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August 29, 2008

Comments

McCain's campaign can't see past the next 24 hours, while Obama is probably laying the groundwork for his reelection campaign.

This is a huge story, and then it will becomes an unfathomable joke.

I'd feel kinda sorry for Gov. Palin, because she's about to become a national punchline. But then I remind myself she's anti-choice, anti-polar bear(!), and uber-pro-gun, and i'm just fine with her being a punchline.

I've long wondered whether the whole McCain candidacy is merely an exercise in GOP re-branding. Given the failures of Bush & Co and the state of the nation (80% say we're on the wrong track) the GOP elites know they have little chance of winning this time. But by rallying around McCain they use the "maverick" to shake up their image a bit, and associate their brand with a war hero.

Now, the nomination of Palin helps keep the evangelicals in line for 4 more years, while also shaking up the image of the rich white male party. I'm not sure how many GOPers expect this ticket to win....they're building the brand for 2012.

This is what I don't understand. Among my friends, we've been both laughing and dreading the possibility of Huckabee in the White House. But as bad as Huckabee seems to me, can anyone name one way in which Palin is better?

Huckabee was rather openly campaigning for the VP spot.

Huckabee helped McCain win the nomination, by staying in so long and splitting the vote.

Huckabee, as bad as he is, is Pareto superior to Palin. He's probably better with the base, since a quarter of the base already voted for him. He certainly has more experience than she does. I just can't see one way either from the point of view of electioneering or from the point of view of qualifications for the job that Palin is a better choice than Huckabee.

And yet she got the nod.

If McCain went for Palin, why on earth didn't he go for Huckabee instead?

I'm not sure that the maverick image is positive when it verges towards unpredictable.

Your coining of the term 'battered base syndrome' is misogynistic. Would you say the same thing if it was SAM Palin?!?

(Just prepping you for the next 2 months. I accept your thanks.)

And from a http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=11175#comment-1013769>comment on Balloon Juice, there is a surreal quality about this that McCain being the greatest performance artist ever would explain. That would be so awesome, not only for destroying the GOP, but because performance art is...well...awesome!

McCain’s obsession with tactics over strategy

Oh, *well* put, hilzoy. Also reminding us that not all military experience is the same thing, at all.

If McCain went for Palin, why on earth didn't he go for Huckabee instead?

She has lady parts. Makes her a big surprise. Plus the silly fantasy that she'll lead Hillary supporters (not the bogus, Republican PUMAs who were gonna vote for him anyway) to vote for McCain.

McCain's senior advisor-- a young blonde named Nancy Fortenhemmer (sp?)-- is on Larry King right now arguing with James Carville that arguments against Palin's lack of national or foreign policy experience are "dismissive" and are typical of the Obama campaign's attitude about women. Carville is arguing that she's a pro-creationsim Buchananite and will not appeal to Hillary's supporters. Nancy just keeps repeating "she's the most popular governor in the country with a remarkable record of accomplishment." That IS their main talking point and they're going to repeat it ad nauseum.

The head-- it hurts as it spins. The GOP is suddenly standing up for women in politics and making sure that GOP women will be making that argument. Seriously. McCain is trying to play identity politics-- this is our territory and we need to play it as smartly.

The whole thing is quite nauseating. They're going to try and portray any and all criticism of Palin as sexist in an attempt to appeal to Hillary supporters and independent women voters. It's so fucked up it just might work.

Here's to hoping that she falls on her face on her own accord.

Most importantly, the Palin selection completely — 100% — undermines McCain’s strongest argument, which is that Obama lacks experience.

That's the key thing I hit upon. McCain's one remaining club with which to beat on Obama was the experience factor -- and he completely trashed that argument. My guess is, he reasoned that "If Obama hits her on experience, I hit him on experience right back." The blunder is that McCain was going to hit Obama on experience no matter what, and now his best club is compromised. What a blunder!

The other factor that struck me is how the debate between Biden and Palin is going to look. This woman was a town mayor two years ago -- Biden has been around the block many times. He will wipe the floor with her. His biggest challenge will be not looking cruel in what will otherwise be a very pathetic evening.

The republic party will not nominate this woman VP. Given the consistent lack of judgment shown by John Bush, culminating in this fantastically ridiculous decision, they may not be entirely comfortable choosing him for the top spot.

I saw on TPM that, as Pubius referenced, the Washington Post has already dug up dirt on her regarding that guy she fired so she could appoint an officially reprimanded sexual harrasser. McCain got Obama's speech out of the headlines, with a degree of success on that front that frankly stunned me. But I really think he has damaged his candidacy in the medium term here. Even if this move was all about winning one news cycle and branding the R party for future years, this seems to be rapidly becoming a fiasco for McCain. What are the Intrade odds on Palin not even making it to St. Paul at this point?

She'll make it to St. Paul. I completely agree that she undermines McCain's entire strategy against Obama up to now and in that sense it's an awesomely bad call. However, that damage is done. Even in the worst case--that she ends up being Dan Quayle without the experience--she only makes it more likely that McCain will lose. Pulling her from the ticket, on the other hand, would GUARANTEE that he would lose because it would call his competence into question by everyone, including his base.

Conspiracy theory time!

McCain was driven crazy in Vietnam, so he's trying to bring the whole GOP down because he's a Manchurian candidate. That would explain his whole campaign strategy and the Palin pick. He also really hates Bush for what happened in 2000.

Obviously Bush doesn't want all his hard work to be wasted, so he and Cheney got together and hatched a plan to save the Republicans in the long term.

