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August 31, 2008

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38 million people, at least, watched Obama's acceptance speech. Judging from the response both of existing supporters and the first response of non-supporters like Buchanan, it communicated strength and steady leadership to a big swath of people. It made McCain shrink by comparison.

Then, the very next day, McCain did something that made him look unsteady and unserious.

If Virginia goes Democratic for the first time since 1964, it will be because of the military voters in the greater Norfolk area. Northern Virginia's going to turn out for Obama, southwest and southside Virginia's going for McCain and the best we can do is hold down the margin, but the "Norfolk voters" really are swing voters.

If I'm right, the combined effect of Obama's speech with McCain's impulsive, unvetted, pandering pick of Palin may have sealed the deal. There's a long way to go, but the last four days may have been a decisive gain.

I suspect she may turn out to be more like the choice of Bernie Kerrick for DHS Secretary. So many questions swirling around her. If any of this stuff about her youngest son (or is it her grandson) turns out to be true, both she and McCain are history. Andrew Sullivan is starting to look into it and he's right to do so because enough circumstantial evidence has now been assembled that this doesn't sound like a manufactured conspiracy anymore.

It may turn out that she should have turned McCain down. It could take a few weeks for enough of these skeletons to fall out of her closet and by that time, even if they dump her, McCain may not be able to ever recover before the election. It amazes me that no one even bothered to look. I kinda feel sorry for her, but no one is going to let someone into such a high office without a full vetting.

A lot of blog commentary is focussed on the risk that the grim reaper might harvest McCain early in his first term. Personally I'm more worried that he might hang on in there. "Ireland" sounds a bit like "Iran" if you slur the word a little. And once he starts bombing, he can't very well admit it was a mistake.

I would consider myself a "national security Democrat", which is a long way from being one of those swing voters in VA, but I do share some mutual interests (and in all likelihood a rather large library of books on military history and international power politics) with them .

One the experience level alone, this pick appalls me. I'm staying out of the whole DS infant brouhaha because it does not to me seem to be central to the question of Gov. Palin's qualifications, which relate to her lack of involvement in federal issues and foreign policy issues in her very limited span of time since coming up from the ranks of a small time mayor.

What this pick tells me unmistakeably is that Senator McCain is a hotheaded gambler, reckless and impulsive. I've been told that to some extent those traits correlate positively with the qualities one needs in a fighter pilot (making decisions quickly without time to deliberate), but they are most emphatically not what I want in a POTUS.

Nobody who is a gambler should have their finger on the proverbial nukular button, ever.

A fair point, but too process-oriented to have much effect. First, establish that there was a NEED for more vetting (i.e., that the skeletons in her closet are real). Then, when McCain already looks bad for the choice, it's worth pointing out that he didn't even bother to vet her. Otherwise, he just looks bold, decisive, and a good judge of character. People admire winners no matter how they got there.

It gets better.

I think the recklessness and willingness to gamble, not just with his campaign, but with selection of his possible successor, are ripe for critique. Such a critique needn't be a direct attack on the VP nominee (which is partially what the selection may hope to provoke), but rather a dismissal of it as a craven and careless gimmick of a man whose profession of putting America first is seriously refuted by this major decision as presumptive GOP nominee.

In keeping with the gambling metaphors floating around, Russian Roulette is another interesting way to think about it.

The average 72-year-old American male has about an 85% chance of surviving to 76-1/2...

...The word reckless barely covers a bet like this (one in six is the odds in Russian Roulette with a conventional revolver, but in Russian Roulette you blow out your own brains, such as they are, not the welfare of a whole big country). Judgment? Puhleese!

I was taken with the analogy, and tried to fit it into a stark video ad template that tries to convey the notion that voting for McCain is a gamble with a big downside. Michael at the RBC (whose post I borrowed liberally from for the premise) was kind enough to link to the video.

I'd ask you to enjoy, but it's not really that enjoyable... kind of harsh.

If the vetting process turns out what it looks like, then I'm aghast.

In the private world, this kind of due diligence is grounds for termination. And an invitation to try another industry altogether...

