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August 29, 2008

Comments

I think that's what Ara meant, gwangung. A lot of sexist comments are coming from women. Or maybe that's not sexist? I'm truthfully not sure. Did you look at all at the article I linked to by Jane Smiley? She eviscerates Palin.

I think that's what Ara meant, gwangung. A lot of sexist comments are coming from women

Well, that's not what I meant. I've seen comments on other blogs saying "Well, who's going to take care of the kids?" from men who look to be from the liberal side of things. Don't you think that's pretty sexist?

Don't you think that's pretty sexist?

Absolutely, I do. But what about when Jane Smiley asks it?

I don't expect to find progressive blogs repeating ancient bromides on how can someone be a good mother and pursue a demanding career, on how she should have waited until her kids were older, etc.

It's not progressives who think a woman's place is in the home. It's the 'covenant marriage' types. The home-schooling types. The anti-choicers. In short, the fundies who call themselves the base of the GOP. They are the ones among whom I would sow discord with rude questions.

Hillary Clinton is a serious person. Nancy Pelosi is a serious person. Sarah Palin, frontierswoman, might even be a serious person. Sarah Palin, GOP candidate for VP, is a joke. I want to let the GOP base in on the joke.

--TP

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

I doubt that the people who sold John McCain on Sarah Palin had as their sole priority winning the presidency. Otherwise I would have to agree that it was a very dumb move.

However I think Palin represents a perfectly sensible decision by Certain Persons to beat an early retreat to friendlier (fundie and hypernationalist) political territory. They'd probably be thrilled if the Obama campaign got greedy and followed them onto that territory (in which case, naturally, Obama would get his ass handed to him). But my guess is that that's not something they're counting on, and it's not something Obama will do.

My guess is that various people (other than McCain) have decided that while winning the white house is already a long shot, losing control of the base, and in particular not having the base turn out for downticket races, would be totally unacceptable and unthinkably catastrophic. Losing the white house is bad, but it looks likely, and in any event plan A isn't working. Losing the white house and also dropping under 41 in the Senate, as unlikely as that looks right now, would be absolutely devastating. It would mean the end of an era.

Palin seems like an excellent choice if your worry is that that McCain's candidacy is endangering the unity or enthusiasm of the evangelical voting block. It seems especially prudent from the POV of folks like Rove and Schmidt, whose personal power is based on their ability to deliver votes. The corporate wing of the GOP can, if necessary, survive without the evangelical unity. The functionaries and strategists and apparatchiks who run campaigns for people like McCain cannot.

Unlike OCSteve, Hartmut, and RG I don't think, based on current evidence, that Palin will be enough to save the presidency, but OTOH... Ooh look! Mavericky! Photogenic! A beauty queen with a gun! I wouldn't want to underestimate the pliability of the american media.

"I don't expect to find progressive blogs repeating"

Once again: blogs don't say anything. Blogs have no thoughts. Blogs are just places where different individuals write things.

Individuals of all different views. There's no editor. Talking about what "blogs" do or don't do, based on what some individuals have done, makes no sense.

If you want to criticize someone, or someones, go right ahead. But the goldarn blog ain't saying a darned thing.

I'm thinking that OCSteve has been commenting here for about 3 years and when he started, I seem to remember him as being a 'if we could just get the government off the backs of the people, we could solve our problems', so the transition to, 'no way ideas are going to win, evil genius will trump them everytime' eeyore democrat does my heart good. Now, if we can get Obama elected, and complete the transition to post gridlock progressive, I think we will be finished

A plethora of smileys with that.

OCSteve,, you’re giving me the creeps with your constant references to ‘monty.’ stop it.

and Obama whipped Clinton on health care with the mandate thing. everybody had been saying how knowledgeable she was on the subject--he went toe to toe.

in the end, she abandoned the substance and started in the 3AM phone smears. I guess you missed it. He won the debates and in turn the campaign.

byrningham, very interesting points. thanks for taking the time:

Of course the republican convention is going to own the news this week, it always was. Now, however, they have to decide if they press on with the 'experience' theme and flop, or regear their message and basically start the campaign all over again - it's clearly not going to be as successful as the dem's convention.

so do you think they think they can win on Energy? Drilling?

