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August 30, 2008

Comments

Best analysis on the Palin pick to date.

But this is why I don't think Palin's a good pick in the long run. McCain is still trying to solidify his base, but he's going to need indies to win and I don't think most of them are going to be impressed with him choosing her. The GOP doesn't have as much wiggle room (and they never had much before) as they did the last times around. Combine that with Obama's organizing skills and I still think it's going to be a Dem win this year.

According to mahablog the rightwing bloggers are in full cry denouncing an imaginary obama-led smear campaign against her. i suppose the purpose of this is minimize the effect of exposure of her lies about the firing of he commissio0ner. It's a well known ROve trick--hide the real corruption by making your candidate he victim of a charge that gets disproved.

I suspect that the rumors about the child/grandchild are aslo of rightwing origin and are being promoted witht he hope that Democrats will pick the rumores up and make ourselves look bad by spreading them.

Palin zseems like a lousy canbdidate in her own right without bringing in her kids.

Is Kaine's support for banning partial-birth abortions and "faith-based opposition to abortion" considered pro-life or pro-choice? B/c he was on the short list, and although I think he wouldn't have been a big hit I believe he would have been grudgingly accepted.

Also, my favorite rightwinger so far on her is Kristol, who only days ago was warning against picking her b/c she's too inexperienced, and now is saying that anyone saying that is sexist. What a hack.

Democrats should simply forget about Palin and continue to make it all about McCain/Bush. After all, odds are still pretty good he'll survive the next four years. The Republicans aren't going to get much traction with her if the focus is kept on McCain.

I worry that people are totally underestimating her and her appeal. Unfortunately, she is an interesting narrative, a female Daniel Boone, very spunky and feisty, absolutely sure that a woman can have 5 children and be vice president. There is a picture of her signing a bill with her baby in a sling that probably appeals to many women put down for being just a mother and having their mothering experience disregarded when they try to go back to work. According to Palin, "what's the difference between a hocky mom and a pitbull? Lipstick."

More and more, I fear that McCain's choice was shrewd politics. I absolutely agree that we need to forget about her and concentrate on McCain and Bush. Make a few remarks about historic like Hillary did.

Great post. I agree with previous commenters that this selection was a sop to the rightwingnuts. While McCain was going to get their votes in the end (they never were going to vote for Obama), now he get their enthusiasm, donations, and volunteers.
The selection of Palin actually counters McCain's (fake) rep as a maverick, instead of bucking the GOP/Bush on choice - he chose someone very far to the right. Independents and women who falsely thought he was a moderate have been rudely awakened.

Great post. If you're right about the tensions between the factions in the GOP, a loss in November could get ugly in the extreme.

Even with a win (which I don't think is coming), the GOP is going to have a lot of soul searching to do, even as they work to blame the Democratic Congress for the economic downturn.

I say this as someone who voted for the GOP until 2006.

publius: McCain ... will likely govern in a more socially conservative way than any modern GOP President

would likely govern etc., if elected.

Unless you're convinced he's going to win, based on... what?

Dang. I should have read this thread before I commented on the Battered Base thread...

To add a bit more, I agree that this was a shrewd move in the larger sense, but the only way it works in the presidential race is if the Obama folks cooperate, and allow Palin to define herself as acceptable to independents. They're not under any obligation to do that, and they don't have to smear her or be sexist about it in order to prevent it from happening.

I worry that people are totally underestimating her and her appeal.

That worry is justified - if you want proof, head over to TalkLeft and read through the comments there.

TalkLeft link fixed

Nell: Unless you're convinced he's going to win, based on... what?

I don't think McCain's going to win. Bush couldn't win in 2000 or 2004, I don't think McCain can in 2008.

I do think there's a fair chance that McCain will be President of the United States next January, though. He doesn't have to win for that: he just has to lose by a narrow enough margin for vote-rigging to do the rest and a helpful media narrative to impede any public calls for investigation.

Bush couldn't win in 2000 or 2004

While I suppose it remains in the realm of possibility that Bush stole the 2004 election, the actual evidentiary basis for that seems incredibly slim.

Beyond that, he indisputably won the popular vote.

As to Talkleft, those people are lunatics - I don't think they're representative of anything.

While I suppose it remains in the realm of possibility that Bush stole the 2004 election, the actual evidentiary basis for that seems incredibly slim.

And you know this because you've examined all the evidence? You're completely satisfied with the explanation why the exit polls in 2004 did not match the results produced by voting machines?