The article Hilzoy links to also includes this throwaway near the end: "The process, he added, was rigorous and involved sifting through financial and other personal data, as well as an FBI background check."

Huh?

Can I order up an FBI background check on anyone I want? Can the McCain campaign? The Obama campaign? The Barr campaign? The RNC? The DNC? Can any old senator do it for the explicit purpose of aiding his election campaign?

Is this either legal or conventional? I mean: wtf.

"I suspect she may turn out to be more like the choice of Bernie Kerrick for DHS Secretary."

Kerik.

Hilzoy, if it's not rude to ask, and I hope it isn't, have you decided to not say on either blog when your posts are cross-posted, and we should all just take that for granted? It's not a big thing, but it seems like a good custom/SOP to make clear to people, full disclosure and all, though certainly there's no Blog Rule mandating it. Just thought I'd ask (after noting that this post is, indeed, cross-posted at Washington Monthly, as presumably most of your substantive posts will be).

McCain's age and history of melanoma are not the only reasons to worry that he may not survive a term as president. Many people have noted his behavior - short-temper, memory loss, irrational decisions may be symptoms of Alzheimers or dementia. He could very well become incapacitated within a few months of taking office - does anyone want 3+ years of Prezdint Palin?

One thing that gets me is how people say this pick is a sign of McCain's maverickness. What a bunch of BS. If he was really a maverick he would have gone with Ridge or Lieberman, which is what some have suggested he wanted to do.

Instead, he caved into pressure both from the Rovian wing and the ultra right "Christian" wing. Hardly a maverick.

Then, to compound matters, he picked Palin, who, no matter what else, is not reeady to govern this country from day one.

And I love how people say you have to be nice to her or else you are sexist. Does anyone think that Putin or anybody else is going to treat her special because she is a woman?

She was a pick representing McCain's temperament. He couldn't get what he wanted to he caved in by picking someone totally unready without vetting her.

Sullivan was right. The new slogan for McCain is Putting. Country. Last.

John Miller: "If he was really a maverick he would have gone with Ridge or Lieberman, which is what some have suggested he wanted to do."

John Kerry on "This Week" this morning: "John McCain wanted Tom Ridge. John McCain wanted Joe Lieberman. Rush Limbaugh and the right wanted Sarah Palin."

Seeing how Kerry could only know if he spoke to McCain himself, I still suspect there is a great deal of truth to that bit hyperbole.

There is now probably untrue speculation about Palin's fifth child, only four months old. I won't repeat any speculation, but I will note what bothers me, things which are facts:

1. With four kids, one graduating from high school, on a junior, and the youngest six years old, Palin decided to have another kid.

2. She got pregnant after being elected and sworn in as Governor of Alaska. If she has been younger, and in an obvious family building phase of her life, voters might have been prepared for the fact that she would divide her time between time consuming public service and her health needs during pregnancy and her infants needs after birth.

3. She says that she learned her child would be born with Down Syndrome when she was four months pregnant.

4. She did not publicly reveal to anyone that she was pregnant until March (7 months), not even her staff.

5. She said she was in Texas when her water broke, yet she gave a speech and then flew back to Alaska to give birth.

6. She went back to work three days after giving birth, her baby was at least a month premature.

7. She was flying around the US while at least 8 months pregnant, without informing the airlines of her condition.

8. She didn't announce that her son had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome until four days after his birth. She said she was confused when she first heard it.

9. Only one doctor appears to have been named in all the reports.

More than anything I think she needs to prove that she knew in advance that her child would be born with Down Syndrome.

Something else bothers me a little. Why does she say that she made a "choice" to have the baby? Is she pro-choice? Women who are pro-choice could make the same decision as Palin. How do you take credit for a "choice" and wish to deny others the ability to demonstrate the same judgement?

McCain's age and history of melanoma are not the only reasons to worry that he may not survive a term as president. Many people have noted his behavior - short-temper, memory loss, irrational decisions may be symptoms of Alzheimers or dementia. He could very well become incapacitated within a few months of taking office - does anyone want 3+ years of Prezdint Palin?

