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[POST MOVED UP BECAUSE OF CORRECTION] "What Will Happen to Senator Stevens' Seat? It is Complicated,"

says Prof. Rick Hasen (Election Law Blog). [Note important update below.] The question, of course, is what will happen if he is reelected, but then resigns or is expelled. Rick's answer:

There's a bit of a dispute over which rules apply. The old rules (see here) provided for the governor to fill a vacancy and then to call a special election afterwards, if the term would expire in more than 30 months. A controversy over the last Alaskan governor appointing his daughter to a vacant Senate seat led Alaska voters to pass an initiative changing the law. Under the new law, the governor still may appoint a temporary person to the seat, who sits only until a special election is called in 60-90 days after the vacancy occurs. Because Senator Stevens' term would expire in more than 30 months, there's not much difference between these old and new laws, except as to the timing of the special election.

There's a constitutional question under the 17th Amendment whether [a change by voter initiative] to the means for filling Senate vacancies are constitutional. Vik Amar thinks it is. I'm not so sure (I address a similar, but not identical, issue in this paper).

So, either way, the governor will have the power to fill a vacancy at least for the short time (meaning this [Wall Street Journal] Washington Wire post is incorrect at the end).

Go to Rick's post for more, and for the links to the various other items he refers to.

UPDATE: Rick has a follow-up post:

More on Alaska Replacement Law, and Why the WSJ Washington Wire Was Right

Following up on this post, an alert reader points me to an Alaska Supreme Court case, State of Alaska v. Trust the People, 113 P.2d 613 (2005). The case involved a pre-election challenge to the initiative that changed the Alaska rules for replacing Senate candidates. In the case, the proponents of the initiative challenged a decision of the state's lieutenant governor to keep the measure off the ballot on grounds it was substantially the same as a law recently passed by the Alaska Legislature. The Alaska Supreme Court held that the lt. governor erred because the initiative and the measure were not substantially the same, because the initiative, unlike the new legislatively-enacted statute, did not provide for any temporary Senate replacement pending a special election. That is, under the initiative the Senate seat remains vacant until the special election is called, and the governor has no power to give the benefit of incumbency to a temporary appointee.

None of this was clear to me by looking at the Alaska Code, because the provision on vacancies remains part of the Code. (The initiative apparently was drafted before the code provision added by the state legislative statute, so the initiative did not call for its repeal.) So in the event Senator Stevens must be replaced, this conflict will have to be resolved, and the courts will have to confront a 17th Amendment argument, at least as to temporary replacements.

Michael Masinter (mail):
Rick's recitation of Stan Brand's argument that the voters' (presumed) reelection of a Senator precludes expulsion for his earlier conviction founders on an argument Senator Stevens repeatedly made over the past two weeks -- he has not yet been convicted of any crime because the trial judge has not yet entered a judgment on the basis of the jury's verdict. Senator Stevens is correct, but from that it follows that his conviction will not occur until after his reelection, and therefore properly will be able to form the basis for expulsion even assuming the unlikely limit on Senatorial power Brand posits.

On a practical level, should Governor Palin have the opportunity to appoint a temporary successor, she should avoid any temptation to appoint herself; self appointed replacement Senators rejected by voters in the following election litter the history of the nation.
11.6.2008 2:20am
Light Hearted (mail):
I don't know if Governor Palin will have time. I understand she is on Obama's short list for Ambassador to Africa...
11.6.2008 2:42am
Dave N (mail):
I am not sure whether conviction of a crime matters a whit over whether or not Senator Stevens is expelled. Robert Packwood resigned after the Senate Ethics Committee voted to expel him for reprehensible conduct--even though he was not convicted of any crime.

I agree with Professor Hasen that the Senate could expel Senator Stevens regardless of the intervening election.

I also must note that I agree that Governor Palin would be a fool to appoint herself. My prediction is that 6 months from now, the junior senator from Alaska will be its current lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell.
11.6.2008 2:57am
Nathan_M (mail):

I don't know if Governor Palin will have time. I understand she is on Obama's short list for Ambassador to Africa...

