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Mea (sorta) culpa: Why I Won't Be Writing Anything More about Sarah Palin:

What has surprised me most (and depressed me some) about my recent postings(here, here, and here) questioning Sarah Palin's qualifications to lead the country was the vehemence of the reaction from commenters. I've made many suggestions and comments here on the VC over the years that some have considered wrongheaded and obtuse -- in fact, I pride myself on that a bit -- but I've never before been called a "putz" (let alone a "complete putz"!), a jerk, a "leftoid," or a moron. There's something about the subject that seems to bring out a bit of a nasty streak in people.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that this is one of the very reasons that I disliked the Palin choice in the first place: because it threatened to become a distraction. McCain-Obama has the makings of a great contest, a real turning point election in which we get to decide important questions about the direction we want the country to take. Both candidates, in my opinion, are plausible presidents -- something that could not be said (in my opinion) for most of their opponents in the primaries. I was delighted when it became clear that these were the two who would be squaring off -- I like elections in which I can be reasonably certain that whether my guy wins or not, the republic's in good hands, and I felt that way about this one. They're very different visions, of course -- that's the point -- and I do have my preference; but I thought the debate would be a constructive one, the country would choose to go in one direction or the other based on important differences among us about which direction is the right one to take. And off we'd go.

But then along comes the Palin thing, and now we seem to be arguing about fundamentally irrelevant things -- like about whether the mayor of Wassilla, AK did or did not ask the school librarian to ban books (and which books they might be), about how many colleges the Governor of Alaska has attended (and the relative value of a University of Idaho vs. a Harvard Law education), about the virtues of small-town life, about hunting, and snowmobile racing, and whether the Governor of Alaska did or did not improperly interfere with the state police to remove a trooper she didn't like, and about a thousand other things like that. If you had asked me early last week, those all would have struck me as pretty insignificant, in the greater scheme of things, and entirely irrelevant to the 2008 election. But now they are relevant, alas -- McCain has made them so. Whatever you think of Sarah Palin and of her qualifications, surely we can all agree on one thing -- that until McCain nominated her, the vast majority of the American people didn't know the first thing about her, and that now we only have six weeks to get up that curve, and we will be soaking up a huge amount of information about her because we do need to know who she is if she is to become Vice President.

That is a distraction. That has absolutely nothing to do with the important stuff on the table this time around. Both sides seem to agree (and I agree with them) that the country is in a rather serious mess -- that we're losing our edge, wasting our money, and falling behind. I agree -- I'm glad everyone seems to be in agreement about that. What to do about it is pretty complicated -- and we're not getting anywhere talking about Sarah Palin all the time.

But the more I thought about that, the more I realized that I was as much at fault as anyone. After all, my own postings about her qualifications had started the whole brouhaha, and it is unseemly for me to complain about the distraction that is Sarah Palin, and then to contribute to the distracting discussion. So, mea culpa. This is the last you'll hear from me on the subject.

marc (mail):

... Whatever you think of Sarah Palin and of her qualifications, surely we can all agree on one thing – that until McCain nominated her, the vast majority of the American people didn’t know the first thing about her, and that now we only have six weeks to get up that curve, and we will be soaking up a huge amount of information about her because we do need to know who she is if she is to become Vice President.


Just write out the list of things you believe that you need to know, and I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can. Pft.
9.7.2008 11:28am
John (mail):
So, you'll be voting "present" on Palin issues in the future? You could run for president!
9.7.2008 11:31am
paul lukasiak (mail):
Anyone who says this
Both candidates [McCain and Obama], in my opinion, are plausible presidents

really is a complete putz for questioning Palin's qualifications to be VP.

No one who considers Obama "plausible" as President can rationally suggest that Palin is not "plausible" as VP. Only the most rapid partisan who has set their brain's logic function switch in the 'off' position would consider making such an assertion.

Barack Obama is not qualified to be president -- his combination of a lack of experience and extraordinary hubris, willfulness, and petulance tells us he is simply too immature for the Oval Office. And while one could certainly wish tha Palin had more knowledge of national issues, the fact is that she is a true "citizen politician", and not a professional pol whose every decision is dictated by focus groups and poll numbers. That qualifies her, in my book, to be the VP for someone like McCain. I wouldn't vote for her for President, because I am ideologically her opposite. But disagreement and qualifications are two separate issues.
9.7.2008 11:36am
K. Dackson (mail):
Well, David, perhaps you have learned an important lesson.

Something about glass houses and stones.

How can you critize the Rep #2 on the issue of experience, when the resume of Dem #1 is so thin you could read through it?

How can you demean a likeable woman as unprepared to lead when your candidate is, while likeable, also unprepared to lead by the very fact that he has spent most of his time in the Senate running for a better job?

When did you realize that calling a choice "stupid" (even probably) might not make people take you seriously, especially after the Republican base is largely satisfied with the vetting that Team McCain has done?

How can you attack your opponent with a list of issues on which we know little of where she stands when your candidate refuses to be pinned down on anything, except the desire for change?

What you fail to realize is that she appeals to a wide variety of average people, precisely because she is one. She lives the life of an average person, and people identify with her. By attacking her, you are attacking them.
9.7.2008 11:38am
MJG:
For whatever reason, people who otherwise are calm, intelligent, and reasonable in all their affairs become vehement, scathing, and brutal when it comes to politics. It's something intrinsic in human nature, I guess, as the greeks and every other society has always experienced the same thing.

As was argued at Concurring Opinions, the outcome of this election is going to lead to neither paradise nor apocalypse, either way it comes out, and things will fundamentally be the same four years from now. Nary a soul argues that George Bush was an effective president, but we're still here (or Jimmy Carter, or Clinton, or Nixon, or whomever as your ineffective presidents - point is the same).
9.7.2008 11:41am
Matthew K:
Wow, he's stepping out of the debate and some people can't let it go without one more swipe? Bad form, bad form.

David: I agree with your perspective on Palin, but I'm glad you're getting out of this mess. The Volokh Conspiracy has no particular expertise on anything relating to Palin (or most things relating to current politics) and the quality of this blog has diminished as it delves into the election. Far better to blog well about one issue than poorly about every issue.
9.7.2008 11:45am
pmorem (mail):
But now they are relevant, alas – McCain has made them so.

McCain played a part in that, yes. Lots of other people, including you have played a part in making those subjects part of the discussion. MSM has played a part. The Obama campaign has played a part.
9.7.2008 11:47am
BlackX (mail):
The discourse—and that's putting it politely—in the comments has gotten decidedly nastier (as quickly evidenced by the two comments above as I type this), so I don't blame you, but multiple viewpoints are a good thing so I wouldn't argue if you changed your mind later.

While I rather like Palin—and I can as yet only guess at some of the reasons, although being more of a real outsider than the other two is part of it—I like to see reasoned comments that may hold a different view.

My current view is that the Palin pick—which I thought was a fantastic choice for him—was evidence that McCain might be a better president than I previously thought he would be. If he could pick a cabinet as well as his VP choice, I would expect the country to be in better hands than I've been expecting from either of these two presidential candidates.

While anecdotal evidence is only worth the paper, or electrons, it's printed on, my GF, a mid-western (currently in WI) VERY independent woman, has gone from a slowly-souring Obama supporter to possibly voting for the McCain ticket—much due to McCain's pick of Palin.

If McCain's choice of Palin swings a significant number of similar folks in the key states, this might be a contest after all.

I'll vote for Barr but I'm holding out for McCain to win mainly due to the divided-government-is-less-likely-to-screw-the-pooch theory.
9.7.2008 11:49am
sbw (mail) (www):
Both candidates, in my opinion, are plausible presidents

This was the phrase that caught my eye immediately, too -- and p.luk and I never see eye to eye.

If you think Obama is plausible, you have not done your homework and you have been taken for a ride by the mainstream media. And, since I am part of the mainstream media, I have sufficient evidence to suspect its coverage.

Do yourself a favor and look into the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, THE major executive experience Obama had, but now minimizes. Look at who he operated with, where the money went, and what the project accomplished.

Or, if you don't want the homework, just today he trashed Palin on earmarks. Funny that the Associated Press article didn't bring up the million dollar earmark Obama got for the hospital that had just increased his wife's pay from 100K+ to 300K.

I am embarrassed for the press that did not give you an accurate map of Obama's experience. Had it done its job properly, you would have written this blog entry differently.
9.7.2008 11:53am
Sam Draper (mail):
Smart move. "A man has got to know his limitations."
9.7.2008 11:55am
Doc W (mail):

I'll vote for Barr but I'm holding out for McCain to win mainly due to the divided-government-is-less-likely-to-screw-the-pooch theory.


Ditto that, BlackX. Gridlock is our friend. The less the pols do, the better off we are--sorry to say.
9.7.2008 12:02pm
Anony:
Maybe David views Obama as a plausible president since the media has spent the last 18 months discussing Obama as a potential presidential figure. Familiarity breeds acceptance.

That doesn't change his resume, though. It's debatable whether Obama's experience qualifies him for the job, but I think it's clear that if Palin's experience makes her not ready to be VP, then Obama's makes him not ready to be president.
9.7.2008 12:02pm
Order of the Coif:
David, before your tantrum I never understood WHY you were on VC anyway. It is supposedly center-right. Now I really don't. Are you here as a sop to the leftists out there?

It's nice to hear that "This is the last you’ll hear from me on the subject" but is the subject "distraction" or "Sarah Palin?"

I was going to write-in Fred Thompson but attack dogs like you have convinced me to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. Keep up the slime smearing, it it working (but not as you intend, perhaps).
9.7.2008 12:04pm
Tol:

There’s something about the subject that seems to bring out a bit of a nasty streak in people.


In people.. like you? Even in trying to wave your white flag, you couldn't help yourself but rake more muck. You seem to have a nasty fixation issue here. But in the end I really do hope you learned the lesson here, that you always reap what you sow, even if you aren't able to see that you've sewn.
9.7.2008 12:04pm
marcystrauss (mail):
Palin is not an irrelevant topic; she speaks volumes as to McCain's judgment and style of leadership. (and poorly, in my opinion) Don't abandon the questions!!! By the way, this divided government argument is silly in my opinion if you believe there are differences in competence and judgment between the parties. Think of all the damage the Bush administration did on its own, and how much damage an incompetent president can do: war (at least for an interim period), interaction with other nations; immediate responding to disasters (Katrina),
9.7.2008 12:08pm
Public_Defender (mail):
The McCain people have so little confidence in her that they won't let her talk to anyone outside of the McCain circle.

Maybe they have good reason:

She was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

She switched only after Ted Stevens was actually indicted.

When she she switched her position to opposing the Bridge to Nowhere, she still was happy to receive the $200 million in US taxpayer money to spend however she pleased.

As mayor, she funneled local taxpayer money to a Friend of Ted, who in turn got Ted to funnel lots more US taxpayer money to spend on the Mayor's pet pork projects.

McCain was against those projects until he was for them.

She drove her debt-free town deeply into debt.


This is what rallies the American Conservative faithful? I didn't realize just how loopy or self-serving they had become.

It would be a shame if she went off the radar screen to early. She is a testament to McCain's impulsivity and bad judgment.
9.7.2008 12:08pm
James Lindgren (mail):
David:

I urge you to reconsider. It is better to have VC people posting both pro and con on something when that diversity of viewpoint exists, which it does here. You should feel more free to post your views on Palin because others here disagree, not less.

One possibility is not turning on comments. While the back and forth usually conveys some new information, the level of irrationality on Obama and Palin comments on both sides renders them of much less value than usual.

The most useless comments are: why did you post this? We have regularly posted song lyrics and puzzles over the years with little complaint about wasting people's time. Some people just don't like to hear even indirectly bad things about people they support. I'd rather try to understand the candidates better. Everyone has both good and bad qualities, an observation even more true about our national candidates than usual.

Nonetheless, someone is reading what we are writing. Our hits at VC in the last week are about triple what they were months ago, so our readers are coming back to read about Obama and Palin more often than usual.

Russell Korobkin got similar grief for his posts. Hang in there.

Jim Lindgren
9.7.2008 12:09pm
loki13 (mail):
Wow,

For the vast majority of the above posters (paul, K. Daxson etc.): epic fail. There's a reason your user names are only seen trolling around on the political threads. Go back to Kos and Freeper.

To David Post- thank you for your post. I find both Obama and McCain to be honorable, and they present different visions of America. Whoever wins will have to lead America through continued turbulent times, and while partisanship is certainly no vice, I hope people can leave the vitriol at home after the election, regardless of the winner.
9.7.2008 12:11pm
MartyA:
But, before there was the Palin thing, there was the Obama thing. If you truly believe that a Harvard law degree absent any other qualification is significant enough credentials to be President of the US them you sir, are a putz.
The vigor of the Palin defense is as much a response to the failure of media and partisans to examine Obama's history to any extent.
An example of what should be looked at but, apparently has not been was posted on another site this morning.

"We also need to examine whether Obama is or is not a Muslim and if he is not, when and where he made that decision.
Mohammed's horse, the one that carried him from Jerusalem to heaven, was named "Barack." Thus, Obama is the "bringer or carrier of Mohammed."
Now, maybe Obama doesn't see himself as such but his father, a practising Muslim with multiple wives, certainly did. It was the intent that Obama would be a Muslim and, in fact, in many parts of the world, he would automatically be assumed to take his father's religion.
That is one reason Obama's birth certificate is important. Next is an answer to why Obama never rejected his first Muslim name and changed it, say to an alias he sometimes used, "Barry."
We know so little about this guy and the media is giving him a bye on every blank page."
9.7.2008 12:15pm
CJM (mail):
David,

Chin-up. Don't let the mouthbreathers get to you. These mutts chowed up the red meat she showered upon them during her speech, and now the campaign is proving your original point by not letting the media talk to her two weeks while she apparently goes to school on the entirety of McCain's political positions, and then on US Foreign Policy, then US Domestic Policy...oh, and the law. The law, by the way, is something BO knows since he was President of the Harvard Law Review. Did Sarah Palin pick that up magically in undergrad in the middle of a potato patch in Idaho?

Keep in mind, also, that it's not whether she has more executive experience than the other three combined (she does, by your commenters' simplistic measure: i.e., Governor, Mayor, etc). Putting aside the fact that she has no concept of federal lawmaking procedural matters or the Constitution (snidely remarking "and Obama wants to read terrorists their rights), she's been a TERRIBLE executive. She has ruled with a vindictive streak unrivaled by anybody since Nixon (or possibly Hillary in her husband's first term), she's a fan of government censorship which no small government republican should support, and she's out of touch with mainstream America (especially the supposedly educated readers who comment on this particular blog) who actually read the news...or sometimes, books.
9.7.2008 12:16pm
K. Dackson (mail):
loki:

Sorry, dude, what's a Kos? What's a Freeper? I tend to comment on technology and make very few posts otherwise. I have a full time job, and cannot commit the amount of time every day it seems to take to be considered a regular. If that makes me a troll, so be it.

The fact is, if you attack someone who appears likeable, in the absense of other information, you will come off looking bad.

Please let me know why that observation is an "epic fail".
9.7.2008 12:17pm
Per Son:
I really hope MartyA is a troll and not serious. I really hope so.
9.7.2008 12:19pm
Norman Bates (mail):
I'm glad that you won't be talking about Palin anymore. Please stay true to this copmmitment.
9.7.2008 12:19pm
Shertaugh:
Based on the thinking of some of the more rabid commenters, Sen. Robert Byrd of Virginia would be a far more *experienced* choice than JMc. He's nearly 2 centuries old and has been in the Senate since before Plessy.

On the other hand, these same commenters would have had a field day with Lincoln . . . nothing but a country lawyer with *no experience* who only wanted to preserved the Union. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Is not the chief magistrate to have good judgment? Isn't that what makes a good president? Judgment?

This whole *experience* obsession is a smoke-screen to prevent a conversation about actual decisions and policy statements that the candidates have made.

What exactly about McCain's *experience* provides a foundation for concluding he has better *judgment*?

Anyone prepared to say Robt Byrd's judgment is the best of any politician in America because he's served in the Senate twice as long as McCain and centuries longer than Obama?

How 'bout Bush/Cheney and the past 8 years. Those two had lots of executive experience. Lots. And Rummy, too. I'm not of the school (thought maybe some of the more rabid commenters on this string are) that those 3 men have made things better today than 8 years ago.

As for Palin, her handling -- read, "judgment" -- on the Troopergate investigation seems like a replay of a Bush/Cheney administration response to Congress. That is, "Who are you to ask me anything?"

And why should she stonewall? If she didn't do anything wrong, why not testify? I mean, it's just like domestic spying, right? Why should good, patriotic Americans care if the Govt spies on their communications? If they are doing anything illegal, they have nothing to worry about.