You guys know the government has weather-control devices, right? (We loaned them out to the Chinese, otherwise it would've rained on Obama) Okay. Well Bush and Cheney used the weather control devices to spawn a hurricane that would hit while their convention was going to start. That way they can engineer the nomination and have time to make sure McCain has an 'accident.'

Now they'll delay things a couple of days, but when the convention finally starts, it'll be Palin/??? against Obama/Biden.

I'm still not sure if Bush and Cheney will use this opportunity to get rid of the 22 amendment and declare martial law. Otherwise, you'll find this explanation rather neat, tidy, complete, and most of all 100% true!!!

The base is no doubt thrilled that McCain picked a mother of five for VP. But does anybody outside the base actually imagine modern American women can identify with or relate to a mother of five?

Moreover, some reporter (leftie or rightie, I don't know) will pose this question: "Governor, do you plan to have more children?"

I am as liberal as anybody, but even I have trouble contemplating the possibility of a pregnant Commander in Chief. How 'the base' would view the possibility is anybody's guess.

--TP

I've been watching all day to see what talking points the GOP is going to use about Palin. Here's one I just noticed in the past 15 minutes-- any time a dem man says anything negative about Palin as a choice for VP call them "dismissive." In other words, any man who has any criticism of Palin is going to be called "dismissive," which apparently the GOP has decided is code for sexist.

First Nancy Fortenhemmer (sp?) from McCain's camp said it about James Carville and now Kellyanne Conway just said the same to Paul Begala.

A little simpler, MeDrew: On Monday McCain announces that he's suffering from a degenerative brain disease that's causing reckless behavior such as suddenly choosing an inexperienced person he's only met once as his running mate. He withdraws from the nomination, throwing the convention into chaos. After much squabbling a strong and reassuring power emerges to unite the Republican faithful: Dick Cheney. He chooses Jeb Bush as his running mate, and the rest is Diebold.

Just in from Larry King Live:

Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway just said "This is really important, Larry. The air has been thick with the word sexism and I'd be careful if I were the other side not to say too much nasty about Sarah Palin."

There. Barely took 12 hours for them to say that any criticism of Palin is sexist.

I need a stiff drink.

Tony, She's 44 and her last kid had Downs. 5 total I really think she won't, and asking would be kinda rude too.

In other words, any man who has any criticism of Palin is going to be called "dismissive," which apparently the GOP has decided is code for sexist.

They know the words, but don't know the music....

Unfortunately, it's a passable tactic if the questioner isn't sharp. And of course, it can equally lead to an equally sexist position of not treating her as toughly as she should, because she's a woman.

The other factor that struck me is how the debate between Biden and Palin is going to look. [...] He will wipe the floor with her.

How many times have we said this about some Republican, and how many times has it actually worked out that way? I think it's really dangerous to underestimate her political skills. She must have done something to defeat the veteran politicians she had to to get where she is.

Besides, just as a matter of political strategy, it makes no sense to lower expectations and allow someone to be declared the winner by not drooling.

Ahhh. Begala has an interesting talking point-- he met her ONCE before choosing her as his VP. How reckless is that? She's not even someone that McCain knows well, if really at all. It's one thing to choose someone you know well, someone you can vouch for, but McCain himself can't even vouch for her-- he just doesn't know her well enough.

There’s no way she’s been properly vetted.

She didn't have to be vetted--she's brimming with maverickiality.

McCain is trying to play identity politics-- this is our territory and we need to play it as smartly.

Actually, cynical pearl-clutching identity politics have very much been GOP territory since at least the Clarence Thomas hearings.

Anytime a Republican woman or person of color is a subject of public debate, the right suggests that any criticism of her or him is sexism or racism.

Well, Ben, sometimes it is.

(Some of the attacks on Palin have already gone overboard into sexism.)

But as bad as Huckabee seems to me, can anyone name one way in which Palin is better?

This was one of my initial reactions to this nomination (and I still think it's a good one). But, in fact, there is one, very clear advantage that Palin has from McCain's perspective: drilling.

Drilling our way to energy independence and cheap oil is one of the few policy areas in which McCain and the GOP have so far out-argued Obama and the Democrats (however weak the actual arguments for drilling-as-energy-panacea are). Palin is the only VP candidate in the mix who clearly underscores this issue. And it's the one national issue on which Palin has anything like an unusual level of experience.

The McCain camp is putting an awful lot of eggs in the drilling basket.

McCain is gambling that he only needs the core conservatives and the religious conservatives in order to win the election, i.e the same constituency that came out in record numbers and gave W a second term.

He may not be wrong if he can energize that base.

My Wikipedia user page was vandalized by some idiot trying to spread the word about how conservative Palin is (apparently because I'd undone similar vandalism at the start of the Republican Party article). Why do we have to have morons on our side too?

KC- I find your theories intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Iggy, there are significantly more Democrats and fewer Republicans than there were then, and Bush still had people outside the core at that point. McCain needs independents.

Also, do you really think Obama isn't going to get turnout for him higher than Kerry did?

I'm not saying it's a slam dunk, just that there's no need for panic and that McCain can't do it with the base alone.

By the way, there's an ongoing skirmish taking place on Pallin's wikipedia page. After lots of scrubbing yesterday by someone calling him or herself "Young Trigg", the kind of classic, pitched wiki warfare that one comes to expect in cases like this has set in.

One particular front has been the section on the current abuse of power investigation of Palin, which keeps disappearing and reappearing under a variety of different names.

They're going to try and portray any and all criticism of Palin as sexist in an attempt to appeal to Hillary supporters and independent women voters.

