Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 2, 2008
POLITICS: The Palin Chronicles, Part I

The great question of the week, which I am unfortunately only now getting around to starting to answer, is what to make of John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Let's hit some of the early points here, with more to follow.

I. Euphoria

I really was unprepared for how euphoric my reaction was to McCain's choice, and there are really two reasons for that.

A. Strategery

The first, which I touched on Friday - it seems so long ago now - was the way the McCain campaign pulled this whole thing off. Whereas Obama had built up suspense on his pick while leaking a 3-man 'short list', promised his supporters they'd be the first to know via text message, and then had to deal with a late-evening leak that trumped the 3am text message and left his announcement of Biden over the other two finalists broken up over two news days, McCain managed to stun everyone Friday morning, picking a candidate whose name had never made the veepstakes lists except as a dark horse and favorite of the blogosphere. It was clear that many of the leaks made beforehand had been deliberate misdirection, including the floating of Tim Pawlenty, the long-time favorite, the night before. One way that McCain maintained operational security on this was by using Pawlenty, Romney, Lieberman, Ridge, Cantor, etc. as his surrogates and traveling companions, but not Palin. It also turns out that the McCain's many houses came in handy in getting Palin in and out of Arizona for vetting unnoticed. The Democrats had been gearing up to attack a bunch of other candidates - Palin wasn't even on that "Next Cheney" website, and even though she actually has a lot in common with Cheney in terms of her upbringing, her public image is very much the opposite of what the Democrats have been looking to run against - and they were caught utterly flat-footed and forced to serially revise their plan to attack her. Obama's initial press release started by attacking her inexperience, the one place Obama can't afford to go, and also ripped her as being a tool of Big Oil, thus proving they hadn't even paid attention to her actual record in Alaska.

The sudden announcement of Palin swept Obama's convention speech right off the front pages instantly - for four days now, Palin and not the presidential matchup, has dominated the news. The choice of Palin was vintage McCain, the bold stroke, and you can't help but be impressed with how he carried it off; the man knows how to keep secrets and use timing to maximum effect. That kind of skill is very encouraging to watch.

B. Energy In The Executive

The second reason for the initial euphoria is that it's been such a long time since Republicans and conservatives have had something really exciting to cheer for. At the beginning of February 2005, we held the commanding heights of politics - a President freshly re-elected with the first popular majority since 1988, the largest GOP Congressional majorities in a century, democracy on the move in Iraq, Lebanon, Ukraine and Georgia, the possibility seeming at hand of legislative progress at home and victory over our enemies abroad.

We can discuss at another time how all that unraveled, but while there have certainly been victories along the way - most notably the stunning turnaround in Iraq since early 2007 and the 2005-06 confirmations of Justices Roberts and Alito - and had our share of fun with the Democrats' current leadership, nothing has come easily for Republicans and conservatives since early 2005. We've been engaged in a protracted rearguard action, a sort of political equivalent of the Chosin Resovoir, and chosen as our leader a man long mistrusted by the party. The mood on the Right for a long time now has been one of grim determination to ride out the storm and hold on for better days down the road. When it looked like Pawlenty, I spent most of Thursday night talking myself into the idea that it was wise for McCain to take the safe, don't-make-waves choice who would basically get out of McCain's way. But the selection of a VP nominee who is young, energetic, a fresh face from outside the Beltway, glamorous, and undeniably conservative on a fundamental cultural level is fun. McCain may be startlingly energetic for a man his age with his disabilities, but there's a level of enthusiasm that Palin brings to the trail that's already infectious. It really is difficult not to get swept up in that.

II. The X Factor

I have been thinking for a while that I wanted to see Palin on the national ticket in 2012, but as regular readers know, she wasn't my first choice for VP - my long list of "don'ts" included a few strikes against her, and in the days before the rollout, I backed Eric Cantor and viewed Palin as too much of a rookie for the national ticket. Had Palin run in the GOP primaries, I would certainly have opposed her on grounds of being insufficiently experienced to head the national ticket, as I did with 1-term Governor Mitt Romney. So, what to make of her as McCain's running mate?

I won't say that I'm unconcerned by her inexperience on national security matters; we really do know precious little of her views on those issues. Her main national security responsibility is commanding the Alaska National Guard troops tasked with important functions in the missile defense system, and it's a bit of a stretch to make that out as more than it is.

Palin will be inevitably compared to Barack Obama, given that so many of the criticisms leveled against Obama not only by Republicans but by fellow Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have focused on his inexperience. There are certainly some similarities between Palin and Obama (and more between Palin and Tim Kaine, one of the finalists for Obama's running mate). But there are two very important distinctions between Palin and Obama.

A. Their #1 = Our #2

The first one is obvious: Obama is running for President, not Vice President. Given the vast gulf between McCain's and Obama's resumes, it's clear that the issue of experience, accomplishment and qualification requires Obama to change the subject at every possible opportunity. And now he is changing it to compare himself to Sarah Palin.

Obama has now gotten himself sucked in to comparing the Democrats' #1 to the Republicans' #2:

"My understanding is that Gov. Palin's town, Wassilla, has I think 50 employees. We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year - we have a budget of about three times that just for the month," Obama responded.