Are you sure? I heard he was appointing her to advise him on Nafta.
11.6.2008 3:18am
DiversityHire:
Stevens should resign. The Senate should not pursue the matter further unless he refuses. He was a profoundly important influence in Alaska. He was a great Senator in the 1970s. The trans-alaska pipeline and Alaska Native Claims Settlement acts are foundational and transformational to the state and people of alaska. Its too bad he'll be remembered as a pork-monger and VECO's whore.

Governor Palin should call for an open election. She can ring up Frank in Fairbanks and see if he's available to fill-in for 30-90 days (he can bunk with Lisa in DC) with the assurance he won't run. She can even agree to fly him there on the McCain-Palin "Country First" Express (which is probably being reliveried as "FedEx" even as we speak).

If she screws that up, she'll get another shot when Young's seat comes available...
11.6.2008 3:20am
Roger Schlafly (www):
What happened to the separation of powers? The Justice Dept should not have the power to decide who gets to sit in the Senate.
11.6.2008 4:11am
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
I don't know if Governor Palin will have time. I understand she is on Obama's short list for Ambassador to Africa...
Are you sure? I heard he was appointing her to advise him on Nafta.
Sorry, but I think you are both wrong. Instead of being posted as the Ambassador to the United States Embassy for Africa, I heard she is going to be posted as Counsel General at the consulate in the province of South Africa.
11.6.2008 4:12am
Cornellian (mail):
Frankly I'm astounded that the voters of Alaska reelected him even after he was convicted. Do they have no regard at all for how that makes their state look? Are they in some kind of competition with Louisiana?
11.6.2008 4:18am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"I don't know if Governor Palin will have time. I understand she is on Obama's short list for Ambassador to Africa..."

That's funny, I heard she will be teaching geography at the University of Alaska.
11.6.2008 5:20am
J. Aldridge:
Roger Schlafly, Separation of powers was discarded along with the legitimate Constitution years ago.
11.6.2008 6:17am
smitty1e:
I take this knee-jerk trashing of Governor Palin as a Left-handed complement.
She really does scare the liberal elite, doesn't she?
Go, Sarah!
11.6.2008 6:19am
just me (mail):
I can't help but wonder why they voted for Stevens. Maybe voters wanted to keep the seat GOP, but then he won the primary when everyone knew the trial was coming up. Who knows?
11.6.2008 6:25am
davod (mail):
"Separation of powers was discarded along with the legitimate Constitution years ago."

What does this mean?
11.6.2008 7:00am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
Stevens is reportedly in deep consultation with Larry Craig's people as to the fate of his seat.
11.6.2008 7:27am
MSchmahl:
@just me: Many people here in Alaska believed, and still believe, that Stevens's prosecution is politically motivated. If the Administration were Democratic, I might be willing to give this argument the benefit of the doubt.

Most people I have spoken with know that Stevens is the senior Republican senator, and that this is good for the state. Some of these wrongly believe that if Stevens is expelled, his successor will somehow inherit his seniority. Even so, and assuming that we elect our senators on strictly parochial grounds, I have tried to convince people that a freshman majority senator has more influence than a senior minority senator. And it is likely that the Democrats will have a senate majority for at least six years.

I have a couple of legal questions surrounding Sen. Stevens, that I would be most interested in having some opinions about. (1) There was some discussion (IIRC on this site) on a possible Constitutional challenge to the prosecution, on the grounds that the reporting requirements were of the nature of the Senate imposing discipline upon its own members, and therefore are not justiciable outside of the Senate itself. Has Stevens asserted this defense, or is he likely to? If he does, is there any possibility of success? (2) Assuming Stevens is eventually expelled from the senate, can the governor appoint herself to the vacant seat?
11.6.2008 7:29am
Angus:
I take this knee-jerk trashing of Governor Palin as a Left-handed complement.
She really does scare the liberal elite, doesn't she?
Scared? Not so much now that we know she will never get into the White House as anything other than a tourist.