Voting machines which have been designed not to provide a paper trail, and which - if they were Las Vegas gambling machines - are so hackable that it would be illegal for a casino to use them?

In the US, wherever these voting machines are in use, elections can be fixed, untraceably. Whether or not you believe they ever have been fixed, that they can be is a fact. That's why casinos have strict regulations on protecting gambling machines from hacks, because it's against the law for casinos to use machines they can fix, regardless of how honest the casino owner is. And you'd think, the same standards - or even higher standards - ought to apply to the process of voting, where the stakes are far higher than in any casino.

The means in use round the world of confirming that votes cast have been counted correctly, exit polls, have been off from the declared results in the US in 2000, 2004, and 2006. (In 2002, the usual exit polls weren't run because, apparently, the usual media organisations who ran them declared that they'd "obviously" failed in 2000, since the exit polls showed Al Gore winning in Florida. Odd, that.)

I know that for years the media narrative in the US about exit polls has been that oh, they don't work, people lie, they're skewed by mass numbers of late-voting Republicans (these large numbers are not in evidence by anything else but skewiff exit polls). But, John, this isn't true. At least, it isn't true in any other country. It wasn't true in the US until very recently.

The consistent pattern, over the past 8 years, has been: a media narrative that sets up a Republican victory: exit polls showing a Democratic victory: the declaration of a narrow victory for the Republican candidate: and no or little mainstream media interest in the subsequent discovery of considerably more detailed evidence that polls were rigged than simply the exit polls.

Plus, reluctance and obstruction from the authorities whose role it is to investigate electoral irregularities - the dismissal of 11 US Attorneys for, apparently, being too loyal to the judiciary and/or insufficiently loyal to the Bush administration, is relevant here.

I will be delighted if Obama is in the White House next January. I just think, given what's happened to the US electoral system, that it's not likely.

As to Talkleft, those people are lunatics - I don't think they're representative of anything.

I have no way of extrapolating from the comments at TalkLeft in order to be able to judge how widespread such sentiments really are. But generally it is unwise to underestimate the power of ressentiment, and conversely the attractiveness of politicians seen as alleviating such feelings, in the formation of political opinion. It might not be rational, but that doesn't mean it's not powerful - quite the contrary.

Novakant is right. I know people who've pretty much built their entire adult lives on resentment - as an excuse for all the great things they didn't do, or a justification for all the lousy things they did and do.

It's not just that there are politicians who are very good at using resentment, it's that using one's own resentment to make decisions that affect so many other people is an ultimate form of "So there!"

Has anyone heard comments from Lieberman on the selection? Is he looking forward to campaigning with her in Boca and other parts of Fla.?

Jesurgilac - that the machines could theoretically be rigged I will readily admit. I just don't think "the results are different from the exit polls" counts as evidence of that.

In terms of the accuracy of exit polls, let's go back to the exit polls for the primaries earlier this year - those were easily as inaccurate, if not more so, than the exit polls in 2004.

Certainly "the exit polls were somewhat off from the results" does not qualify as definitive evidence that the Republicans stole the election. Democratic pollsters, whom one would assume a) have some sense of what one can expect from polls; and b) have no reason to lie that I can think of, have pretty much demolished all the arguments-of-fraud-from-exit-polls. There were definitely some dubious results in 2004 - rural Ohio counties with much higher vote totals than in 2000, and with all the extra votes going to Bush - but nobody has presented nearly enough evidence for anyone to be able to conclude that the election was stolen.

That the Democrats easily won the 2006 midterms further suggests some dubiousness here - if Ken Blackwell could rig the presidential elections for Bush, why couldn't he rig the gubernatorial election for himself and the senatorial election for DeWine, for instance?

This kind of paranoia, not backed up by anything more than suppositions, is not a good thing.

As to the power of resentment, I have no doubt about it. I just don't think that there's very many people who actually feel the way the commenters on Talk Left do. They're an echo chamber who've worked themselves up into a frenzy where Obama can do no right. At this point, there's not much anyone can do to change their minds. Whether they swallow it up and vote reluctantly for Obama, or sit it out sullenly, or lash out and vote for McCain is, at this point, going to be determined much more by individual psychology than by anything either campaign does.

As to the power of resentment, I have no doubt about it. I just don't think that there's very many people who actually feel the way the commenters on Talk Left do. They're an echo chamber who've worked themselves up into a frenzy where Obama can do no right.

This is exactly right. Moreover, we do have a rough idea how large a group TalkLeft represents: in the entire nation, it is a group of people who were unable to pony up enough cash to retire even a fraction of Clinton's debt. If only 1 million of the 18 million people who voted for Clinton were in the TalkLeft camp and donated on average $10, Clinton's debt problem would have disappeared, but that never happened.