In so doing, he is comparing apples to oranges comparing his campaign in 2008 to Palin's record as Mayor of Wasilla in 1996-2002 back when Obama was just a State Senator, while completely ignoring her job as Governor. He is also, amusingly, claiming that he is qualified to be president based on...running for president. But even aside from that, the #1 vs #2 dynamic is precisely where McCain wants Obama:

"When they're comparing our vice presidential candidate's experience to their presidential candidate's experience and John McCain is just flying above it all," says one senior McCain adviser, "that's a good place for us to be."

The old saying we have heard in many a campaign is that the presidency is no place for on the job training; the vice presidency, by contrast, consists of little else. None of that is a reason to gamble on a complete cipher for the job. But that brings us to the second point: Palin's qualifications are clearly superior to Obama's because she is an executive. The presidency is fundamentally an executive job - this is a major part of why I originally backed Rudy, and only by invoking both a very long (25 year) career in Congress and an equally long (27 year) career in the Navy was McCain able to overcome the usual presumption that the GOP would pick an executive like Romney, Rudy or Huckabee. Obama, by contrast, was blessed to run almost entirely against a field of other Senators - only Bill Richardson among the Democratic field had ever been a chief executive.

As I have explained before at length, there are five types of experience that are particularly useful in preparing for the presidency: executive experience, national security experience, political (especially political leadership) experience, military service, and private sector business experience. No one of these is essential, but national security and executive experience are the two most important, and if you can't have anyone on the ticket who has done both, the next best thing is a ticket that combines an executive with a veteran national security hand - exactly what the GOP is running.

While Palin's resume in major public office is, like Obama's, relatively short, and her national security experience negligible at best, her experience is as a chief executive, the person to whom an entire state government reports, the person who gets the call when things go wrong, the person on whose desk the buck stops. The buck has never stopped with Barack Obama, or with Joe Biden for that matter. Obama has various bills he tries to take credit for (sometimes accurately), but he does not have the kind of record to run on that every governor has. We have had presidents before who were relatively short-tenured governors. Woodrow Wilson, for example, was elected with effectively the same resume as Palin - small-scale executive experience (his tenure as president of turn-of-the-century Princeton University is comparable to being mayor of a town of a few thousand people) followed by two years as a reformist, anti-machine governor. Wilson's presidency may not be the best role model (I have noted before that the public had no way of knowing what kind of Commander-in-Chief Wilson would be) but he did turn out to be a highly effective leader both in domestic legislative battles and in commanding American troops; Wilson's failings were more about his impractical ideas.

Obama's lack of any of the kinds of relevant experience is really staggering, and not at all like Palin. Nobody with a resume like Obama's has ever been elected president (Abe Lincoln, who had a relatively short resume as a legislator and to whom Al Gore audaciously compared Obama, had a good deal more private sector responsibility than Obama and had served in the military as a captain in the Black Hawk War. And Obama's no Abe Lincoln).

That's the difference between Palin as Governor and Obama as Senator. And the pattern repeats in their prior job experience. I regard Palin's two three-year terms as Mayor of Wasilla, like Obama's four two-year terms as State Senator from Hyde Park, as useful life experience (it helps to see how government interacts with the people at ground level) but not really a substitute for the necessary step of serving in major public office like being a Member of Congress or elected statewide as a Governor or Senator. But even then, Obama wasn't the guy responsible for Hyde Park (he has since tried to make a point of his not having "clout" in the State Senate); he was never in a leadership position in his party and until his last term in the State Senate he was (just as in the first two years in the US Senate before he stopped showing up so he could run for President) a member of the minority party. If anything, Obama's worked hard at avoiding being the guy who could be held responsible for anything that's happened around him his entire career (his presidential campaign has involved a seemingly endless series events, up to and including this weekend's barrage of attacks on Palin, in which Obama claims to have no responsibility for what his own subordinates do). Wasilla may be a small suburban town, but for two terms Sarah Palin was in charge of it.

III. Identity Politics

One obvious question about Palin is the gender issue: we she picked because she's a woman?


Look, Palin's record in Alaska is such that even if she were a man, she'd certainly have already made a sufficient impression to be marked as a rising star in the GOP. But I don't believe that McCain would have chosen her if she'd been male; he would have gone with a more veteran governor like Pawlenty or looked elsewhere. Republicans hate playing identity politics, but where elections are concerned, it's the world we live in, and the game the Democrats have played in this election; if they are going to nominate the icon of a group that makes up 11% of the electorate and could not possibly be more solidly Democratic, we may as well go after a group that makes up a majority of the electorate and includes a lot of swing voters. And, again: that sort of ticket-balancing calculus has always been the province of the bottom half of the ticket, the difference being that in years gone by the attention was more to geographic rather than demographic balance.

Does 2008 sound the death knell of the two-white-guys ticket that has been the staple of presidential politics since 1789? Maybe, or at least it will probably be a rarity in the future. Depending on how things turn out this November, it seems likely that the next Democratic ticket will include Obama and/or Hillary, and the next Republican ticket will include Palin and/or Bobby Jindal.

