bringing together some links about various issues. But I think the main point of sites like Factcheck.org is to give us their judgement on the truthfulness of the statement, and I don't see why anyone should care about their judgement about anything.

That said, given that most of the attacks against Palin are just blatant misogyny, I wouldn't mind a supposedly neutral third party call out the Obama campaign and its surrogates for their misogyny.
9.3.2008 2:14pm
Anonymous #000:
The Annenberg Political Fact Check site seems pretty neutral to me.
Ayers-founded Annenberg? The one Obama chaired?
9.3.2008 2:14pm
Gregory Morris (mail) (www):
Politifact is another one. Generally left-biased since it is run by the St. Pete Times, but it isn't terrible.
9.3.2008 2:14pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
To steal a line:

We're gonna need a bigger Internets.
9.3.2008 2:14pm
The Ace (mail):
[Deleted by OK on civility grounds. The Ace, that's not the first time I'have had to delete a comment of yours for making gratuitous insults against other commenters. Consider this a warning: Any more offensive comments and I will ban you from commenting here.]
9.3.2008 2:17pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
as:

most of the attacks against Palin are just blatant misogyny


I wonder if you could show an example.
9.3.2008 2:18pm
Anonymous #000:
Sorry, Annanberg itself wasn't founded by him; he came up with CAC, which 0 chaired. It's hard to keep some of these things straight. I need a program to tell who's who.
9.3.2008 2:28pm
The Ace (mail):
Deleted by OK on civility grounds. The Ace, that's not the first time I'have had to delete a comment of yours for making gratuitous insults against other commenters.

Laugh out loud funny.

What I said was true, which is not an "insult."

[The Ace: You called another commenter an "imbecile." I believe that is in fact an insult, and a blatant violation of our comment policy. If you want to insult other people, or get into a debate with me about our comment policy, I will just ban you. The choice is yours.]
9.3.2008 2:28pm
The Ace (mail):

Which sounds nice, until you start noticing proof that McCain is putting out fiction.

Um, allegations are not "proof" no matter how badly you wish it were so.
9.3.2008 2:29pm
A.S.:
I wonder if you could show an example.

Howabout Senator Obama belittling Palin's experience as mayor while completely ignoring that she is a Governor? He would never have done that to a man - in fact, he put a man who was a mayor and a less-than-one-term Governor on his short list to be VP.

In any case, the broader point is that it would be nice if there were a neutral third party to call out some of the more blatant misogyny. However, the groups that one might in other circumstances be thought of as standing up for women are most certainly going to be attacking Palin in support of a man.
9.3.2008 2:29pm
Hoosier:
What the Blogs need now
Is love, sweet love
It's the only thing
That's there's just too little of
9.3.2008 2:30pm
Federal Dog:
"Isn't that the function and purpose of the media?"

No: The media are the source of the blatant fabrications. There is no vetting process -- no matter how thorough -- that could ever prevent wholesale fraud.

Are so-called journalists really so infantilized that they completely lack the self-control and emotional/intellectual maturity necessary to distinguish personal desire and political opinion from minimal professional standards of conduct?
9.3.2008 2:35pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Rick Davis, McCain campaign manager, says vetting of Palin included FBI check.

FBI says, No.

Who is telling the fiction here?
9.3.2008 2:35pm
The Ace (mail):
and a blatant violation of our comment policy

Well, I will then try harder not to violate the policy.

If you want to insult other people,

I don't want to insult people.
9.3.2008 2:39pm
Clastrenster:
nah, what the blogosphere needs is another discussion started by Obama detractors about Sarah Palin's bizarre relationship to prayer.
9.3.2008 2:39pm
theobromophile (www):
Prof. Kerr,

As mentioned above, I think it would be difficult to find someone who is both unbiased and has the time and inclination to do such a site.

What you may be able to find are several people, some pro-Palin, some against Palin, who can do a back-and-forth, adult, rational discussion about the rumours and the issues. (This would not be a one-person, nor a two-person, venture.) The Q&A (or issue-response, or whatever) could certainly be done with existing information on the internet.

I'll volunteer to bring my biased perspective to the Palin side, if you can find someone else who wants to play for the other side.
9.3.2008 2:45pm
theobromophile (www):
Ack, let me rephrase. I don't think that even with two people (one pro, one anti) a good website could be done. So I'll volunteer to start off, and will try to recruit others to help out. Ideally, you would have several people on each side, researching and responding to each other. Still volunteering myself. ;)
9.3.2008 2:47pm
AntonK (mail):

There’s something about outspoken conservative women that drives the Left mad. It’s a peculiar pathology I’ve reported on for more than 15 years, both as a witness and a target. Thus, the onset of Palin Derangement Syndrome in the media, Democrat circles, and the cesspools of the blogosphere came as no surprise. They just can’t help themselves.

Liberals hold a special animus for constituencies they deem traitors. Minorities who identify as social and economic conservatives have left the plantation and sold out their people. Women who put an “R” by their name have abandoned their ovaries and betrayed their gender. As Republican officeholders and conservative public figures who are women have grown in number and visibility, the progression of Conservative Female Abuse has worsened. The astonishing vitriol and virulent hatred directed at GOP Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the most severe manifestation to date.