Amused? Yes. The reports coming out from inside the campaign of just how stupid, self-centered, and dishonest she was are absolutely delicious.

Blaming others for the clothes expenses when you directed them and actually spent more than was reported? Not being able to name the three countries that make up North America? Not knowing even basic civics? Not knowing the difference between a country and a continent? Wow. Just wow.
11.6.2008 7:43am
Hoosier:
Cat Stevens lost his senate seat? Bum trip.
11.6.2008 7:48am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Amused? Yes. The reports coming out from inside the campaign of just how stupid, self-centered, and dishonest she was are absolutely delicious.


Well, it's your press, dear.


Cat Stevens lost his senate seat? Bum trip.


Yep- too many wives, and fuses on his shoes.
11.6.2008 7:51am
Angus:
Well, it's your press, dear.
Republicans and Fox News are my press? I'm pretty sure both are in the tank for the GOP.
11.6.2008 8:02am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Republicans and Fox News are my press? I'm pretty sure both are in the tank for the GOP.



One in a row, Helen.
11.6.2008 8:05am
Snaphappy:
I have absolutely had it with Alaska. Why should we be contemplating tax increases while Alaskans get a check from the government for nothing, and while corrupt slime like Stevens brings them more pork per capita than any other state? Of course they reelected Stevens -- he makes sure their pockets are lined at the expense of the "lower 48." Every federal dollar spent on an Alaskan project is a dollar the state does not have to spend using its own money, which means that money is available to give back to the Alaskans. I hope we nationalize Alaska's oil fields and take its revenues to pay back America for what corrupt corrupt Alaska has been stealing all this time.
11.6.2008 8:30am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Angus: "Not being able to name the three countries that make up North America?"

You are being very unfair, you are assuming that she knew that the NA in NAFTA was North America.
11.6.2008 8:32am
DiverDan (mail):

Angus: "Not being able to name the three countries that make up North America?"


Uh, Angus, you need to get out your Atlas and study up - yes, Canada, USA, and Mexico are the three LARGEST countries in North America, but even under the most restrictive definition in use (well, except for the fringe view that Mexico is part of Central America, which these folks separate entirely from North America), North America includes all of Belize and most of Guatemala. Under the most common view, North America includes Central America, down to either the Panama Canal (at the narrowest part of the isthmus), or the Panama Columbia Border (taking the practical view that a Country should be classified, to the extent possible, as entirely within one continent), and so includes not only Belize and Guatemala, but also Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and most or all of Panama. That is exclusive of all of the Caribbean nations which are usually (but not always) categorized as separate from North and South America.
11.6.2008 8:57am
Joe Kowalski (mail):
Keep in mind, there are still about 60-70 thousand absentee and "provisional" ballots that haven't been counted. Begich is down only by about 3,000 votes, and could still win depending on how those ballots shake out. In that case, the need for a special election would be moot.
11.6.2008 9:04am
Adam J:
smitty1e- Jokes about where Palin will be appointed is "trashing" her? Seriously?
11.6.2008 9:18am
Adam J:
Smitty1e- nevermind... I guess you anticipated Angus' post.
11.6.2008 9:20am
Hoosier:
Fascinating that several of the Democrats on the Conspiracy (Congratulations, by the way, my fellow Americans) are repeating "stories" about Palin from "inside the McCain camp." Stories that say the silliest stuff imaginable about Palin. And they appear to believe this tripe.

Questions: (1) Who is saying what? (Give me names.); (2) Once you have provided those names, give me a reason to think that this is anything other than c-y-a. "It's her fault, not mine." I remeber Dick Darman, even if you don't.
11.6.2008 9:22am
Sarcastro (www):
Hoosier listen, Palin's narrative is that she's dumb. Thus, anything I hear on the internet that agrees with that is presumptively true.