Another thing that irks me about this is that it would give us a hardline ideological social-con President, something which the social-cons cannot obtain directly (if they could, why isn't Huckabee the nominee this year?). The top-of-the-ticket POTUS nominee would not be able to carry the freight on issues (global warming, abortion, creationism) that Gov. Palin brings to the table and still win enough moderates and indys to prevail in a general election.

And yet if McCain steps down, the social-cons will get via the back door what they cannot achieve via the front door. Effectively it would be a policy coup d'etat.

tomj and others,

I hope I'm not being rude by making this request, but could you please post comments regarding Gov. Palin's infant child in one of the several other threads which are already totally dominated by that topic, and leave this one for conversation regarding other aspects of her record and background.

The only reason I ask this is that we already have several threads where discussion of any other aspect of her nomination is being drowned out by the sturm und drang over her child, and if this thread goes the same way, there will be no thread where experience and policy issues can be the focus.

IMHO, YMMV, etc.

Thanks in advance.

John McCain watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech Thursday night and thought, "This guy is better than I thought."

He was aghast that this young whippersnapper with no military background, and barely in the Senate long enough for a cup of coffee, questioned his judgement and temperment in front of 40 million viewers -- hell, the ominipresent media never do, McCain thought.

"F-ck," McCain said to wife Cindy. "I would have been better running against that bitch Hillary -- people like this guy. That Muslim crap only went so far. And how many times can I tell 'em I was a POW, seein' how I'm getting tired of it myself."

"You need a game-changer," Cindy said, quoting from The Book of Hannity.

So he called Central Casting, told the fat guy chomping on the cigar who looked a helluva lot like Rush Limbaugh his plight and the fat guy didn't bother to look very far in his Rolodex -- Alaska. How different."

"Never been there," McCain gushed.

"Better yet," the fat man said, "I got you a woman."

"A woman?" McCain wondered.

"Pro life. Pro gun. She favors drilling as far as the eye can see, more than you, big guy. And a house full of kids."

"Shit," McCain finally smiled.

"A game-changer."

Hilzoy, do you really think McCain's ballyhooed selection process was much more involved than that? Aren't mavericks, by definition, reckless, impulsive and prone to taking gambles?

@AndyK: I'm pretty sure that the campaign of the presumptive nominees of both parties can request FBI checks on a reasonable-sized list of people for purposes of VP vetting, and that the Bureau plans for that. I don't think it's all that extraordinary, and I don't think they could just start asking for checks on anyone in either party.

And yet if McCain steps down, the social-cons will get via the back door what they cannot achieve via the front door. Effectively it would be a policy coup d'etat.

I'm certain that it will be viewed as the invisible hand of God (to mix images), allowing a believing minority to triumph over the rest. I mentioned earlier that I am embarrassed for evangelical christians and how they are getting used, but I'm wondering how long I can view it charitably.

Yeah, my brother's family may be getting ready to evacuate with my dad, and I'm in a supremely pissy mood, especially since all the discussion on the hurricane carries the tag 'and the Republican convention is being scaled down'. In any just world, they would be reviewing the timeline of Katrina and explaining how the Republicans dropped the ball on every level. Or this. Why don't they ask Michael Brown to speak to the camera and do a compare and contrast? Or show the picture of McCain holding the cake during Katrina. Or even asking wtf a candidate is going down there with a secret service entourage in the middle of disaster preparations. Not a peep.

Nell,

I imagine there's something to what you are saying there. It's not like other government services aren't already involved -- I believe as the primary process gets serious, these guys even have Secret Service details; pretty sure Obama did (of course, Hillary, as a former First Lady already had one, but hers was probably enhanced).

lj: "I'm in a supremely pissy mood, especially since all the discussion on the hurricane carries the tag 'and the Republican convention is being scaled down'. In any just world, they would be reviewing the timeline of Katrina and explaining how the Republicans dropped the ball on every level."

I mentioned in another thread a few hours ago before my wife dragged me out to a party that the GOP would manage to stage this as a plus.

They already developed a theme: "We are taking off our Republican hats and putting on our American hats."