But, talking *judgment*, advocating the teaching of Creationism is a non-starter. I'd prefer my kids to learn how cells work so they can compete with China, India, and Russia in 15 years in science.

I'm not a big fan of banning books either. Next thing you know, science books will be banned -- on the pretext that everything that happens is "God's Plan."

And slaughter in Darfur . . . isn't that God's plan? And Russia's invasion of Georgia?

Oh yeah, I take it as a given that if Obama wins, Palin will scream in support of Obama -- because it's God's plan.
9.7.2008 12:27pm
karl newman:

Gridlock is our friend


In general perhaps, although gridlock is a conservative position, not a libertarian one. However, gridlock will not solve the mess we are in. Our economy and our competitiveness have struck an iceberg. We have a broken FDA, CMS/NIH, CDC, USDA - our science is falling behind, our food is becoming increasingly unsafe. School tuition is 50k/year. Social security is dead, etc. If government is the answer AND/OR the problem, we need to do something. Did regulation cause "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" or could it have prevented it? Who will make the flu vaccine each year? We either have to eliminate Social Security or fix it, we can't keep the garbage bag it is. We either have to eliminate the CDC/FDA/USDA/US Fish&Wildlife-DOI food safety government bureaucracy mess or eliminate food safety as a national protection - the system IS broken and we are all paying for it. Someone has to be fix these problems and gridlock won't.
9.7.2008 12:27pm
Shertaugh:
Sorry re: "Sen. Robert Byrd of Virginia . . . "

Should have read, "Sen. Robert Byrd of W. Virginia . . . "
9.7.2008 12:28pm
Pragmaticist:
For David Post to actually believe that Obama is more plausible as a President than Palin, speaks volumes about Post.

Also, Newsflash: The vast majority of Americans know diddlysquat about Joseph Biden.
9.7.2008 12:30pm
F LEE (mail):
The choice is simple for the future of America: socialism vs. capitalism.

If Palin is for free market principles, she is more qualified than Obama to be president. Simply put, a socialist is not qualified to be president.

It is very simple.
9.7.2008 12:30pm
tarheel:
David, hopefully you've learned your lesson. You don't criticize THE [Republican] ONE!!!
9.7.2008 12:31pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
But now they are relevant, alas – McCain has made them so.
No, McCain did not make those issues relevant. Palin was one of the 10 or 15 VP choices who were discussed by the political pundits. Unless you think that McCain was obligated to pick a failed presidential candidate like Biden, Palin was as well known as the likely alternatives.
9.7.2008 12:33pm
ArtEclectic (mail):
Thank you, David. The level of political discourse on blogs is appalling and an embarrassment both to our society and school system. That people cannot disagree eloquently and intellectually - especially on a blog like VC which has always drawn a higher IQ level, is disheartening.

No matter what your politics, some of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

It would be nice if VC got back to discussing the legal matters that most of us read it for rather than turning into yet another online version of the Jerry Springer Show. The Finance and Economics blogs are managing to stay out of the fray, so are most other non-political blogs. You all lessen yourselves by indulging the impulse to stump for your favorites.
9.7.2008 12:34pm
JB:
Wow, this comment thread is almost as bad as the ones at fivethirtyeight.com, which held the previous record for "worst ratio of comment to post quality."
9.7.2008 12:36pm
rarango (mail):
David: wise choice. Not because you are right or wrong. This blog is a treasure to a non lawyer like me who enjoys the legal arguments put forward--it helps me understand issues in a way that you cant find anywhere else--Dragging a divisive campaign into this blog sullies its importance to me. I can go to kos, free republic or any other number of blogs to see political perspective and invective. That is not what I expected from the conspirators--Stay with your business plan--that works; the political garbage does not.
9.7.2008 12:36pm
karl newman:
"a socialist is not qualified to be president" - F Lee

I guess tax cuts for the middle class, making 200k or less (Obama)vs. tax cuts for wealthy (>500k) (McCain) is socialist. I guess tax cuts for renewable energy (Obama) vs. oil companies (McCain) is socialist.

It is amazing, that still in 2008 people repeat story lines from 1980 or 1984. The fact is, McCain loves government $$. McCain's whole campaign is funded by YOU the taxpayer he took the handout - he is the socialist. Obama DID NOT take the handout - he is the capitalist.

McCain's did not run a good campaign - bad executive! So McCain had to take a handout of $85 million!

Seriously. Look at the facts.
9.7.2008 12:40pm
K. Dackson (mail):
Like the fact that Obama pledged that he would accept public financing until it served him not to?
9.7.2008 12:43pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Examining the process by which a Presidential candidate makes executive decisions is useful. If McCain's first executive decision -- picking Palin -- was impulsive or hasty, people want to know. Moreover, McCain had five whole months to make his selection -- do tough decisions make him procrastinate? Questions regarding a candidate's character and judgment are always appropriate.
9.7.2008 12:48pm
TDPerkins (mail):

She was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.


She was a local politician for a better connection between a local municipality and it's airport, until she realized the portrayals of it in the nation media were hurting the state--that's perfectly reasonable.


She switched only after Ted Stevens was actually indicted.


In what universe do you reside, other than the one where Sarah Palin fought the Stevenses of here party for election and won--in 2006?


When she she switched her position to opposing the Bridge to Nowhere, she still was happy to receive the $200 million in US taxpayer money to spend however she pleased.


Which is different from how other local politicians in this country operate how, except in that she did defeat and throw out several corrupt members of her own party?


As mayor, she funneled local taxpayer money to a Friend of Ted, who in turn got Ted to funnel lots more US taxpayer money to spend on the Mayor's pet pork projects.


Sounds like she was doing a Mayor's job well.


McCain was against those projects until he was for them.


Eh? Cite.


She drove her debt-free town deeply into debt.


Can't have been deeply into debt, when raising a single tax by only 25%--plus revenues from the project--are paying off the debt ahead of schedule.

I presume you oppose the sale of bonds to build roads, then?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.7.2008 12:52pm
F LEE (mail):
Hey Newman,

Your facts are as wrong as your views.

The little Messiah wants to increase taxes for the rich i.e. those making $250,00 or more (rich??) and give tax money to many many people who don't even pay taxes. In addition, he wants to eliminate the Bush tax cuts, which is an increase of the current tax rate.

In other words, take money from the most productive and give it to thee least productive.

He also wants to have a government takeover of one of the largest part of our economy, the health care industry.

The government running the healthcare business is frightening. Have you been to the DMV?

Yes, that is socialistic.
9.7.2008 12:53pm
TDPerkins (mail):

Examining the process by which a Presidential candidate makes executive decisions is useful.


Evidently, late nights watching Youtube videos of Palin were involved.


If McCain's first executive decision -- picking Palin -- was impulsive or hasty, people want to know. Moreover, McCain had five whole months to make his selection -- do tough decisions make him procrastinate?


Please decide on a line of attack--or keep contradictory ones if you please. Which was it procrastinated or hasty?
And since it's such an important choice, shouldn't he take what time he has?



Questions regarding a candidate's character and judgment are always appropriate.


So when will you come up with one?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.7.2008 12:56pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Mr. Post,

If you honestly think Palin's experience and vetting to only potentially be President do not compare favorably to Obama's in definitely seeking the post, the public discourse is better off without your contributions.

Thank you for your future silence on the matter.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.7.2008 12:59pm
Angus:

Can't have been deeply into debt, when raising a single tax by only 25%--plus revenues from the project--are paying off the debt ahead of schedule.

I'm a little confused. Is this the new conservative talking point? Massive debt is OK as long as we raise taxes by 25% in order to pay it off?
9.7.2008 1:01pm
Book about a book (www):
Let me write about why I'm not going to write about Gov. Palin.

Wait....
9.7.2008 1:05pm
Matthew K:
James Lindgren:

Readers are indeed coming back to read more and more about Obama and Palin, but do you want them to? The measure of a blog is in its influence, not its hits (unless said blog is a purely money-making endeavor). Volokh's legal commentary is quite good, and I imagine that a meaningful number of legal practitioners come here to read it. If that was intended to be your brand, then this foray into presidential politics is harmful, if popular, in that it poorly serves the audience you intend to attract.
9.7.2008 1:06pm
theobromophile (www):
As someone who has been hoping for a Palin nomination for quite some time, the Friday before last was a "Pinch me, am I dreaming?" moment.

As politics is about picking the person who best represents you, not the one who is a perfect match for your every belief, discussions about the merits of a candidate are wonderful, even to those who agree with the critics but plan on voting for the person anyway.

Sadly, the media failed to engage Ms. Palin on the merits, and rather went into full-on smear mode. After reading headlines like "Babies, Lies, and Scandal," even reasoned debate about her comes across as piling it on. For those who think that she is a decent human being - i.e. totally undeserving of the media cesspool - all you hear, all day, is what a horrible person she is, how she's an incompetent mother, how her teenager daughter deserves to be humiliated in front of a national audience, etc.

Mr. Kopel, I think that people who are responding viscerally to some of your points are those who are transferring their reaction to the cruelty heaped on her to you. While understandable, it is not right, but it is part of human nature to get into defensive mode. While, in an ideal world, one would always be able to bring forth well-reasoned criticism, you may have gotten a better reaction if you had waited a bit.
9.7.2008 1:07pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
sbw:

Funny that the Associated Press article didn't bring up the million dollar earmark Obama got for the hospital that had just increased his wife's pay from 100K+ to 300K.


Funny that you and lots of other people are claiming that he "got" the earmark even though his request didn't pass:

among those that had been killed were his request in 2006 for $1 million for an expansion of the University of Chicago Medical Center
9.7.2008 1:07pm
CJM (mail):
F LEE:

Your facts are as wrong as your views...

Behold: Obama's plan will only tax for social security those making over a quarter of a million ($250,000)/year. That is a lot of money. Many lawyers (and certainly not the professors contributing to this blog) don't make that in a year. For those making $42,000 as an individual/per year, he will reduce their tax burden by about $1,000.

On Health Care, you have also clearly not done your homework. Obama's plan would not create a new single-payer system as Hillary proposed for all. He wants to cover gaps for the uninsured, extending the coverage given to Members of Congress and Federal Employees to those currently uninsured or struggling to get by with their current plans. That's not socialist - that's humane.

As a federal employee, I can tell you, the insurance provided to me is nothing like a DMV visit; it's fantastic compared to what I had in the private sector: my premiums are 75% lower, it's completely portable, I have two open seasons to change plans each fiscal year, and my network of providers is around ten times the size, with out of network copays (say, if I travel and get sick) are reasonable compared to the exorbitant rate I had to pay when I had to visit a doctor in Florida for food poisoning.
9.7.2008 1:10pm
egn (mail):
David, I agree with most of this, but deeply, profoundly disagree with the notion that whether a Vice Presidential candidate asked a librarian (not the school librarian) to consider banning books when she was mayor is a "fundamentally irrelevant" question.

Within the realm of plausible revelations, it is one of the more disturbing things I could have learned about a candidate for prominent national office.
9.7.2008 1:11pm
Hoosier:
"but I’ve never before been called a “putz” (let alone a “complete putz”!), a jerk, a “leftoid,” or a moron. "

Never? You gotta get out more! There's a whole world of invective that you've been missing.
9.7.2008 1:18pm
theobromophile (www):
...and that should read "Mr. Post." Mea culpa!
9.7.2008 1:18pm
TDPerkins (mail):

Can't have been deeply into debt, when raising a single tax by only 25%--plus revenues from the project--are paying off the debt ahead of schedule.


I'm a little confused. Is this the new conservative talking point? Massive debt is OK as long as we raise taxes by 25% in order to pay it off?


My point is that the debt was not massive relative to the existing budget, and also that unlike many leftist expenditures, it appears to have been a profitable debt for the community undertake.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.7.2008 1:21pm
Sally:
"...but deeply, profoundly disagree with the notion that whether a Vice Presidential candidate asked a librarian (not the school librarian) to consider banning books when she was mayor is a "fundamentally irrelevant" question."

I've seen this a few times now and I really wonder why the assumption is that Palin is in favor of banning books. Is it not just as possible that she was attempting to confirm that the librarian wasn't in favor of banning books and not that the Governor herself thought it should occur?

We have certainly seen far more censorship on the left side of the spectrum these days than on the right, especially when it comes to all matters Islamic.
9.7.2008 1:26pm
David Warner:
"To David Post- thank you for your post. I find both Obama and McCain to be honorable, and they present different visions of America. Whoever wins will have to lead America through continued turbulent times, and while partisanship is certainly no vice, I hope people can leave the vitriol at home after the election, regardless of the winner."

I'd second that and add that we need many more people like Obama and Palin involved in the political process on the local, state, and national level. That there would be spirited responses to the attempted character assassination of both, or varying degrees of erudition and civility, is not a sign of the weakness of the Republic but its strength, one that goes back to the founders themselves.
9.7.2008 1:26pm
Displaced Midwesterner:
I welcome the Palin pick. McCain did not encourage the same amount of vitriol from the left as Obama did from the right. Now there seems to be more balance to the contest.
9.7.2008 1:29pm
Sk (mail):
Hmm. I think the problem is that you are making preposterous claims.

"Whatever you think of Sarah Palin and of her qualifications, surely we can all agree on one thing – that until McCain nominated her, the vast majority of the American people didn’t know the first thing about her, and that now we only have six weeks to get up that curve, and we will be soaking up a huge amount of information about her because we do need to know who she is if she is to become Vice President."

Of course. If McCain had chosen just about anyone else, the same thing would have happened (how many people in this country have heard of Pawlenty? 2%? Wouldn't we have spent the same time learning about Pawlenty? Or Ridge? Or Hutchinson?). What a bizarre view. Its a distraction from the election that we have to spend tim learning about the candidate for whom we might be voting. And outside of a small handful of people (perhaps Lieberman, Powell, anyone else?), this is an inevitable feature of the way elections are performed in this country.

" Both sides seem to agree (and I agree with them) that the country is in a rather serious mess – that we’re losing our edge, wasting our money, and falling behind. I agree – I’m glad everyone seems to be in agreement about that."

I doubt it. There is no recession. We seem to be winning in Iraq. I think both sides agree that the conventional wisdom is that the country is a mess. With a tiny bit of historical awareness, this view is clearly nonsense.

But don't let such considerations interfere with your worldview. After all Obama has campaigned for president, and that makes him uniquely qualified to actually be president!!! If only those Palin Republican robots would see the obviousness of this view, all your attempts to question her, while ignoring Obama's weaknesses, would be accepted at face value!

One suspects you are used to presenting views like this to students and younger folks, who either accept them or pretend to accept them at face value. Its probably valuable to your intellectual growth to post in this blog, to see how non-dependent adults react.

Sk
9.7.2008 1:30pm
CJM (mail):
Sally:

That article outlines a lot of the vindictiveness of her policies and clearly shows that Mayor Palin (NOT GOVERNOR) was trying to see if the librarian would be in favor of banning books, and then brought it up again in a later meeting before attempting to fire the librarian for "not supporting the administration's policies." This can not be disregarded as it speaks to her fundamental view of the First Amendment.

You need to be more specific with "matters Islamic." It sounds like you heard something, a news clip, a sound byte somewhere, and are repeating it. If by that, you mean people on the left who refuse to make Islam the enemy, there's nothing wrong with that. As far as those on the left who can suffer NO criticism of Islamic extremists, they are a fringe element. You will find that the two points of comparison, Obama and Biden, have been quite candid about extremism and their disgust with it.
9.7.2008 1:36pm
Angus:

Sadly, the media failed to engage Ms. Palin on the merits,

I think a lot in the media would like to do so, but since becoming the nominee she has not fielded a single question from reporters. She's also the only one of the 4 candidates who is going to skip the Sunday interview shows this week.

How can the press engage anyone on substantive issues if they refuse to engage substantive issues themselves?
9.7.2008 1:41pm
NRWO:
David,

I’m with Jim. Turn-off the comments and keep posting.

I’ve said my peace here.

I think this is a Goldwater moment for the GOP. Historically, the GOP has been more aligned than the Democratic Party – if only rhetorically – with the idea of a meritocracy.

The GOP has a deep bench of qualified VP candidates who have executive experience, whose values are consistent with those of the Republication Party, and, in many cases, whose mettle has been tested on the national and international stage.

McCain could have chosen any of these candidates (notably Romney, who fits the bill, and who was endorsed by the NR Editors) but went with a relatively unknown prospect, for myriad reasons, none of which had much, if anything, to do with merit.

In the short term the GOP could benefit from the selection. Palin is popular with the party faithful and, unless a bombshell is dropped, she may help McCain get out the vote and win the election.

But the benefit will come at a cost to the party’s historical alliance with the principle of merit.

