If you were going to quit your governorship in mid-stream, and you were a winger, who would you call? If you're Sarah Palin, add Rudy Giuliani (hopefully he didn't propose to her too much... or drool into the phone about how much she reminds him of his cousin...) Dick Cheney (who apparently discussed the ogre-like family's possible vacation trip to Alaska, during which 'm sure Sarah and her kin will keep their whale guns at the ready...) [sidebar: Jesus, Republicans are creepy!] ... and Florida's very own Charlie Crist to the list. Reports ABC News:
Palin's phone calls are shown on her official schedule for May 2009, obtained by Alaskan Andree McLeod through an open-records request with the state and shared with ABC News. McLeod has filed numerous open-records requests for Palin-related documents, as well as four ethics complaints against the governor and her aides.
"GOV: Telephone Call Into Governor Crist," reads a May 4 entry in Palin's schedule. A spokeswoman for Crist said she did not know who had initiated contact, or what the subject of conversation was to have been, but the two did not speak. "It was a courtesy call. They know each other, both being governors," said Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac.
Crist may have had his own reasons to chat with Palin: to promote his candidacy for U.S. Senate, which Crist launched one week after Palin's phone call. Nine days later, Crist announced an endorsement by Sen. John McCain, Palin's 2008 GOP ticket-topper.
So will the Barricuda endorse the tan guy in Tallahassee over the RedState base's choice, Marco Rubio, or will she "go rogue" again and oppose McCain's choice and add fresh drama to the Florida GOP Senate primary? (Hell, at least their party HAS primary drama ...) The plot thickens...
Sarah Palin does her best Dick Nixon ... only without the gravitas or the jowls ... (and with a wading thingy on!) From CNN:
And now, Nixon's version:
Interesting that Nixon talked about money, just like Sarah. He was also a paranoid who spent more time lashing out at enemies -- real and perceived -- than governing, just like Sarah. Oh, and Nixon quit his job early, too, though Nixon had, to his credit, a long and distinguished career, serving in the military and in full terms in the House, Senate, as Vice President and President, before he crashed and burned in Watergate and jumped ship before he could be impeached. And therein lies the difference. Our friend Sarah is a better looking Nixon without the accomplishments or the brains.
Watch this completely flummoxed Fox News anchor try to steer commentator Liz Trotta back onto the winger reservation as she calles Sarah Palin "inarticulare," "undereducated" and the stuff of which William F. Buckley grave rolling is made:
Ha! The poor Fox guy was literally wringing his hands by the end!
For months now, I have consulted with friends and family, and with the Lieutenant Governor, about what is best for our wonderful state. I even made a few administrative changes over that course in time in preparation for yesterday. We have accomplished so much and there's much more to do, but my family and I determined after prayerful consideration that sacrificing my title helps Alaska most.
Sacrificing her title? Isn't that how a Miss America steps down?
And by the way, Sarah's lawyer's got a message for that gol-derned mainstream media: stop or I'll sue ya!
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, also
(...and by going, I mean "gone.")
Sarah Palin shocked the political (and grammatical) world yesterday, by pulling a Ross Perot (just as nasally, but much less succinctly,) and quitting her job as governor of Alaska. To add insult to the injury she's now done to her political career (and the voters who elected her,) she tried and failed to pull what I'm sure she thought was a clever maneuver: scurrying out of the 18 months remaining in her term on the Friday before July Fourth. I guess nobody explained to Sarah the concepts of "slow news day" and "sSunday shows...") Here's a small part of Miss Wasila's rambling exit speech (which made Mark Sanford look like the sound bite king):
Watch the whole, tortured 14 minutes here. Or read the transcript if you dare, and good luck not getting a headache from all the verb splitting. Now, of course, basketball analogies aside, there seem to be about three possible scenarios that might cause Sister Sarah to quit on her base so suddenly:
1. Dead presidents. Palin said during her ramble that she and Todd have built up about $500,000 in legal bills defending Sarah's multiple ethics charges. By quitting as governor, she frees herself to hit the lecture (shudder) and TV circuit and make some cash. Hell, she may even get her own talk radio show (can you just imagine listening to her talk for three hours straight? Scary!)
2. The hounds are advancing. Some big, major ethics or criminal probe was about to hit her, so Sarah's getting out of dodge to avoid it. Maybe she even made a deal with prosecutors or investigators to resign rather than face the music. Wouldn't be the first time a politician did that one!
3. Cooped up in Alaska. Sarah loves the fame she's accumulated, and you get the feeling Sarah thinks she's way too big a star to be stuck in the governor's mansion. Her public needs her, and now she's free to give them her all, without the chirping of annoying "ethics complaints" every time she leaves the state. She'd much rather travel the country, stump for Republican candidates and build up some favors in advance of a hilarious 2012 run (personally, I'm hoping for this one.)
4. She and Todd have decided to go ahead and take that secessionist party national. Okay, just kidding on that one. Maybe. Actually, one Huffpo contributor, journo Geoffrey Dunn reminds that she quit her last statewide office too, suggesting she might just be a serial quitter.