Totally random thought: if McCain wins, will Palin's idiosyncratic fashion - the glasses, the beehive hairdo - become a national trend? It has nothing to do with politics, just wondering.

IV. Be Careful What You Wish For

Finally, for now - I have to get separately to some of the other stories about Palin, many of which are being adequately covered over at RedState - I offer a word of caution to my fellow conservatives. Palin is undeniably an appealing person with bedrock cultural conservative credentials. She may well end up being the next great conservative leader. But once the initial flush of infatuation has worn off, we will be looking more closely at how she carries conservative policy goals into effect. And we have a long, long line of examples of public officials - Mike Huckabee, Condi Rice and Arnold Schwarzenegger come to mind - to remind us that an appealing personality and/or biography and the ability to sell some parts of the conservative message does not necessarily equate to someone who will build a record conservatives will be happy with.

V. The Secret Weapon

Finally, let's remember that at the end of the day, politicians are not just paper credentials and position papers. And probably Palin's greatest asset to the ticket is that she comes across as fundamentally a normal person. Of the four candidates on the national tickets this year, we are actually blessed not to have anyone of the Kerry/Gore variety - all four are to one extent or another likeable and/or charming people. But what you would not call the other three is normal - McCain is basically an action hero, a Jack Bauer/Han Solo/Indiana Jones figure, the kind of guy most Americans know more from the movies than from their day to day lives. Biden, for all his affability, is someone if you met him not knowing who he is, your first reaction would be "this guy must be a U.S. Senator." Obama, when you get him away from his cultic acolytes, his TelePrompter and his branded logos and trappings of grandeur, is at heart an academic. All of them really did have ambitions of public glory from an early age. But Palin has the rare Reagan touch of having fallen into politics rather gradually and backwards, and even Reagan was always to some extent a performer; Palin is probably the most relatably normal person on a national ticket I can remember, and maybe the closest to a normal person on a national ticket since Harry Truman. Obviously that, too, is not without its downsides; she has to convince people that she is ultimately capable of managing the superhuman demands of the job of the Presidency if needed. But don't underestimate what Palin's personality will bring to this race.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:55 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (60) | TrackBack (0)

This post was obviously written before the news about her pregnant daughter. You're impressed at McCain's decisiveness? He's so decisive that he did not vet Palin, about whom the news is reporting various problems that a decent vetting job would have uncovered. This does not just include her daughter's pregnancy but questions about a wrongful termination carried out by her and whether she truly opposed the Bridge to Nowhere. McCain rushed to name Palin because the right wingers were opposed to the other possible choices, who are pro-abortion.

You write: "The sudden announcement of Palin swept Obama's convention speech right off the front pages instantly - for four days now, Palin and not the presidential matchup, has dominated the news. The choice of Palin was vintage McCain, the bold stroke, and you can't help but be impressed with how he carried it off; the man knows how to keep secrets and use timing to maximum effect. That kind of skill is very encouraging to watch."

Oh, the irony. Palin is now a major news story, but as a distraction, everything the party does not want in a vice presidential nominee. This all raises serious questions about McCain's decisionmaking and judgment. Had he known then what he knows now, he never would have chosen Palen.

Posted by: steve at September 2, 2008 1:07 PM

Number of comments taken for an attempt to change the subject: 1.

Evidence that McCain's camp was unaware of the daughter's pregnancy: zero. Ditto with the rest of the talking points here.

By the "wrongful termination" do you mean the guy she let go during a budget fight, or his claim that she pressured him to get her younger sister's abusive husband, who used an electric stun gun on his own 10 year old son, out of a position of armed authority as a State Trooper? Boy, you guys have fun with that one.

News flash: no matter who McCain picked, the Left was going to hate them and throw things at them. Yes, Palin has to convince the public that she is qualified for the job. But thus far, all the other attacks on her are ones that are likely to end up playing well for her over the long haul.

Posted by: Crank at September 2, 2008 1:31 PM

no memtion of the 27 million for the small town she was the Mayor of. Why is that, is she really a reformer? How about her belonging to a group that wanted Alaska to leave the good old Red White & Blue (Leftist or Marxist). Selective research Crank, you should be ashamed.

Nice vetting by McCain.

Posted by: javaman at September 2, 2008 1:32 PM

So let me get this right, Crank you are comparing the bare knuckle politics of Chicago to a town in the middle of nowhere Alaska? Dude stop yourself.
No matter what side you stand on, we all know Chicago politics are brutal and you will have your metal tested time and time again. Then again that compares to a small town America Mayor.

Posted by: javaman at September 2, 2008 1:41 PM

"How about her belonging to a group that wanted Alaska to leave the good old Red White & Blue (Leftist or Marxist)."

What group is this?

Posted by: MVH at September 2, 2008 1:43 PM

As a staunch supporter of McCain, I am stunned that he would choose someone that even had a whiff of a connection to a group that is interested in secession. Two of the most solid arguments on the McCain side were experience and association. This choice, at the very least, does harm to both arguments. Is secession somehow less objectionable than Jeremiah Wright? I find them both rather objectionable.

I genuinely do not understand why McCain, who truly is Country First, would put someone with this association on his ticket.