Your comment doesn't seem to go along with that, so I'm going to dismiss it as internet rantings without any proof.
11.6.2008 9:27am
Angus:
Who said they believed they were true? All I said was that I enjoyed the reports because they were coming from Republicans. I had plenty of time just listening and watching Palin already to confirm that she was either a) dumb, b) poorly informed about the world outside of Alaska, or c) both.
11.6.2008 9:33am
Hoosier:
Angus also doesn't appear to know that Greenland is part of North america, and is self-governing. Shall we debate the term "country"? Only if we want to include Denmark as part of North America too.

Had Palin made this sort of mistake--to wit, there are "three countries" in North America--whatever would Obama supporters have said about her on VC? Hmm.

I still have to correct people on Dan Quayle's "gaffe" about Latin Americans speaking Latin; never happened. Or Bush II's comment to the visiting president of Brazil expresing surprise that Brazil had blacks. What's the source? Seems to have been invented a year or so after the meeting.

So, are you scared of Palin? I dunno. But your side is trying to give her the Quayle Treatment. So I suspect the answer is more "Yes" than "No."
11.6.2008 9:33am
mls (www):
“There was some discussion (IIRC on this site) on a possible Constitutional challenge to the prosecution, on the grounds that the reporting requirements were of the nature of the Senate imposing discipline upon its own members, and therefore are not justiciable outside of the Senate itself. Has Stevens asserted this defense, or is he likely to? If he does, is there any possibility of success?”

Stevens did make this argument, which was rejected by Judge Sullivan. In the broad way that Stevens framed the argument, it seems to me clearly foreclosed by Supreme Court precedent. There is a somewhat narrower version of the argument, which focuses on the fact that the prosecution is attempting, in effect, to enforce a Senate rule, rather than a statute. This argument, though, is contrary to DC Circuit precedent.

However, Stevens does have some potentially strong arguments for appeal, particularly in regard to the charges that he failed to report “liabilities” on his financial disclosure reports.

I have discussed these issues at some length at www.pointoforder.com
11.6.2008 9:33am
JosephSlater (mail):
Wait, I'm confused. We shouldn't believe the reports about Palin because they come from "the media" (which must all be liberal even when it's Fox)? Or we shouldn't believe the reports because they come from the McCain camp (which is so not liberal, indeed it is staunchly anti-socialist)?

I'm still debating on the best term used by someone from inside her own campaign to describe Palin: rouge, diva, whack-job, Wassila hillbilly. . . .

And yeah, it's funny now, but kind of in the way that "Alaska maybe still elects convicted felon as Senator" is funny.
11.6.2008 9:34am
Hoosier:
Angus--
I had plenty of time just listening and watching Palin already to confirm that she was either a) dumb, b) poorly informed about the world outside of Alaska, or c) both.


OK. Care to amend your count of countries in the continent on which the USA is currently kept?
11.6.2008 9:36am
Hoosier:
Joseph--Come on. You know the blood-letting and back-stabbing that goes on after a presidential campaign goes down. There's nothing to this but an attempt by ceratin people to save their pride, reputation, or employment prospects.
11.6.2008 9:38am
Hoosier:
Angus

Who said they believed they were true?

Well, you said:

Amused? Yes. The reports coming out from inside the campaign of just how stupid, self-centered, and dishonest she was are absolutely delicious. (e.a.)

"Reports" doesn't suggest "rumors." Or "slander."
11.6.2008 9:42am
JosephSlater (mail):
Hoosier:

Yes, there are always recriminations after losing campaigns. But I worked on the Gore and Kerry campaigns, and while there was much gnashing of teeth and second-guessing strategy after their respective losses, there was nothing like these attacks on one of the two members of the ticket by sources in the other member's camp.

For some of us (e.g., me), the attacks on Palin tend to confirm what we already thought of Palin. For others, (e.g., you), these attacks fit the narrative that Palin has often been unfairly attacked. I won't try to convince you about Palin's substantive merits.

But again, my point is that this level of vitriol between Prez and VP camps/supporters after a loss is quite unusual.
11.6.2008 9:45am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Hoosier:I was certainly taught in school there were three countries in North America. Is it American imperialists that are coveting expansion and trying to annex Central America and the Caribbean?
11.6.2008 9:46am
Hoosier:
Is it American imperialists that are coveting expansion and trying to annex Central America and the Caribbean?