Nah. They're going to use it as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. Any time somebody questions her experience, honesty, judgement, etc. they'll cry sexism. It's not quite as good an all purpose distraction as being a POW, but it's the best they could come up with.

Here's what scares me. LIVs. I have no idea how many of them exist but they are a dangerous unknown in this election. Check out some of the posts on the Perez Hilton website to see what these folks are saying about Palin.

I'm in the Denver media market and the local NBC affiliate's 10pm news segment on Palin went like this: Dems say Palin has no experience, etc. Anchor: well, that's debatable. Cue her experience [no joke, they said she had x number of years experience on the city council, x number of years experience as mayor without telling their viewers it was Wasilla, her hometown of somewhere between 5-8,000 people]. They explicitly overused the words "executive experience" and then found a high school classmate of Palin's to interview who lives in Colorado. This moronic woman says Palin was smart, worked harder than anyone else, earned everything she's ever received, blah, blah, blah. But here's the kicker: she says Palin was ready to be Veep because she has 5 kids and any woman who can be governor and mom to 5 kids has to be ready to be the VP.

They end the segment with this woman saying she was leaning towards Obama, but now she's looking seriously at McCain because she's ready for a qualified woman to be VP.

It's the media that will control and shape this election once again and that scares me silly.

I've tried editing that article a couple of times today, but Wikipedia doesn't handle having that many editors at once very well. Besides, it seemed pointless considering how quickly it's changing. But then the forces of sanity probably do need reinforcements.

KC, dude, there's no panic.

All I'm saying is that while McCain's pick might look like the act of a crazy old geezer, there might actually be method to his madness.

And while I'm confident that Barack's ground operation will be highly effective in getting out the vote, you should note that the rollers on the Republican side have been doing this very effectively for a while.

Let's be clear: it doesn't matter if there are more registered Democrats than Republicans, it only matters who actually turns out to vote. I didn't think at the time there was a snowball's chance in hell that W would get a second term. Boy, talk about being wrong.

"LIVs" is low-information voters? That may not be widespread or easily googlable enough to use without explanation. I don't think I'm unusually sheltered from political jargon.

Oops - yeah they are low information voters. Like the gal I worked with who was beside herself when she went to vote because she forgot to bring her newspaper. You see she trusted the newspaper editor to tell her how to vote.

I hate the term "low information voters." It's patronizing and leads you into the wrong places.

Low involvement or low motivation, yes. But just putting information out there isn't going to do the trick. You have to attack the motivation.

I think this is less complicated than you're making it out to be. The simpler explanation is that conservatives/republicans don't care about Palin's inexperience because they don't care that much about experience period. It's not that they really perceive Obama as inexperienced in any important way; it's just that they perceive this as a potent line of attack. And, disliking him for myriad other reasons, they take it.

Yglesias had a good post making this very point a while back: http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/07/the_flipflop_flap.php

At the most fundamental level there isn't any internal cognitive dissonance in their position. But the inconsistent rhetoric does tip their hand, and I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to hurt them quite a bit.

Tony, She's 44 and her last kid had Downs. 5 total I really think she won't, and asking would be kinda rude too.


Most women I know would have stopped short of 5, but most women I know are not fundamentalist enough to be lionized by 'the base'.

Sure, asking if she plans to have more kids is 'kinda rude' -- of any other woman applying for any other job. It's even 'kinda rude' to ask of this woman -- she's a "nice" woman, I hear.

Still, if I were the sort of person at whom the dog-whistle 'servant heart' phrase is aimed, I might be happy to hear Governor Palin say she has no plan to stop producing little Christians. So maybe it's not too rude a question.

-- TP

My take on low information voters is that it refers to people who get their information from friends, viral emails, the often inaccurate 30-second tv ads, etc. but never dig any deeper. So you have people who may be motivated to vote, but they believe Obama is a Muslim, who took the oath of office on a Koran, and never puts his hand over his heart when saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Oh and he's an empty suit, too because he heard that somewhere. And that's all they need to know to make up their minds.

There are too many people on the street talking today about how Palin is *more* experienced than Obama because she has executive experience and Obama has done nothing. They find the experience line of attack hypocritical coming from the Obama camp.

So those of us who spend way too much time thinking and reading about politics think there's nothing to worry about because no one in his/her right mind would find Palin a credible selection.

What I'm trying to say is much depends on how the press frames this. If around the country, those LIVs, are getting all their information from local news like mine, then I think we have to work hard to counteract that bias. Just saying, is all.

The experience argument was not getting any traction for McCain -- it didn't work for Hillary either. I think the main problem with the experience argument is that you can't point to a model of "pre-presidential experience" that really works.

What I think is happening is that they are going to go for the "elite" thing as their big smear hope. You can't have 5 kids and be an elitist, you can't be married to an oil driller and be an elitist, you can't shoot moose and be an elitist, etc. And, as much as we might not like it, regardless of how many houses McCain has or how expensive his shoes are or how he married into mob money, he is not smart enough to appear to be an elitist.

So, they've backed up the truck and they're going with the "joe six pack" plus the "anti-science religionist" factions for the win.

Excellent title. And the Huckabee comparison raises a point that I've been thinking about. Huckabee resonated with Christian conservatives by suggesting that they carry all the water, but in the end, the party ends up blowing them off. However, because there is a strong notion of acting as God's instrument, so that it is not the person, but God acting thru the person and putting Palin up there is as good as having Huckabee if you believe that. It is sad, because, as David Kuo pointed out in Tempting Fate, for the Bush admin, if McCain/Palin become a reality, she is going to be used. As much as I am embarassed for Palin, I'm embarassed for evangelical Christians more.