A note to friendly readers: Comparing Palin’s experience to Obama’s experience is inapt. If you believe that Obama’s experience is limited or disqualifying, then don’t compare Palin to Obama. Compare Palin to somebody you admire for his experience and achievement, and then ask: Does Palin measure up?
9.7.2008 1:42pm
MLS:

McCain-Obama has the makings of a great contest, a real turning point election in which we get to decide important questions about the direction we want the country to take.


I know it hints at my age, but I have voted (more or less when younger and more with age...sometimes R, sometimes D, and many times I) in elections for federal office since 1970. In every one of them, and especially in presidential election years, the "debate" has always centered around claims that this is "a real turning point election in whch we get to decide important question about the direction we want the country to take." It became apparent to me very early on that elections are never about "new directions", "change", or whatever buzzword mantra some election committee selects, because no matter who was elected federal government incursion into our daily lives has continued to expand; sometimes more rapidly than others, but expand it did, and with it federal hands dipping even deeper into the collective pockets of the electorate.

Mine is not a cynical view, but merely one based upon years of observation. Thus, I have not the slightest reason to believe that this election is any different from all of the others I have witnessed. I see it as being no more and no less than sixty days of talking points trying to convince voters that the candidates really mean it this time.

I have also observed over the years that every presidential candidate proclaims what he (and perhaps someday in the near future...she) will do to address perceived "social ills". In my formative years as a voter I actually entertained the notion that presidential power was coextensive with all of the rhetoric being bandied about, until one day when I sat down and actually read Article 2 and realized that real power lay with Congress and not the Oval Office. Executive power is so narrowly defined that there is not the slightest possibility that any president, except perhaps in the most exigent of circustances such as WWII, has any meaningful chance of changing the "course" of the "ship" we collectively call "Washington".

I have learned that every federal election is merely about the respective platforms of our two predominant and entrenched political parties. In those years when the election of a president is in play the only real difference with between them and off-year elections is that the respective presidential candidates serve as little more than "point men" (a cymic might say "shill") for the platforms of their political parties.

What truly disappoints me is how few of those who vote for a presidential candidate understand that their vote is not in key part for the election of the "best qualified candidate", but little more than a reflection of whether the RNC or the DNC platform for Congress will prevail.

"Change"? A nice buzzword. "Maverick"? A nice buzzword as well. But that is all they are...buzzwords devoid of any meaning. They are nothing but PR words that ring hollow and are no more than a disingenuous attempt to manipulate the electorate.

If voters are truly serious about enacting real change of what goes on within the Beltway, they need to look no further than their candidates for election to Congress. This is really what every federal election is about, and to believe otherwise is a mistake.

"Change", if such a term is ever to have any real meaning, must start with the men and women elected to Congress. Until then we will be treated to a four year cycle and spectacle of electing presidents that is little more than fodder for The Late Show and The Tonight Show hosts, as well as shows like SNL.

Given this political reality (at least in my view), I plan on voting for the candidate I believe best "fits" what our constitution declares as the powers of the office, i.e., CIC, foreign affairs, appointments and presenting State of the Union speeches (and in that order).
9.7.2008 1:42pm
SG:
Does anyone have some actual information on the increased debt load of Wasilla? My understanding is that the debt was a bond issue passed by voter referendum, and is being paid for by an increase in the sales tax. This seems utterly normal for local politics and frankly an intellectually dishonest talking point. Voters passing a bond issue for capital improvements is not remotely the same as the government engaging in deficit spending.

But it's hard to know what's true during campaign season. Anyone have any pointers to facts?
9.7.2008 1:42pm
Ben Franklin (mail):
Yeah David, it is McCain's fault that unhinged leftists are trying to smear his choice for vice president. It is his fault we are talking about book banning lists that never existed or that we are talking about all of these other "distractions." It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the press can't bring itself to investigate the extent of Obama's ties to a known terrorist or his complete, utter and abject failure to improve education in Chicago despite spending $160 million dollars on every whacked out Marxist interest group that he could find to shower money on. We can't focus on the fact that he attended the black equivalent of klan meetings for 20 years at his "church" or that he has accomplished nothing other than to win a couple of elections where he was unopposed or where his opponent self-destructed. We get absolutely no questions on his ties to lobbyists, the pork he shovelled to his wife's employer or the middle eastern bag man that made it possible for him to live as well as he now does. All distractions in the eyes of the media from the real issue that is most dear to them... how can they get this empty suit elected so that one of their own is in power.

But they certainly seem to have time to publish every unsubstantiated rumor that comes down the pike about Palin. And this is McCain's fault? Palin's fault? Of course not. It is an absurd argument made by silly people.

By any measure you want to name, Palin is the equal or the better of Obama. This is the dirty little secret the media doesn't want anyone to know and they are all busily scrambling around to throw as much mud as they can in the hopes that something, regardless of veracity, will stick in time to save the election. In that you have helped them, and indeed have argued above that their behavior is appropriate, you have brought shame upon yourself and upon the VC.

I applaud your realization that you have absolutely nothing to add to the debate. It is a bit late in coming and it is rather a cheap shot to try to blame your critics for the inadequacies of your initial efforts, but it is a start.

Perhaps in the future, if you wish to avoid ridicule, you might try making less ridiculous arguments. It sure beats whining about how mean everyone is to you.
9.7.2008 1:44pm
Federal Dog:
"But, talking *judgment*, advocating the teaching of Creationism is a non-starter."

Please stop spreading lies.
9.7.2008 1:45pm
Federal Dog:
"I'm not a big fan of banning books either."

Please stop spreading lies.
9.7.2008 1:46pm
Curt Fischer:
I'll echo the comments of a few others that having only six weeks to "vet" Palin as a voter is certainly not an issue unique to Palin.


...now we only have six weeks to get up that curve, and we will be soaking up a huge amount of information about her because we do need to know who she is if she is to become Vice President.


What's wrong with that? How many voters really need more than six weeks to study a candidate? In my view, if all state primaries and caucuses were pushed back to August instead of February, we would all be happier. Even though voters would have "only" two months to "get up that curve" with even the Presidential candidates.
9.7.2008 1:49pm
Nifonged:
"That is a distraction."

Caused by whom?

This is why Post's posts (no pun intended) are so vacuous.
9.7.2008 1:52pm
Nifonged:
"I agree – I’m glad everyone seems to be in agreement about that."

Oh sweet God, narcissism much?

As the Palin "mess" originated my initial reaction is the same. Some people need to get over themselves.
9.7.2008 1:54pm
karl newman:
F Lee; I stand corrected. However, I don't know if there is evidence that people making 500k/year are more productive than people making 50k or 100k/year. That would only be the case if salary was an efficient mechanism. A public health physician likely saves 10 to 100x more lives than a neurosurgeon, but makes 1/10th the salary. Obama's giving a tax break to the public health MD would be a net positive in this instance. It is true that giving a dollar to a poor person helps the economy more than giving a dollar to a neurosurgeon. The poor person will actually spend the dollar.
9.7.2008 1:56pm
Sally:
CJM, I can find nothing that supports the notion that the Governor favored banning books. Asking a librarian if she would ban books is not the same thing as being in favor of banning books. I might ask you, would you ban books? because I want to know that you won't do it, not that you will. It seems as if many have jumped to a certain conclusion because it supports their incorrect notion that conservatives are against the free flow of ideas. But the opposite has proven true recently.

Consider for example the Danish cartoon controversy and the unwillingness to publish those because it might inflame Muslim passions. For many of us, the only place we could view those cartoons, to see for ourselves what the controversy was about, was on right-leaning blogs. And more recently we have the story of "The Jewel of Medina" and Random House's unwillingness to publish it for fear of a Muslim backlash. Certainly one would not accuse Random House of being a right wing organ.

And of course, as to matters non-Islamic, we have the effort by Obama supporters to prevent Stanley Kurtz' interview from going forward:

"Kurtz, whose pieces appear in such publications as the Wall Street Journal and National Review, has been investigating the relationship of Barack Obama and William Ayers, the Illinois professor who is an unrepentant Weatherman bomber of the 1960s and '70s. Published reports tell how Obama supporters inundated a radio station with phone calls and e-mails in an effort to stop an interview with Kurtz, and accused him of "baseless fear-mongering." It was "intimidating," a radio producer said." (http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/36017)
9.7.2008 2:03pm
Sam H (mail):
"Both candidates, in my opinion, are plausible presidents – something that could not be said (in my opinion) for most of their opponents in the primaries. I was delighted when it became clear that these were the two who would be squaring off – I like elections in which I can be reasonably certain that whether my guy wins or not, the republic’s in good hands,"

Wow, just wow. Obama would be a far worse choice than Carter was. Beside taxing the rich and putting our kids to work, just what does Obama propose? He doesn't say.

The Democrats had a good choice to run, but they cheated her. I would never vote for her, but I trust her not to destroy the country unlike Obama.
9.7.2008 2:05pm
Angus:

Voters passing a bond issue for capital improvements is not remotely the same as the government engaging in deficit spending.

No ideas about the particulars about the bond issue, but I do find one thing about this delicious.

One of the main capital improvements was a sports center, and one of the stated reasons for building it was to start the Iditarod sled race there, as its official starting point had been Wasilla for decades. From 2003-present, the Iditarod has had to move its starting place from Wasilla to further north because climate change had reduced too much of the snow cover from Wasilla. Climate change that many republicans deny even existing.
9.7.2008 2:06pm
matt b (mail):
palin has neither an ivy degree nor a law degree, so she must be stupid. she never lived in ny, boston, dc or chicago, so she must be stupid. she hasn't written two memoirs by the age of 45, so she must be stupid.

we call this douchebaggery from where i am from.
9.7.2008 2:09pm
Sam H (mail):
"It is true that giving a dollar to a poor person helps the economy more than giving a dollar to a neurosurgeon. The poor person will actually spend the dollar."

Not so because the neurosurgeon will invest the dollar where it will be used to create jobs and other good things. The dollar spent is gone, but the dollar invested keeps right on working.
9.7.2008 2:09pm
karl newman:
F Lee. One last comment. I didn't realize that the DMV was a Federal Department. What state do you live in? I actually do 100% of my DMV-related visits online these days, get license etc. by mail. My DMV is pretty good, but I doubt McCain/Obama will help my DMV out.

CMJ is totally correct about healthcare. Obama is not for "socialized" medicine. Although the current gridlock system of medicine that F Lee favors is COMPLETELY messed up in this country and not sustainable. We all pay higher, much higher, insurance rates to cover the uninsured. To make our companies economically competitive in the WORLD, we need to control health care costs and the private sector has totally failed in this (so far). I am sure that more gridlock will help us. Yes?

I do know that Obama is smart, very smart, and in a meritocracy, he or another smart person, I hope, will help us solve this and other IMPORTANT problems. There are a lot of people with "experience" that haven't solved this.
9.7.2008 2:11pm
karl newman:
Sam H - "The dollar spent is gone, but the dollar invested keeps right on working"

A dollar spent is not gone. There is a multiplier effect which, if I remember, is 70% or so. It is unclear if investment grows our consumer economy more.
9.7.2008 2:14pm
FlimFlamSam:
Republicans would prefer not to talk about the silly Palin issues that the left wing has brought up. We'd much rather talk about energy policy, individual rights (she's practically a libertarian), national defense, spending and taxes, etc.

But the left's attack on Palin has centered on what's between her legs, not what's between her ears. Don't blame the right wing for being defensive over our candidate.
9.7.2008 2:16pm
I've seen the man in person and wasn't impressed (mail):
Both candidates, in my opinion, are plausible presidents

I beg to differ.

1) Obama is a cultural Marxist.

2) Obama's domestic policies are unreconstructed pre-1980s welfare statist liberalism.

3) Obama's foreign policy is that of a hippie/naive college student. 'Let's just talk to everybody and be nice.'

4) Obama is an unsavory character. His pompous arrogance hides or covers for his lack of real political accomplishments and he has associated himself with the nastier aspects of Chicago politics.
9.7.2008 2:16pm
glangston (mail):
A Sports Talk radio show I occasionally listen to has gotten off track and into the political and it's just as annoying as seeing it here or listening to the Dixie Chicks and their "not ready to make nice" blather.
9.7.2008 2:21pm
ejo:
criticized her on the merits? ie. the merits of whether she was passing off her grandchild as her own? the merits of whether her daughter is a whore? those were the merits being addressed by the mainstream media and the left. they could have addressed substance-they, and the left, didn't.
9.7.2008 2:22pm
Cornellian (mail):

No one who considers Obama "plausible" as President can rationally suggest that Palin is not "plausible" as VP. Only the most rapid partisan who has set their brain's logic function switch in the 'off' position would consider making such an assertion.


You might say the same in reverse - no one who considers Obama unqualified to be President can rationally suggest that McCain exercised good judgment by selecting Palin as VP.
9.7.2008 2:23pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

I’ve made many suggestions and comments here on the VC over the years that some have considered wrongheaded and obtuse – in fact, I pride myself on that a bit – but I’ve never before been called a “putz” (let alone a “complete putz”!), a jerk, a “leftoid,” or a moron. There’s something about the subject that seems to bring out a bit of a nasty streak in people.


Politics, son- it ain't the Academe. Takes a thick skin.

In the words of my kind of liberal, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
9.7.2008 2:24pm
Cornellian (mail):
criticized her on the merits? ie. the merits of whether she was passing off her grandchild as her own? the merits of whether her daughter is a whore? those were the merits being addressed by the mainstream media and the left. they could have addressed substance-they, and the left, didn't.

As opposed to the critical issue of whether Obama has ever eaten arugula?
9.7.2008 2:25pm
Raymo Smookels:
Comparing VC commentary as of late to the likes of Kos and Freep gives it far too much credit.

At this rate, I'm awaiting the day 4chan rolls VC up as /l/.
9.7.2008 2:25pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

One possibility is not turning on comments.


See above. (/derision)
9.7.2008 2:26pm
NRWO:
...until one day when I sat down and actually read Article 2 and realized that real power lay with Congress and not the Oval Office. Executive power is so narrowly defined that there is not the slightest possibility that any president, except perhaps in the most exigent of circustances such as WWII, has any meaningful chance of changing the "course" of the "ship" we collectively call "Washington".

Given this political reality (at least in my view), I plan on voting for the candidate I believe best "fits" what our constitution declares as the powers of the office, i.e., CIC, foreign affairs, appointments and presenting State of the Union speeches (and in that order).

Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the President veto power, which is probably more consequential than his State of the Union Address.

Without the threat of veto power, Democrats would likely have been able to attach timeframes to funding the war in Iraq.
9.7.2008 2:27pm
CJM (mail):
Sally: The Danish cartoons and the Random House issue are a public good question. They have nothing to do with government censorship (except mildly in the case of the Danes, which is Europe, and is another onion to unravel altogether). In America, where I live, and I assume you live, or at least hold its values dear - censorship has only crept up in the most extreme cases in our history. It is not in our fabric. Looking at these other authoritarian moves Palin has made as both governor and mayor, such as exerting such a far-reach in personnel decisions, making politics excessively personal in the worst tradition of Alaska's already corrupt system, and by all accounts, her unbending and uncompromising decisionmaking process - all of that lends credence to the idea that she indeed wanted to ban books. We can ignore the accounts of those who said she wanted books banned. While Malkin and others have rightly shown that the supposed "list of banned books" was false, that does not go far at all in discrediting the notion that Palin still wanted to ban books.

matt b: As an aside, it's not about her being stupid or general urban elitism. This is a fundamental issue of intellectual curiosity, of which she has none. I can deal with somebody who has very little practical knowledge or "experience" such as Obama because he seems to be genuinely interested in ideas for their own sake, and along with Biden, to want to make positive decisions based on reasoned analysis. By all accounts, and from my own observations of her repetition of the same extremist clap-trap I've heard for years, she has a similar desire to live in the same bubble our current President and VP have lived in for the past 8 years.
9.7.2008 2:42pm
EH (mail):
This whole *experience* obsession is a smoke-screen to prevent a conversation about actual decisions and policy statements that the candidates have made.

Hear hear.

I think what's happened here is that VC got suckered into People Magazine politics and some smart people took the bait. The increase in site traffic is directly related to people wanting to see smarter people than Sean Hannity rolling around in the mud.
9.7.2008 2:48pm
TCO:
Wow, you are sensitive. I hadn't even STARTED to rip your tits.

Oh...and are you the dude who confused likelihood with poll leads (wrt prediction markets)? I sorta thought that was V dotcom subpar. Maybe we don't need you here.
9.7.2008 2:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I really wonder why the assumption is that Palin is in favor of banning books. Is it not just as possible that she was attempting to confirm that the librarian wasn't in favor of banning books … I might ask you, would you ban books? because I want to know that you won't do it, not that you will.