Yes.
11.6.2008 9:58am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Hoosier:
what gives credence to virtually every rumour/report is that they reflect badly on the McCain camp itself in its failure to properly vet Palin. Or at least on the members of the McCain camp who participated in the selection decision. If this circle was incredibly small, perhaps what they are trying to say is "if only I had been included in the process, we never would have made such a decision", or they are just amazed they could have been so negligent.


I would most like to know who suggested proximity to Russia as evidence of foreign policy experience. Did she think it up on her own? If so, After she used it in the Gibson interview, did no one think to give her a better answer before Couric?

Given that the answer was parallel to Tucker Bounds - national security experience as a result of being head of Alaska National Guard, I suspect she was given the Russia answer. but i'd love to know.
11.6.2008 10:04am
Hoosier:
Joseph--

For others, (e.g., you), these attacks fit the narrative that Palin has often been unfairly attacked.

I concede that that is one narrative. But it in't "my narrative." (Although since you didn't specify who did the unfair attacking, the statement is certainly true: she was unfairly attacked by Anrew Sullivan and so forth.)

My narrative is that the MSM did not scrutinize the other side at the same level. Not even close. I don't know that Obama knows very much, and I'm not willing to take him on faith. I know that Biden doesn't know much, since I have watched endless hours of tape from SFRC hearings. He really is embarrassing. And unlike Palin, he's been at it long enough that there's no good explanation. Except, perhaps, that he's not all that bright, or all that serious. Hard to tell.
11.6.2008 10:05am
Hoosier:
Johnny Cannuck--
what gives credence to virtually every rumour/report is that they reflect badly on the McCain camp itself in its failure to properly vet Palin.

You surely don't mean to say that they do so even if they are not true?

See my post above about Quayle. Unlike Palin, he wasn't too swift. But the "rumor/report" about him being ignorant of the existence of the Spanish tongue gives no credence to anything. Except my assertion that people will believe dumb things about people whom they consider dumb.

But I'm a Gen-Xer, so my ear is alwways attuned to irony.
11.6.2008 10:09am
JamesInSeattle (mail):
What happens in another scenario for Stevens - he's convicted and jailed, and still refuses to resign. Anything the people of Alaska can do about that? Presumably the Senate can expel him, but it seems pretty obvious that it's not in the Democrats' best interests to do that.

So: Stevens goes to jail (and presumably can't vote in the senate, since he physically can't get there). Democrats tell the Republicans they will vote to expel if and only if every single Republican senator votes to expel. At least one Republican senator refuses. Any options left for getting rid of Stevens?
11.6.2008 10:23am
Jonathan David:
Is there a Senate ethics review regarding Obama's house purchase and Obama's disclosure forms? Will Stevens raise that issue in any expulsion proceeding?
11.6.2008 10:28am
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Hoosier: "You surely don't mean to say that they do so even if they are not true?"

Your point is that they have the "ring of truth" to the hearers, because they already believe

I'm trying to say that because they also reflect badly on the gossiper or his camp, they are more likely than not to be true.