I meant:

It is sad, because, as David Kuo pointed out in Tempting Fate (the lay of the land) for the Bush admin, if McCain/Palin become a reality, she is going to be used (in the same way).

Do we really want to take a chance on another "Heckuva job, Brownie". The possibility, or not-at-all negligible probability, of a small-town mayor stepping into the presidency on an emergency basis to have to deal with the coming China and Russia Neocon Cold War, North Korea resuming its nuke program, Iran obtaining all of its centrifuges, Pakistan turning dangerously unstable, and two wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I think you’re wrong here publius. I think you are really underestimating her. And I think you are underestimating how much this has fired up the right. They were mostly resigned to losing. Now they have new hope (and change!). The more I think about it the more I think that the choice was genius.

And Democrats beating on the “how can she run a country when she has 5 kids, one with special needs” meme just reinforces a certain perception with voters: Democrats believe that someone in that position is some kind of victim and should be relying on the government to take care of them and their children. There’s no way a woman in that position should actually be out there not only working but succeeding. Her story strikes a chord with me as my mom raised 4 kids (one with special needs) while working and going to school and eventually becoming successful. Her story is going to strike a chord with a lot of people. Obama and Biden claim a blue-collar background – but she is the real thing.

And I’ve only heard her give one speech, but she did very well. Everything I’ve read so far indicates that she is one sharp cookie. People assuming that Biden is going to mop the floor with her are getting a little ahead of themselves IMO.

Trooper-gate is going to play out like this:
The guy is a real *ss and a danger to her family. Anyone would do all they could to minimize that danger. Wouldn’t you go to extremes to protect your family? The right will turn the scandal into a freaking asset. You watch and see.

Oh – and the Obama camps very first response amounted to (was spun as anyway) belittling both her accomplishments and small town America. A twofer!

Attacking Palin is dangerous and a distraction. The target should be McCain. In choosing Palin he has provided incontrovertible evidence (a) that all his previous attacks of Obama were insincere, and worse (b) that he is not taking the Presidency seriously.

Obama has taken care in selecting a running mate who could take over if needed, and who could provide him with additional experience and judgement. Obama put his country first. And McCain? McCain has chosen someone he met only once, and who has never before even formed a view on foreign and national security issues. McCain is being reckless and immature, and in his choice is showing that he is putting his country last.

More dissent on the right...

Frum (echoing the Obama campaign):

If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?

OTOH – elsewhere on the Corner, lots of anecdotal evidence of people being so jazzed by the pick that they are donating to the McCain campaign or volunteering for the very first time.

"As much as I am embarassed for Palin, I'm embarassed for evangelical Christians more."--LJ

I've felt that way for decades.

OCSteve is likely to be right about how this will play. Or anyway, Republicans will spin like mad to have it play that way, evangelical Christians will feel like martyrs (we/they always do), and much of the "liberal" media will feel like they have to pay serious attention to all this. Obama's speech attacking Bush/McCain seems to have vanished.

But Democrats have a very long history of thinking that some Republican bozo can't be elected. I vaguely recall the Carter people being happy that they were going to face that idiot Reagan. And then there was the selection of that idiot Quayle, and that idiot from Texas who got roughly half the popular vote in 2000 and probably more than half in 2004 (even if you believe one or both elections were stolen). Democratic partisans are going to have to stop thinking that the majority of Americans just couldn't possibly think differently from them.


Which I say as someone who despises mainstream Democratic politicians from a leftward perspective, but it does give one some emotional distance when you don't like anybody who runs.


Palin's choice does make a mockery of the experience argument, though there's a part of me that isn't totally unhappy about that. Clinton and BIden and McCain have experience and they all favored the Iraq War. Of course Palin has none and she also favored it. Really, though, what makes people think you have to be knowledgeable or wise or experienced to serve 8 years in the White House?

"The simpler explanation is that conservatives/republicans don't care about Palin's inexperience because they don't care that much about experience period."

Sorta, but not quite: They value experience, but it's only regarded as an asset in people who want to do the right thing to begin with; Experience and competence in people who are trying to do the wrong thing only makes the wrong thing getting done more certain. While somebody with their heart in the right place, even if they're incompetent, is at least trying to do the right thing, and might get lucky and succeed.

Did anybody already mention that she has foreign policy experience because her state borders Russia? (Faux News) ;-)

Or anyway, Republicans will spin like mad to have it play that way, evangelical Christians will feel like martyrs (we/they always do), and much of the "liberal" media will feel like they have to pay serious attention to all this.

I think, looking at it now, it was very wise for Obama to go to Saddleback as well as floating the faith-based initiatives that he did earlier. iirc, a lot of folks felt that Obama's talk of this was a betrayal when it happened, but now, if it gives him some traction with that the evangelical community, it will be important, because the Christian right is really the only active GOTV portion of the Republican coalition. Donald points out how Dems have always thought we had a sure thing and been shocked when it didn't work, and I think that it is the organizational strength of the Christian Right that has made that the case. (Despite the fact that Carter was a much better Christian than Reagan ever could have been) It might be very hard to swallow if Obama and Biden start talking about their Christian beliefs, but I think it might be necessary.

Democrats should remember that....

1) Anyone can be elected to anything. Apparently manifest underqualification easily morphs into a low bar over which the candidate sails (see Bush in 2000). Democrats cannot count on the mere fact of Palin being her undoing.