Sorry, but that's pure sophistry. She asked the question three times.

Let's say I become mayor, and I ask the town's personnel director for the names of all the Jews who work for the town. And when he refuses to do so, I ask again. And again. Is a rational observer supposed to conclude that this means I am "attempting to confirm" that the personnel director doesn't hate Jews?
9.7.2008 2:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
federal, I see you're still trying to obscure the facts regarding Palin and creationism. So let's review them.

What happened is first she said one thing, and then she said something else, the next day. This is what she said first:

Palin was answering a question from the moderator near the conclusion of Wednesday night's televised debate on KAKM Channel 7 when she said, "Teach both [evolution and creationism]. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both."


This is what she said the next day:

I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.


The way it looks to me is that first she gave an answer which revealed her authentic belief, and then she backpedaled after she noticed the uproar she created.

She has a track record of taking extreme positions, and then backpedaling. Another example is when she tried to fire the librarian, but was forced to relent because of the public backlash.
9.7.2008 2:53pm
A.W. (mail):
David,

I don’t know if you are a leftoid or whatever, but I haven’t seen you questioning Obama’s qualifications and bluntly, his resume is much worse than hers.

She has more political experience, and she has more executive experience.

To borrow a line, she has run a commercial fishing operation, a town and a state. Obama has run nothing but his mouth.

Obama’s job in the state and federal legislatures was to run his mouth and vote. And much of the time he couldn’t even figure out how to vote.

And, to add to all that, Palin has a record of accomplishments. Both her and Obama say they are opposed to corruption, but only one has actually fought and won against corruption. As of this day, Obama has blown the whistle on no one, even though he is a Chicago dem.

Now maybe all of this is an institutional bias. After all, both Obama and you are lawyers, law professors, even, and so maybe you are having trouble seeing the merits here. But let me say as a humble attorney that there is little in legal training that prepares you to be president. Solicitor General, maybe, but not president. I work daily in a corporation, around people far better than I at management, and I know my place. I make sure they understand the risks and how to measure them; they decide which risks to take. A wise man knows his limitations. Obama doesn’t. There is nothing in his past that suggests he is even remotely up to the job.

So anyone who says, gee, I am not sure Palin is up to it, but Obama is fine, is clearly not seeing things clearly. And that is why people are calling you a hack, etc. It is certainly mystifying to me.
9.7.2008 2:56pm
Wah-Silly:
Lindgren wrote:
"Our hits at VC in the last week are about triple what they were months ago, so our readers are coming back to read about Obama and Palin more often than usual."
IMHO, this is NOT a reason to keep posting on a subject that even Lindgren admits is dragging down the quality of the discourse on VC. If this is a primary measure that the authorized posters are using to determine whether they're an influential blog, they're very misguided.

VC's prominence comes from the quality of its analysis of legal and related issues, not the raw number of hits. If you just want to increase hits, you should give up on the election and start posting porn.

David, I'm with you on this one.
9.7.2008 2:57pm
karl newman:
Alaska Budget: $5.5 billion

Budget of my Hospital and Med School combined: $5 billion

So, the Dean of my medical school is 'almost' as qualified as Sara Palin to be VP or President? Of course not because he actually earned his position by growing his Division, then his Department. Palin was just elected. My Dean is thus more qualified to be President. I am sure some would curse him because he is an elite.

The whole experience or "executive" experience argument is weak. Palin hasn't even been re-elected yet.

What we need are ideas, intelligence and good judgment.

The whole argument that "elites" shouldn't run the country is crap. Elites run our companies. What about the founding fathers - Washington, Jefferson - they were elites.

Did Lincoln have experience? Country Lawyer - no executive experience.
9.7.2008 3:02pm
Public_Defender (mail):

Which is different from how other local politicians in this country operate how, except in that she did defeat and throw out several corrupt members of her own party?

Um, isn't that what McCain says he's running against?
9.7.2008 3:17pm
loki13 (mail):
I've never understood the "elite" argument. I don't want to have a beer with my President. I don't want my President to reflect me. I want my President to be better than me. Why doesn't that make sense?

Do you choose your doctor based on who you want to have a beer with? Whether they 'reflect' you? What about the CEO of a company?

As pointed out by Karl Newman, supra, our founding fathers were the elites of their time.
Washington- political elite, military elite.
Adams- political elite
Jefferson- donn't even get me started on his wine collection . . .

shall I continue? Anyone want to argue that Marshall, J.Q.A., Madison weren't the elite?
9.7.2008 3:18pm
FlimFlamSam:

Alaska Budget: $5.5 billion

Budget of my Hospital and Med School combined: $5 billion

So, the Dean of my medical school is 'almost' as qualified as Sara Palin to be VP or President? Of course not because he actually earned his position by growing his Division, then his Department. Palin was just elected. My Dean is thus more qualified to be President. I am sure some would curse him because he is an elite.


Companies and schools are (ideally) meritocracies. The United States is a democracy. Palin earned her position BY BEING elected. But I do agree with you that the experience of running a large university and med school would be qualifying experience for being a governor, but probably not president or vice president.

I also agree entirely that judgment and intelligence are more important than experience. McCain-Palin seems to have both in better quantities than Obama-Biden. Sure, you can say that Obama's smart because he went to Harvard, but Joe Biden is an absolute idiot, and both McCain and Palin have shown better judgment in their lives than either Obama or Biden.
9.7.2008 3:24pm
sbw (mail) (www):
jukeboxgrad, I had just returned to this blog to correct the infor on Obama's earmark for the hospital where his wife works when you beat me to it. Thanks. According to Byron York, "In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office." After that, Obama's request for a million dollars for a pavilion for the hostpital was turned down.

His wife got a healthy raise. He did try for the earmark. Please don't dwell on my faulty memory on a Sunday morning. Instead, see the substance of what Obama did.

And forgive me, if I do not paper this blog with my other correspondence with my bureau chief at AP.

Again, thanks for pointing out the error I was on my way back to correct. An accurate map of what happened is what we are both after.
9.7.2008 3:25pm
sbw (mail) (www):
jukeboxgrad, I had just returned to this blog to correct the infor on Obama's earmark for the hospital where his wife works when you beat me to it. Thanks. According to Byron York, "In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office." After that, Obama's request for a million dollars for a pavilion for the hostpital was turned down.

His wife got a healthy raise. He did try for the earmark. Please don't dwell on my faulty memory on a Sunday morning. Instead, see the substance of what Obama did.

And forgive me, if I do not paper this blog with my other correspondence with my bureau chief at AP.

Again, thanks for pointing out the error I was on my way back to correct. An accurate map of what happened is what we are both after.
9.7.2008 3:25pm
CJM (mail):
to loki13:

"Your guilty conscience may move you to vote Democratic, but deep down you long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king." -M.C. Burns
9.7.2008 3:26pm
CJM (mail):
Apologies: Mayor-Elect Robert Terwilliger, aka "Sideshow Bob"
9.7.2008 3:29pm
Angus:
To go even further than Loki, I don't even give a flip if the president is human as long as they can get things right on the issues and in an emergency. I have no idea why modern candidates see such a need to make campaigns about the person's life and family story.

Newsflash: Every person has a life and family story. Many are great, some are bad. The great stories do not necessarily make a great person. The bad stories do not necessarily make a bad person. Let us know where you stand on this issues and what you intend to do for the country and its people.

When it comes to the Presidency, I don't care if Palin was a hockey mom, if McCain was a POW, if Obama was a confused young'un seeking to know his inner self, or if Biden got his personal charm from his used car salesman dad.
9.7.2008 3:30pm
CJM (mail):
Well, sadly, we don't have the "historic choice" of Kang or Kodos this election cycle, Angus. Brain slugs did sound appealing, though.
/ silly >

I'm not completely buying into Angus' idea that it's all about the issues. The idea of "the best laid plans" comes to mind. Any general can tell you that no matter how much you plan before going into battle, once the war starts, the situation shifts rapidly. The presidency is that battle times one-hundred different issues. While their stated position on an issue helps me make a decision as a voter (some issues are not a compromise for me, and if a candidate stakes out an absolutist position contrary to my own, they do not get my vote, and vice-versa), it's the aggregate of their life experience that I trust has informed their decisionmaking process.
9.7.2008 3:39pm
karl newman:
FlimFlamSam - at least we agree on: "I also agree entirely that judgment and intelligence are more important than experience."

However, going to Harvard or Yale does not identify you as being smart or intelligent. Bush went to Yale. My house painter is a genius but did not go to school.

My take is that Obama his more intelligent than McCain and Palin. Just my opinion. You might not agree with his opinions and his solutions, but I think he is more capable of developing new solutions and creative solutions. That is not to say that McCain/Palin can't execute existing or someone else's ideas. I also think they can come up with new ideas, it is just not their strong suit. My opinion only.
9.7.2008 3:41pm
loki13 (mail):
Actually, cjm, my ideal candidate would have a blend of GOP and Democratic positions. Fiscal conservatism. Balanced budgets (surpluses during expansions, deficits during recessions). Reverence for free markets, combined with the knowledge that neo-classical economics doesn't fully work, and light government corrections and regulations are occasionally needed. Social safety nets designed to protect the weakest among us while us incentivizing productive members of society to not rely on them too much. Realistic foreign policy that puts out interests first and keeps foreign interventions and entanglements to a realistic minimum (we can't go isolationist in today's world). Government stays out of religion and personal lives. Federal government out of the criminal law system. And a progressive tax rate -- a has been shown both through empiricism (what actually happened) and theory (decreasing marginal utility of the money) those of us with very high incomes can afford it, and it will not serve as a disincentive to work given the tax rates being discussed. Oh yeah, the rue of law is important to me as well. SO the dictator part? Not a big fan.

Democratic position= thesis
GOP position= antithesis
My position= synthesis
9.7.2008 3:46pm
metro1 (mail) (www):
Professor Prost:

I continue to be amazed by the desire of friends of mine who are Democrats (and commentators on TV and in newspapers) to discuss Sarah Palin's lack of experience. You seem to have had the same instinct.

The reason this amazes me is that it shows how utterly un-self-reflective the Left is. Remarkably, it has never occurred to them how lacking in experience Barack Obama is.

The arguments as to why Sarah Palin (the Republicans' Vice-Presidential candidate) is MORE experienced than Barack Obama (the Democrats' Presidential candidate) are very powerful.

Barack Obama has zero executive experience. Joe Biden has zero executive experience.

John McCain has military command experience. Sarah Palin has executive experience as Governor of the largest state in the Union - and as Mayor of the fastest-growing town in Alaska.

So, on the experience issue, McCain and Palin win.

Further, the "foreign policy experience" argument made by some on the Left: (1) does not put forth any actual foreign policy experience on the part of Obama, (2) does not put forth any executive experience on the part of Obama, and (3) it fails to recognize the many successful U.S. Governors who became President without this Left-inspired concept of required "foreign policy experience."

What was the "foreign policy experience" of Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher when they first ran for national office? Or, if you prefer, what was the "foreign policy experience" of Bill Clinton or Tony Blair when they first ran for national office?

What was the "foreign policy experience" of Obama's almost-VP-pick, Governor Kaine of Virginia? Did his lack of "foreign policy experience" concern the Left with regard to Kaine? If not, perhaps they were never really concerned with experience anyway - otherwise they wouldn't be backing Obama. They'll always vote for the most liberal candidate. That's fine - but they should at least admit that's what's driving their choice here.

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

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

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

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

So, again, on experience McCain and Palin win. That's why I'm amazed (and gratified) that partisans on the Left keep bringing it up.
9.7.2008 3:47pm
loki13 (mail):
metro1,

Wow. You are beyond partisan. You are beyond spin. You have entered the post-partisan zone.

McKinney, TX, has added more than 50,000 people since from 2000 to 2007. It has added more 9 times more people than Palin's town has population. Mayor Bill Whitfield for VP? Heck, my alma mater has added more undergrads than Palin's town in the last two years. I have a dean expecting a phone call.

If you have a good point (I like Palin's policies) make it. To reiterate this tired point is beyond silly. It's beyond Wasilly. Do you want to explain that Palin has experience dealing with Russia now?
9.7.2008 4:06pm
SukieTawdry (mail):
It this akin to picking up one's toys and going home?

Both candidates, in my opinion, are plausible presidents...

Really? By which of the word's several meanings? For instance, John McCain strikes me as credible and believable. Obama, on the other hand, comes off as specious and sophistic. He strikes me as a dilettante, a dabbler and a rather restless one at that. He's put his hand to this and that over the years and while, to be sure, he has scored some successes (at Harvard and in elective politics), he has no record of actual achievement. He's made no apparent mark on the law, neither as Law Review president or practitioner nor as teacher or theorist. There's been no appreciable difference in the lives of the people whose community he "organized" nor in those in the constituencies he's represented. There is nothing with his name attached that has in any way advanced our culture nor our understanding of it.

What he has been particularly adept at is paving the way for his next advancement, for achieving his next personal goal. In this, he has been methodical and circumspect. He has used opportunities to better the lives of others as occasions to feather his own nests, grease his own wheels. And now at a relatively tender age, he has reached the non plus ultra in his quest for self-actualization, for there can be no greater accomplishment in the secular world than becoming President of the US.

But what does it all mean to Barack Obama? I think I know why John McCain wants the job. When he speaks of his fierce love for his country, a love learned through struggle and deprivation, and his desire, need really, to protect and serve that which he loves, I believe him. But what about Barack? What motivates Barack? He strikes me as a man who has "issues." I feel that willingly or not, we're now all a part of this next phase in his private psychodrama. And for me, this makes him the most implausible of presidents.
9.7.2008 4:10pm
CJM (mail):
SukieTawdry:

Reading through similar posts of your ilk - and I believe you make your own counter-argument most effectively - I've found that there's too much "feeling" and too little thinking happening here. Whether Obama's intention all along was to fulfill a dream to become president (and what little boy's isn't?), and McCain's was to simply be a Navy Lieutenant until his captivity catapulted him toward higher ambition; Frankly, I don't care.

I think both of them love their country without reservation. I think President Bush and Vice President Cheney love their country very much as well. But, as the wife-beater on trial often admits "I only did it because I loved her," that sincerity of love can not be mistaken for absence of abuse.

I do not think McCain would become as bad as the current administration, but he's been irresponsible enough to bring aboard Governor Palin. With Palin's new-found power if elected in November, maybe we should be worried that she's the one with "issues" and a "private psychodrama." C'mon, one son's headed to Iraq in a few hours, the eldest daughter's got belly-fruit and is about to force the town quarterback into a shotgun wedding, and to top it all off, a baby with special needs. That's stressful for any mother. Tie-breaking vote on an emergency matter in a divided senate? Invoking the 25th when McCain is sped to GW Hospital to remove a precancerous mole or worse? Cherries on top of frosting, except NOT delicious.
9.7.2008 4:27pm
Nifonged:
'C'mon, one son's headed to Iraq in a few hours, the eldest daughter's got belly-fruit and is about to force the town quarterback into a shotgun wedding, and to top it all off, a baby with special needs. "

Which I'm sure you would treat a man in the same way? Right?

Cough, cough, sexist much?
9.7.2008 4:38pm
CJM (mail):
Which man are we talking about? I'm referring to Sarah Palin, last I'd heard, Barack, John and Joe didn't have any outstanding personal issues to deal with. It was Sukie who insisted on positing his/her own theories on Obama's "issues" going into the election, and I simply responded with some equally outlandish concerns of my own about Sarah Palin's "issues."

Cough, cough, hyperbole much?
9.7.2008 4:52pm
sbw (mail) (www):
As someone on a different blog wryly noted, "vetting" is what is done to Republicans, while "swiftboating" is what is done to Democrats.

I admit that I am drawn to Palin because she is not Biden... and most of all, not Obama... for two reasons: 1) whatever feelings he may have to help people, one does not help them by re-imposing economic policies that have already failed in history, and 2) he seems not to what us to know how much he was involved in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge with BIll Ayers -- even if you want to forgive Ayers' bomb-making as boys-will-be-boys.

The CAC Program Report of May 1996 apparently says, "the board's Executive Committee approved a grant totaling $125,000 from its Leadership Development Initiative grant line item to support the work of 24 community based organizations, each of whom agreed to work on candidate and voter turnout in up to ten different schools."

Wonder who asked? Wonder who they tried to turn out? Wonder what this has to do with improving the quality of education in Chicago? Wonder if, as chairman, this shows Obama's "executive" ability.

For all the talk about Palin, I want to know more about Obama.
9.7.2008 5:02pm
Nifonged:
"Barack, John and Joe didn't have any outstanding personal issues to deal with."