Surely, the McCain camp are not so obtuse that they don't recognize that any criticism of Palin that should have emerged from a proper vetting reflects badly on the McCain camp, or portion thereof that selected Palin.
11.6.2008 10:33am
neurodoc:
I take this knee-jerk trashing of Governor Palin as a Left-handed complement.
She really does scare the liberal elite, doesn't she?
Why should liberals, elite or non-elite, fear Palin? Didn't she prove a great boon to their cause, pulling McCain down. They fear Palin as much as Brer Rabbit feared the briar patch. On the other hand, I, a determined "centerist," do fear Palin. I fear Palin because she can only encourage that which ought not be encouraged, namely the GOP faction which wants all so-called "RINOs" out, demands the party nominate people I have so much trouble voting for, and makes theirs the anti-intellectual ("anti-elite") enterprise that it has become. Until their grip on the GOP is broken, or at least significantly weakened, the GOP will be an unattractive option to many, and we will suffer as a country for it because their will be no counterbalance to the Left.
11.6.2008 10:36am
neurodoc:
On a practical level, should Governor Palin have the opportunity to appoint a temporary successor, she should avoid any temptation to appoint herself; self appointed replacement Senators rejected by voters in the following election litter the history of the nation.
She won't appoint herself; she'll appoint Todd, who will caucus by himself as the AIP senator. (Remember, you heard it here first.)
11.6.2008 10:41am
Dave N (mail):
The Palin trashing seems fun, but we end up with comments from people on this thread, who in their own moral superiority, say things that would cause the media to paint them as a moron if they were a Republican (but likely forget if they were a Democrat) running for national office.

We have Angus and Johnny Cannuck, who believes that North America contains only three countries--despite the fact that most people(and indeed most schools that teach geography) count Central America as part of North America, as well as the Carribean.

We have Neurodoc, who is usually a very rational poster, suggesting that Palin would appoint Todd to the Senate because HEY, she is too dumb to remember that nepotism is oh so popular in Alaska and hey, there aren't other Republicans there anyway.

The PDS I am seeing this morning is pathetic.
11.6.2008 10:58am
Ben P:

My narrative is that the MSM did not scrutinize the other side at the same level. Not even close. I don't know that Obama knows very much, and I'm not willing to take him on faith. I know that Biden doesn't know much, since I have watched endless hours of tape from SFRC hearings. He really is embarrassing. And unlike Palin, he's been at it long enough that there's no good explanation. Except, perhaps, that he's not all that bright, or all that serious. Hard to tell.


Didn't this get discussed weeks ago?

Obama's plausibly been on the national Stage since the 2004 convention, more realistically since he began his presidential run in the fall of 2007. He was heavily covered during the primaries and continued to be covered during the election.

Biden's (and McCain for that matter) has been on the national stage for two decades. Most of his life has been spent in the public sphere.

For all practical considerations, Palin magically appeared on the national stage just over 2 months ago. It should be a no brainer why coverage of her was more intense over the first month or so of that period than it was over the other candidates.
11.6.2008 11:02am
MarkField (mail):

Congratulations, by the way, my fellow Americans


We're very happy that you Hoosiers did yourselves proud.


We have Neurodoc, who is usually a very rational poster, suggesting that Palin would appoint Todd to the Senate because HEY, she is too dumb to remember that nepotism is oh so popular in Alaska and hey, there aren't other Republicans there anyway.


That was a joke. neurodoc remains rational, even if his humor appeals only to some of us.
11.6.2008 11:18am
Hi Standards:
There may be some die hard Stevens voters due to his long service to Alaska, but most likely saw him as a placeholder for a non-Democratic Senator to be determined in a special election that would follow his resignation.

As to the outrage over federal dollars going to Alaska, what do you expect when the feds retain ownership to more than 90% of the land? Doubt that would be tolerated in the East, but many seem OK imposing it on others.
11.6.2008 11:52am
Smokey:
Roger Schlafly:
What happened to the separation of powers? The Justice Dept should not have the power to decide who gets to sit in the Senate.
Oh, Roger, that thinking is so 1776. Time to get over it and MoveOn.

And in other news re Sen Stevens: Rep. William Jefferson [D-Corrupt] still walks free. No indictment, no trial, no censure. He gets a 100% free pass.

WHY? Because he's not a Republican.
11.6.2008 12:13pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
"Angus said:

Amused? Yes. The reports coming out from inside the campaign of just how stupid, self-centered, and dishonest she was are absolutely delicious."

The fact that you would just believe those reports instead of taking them with a grain of salt says more about you than it does Palin. Enjoy eight years of Obama.
11.6.2008 12:14pm
DiverDan (mail):

I was certainly taught in school there were three countries in North America. Is it American imperialists that are coveting expansion and trying to annex Central America and the Caribbean?