2) That being said, the Democrats cannot let the fact that Palin might go over well with the public (and she might indeed) paralyze them into inaction. Instead they've got to take an active, though careful, role in defining her with the public. The one great advantage they have is that outside very hardcore wingnut circles, the public currently has no strong view of Sarah Palin. Democratic spokespeople need to be involved in actively shaping the emerging view. Though they need to be careful in doing so.

3) The focus must still be on McCain. The most effective criticisms of the Palin pick (from left and right) have all focused on what it says about McCain's judgment. This is an excellent theme to pursue.

Maybe the model here is Admiral Stockdale: a POW (just like McCain) who the public essentially concluded was so ridiculously poorly suited for the Vice Presidency that he raised questions about Ross Perot's seriousness.

At any rate, especially after Denver, I have a lot of faith in the Obama campaigns political judgment. Palin was a surprise pick, but she was on a lot of shortlists. I'm sure that the Obama oppo research team has a pretty good sense of how to play this.

"Curiously though, the base is all in."

All in?

It is shocking: The base seems to like this pick more than McCain himself.

I know this is condescending and, sorry, OCSteve, but these people really do drink the same Kool-Aid.

We've listened for weeks as the right railed about Barack Obama's inexperience and their top of the ticket picks the most inexperienced choice he could.

It seems to me we are fighting over the last 10 percent of the electorate and -- whether they are low-information or not -- I've got to believe they can see right through this Campaign First move.

publius, your initial premise is wrong in that you expressed surprise because of the lack of foreign olicy knowledge, etc.

Your assumption is based upon the base being all concerned with national security. Actually, if that was the case the Republicans would have been kicked out in 2002 and 2004. The base really doesn't care about national security, it is all about social "values" and there is where Palin comes off strong.

OCSteve is absoultely right in that there should be no effort to paint her as a bad mom, or anything like that. Some people will come to that conclusion, but many more will see it as an attempt to say women shuld stay home, which is hardly a progressive thought and actually is more a philospophy of the right.

And forget experience as an arguement against her. The point that should be brought forth, however is knowledge of the world and how it works, knowledge of the complexities of the middle east and eastern Europe and Asia.

The some subtle emphasis on do you really want her to be a heartbeat away type of stuff.

But for the most part, make McCain the focus. He obviously is being unserious about this whole thing. I actually would have been disappointed if Obama had picked a Kaine or a Chet Edwards. Other than Biden, the only pick that would have shown seriousness would have been a Dodd or Schweitzer.

Zoe from Pittsburgh: "Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway just said 'This is really important, Larry. The air has been thick with the word sexism and I'd be careful if I were the other side not to say too much nasty about Sarah Palin.'

"There. Barely took 12 hours for them to say that any criticism of Palin is sexist.

I need a stiff drink."

I watched the Larry King replay, too, and felt the same way.

I hope this doesn't offend our female contributors but I always think of the c--- word anytime I have ever heard Kellyanne Conway. There. I said it. I wouldn't be honest if I pretended otherwise.

For whatever reason, I've always been able to take Ann Coulter's right-wing zealotry a lot better.

More from Zoe: "Begala has an interesting talking point-- he met her ONCE before choosing her as his VP. How reckless is that? She's not even someone that McCain knows well, if really at all."

Thought the same thing. About time Begala brought something to the table.

Using that talking point, I'd address McCain's decision as impulsive.

Impulsive.

Hot-headed.

Forgetful.

This man could be prez.

This is the time to go after McCain's perceived strengths. Just imagine a real national security crisis, such as the Cuban missile crisis. Who would you trust - the level headed Obama working together with the experienced Joe Biden, or the reckless McCain assisted by Sarah Palin? If this argument can be made McCain's remaining advantages over Obama will be gone, and the election will be effectively over.

There are publicly-funded programs to assist Down Syndrome children and families. Will the Palins take advantage of them? Or are these programs considered pork-barrel spending needing to be cut? (Or both?) I'd love to nail down McCain's and Palin's position on that.

Then, on the drilling front, am I correct in thinking that every citizen of Alaska benefits financially* from every barrel pumped out of the ground? And here she is promoting more drilling. What a surprise. Smells like conflict of interest to me.

*In a way that we upstate New Yorkers were never compensated when they took our trees and our bluestone, and continue to take our water. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

"*In a way that we upstate New Yorkers were never compensated when they took our trees and our bluestone,"

You know, I'm pretty darned certain that the New Yorkers who actually owned the land those resources were under got compensated, the way it usually happens in states where the federal government hasn't confiscated 90% of the landmass. I also suspect that Alaskans would trade getting most of their state back for that compensation, quite gladly.

The choice proves--if more proof were needed--- that McCain is a
'shoot first ask questions later' person; a loose cannon, not a maverick. Regardless of her strengths and skills--- if she's got any--- Gov. Palin is likely to prove very quickly that she's not ready for the major league. And, someone (Cindy?) should tell John not to keep glancing at Palin's ass when she's speaking. It doesn't make a good impression on TV.

"...the way it usually happens in states where the federal government hasn't confiscated 90% of the landmass."

Who did they "confiscate" it from, Brett?

How does one achieve a right to own land, exactly, anyway, in your view, prior to it being owned by someone in the first place?

If I may coin a phrase here, I think this is Rumsfeld politics: You knock the other guy off the news with the nominee you have, not the nominee you'd like to have.

Palin's kids don't belong in the conversation, in my opinion.

I can remem ber a whole bunch of crowng about how McCain's ampaign wasw over, dead, gone, imploded etc a couple weeks back.

i can't remember what the issue was. And it isn't over.

palin won't kill McCain's campaign. The assumptin that she will is rooted in the assumption that voters are rational and the media is fair.