From The Four Stages of Conservative Female Abuse

See also: To torpedo a candidate they view as a threat, the Left targets a . . . 17-year-old?


...The New York Times’s webpage on Tuesday led with no fewer than three stories about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. CNN has tried to exploit Miss Palin as a laboratory specimen for a high-profile examination of sex-education. MSNBC and the Huffington Post are titillating viewers with exposes on Miss Palin’s boyfriend. Slate, owned by the Washington Post, is running a “Name Bristol Palin’s Baby” contest. US Weekly has “Babies, Lies, and Scandal” on its cover. But unsavory as all this is, it can’t hold a candle to Andrew Sullivan.

Once a respectable journalist, The Atlantic’s self-declared champion of respect for privacy and of civil discourse now obsesses over Miss Palin, airing baseless and abhorrent questions about the motherhood of Trig, Gov. Palin’s infant son, born this year with Down syndrome. One wonders if David Bradley bought The Atlantic — a venerable institution that once published Mark Twain and Martin Luther King — so that he could associate it with the most despicable ravings of the left-wing blogosphere. What price in reputation is Bradley willing to pay for increased unique-visitor numbers from among the fever swamps?

9.3.2008 2:49pm
Clastrenster:
... I think what the blogospeer needs is WAY more candidate announcements from the Nutter center!
9.3.2008 2:54pm
Crust (mail):
A.S., just to be clear this is the quote in which in your view Obama shows "blatant misogyny" against Palin, correct?
My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wassilla, has I think 50 employees. We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month
I could imagine many responses to that quote, some of them negative. But misogyny? What does this have to do with Palin being a woman? You've got to be kidding.
9.3.2008 2:59pm
SATA_Interface:
Simple check to see if you are being insulting to others:

"I think that aggressive military/domestic spending/current candidate is/are stupid."
Not insulting.

"I think that you are stupid, because you support aggressive military/domestic spending/current candidate."
Insulting.

Also works - pretend that you made the statement to the following people - a co-worker during a work break, a close family member at the dinner table, and a total stranger on the train. Would they respond with a discussion/arguement about the issue or would they launch a personal attack? Discussion = not insulting. Attack = insulting.

The blogosphere just needs to hug it out and remember that most of us will still be around after November no matter who wins.
9.3.2008 3:02pm
Anonymous #000:
Crust, some negative? I don't see mysogyny there, but I do see a blaring omission: she's Governor now. Comparing her old job or Mayor to his current "job" of campaigning for himself doesn't help his cause.
9.3.2008 3:02pm
AlanW (mail):
I think it's so weird that this, Palin, is where the crapola has hit the fan, rather than McCain's houses or Obama's minister (although that certainly brought out the lunatic fringe) or Hillary or anything else in the campaign. Is it the tabloidy elements of her family? The fact she, for most Americans and most of the media, came out of nowhere? Or are we just reaching the final leg of the race, when everyone pulls out all the stops?

Conservatives have jumped so whole-heartedly into defending her, and liberals into attacking her, that a lot of people on both sides are making foolish over-reaches that they'll regret later. The tenor of debate on this site has been particularly discouraging.

For myself, I was defending the pick to doubters on Friday, but I'm beginning to regret doing so. It's not the tabloid stuff, but there are honest policy issues being raised that are going to be hard for Palin and McCain to explain away (earmarks, energy and nobody's even talking about the Iraq war yet).
9.3.2008 3:02pm
AKD:
It should be noted, once again, that Obama called her hometown "Wasilly" (did not stutter on it, did not correct). All print versions of the comments have corrected him to say "Wasilla."
9.3.2008 3:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
OK:

The Ace, that's not the first time


True, it's not. You might be interested in what can be found via here.
9.3.2008 3:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
as:

Howabout Senator Obama belittling Palin's experience as mayor while completely ignoring that she is a Governor?


Calling that "misogny" is about as logical as claiming that every attack against Obama is racism.
9.3.2008 3:07pm
Bruce:
Facts?! Orin, you're no fun.
9.3.2008 3:12pm
kevin r (mail):
What the Blogs need now
Is love, sweet love
It's the only thing
That's there's just too little of


Am I the only one that always wants to say "of which there's just too little" whenever I hear/read that? I know it's sometimes okay to end a sentence with a preposition (up with which I will not put, and all that), but that's still a terrible sentence. (Not that the "corrected" version is great, either.)



Also, "stars fell from the sky for you and me" (Touch Me, by the Doors).
9.3.2008 3:36pm
Smokey:
How about this proposal: Sarah Palin does a series of interviews on CNN, and 0 does an equal series of interviews on Rush Limbaugh [the exact other side of the Communist News Network coin].

No doubt Palin would agree, and 0bama would run and hide out.

No doubt at all.
9.3.2008 3:36pm
Anderson (mail):
I think I understand Prof. Kerr's sentiment, but it sounds especially odd coming from a law professor.

The threads here at VC, however long, rude, and frustrating, have actually done a pretty good job of airing claims and subjecting them to dialectical scrutiny.