Posted by: cw at September 2, 2008 1:56 PM

javaman - You are anticipating one of the next issues I'll be dealing with. Chicago politics is rough...unless the machine is looking out for you. Obama was very careful to not rock the machine's boat and choose machine politicians as his mentors and donors. Palin's approach to the Alaska GOP establishment has been 100% the opposite of that.

And I find it funny that Obama and his supporters refuse to admit that she is the Governor. All they can talk about is Wasilla.

Posted by: Crank at September 2, 2008 2:02 PM

The Alaskan Independence Party
that darn vetting process followed by selective commentary. Great work Crank

Posted by: javaman at September 2, 2008 2:02 PM

In the end, she is making news in the good old fashioned Tom Eagleton way. And the Obama experience factor is a fair one in an election. You can't compare someone who decided to run for President and actually pull off an intelligently run campaign and get it, to the mayor and then governor of a small remote town in a small very remote state; she's got 19th century views of science and that can't be hidden either. You want to compare her to someone. Fine. Ron Paul.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 2, 2008 2:17 PM

by the way the site and have been a longtime reader...

I have a feeling, though, that we are going to disagree on Palin. I, too, was greatly excited at first based on the knowledge I had of Palin. As I have done my own reading and research, I am having a very hard time getting by the AIP issue. Maybe there is a rational explanation, but we sure deserve to hear McCain address it. Secondly, I have doubs as to whether she is the "pure", anti-establishment reformer that she is being paraded has. There is a clear reltationship with Ted Stevens, as establishment as it gets. Plus, earmarks and government aid seem to have followed her from position to position in sustantial quantities.

Posted by: cw at September 2, 2008 2:21 PM

Face it: McCain blew it. He wanted a telegenic right wing female, and he found himself one. He should have looked deeper.

Posted by: steve at September 2, 2008 2:30 PM

The louder the Dems squeal, the more I like her!

Posted by: Greg Schreiber at September 2, 2008 2:32 PM

I just read about the AIP flap. Oddly, I found it on the Daily Telegraph in England and not CNN. So this is Palin's version of Obama's New Party. I saw some of her quoted speeches before the AIP post on the internet. From what I've read so far, it looks like she courted the AIP's support and had a nominal membership but has not advocated Alaskan secession. I view this the same way as Obama's ties to the New Party. I'm not troubled by it - so far.

Posted by: MVH at September 2, 2008 2:34 PM

This is just another indication that McCain and the GOP lacks the judgment to run the country. This person is flat out unqualified for the position. She's been governor for about 2 minutes. This is about identity politics and carving out a spot in the hearts of uber-right wingers, religious zealots and freaker anti-establishment goofballs. It's not about what is good for this country. Her ideas and ideals are so far outside of the mainstream (and, boy, her childern have really taken to them) that she is not far off from crackpot herself.

I'm betting as the heat get turns up in her tiny little kitchen we see a "step-down" and new appointment. This, at best, is a bad joke.

Posted by: jim at September 2, 2008 2:37 PM

javaman - ahem. Evidence does come in handy sometimes. BTW, I'd appreciate if people link to off-topic allegations made in the comments - there are times when people bring up things I had not heard, and I prefer not to respond to them until I have actually read the source.

Posted by: Crank at September 2, 2008 2:38 PM

Anyway, what I've seen suggests that the AIP is more like the Libertarians, who have some vaguely mainstream positions and some idiosyncratic wierd ones (like legalizing drugs), than like the New Party, which was an avowedly socialist project from Day One and which required its candidates to sign a loyalty oath to the party's goals (which Obama did).

Posted by: Crank at September 2, 2008 2:41 PM

Minimize the AIP shall we. Minimize the rough nature of Chicago politics you did (looking into as you say). We get it you do not like Obama. But in your blood thirst to bring down Obama you have lost all sight of objectivity and logic. Be your own man.

Posted by: javaman at September 2, 2008 2:47 PM

Lincoln had "had a good deal more private sector responsibility than Obama?"

You mean being a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois now qualifies as "private sector responsibility?"

By that measure, Obama had some "private sector responsibility" while a summer associate. . . and I have enough now to run for president. (I don't think so.)

Posted by: anon at September 2, 2008 2:48 PM

I also see that she had $27 million in earmarks to her town of 6900 people. I have been working to see if these numbers are not true, but I cannot find anything to refute them.

From shady connections to a slickness behind the scenes to bring in the earmarks, this one is just not passing the smell test for me. I know the liberals are all yelling, and that's fine. They would have regardless. I am interested in what conservatives are thinking because I can see all the talking points are out on the radio shows, and I cannot take any more of that. Am I the only one that just thinks/senses she is a little bit off? I cannot quite put my finger on it, but something is telling me all is not right with the Palin story.

I am starting to think that McCain got talked into pandering to the base with this choice. I am sorry guys; she just does not impress me as anything but a regular, opportunistic politician. One that may have some strange things in the closet that may have to be dealt with.

Posted by: cw at September 2, 2008 2:48 PM

1) A lot of very smart people have "19th century views of science" as you call them.