By the way John, I've greatly enjoyed your comments of late. I hope you continue commenting here.

"an imaginary obama-led smear campaign against her."

I think it would be easier to dismiss this as imaginary, if Obama's people put more work into establishing deniability. You know, like maybe not using the campaign's web domain to host the smear sites. Reminds me of when the DNC had their PR firm put together a fake pro-gun group to endorse Democrats, and the PR firm registered the front's domain under their own name.

Sloppy! Have these people never heard of cut outs?

I don't know if I believe that if elected, McCain will become a social conservative. I think the Palin pick is a gimmick to get the religious right on board and maybe pick up a few disenfranchised Hillary supporters. The Republicans have consistently ignored the religious right over the past eight years - none of thier pet issues, abortion, gay marriage, have gone anywhere nationally. The corporate Neocons run the show in the Republican party and loathe the religious right. Remember their hatred of Huckabee?

So McCain picked Palin, so what? She's really going to influence McCain? That's laughable. If he's President she'll be trotted out to attend funerals, kiss babies, and basically take on the role of a first lady. I mean, can you seriously see McCain sending her out to meet with world leaders, to craft legislation, to lead the development of energy plans or an economic policy? Obama has explained what Joe Biden will do in his administration, I'd like to hear what McCain will have Palin do other than Charlie Black's announcement that "she'll sit at the feet of the Master and learn foreign policy."

It's '72 in reverse. In Miami, Hunter Thompson noted -- correctly and rather presciently -- that Nixon had sold the party to the Christian Right for one more bite at the apple.

This nomination brings it all back around. When it's all over and done with, and Obama's in the White House, the GOP leaders will go to the Christers and tell them: "See? See what happens? We did it your way, and we lost. So shut up and pull the lever from now on or we'll keep losing. And another thing, we're not talking about any of your pet issues any more. We'll still give you a dog whistle or two, but the pandering days are over. So either vote with us or sit at home and watch Democratic presidents get elected for the next four to five elections."

Everyone seems to be overlooking the oil- drilling issue here. From what I have read, Ms. Palin knows more about oil drilling, oil-based energy than any of the other candidates. This is the pony that McCain has been riding to make his recent gains. I think we need to wait and see how all this develops. Clearly the R message will change to "We are the Mavericks who are going to clean up Washington, just like Palin did in Alaska." And they are going to solve our energy needs with drilling and no worries about global warming. I stayed up late last night reading, and I find her scary on many levels. The lack of cites here is because I am not even sure where I went last night!

I know that Obama has and is running a savvy campaign. The problem lies in some of what Jes said. We/they need to find a way to increase the distance between the two candidates in the polls. How Palin impacts that will be very interesting (!) to watch. The R's have a lot more tricks than just voting machines up their sleeves. Did I not read recently that Ohio was removing 600,000 voters from their rolls? That is equal to the total population of Alaska, as a side note. But have we any doubt as to which candidate these people are supporting? And don't forget the inadequate numbers of machines in certain precincts, etc. There are lots of ways to accomplish stealing the election, if the two remain close in the polls right up to it.

OT, but I would like to point out something that became crystal clear to me last night: I really trust ObWi. I used this blog as my base and moved off to links that were offered and often to links offered at those sites. I read comment sections carefully, but always came back to ObWi as a grounding. We have a Guarder of the Gates in Gary. At times I find it a little irritating, but last night I realized just how valuable a service he offers to us. New bloggers I find quickly acceptable for I know that they have been vetted by people that I already trust. So, I want to say a great big, "Thank you," to all of you, bloggers and posters alike!

John: Jesurgilac - that the machines could theoretically be rigged I will readily admit

So, willing to admit that the US elections can be hacked... just unwilling to admit that this has already happened?

Tell me, John. What, over the past eight years, has given you such absolute confidence in Republicans that makes you believe that even though they could rig elections in their favor, they didn't?

Democratic pollsters, whom one would assume a) have some sense of what one can expect from polls; and b) have no reason to lie that I can think of, have pretty much demolished all the arguments-of-fraud-from-exit-polls.

I haven't seen any such arguments that successfully demolished the evidence. I have seen a considerable amount of argument that appears to be based solidly on the idea that in America, free and fair elections just happen. Exit polls off by significant margins of error? Not an indication of fraud because *handwave*. Voting machines that can readily be hacked? Not proof they were hacked!