Who would know considering that there hasn't been a rush to uncover the cobwebs in their situations (do I need to mention them?).

Rezko? Bill Ayers?

Cough, cough, stupidity much?
9.7.2008 5:11pm
Nifonged:
"Barack, John and Joe didn't have any outstanding personal issues to deal with."

Who would know considering that there hasn't been a rush to uncover the cobwebs in their situations (do I need to mention them?).

Rezko? Bill Ayers?

Cough, cough, stupidity much?
9.7.2008 5:11pm
Angus:
Please keep up the Ayers/Rezko stuff. Wild goose chases that burn up energy keep Republicans from making significant criticisms of Obama.
9.7.2008 5:24pm
sbw (mail) (www):
Angus, you can't know. ...

Or maybe you can. ;-)
9.7.2008 5:26pm
CJM (mail):
No, not stupidity...willful ignorance on my part, just as the claims of mouth-breathing dragoons such as yourself that you "Know nothing about Obama" are also willfully ignorant. Obama's dealings with Rezko and Ayers have been settled just as McCain's Keating Five, rumors about his being the "Manchurian Candidate," and Palin's Troopergate have been roughly assessed by the media and essentially tossed off as claims with little validity.

You misunderstand personal as "other issues." Personal, in my (again, farcical) comparison was meant to discuss internal psychological motivations. In Sukie's narrative, the idea that Obama had some madman-like drive to become president to deal with "psychodrama." The (again, farcical) point I was making about Palin (and could also make about McCain returning from his torture a broken man with designs on becoming a high-level spy for Hanoi), was that I'm assuming nobody on this board with a psych degree has sat down with any of these four individuals. Therefore, nobody should be making ridiculous logical jumps about their mindsets or motivations.
9.7.2008 5:31pm
Pal2Pal (mail) (www):
Both candidates, in my opinion, are plausible presidents

Start from a wrong premise, you are bound to come to a wrong conclusion. Ditto on paul lukasiak's comment.

If you had asked me early last week, those all would have struck me as pretty insignificant, in the greater scheme of things, and entirely irrelevant to the 2008 election. But now they are relevant, alas – McCain has made them so.

No, it was the Dem led media that "made them so."
9.7.2008 5:36pm
sbw (mail) (www):
"Obama's dealings with Rezko and Ayers have been settled just as McCain's Keating Five"

Half right. Maybe two thirds. McCain was cleared of wrong-doing by Senate investigation. The property deal with now-convicted felon, influence peddler, and shakedown artist Rezko was admitted by Obama to have been "boneheaded". (Although it may be interesting to consider the timing of Obama's Iraqi positions.) But let's not sweat the small stuff.

So far as Ayers is concerned, Obama and Ayers were much more closely tied than Obama admitted to, deflecting George Stephanopoulos question. And, as we speak, interesting details are coming out of the CAC archives that researchers have only had access to for two weeks.

Far from settled, CJM, is if this is the typical Chicago scam to funnel a portion of the $50-150 million to "friends" under Chairman Obama's nose, whether Obama was a party to helping radicals earn educational credentials so they could later shape the educational process, or what else was involved.

If, CJM, you show no interest in understanding what happened to the only executive experience that disappeared from Obama's resumé, that's okay. We'll understand.
9.7.2008 5:47pm
Fat Man (mail) (www):
"The law, by the way, is something BO knows since he was President of the Harvard Law Review."

This is so wrong in so many ways. All the president of Harvard Law review knows is how to get elected to the office. It is not a measure of legal learning.

We in fact have no idea of whether Obama knows any law as he has never authored a legal article, opinion or brief, other than an undergraduate case note.
9.7.2008 5:49pm
loki13 (mail):
Fat Man,

Please. Stop. You're killing me.

1. Harvard Law School is mark of distinction.
2. Within law schools generally, law review is a mark of high achievement.
3. HLR is widely considered the best of the law reviews (even if Yale is ranked higher as an institution).
4. To be elected EIC, you have to be able to get along (political skills), know the law (academic skills), and work incredibly hard.
5. It was not an undergraduate case note; it was written while at law school.
6. Furthermore, he graduated with the top people in his class. That's what the fancy latin words mean.
7. Oh yeah, he was a lecturer (I don't want to get in the professor debate) at U. Chicago in ConLaw. Apparently he received a great deal of praise for that. You have to know the subject of ConLaw pretty well to teach it. U. Chi. is also somewhat well regarded as law schools go- I know Judge Posner has enjoyed lecturing there.

Any questions? Or do you wish to continue to diplay your, um, interesting opinions?
9.7.2008 6:09pm
CJM (mail):
I'm in agreement with Angus on this one. This distracts from other criticisms (if somebody could please start making valid ones) of Obama's issues platform or of his decisionmaking style.

The Rezko story sounds like the traditional corrupt businessman with political connections trying to nip the up and coming wunderkind's balls in a wringer so he can leverage it later on. There was never any proven quid-pro-quo, as was the case with Keating (w/ McCain at least).

On Ayers, if you're insinuating that Obama somehow funds domestic terrorism, that's a crock. They were working on school reform in the CAC, and at that point Ayers had been a professor for nearly a decade. I would venture to guess that a vast majority of college profs involved in education reform have fairly left-leaning views. Debate that on its merits then. Whatever it did, you could say, Chicago's public school still suck. Is that Obama's fault? He wasn't on the school board, but again, he apparently didn't have any groundbreaking ideas.
9.7.2008 6:10pm
Pal2Pal (mail) (www):
Re: Keating Five

First, let's remember that Atty. Bennett, who headed up the Senate investigation, has said that McCain should not have been included and was so in order that the televised hearings would not just show democrats on the hot seat. Bennett is himself a dem. I think, but can't say positively, that John Glenn was similarly thought to have gotten caught in the crosshairs inadvertently.

Also, when the victims of Lincoln Savings sued Keating, it was only John McCain out of the five, who agreed to testify. The Atty. for the Plaintiffs said McCain was his first witness and his best witness.
9.7.2008 6:15pm
Pal2Pal (mail) (www):
On Ayers, if you're insinuating that Obama somehow funds domestic terrorism, that's a crock. They were working on school reform in the CAC, and at that point Ayers had been a professor for nearly a decade.

I think you are going to be in for a rude surprise. And you do know that the CAC was evaluated a failure, don't you?
9.7.2008 6:18pm
CJM (mail):
I agree. It's a settled issue. McCain took some flights to exotic locales and some other favors (which he admits in his second book), but again, lacked the quid pro quo.
9.7.2008 6:19pm
CJM (mail):
I don't know that, but I clearly allowed for that in my argument. Please, go down that route. Stay away from Ayers. Nobody will be in for a rude surprise. You're being dramatic to the point of illogicality.
9.7.2008 6:21pm
karl newman:
I'm a bit slow, but it just occurred to me that GWB is the most experienced person for the presidency. Of course, we can't do that, so how about Jimmy Carter - that's experience! If we mention his age, we would be ageist.
9.7.2008 6:22pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Isn’t the underlying question behind “executive experience” : will the individual do a good job of staffing positions so that the government will function as effectively as possible?

At a superficial level one gets comfort from the fact that an individual has the experience of having served as Governor (preferably for more than one term ). Having staffed an office once, they can hopefully replicate on a larger scale.

But the actual performance should be considered: Did they do it well enough to get reelected?
How difficult were the issues they had to deal with?

For example, balancing the budget in Alaska seems easy. No state income tax. Raise royalties on oil production ( or profit share) and rebate surplus to residents.

Or one has to look at how well they have organized and run whatever they have run. Clinton appeared to do a poor job of organizing her campaign. Obama did a good job, hiring the right people. McCain seemed to be do a poor job, but then reorganized his campaign with people who have done a much more effective job.

One of the worst failings of the Bush administration was making appointments of incompetents based on partisan considerations (FEMA; US attorneys). I have the impression that this will be significantly less of a problem with either Obama or McCain.


And isn’t “foreign policy experience” background knowledge you would like a President to have so that when confronted with important decisions that may have to be made under strict time constraints they don’t have to start from square one to be briefed. Clearly McCain and Biden have been paying attention for many years and have much knowledge; Obama had to deal with these questions in the crucible of the primaries and has clearly acquired much knowledge.

Background knowledge is a prerequsite, but the issue is how good are the decisions the person will make with the information- how good will their judgments be- perhaps decisions which will affect the well being of the whole world .

For those who think the war in Iraq was a mistake from the beginning, it is easy to think Obama showed good judgment. To judge McCain is more difficult. One would have to know what information he had and what his basis for the decision actually was. Frankly from what I have read, it appears to me that McCain was rash in urging almost immediately after 9/11 that Iraq should be invaded. It always seemed to me highly improbable that a Sunni terrorist would have any interaction with a secular dictator and visa versa. Of course even last year McCain was confusing those who would back Sunnis and Shias. It was also clear that whether or not Iraq had WMD they didn’t have the delivery systems to threaten the US or Europe.

McCain seems to have simplistic foreign policy answers . Obama much more thought through.
Or perhaps it is that he is a better communicator (to those willing to listen) than McCain.
9.7.2008 6:34pm
CJM (mail):
karl_newman: To be Constitutionally clear, there's been serious talk that GWB could be reelected, as long as a ballot with his name on it stipulated that he would only serve two years. While the original intent of the 10-year allowance on the amendment was to allow for succession, the public would vote with the understanding in this case that the VP would fulfill the final two years of the term as POTUS.

Bush\Carter 2008? Print 'em up.
9.7.2008 6:35pm
sbw (mail) (www):
CJM, you are as practiced as Obama is at debate techniques, but they are easy to see and easy to dispose of. I'll not bother with the strawman arguments.

Along the same lines, I was intrigued by Obama being called out by a commenter on another blog, When BO was in PA on Friday he said something like, "They say I'm a Muslim and hang out with radicals." He strategically throws in a provable lie with a truth to make the truth seem like a lie too.

This speaks to the thrust of the original blog entry about Obama being plausible as president. As I repeat, please scrutinize Obama. I trust you do NOT want a dissembler as president.
9.7.2008 6:38pm
elim:
Has obama released his transcripts yet? after all, his law school grades are the centerpiece of Loki's voting decision and, apparently, the only qualification the man actually has to be president-shouldn't we be able to see those grades to verify if he is all he's cracked up to be or if he is an intellectual along the lines of John Kerry (supposedly bright but lower grades than Bush).
9.7.2008 6:38pm
Hoosier:
CJM--I can't see how that works under Amnd XX. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice

The only way is if those Democrats like Dan Rather who say Bush was "selected" in 2000 are given their way. Then I guess he can have another full term.
9.7.2008 6:39pm
Hoosier:
sbw
CJM, you are as practiced as Obama is at debate techniques, but they are easy to see and easy to dispose of. I'll not bother with the strawman arguments.


There are progressive thinkers on this blog. Please. It's "strawperson." Or, better, "person of straw."
9.7.2008 6:41pm
SukieTawdry (mail):
CJM: Thank you for your well-meant, if not well-founded, criticisms. Since I'm not one inclined to base rational decisions on feelings (unlike so many to my philosophical and political left), I thought I'd better review my post. Having done so, I think that the thought processes involved are quite apparent and the conclusions I've drawn, given the evidence, both rational and intellectually defensible. Only once do I feel anything at all and even then it has to do with perception. Perhaps it would have been better if I had said, "I sense that willingly or not, we're now all a part of this next phase in his private psychodrama." Does that help clear it up at all?

You think both love their country without reservation. Based on...? In Barack's case, there is much evidence to suggest that he indeed has many reservations. For good reason, one could argue. Any such reservations have been come by honestly and he is entitled to them, one could argue. Based on what I've learned about Barack and what he's said on the subject, my personal take is that he might come to love his country without reservation if he is allowed to "fix" it, to remake it in an image far removed from the one our Founders set down for us. In Barack's view, the US has great potential, but a potential that can be realized only within the glow of his guiding light.

I think you might be a little confused by the term "psychodrama." Sarah Palin is not engaged in psychodrama. She's engaged in life, real life in all its myriad forms. Life, as we all know, can come at us fast and furiously and without regard to our best laid plans. And Sarah gives every appearance of meeting it head-on, with great aplomb and a can-do spirit. She gives every indication of being a lady who can carry a quite full plate and still have room for more. And it's certain that you'll not hear Sarah Palin pissing and moaning about the high cost of private school and ballet lessons. Nor will she be sitting in her million plus dollar home whining about the burden of paying for an Ivy League education. Nor are we apt to hear her refer to America as a "mean" place where we're all in danger of losing our souls.

Sarah Palin got involved because she saw things that needed doing, things she considered herself capable of doing. Each step of her journey to this place and time was marked not by a desire to transform her school system, her town, her state and, now, her country to reflect her ideological vision, but by a desire to make those political bodies more responsive to the needs and demands of the people they serve. John McCain and Sarah Palin have no wish and see no need to change America. But they do recognize a very real need to change the way in which our government conducts its business. Well, hooray for that, and not a minute too soon. You might argue that Barack Obama wants the same thing. Maybe, maybe not. The thing is, he has no record to suggest such. McCain and Palin do.

So, do you have evidence that young Levi is being "forced" into a "shotgun" wedding or is this just something you feel (by what, nature of being a guy)? Because simple observation of the young couple suggests quite the opposite. And Levi's mom tells us they were planning a wedding even before they got pregnant. Perhaps you have some other facts.
9.7.2008 6:44pm
Bad English:
One thing's for sure: loki has never attended Harvard, gone to law school, done law review, or been a practising lawyer.
9.7.2008 6:50pm
whit:
I love the way people who criticize palin (and/or obama) claim that she/he is/isn't capable of "running the country."

Last I checked, this was sort of a libertarian blog. I'm a libertarian - small "l". I don't believe a president or VP should "run" the country. the very idea is offensive to libertarianism. maybe it's purely semantical, but it's a very statist concept to talk about "running the country".
9.7.2008 6:50pm
Displaced Midwesterner:

I’ve made many suggestions and comments here on the VC over the years that some have considered wrongheaded and obtuse – in fact, I pride myself on that a bit – but I’ve never before been called a “putz” (let alone a “complete putz”!), a jerk, a “leftoid,” or a moron. There’s something about the subject that seems to bring out a bit of a nasty streak in people.

Post what you feel like posting. Ignore the mouthbreathers or else keep score. Give yourself a point for every intemperate comment you provoke. Two points for being compared to Hitler. Lose a point for every rational comment. Two points if it is also well-supported.

Or you could also look on the bright side. The political season heating up can be annoying, but the football regular season is also here now.
9.7.2008 6:54pm
CJM (mail):
Hoosier: On your first point, it's just that, unless this Court decides that their predecessors (including most of themselves) "elected" and did not "select." Five-to-four is still an election I guess, just a matter of scale.

On your second point, well, I'm apparently sexist, so that's mellow with me.
9.7.2008 6:55pm
NYNY (mail):
McCain has aged quite a bit in the last eight years. He will be the oldest president ever elected. So I think the following question is of the utmost importance:

Would you vote for Palin for president?

Anything that would be relevant if she were running for the highest office, should be relevant now that she is the running mate of John McCain.

So, although I hate hearing about Alaska every day, it is necessary.
9.7.2008 6:57pm
Fury:
Hoosier writes:

...Or, better, "person of straw."

Only the third or so time ever I have blown what I was drinking through my nose...
9.7.2008 6:59pm
sbw (mail) (www):
It's "strawperson." Or, better, "person of straw."

CJM, thanks for the pointer. I apologize. I feel so... so... gauche. No, wait. That can't be right. That's left, right? If I were left, I would have known how to be right, right?
9.7.2008 7:10pm
Pal2Pal (mail) (www):
Regarding loki13 at 5:09:

Unfortunately for you, the "folks" think of those things as negatives and not postives.

A little true story to illustrate:

I worked for a Member of Congress for 5 years. On Election Day the word went out that it was all hands on deck. Everyone, whether campaign staff or legislative staff was to be at our Election HQ.

Our purpose that day was to get out the vote, provide rides to the polls for those unable to get there on their own, make GOTV last minute calls, and most importantly to make sandwiches and coffee to take out to our volunteer poll workers and poll watchers.

I was in charge of this group that day when one of the legislative senior aides told me, rather huffily, that she didn't spend 7 years at Harvard getting her degrees and making sure her resume was stellar to make cheese sandwiches for a bunch of old ladies.

Unfortunately for this aide, as she was speaking the Congresswoman walked up behind her and heard every word. She tapped the gal on the shoulder and in a voice and with a look angrier than I'd ever seen her, she said, "you're fired, get off my property, NOW!" This aide was in shock. She could not believe that with all her high-falutin' credentials, she was not more valuable than the little old ladies willing to spend a cold November day manning the polls.