2) This 17 year old daughter issue is plain stupid. If a Dem was running, and this issue came out about his/her daughter, conservatives would be KILLED for even mentioning it.

3) Crank is right: Obama refuses to take responsibility for anything remotely negative. Exactly what I'm looking for in a President.

4) Obviously, inexperience is going to be an issue for both tickets. All things being equal, would you rather have an inexperienced VP or inexperienced President? The Obama campaign completely glosses over this and thus falls right into the trap.

All that being said, this was a risky pick. It will pay off big or it will scuttle McCain.

One thing to note is that I get the sense--all anecdotal--that the pick is being reacted to very differently away from the blogs and the media talking heads. A lot of the "normal" people I've spoken with over the long weekend, people who don't spend all their time on the internet and in front of cable news (like me), like the pick. This includes GOPers, Independents, and Democrats. I've specifically talked to four people that went from either voting for Obama or sitting out to voting for McCain.

Posted by: per14 at September 2, 2008 2:51 PM

I'm not minimizing the rough nature of Chicago politics. I'm saying it wasn't so rough for Obama because the bad guys were on his side.

How did his opponents all get run off the ballot in 1996? How did his opponents' divorce records get unsealed in 2004? That kind of thing didn't happen to Obama because he didn't make trouble for the machine. He had Emil Jones putting his name on other people bills so he could "make me a Senator" and bring home the bacon.

Posted by: Crank at September 2, 2008 2:55 PM


Also, it doesn't seem like the AIP is very happy with her VP position:

Lynette Clark, the chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), confirmed to ABC News that Mrs Palin and her husband Todd had both been both members and attended at least one party convention.

"When she joined the party our platform was right under her nose," Mrs Clark said. "I can't understand why in God's name she has aligned herself with a candidate who opposes the development of our republic and Alaska's resource wealth," she added.


On the other hand, I don't find it credible that Obama is a die-hard Marxist. From what I've heard of his involvement, it sounds like he used the New Party as opposed to actually buying into their agenda.

Posted by: MVH at September 2, 2008 3:00 PM

How does one go about getting into the good graces of one Emil Jones? To have a shepard in the meat grinder of Chicago politics one must show promise, savy, cunning and the ability to deliver. Some way Obama rose to the top of and into the good graces of the Chicago political machine. That takes talent to accomplish the task that many fail at.

Posted by: javaman at September 2, 2008 3:10 PM

"Crank is right: Obama refuses to take responsibility for anything remotely negative. Exactly what I'm looking for in a President."

You should write in George W. Bush on your ballot then.

I also am not sure whether her views of science are up to date enough to be referred to as 19th century.

Posted by: jim at September 2, 2008 3:19 PM

Commenting will take a while and several posts, because there are so many wrong and otherwise misleading assertions in this post.

Let's start with the preposterous assertion about Palin's experience with the important work of the Alaska National Guard. Your link is to a post dated 16 days after she was sworn in as Governor; what proof do you have that she had any involvement in any of the activities cited or even in anything since.

In fact, she has no role in national security issues as head of the Alaska National Guard: "Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin "extremely responsive and smart" and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder.

But, in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, he said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations."


I would also note that a month before your President Bush issued a statement -- ironically enough from the Sheraton Hanoi announcing important agreements our "friend" President Putin.

I'll bet she is keeping a watchful eye on Canada too, making sure they don't invade to re-take the hockey franchises that have moved to the United States.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 2, 2008 3:37 PM

Crank, you write: "Evidence that McCain's camp was unaware of the daughter's pregnancy: zero."

Admitedly, this is broader than that narrow issue, but it goes directly to McCain's decisionmaking style: "In Alaska, several state leaders and local officials said they knew of no efforts by the McCain campaign to find out more information about Ms. Palin before the announcement of her selection, Although campaigns are typically discreet when they make inquiries into potential running mates, officials in Alaska said Monday they thought it was peculiar that no one in the state had the slightest hint that Ms. Palin might be under consideration.
“They didn’t speak to anyone in the Legislature, they didn’t speak to anyone in the business community,” said Lyda Green, the State Senate president, who lives in Wasilla, where Ms. Palin served as mayor.
Representative Gail Phillips, a Republican and former speaker of the State House, said the widespread surprise in Alaska when Ms. Palin was named to the ticket made her wonder how intensively the McCain campaign had vetted her.
“I started calling around and asking, and I have not been able to find one person that was called,” Ms. Phillips said. “I called 30 to 40 people, political leaders, business leaders, community leaders. Not one of them had heard. Alaska is a very small community, we know people all over, but I haven’t found anybody who was asked anything.'”

They may have known about the pregnancy (I'm allowed to refer to it when responding to points you are making about it, right?), but they knew very little else. Finally, what does it say about Palin as a person and mother, taking this out-of-the-blue offer for a job for which she is supremely unqualified KNOWING it will mean publcizing her duaghter's situation?

Posted by: Magrooder at September 2, 2008 3:59 PM

Crank-is it not amazing how the self proclaimed tolerant open minded people immediately and without checking or verifying anything do exactly what their masters the media/DNC order them to do. It is really funny. Whatever attack the media/DNC comes up with they instantly parrot it .....instantly. They are such good little drones. You think they would notice sometime that they are being kept in a state of perpetual agitation by their masters.