A succession of reports from key states that have electoral workers saying they saw evidence of the machines being hacked? Just their word for it, and there's no paper trail to show they're telling the truth... oh wait, that's how those machines were designed.

but nobody has presented nearly enough evidence for [me] to be able to conclude that the election was stolen.

Fixed that for you.

let's go back to the exit polls for the primaries earlier this year - those were easily as inaccurate, if not more so, than the exit polls in 2004.

...yeah. Given that voting machines can be readily hacked, I'm not surprised. I expect exit polls will be inaccurate in all US elections until you go back to using a method of recording votes that leaves an unalterable paper trail. If you ever do.

Given the reluctance of so many Americans to believe that they no longer have a functioning electoral system, I don't know how long that will be.

This kind of paranoia, not backed up by anything more than suppositions, is not a good thing.

Oh, f'God'sake, John. The inaccurate exit polls are not supposition. The readily-hackable voting machines are not supposition. The fired US Attorneys are not supposition.

This is what really puzzles me about so many Americans: that they really seem to think that it's wrong to question their government about whether the electoral system is functioning: that it's "paranoia" to suppose that the Mafiosi running the US government could possibly want to fix the elections so that they retain power.

I don't know if I believe that if elected, McCain will become a social conservative. I think the Palin pick is a gimmick to get the religious right on board...

Agreed. I think the national Republicans talk a good "social conservative" line, but have no intention of pushing such an agenda. If Roe v Wade were overturned, a dozen or so states would promptly outlaw abortion. But I think -- and I think the national R's think -- that the backlash in the other states would keep the Republicans out of national power for the next generation.

For a Republican who seems qualified to make a judgement on the vote rigging (and who believes that it has happened) google:
stephen spoonamore diebold
He gave a long interview on the topic (it's on youtube in pieces and in complete form in other places). Imo very detailed and informative.

John, I'd just like to advise you that this particular Republicans-stole-the-election is a meme that Jesurgislac has been flogging for literally years, now.

It's nice, though, that she's finally admitted that the exit polls were inaccurate. It's a baby step, but a step nonetheless.

"One of the many fascinating aspects of the Palin nomination is the grass roots’ enthusiasm for her."

Oh, it's not all roses.

Slartibartfast: John, I'd just like to advise you that this particular Republicans-stole-the-election is a meme that Jesurgislac has been flogging for literally years, now.

Yeah, since October 2001, when (a) we finally got independent confirmation that Al Gore had won in Florida, and (b) by which time it was beginning to be clear what letting Bush steal the election had done to the US and to the rest of the world.

Since then, of course, Slarti, things have gone so much better and better that it's no wonder you feel that I just shouldn't care any more about Republican destruction of the US electoral system.

"You know, like maybe not using the campaign's web domain to host the smear sites."

Cite?

"So, I want to say a great big, 'Thank you,' to all of you"

Thank you, muchly, back, jwo.

It's a baby step, but a step nonetheless.

Slart, it's been baby steps all around for everybody lately.

I wonder what would happen if a bank CSO said something like that. A few pennies here, a few there, and it only affects large accounts. No big deal, obviously.

Of particular interest IMO, the comment left by JaBbA at 11:10 am, as well as the link provided by Baron Dave Romm at 11:16 (which describes an earlier "baby step" that Slart would undoubtedly want you to keep in mind).

Note that Diebold didn't say anything at all about selective vote-dropping, radish.

I've never been a fan of touch-screen or any other method of purely electronic balloting.

Note that Diebold didn't say anything at all about selective vote-dropping, radish.

Uh-oh. Looks like somebody didn't actually read what Diebold said. If it's any consolation, I'm not convinced Bruce read it either. Here, let me help you out:

"The [vote-dropping] problem is most likely to affect larger [typically Democratic] jurisdictions that upload multiple memory cards during counts, [Premier/Diebold spokesperson Chris] Riggall said [on the record in front of God and everybody]."

What they didn't say of course is that the "selectiveness" was deliberate. And in fact it may not have been deliberate, for at least some definitions of "deliberate." Of course previously they claimed there was no problem at all. Then they claimed that if there was a problem it was the fault of the anti-virus software, and that in any case it was random. Now they are shocked -- shocked! -- "distressed" to acknowledge that it was (*gasp*) non-random. But of course it was still minor, with no discernible impact. We can certainly take their word for that much.

Like you said, Slart, baby steps.

Audie: Has anyone heard comments from Lieberman on the selection? Is he looking forward to campaigning with her in Boca and other parts of Fla.?

Heh.