The following day at a staff meeting, we were told that from that point forward, no one from an Ivy League or so-called elite school would be interviewed or hired. The Congresswoman said she wanted people in her organization that understood that first volunteers are constituents, constituents are the voters, and without their vote, the dumb bunny arrogant Harvard grads wouldn't have their jobs. Priorities count. She wanted people on her staff who gave more importance to the voters in the district than they did to another notch on their resume.
9.7.2008 7:18pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
sbw:

thanks for pointing out the error


Thanks for admitting the error. Your graciousness in this regard is unfortunately the exception rather than the rule.

His wife got a healthy raise.


His wife is a very educated and talented person. I'm not terribly surprised that she would get "a healthy raise."

He did try for the earmark.


True. But also on his list were earmarks for about eight other Chicago hospitals. And most of those other earmarks were larger.

If he really wanted to help his wife's career, he wouldn't be doing so much to support the institutions that compete with her employer. The facts show that he was advocating for health care in general, and not for one hospital.

Of course when you look at how NRO presents the information, they give you no clue that the earmark was rejected. And they give you no clue that he asked for even larger earmarks for the competitors of that hospital. Those are relevant facts.
9.7.2008 7:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
John McCain has military command experience.


He has thirteen months of executive experience. And for some strange reason, this job is not even mentioned in his official campaign bio. Don't you think that's odd?
9.7.2008 7:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I trust you do NOT want a dissembler as president.


I proved here that NRO relayed a false statement from the McCain campaign. It's a whopper.

Let me know if you can find any sign that York or the McCain campaign or anyone else has any interest in taking responsibility for that falsehood.

And do you want a dissembler for vice president? Proof that Palin lied can be found here.
9.7.2008 7:20pm
matt b (mail):
again, as soon as people quit mentioning how obama went harvard law, i will take your palin criticisms seriously. attending harvard law is no more an accomplishment than being governor of alaska. i have gone to the elite schools in this country, i know there are just as many idiots there as idaho.

get over the snobbery.
9.7.2008 7:22pm
Visitor Again:
Lindgren wrote:
"Our hits at VC in the last week are about triple what they were months ago, so our readers are coming back to read about Obama and Palin more often than usual."


Why not run some porn and watch your ratings zoom into the stratosphere?

VC bloggers have swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker. It's Sunday, when we rarely get any posts other than a lyric. But look at how many posts have been made today.
9.7.2008 7:23pm
CJM (mail):
SukieTawdry: If only Governor Palin herself (or the McCain campaign) could upsell her that well. That said, I think your point about Obama taking this country in a direction away from what the Founding Fathers intended is a good starting point for criticism. Quite obviously, you are conservative, likely in favor of a strict constructionist view of the Constitution, and favor small government (at least at the federal level). That's how I feel when you post.

On that note, skipping ahead to Levi, I think my point was that this is the rough cut we get in the news everyday. Why not infer our own feelings? On the same note about the psychodrama, so if Obama's megalomaniacally-driven toward greatness, then why can't I infer psychological conditions from what I read about Palin in the news and see in her facial features on the TV box? A dose of satire, if you would have just indulged me for a moment.

Michelle and Barack Obama do not hate their country. Your implication is that he is seeking this office because he is (a) a megalomaniac, or (b) a sociopath. If he were a megalomanic, that would feed nicely into those cute McCain campaign commercials about "The One," which makes you clever (or not?) that you're regurgitating already masticated talking points. If you choose option 'B', it's because you believe he seeks the office simply to hurt the country that has done him so much wrong.

I have to take neither option, because I believe (see, there's a word like 'feel' again) both love their country, understand its problems, its difficulties, its challenges, and want to try their best to fix them the best way they know how. In fact, both have excelled in their fields, Barack as a politician, Michelle as a female, black lawyer (so many cracks to shatter, eh?).

And Palin can't whine about an Ivy League education because her kids have been through Alaska's failing public schools, one son has to enlist in the Army, and her eldest daughter is preggers. Maybe there's hope for the baby hair-licking kid?
9.7.2008 7:23pm
bluestocking (mail):
You seem like a class act, David. I only found this blog a few weeks ago, and it's rapidly gotten both more political and more depressing than I expected it to be.

I am now utterly convinced that 99.9 percent of people don't debate issues at all; not in the sense of weighing them and arguing their pros and cons. They choose a narrative somewhere early on and jam, jam, jam every "fact" they get in to fit that narrative.

But even given that, I was taken aback by how far some of the comments here went. Not only in terms of pejoratives, but in terms of ingenuousness -- re-stating things said by the candidates in such a way as to make them as stupid as possible, even if that's not what was said; arguing by declaration ("This is wrong and a lie of the left!" -- or the right), although the declaration leaves out the central piece of information that would make it meaningless.

I tried to cheer myself up by saying, well, it's a legal blog. Maybe some people just want to win an argument, by whatever means necessary; that's just who they are, they don't mean anything by it.

I don't know. But I have to wonder what the purpose of the conversation in these comments is. Because it's not as though anybody here is going to change their mind about *anything.* In a perfect world, the very best arguments of one side would go up against the very best arguments of the other; you would respond to your opponent's actual point of view, not the point of view you make up. I now question whether that sort of debate has ever happened, or will ever happen -- maybe humans just aren't wired that way.
9.7.2008 7:23pm
sbw (mail) (www):
jukeboxgrad, I'll see you a Palin and raise you a Biden. ;-)
9.7.2008 7:29pm
sabrina (mail):
People who are too afraid of challenge to welcome questions, or to answer them, depress me, regardless of their political leanings. What kind of a crummy life is it if you want to quit learning? You should feel free to keep posting about Palin, or anyone else, insofar as it's relevant to the blog and objective. (Maybe also turn off commenting on a per-post basis to cut down on the vitriol -- though that of course won't stop the worst of the bunch from mailing directly, but that is what junk mail filters are for. May I suggest creating one for "putz"?)
9.7.2008 7:57pm
sbw (mail) (www):
At the risk of providing some useful information on the thread, I recommend On the Wealth of Nations about Adam Smith's two books. The link is to a well-written shorter explanation of Smith's original 1756 and 1776 books. Smith examines what has worked and what has not in economics in history -- not theory, but facts. It is fascinating to see that all Obama recommends economically dampens the economic engine that has undeniably raised the quality of life of all American -- from the richest to the poorest.

The reason I call out Obama's dissembling as of the first order, is that seems to want to get elected at the expense of the economy of all Americans. When I look at Congress and Obama -- I see politics in search of power: the desire to insinuate themselves between you and your money.
9.7.2008 8:10pm
Pal2Pal (mail) (www):
Michelle and Barack Obama do not hate their country. Your implication is that he is seeking this office because he is (a) a megalomaniac, or (b) a sociopath. If he were a megalomanic, that would feed nicely into those cute McCain campaign commercials about "The One," which makes you clever (or not?) that you're regurgitating already masticated talking points. If you choose option 'B', it's because you believe he seeks the office simply to hurt the country that has done him so much wrong.

I can't speak for Sukie, but I think Obama seeks office because he is a totalitarian Marxist, and like all totalitarian Marxists he seeks power, absolute power. In other words, he thinks he and only he is smart enough to rule the world, "fix" our souls and our country. I think this view has been instilled in him by his Marxist father and mother, reinforced by his mentor, Frank Marshall Davis during his teen years, developed during his years at Columbia and in Chicago under the helpful hand of William Ayers and his coterie of crazies, and then culminating in his years under the tutelage of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Black Liberation Theology.
9.7.2008 8:35pm
sbw (mail) (www):
Considering the blog topic, you all might be interested in this:
NY Times Public Apologist Clark Hoyt explains the Times' role as an earnest servant of a curious public in these parlous times, with their coverage of Sarah Palin as a launch point:
In our instant-news and celebrity- obsessed culture, Palin went from Sarah Who to conservative rock star in less than a week. In less than two months, she could be elected vice president to serve under the oldest president, at 72, ever elected to a first term, and one with a history of recurring melanoma. Intense, independent scrutiny by The Times and the rest of the news media of Palin’s background, character and record was inevitable and right.
Intense and independent! This from the Public Editor of the paper that has yet to use the phrase "Annenberg Challenge" in a story noting that Barack Obama and Bill Ayers worked together on education reform while with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, disbursing roughly $160 million in a venture ultimately judged by the Annenberg Foundation itself as having "limited impact".

Hard to believe Obama/Ayers could have been fully covered without Chicago Annenberg Challenge having been mentioned in the New York TImes.
9.7.2008 9:34pm
Angus:
Well, Pal2Pal. Thanks for letting the reasonable people on the left and the right know where the other side is coming from.
9.7.2008 9:42pm
Smokey:
CJM:
Behold: Obama's plan will only tax for social security those making over a quarter of a million ($250,000)/year. That is a lot of money. Many lawyers (and certainly not the professors contributing to this blog) don't make that in a year. For those making $42,000 as an individual/per year, he will reduce their tax burden by about $1,000.
'Behold' smoke and mirrors. I minored in econ and I can see the scam. In fact, anyone economically literate can see that Obama's proposal is bogus. There are far too few "rich" people in America to make Social Security solvent, even if the government stole all their money.

Rather than just increase Bill Gates' taxes, if Obama confiscated all of his wealth, every last dollar, it would only run the federal government for a few weeks. And then there would be no more Gates wealth to confiscate. How many multi-billionaires are there to tax? And when Obama gets all their money, who do you think he will come after next year? That's right: you and me.

As Forbes magazine has routinely pointed out, the only place the government can get enough money to pay current Social Security obligations is from the middle class. There simply isn't enough money anywhere else, and the bottom 50% of Americans pay essentially no federal taxes at all. The middle class is where the money is, despite Obama's pretending otherwise.

But then, 0 has already admitted that he's an economic illiterate. So has McCain, but at least McCain has the common sense to state that all options are on the table with regard to Social Security.

What Obama would do is to heavily tax the top wage earners at first -- and then the tax grab will quickly roll downhill, and the average American worker will be handed a gigantic new tax bill. The only other way around it is to adjust the actuarial tables, and start paying Social Security later, and/or reduce benefits. But Obama is opposed to anything except "taxing the rich" -- which is you and me.

Americans are already overtaxed. Federal taxes on individuals have risen about 50% since Reagan left office. Are we 50% better off? Or are there just 50% more bureaucrats collecting paychecks? Obama is just another taxsucker. To hell with him and his big tax ideas.

"I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means -- except by getting off his back."

~Leo Tolstoy


This country doesn't need Obama piling more burdens on American workers' backs. The Social Security tax is just one small part of his big new tax plans. And with a Democrat House and Senate, it will be Katy Bar the Door if the taxsucker gets in.
9.7.2008 9:45pm
Fat Man (mail) (www):
Please. Stop. You're killing me.


And I see I failed. Damn. I'll just have to try harder this time.

1. Harvard Law School is mark of distinction.


Only in a self referential little world of law school snobs. Beyond that it means you got in to HLS. Merely getting in means only that they picked you. HLS says:

Each application is considered in its entirety ... the admissions committee seeks not only to identify individual characteristics that are important to academic success in law school, but also other qualities that promote vitality, diversity, and excellence in the student body. The committee uses no computational methods for making decisions and no “cut-offs” below which a candidate will not be considered.


Neither you, nor I, nor anybody who is talking, knows why HLS let BHO in. It just doesn't mean very much.

The degree doesn't mean very much either. Unlike the good old days of Prof. Kingsfield, it is not possible to flunk out without extraordinary effort.

2. Within law schools generally, law review is a mark of high achievement.


Once upon time being an editor of a law review meant that the student was in the top of his class. This no longer the case at HLS, or most other schools. Here is what HLR says:

Between 41 and 43 students are invited to join the Review each year. Fourteen editors (two from each 1L section) are selected based on a combination of their first-year grades and their competition scores. Twenty editors are selected based solely on their competition scores. The remaining editors are selected on a discretionary basis. Some of these discretionary slots may be used to implement the Review's affirmative action policy.


Once again neither you, nor I, nor anybody who is talking, knows how BHO got onto the HLR. It just doesn't mean very much.

3. HLR is widely considered the best of the law reviews. ...


By whom and for what purpose? At least US News collects some statistics and runs a poll to use for its rankings. As for law reviews, practitioners don't read them any more because they seldom publish anything of use to anybody. HLR is may be the biggest fish, but it is in a very small pond.

4. To be elected EIC, you have to be able to get along (political skills), know the law (academic skills), and work incredibly hard.


Political skills I will admit. Know the law? I doubt it. No second year law student knows much. The only knowledge that being on law review requires is the arcana of legal citation. Knowing it won't help you much as a lawyer, and not knowing it won't hurt at all. As for hard work, BHO never published a student note which most ambitious editors do. None of us knows whether he did any work at all.

5. It was not an undergraduate case note; it was written while at law school.


Law students are undergraduate law students until they graduate from law school.

6. Furthermore, he graduated with the top people in his class. That's what the fancy latin words mean.


It may also mean that he selected the easiest classes he could find and got grades especially in his 3rd year when his classmates who had already gotten jobs were coasting. He has not published his transcripts.

7. Oh yeah, he was a lecturer (I don't want to get in the professor debate) at U. Chicago ... Apparently he received a great deal of praise for that. You have to know the subject of ConLaw pretty well to teach it.


I will stipulate the excellence of the U of C law school, but being a lecturer means very little. You don't really have to know the subject as well as a good practitioner, you just have to know more than the students, which is not hard.

I once was a lecturer at a well known law school. I didn't know all that much about the topic. I got the text book, read it, and taught the course. The way to rave reviews from the students is easy. Don't be rude, Don't ask for too much homework. Give them all As.

To be a professor means a bit more. You need to write law review articles and books. Obama did not write any articles and was not a professor. Why he didn't write I do not not know and he has not explained. He did write his memoirs.

Judge Posner was a professor at U of C, famous for developing "Law &Economics", before he was appointed to the 7 Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Since then he has continued to be a prolific author -- a search of Amazon showed 174 items (20 of them since 2005), and that does not include the dozens of opinions he has written. Comparisons between Judge Posner and BHO as legal scholars are not flattering to BHO.
9.7.2008 9:45pm
Smokey:
9.7.2008 9:54pm
Smokey:
Even the left-wing Progressive calls Obama a "vacuous opportunist."
9.7.2008 9:56pm
David Warner:
"I don't know. But I have to wonder what the purpose of the conversation in these comments is. Because it's not as though anybody here is going to change their mind about *anything.*"

I changed my mind about gay marriage and gained some comfort regarding my Obama vote (though for now my long-term hopes are with Palin, I believe an Obama win will be necessary to clean out Rove and many of those folks in the seats at the RNC, and I like Obama). If you wish to change minds, bring an open one.

"In a perfect world, the very best arguments of one side would go up against the very best arguments of the other; you would respond to your opponent's actual point of view, not the point of view you make up. I now question whether that sort of debate has ever happened, or will ever happen -- maybe humans just aren't wired that way."

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If you're not being wantonly deleted and the idiots aren't running the asylum, you've got something.
9.7.2008 10:02pm
Angus:

There are far too few "rich" people in America to make Social Security solvent

You do know that right now Social Security is solvent, and even running a surplus, right? So the question becomes, how do we adjust for the baby boomers who are approaching retirement age and who will retire in large numbers within 15 years or so, sent outlays above receipts? Obama's answer is to save up extra money now to make up for some of the difference down the road.

You do also realize that the Social Security crisis caused by baby boomers should not last forever, correct? As the baby boom generation dies (say, most by 2050), we should approach a more sustainable balance between retirees and workers. That's something I've looked for in the analysis and found lacking.

Now, if you want to debate the relative merits of Social Security vs. private accounts, that's a debate worth having. But much of the rest is scaremongering.
9.7.2008 10:04pm
Smokey:
So, like, according to Angus, Social Security isn't really a problem.

But in the event that it is a problem, the messiah 0bama will take care of the problem by jacking up the taxes on middle Americans.

Then we'll need our taxes jacked up again to pay for 0bama's civilian indoctrination "force" [0's word] that will cost as much as the entire annual U.S. military budget, as messiah 0 says he wants.

And on, and on.

The fact is, if American taxpayers have to put up with a DemocRat Congress, Senate and President, it's Katy Bar the Door for already hard-bitten American taxpayers.

Word up.
9.7.2008 11:29pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Even the left-wing Progressive calls Obama a "vacuous opportunist."