However, when it comes to say, I don't know their candidate attending and donating to a racist church for 20 years or asking them to list a single accomplishment of their candidate or bring up how their candidate has been wrong about what their candidate said about Iraq-my god the tapping dancing begins-------uhhhh " he wasn't their anytime Wright said something racist or un-american, he didn't know about it" or the surge is working because of the Democrats...blah...blah...blah.

Here is a question for the people who want to vote for Obama. The war in Afghanistan is a very important issue-right? and the US Senate has an important oversight function regarding the war-right? So can you please explain why Barack Obama, who is the chairman of the sub-committee overseeing the Afghanistan war, has not and will not chair a single meeting since being made chairman two years ago?

In addition, since he has totally failed to perfom his ONE and ONLY leadership duty in the Senate explain how that now qualifies him to receive a promotion to be Commander and Chief?

Posted by: dch at September 2, 2008 4:43 PM

Magrooder states

"Finally, what does it say about Palin as a person and mother, taking this out-of-the-blue offer for a job for which she is supremely unqualified KNOWING it will mean publcizing her duaghter's situation?"

1. A 17-year-old's world is very small, roughly the size of her own town and surrounding areas. I would imagine anyone in Alaska - where her mom is already governor - would learn about her pregnancy in due time anyway. This covers about all of the 17-year-old's environment and thus taking the VP offer has very little effect on the child.

2. Whether Sarah Palin is qualified or not has nothing to do with the exposure her daughter would face, which hopefully is minimal since Sarah and not her daughter is the one running.

Posted by: Chris Graham at September 2, 2008 4:54 PM


With a parent who is a statewide elected official, especially in state like Alaska, the daughter's pregnancy would be widely known. But, 17 or 77, there is a huge difference between that level of noteriety and having the matter be the subject of wide discussion throughout the entire country.

On no. 2, you miss the point entirely. If Palin were a once in a lifetime political figure who had qualities important to the life of the country, then -- perhaps -- sacrificing her daughter's privacy may have been the correct and moral choice. Palin demonstrably isn't that figure and she sacrificed her daughter's privacy for her own personal ambition.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 2, 2008 5:09 PM

I used the phrase 19th century science for a precise reason: much of it predates Darwin. Funny thing about science: it works whether you believe in it or not. And if you believe in "so called creationism" which flies in the face of evolutionary biology, then that is your privilege. It is NOT Palin's privilege, nor anyone else's to push a specific religious view of biology on others. That's when people's lives are on the line. Don't believe me? That's OK, but don't you dare line up for that flu shot, which is changed every year simply because viruses do respond to evolutionary biology, as do all species. However, don't take the shot at least before you procreate. Then it will be, as Larry Niven wrote, evolution in action.

BTW, who gives a damn what her family does? Not my business any more than any other child or sibling. Unless that sibling, like Jeb Bush, is in public life. But since the right wing does seem to care more about other people's sex lives, what goes around comes around. Lesson to all: everyone's private life, if it doesn't break the law, is nobody's business.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 2, 2008 5:14 PM

Daryl - It's not really that hard to draw a line between a candidate's sex life and that of his or her children. (No, I'm not getting drawn into the age-old debate about the former here, I have a long half-written essay on John Edwards that will get to that some day when I have time to finish it).

Magrooder, I'm sure the Palin family is touched, touched by your concern for them. You may want to consider Beldar's point on that.

As to Canada, the Gov. of Alaska has a lot of dealings with Canada, mostly on economic issues. As a credential, that is what it is, a working knowledge of our relationship with our largest trading partner, not a real national security credential but enough to avoid the kind of blow-ups with the Canadian govt that Obama has had on the trail. It's not as significant as, say, the Gov. of Texas' involvement in the Mexican border, but it's more than you get being Gov. of a small landlocked state.

Posted by: Crank at September 2, 2008 5:24 PM


Obviously, from an electoral standpoint, Sarah Palin's qualifications are supremely relevant.

From a 17-year-old's perspective, I don't see how Bristol's privacy is sacrificied, thus there is no need to debate whether or not she is qualified for the VP position from the standpoint of a family decision and Sarah Palin's taking the VP nomination does not at all reflect on her parenting ability/skills.

In summary, I see Sarah Palin's qualifications as an electoral issue, not a family issue.

Posted by: Chris Graham at September 2, 2008 5:31 PM

Palin took on the corrupt, entrenched, power brokers of her own party and won. Can anyone name another holder of state-wide office anywhere in the country who has managed to do this? How many have even tried? Certainly not Obama.

This is ultimately her supreme qualification. She has demonstrated more integrity in her few years in office than Obama and Biden in their entire lives. It takes a very rare and special person to accomplish what she did to become governor.

Posted by: stan at September 2, 2008 8:49 PM


I couldn't care less about Palin's family. But, since she hade an in issue of her son being deployed to Iraq and of her giving brith to a down's baby, she made her family an issue and, as the saying goes, you have to take the bitter with the sweet. I was not aware the Alaska/ Yukon Territory border was such a dynamic free trading zone. Who knew? Maybe she should be appointed head of the World Bank, too!! Even Governor's of "small landlocked" states have issues of interstate commerce; Canada/US issues are not exactly brain teasers.