I had thought the American legal system was premised on the notion that cross-examination by adversaries was a particularly effective means of finding out the truth.
9.3.2008 3:37pm
rarango (mail):

Professor Kerr: I respectfully disagree; this is a fight that cannot be refereed. Look at the tone on this blog, for example. There are the usual suspects, but it is the intensity that strikes me as poisonous. This campaign is going to get increasingly worse and we will look back fondly on the democratic primary as an exemplar of restraint.

I know there have been some vicious campaigns starting with the federalists and anti-federalists. My first vote was in 1964 and have tried to follow campaigns as closely as possible. I predict this one is going to make the top ten all time worst.
9.3.2008 3:38pm
Shertaugh:
If only Hillary Clinton had been nominated for either the Pres or VP slot . . . ah, how some of the commenters here wouldn't have the slightest problem crapping all over everything she's ever said or did.

But unlike anyone testing Palin's credentials, they would be dumping on HRC in good faith and for the good of the good ol' US of A.
9.3.2008 3:39pm
PC:
Smokey:
0...0bama


That is incredibly witty and original. Do you mind if I use that? 0b4|\/|4 15 4 5+347+|-| |\/|u71|\/|!

btw, 0bama (witty!) is going to be on the No Spin Zone on Thursday night.
9.3.2008 3:41pm
Anderson (mail):
Sarah Palin does a series of interviews on CNN, and 0 does an equal series of interviews on Rush Limbaugh [the exact other side of the Communist News Network coin].

Smokey thinks that CNN is as partisan to the Left as Limbaugh is to the Right.

I need to bookmark that &just link to it instead of criticizing Smokey in future.
9.3.2008 3:42pm
Federal Dog:
"How about this proposal: Sarah Palin does a series of interviews on CNN, and 0 does an equal series of interviews on Rush Limbaugh [the exact other side of the Communist News Network coin]."

Great idea. Bring. It. On.
9.3.2008 3:47pm
rarango (mail):
For the life of me I thought this campaign was between John McCain and Barack Obama--When did it change?

If you want to attack John McCain on the Palin pick, then the issue in play is his judgment. Comparing Palin to Obama is apples and oranges.

And once again: the American people overwhelmingly vote for the top if the ticket; Obama is not going to be facing Palin; Palin will be facing Biden, and McCain will be facing Obama. That is what the American public will see.

This is starting to look like the world turned upside down.
9.3.2008 3:53pm
Jonathan6:
Does the FBI routinely do background checks on candidates for President and Vice President? That's a little scary (at least until they are elected or apply for clearances).
9.3.2008 3:53pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Orin, I do think this suffers from two problems: first, that people tend to think of sources as unbiased when they agree with that source; and second, so far as we know there is no one on Mars to take the job.

As to some of the other points:

"Misogyny": one might more usefully refer to Biden saying that Palin's qualifications were that she's more "good looking" than he --- although he did go on to agree that Palin was fully qualified to be VP; the reaction of several people that she was a poor mother for taking the opportunity to advance her career even though she has infant children --- imagine the furor if Limbaugh or O'Reilly were to say that about a rising Democrat; and the number of "bimbo" references that are already around for Palin. ("bimbo+palin" yields about 25,000 hits as of this writing.)
9.3.2008 3:58pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Jonathan, the FBI certainly doesn't bother with background checks after the election: once you're elected you have the power to define who has a clearance.
9.3.2008 4:00pm
krs:
adulthood = spending 20 hours a day on the internet, thinking of yourself as Publius in a bathrobe.
9.3.2008 4:05pm
Michael B (mail):
It has to be remembered that no matter how vile, vicious, venomous or politically venal the attacks on Palin are, they are all done for the children.

Of course the Jake Tappers of the world, in repeating uncorroborated rumors (read in the blogosphere?), know how to put a smiley-face on their own venality. But even such flim-flam duplicity, if done for the children, needs to be seen in the light of their benign and benevolent intentions.
9.3.2008 4:06pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Oh, and I realize that it's probably a lost cause, but could we try not to perpetuate the idea that Palen was only vetted for a few days? There's a longer article about it at PJM, but there is lots of counter evidence. For example, the first news story about the vetting process I'm aware of was in Wizbang on 29 May.
9.3.2008 4:06pm
rarango (mail):
Alright Krs: please put a monitor splatter warning on those posts.
9.3.2008 4:15pm
one of many:
Does the FBI routinely do background checks on candidates for President and Vice President? That's a little scary (at least until they are elected or apply for clearances).

Any more scary than the fact that the FBI routinely does background checks on nurses, school janitors, bus drivers, lawyers and McDonald's employees (among others)? Contrary to what what Marc Ambinder asserts (and Lazarus repeats), the FBI spokesperson did not deny that the FBI performed a background check on Palin, he instead noted that the FBI does not routinely perform a vetting of political candidates. Perhaps the press could clear up the issue by asking the FBI if in fact they received a request for background check of Palin from the McCain campaign, but from the spokesman's answer it seems that the question was not asked of them.
9.3.2008 4:15pm
Anonymous #000:
adulthood = spending 20 hours a day on the internet, thinking of yourself as Publius in a bathrobe.