The douvle standard is still a huge force in our socisty. Democrats have to have expericne to be respected: R's don't. Democratic women can ve dismissed and sneered agt and must not claim sexism: r women, no matter how loony are above criticism from sexist pigs who criticize them.

McCian wll gfet most of the the fundamentalist and evangelical vores, most of the hater, selfish, mean, scaredycagt votest and the racisst votes.

that's a pretty big coalition. And none of those people, who vote from the worst of thier characters or from the absence of respect for facts, are going to give a hoot if Sarah Palin is qualified or not.

So the sum total of McCain's personal contact with Palin is that he met her at the National Governor's Association meeting, had a phone conversation with her Sunday, and then met her on Thursday to offer her the job. This seems unforgivably reckless to me. Sure, pick a relatively unknown person if you're convinced that's the best choice -- but it ought to take some serious convincing, and he's had months and months and months to make this decision.

Actually, this goes beyond reckless and impulsive; it feels cavalier. It has the same feel of cocky, "don't bother me with facts, I know what I'm doing" leadership as W.

All hail McCain. W2.

Uh, Brett, the federal government did not confiscate Alaska, they purchased it. Are the citizens willing to give up their free money and buy it themselves? Can you give us a link to this mass movement?

And of course it is not just the landowners in Alaska that get compensated, but everyone (who has lived there more than a year).

And in the case of the water, no they were not adequately compensated for losing their homes and towns to the reservoir. Eminent domain, you know.

What's most interesting is that all the hoohah -- both pro and con -- about Sarah Palin is based on almost NO INFORMATION about her views on the critical economic and foreign-policy issues facing the country.

It reinforces the image of McCain that scares me most: an impulsive personality who acts first (generally choosing the most belligerent option available) and thinks later. The fact that he's not even met with Palin more than a couple of times illustrates how little concern he has about the long-term and/or unintended consequences of his actions.

When voters find out more about Palin, they well may conclude that she's a more level-headed person than McCain. But do people really vote for VP?

Apparently, the GOP plans to use Palin's sex as a get-out-jail-free card tn answer any criticisms of her (the same way McCain uses his POW status). And it will be hard for Dems to argue against it, since Hillary Clinton provided the perfect setup when she gave so much time and importance to breaking a glass ceiling for women rather than to being the person with the right temperament and policies for the job.

I'm extremely depressed by the lack of seriousness shown by this pick (and the brainless reaction to it by the pundopes).

It certainly appears that thus far much of the press (the New York Times, say) isn't going after the Trooper story. It really is a scary story, though: she demands her ex-brother in law be fired from the state troopers, she smears him with her sister's allegations (bad ones if true, mind, but unsubstantiated, and divorcing couples aren't the most reliable witnesses), she then fires the head of the state troopers because he won't follow her orders over doing his job, she then appoints an officially reprimanded sexual harrasser to replace him, and he lasts two weeks in the job. And she lies about firing the head of the state troopers, and lies about when she knew about the sexual harrassment, and documents come out exposing both lies. It's like a soap-opera version of the Bush administration. But, as we learned for example from Wayne Dumond, IOKIYAR.

What's most interesting is that all the hoohah -- both pro and con -- about Sarah Palin is based on almost NO INFORMATION about her views on the critical economic and foreign-policy issues facing the country.

It reinforces the image of McCain that scares me most: an impulsive personality who acts first (generally choosing the most belligerent option available) and thinks later. The fact that he's not even met with Palin more than a couple of times illustrates how little concern he has about the long-term and/or unintended consequences of his actions.

When voters find out more about Palin, they well may conclude that she's a more level-headed person than McCain. But do people really vote for VP?

Apparently, the GOP plans to use Palin's sex as a get-out-jail-free card tn answer any criticisms of her (the same way McCain uses his POW status). And it will be hard for Dems to argue against it, since Hillary Clinton provided the perfect setup when she gave so much time and importance to breaking a glass ceiling for women rather than to being the person with the right temperament and policies for the job.

I'm extremely depressed by the lack of seriousness shown by this pick (and the brainless reaction to it by the pundopes).

Who knows what else will come up [about Palin]?

Probably not too much. My impression is that she is popular and pretty clean.

More broadly, who knows how she’ll answer the one million substantive policy questions she'll get in the days ahead?

This is more problematic for her. But we must remember that people who get all their news from tv will grade her on an extreme curve, like they did with Bush. If reporters are 'tough' on her, those people - who hate the press anyway - will feel sympathetic to her. TV takes everything out of context and makes it all Personal. As you all may remember, Bush got a LOT of protection and sympathy for years preciesely because he was so clueless.

The Obama campaign should let the media go after Palin on the issues. What Obama should, IMHO, do is at every opportunity remind people why he chose Bide. He said all along that the number one criteria is that that person should be able to assume the mantle of the Presidency from day one.

He can talk about how, in this uncertain world, we can never be assured of what may ahppen and he loves the country too mucj to pick a running mate that would need time to l"learn" the ropes and develop a knowledge base of both the world and the cuntr. He need never mention McCain or Palin.

The more I think about this the more I think the best option would be just to ignore her except as a way to parry any "Obama has no experience" attacks. It seems the Obama campaign has sort of taken this approach in its first ad.

What Obama should, IMHO, do is at every opportunity remind people why he chose Bide. He said all along that the number one criteria is that that person should be able to assume the mantle of the Presidency from day one.

yes. yes. yes.

"Moreover, some reporter (leftie or rightie, I don't know) will pose this question: "Governor, do you plan to have more children?""