Johnny Canuck, did they teach you in school that Central America was a separate Continent? When you were asked how many Continents there were, were yo required to list Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, Antarica, North America, South America, and Central America? I knew that American public schools were incredibly bad in areas like world geography; are Canadian Schools also in the dumper?
11.6.2008 12:19pm
DiverDan (mail):
That's Antartica - I'm not a bad speller, just a bad typist.
11.6.2008 12:25pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Hoosier:

Thanks for explaining your narrative. My point remains that it is quite unusual for this level of vitriolic sniping to go on between the "camps" of a Prez nominee and a VP nominee soon after an election loss. Note that this observation does not depend on whether any of the snipes/allegations/charges against Palin are true or not.
11.6.2008 12:41pm
Nathan_M (mail):
I don't know which I'm going to enjoy more, the week of stories trashing Palin Fox News has promised me, or the tortuous defences people will post here. Suggesting it's excusable that Palin doesn't know Nafta is with Canada and Mexico because an anonymous poster on the VC misspoke is a good start, but I'm expecting some Glenn "VP runs the senate" Reynolds quality dissembling soon. It's going to be delicious.


I take this knee-jerk trashing of Governor Palin as a Left-handed complement.
She really does scare the liberal elite, doesn't she?


She scared me a lot when she was first appointed, and it looked like her brand of ignorance might be popular with the American people, and and that someone with her depth of knowledge might become president. I've heard conservatives say she could be briefed that, say, Africa was a continent not a country, but I think one needs a certain basic level of knowledge, and an intellectual curiosity (even owning a globe would be a step up for Palin), to be president. Bush had the knowledge, but not the curiosity, and he didn't work out too well. Palin seems to have essential no knowledge, and even less curiosity than Bush.

So she scared me a lot. But now it's obvious she'll never get into the White House, because no one but a rump of the Republican party wants to see her in power, so all that fear has been transformed into laughter.
11.6.2008 12:53pm
KeithK (mail):

There's a constitutional question under the 17th Amendment whether [a change by voter initiative] to the means for filling Senate vacancies are constitutional.


I've heard this idea floated around a few times before. To ask a serious, non-Palin related, question does anyone know whether any of the original thirteen states had provisions voter initiatives at the time the Constitution was written? If they did (thoguh I'm guessing not) it might clarify this issue somewhat (no mention of something that was in practice at the time). If no one conducted plebsicties in 1789 then we're in one of those grey areas balancing literal text, intent and/or evolving standards.
11.6.2008 1:46pm
Hoosier:
MarkField

We're very happy that you Hoosiers did yourselves proud.

Thanks! (Though I'm not sure why a non-Hoosier is this excited by Mitch's huge margin of victory.)
11.6.2008 1:54pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
DiverDan: The original issue, was the report that Palin didn't know about NAFTA. I speculated that the issue might be that she didn't know what NA was. (It stands for "North American"). Perhaps your complaint should be addressed to the respective governments if you think they mislabeled the treaty.

It is not unusual for words to mean something different when used for different purposes. Used in a political context, I have always understood North America to mean Canada, US and Mexico as distinct from Central America, with no overlap. In geography,"North America" and "Central America" are both part of "North America" when one is counting continents.
11.6.2008 2:06pm
Hoosier:
Johnny--

Sometime saying "Oops!You got me on that one" is the height of wisdom.
11.6.2008 2:10pm
Podunk:
The Palin attacks seem me to be nothing but an indicator of the rift in the GOP that's a bit ironic. Ironic because the GOP has been predicting for years that the democratic interest group coalition would fall first, but now it seems to GOP may not last.

The GOP has built its coalition on an uneasy alliance between social conservatives and fiscal/government conservatives. McCain represented the latter to some extent, with his anti-earmark and somewhat smaller government tendencies. Palin was solidly in the former, as was Bush (as evidenced by his expansion of government and unwillingness to control spending).