Bath robe? I only dress up fancy when I'm making speeches to my stuffed animals. Otherwise, it's pit stains and an open fly.
9.3.2008 4:16pm
David Warner:
The wiki was pretty decent last Friday, as far as I could tell. I'm waiting for this shitstorm to die down before I get much re-engaged. We've got two months.
9.3.2008 4:19pm
Jonathan6:
"Any more scary than the fact that the FBI routinely does background checks on nurses, school janitors, bus drivers, lawyers and McDonald's employees (among others)?"

When does the FBI routinely do these background checks? I thought the FBI only ran background checks after people were hired, not just a politican nominated for an office.
9.3.2008 4:24pm
loki13 (mail):
one of many,

I am unclear (really). Is your defense to the charge the the McCain campaign lied (or misspoke) about the FBI investigation... that the FBI performed a favor to the GOP candidate that they do not perform for other candidates?

Wouldn't that be a frying pan/fire defense?
9.3.2008 4:28pm
byomtov (mail):
I don't think the FBI is, or ought to be, in the business of vetting candidates for elected office. Do you want the FBI checking out anyone who decides to run for President? Who would they report the results to?

Similarly, why should McCain or Obama have the right to use the FBI to do their work? Political vetting is hardly the same thing as checking to see if someone can be given a security clearance. Suppose, purely hypothetically, that a year ago Palin had given a speech harshly criticizing McCain and calling him unqualified to be President. The FBI shouldn't care, but the McCain campaign definitely would.
9.3.2008 4:29pm
Michael B (mail):
A particularly illuminating example of how a goodly portion of the media is virtually the PR/propaganda arm of the Dems and Left/Dems. As the follow-up comment notes, "Us" is owned by Jann Wenner, also the proprietor of Rolling Stone and a fanatical Obama supporter." Media BS, floated as human interest stories, revelations and insight.
9.3.2008 4:39pm
PC:
One insider's view of his vetting.
9.3.2008 4:47pm
Anderson (mail):
As the follow-up comment notes, "Us" is owned by Jann Wenner, also the proprietor of Rolling Stone and a fanatical Obama supporter."

The headline on that US cover was atrocious.

There will be a pro-Palin backlash if much more crap like that hits the newsstands. There's the woman with her little newborn baby -- with Down's, no less -- and we get "BABIES, LIES, AND SCANDAL"?

Just awful -- said as a Democrat who would vote for Sarah Palin only when hell froze over.
9.3.2008 4:50pm
Hoosier:
loki--Aha! I just relized the source of your confusion on the FBI/Palin matter. In this case, FBI refers to the Frozen Babe Importers. Who, naturally, would have a hand in vetting Palin.
9.3.2008 4:52pm
Jonathan6:
Robert Reich describes his vetting for a cabinet position, not elected office. Did anyone vet Obama or Bill Clinton in fashion? Why hold McCain and Palin to a higher standard?
9.3.2008 5:02pm
one of many:
I am unclear (really). Is your defense to the charge the the McCain campaign lied (or misspoke) about the FBI investigation... that the FBI performed a favor to the GOP candidate that they do not perform for other candidates?


I fully expect it will come out that the McCain campaign told the truth, that the FBI ran a background check of Palin and further that the FBI did not lie about it, only that some people distorted an FBI statement to make it appear so. An FBI background check is an increasingly common procedure in which the FBI databases are queried for criminal convictions, thousand upon thousands of these checks are done daily by the FBI and they are a requirement for an increasing number of jobs. Even the most intelligent person might forget about a minor offense from college some 30 years previously and an FBI background check can turn up these potential bombshells, there is no reason not to perform such a simple and easy (and cheap) thing such as an FBI background check on VP canidates, I'd be surprised if the Obama Campaign didn't perform a background check on several of the VP finalists.

The FBI spokesman did not deny that the FBI performed a background check on Palin (which he may not have been asked about) but instead made a statement that the FBI does not perform vetting for campaigns as a general matter, which to me indicates that the spokesman was asked not if the FBI preformed a background check on Palin but instead if they vetted Palin at which time the spokesman (not wanting lie about something he did not have information about) replied that "[i]n general, we [the FBI] do not do vetting for political campaigns". What's even better about this FBI statement is that it isn't even a denial that the FBI vetted (as opposed to performing a background check upon) Palin, despite what is claimed by some.
9.3.2008 5:03pm
Redman:
Did this site call for such a thing regarding claims about Obama?
9.3.2008 5:17pm
Mac (mail):
A few facts.. Here are the first 8 items at factcheck.org. Now, call me crazy, but they seem pretty even handed to me.
Hit the Brakes
September 3, 2008
An Obama ad running in Michigan claims McCain didn't support loan guarantees for the auto industry. In fact, he does support them.

A New Stitch in a Bad Pattern
September 2, 2008
A McCain ad wrongly claims Obama plans "painful tax increases" for working families. And who's talking about deficits?

FactChecking Obama
August 29, 2008
He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them.