5. She's figured out that despite her devoted following, her 15 minutes are waning. So she's decided to cash in while the gettin's good. After all, why should that little shit Levi get all the reality show love. The move also gives Sarah time to rush her book out before Levi's, since Levi's book clearly won't be helpful...
Of course, it could also be all three. Or she might be insane.
Meanshile, the pundits react:
... but Politico leaves off the best reaction of all, by Ed Rollins:
And while Sarah's biggest devotee, Roger Simon, apparently couldn't bear to write a critical word about his Sarah, the rest of the staff at Politico had at it. Jonathan Martin reports Republicans divided ... Glenn Thrush has five questions ... Mike Allen provides some back-up for my scenarios 1 and 3 ...
More good stuff:
The Anchorage Daily News reports on the thrills and chills Palin's decision is sending through Alaska politics.
Classy Palinites hold miniature 'fire Letterman' rally
I think at its peak, the angry crowd rallying outside David Letterman's show swelled to about 40 people, all defending Sarah Palin and the virtue of her ... well one of her ... daughters. A sample of the class level:
New York Magazine videographer Jonah Green was one of those press members, and he captured a disturbing video of several of those protesters in hate-filled rants against the CBS "Late Show" host.
Among the more alarming lines of attack -- particularly given that the rally was held because Letterman supposedly made a joke about Sarah Palin's teenage daughter Willow -- was that Letterman's son Harry was born out of wedlock (he recently wed Regina Lasko after dating for over a decade).
"Should we talk about his son?" one protester asked Green. "I believe his son was born out of wedlock. I believe there's a term for that."
"Is someone making jokes about his child?" asked another. "Especially, you know, when he had a daughter out of wedlock himself" (he didn't; 5-year-old Harry is his only child).
"How dare he?" asked yet a third, the most offensive of all. "When he has a bastard son, and a slut for a wife" (Letterman's wife Lasko has kept a notoriously low profile).
She finally accepts David Letterman's torturous apology, but then she adds this:
"Letterman certainly has the right to 'joke' about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction," Palin said in a statement. "And this is all thanks to our U.S. Military women and men putting their lives on the line for us to secure America's Right to Free Speech – in this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect."
Huh??? So Sarah accepts on behalf of all women ... and then she uses the opportunity to exploit the military? I guess she's taking time off carting poor Bristol around on that publicity hounding "abstinence tour" to do something really useful with her time. Please sit down, Wasila woman. For your own sake.
Meanwhile, Roger Simon plays the role of Palin P.R. flak on "Hardball," but fails to make the case that Palin is the new Uber Defender of Womanhood. Earth to Simon: you're a guy. Most women have no time for a woman whose entire public life is devoted to having beef, with anyone handy, including comedians. If you missed, it, catch Tina Brown on the re-air. She makes good sense when she advises Sister Sarah to "shut up and study up."
Oh, for the love of god, shut up already, Sarah Palin!
Are this lady's 15 minutes of fame up yet? Sarah Palin just can't stop talking, and it's almost always about trivia ... or about her kids ... or about both. She's like Kathy Lee Gifford with executive power! The Daily Beast takes up two entire posts to try and talk Miss Wasila down from her hillbilly header. The first TBD piece of advice: never debate a comedian. The second, from Tina Brown herself: learn some gosh-darned dignity from Hillary.
Meanwhile, David Letterman apologizes ... again...
Is "who cares," too strong?
UPDATE: Nope. Sarah and her people are not done yet. Now, her minions are planning a protest. Seriously folks? Seriously? With all that's going on the world, this is really what you're going to spend your time doing? Wow. I guess some people protest stolen elections in Iran, and other people protest obvious, deliberately misinterpreted late night jokes.
Bristol vs. Levi: abstinence is realistic/unrealistic
Okay, I officially feel really, really sorry for Bristol Palin. How much do you want to bet her mama bear (and her political ambitions) are what's behind Bristol's incredibly awkward campaign for abstinence?
Meanwhile, her baby's daddy, Levi, declares the campaign "unrealistic." (And is he moving to Seattle?)
Who's picking the Republican leadership of tomorrow? Why, it's the unsexy of today. You remember the unsexy don't you? It's El Rushbo, who topped the Boston Phoenix's unsexy list already this year, with three quarters of the year still to go!
JABBA THE NUT America’s ugliest moment of 2009? Rush Limbaugh, his man-boobs a-jiggle, bouncing at the CPAC podium to bask in the sickly glow of conservatism’s orgy of greed, avarice, and arrogance. Here, at last, was the shining image of the 21st century Republican Party: a leeringly rich Baby Boomer squatting at the top of the mountain, reaping his jollies from the suffering of those at the bottom, praying for the failure of hope. If this hypocritical and morally repugnant reformed Oxy junkie wants to discuss “failure,” maybe we should talk about his career as an NFL commentator — or the last time he detoxed off prescription smack.