I’m in a bubble in the Bay Area, do most Americans disagree with Obama and Paris Hilton, who both see drilling as a stop gap?

I don’t see how they can win on that issue. there's only so much oil.

It has to be about dividing women.

while I agree the Democrats have carried the water for women, Hillary did not make that point. And so McCain pounced.

Now, today, with Palin, the Republicans are successfully distinguishing among Women rights advocates those who do support abortion from those who don’t, a credible distinction which flies in the bay area.

and of course, women are not known for loyalty. so we’re stuck with the extremists whose ideological blindedness prevents them from seeing the Life in a fetus.

next, they start trotting out the stories about how Muslim men treat their women like shit and stories about the “great work” Condi has done on sex trafficking.

yea, houston....

Tony; Especially if she answers the "rude question" as per Roger Moore's suggestion at 1:39PM: by saying that she and her husband will leave that up to God. Even evolution-denying god-botherers are perfectly aware of the how-to of sex and the mechanics of contraception.

In fact, a wide-eyed, dazzled look and a reference to being blessed with little miracles is one of Miss Manners suggestions for how to react to rude, intrusive questions about how many/how many more children you plan to have.

br: Absolutely, I do. But what about when Jane Smiley asks it?

Good grief. A sexist attack on a woman does not become less sexist because it's carried out by a woman.

Is this country really dumb enough to vote for four more years of Republican rule -- more tax cuts for the rich and Big Oil, more war, more people being cut off from health care, more bull?

Unfortunately my opinion on that is: enough to move the election close enough to the point where voter purges, Diebolding etc. can decide the outcome. If a party can rely on 1/4 to 1/3 of the electorate/people eligible to vote being motivated* morons (although civilized countries are usually able to keep it at just 1/7**), keeping participation low (the US is particularly successful here) will do the trick for that party.
That it needs an Obama*** to come just within reach of winning even when the general situation for the "holding team" is as abysmal as it seems to me, it says a lot about the US (and not much positive). Or why else would the citizenry of a country allow itself to be run by the equivalent of the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?


*or at least "motivatable"
**no scientific number but I find it surprising how often there is an "1 in 7 believe" for typical "Aaaaaaarrrgh!" positions (like "Hitler was right about the Jews", "the church was right about witches") or "can't find xyz on a map".
***i.e. someone with exceptional charisma, organizing talent etc.

In fact, a wide-eyed, dazzled look and a reference to being blessed with little miracles is one of Miss Manners suggestions for how to react to rude, intrusive questions about how many/how many more children you plan to have.

Miss Manners makes an emphatic distinction between ethics and etiquette, and makes no bones about the value of disingenuousness in the latter. Transparently phony excuses and trasparently insincere sentiments are the key ingredients of etiquette. My point is that transparent insincerity on Palin's part would undermine her with her base, however much it comports with Miss Manners.

--TP

"Nielsen said that 38.4 million people watched Obama's speech as it was carried live by 10 commercial networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, BET, TV One, Univision and Telemundo."

Gary, thanks.

Oatmeal in tow, I was making a point to log on just now to make that correction, which had been haunting my tired, old brain, which somehow confused the 38 million with the 34 million number I saw on the news -- 34 million is the number of drivers AAA says will be on the road (more than 50 miles from home is what they use) for Labor Day weekend, another drop from last year.

Whether it's 38 million or 40 million who watched Obama's speech, I think that shows a helluva lot of interest -- not just curiosity -- about his campaign.

----

Must say you have to be impressed with John Kerry these days.

First he gave a rock 'em, sock 'em speech at the convention and now he's picking up where he left off as an Obama surrogate on "This Week" this morning.