Context Included: Obama on Iran
August 27, 2008
McCain ad cherry-picks Obama remarks on Iran, twisting his meaning.

Obama and 'Infanticide'
August 25, 2008
The facts about Obama's votes against 'Born Alive' bills in Illinois.

Rezko Reality
August 22, 2008
McCain misfires as he attacks Obama's home purchase.

Reed Reality
August 22, 2008
Key facts are missing in an Obama ad linking McCain to Ralph Reed.

Born in the U.S.A.
August 21, 2008
9.3.2008 5:19pm
a knight (mail) (www):
Why not have Conservapedia do the fact-checking?
Conservapedia - Sarah Palin - Beliefs

Palin filled out a policy questionnaire for the Eagle Forum Alaska during her 2006 gubernatorial race. One question asked, "Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?" Palin responded, "Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support." Yet public schools still resist teaching abstinence and instead promote sexual behavior by teenagers.

Another question asked, "Are you offended by the phrase 'Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?" Palin replied, "Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, it's good enough for me and I'll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance."

Liberals ignorant of the history of "under God" have tried to ridicule Palin's remark, even calling her an "idiot" for it. In fact, the phrase "under God" was taken from George Washington's biography, written by Parson Weems, although not taken from George Washington directly. George Washington was indeed a Founding Father. Moreover, all the Founding Fathers embraced reference to God in the documents that established the United States.

Inserted addenda by the writer of early American biographical fables, Mason Locke Weems, is the authoritarian standard of proof for Andrew Schlafly? Better get your kids out of his Home Skoolin Instatoot.

Andrew S. seems to be a little slow on the uptake anyway, as the Eagle Forum Alaska has decided that the blog post offended, so they plucked it out, and tossed it down the memory hole. It seems they do not know about the Internet Archives though.
9.3.2008 5:37pm
Michael B (mail):
Warrentoons (editorial cartoons), one of those instances where a single picture is in fact worth a thousand words. The one I have in mind is the cartoon titled "360° Coverage," though others are illuminating as well.
9.3.2008 5:37pm
Anderson (mail):
Conservapedia isn't a parody?

Are you sure?
9.3.2008 5:42pm
David Seibert (mail):
The FBI is not in the business of providing investigative services for private individuals (thank goodness), so they can't vet potential candidates for political campaigns.

AS for interesting facts, how about the 3 earmarks (roughly $1,950,000) from Palin that made McCain's "wasteful spending" list?
9.3.2008 5:42pm
Cornellian (mail):
I for one am astonished that they haven't figured out whether she's distantly related to former Python Michael Palin. Let's have some more vetting here folks.
9.3.2008 5:46pm
rarango (mail):
A question on the earmarks, David Seibert. I have no doubt that a governor might support an earmarks, but was under the impression that it was the Senators and representative that ask for earmarks. Is that not correct?
9.3.2008 5:46pm
a knight (mail) (www):
@ rarango - From an Op/Ed written by John Katz, director of State-Federal Relations and Special Counsel to Gov. Sarah Palin:
Earlier this year, President Bush and the congressional leadership announced that the total number and dollar amount of earmarks must be reduced significantly.

The Palin administration has responded to this message by requesting 31 earmarks, down from 54 last year. 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.

John Katz, "My Turn: Palin not abandoning earmarks altogether", Juneau Empire, March 18, 2008
9.3.2008 5:55pm
one of many:
The FBI is not in the business of providing investigative services for private individuals (thank goodness), so they can't vet potential candidates for political campaigns.

While the latter half is almost correct ("shouldn't" is better than "can't"), the first half of this sentence is just wrong. I don't know what jobs you've held for the last 10 years but it has become increasingly impossible for most people to avoid having the FBI provide investigation services to a private individual (yourself if you are working for a government usually, where you must pay to have the FBI perform a background check on you and submit the results to the government) or a private company (the business you are working for if they require a background check usually require you to authorize an FBI background check which is paid for by the private company). It's not just paying jobs either, FBI background checks are sometimes required for Little League coaches even.
9.3.2008 6:07pm
JRL:
Could this be the greatest political rope-a-dope of all time?

We'll find out tonight.
9.3.2008 6:17pm
LM (mail):
Anderson:

Conservapedia isn't a parody?

Are you sure?

Not intentionally.
9.3.2008 6:28pm
The Luddite (www):
OrinKerr wrote:

I'm just saying that it would be cool to have the equivalent of press coverage for Internet rumors -- it would save time reading dozens of websites to try to get the latest, as the info would be gathered together in one place.
In the good old days of Internet 1.0, that was called snopes.com. But no way that site, or any other site, could possibly keep up with the volume of crap currently being thrown against the wall to see what sticks.

The problem is technology. If they'd just go back to making all the bloggers and commenters code their own HTML, we'd immediately cut these rumors by about 98%. And entirely eliminate the need for Professor Kerr to use boldface to threaten the Trolls into submission.

Wait, why stop there? Mandating use of quill pens and pony express delivery of all non-line of sight communications would help tamp down these rumors even more!