Looks like somebody didn't actually read what Diebold said

Ok; well, linking to it might be of importance.

Here, let me help you out

A link would help. Your prior link; it seems to not contain the text you quoted.

Bracketing nonexistent text, too, doesn't help.

Sorry. I should have realized that somebody who had just spoken with authority about "what Diebold didn't say" might consider it an imposition to spend a few extra minutes exploring the post I had linked to, or searching some news outlets for recent news about Diebold.

In any event, someone doing that would have wound up at an article like this one at a WaPo blog (which as it happens was linked in the Schneier post I originally linked to, but was very unhelpfully identified with the word "that").

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to respond to "bracketing nonexistent text doesn't help" because that makes a lot less sense outside of your head than in it. The supposedly nonexistent text clearly exists, and it's right there in the brackets. And while some of it may have been more snarky than strictly helpful, most of it was there specifically to help the casual reader, by efficiently providing useful background information not contained in the short extract. Information such as the nature of the problem with the voting machines, which kinds of precincts were affected, and the identity of the otherwise mysterious "Riggall" person.

Mind you I couldn't blame anyone for thinking that a voting machine spokesperson named Riggall had to be made up, but no... Turns out he's real.

Slarti: Bracketing nonexistent text, too, doesn't help.

Actually, it's SOP when you are directly quoting text that says such things as "he said it won't happen then" to replace the references "he" and "it" with "[Slartibartfast] said [the end of the world] won't happen [in November]". It's usually regarded as a helpful way of making a direct quote readable without quoting all the explanatory context.

Of course it doesn't help when looking for the exact quote on Google, but a person of sufficient google-fu can overcome that... or at least, click all the links provided, as radish suggests.

Concerning Diebold and rigging:

Here is that full interview with Spoonamore (Republican)
http://www.velvetrevolution.us/prosecute_rove/images/Spoon_Full.wmv>link

and an update on that
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/35726>link

""You know, like maybe not using the campaign's web domain to host the smear sites."

Cite?"

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/31096_Obama_Campaign_Behind_Anti-Palin_Smear_Site>Here ya go.

Brett: that link says that someone else is responsible for the site in question, and redirected traffic to the Obama site. Not the same.

Uh, in future, Brett, you may want to look for, you know, follow-ups:

UPDATE at 8/30/08 2:16:54 pm:UPDATE at 8/30/08 2:16:54 pm:

There is apparently no connection between these attack sites and the official Obama campaign; to get to the bottom of it I emailed the owner of an associated site, and here’s his reply:

I run ObamaTaxCut.com, or actually alchemytoday.com/obamataxcut

I think the person who registered the domain and forwarded traffic to it also owns/ran ObamaDefense.com — this used to be a separate site with short defenses of various factually inaccurate charges against Obama during the primary, but the owner changed it to redirect to Obama’s site after the campaign made one themselves.

UPDATE at 8/30/08 3:20:31 pm:

One last comment on this: the point still stands that it’s more than a little slimy to be a supporter of the “progressive” campaign of Barack Obama, then turn around and use Sarah Palin’s pro-gay rights positions against her in a creepy anonymous web site (that suddenly turns up highly placed on Google).

And the chastened wingnuts learn their lesson:

The end(?) of the story here seems to be that we were dead wrong jumping to the conclusion that this was a site directly related to the Obama Campaign. It is only indirectly connected by a loose canon supporter of Obama. I’ll keep the title of the post the way it is as a reminder of the perils of jumping the gun.Not an excuse, but just as a way of adding context, it is hard not to think the worst when it comes to Obama’s website.

Just if you want to be, you know, in-the-know on this stuff. Or look up the meaning of words like "web domain" and "host," which have actual meanings and not just whatever you want them to mean.

BTW, if this is the kind of knowledge and experience we can expect from the Republican VP candidate, I can't WAIT for the debates:

11. Are you offended by the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I'll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

Just think about how many things in Palin's answer there are beyond simply being "wrong," then have a drink and enjoy the ride.

Frum got it exactly. As did Kristol although he claimed it was great choice. It's a doozy. After his stunning performance last week Obama/Biden look like the grown ups while McCain/Palin look adolescent. This was a doozy for the GOP as it's not only going to cost them the presidency but a also a couple of senate seats they might have held onto had he picked someone sensible but boring like Romney.

Publius,

This is surely the best analysis of the Palin selection I have heard or read. Besides the abortion issue is the reformist issue. Who can you think of who represents a bigger threat to the likes of Ted Stevens than her. She has actually done something to clean up the corruption that has plagued the party.

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