Kerry: "John McCain wanted Tom Ridge. John McCain wanted Joe Lieberman. Rush Limbaugh and the right wing vetoed those picks."


---

In retrospect, I think one of the mistakes John Kerry made was his vice-president selection, hindsight being what it is. But: Did Johb Edwards really have more experience than Sarah Palin?

---

The Sunday shows have pretty much concluded that George Bush will not make his speech at the Republican National Convention on Monday, D-day for Hurricane Gustav.

I'd say no George Bush would be a plus for the GOP.

Tony: My point is that transparent insincerity on Palin's part would undermine her with her base, however much it comports with Miss Manners.

I'm not at all sure that Palin's base would realise she was being transparently insincere. In fact, I'm not at all sure she would be insincere. I don't really care. John McCain hasn't been asked if he and Cindy plan to adopt more children: Barack Obama and Joe Biden haven't been asked if they have/would like to have more children: nor how their feelings for their children will affect their ability to do their job.

(Insofar as Dick Cheney's job included being rabidly homophobic in public to win votes from the Christian right, his feelings for his daughter did prevent him from doing his job. And yet I don't recall that anyone - even the Christian Right - asked him about this before he took office, and I only recall one interview that even brought it up, during the past 8 years.)

Seriously? They won the last 2 elections.

And, as Gary notes, quite a few before that. All but three, in the last 40 years.

Handle her with care. She sounds like the woman Daniel Boone.

IMO this is exactly right.

Even for people who disagree with her on every available political position, Palin is apparently engaging and personable.

For many, many, many socially conservative people who were previously ready to sit this one out, Palin is catnip.

Asking whether she is going to have more kids is insane. It not only doesn't matter, it SHOULD NOT matter. Women have children and raise families while holding positions of significant executive responsibility EVERY DAY. Anyone who wants to get on the other side of that is an idiot. Sorry, they just are.

IMO Palin was an astute choice. She will bring disaffected social conservatives back into McCain's camp, and that will mean a lot of votes for him.

Criticisms of Palin should focus on matters of substance. Her experience or lack thereof is certainly fair game, as are her actual positions on issues.

Her gender should not come into it at all.

Making fun of her kids' names or any other aspect of her lifestyle might be kind of entertaining as an in-joke here on a predominantly liberal blog, but if that becomes the thing that she is criticized for publicly, it will only solidify her value to McCain.

Those are the things that make her appealing to the folks whose votes she will attract. Attack them, and they will come out in droves.

There's no point in discussing whether that's good, bad, stupid, smart, well- or ill-informed, or whatever. It is what it is.

Folks may think social conservatives are boneheads and dupes, but they're not. They just value different things.

And they vote.

If you want Obama in the White House, you have to take Palin very seriously. Her nomination for VP might be tactics rather than strategy, but tactics win wars.

Thanks -

Is this country really dumb enough to vote for four more years of Republican rule -- more tax cuts for the rich and Big Oil, more war, more people being cut off from health care, more bull?

Yes.

And if that surprises you, I have to ask what planet you've been on for the last 40 years.

Thanks -

Criticisms of Palin should focus on matters of substance.

I would hope concerns about firing city employees for petty reasons (and lying about it), raising taxes for dubious projects and leaving a city in debt would classify as substantial.

I would hope concerns about firing city employees for petty reasons (and lying about it), raising taxes for dubious projects and leaving a city in debt would classify as substantial.

Me too.

Thanks -

I would hope concerns about firing city employees for petty reasons (and lying about it), raising taxes for dubious projects and leaving a city in debt would classify as substantial.

I would hope that they are considered substantial, and more worth discussing than issues about how Palin's going to cope with childcare if she's Vice President.

"Asking whether she is going to have more kids is insane. It not only doesn't matter, it SHOULD NOT matter. Women have children and raise families while holding positions of significant executive responsibility EVERY DAY. Anyone who wants to get on the other side of that is an idiot. Sorry, they just are."

Since I haven't spoken to the substance of this, I'd like to get behind what Russell says here (as is usually the case).