[and no this crimethink wasn't committed by Sarcastro in a bathrobe with a WiFi -- although based on the grotesque lack of civility I've seen here and elsewhere lately, on those extremely rare occasions I get up the nerve to actually post on a political thread, I ain't using no username that might easily be linked back to the non-cyber version of me]
9.3.2008 6:34pm
Helene Edwards (mail):
To Orin Kerr:

I know you're not the resident First Amendment expert, but how do you feel about Judge Brazil's opinion in the San Francisco State "civility" case earlier this year? From what I can tell, what you enforce here, e.g. against The Ace, is a close facsimile of the campus "civility" policy invalidated by the judge (1st in class Boalt, Harvard Phd.) I mean, presumably the users of this board are at least as adult as the SFSU students, and the anonymity provides an even greater buffer against "hurt." If you ever ascended the bench, could you we count you in as a supporter of campus speech codes?
9.3.2008 6:48pm
LM (mail):

Abba:

Deleted by OK on civility grounds.

There ya go again. Orin gets diarrhea, when someone has a nerve to think different them him.

I'd guess a comment like this, especially toward someone who's widely respected and liked even in this partisan environment, has pretty much zero chance of persuading anyone, if indeed you're trying to persuade. So, what's the point? Because if it's just to express yourself, unedited, in public, it makes your choice of metaphor a little ironic.
9.3.2008 6:50pm
Anderson (mail):
Don't anybody miss Peggy Noonan on the Palin pick as "political bullshit." (Video &transcript.)

(You'd think the ex-speechwriter for President "We start bombing in 15 minutes" Reagan would be a little more wary of live mikes.)
9.3.2008 7:11pm
The General:
the lefty wacko blogs need to be ignored, especially, by the so called "mainstream media" when it is peddling lies and scurrilous rumors that have no basis in fact and are easily verifiable. The MSM should not be getting its news from these blogs and peddling it like its true. The MSM should also start shredding the Obama campaign talking points instead of stating these lies as facts to be rebutted. This whole episode is despicable and the Probama media should downright ashamed of themselves. They won't of course, because elite liberals have no fucking shame whatsoever. these people are pathetic and should just fuck off.
9.3.2008 7:12pm
OrinKerr:
Two points.

First, for the record, I normally would delete "the General's" comment immediately. However, based on recent experience, if I delete it, some of the more liberal commenters will assume that I am deleting a liberal comment and accuse me of trying to squelch liberal opinion in violation of free speech norms. So, to make sure I respect liberal opinions, I will not delete the General's outrageous and unacceptable comment.

Second, to Helene Edwards, this is a moderated comment thread run by private individuals, not a public free speech zone run by the Government. Therefore the rules that apply are just like the rules that would apply if you invited someone into your home, not the rules that the government must follow.
9.3.2008 7:28pm
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
Orin, out of curiosity, is there a way to respond within an objectionable post? This might forestall an ugly troll-feeding frenzy.
9.3.2008 7:43pm
rarango (mail):
A Knight: thank you. Clearly Ms Palin is not totally clean when it comes to earmarks; at least she reduced them. Earmarks are anathema to me, and appreciate the link.
9.3.2008 8:17pm
Chilled Effect:
this is a moderated comment thread run by private individuals, not a public free speech zone run by the Government. Therefore the rules that apply are just like the rules that would apply if you invited someone into your home, not the rules that the government must follow.
Right. And if we're going to analogize to a private home -- after the first couple times you invite in a heartburn-inducing troll who manages to shred common decency all over the living room floor, everyone would understand if from then on you locked the door whenever you saw him/her/it coming up the front walk. The blog equivalent, of course, is banning. Most of us get it. Really.

Although to play devil's advocate back at Professor Kerr, if you're repeatedly doing something on your front porch that seems to always attract the neighborhood trolls, wouldn't you consider modifying your behavior a bit? Like perhaps not broadcasting commentary on the political candidates throughout the neighborhood with a bullhorn quite so often (regardless whether it's your Constitutional right to do so or whether your commentary is entirely reasonable by itself)?

Which is a subtle way of suggesting if the trolls are getting annoying, perhaps y'all might want to consider not feeding them so much of the sort of posts about the election that they can't help but gnaw on? Or at least don't enable the comment function where you just want to publicize an observation as opposed to attract responses?

[yeah, for the record, I'm a semi-regular visitor to VC threads under another name, but I won't turn my regular VC identity into troll bait by using it on these out-of-control political "discussions." Cowardly but true]
9.3.2008 8:20pm
rarango (mail):
Anderson: As too your post on Ms Noonan and the open mic. Excuse the tu quoque argument, but both the dems and reps have camps within. If you are willing to accept ms noonans criticisms of Palin, I will accept Carville and Begalas criticism of Obama--Are you telling me I should glom on to the Clintonistas criticisms of Ms Clinton? Thats a really lousy argument--try again.
9.3.2008 8:21pm
Chilled Effect:
Before somebody misunderstands - to elaborate on the last sentence of my comment: "[yeah, for the record, I'm a semi-regular visitor to VC threads under another name, but I won't turn my regular VC identity into troll bait by using it on these out-of-control political "discussions." Cowardly but true]"

Nor do I intentionally flame, or inflame, others on political topics. Because I learned in kindergarten that such boorish behavior is naughty. Frankly, having seen the partisan crap that has infested even more of the blogsphere than usual, I'm just keeping my political opinions to myself.
9.3.2008 8:25pm
LM (mail):

Which is a subtle way of suggesting if the trolls are getting annoying, perhaps y'all might want to consider not feeding them so much of the sort of posts about the election that they can't help but gnaw on?