I'm about ready to start getting my facts from Free Republic -- I think that's a less biased source of information than can be read in the comments here. "Obama No" does not represent any position of the Progressive. Reed's article was picked to balance Edwidge Danticat's "Obama Yes." Some media still believe in presenting both sides of an issue; their readers are capable of balancing pros and cons in their heads. In their editorials, Matthew Rothschild has complained that Obama caves into the right wing too often, e.g. dropping his opposition to FISA
9.7.2008 11:47pm
karl newman:
Smokey. Please offer alternatives. I would suggest that this is a change election (McCain is using Obama's words). People want change away from Iraq, $4 gas, housing collapse, Fannie/Freddie. All occurred on GWB watch and by extension McCain's watch (90% of the time). McCain will continue many of GWB policies. So what would you do to balance the budget to stop taxing the future as we are doing now? How would you fix health care? Just because you don't understand Obama or you fear him, doesn't mean you can be so demeaning.
9.8.2008 12:14am
Hoosier:
(This post is more like a sua culpa-- just to make things precise.)
9.8.2008 12:43am
TDPerkins (mail):
In response to a question about whether Palin wants to ban books (in italics) jukebox wrote:



I really wonder why the assumption is that Palin is in favor of banning books.


Sorry, but that's pure sophistry. She asked the question three times.


As if jukeboxgrad actually can name any book Palin wants to ban. Jukebox, in claiming Palin wants to ban books, you are lying. Not merely guessing, at least not until you admit that's all you are doing, but lying.


Surely you know that we also use temperature extremes.


Yeah. Guantanamo bay is known for its temperature swings. Just like Germany in its climate really.


Good point. I hope you can convey that point to people like perkins, who seem to think that anonymous leakers apparently sent by Bush are a reliable source of information regarding Bush's history of waterboarding.


Actually it turns out the definition of waterboarding wherein no water enters the person in any way is probably derived from this site. Which is as close as I could come to finding the site where I read that description in the first place. Which I couldn't find at all. I searched diligently, but the magic keywords escaped me. What I am convinced of though, is that your certainty that you know what the exact technique is is delusion on your part.

Of course there are also these descriptions so until you can produce evidence to the contrary this ignorant comment:


I'm aware of nothing done to McCain in prison that would be called torture under the Bush-Yoo standard.


Is shown for the malicious and deliberate ignorance it is.

Being beaten for no reason at all but the pleasure his captors took in it? Being deprived of food and/or of water to the point of critically endangering health? Being deprived of religious materials? Being deprived of basic, let alone comprehensive medical care?

All of those things were done to McCain, and none of them to even the "high-value" detainees. Since you have had your ignorance pointed out and corrected, further repetitions of this meme by you will be a lie.

And, while I've no doubt it is not significant to you—McCain was a lawful combatant—making what was done to him a war crime even if the VC had limited themselves to solely the interrogation techniques practiced against AlQaeda by the US. AlQaeda personnel are not lawful combatants, they are a category of person not addressed by the GC WRT to the treatment of POWs who are lawful combatants.


Actually, for those of us with an attachment to the quaint idea of historical accuracy, it is indeed relevant to distinguish between what his jailers did to him, as compared with what happened to him elsewhere.


When we are speaking of torture, it is a distinction without a difference. And also, something done to McCain and not to even the "high-value" detainees.

You can stop lying anytime you want to jukeboxgrad, but you have to want to.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.8.2008 1:14am
Pal2Pal (mail) (www):
You're welcome Angus. Glad I could be of service. One of the things you come to understand when you get as old as I am is that everything old is new again. The disturbing part is that through the "Education is Revolution" philosophy of Ayers and his school projects is that two generations of students up through the college level have now been propagandized to the point that they can't hear the old in Obama's retooled 21st century rhetoric.

The same massive block of Boomers who will ultimately stretch SS to the breaking point are a voting block that is very much in the picture. They/We are really the last of the pre-indoctrinated student era and for us, the red flags are flying in neon.
9.8.2008 1:15am
TDPerkins (mail):
Angus wrote:


You do know that right now Social Security is solvent, and even running a surplus, right?


You know Angus, if I was running a business, and I solicited investors on the basis that right now I was making a profit--and I knew I was going bankrupt before I could pay my investors back--I'd be guilty of fraud.

Something I must believe you're fine with.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.8.2008 1:19am
Jay Myers:

until McCain nominated her, the vast majority of the American people didn’t know the first thing about her, and that now we only have six weeks to get up that curve, and we will be soaking up a huge amount of information about her because we do need to know who she is if she is to become Vice President.

I assume that means you don't believe that it is rational for voters to be ignorant about issues and candidates? Good for you, Mr. Post!
9.8.2008 2:53am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
As if jukeboxgrad actually can name any book Palin wants to ban.


She didn't get that far, because the librarian told her that banning books wasn't OK.

in claiming Palin wants to ban books, you are lying


I realize you don't believe me. I guess you also probably won't believe your lying eyes when you read this:

Palin pressured Wasilla librarian … TOWN MAYOR: She wanted to know if books would be pulled. …

Back in 1996, when she first became mayor, Sarah Palin asked the city librarian if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so.

According to news coverage at the time, the librarian said she would definitely not be all right with it. A few months later, the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. …

Emmons had been city librarian for seven years and was well liked. After a wave of public support for her, Palin relented and let Emmons keep her job.

It all happened 12 years ago and the controversy long ago disappeared into musty files. Until this week. Under intense national scrutiny, the issue has returned to dog her. …

In December 1996, Emmons told her hometown newspaper, the Frontiersman, that Palin three times asked her -- starting before she was sworn in -- about possibly removing objectionable books from the library if the need arose.
Emmons told the Frontiersman she flatly refused to consider any kind of censorship. …

When the matter came up for the second time in October 1996, during a City Council meeting, Anne Kilkenny, a Wasilla housewife who often attends council meetings, was there. …

"Sarah said to Mary Ellen, 'What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?" Kilkenny said.

"I was shocked. Mary Ellen sat up straight and said something along the line of, 'The books in the Wasilla Library collection were selected on the basis of national selection criteria for libraries of this size, and I would absolutely resist all efforts to ban books.'" …

Palin herself, questioned at the time, called her inquiries rhetorical and simply part of a policy discussion with a department head "about understanding and following administration agendas," according to the Frontiersman article.


(Emphasis added.) Please notice a few pertinent facts:

- Palin made the inquiry repeatedly
- On one occasion she made the inquiry at a public meeting
- There is a named witness who recalls that meeting
- This was all reported in the local paper at the time
- Palin did not deny making the inquiry; she simply said it was "rhetorical"

Let's recall what you said:

in claiming Palin wants to ban books, you are lying


I didn't say she "wants" to ban books (although I certainly can't rule that out). I made reference to what she did as mayor. Why are you using the present tense? And why are you falsely accusing me of lying?
9.8.2008 3:34am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Guantanamo bay is known for its temperature swings. Just like Germany in its climate really.


This and subsequent remarks are your reply to something I said in another thread. You should put your response in the other thread, where it belongs.
9.8.2008 3:34am
A.W. (mail):
Karl

> The whole experience or "executive" experience argument is weak.

Fight, we should hire people who have never done that kind of work before. For instance, when I hire an architecht, I want a guy who has never been to architecture school, never building a building, or even poured cement. I want, say, a lawyer.

Look through the lists of our presidents. There is a direct correlation between quality and experience prior to becoming president. That doesn’t mean exceptions don’t exist. But if you want to be rational about it, instead of hoping to get lucky, pick the person who has administrative experience.

So when you cite Lincoln, you are citing an exception. But look at the other men considered our best. Washington: former general. Roosevelt (both of them): governor. Jefferson, Madison, governor. And on and on. And look at our worst, senators, and even congressmen. Of the 5 ranked worst by historians, only one, Andrew Johnson, had executive experience.

> What we need are ideas, intelligence and good judgment.

Well, I am sure you are an Obamaton, so let me ask you about his judgment. Just how much judgment was involved in suggesting that the UN Security Counsel should handle the Georgian crisis? (psst, find out which countries have a veto to discover how effective that would have been in reigning in Russia.)

Or saying that he would fire anyone who attacked Palin’s family and failing to follow through on that?

Or announcing he would invade Pakistan? (Hint: the problem isn’t the policy—you can bet mccain would invade Pakistan if he had to, to get bin laden—the problem is ANNOUCING IT ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!!!)

Or saying the surge wouldn’t work?

When has he ever told a hard truth to his constituents that cost him politically? Name it. And, no the Iraq war doesn’t count, because he told them what they wanted to hear.

And there can be elites, and there are elitists. If you are a better than most people, good. If you think you are better, bad. get it?

Public defender

You’re not paying attention. Mccain is running as a reformer, too.

Loki

> I've never understood the "elite" argument. I don't want to have a beer with my President. I don't want my President to reflect me. I want my President to be better than me. Why doesn't that make sense?

So you want your president to see you as too stupid to run your own life?

I want a president who respects the people. Because if he thinks he knows better than the people, than that is just a dictator in waiting.

> Do you choose your doctor based on who you want to have a beer with? Whether they 'reflect' you?

Not reflect, but respect me. Tell me the truth. Let me participate in the decision as much as possible.

I mean, do you just do what your doctor says without question?

> What about the CEO of a company?

I presume the CEO will be someone who respects the board and the stockholders, considering that they are his/her boss.

Flim

> I do agree with you that the experience of running a large university and med school would be qualifying experience for being a governor, but probably not president or vice president.

Well, it beats being a senator.

Karl

> You might not agree with his opinions and his solutions, but I think he is more capable of developing new solutions and creative solutions.

As in, you think vast swaths of the American people are too stupid to know what is good for them. See what I mean when I say that a president who looks down on the people is a dictator in waiting.

Metro1

> What was the "foreign policy experience" of Obama's almost-VP-pick, Governor Kaine of Virginia? Did his lack of "foreign policy experience" concern the Left with regard to Kaine? If not, perhaps they were never really concerned with experience anyway - otherwise they wouldn't be backing Obama.

To add to your point, all those lefties who said that kaine would have been a good choice and palin is a terrible one, are hypocrites, given that kaine has been governor here for less time than Palin. And you have to wonder if they are being sexist, too.

Loki

> Do you want to explain that Palin has experience dealing with Russia now?

She can’t do worse than Noobius Maximus on the subject. As Guiliani said, apparently none of his 300 advisors knew that Russia had a veto in the security counsel.

CJM

> I do not think McCain would become as bad as the current administration, but he's been irresponsible enough to bring aboard Governor Palin.

Um, sorry, but except for hating her policies, there is nothing wrong with Palin that you can’t say about Obama.

> C'mon, one son's headed to Iraq in a few hours,

Gee, I thought you lefties didn’t like it when the children of pro-war politicians didn’t serve.

I mean seriously, how sexist can this be. McCain has a son in Iraq, too, I don’t hear you even mention that.

> the eldest daughter's got belly-fruit

Attack the daughter. Classy.

> and is about to force the town quarterback into a shotgun wedding

Not true. They were actually engaged when this happened. And, by the way, did you hear even a whiff of a rumor that any threat was involved? Before you made this stupid accusation did it ever occur to you that he was only doing it because he should?

> and to top it all off, a baby with special needs.

And Biden was a single dad. But no one said he should be staying home.

> It was Sukie who insisted on positing his/her own theories on Obama's "issues" going into the election

First, if you think an area of inquiry is wrong, then just say that. don’t go do the same thing.

Second, there is a difference between pointing out that Obama has emotional issues he is working out, and a person with external stresses in their lives. A strong psyche can deal with that and overcome.

> Obama's dealings with Rezko and Ayers have been settled

Oh, so Obama denounces them and you are like “well, good enough for me.” Can you tell me where to live so I can send a con-man to teach you not to trust people’s words, even if they are slick?

As for the claim bush could run for office again, there is this in the constitution:

> No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice,

And I know what you are about to say… “but he wasn’t elected in 2000.” Rather than fight that fight all over again, I would say that the courts will never allow him to claim he wasn’t elected, after he claimed all these years to be elected and acted as such.

Fat Man/Loki

Actually he did author a case note, after denying he wrote anything. It proves he can do basic research, etc. Goody. But as a lawyer I can say that is good training to be a legislator, not a president.

Jukebox

> He has thirteen months of executive experience. And for some strange reason, this job is not even mentioned in his official campaign bio. Don't you think that's odd?

Gee, I think I did hear SOMETHING about his years as a fighter pilot…

And seriously, stop citing yourself to prove your claims.
9.8.2008 4:17am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
A.W.

Just how much judgment was involved in suggesting that the UN Security Counsel should handle the Georgian crisis? (psst, find out which countries have a veto to discover how effective that would have been in reigning in Russia.)


You obviously missed Jon Stewart with video of John McCain saying precisely the same thing.

If it was a stupid thing to do, you'll have to dsqualify both Obama and McCain
9.8.2008 5:03am
David M. Nieporent (www):
The way it looks to me is that first she gave an answer which revealed her authentic belief, and then she backpedaled after she noticed the uproar she created.
Yes, but it "looks" that way to you because you're a partisan hack. There's no actual evidence of any "uproar," now is there? Nor is there any evidence that this was her "authentic belief." She never did a single thing in office to try to implement the teaching of creationism.

She has a track record of taking extreme positions, and then backpedaling. Another example is when she tried to fire the librarian, but was forced to relent because of the public backlash.
1) Teaching creationism is not an "extreme" position at all, but a very popular one.
2) Firing a librarian is not an "extreme position." In fact, it's not even a "position" at all.
3) That's not a "track record." That's two anecdotes.


He has thirteen months of executive experience. And for some strange reason, this job is not even mentioned in his official campaign bio. Don't you think that's odd?
No, no matter how many thousand times you post the exact same illogical argument. You can't both argue that it was short and that it's odd that it wasn't mentioned. It's a summary, not an autobiography.
9.8.2008 5:06am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Gee, I think I did hear SOMETHING about his years as a fighter pilot…


Flying an airplane is not executive experience. McCain does have 13 months of executive experience, but he omitted it from his campaign bio.

stop citing yourself to prove your claims


When I point to my own posts, it's because they contain proof in the form of external links. Which makes more sense than pasting in those same links all over again. Duh.
9.8.2008 6:43am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
She never did a single thing in office to try to implement the teaching of creationism.


She hasn't been there very long. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. Likewise for Jesusland.

You can't both argue that it was short and that it's odd that it wasn't mentioned. It's a summary, not an autobiography.


It's the only executive experience McCain ever had. He's currently applying for a job as a chief executive. Therefore it's odd to not mention his executive experience. Especially since he finds space to talk about flying airplanes and being a POW, which I think is less relevant experience, as far as preparing to be a chief executive.
9.8.2008 6:43am
TDPerkins (mail):

She hasn't been there very long. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day.


She's been there for two years and hasn't made the least move towards it.

Likewise, she was mayor of Wasilla for many years and never banned a book or made a move to it.

Tell you what jukeboxgrad, if McCain never mentions his very positive command experience, you should get down on your knees and hope he also never brings up 0bama's Annenberg project, it's dismal failure, and who he was in on it with (Ayers).

And I'll reply to you wherever it seems advantageous to do so, I'm sure you have the memory for it.

And lies by implication are still lies, quit lying by claiming Palin wants to ban books.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.8.2008 8:19am
Pete Freans (mail):
Your first reaction on August 29th about the Palin choice I thought was drafted quickly, was void of critical analysis, and was much more subjective than I am accustomed to from a VC contributor. I think your subsequent posts made your argument more credible even though I still disagree with you. Name-calling of course is beneath this forum.
9.8.2008 8:32am
RWRogers (mail):
"There’s something about the subject that seems to bring out a bit of a nasty streak in people."

"appalling" "insulting" "idiotic" "stupid" "entirely beyond me"

Your words, David. You set the tone for the subsequent conversation.
9.8.2008 11:47am
A.W. (mail):
Johnny

Gotta link. And stewart doesn’t count unless it is uncut video.

Jukebox

> When I point to my own posts,

You force us to go rummaging around in arguments where you are frequently debunked. Whatever.

I mean really, do you just keep a list of all the wonderful threads you post in, every comment you write?

> She hasn't been there very long. Be patient.

Ah, so this is a faith-based argument against her. Gotcha.

> It's the only executive experience McCain ever had. He's currently applying for a job as a chief executive.

You’re right. he should emphasize that more. So?

The fact is when you apply for a job, the natural question the potential employer asks is “what similar jobs have you done?”

So imagine you are coming in to a hospital and you want to be a surgeon. They say, “okay, have you been to medical school?” Um, no. “Have you ever performed surgery?” Not really. But I am a lawyer and I learned a lot about medical malpractice.

Forgetting for a moment that you can’t hire a person to be a surgeon unless they are licensed, and forgetting that you can’t get that license without a medical degree… imagining for a moment that you have complete freedom to hire anyone, would you hire this man to be the surgeon? Hell no.