In some sense, whoever wins this after-election fight feels that they will get to set the direction of the party going forward. These are fairly high stakes, far larger than simply deflecting blame. The question is, will whoever wins be able to put the coalition back together? I doubt if the fiscal conservatives will trust the socials to do the right thing after Bush's failures. I doubt if the socials will trust the fiscals much after their trashing of Palin and Bush, either.

The question is, can either win without the other? I think it would be nice to see somebody run with a fiscally conservative message and see how it plays out, but I think this year illustrated how difficult it is to make that stick. All you really have to do is say your huge new program won't raise taxes on the middle class, say it often enough, and you get a free pass, it seems. Social issues were the one place where an unambiguous difference could be discerned, but now we're told that the "culture wars" are retrograde and no right-thinking person would want to re-ignite them. I wonder which party that helps?
11.6.2008 2:10pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Sometime saying "Oops!You got me on that one" is the height of wisdom.

and sometimes trivial points are not worth defending, even if correct.
11.6.2008 2:38pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Joseph Slater - Gore people were still convinced they actually won, so it's hard to blame Lieberman for the loss. Kerry has personally sniped at Edwards (though not that close to the election).

It's not McCain people trashing Palin - it's Romney people who moved over to the McCain campaign (which had very few staff of its own at the time McCain effectively won the nomination). Romney wants the nomination in 2012, and this is their way of preemptively taking out a major rival. Anonymous garbage fed to reporters has a long history in political infighting.

Nick
11.6.2008 5:10pm
deepthought:
Rep. William Jefferson [D-Corrupt] still walks free. No indictment, no trial, no censure. He gets a 100% free pass.

WHY? Because he's not a Republican.


Wrong--because the Bush Justice Department and FBI screwed up the search of his office. See also here. And he was indicted, and his trial was scheduled for December 2, 2008 but will probably slip until 2009.

So there is an indictment, a trial is scheduled, and no free pass. You were saying? WHY? Because you are wrong.
11.6.2008 10:04pm
neurodoc:
I've been away most of the day. Is the jury still out on whether or not neurodoc manifests this heretofore unknown disorder of "PDS," and whether or not neurodoc's suggestion that Sarah might appoint Todd, thereby giving the AIP it's first Senate seat, was funny? (How about his suggestion yesterday that Mr. and Mrs. Ayers must be snickering about the part-time teacher who found it so exhilerating to make off with McCain/Palin lawn signs, funny or not at all funny?) As he made clear earlier, neurodoc himself sees nothing funny about the unlikely prospect of Palin beating the likes of a Jim Huckabee for the GOP nomination in 2012.
11.6.2008 11:05pm
Fury:
Hoosier:

Agreed. And there are other forces at work. McCain has always had a tenuous relationship with Conservatives. This sort of thing was bound to occur IMO.
11.7.2008 2:02am
Kevin P. (mail):
Sarah Palin was an honor student in her high school. Her parents insisted on good grades and her father was a high school science teacher. I doubt very much that someone with this background is misinformed that Africa is a country. It simply doesn't compute, sorry. This one should be filed along with her fake high school transcripts. It's also interesting that the accusers are kept anonymous - they are just "sources" who won't come forward and make their incredible accusations in the light of day.

The amount of slander that has been dumped upon this woman is sickening.
11.7.2008 2:23am
Smokey:
Thanx for the update, deepthought. Now maybe you can explain why Sen. Dianne Feinstein, [D-Corrupt] still walks free?

California being a community property state, Feinstein's corruption had the effect of lining her own pockets at the same time she lined her husband's pockets to the tune of tens of $millions of taxpayer dollars.

There is certainly a culture of corruption among elected officials. But despite the psychological projection of Nancy Pelosi [D-Corrupt], the corruption is endemic in the Democrat Party much more than in the Republican Party.

[I'm neither a D nor an R. But I have eyes, and I can see.]
11.7.2008 9:15am
deepthought:
Re: Dianne Feinstein

Don't know. Maybe they havn't checked her freezer. Ask the Bush Justice Department.
11.7.2008 1:02pm