I'm missing your response to Palin's complete lack of involvement in the Alaska National Guard. Oh? you don't have one? Never mind. We'll just pretend you were right.

Chris, if you "don't see how Bristol's privacy is sacrificed," then why is Crank's underwear all in a knot over it?

Posted by: Magrooder at September 2, 2008 8:55 PM


I love your crocodile tears over the poor GOP being forced to play identity politics because they hate it so. Imagine that, Clarence Thomas's race had nothing to do with his Supreme Court seat. JC Watt's being given a prime convention speaking slot was sheer coincidence.

How exactly have the Dems played identity politics in this election? HRC tried and got her head handed to her. The GOP keeps trying to find asubtle way to make sure the public knows that, well, Obama is balck and has a funny name, as well as all the other moronic claims circulating in conservative circles.

The fact is that McCain played identity politics; that crazy maverick, on ly McCain.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 2, 2008 9:02 PM


What has Crank written in his blog or following comments that implies he has his "underwear all in a knot" over a supposed invasion of Bristol's privacy?

Posted by: Chris Graham at September 2, 2008 10:02 PM


What has Crank written in his blog or following comments that implies he has his "underwear all in a knot" over a supposed invasion of Bristol's privacy?

Posted by: Chris Graham at September 2, 2008 10:03 PM

Crank, with respect to your "V. The Secret Weapon," have you ever actually met any of these people?

I met McCain in connection with his involvement with Charles Keating. He was understandably defensive and somwwhat argumentative in our personal encounters, but I also have had opportunity to observe him outside of that context? He does not seem to be a very likable guy and is certainly not a super-hroe like you imagine.

I've happened to be on Amtrak several times with Biden. I am not a particular fan of his, but I've seen him interact with train personnel in an endearing manner.

I've not met Obama, Reagan or Palin. I disagree with you regarding who is or isn't a "normal person." Reagan and Obama seem to have personnel charisma (I digress here, but if there ever was a cult in US politics, it was the GOP love of RR). Who can tell with Palin. It is clear she is a liar (however, badly you think her ex BIL behaved, there are things called laws and even Governors have to follow them) especially her love of earmarks that she now disavows.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 2, 2008 10:34 PM

I think if you are a mayor of an economically under-resourced town, you wouldn't be doing your job if you didn't pursue government funding. The test it whether you distribute it at higher levels of government to buy votes. I'm not really sold on Palin thus far, but I don't see much baggage in her record on that issue.

Posted by: Jerry at September 2, 2008 10:47 PM

Alan Wolfe has it right: "In rushing to Sarah Palin's defense, the leaders of the Christian right have made it abundantly clear how they define a Christian. We don't care if you sin. We are not bothered if you put your ambition ahead of the needs of your children. If you have lied or broken the law, we will look the other way. It all comes down to your stand on guns and fetuses. Vote the right way, and you have our blessing. If any proof were needed that James Dobson is a political operative rather than a spiritual leader, his jumping on the Palin bandwagon offers it."

On earmarks, Jerry your view would be fine if she were not NOW claiming to be so anti-earmark. She was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 2, 2008 11:12 PM


"Magrooder, you are filth. I don't know what in the human mind causes the desire to come up with these kinds of casual slanders, but you repeat anything of that nature on this site again you will be gone.

Oh, the things the Left does not bother to understand.

Posted by The Crank at August 31, 2008 11:50 PM"

And after Bristol came clean, there was silence.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 2, 2008 11:23 PM

We don't care if you sin.

Wow, talk about not understanding Christians at all.

Posted by: Crank at September 2, 2008 11:23 PM

Ah, the old "fake but accurate" defense - say something, have the facts completely discredited, declare victory. Feels like 2004 all over again.

Posted by: Crank at September 2, 2008 11:25 PM

Magrooder - I'm not much of an idealist about politicians, and not at all a Republican. So while I'm open to being persuaded that Palin is okay for the job, I'm not at all carrying water for her. I think she's a good politician that has mostly made the decisions appropriate to the jobs she's held. I'm waiting to hear her actually talk before deciding if she's fit for the VP job or not.

Posted by: Jerry at September 2, 2008 11:29 PM

Crank, are you describing your own response to your erroneous claim about Sarah Palin, Commmander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard? I can't wait for the photo op with Dudley Do-Right of the CMP!!

Posted by: Magrooder at September 3, 2008 12:00 AM

Macgooder, besides being perhaps the lowest POS I have encountered on these here Intratubes, you also can't read for shit. But to spare you further embarassment, I thought I'd quote what Crank said--and the rest of us were able to comprehend--regarding the Alaska ANG and Palin.

it's a bit of a stretch to make that out as more than it is.

The media the DNC and the lunatic Left have really outdone themselves this time. No rumor too scurrilous, no photoshop too clumsy, no YouTube too improbable and no heretofor inviolable principle too lofty for you folks to link, quote as fact or spit upon. If you people had an ounce of shame you'd kill yourselves.