How about that: They are Americans.

(Good luck to your family.)

'

I am pretty certain that McCain does not just see himself as the better candidate for President, rather he thinks of his own victory has being essential for the survival of American civilization. And if you are the Savior of the World, then God will make sure your risky bets pay off.

Everyone needs to read John Cole's link. To wit:

The campaign of John McCain has sent a staff of eight people into Alaska to conduct background checks and vetting on Governor Sarah Palin.

Word is they have have eight rooms reserved at a Wasilla hotel.

These people are insane. First to have not vetted her, and then to start now? What could that possibly gain them at this point?

Well, at least Wasilla has a hotel with eight rooms. I guess it is a sprawling metropolis that requires a true executive to bestride like a colossus.

Sorry Nell and Hilzoy (and everyone else). It’s over. (Yes, I will shut up now.)

LJ: In any just world, they would be reviewing the timeline of Katrina and explaining how the Republicans dropped the ball on every level.

Blanco? Nagin? Republicans?

Things seem to be going more smoothly this time. What is different I wonder…

(And all snark aside – my thoughts go out to everyone in the path of that storm. Please be well.)

These people are insane. First to have not vetted her, and then to start now? What could that possibly gain them at this point?

Basic interpretation: to prepare themselves for anything that oppo research may turn up, which the other side might use.

bonus conspiracy theory: to destory records* and payoff or intimidate people who might say things to the media that would be unfortunate.

*As I understand it, the newspaper records could not be searched via the net. Which implies that they probably only exist physically, not in digital form. It would be a pity if some of them were to be lost. Not that the GOP would do anything like that **cough** White House email system **cough**.

The news that the McCain campaign is only now vetting their nominee really sounds like this race ended Friday. That's....it's just astounding. Even conservatives who like the pick but aren't nuts have to be given pause that such a major decision was made with less information than Stuckey's has when it hires a server. What will his next spontaneous outburst be--ordering the invasion of Czechoslovakia?
The timing is such that the vetting won't be finished before the nomination. How many Rs might be wanting to put the convention off 2 weeks for just that reason?

I join those who would rather abjure any criticism about her childrearing, birthing plan, and children. There's plenty of substance for background vetters to work with--one clear abuse of power scandal, and more in the woodwork.

Can people please stop with the baby stuff? I know, it's weird behavior, and there are inconsistencies - but even if all the allegations were true they'd still be None Of Our Business. The weird Christian glorification of carrying a Downs sufferer to term bugs me, and especially her exploitation of it, but none of the questions being thrown about can be answered, and some of the allegations, like the Grandbaby one, would be at least in part to her credit even if they were true. I am convinced that the only possible gains in pursuing this stuff are gains for the R's. Instead, why not go after her official behavior? Heaven knows there's enough there: (1) Fired the Wassila police chief and librarian for endorsing her electoral opponent; (2) lied and said she had not fired them, and got caught; (3) bankrupted Wassila; (4) fired the AK police chief when he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law; (5) lied about pressuring the AK police chief, and was caught in her lies; (6) replaced him with an officially reprimanded sexual harrasser, who lasted two weeks; (7) lied about what she knew about the replacement, and was caught in her lies. All of that - about one point for every year she's spent in public life, and all having to do with her public duties - and people would rather puzzle out aspects of her private life that if true might not even be to her deficit?

Sorry Nell and Hilzoy (and everyone else). It’s over. (Yes, I will shut up now.)

OCSteve,

I hope you are wrong, because if McCain wins this election primarily on the basis* of having picked a red-to-the-core social-con VP with no national or international experience of any kind, of the sort who would be laughed off the stage if a Democrat had done the same thing (say if Obama had picked someone ideologically like Kucinich, only with less experience), then I think you are going to see political polarization in this country which will make the last 14 years look like a tea party by comparison.

To me, this pick is a giant 400-point typeface, FNCK-U-AND-GO-TO-H*LL from the McCain camp. It tells me that my opinion does not carry even the most infinitesimally tiny weight with the GOP, and the only possible basis for Democrats and Republicans to interact with each other is maximum warfare without a shred of decency or common interest imposing any sort of restraint of any kind.