Frankly, I agree that there have been plenty of sexist, tasteless, stupid remarks made by various folks on this blog in the wake of Palin's nomination, and I wish people would think a bit more before typing. If you want to be a sexist jerk with your best buddies, in private, the rest of us won't know about it, but you're in public here, illusions to the contrary otherwise, so consider that, at least.

Russell, Gary, or anybody else: not many American women I know in real life have 5 kids. None, that I know, are leaving it up to god, or even to chance, whether to have more. Maybe I hang around with the wrong kind of women, but they all view having kids as a choice. Sarah Palin strongly stands against allowing women certain kinds of choice. She is prepared (nay, eager) to judge other women's choices. Why are her own so sacred?

--TP

Tony,

To follow up, it's not that she's just willing to judge other women's choices. She's willing to limit them through legislation.

To follow up on my comments above re the baby-substitution rumors:

There was a big to-do on DailyKos about this yesterday, and I was persuaded by the evidence there that Palin is indeed the mother of the baby. However, it's also clear that she repeatedly took risks AMA, and she's very lucky she didn't have an obstetric disaster.

Combined with her personnel problems as Governor and even as small-town Mayor, where she fired the police chief and the library director for "not fully supporting her efforts to govern", I now suspect that she's what Robert Altemeyer calls a "double high" authoritarian. No wonder McCain calls her a soul mate.

She is prepared (nay, eager) to judge other women's choices. Why are her own so sacred?

They are as sacred as anyone else's, and for the same reasons.

Look, it's not anyone's business how many kids someone has. And we all want to keep it that way. Trust me on this.

I also do not think we want to travel down the path of claiming that childrearing is an impediment to holding responsible public positions. People can, and do, raise families of all kinds of sizes, while effectively carrying out responsible public careers. Please, please, please let that one be.

Palin is apparently a strong social conservative. A desire to limit other people's choices may well come with that. The best response to that is to insist that everyone deserves to make the choices that are best for them, not to denigrate the choices that Palin has made.

If there is demonstrable incompetence or ineffectiveness in her resume, that's fair game. But leave the family angle out of it. There is no, absolutely no, upside to it.

The reason there's no upside is because it is, and ought to be, out of bounds.

Thanks -

I tend to agree that the story is out of bounds -- tho that doesn't stop me from hoping somebody in the media pursues it out of morbid curiosity and the GOP ticket ends up looking like a daytime talk show outttake. Altho that might be a selling point with much of the electorate.

That said, I think Dr. Science has missed some possibilities:


the story she tells -- her water broke in Texas, she flew back to Alaska so the baby would be born there (at least 8 hours), she was back to work in 3 days -- is flatly incredible.
a) Commercial airlines will not transport a woman who is more than 8 months pregnant.

If you don't tell them, and show up in a good maternity dress and are really careful about how you walk when in front of the gatekeepers, you can probably get away with it. Alaska, home of libertarianism, right?
Also, they actually will allow it with a doctor's note.

b) Unless there are complications, labor is shorter after baby #1.... To start an 8-hour trip after labor has begun with your fifth child is *insane*

Even for a later child, water can break a day or more before full labor begins. If this was her pattern with her first 4 kids, she could have fairly reasonably figured she had a day or so this time too. Not great judgment, but not crazy, or biologically impossible.

c) no responsible obstetrician or mother-to-be would let her be out of touch with a hospital late in a pregnancy with a high-risk child. Knowing ahead of time the baby had Down's, it would be whacky-irresponsible not to be within half an hour of a hospital with a neonatal ICU at all times for the final month.

I agree. But did she know? IIRC, sonagram and amnio are still optional neonatal procedures.

"And if that surprises you, I have to ask what planet you've been on for the last 40 years."

I guess it didn't come over that way but I was asking that rhetorically.

Nevertheless, I still feel it's Obama's race to lose.

Crafty:

She definitely knew she had a DS child, and had decided to keep it.