But by all means, keep it up!

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 3, 2008 10:26 AM

Spngeworthy, be careful of the Photoshop comments. Remember when the guys behind Reagan in the hospital were airbrushed out so the Gipper would look to be in better shape than he was.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 3, 2008 12:05 PM

True to form, spongeworthy. Don't respond to points made, call names. Really very persuasive. I suppose I should know better than to argue with a simpleton.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 3, 2008 12:18 PM


Well, he did respond to your point, and the response was that Crank was downplaying Palin's national security experience, which Crank also called "negligible."

You made a good point that the national guard was under federal control, but you are blowing it out of proportion. It was a small part of Crank's post.

Posted by: MVH at September 3, 2008 12:38 PM

What's your 30-year-old point, Daryl? That Reagan was actually dead and we were fooled into supporting a zombie Reagan? WTF does that have to do with any of this? Did Zombie Reagan do something to you personally and you cannot get beyond it?

Macgooder, you have made an ass of yourself yet again. If I were you I'd slink off somewhere but this is more amusing, watching you flail around as if you had something to offer here. Did you even read the post? Are the voices telling you Crank meant something other than what he wrote and you're responding to that?

Seek help, Bub.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 3, 2008 1:06 PM

" photoshop too clumsy..." was your line Sponge.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 3, 2008 1:28 PM

"What's your 30-year-old point, Daryl?"

Speaking of reading posts . . . His point was that Republicans aren't above airbrushing, spinning, etc, and it's a fair point.

Anyway, the earmark issue seems to be the worst thing I've heard about Palin, assuming it's true. What would bother me is not that she tried to get money for her small town, but she is running as a reformer.

Aside from that, I've see a lot smoke but no fire on Palin. Unless there is damning evidence she is a Alaskan secessionist or some other skeleton that is yet to come out, I don't see her has huge liability, especially since I believe experience is overrated.

I forgot about the undue influence regarding the trooper, she seems to acknowledge that her administration placed some phone calls that they shouldn't have. But if the facts of the incident are as Crank reported, it doesn't sound like it was politically or personally motivated. Stunning a 10 year old is pretty poor judgment.

Posted by: MVH at September 3, 2008 1:35 PM

By the way, those hoping for a Palin withdrawal will probably be disappointed. As of today, the odds of her withdrawing are about 10%.

Sadly, that's better odds than the Yankees making the postseason. It's also better odds than a repeat of the straight flush I had playing five-card draw poker last weekend.

Posted by: MVH at September 3, 2008 1:49 PM

MVH, he had to blow the freaking dust off that "fair point". Do you guys have anything like that a little less experienced? When you have to exhume your examples, you're struggling to find moral equivalence.

You guys are circulating poorly sourced crap and outright lies and placing the onus on Palin supprters to refute stories that shouldn't be stories in the first place because they have no basis in fact, no foundation.

Hey, do what you have to. In fact, I think you should focus even more on the fact that Palin's a woman, and subject to mood swings and stuff. Hey, I heard that on the Internet!

I'm enjoying watching you doofs lambaste a woman who'd dealing admirably with an unmarried pregnant woman after that slobbering sendoff for your senator who just drowns them.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 3, 2008 1:50 PM


You seem to lump all of us in here as dye-in-the-wool liberal Obama lovers. Seeing as I just posted that I really haven't seen anything too objectionable about Palin, I don't know what you are talking about.

Is it really that big a deal to admit that there are morons in both parties that will spin, make mountains out of molehills, etc? Let's try to move the debate beyond the lowest common denominator of both parties.

Posted by: MVH at September 3, 2008 2:22 PM

Sponge is a Royals fan. All he knows is the lowest common denominator.

Posted by: jim at September 3, 2008 2:36 PM

MVH, I don't see you saving any of your cynicism for the perpetrators of this smear campaign against Sarah Palin. If you're going to claim to be even-handed in your disdain for spin and destructive politics, I would think this would be a good time to actually be even-handed.

Crank, your collection of Kos Komrades have a collective glass jaw. Suck it up fellas--you throw at mine, I throw at yours.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 3, 2008 4:21 PM

collection HAS a glass jaw

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 3, 2008 4:22 PM

"MVH, I don't see you saving any of your cynicism for the perpetrators of this smear campaign against Sarah Palin."

Of course I have. In response to one of crank's earlier posts, I mentioned that the pregnant daughter issue was irrelevant. I don't generally post about that kind of stuff because it simply does not interest me. I'm trying to be little balanced here because some of this stuff is just getting blown out of proportion.

I like to discuss issues. I'll post here and there on campaign strategy, and those will have nothing to do with who I actually support. It would just be what I would do in either of the candidate's position. And as I've said before, I am not in love with either candidate this election cycle. I don't have a horse in this race.

Posted by: MVH at September 3, 2008 5:13 PM

MVH, I will not rest until you join my Palin Cult. Kneel before her shapely gams, gaze upon your reflection in her frameless glasses--don't you look better than you ever have before?

Cheekbones. Snowmachines. You betcha.

Join me. It doesn't hurt.


Posted by: spongeworthy at September 4, 2008 8:31 AM
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