This is a rip the body politic apart sort of finger in the face from McCain, and I for one do not intend to take this laying down.

*As opposed to some sort of serious mistake or gaffe by Obama.

Although hilzoy has identified two similarities between the Miers and Palin picks--the nominees utter lack of qualification and the nominator's frustration at being denied a first choice--I think there is one, big difference.

Denied his first-choice crony, Bush chose another crony. Miers was thoroughly unqualified, but Bush knew exactly what he was doing; he'd worked with her for years.

McCain, on the other hand, clearly had no idea what he was doing. He barely knew Sarah Palin.

At the end of the day, I'm not sure which of these decisions was more appalling, but they were rather different from each other.

"And yet if McCain steps down, the social-cons will get via the back door what they cannot achieve via the front door. Effectively it would be a policy coup d'etat."

I'm tempted to Photoshop a cat asking about a Veep replacement for Joe Biden: "I can haz Bernie Sanders"?

"Never been there," McCain gushed.

[...]

"A woman?" McCain wondered.

[...]

"Shit," McCain finally smiled.

A brief note of unasked for writing advice, if you're ever tempted to put things in a fictional mode again: what you're doing there are called "said-bookisms." Amateur fiction writers somehow get it in their heads that it's bad, or repetitive, to simply write "he said," "she said," and so on, and so come up with wacky substitutes, including impossible ones, like smiling a statement.

Um, don't do that.

"Said" is a perfectly good word, no matter how many times you use it. It's effectively invisible. There are other ways of doing dialogue, and you can learn them, but the one way you don't want to do it is as above.

Just a word to the wise.

I'm really dreadfully puzzled as to what on earth OCSteve is talking about.

OCSteve,

By the way, in case it isn't clear - I have nothing personal against you or your opinions. If you want to continue to act as the sort of unofficial ObWings reporter telling us what people "on the other side" are thinking and saying, then please by all means do continue.

puzzled as to what on earth OCSteve is talking about.

About the hurricane? I think he means there's a Republican governor in Louisiana, which is what's making the response so much smoother (if, indeed, it is). But I could be wrong.

About 'it's over'? I have no idea. I'm at a loss to see how the Palin pick has sealed a victory for McCain, as he seems to think. In particular, I'm surprised at how pleased OCSteve seems at the prospect.

To me, this pick is a giant 400-point typeface, FNCK-U-AND-GO-TO-H*LL from the McCain camp.

I'm not sure there was that much malice in it from McCain's point of view. But I agree that putting the social conservative stuff front and center could well make the whole thing break ugly.

We're in for another round of salt-of-the-earth regular folks vs the big bad liberal elites. I'm getting my barf bag ready.

"I can haz Bernie Sanders"?

If only. Dude, you are making me cry.

Thanks -

Blanco? Nagin? Republicans?

Three years ago, and countless of back and forths before we finally got some acknowledgement that hey, the federal government might carry at least equal responsibility for the debacle that was Katrina. And we step into the time machine to again deal with the notion that it was state and local government's fault. I feel pretty confident that the F in FEMA means Federal, not F-all. Read the linked compare and contrast in my comment of what Obama has done for this crisis and what McCain plans to do. Ask yourself why, only when faced by the threat of losing power that the ruling party gets its stuff together. And then ask yourself why anyone would want that.

I really think the non-vetting of Palin could be used well. Someone who matters needs to gather all this evidence that McCain only spoke to her once for fifteen minutes, that the McCain camp never talked to anyone in Alaska about her, that they never read her hometown newspaper's archives, and then tell a camera something like "I don't know much about Sarah Palin, I've never met her. She seems to be an impressive person, and I look forward to getting to know about her in the next couple of months. That's the way these things work: the American people has a few months to really learn about the nominees and their ideas and their records before they vote. The problem is, John McCain also doesn't know much about Sarah Palin. He's barely met her, and his staff never talked to the people who know her. He will be learning about her for the first time in the weeks ahead along with me and the American people. That's not the way things are supposed to work, it's not responsible, and it tells us more about the real John McCain than we'll likely learn about Sarah Palin in the weeks ahead." Obviously, it would have to be tuned up, but something like that could be devastating to McCain while not disrepecting Palin.