I eagerly await Jesurgislac's response to this one.

Picking her exhibits the McCain isn't taking the *job* of Vice-President seriously. He is using it politically.

That is crappy. Which is not the same as "it won't work".

In any other time I would have felt a little bit of schadenfreude at how much racism was being exposed in the Democratic Party earlier, and how much sexism is being exposed already in the responses to Palin (if you think the charge of sexism in the responses is just Republican spin you are severely deluding yourself).

But the chance of getting McCain out of that squelches any feeling of schadenfreude I might normally have.

Instead I'm just sad.

The current skirmish on Sarah Palin's Wikipedia article is about photos. So many photos of her with troops on her one visit to Kuwait had been packed in that the article made her look like a military leader. It's being toned down to a more proportionate level now.

I hope this doesn't offend our female contributors but I always think of the c--- word anytime I have ever heard Kellyanne Conway.

Uh, Bedtime, try substituting a few other groups and comparable slurs in there and see how it sounds.

Here is the local newspaper's account(s) of the event. It made the front page.

Does anyone know if the stylized flag pin she's wearing has any special significance?

Warren Terra: "It's like a soap-opera version of the Bush administration."

Just what we needed.

Isn't America tired of this bullshit?

johnnybutter: "My impression is that she is popular and pretty clean."

First time I can remember disagreeing with you, jb.

Troopergate may be nothing -- or it may be explosive. How can we possibly know?

Guliani was poupular. Huckabee was popular. I'm just not sure how you measure the popularity of an Alaskan governor.

Seems to me we have another candidate with the Saddleback stamp of approval and that's about it, for now.

Yeah, I know, KC -- this woman brings out the worst me.

Apparently, the GOP plans to use Palin's sex as a get-out-jail-free card tn answer any criticisms of her (the same way McCain uses his POW status)

Of course they will: the GOP of 2008 is a party looking at the possibility of an electoral debacle, and subsequent years of marginalization: they're desperate, and will game any and every factor they can - they have to.

And of course, claims of "victimization" always play well out in Jesusland: with Sarah Palin, the Repubs get a twofer: they can whine (or bluster) about her being "victimized" on both religious and sexist "grounds"!

Personally, I'm not sure it will work out as they are expecting: Obama and the Dems have made an enormous effort to make sure that this election is all about issues and policy: the GOP's attempt to shift the focus onto intangibles (like "values" or whatever) may or may not work. And if it doesn't: it's years in the wilderness for the Republicans (an area where Gov. Palin does have experience!)

There's something here that virtually ALL conventional bloggers and commentators have missed, but I found it on a blog I'll bet none of you have ever heard of:

"By another act of destiny, the news cycle was abruptly taken away, freezing the moment forever without the normal second day destruction."

Just hang in there. Everything is working perfectly for the election of Barack Obama.

I think that Ben Alpers is correct when he says Palin's contribution to the GOP ticket will be "Drilling our way to energy independence and cheap oil".

I watched Maria Bartiromo do a long interview with Palin, in which Palin took every question as an opportunity to make her talking points:

1. Alaska stands ready to produce energy
2. Alaskans love them some big oil companies and know how to manage the "relationship" so that the money comes in but the environmental values are preserved.
3. Palin has great access to the oil companies, and they get along fine.
4. It's just irrational not to exploit Alaska's energy resources to the hilt; environmental opposition is inexplicable.
5. America needs energy production.
6. Did I mention how much I and Alaska love big oil?

Does anyone know if the stylized flag pin she's wearing has any special significance?

I don't know, but my mother said it called attention to the fact that McCain wasn't wearing a flag pin, and she wondered why no one was mentioning that.

Whatever else she does for John McCain, she just lost him VA, and possibly NC. National security males will come to see Obama and Joe as the more solid choice. Game over. Now I can relax until January.

"I hope this doesn't offend our female contributors but I always think of the c--- word anytime "

I'm not a female contributor, but it offends me.

Btb--

On the c-word, you ought to work on just clearing that thing out of your head altogether, just on selfish grounds alone. If you're thinking words like that, you never know when it might pop out.

The first poll results on her are encouraging - looks like women are less impressed than men.

Surely it's not good for the Republican convention that they are going to be consumed by debate over her and the campaign's message, because the old message is surely not going to work anymore.

The McCain camp seems to feel that any publicity is good publicity, but I doubt it...

Good advice, Donald.

I should have used more discretion and need to find a better way to vent my overall frustration about life right now.

Moreover, some reporter (leftie or rightie, I don't know) will pose this question: "Governor, do you plan to have more children?"

And I'm pretty sure I know what the answer will be. She's leaving it up to God. If God chooses to bless her with another child, then she and her husband will be happy to accept that blessing. If God doesn't give them another child, they still have the five wonderful children God already gave them.

Trooper-gate is going to play out like this:
The guy is a real *ss and a danger to her family. Anyone would do all they could to minimize that danger. Wouldn’t you go to extremes to protect your family? The right will turn the scandal into a freaking asset. You watch and see.

You're completely missing the point. Even if she she comes out of it ok, every single minute that the news story is about Troopergate is a minute taken away from what the McCain campaign wants to talk about. This is the *total opposite* of what a VP candidate should do

She makes it ok to talk about McCain's biggest liability - his age. She disarms the only effective (if maybe not game-winning) attack his campaign had - experience. She may even tip National Security voters to the Obama camp. What's more, she does nothing whatsoever to change the strategy the democrats unveiled this past week: attack the policies not the man (or woman).