Now suppose you had two candidates for the surgeon job. The first one gave all those answers 2 paragraphs ago, and the second one says, almost the same thing, but when asked about surgical experience says, “well, I was once had a friend who was choking to death and I had to give him an emergency tracheotomy with a pen. Saved his life.” Now, you have to pick one of them, you can’t say none of the above: which do you choose?

Now let’s expand that even more. Let suppose this was two person teams. Person A was the malpractice lawyer only; he has a teammate, B, who is also only a malpractice lawyer but he has been at it longer. Person C, is the guy who did an emergency tracheotomy, and his teammate, D, has been a town doctor for about a year.

Which do you choose?

None of these are ideal choices, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t still an easy choice. You go with the side with the most experience in the relevant area, even if it isn’t half as much as you would like. And as for the concern that mccain might die, I don’t consider that a bug, but a feature.

Picking Noobius Maximus (Obama) to be president is a shot in the dark. Maybe you will get lucky and hit your target. You can even audaciously hope that you will. But shooting in the dark is only intelligent under the most extreme circumstances. There is nothing so horrible about the possibility of President John McCain as to justify such a recklessly desperate choice. He’s not my first choice, either, but for the life of me, I don’t know why the democrats are so opposed to him.

As I said before, I am old enough to remember when McCain was considered a good choice for Kerry’s vice presidential nominee, and when challenged, no one in the thread could tell me what changed between then and now. So why not say, “hey, he’s not all of what I want, but he is the best man for the job.” I will say only those who just plain hate republicans would consider that out of the question.
9.8.2008 12:07pm
sbw (mail) (www):
Test. Test? Test!

Hello? Is anybody listening?
9.8.2008 12:37pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

McCain was a lawful combatant

McCain was an unprivileged enemy combatant, because he was a third-party participant in the war in Vietnam, which was a civil war -- a battle between internal factions for control of the country. The Geneva Conventions cover only the case of wars between nations, and the case of purely civil wars. Absent a US declaration of war against Vietnam -- which never occurred -- none of the Geneva Conventions covered the McCain case. Luckily for McCain however, US diplomats were eventually able to persuade the North Vietnamese to apply the Geneva Conventions.
9.8.2008 12:38pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

You go with the side with the most experience in the relevant area, even if it isn’t half as much as you would like.

Somehow, however, conservatives resisted this excellent argument in 1964, when incumbent President LBJ was challenged by mere Senator Goldwater.
9.8.2008 12:47pm
loki13 (mail):
fat man,

You didn't know it was a note written in law school. You didn't know anything about Obama's work at UChicago. Spending 10 minutes with teh googlez will not cure your clear lack of knowledge of how a law review works. And, FYI, the point of bringing up Posner was not to denigrate Posner, who is a great jurist that I admire and is such a prolific writer that he probably wrote himself off the Supreme Court, but to put the position at UChi. in perspective- they're not handed out like party favors.

This was you statement-

"
We in fact have no idea of whether Obama knows any law . . ."

You may not like Obama, but that is stupid. As for pal2pal, I just love when the freepers come visit VC and know nothing about the regular posters here. Wasn't there a party called that? Oh yeah, the Know Nothings.
9.8.2008 12:47pm
Hoosier:
Tony Titus--I am totally calling you out on this. It is BS. Where's your evidence? (Keep in mind Arts. II, III, and IV when you answer, if you would).
9.8.2008 12:58pm
Hoosier:
'Tutins'
9.8.2008 12:58pm
A.W. (mail):
Tutins

> Absent a US declaration of war against Vietnam

There was a declaration of war. It doesn’t have to be called one, to be one. Constitutional law 101.

> Somehow, however, conservatives resisted this excellent argument in 1964, when incumbent President LBJ was challenged by mere Senator Goldwater.

If I was over 18 back then, I would have voted for LBJ. He was too big-government for my taste, but right on other very important issues, and, yes, did have experience.

But if your point is republicans are hypocrites on this then I offer two points on that subject. First, you had to go back pretty far to find someone as questionable as goldwater, Second, I only have to look at the 1) the current election, or 2) the last vice president nominee, to have a similar problem for the democrats. I mean, I am pretty sure Palin has never worried about her hair and makeup half as much as John Edwards.

Of course saying the other side is worse is only an argument in a binary choice situation, and in this situation I would hope next time both sides do better. I would have wanted to see Guiliani as the nominee, but oh well…

But the right principle is that the more executive experience, the better.
9.8.2008 1:53pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It's the only executive experience McCain ever had. He's currently applying for a job as a chief executive. Therefore it's odd to not mention his executive experience. Especially since he finds space to talk about flying airplanes and being a POW, which I think is less relevant experience, as far as preparing to be a chief executive.
Since you'd vote for Ahmadinejad over McCain if the former had a (D) after his name, I don't think you're the target audience, so what you think is relevant isn't really important.
9.8.2008 2:02pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Jeez, Tony.
You want to apply that to, say, the Gitmo Goons?
9.8.2008 3:03pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Here's a good explanation of the situation from the US military point of view. From our point of view, the Vietnam War was an international conflict; from the North Vietnamese point of view, they were the legitimate government of Vietnam trying to put down an insurgency. McCain fell in a crack between Article 2 and Article 3 - a uniformed non-insurgent; (the mirror image of the Gitmo detainees -- non-uniformed insurgents):


Application of Geneva Conventions to Prisoners of War

The application of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 to captives in the Vietnam War was complicated by the perplexing legal nature of that conflict. In the classic sense, the conventions presume a declared state of war between two or more sovereign states, each fielding a regular army fighting on a readily identifiable battlefront. Virtually none of these classic conditions existed in the Vietnam conflict.

The United States recognized the sovereignty of South Vietnam, as did some eighty-seven other nations. Indeed, South Vietnam is a member of several special committees of the United Nations, and would have been a member of the United Nations itself had it not been for a Soviet veto in 1957.

The United States has not accorded full diplomatic recognition to North Vietnam, as have some twenty-seven other states. However, the United States has acknowledged North Vietnam's agreement to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and it has treated North Vietnam as a separate state in the context of Article 12 of the Geneva Prisoner of War Conventions.

Throughout the course of the war the government of North Vietnam was most reluctant to admit to any involvement in South Vietnam, constantly maintaining all of Vietnam to be one country and the Saigon government a puppet regime, beleaguered by indigenous patriots who wished to restore the country to the people. The Republic of Vietnam, while asserting its separation from North Vietnam and its existence as a sovereign state, steadfastly refused to accord to the Viet Cong any degree of legitimacy, either as a separate political entity or as an agent of Hanoi.
...

Early in the war there had been some question in the United States command as to whether the struggle against the Viet Cong constituted an armed international conflict as contemplated in Article 2, Geneva Prisoner of War Conventions, or a conflict not of international nature, to which Article 3 would be applicable. With the infusion of large numbers of United States and North Vietnamese combat units and the coming of the Korean, Australian, Thai, and New Zealand contingents of the Free World Military Assistance Forces, any practical doubts as to the international nature of the conflict were resolved. Although North Vietnam made a strong argument that the conflict in Vietnam was essentially an internal domestic struggle, the official position of the United States, stated as early as 1965, and repeated consistently thereafter, was that the hostilities constituted an armed international conflict, that North Vietnam was a belligerent, that the Viet Cong were agents of the government of North Vietnam, and that the Geneva Conventions applied in full. This view was urged upon the government of South Vietnam, which acceded reluctantly, but subsequently came out in full support of the conventions.
9.8.2008 3:50pm
darelf:
"agree...that the country is in a rather serious mess"

Nope.
9.8.2008 4:24pm
Hoosier:
Tony Tutins

And yet the DRV position is not relevant from the perspective of international law. Which is, of course, what the Geneva Conventions are all about. Hanoi could "assert" whatever it wanted about the nature of the war. But the RVN was recognized by more than eighty nations. It was a participant in various UN commissions. /De facto/, SVN in Saigon was the government of the area south of the 17th parallel. It was a state for the purposes of law. The DRV acceded to an agreement in 1954, to which another signatory was SVN.

In addition, ICRC treated POWs held in by the DRV as falling under the Geneva protocols.

McCain and the other allied forces POWs did NOT fall between a crack. As to the "mirror image" point, law of war since the Middle Ages has asserted as one of its primary stipulations that combatants must be identifiable as combatants. Wearing a uniform makes all the difference between things like being accorded automatic POW protections, on the one hand, or being summarily shot, on the other.
9.8.2008 8:37pm
Fat Man (mail) (www):
At 11:47 am on 9-08, Loki13 wrote: "You didn't know it was a note written in law school."

In my 9.7 4:49pm I wrote: "We in fact have no idea of whether Obama knows any law as he has never authored a legal article, opinion or brief, other than an undergraduate case note."

At 5:09 you replied: "5. It was not an undergraduate case note; it was written while at law school."

To which I replied: "Law students are undergraduate law students until they graduate from law school."

Now, I thought that you would connect the ideas and realize that case notes are written by law school undergraduates, but I guess that much thinking is above your pay grade. Yes, I know that BHO wrote a case note while he was in law school and that is what I have tried to tell you now 3 times. So your most recent statement is based solely on your inability to read, not on my failure to write it.

At 11:47 am on 9-08, Loki13 wrote: "Spending 10 minutes with teh googlez will not cure your clear lack of knowledge of how a law review works."

No. But being on Law Review when I was in law school, teaching at a law school since then, and spending 30+ years as an active participant in the legal profession give me much clearer knowledge of how a law review works than being a semi-literate layman such as yourself.

At 11:47 am on 9-08, Loki13 wrote: :And, FYI, the point of bringing up Posner was ... to put the position at UChi. in perspective- they're not handed out like party favors.

Proving that Judge Posner has a characteristic does not prove, or even tend to prove, that someone who shares that characteristic, has any of Judge Posner's other qualities. Posner was given a lectureship so that the law school could call on him after he left his tenured professorship for a Federal Judgeship. Clearly they had other reasons for dealing with Obama.

I do not have the true inside story of why the U of C appointed Obama to a lectureship, but there are many possibilities that relate to things other than intelligence and legal knowledge including, but not limited to, his political connections and ambitions and increasing faculty diversity and contact with the surrounding community.

This exchange is now over. You have demonstrated only that you are semi-literate, that your knowledge of law, lawyers and law schools comes only from campaign propaganda and showings of "Legally Blond", and that you are irrationally committed to Obama. I cannot reason you out of things you were not reasoned into, and this exchange has ceased to amuse me.



























.

This was you statement-

"
We in fact have no idea of whether Obama knows any law . . ."



9.7.2008 4:49pm
(link)
loki13 (mail):
Fat Man,

Please. Stop. You're killing me.

1. Harvard Law School is mark of distinction.
2. Within law schools generally, law review is a mark of high achievement.
3. HLR is widely considered the best of the law reviews (even if Yale is ranked higher as an institution).
4. To be elected EIC, you have to be able to get along (political skills), know the law (academic skills), and work incredibly hard.

6. Furthermore, he graduated with the top people in his class. That's what the fancy latin words mean.
7. Oh yeah, he was a lecturer (I don't want to get in the professor debate) at U. Chicago in ConLaw. Apparently he received a great deal of praise for that. You have to know the subject of ConLaw pretty well to teach it. U. Chi. is also somewhat well regarded as law schools go- I know Judge Posner has enjoyed lecturing there.

Any questions? Or do you wish to continue to diplay your, um, interesting opinions?

Please. Stop. You're killing me.



And I see I failed. Damn. I'll just have to try harder this time.

1. Harvard Law School is mark of distinction.



Only in a self referential little world of law school snobs. Beyond that it means you got in to HLS. Merely getting in means only that they picked you. HLS says:

Each application is considered in its entirety ... the admissions committee seeks not only to identify individual characteristics that are important to academic success in law school, but also other qualities that promote vitality, diversity, and excellence in the student body. The committee uses no computational methods for making decisions and no “cut-offs” below which a candidate will not be considered.



Neither you, nor I, nor anybody who is talking, knows why HLS let BHO in. It just doesn't mean very much.

The degree doesn't mean very much either. Unlike the good old days of Prof. Kingsfield, it is not possible to flunk out without extraordinary effort.

2. Within law schools generally, law review is a mark of high achievement.



Once upon time being an editor of a law review meant that the student was in the top of his class. This no longer the case at HLS, or most other schools. Here is what HLR says:

Between 41 and 43 students are invited to join the Review each year. Fourteen editors (two from each 1L section) are selected based on a combination of their first-year grades and their competition scores. Twenty editors are selected based solely on their competition scores. The remaining editors are selected on a discretionary basis. Some of these discretionary slots may be used to implement the Review's affirmative action policy.



Once again neither you, nor I, nor anybody who is talking, knows how BHO got onto the HLR. It just doesn't mean very much.

3. HLR is widely considered the best of the law reviews. ...



By whom and for what purpose? At least US News collects some statistics and runs a poll to use for its rankings. As for law reviews, practitioners don't read them any more because they seldom publish anything of use to anybody. HLR is may be the biggest fish, but it is in a very small pond.

4. To be elected EIC, you have to be able to get along (political skills), know the law (academic skills), and work incredibly hard.



Political skills I will admit. Know the law? I doubt it. No second year law student knows much. The only knowledge that being on law review requires is the arcana of legal citation. Knowing it won't help you much as a lawyer, and not knowing it won't hurt at all. As for hard work, BHO never published a student note which most ambitious editors do. None of us knows whether he did any work at all.

5. It was not an undergraduate case note; it was written while at law school.





6. Furthermore, he graduated with the top people in his class. That's what the fancy latin words mean.



It may also mean that he selected the easiest classes he could find and got grades especially in his 3rd year when his classmates who had already gotten jobs were coasting. He has not published his transcripts.

7. Oh yeah, he was a lecturer (I don't want to get in the professor debate) at U. Chicago ... Apparently he received a great deal of praise for that. You have to know the subject of ConLaw pretty well to teach it.



I will stipulate the excellence of the U of C law school, but being a lecturer means very little. You don't really have to know the subject as well as a good practitioner, you just have to know more than the students, which is not hard.

I once was a lecturer at a well known law school. I didn't know all that much about the topic. I got the text book, read it, and taught the course. The way to rave reviews from the students is easy. Don't be rude, Don't ask for too much homework. Give them all As.

To be a professor means a bit more. You need to write law review articles and books. Obama did not write any articles and was not a professor. Why he didn't write I do not not know and he has not explained. He did write his memoirs.

Judge Posner was a professor at U of C, famous for developing "Law &Economics", before he was appointed to the 7 Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Since then he has continued to be a prolific author -- a search of Amazon showed 174 items (20 of them since 2005), and that does not include the dozens of opinions he has written. Comparisons between Judge Posner and BHO as legal scholars are not flattering to BHO.
9.8.2008 11:14pm
TDPerkins (mail):

McCain was an unprivileged enemy combatant, because he was a third-party participant in the war in Vietnam, which was a civil war -- a battle between internal factions for control of the country.


The involvement of the Soviet Union and communism nullifies that possibility. McCain was a uniformed combatant in war having an international character, the fight of the United States against those internationally based foes who claimed they would hang us with the rope we would sell to them.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.8.2008 11:47pm
TDPerkins (mail):

But the RVN was recognized by more than eighty nations. It was a participant in various UN commissions. /De facto/, SVN in Saigon was the government of the area south of the 17th parallel. It was a state for the purposes of law. The DRV acceded to an agreement in 1954, to which another signatory was SVN.


That's all true, but I tend to think the fact great powers were contending cover it.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
9.8.2008 11:50pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
FAT MAN and LOKI13


the following provides some insight into how Obama came to the attention of University of Chicago Law School and is from Politico article
"Obama kept Law Review balanced"
By: Jeffrey Ressner and Ben Smith
June 24, 2008 04:17 PM EST




After winning a spot on the Review, Obama beat out 18 other contenders to become the first African-American president in the then-103-year history of the Review, and his duties included leading discussions and debates to determine what to print from the mountain of submissions from judges, scholars and authors from across the country, supervising the thorough editing of each issue's contents and giving every article what's known as a "P-read" once it was finally considered ready for publication.

Once a piece is set, the president also sends a letter or fax and makes a follow-up phone call to each author. Federal Judge Michael W. McConnell, who was nominated by President Bush and has frequently been mentioned as one of Bush’s potential Supreme Court nominees, recalls receiving one such letter and call in early 1990 for his article “The Origins and Historical Understanding of Free Exercise of Religion.”

McConnell told Politico, “A frequent problem with student editors is that they try to turn an article into something they want it to be. It was striking that Obama didn’t do that. He tried to make it better from my point of view.” McConnell was impressed enough to urge the University of Chicago Law School to seek Obama out as an academic prospect.

9.9.2008 12:48am