Unlike certain other instances where the phrase is invoked, that would be "surrendering to terrorism."
9.3.2008 8:44pm
Hoosier:
LM--Your response to Abba above almost compensates for your unkind response to my post yesterday, to wit, Do I read the NYT?

Consider yourself 82% rehabilitated. Still dangerous territory if I were Stalin. But I'm not.

As far a YOU know . . .
9.3.2008 9:53pm
dr:
stalin was from indiana?
9.3.2008 9:54pm
byomtov (mail):
the lefty wacko blogs need to be ignored,

Well, I agree with the general on this. There are nut cases on theleft as there are on the right. The difference is that the ones on the left, unlike Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity, Goldberg, don't enjoy huge audiences.
9.3.2008 10:27pm
OrinKerr:
Chilled Effect,

So just so I follow, the problem is that we're blogging about the issues of the day, and that invites rude responses because of course people have no control over themselves and must visit us and post nasty comments?

If that's true, then I would think the easier answer is to just shut down comments until the election is over.
9.3.2008 11:21pm
Smokey:
Since everyone is taking this opportunity to jump on The General, can I play too? Thanx. The General said:
...the lefty wacko blogs need to be ignored, especially, by the so called "mainstream media"...
Allow me to correct The General:
...the lefty wacko blogs need to be ignored, especially by the so called "mainstream media"...
There. Fixed it for him.

Carry on.
9.3.2008 11:58pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier, re: "your unkind response." The truth hurts. Deal with it. Just like everyone in Indiana knows New York's on the east coast, everyone in New York knows Indiana's on the west coast. As for whether you're a Stalin sock puppet, I'd point out that he's dead... but this is the Internet.
9.4.2008 12:18am
Chilled Effect:
So just so I follow, the problem is that we're blogging about the issues of the day, and that invites rude responses because of course people have no control over themselves and must visit us and post nasty comments?

If that's true, then I would think the easier answer is to just shut down comments until the election is over.
Sad, very sad. But maybe there's a small grain of truth in that -- why should you have your views on the issues of the day turned into a platform for the boorish? You're too good to be relegated to just being a straight man for those who seem to have missed the kindergarten class where they taught how to be respectful to others.

There's a difference between vigorous debate and being a jerk, which some people seem not to have figured out.
------
And the caution on your 10:51 post hasn't gone unnoticed:
"I'll leave comments open for now, but please keep comments civil or I'll delete the thread."
9.4.2008 12:48am
David Warner:
"Stalin was from indiana?"

Worse. Georgia.

LM,

"Just like everyone in Indiana knows New York's on the east coast, everyone in New York knows Indiana's on the west coast."

I'm (seriously) not getting your point here. Having lived near both, I've known plenty of people in both places neither geographically nor parochially challenged. There was a New Yorker tonight whose speech resonated in points between the coasts, I can assure you of that.
9.4.2008 3:11am
a knight (mail) (www):
@ LM - you are wrong in your analysis of Professor Kerr's intents. He has not shown himself to be opposed to vigorous dissent against his views in my experience, and I have dissented against them more than once. Professor Kerr did not take umbrage to my satirical musing about Conservapedia in this thread, hopefully because he understood that it was not just a cheap shot, but was instead an attempt to show that Fact-Checking, no matter how honest and non-partisan the entity doing it, will still be viewed as being an exercise in partisanship by some. My original intent in commenting in this namespace is still the primary reason I return to it: an attempt to convince 1st tier University law professors that Natural Liberties are not bounded by citizenry, that once the government held detainees as "unlawful combatants" stripped of their Geneva Conventions protocol protections, they were transparently being held as criminal actors, and at that very moment, the constitutional restraints upon the prosecutorial powers of the government, including due process of law, control. I am walkabout in the Dreamtime America, where freedom and justice is FOR ALL. In this, Professor Kerr has let me take my shots, and I appreciate it.

Back on topic though: Prof. K's request here is for civility. Granted that it may be too much to ask for given the level of negative campaigning that issues forth from both sides of the bipolar polity, but it is still the request. This sort of binary distillation of all things political:
left/right;
Republican/Democrat;
liberal/conservative; boot_stomping_fascist/boot_stomping_marxist;
is naught but asinine dialectical pablum, serving only the status quo, and look where that has lead The Nation.