What I have recently heard -- on a conservative women's site -- is that it was her 8th month and she really really wanted to go hear this speech in TX. Her docs advised against it and she went AMA.

She started leaking amniotic fluid but wasn't in full labor when she got on the plane back to AK. She officially said "she wanted the baby to born on Alaskan soil" but that's total bull.

My guess is that she knew that if she let a doc in TX look at her she'd be in the hospital hooked up to monitors inside & out before you can say "boo" and she'd be there for *at least* a couple of days. Chances were that she'd have the baby in an unfamiliar hospital, with unfamiliar docs, without her family.

So she took a gamble and flew back to Alaska. I would be *really* surprised if she had much medical advice at all for that decision, and if she did she disregarded it. I don't think she could get a doctor's note saying it was OK, either -- that's a hell of a long flight, and obstetricians are *really* twitchy about risk.

"Palin is apparently a strong social conservative. A desire to limit other people's choices may well come with that."

A desire to limit other people's choices comes with being a politician. If you think being a social liberal doesn't come with a desire to limit other people's choices, you're pretty selective about what you're willing to admit is a restriction on other people's choices.

If you think being a social liberal doesn't come with a desire to limit other people's choices, you're pretty selective about what you're willing to admit is a restriction on other people's choices.

You talking about guns? I wasn't, and I'm not interested in doing so.

The issue on the table was discussion of Palin's family. The choices she is likely to want to restrict are, likewise, to do with families.

You are correct, social liberal policies restrict folks choices as well. People who are socially liberal think that the things they want to restrict are harmful, and that the restrictions are, therefore, net/net a good thing. People who are socially conservative, ditto.

Both are motivated by fundamental convictions about what things are important, and what things are good. Those convictions are, generally, pretty firmly rooted. We're not going to change each other's minds, the best we can hope to do is to learn to live with each other.

So yes, many public policies involve some kind of restriction on other people's choices. I think the ones that Palin would like to impose are not good. I'd like to see her defeated.

I think talking about how many kids she has, and whether her parental responsibilities will prevent her from serving as VP, will not serve that end. It will make her into a victim, and motivate folks who are so inclined to support her.

Plus, unless someone can actually demonstrate irresponsibility on the job due to parental responsibilities, it's not any of our business how many kids she has.

Thanks -

"A desire to limit other people's choices comes with being a politician. If you think being a social liberal doesn't come with a desire to limit other people's choices, you're pretty selective about what you're willing to admit is a restriction on other people's choices."

I won't entirely disagree, but I think you're still overly limiting. Both conservative and liberal politicians desire to both expand and limit people's choices in various areas. Occasionally they even agree. But mostly they tend to want to expand and limit people's choices in different areas.

Libertarians also want to expand choices, but only in one particular way, and they bridle and disagree with expanding people's choices in other fashions.

Some examples would be by, say, making available various kinds of help via laws or governmental initiative; you're free to disagree with those ideas, but many of them are, nonetheless, about expanding people's choices, such as say, the choice to have mental or physical health treatment they couldn't otherwise afford, housing they couldn't otherwise afford, or from which they might be discriminated against, etc., and so on.

But, sure, politicians of most ilks also want to limit various choices, too. Most folks agree on limiting people's ability to choose to kill their neighbor by their own initiative, for instance.

Other choices are more controversial, and that's where we get that whole "let's try to agree by democracy and compromise," and all that, stuff.

My guess is that she knew that if she let a doc in TX look at her she'd be in the hospital hooked up to monitors inside & out before you can say "boo" and she'd be there for *at least* a couple of days. Chances were that she'd have the baby in an unfamiliar hospital, with unfamiliar docs, without her family.

Well, her husband went with her to Texas, I gather, so she'd have had him by her side at least.

I agree with your analysis - I think the point at which she must have lied is when she claimed she'd got her doctor to okay the flight. I can't believe a doctor - any doctor - would okay a flight for a pregnant woman after her waters broke unless it was a Medevac.

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