How is a VP choice that demands a total change of strategy on the eve of the convention, while confirming to the other side that theirs is the correct strategy, a good VP choice? How is a vp choice that takes discussion away from the head of the ticket a good vp choice?

She'll help with the values base, but they can't win it this time. She'll get some more women, but I just cannot see her winning the battle for women against the Democratic Party when she is an example of blatant tokenism and is anathema to the values of HIlary Clinton.

You think the sexism thing is going to work? Wait'll you see - the media or someone will go over the line, and the Dems will go out of their way to defend her. They'll look like the good guys, while she'll just be what she is: a sympathetic but unqualified candidate.

OCSteve, you're doing a benefit analysis.

Sure, she's jazzing the base. She also believes in outlawing abortion in cases of rape, and that's not going to jazz many others. I've spoken to three women, all housewives, all between 35 and 45, and all who had contempt for Obama (one was even under the impression he had done lewd things with a man in a limo back in the late 80s), and all three reacted immediately to my questions about Palin pointing out how selfish it was for her to run as VP given that she has 5 kids and an infant with Down's Syndrome. This criticism isn't going to come from Democrats or the MSM. It's going to come from the target demographic. It's the most salient feature of the candidate from their point of view. The impression is going to be that she doesn't take her responsibilities as a mother seriously.

The nutjobs at NRO are really thrilled that she pronounces it "nuk-u-lar" and EYE-RACK. These are really no longer people to be taken seriously in the least. I really don't care what Limbaugh or the NRO or RedState thinks, and neither should any of this. I think the mistake the anti-Bush crowd has made has been to assume that these types were the influence-makers. These elections have been won and lost in the middle, not on the fringe.

Wonder what Buckley would have thought of his own mag's abuse of English.

From today's Washington Post editorial:

"Not long ago, no less a Republican strategist than Karl Rove belittled Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as a potential running mate for Barack Obama, noting that picking him would appear 'intensely political' because Mr. Kaine's experience consisted of only three years as governor preceded by the mayoralty of Richmond, which Mr. Rove called 'not a big town.'

"Using Mr. Rove's criteria, Ms. Palin would not fare well. Her executive experience consists of less than two years as governor of her sparsely populated state, plus six years as mayor of Wasilla (pop. 8,471).

"Absorbed in Alaska's unique energy and natural resource issues, she has barely been heard from in the broader national debates over economic policy and health care.

"Above all, she has no record on foreign policy and national security -- including terrorism, which Mr. McCain posits as the top challenge facing America and the world."

Rove, Conway and the right-wing machine would have delighted in bashing Kaine's inexperience.

Apparently, the base has so passionately embraced Palin, they've forgotten to update their website to reflect that she's their nominee:

Schedule for Day 2 of the convention:
http://www.gopconvention2008.com/schedule/reform.aspx
Speakers will include:

* Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
* Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah)
* Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska)
* Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.)
* Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Pa.)


Schedule for Day 3 of the convention:
http://www.gopconvention2008.com/schedule/prosperity.aspx

Speakers will include:

* Mrs. Cindy McCain
* Republican Party's Vice Presidential Nominee
* Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.)
* Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)
* U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.)
* U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas)*
* U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.)*


Hee hee.

I advise everyone who wants to see Obama become president to lay off the topic of children and Down syndrome completely and totally, starting this minute.

Sarah Palin's unfitness to be president has precisely nothing to do with her being a woman or a mother.

She's not qualified because she has almost no relevant experience: (mayor of her small hometown, governor of a state with fewer people than Columbus, Ohio), and the fact that in her short career she's already managed to demonstrate a bent for abusing executive power and then covering it up. As if we need another four years of that in the executive branch.

McCain has chosen someone he doesn't know and hasn't worked with, who has no qualifications for the job. It calls his judgment into question. It's a reckless move, one that's made the Republican ticket a risky choice.

publius, my sexy little taclado:

The battered base syndrome goes something like this — the GOP religious base has been so cavalierly ignored and exploited by the GOP elites that they’re hungry for even the slightest signs of acknowledgment

I can’t give you ‘ignore.’ yes, Bush piped-down on abortion in 2004, but the Republicans worked the negative with the astonishing success of the non-issue of ‘gay marriages.’ the red counties freaked.


but I think your provocative observations add up to something more disturbing, which is that in Palin Republicans have all but abdicated the traditional role of Commander in Chief to the president's advisers.

The fact is that it is okay with the nation that Cheney, et al tell Bush what to do.

For over a hundred years, our nation has been slowly but surely handing over the job of governance to professionals.

At best, our democracy now functions as an oversight mechanism for the performance of the professional class, those not accountable to The People, but to their representatives.

but the cat may very well be out of that bag too. I submit that Palin is an unintended admission of that it is.

Nell, right on!

That's almost all you need to say, and the pick looks laughable. Add to it her rabid right-wing beliefs (anti-choice, creationist, global warming denying, etc.), and she's just plain toxic to everyone but the lunatic 28-percent-ers.

"McCain has chosen someone he doesn't know and hasn't worked with, who has no qualifications for the job. It calls his judgment into question. It's a reckless move, one that's made the Republican ticket a risky choice."

That should be the Democratic Party's talking points on right there.

If this and this get picked up by the cable news networks, she'll be off the ticket in two weeks, maybe less.

The links Ugh provided are provocative, but Nell's point stands: How are Democrats going to benefit if they do anything remotely construed as attacking motherhood?

Motherhood.

There aren't many sacred things in 2008 America, but that's one of them.

Her temperment, inexperience, ambition will be there to see. Let voters decide.

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