I am alienated, completely disenfranchised in this presidential election cycle. The Libertarian Party's candidate has left me without even a choice I can in good conscience, waste my vote upon this year. I am tired of flatworlder political inanities, and their distorted linear models of reality. From my perspective in elliptic orbit above this filthy self-imposed planar dungeon, watching the endless inexorable tug-of-war in the mud, both sides are one: the evil process that is eating away at the Dreamtime America.
9.4.2008 5:55am
LM (mail):
DW,

It was a joke carried over from another thread. If this had been a slower news day I'd give you the schadenfreude of watching me struggle to explain it. But I think we've had more than enough sensory input for one day, so you can look forward to that particular pleasure another time.
9.4.2008 5:59am
LM (mail):
a knight,

I hope you're confusing me with another poster, because if you read anything I wrote as being critical of Orin, my writing needs even more help than I feared. Please let me know which analysis you had in mind.

Thanks.
9.4.2008 6:13am
a knight (mail) (www):
@ LM - I was in error directing the response at you. It was not you I was upset at. I read the post wrong and did not notice you were referring to another. Please accept my apologies. I jumped the gun just seeing the phrase, "Orin gets diarrhea". It offended me, causing me to go hyperbolic without reading the rest of your post. Again, apologies for my error.

This never-ending hurling of non sequitur derogations only causes me to believe that the two-party system need be destroyed down to its very foundations, and the earth where it once stood, salted, to assure that this monstrous gastropod cannot arise again.
9.4.2008 7:41am
LM (mail):

Please accept my apologies.

Not necessary, but certainly accepted. I wasn't at all offended. I knew there had to be a misunderstanding.
9.4.2008 8:26am
Locke-tite:
This never-ending hurling of non sequitur derogations only causes me to believe that the two-party system need be destroyed down to its very foundations, and the earth where it once stood, salted, to assure that this monstrous gastropod cannot arise again.
Hmmm... another reasonable solution, maybe even more effective in the long-term than shutting off the comment function on OK's blog posts. At least eventually a Hobbsian state of nature will eliminate all this annoying back-and-forth fretting about identity politics.
9.4.2008 1:22pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
charlie:

"Misogyny": one might more usefully refer to Biden saying that Palin's qualifications were that she's more "good looking" than he


Rush Limbaugh has called her a "babe." Is that also "misogyny?" IOKIYAR.

the reaction of several people that she was a poor mother for taking the opportunity to advance her career even though she has infant children


I see Palin putting her career before her kids. I would condemn any person who made the decisions she made, regardless of gender and regardless of political affiliation. I see a number of decisions that strike me as poor parenting. I won't repeat them because I explained them here. And here.

And my concerns in this regard have nothing to do with gender. I've explained this in many places, including here.

imagine the furor if Limbaugh or O'Reilly were to say that about a rising Democrat


When a "rising Democrat" makes the kind of choices she made, I'll condemn that person just as vigorously.

the number of "bimbo" references that are already around for Palin


Do you want me to enumerate the occasions when Rush applied that word to Hillary? Were you protesting that?

"bimbo+palin" yields about 25,000 hits as of this writing


Replace 'palin' with 'hillary' and you'll get 554,000. And your point was?

could we try not to perpetuate the idea that Palen was only vetted for a few days


If you're claiming the vet started long ago, that makes McCain look even more inept. Because if he actually did a proper vet months ago, and still wanted her, he should have leaked some of these stories ahead of time to give them a chance to dissipate, instead of hitting his convention like a ton of bricks. As James Baker said:

The best way to handle a proposed vice presidential nominee who has not been tested in national or big-state politics or high appointive office—and I have the obvious benefit of hindsight—is to float the name a few weeks before the convention and let the games begin. By opening gavel, the candidate will have run the gauntlet of press scrutiny or opposition research, or have dropped out. This approach wouldn’t necessarily work in a contested convention, and, unfortunately, it eliminates the drama of dropping the name at the convention. But it would pretty well guarantee that the news from the convention would not be dominated by questions about the vice presidential selection
9.4.2008 5:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
jon:

Did anyone vet Obama or Bill Clinton in fashion? Why hold McCain and Palin to a higher standard?


When we point out that McCain apparently failed to vet her, we're not particularly saying he failed in some duty to us (although I think there's an argument to be made there). We're saying that he failed in a duty to himself. In other words, he was reckless and impulsive. But there are lots of other signs that this is simply who he is.
9.4.2008 5:00pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rarango:

If you are willing to accept ms noonans criticisms of Palin, I will accept Carville and Begalas criticism of Obama


Have they said 'it's over' (or the equivalent)?

The statement on the tape wasn't just an opinion about the quality of a candidate. It was a prediction.
9.4.2008 5:01pm
A Whiter Shade of Palin:
Wow, Jukeboxgrad is either the world's fastest typist, or is some sort of Evil Android Sent To Earth By The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy to wage cyberwar against the good burghers of the VC!

JBG made three serial posts totalling over 2 screens of text all dressed up with pretty nifty formatting, within 1 minute according to the VC server's time clock. 4:00 pm, 4:00 pm, and 4:01 pm. Wow!

Most impressive. At least until you read the content.
9.4.2008 7:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
three serial posts totalling over 2 screens of text all dressed up with pretty nifty formatting, within 1 minute according to the VC server's time clock


If you think really hard you might be able to figure out how and why I do it this way. Then again, you might not be able to think that hard.

At least until you read the content.


Making a semblance of a substantive response is apparently something else that's really hard for you.
9.5.2008 3:03am