I hope lots of people, and the right people, see your insightful comment, Warren.

"Not that the GOP would do anything like that **cough** White House email system **cough**."

No, never.

"I can haz Bernie Sanders"?

If only. Dude, you are making me cry.

Let's go all the way, and wish for the Sanders-Feingold ticket, along with our ponies.

Or the Hilzoy ticket, with one of the above as Veep.

Hilzoy wrote: Discipline is not McCain's long suit, and he loves to gamble:

Yes, and? I like to gamble. It strikes me even when I'm doing it as a silly form of entertainment, but I do enjoy it. I think from as early as I can remember, I worked out that the way to get my fun and not damage myself was to figure out before I went in how much I could afford to lose - and as soon as I'd lost it, to leave. Judging by the description, that's what McCain does, and I can't see it as a major character flaw compared to all the rest.

If that requires picking a vice presidential nominee who is wholly unprepared to take over as President, without doing anything like the vetting a Presidential campaign would normally require, then so be it.

I do wonder if McCain actually expects to lose...

uh-huh. Now tell us who vetted the Annenberg Challenge archives. The ones which the Daley regime
are keeping under lock and key?

I nominate a's comment at 04:29 am for Most Irrelevant Comment in America!

Seconded!

Thirded! Also, e-z say they agree! Congratulations, a, you're a winner, and your alphabet buds are behind you all the way!

Dear Mr.Son of Cain
I hear that you are still looking for cabinet members that prove your maverickity to those awful Democrats and your pesky "party friends".
Maybe I can interest you in the highly qualified Karl Gustav Bondarsky and his lovely wife Lubjanka Bondarskaya for secretary of the interior and WH chief of staff (and stuff) resp.
Both were born on Little Diomede island, Alaska (please excuse the corrected typing error on their birth certificates that state Big Diomede) and are great admirers of both you and your excellent choice of VP.
Your friend
Paul V. Utin, Moscow (Township, Minnesota)

I do have to say though that the Palin pick is just awesome on a certain level. We've been hearing all along that the GOP base doesn't like McCain and is demoralized because, well, because they don't like McCain, despite what appears to be a perfect voting record on state control of fetuses.

But apparently that demoralization only goes so far because, well, because by picking someone who is just as pro-fetus control as McCain plus, well, plus something (I'm not sure what), now they're all chomping at the bit frothing at the mouth ready to fight the damn Democrats. This despite the fact that it seems readily apparent that (i) Palin is eminently unqualified for the job of Vice President; and (ii) she'll likely have little or no say in just about anything that goes on in a McCain administration.

So, it appears that the mere appearance of someone on the ticket who they like is enough to get them fired up. To go from "demoralized" to "energized" from the selection of someone who 99% of the people in this country didn't know before Friday. And to be "energized" when it appears that McCain, had his hand not been forced, would have rather selected Lieberman.

It also makes it clear that the GOP base doesn't give a rat's a$$ about anything other than fetus-control (other than perhaps their precious feelings). War on terror, effective administration of the federal government, a competent foreign policy, deficits, etc. etc. etc.? Fnck em! Gives me some Bork on SCOTUS!

And the idea that the Palin pick, rather than causing 80% of the population recoil in the U.S. to recoil in horror, would put the McCain ticket over the top just appalls me. It they win, America gets what they deserve, $250 per barrel oil, 15% unemployment and inflation, a war in Iran and maybe along the Russian border, massive budget deficits, and the end to American leadership in the world. That all might occur anyway, but McCain/Palin '08 would all but guarantee it.

As they say: Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

On a more upbeat note: I now have a Madonna song from the 80s going through my head due to the title of this post.

"I nominate a's comment at 04:29 am for Most Irrelevant Comment in America!"

If you're curious, you can get the loony theory of it in various places, such as here.

It's all a big commie conspiracy, you see. Those Weathermen are in it for the Long March. If somebody ever met somebody, they're in on it.

Two more tidbits about Palin have come to light today:

1. "I'm My Own Grandma" Her daughter - the one some people thought was Trick's 'real' mom - is pregnant. About 5 months pregnant. For reals. Mama Palin says she will carry the baby to term and marry the (un-named) father. The girl is 17, and apparently conceived while she had mono.

2. "Secession Now! Secession Forever!" Sarah Palin is either a member of, or sympathetic to, or a mole acting on behalf of, the Alaska Independent Party. The AIP wants Alaska to secede and be a sovereign nation - mostly so they can strip mine the state of its natural resources and make a mint. There are reports that one of her mentors is an AIP honcho who advocates getting AIP members "infiltrated" into the government, particularly into the White House, in order to help with The Cause. I'm not sure quite what that means, though Palin *did* say she was interested in becoming VP chiefly to further Alaskan interests.

Only 4 days since she was named, and already the Palins are looking like a wierd mix of Manchurian Candidate and Spears Family.

If McCain-Palin manages to get into the Oval Office, at least we'll be laughing our way to perdition.

I would love to have OCSteve's take (if he has one) on:

1. Whether the evangelicals will think that Palin's underage daughter having sex outside of marriage and getting pregnant before getting marriage reflects poorly on Palin as a mother and/or as a person generally (whether it should is another matter, I'm interested in what the "base" thinks). Does carrying the baby to term and marrying the father make it all better?

2. What the evangelicals think is supposed to happen to someone like Palin's daughter when a person ends up in circumstances like hers? Cause, the only experience I have with that with the winguts in my family was when one of them got his high school girlfriend pregnant and her parents (also winguts) kicked her out of hte house with no support and have basically disowned her (last I heard). My family's reaction was more civilized.

"Secession Now! Secession Forever!" Sarah Palin is either a member of, or sympathetic to, or a mole acting on behalf of, the Alaska Independent Party. The AIP wants Alaska to secede and be a sovereign nation - mostly so they can strip mine the state of its natural resources and make a mint.

Off topic, and I already know that I'm in a minority on this subject (perhaps a minority of one), but I expect secession movements to be fairly common in the West within 20 years. Energy supplies will be the proximate cause: Westerners will discover that they can have sufficient supplies to maintain an electrified version of their lifestyles for at least decades if they don't have to share with the Easterners. I think the first target for secessionist terrorists will be one or more natural gas pipelines, and put the over/under date for that event in 2025.

Thanks, Gary.

I once had a journalism teacher whose rule was: When in doubt, go with "said."

Very tempting rule to break nonetheless.

Let's go all the way, and wish for the Sanders-Feingold ticket, along with our ponies.

I love ponies. He said, sniffing back a tear.

I now have a Madonna song from the 80s going through my head due to the title of this post.

Yeah, me too. I mowed the lawn with that tune running through my head today. Way busy keyboard bass lines and cheesy DX7 pads will waft me off to sleep tonight.

"You keep on pushing my love over the borderline..."

Yay 80's! Let's all wear our underwear outside of our clothes!!

Thanks -

@AndyK: I was wrong, and your first instinct was correct:

Although The Washington Post quoted advisers to Mr. McCain on Sunday as saying Ms. Palin had been subjected to an F.B.I. background check, an F.B.I. official said Monday the bureau did not vet potential candidates and had not known of her selection until it was made public.

To the topic posted...Top Gun.

"Very tempting rule to break nonetheless."

Don't.

"Dialogue can mostly be done without a frame."

"Really?"

"Yes."

But if you need a frame, it shouldn't be redundant.

"Are you sure?," she asked.

You wouldn't need to write "she asked" there: we already see that it's a question. It's only with dialogue that would be ambiguous that a clarifying frame would be needed.

Otherwise, don't put a frame on dialogue, but if you do, use "said."

Generally speaking, writing techniques are all learnable, if you want to make the effort, but until you learn what you're doing, for your own protection, don't try swimming in rhetorical water that's over your head.

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