Is the "f-in redneck" becoming the good guy in this family drama or what? Spurned Alaska teen says Sarah Palin's family thinks he's not good enough for Bristol, the media is misrepresenting his family as "white trash" and the campaign ruined their relationship. The CBS Early Show got the interview, after Miss Tyra did, of course:
You've really got to feel sorry for him and Bristol. Her mom really put them in the shizznit. And no, I don't believe Sarah if she's saying Levi didn't sleep under her roof with her daughter. Try another one, hun. BTW Levi says he'll either become an electrician or an actor/model. Hey, he's definitely got a brighter future than "Joe the Plumber" -- at least his family members really are electricians.
In today's episode of "The Alaska Hillbillies..." Sarah Palin's would-a-been son-in-law, "F**in Redneck" Levi Johnston, is catching hell from mama bear after talking up his sex life with Lil' Bristol on that swarthy Tyra Banks' teevee show. Said F**in:
Levi Johnston not only says he practiced safe sex "most of the time" when they were together, he also reveals to Tyra Banks that he believes Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin knew he and Bristol were having sex when they lived under her roof. "I'm pretty sure she probably knew. Moms are pretty smart," Johnston, 18, says in an interview set to air April 6.
The couple, who were high school sweethearts, planned to wed after graduating – but ended up splitting earlier this year. At the time, Johnston told Good Morning America that he needed to mature before getting married.
"Bristol did not even know Levi was going on the show. We're disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention, and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship," says the statement from the Palin family rep.
"Bristol's focus will remain on raising Tripp, completing her education, and advocating abstinence," the statement continues. "It is unfortunate that Levi finds it more appealing to exploit his previous relationship with Bristol than to contribute to the well being of the child."
The statement ends, saying, "Bristol realizes now that she made a mistake in her relationship and is the one taking responsibility for their actions."
In the Michael Steele flameout, a peek under the curtain
A passage from the Politico top story (until they switch to the Cramer beat-down by Jon Stewart) offers a glimpse into the hall of mirrors that is the right wing of the Republican Party. As we all now know, Steele stepped in it again, this time in a GQ interview in which he seemed to express disturbingly tolerant, mildly pro-life views on abortion (and gays). Well, the abortion comments are sending the religious right into full-on revolt, according to Politico. Among the complaints:
"Michael Steele has just walked away from the Reaganesque position of strong moral clarity on abortion to personify why the Republican Party continues to be in a 'free fall',” said another activist, Jenn Giroux, the executive director of the conservative group Women Influencing the Nation. “It is amazing that he cannot see and learn from the fact that Sarah Palin's position on abortion and her unapologetic defense of every conceived child drew crowds by the thousands on that issue alone.”
Hm. So Sarah P's special needs baby, and the fact that her having him demonstrates her pro-lifeyness, is the real reason wingers are so ga-ga about Sarah? It really is all about abortion in the end? That would certainly explain why the wingerati are even gung ho (no pun intended...) on her preggers teenage daughter (who isn't marrying her "f-in redneck" baby daddy anymore, now that ma ain't gonna be vahce president...) And speaking of Bristol, you've got to love this:
The story first emerged in the tabloid Star magazine, which quoted Mr Johnston’s sister Mercedes saying that Ms Palin and her mother were to blame for the break-up. The couple had been due to marry this summer.
“Levi tries to see Tripp every single day, but Bristol makes it nearly impossible,” Mercedes Johnston is quoted as saying.
“She tells him he can’t take the baby to our house because she doesn’t want him around ‘white trash’. The worst part, Ms Johnston tells the magazine, is that Governor Palin supports her daughter’s treatment of Mr Johnston.
Ms Palin said in a statement issued through her mother’s political action committee that she was devastated by the report in Star. “Unfortunately, my family has seen many people say and do things to ‘cash in’ on the Palin name. Sometimes that greed clouds good judgment and the truth.”
Jesus, his sister's name is Mercedes? Yeah. That IS ghetto...
It's all part of a media busting "documentary" being filmed by a guy named John Ziegler, who according to a caller on the Stephanie Miller Show today, was seriously picked on in high school, poor thing. He wants you to know that Sarah is not an idiot! It's the evil liberal media that's making you THINK she's an idiot... Also there too, she tells Ziegler that the media bias there, and also too Keith Olbermann, that guy's evil!
Anyhoo, gotta sign off now, cause it's time to practice my fancy pageant walkin'!
Update: Sarah says the mainstream media elite are taking her Ziegler interview out of context. No seriously, she's really saying that...
And U.S. News' Robert Schlessinger says that for her own good, Sarah needs to just go away.
Levi and Bristol are expecting their baby tomorrow. But will his mama make bail in time for the delivery?
So ... how's that wedding planning coming along, Bristol? You weren't ... planning to have the f***in' rednecks' mama in the ceremony ... were ya?
WASILLA -- A 42-year-old Wasilla woman was arrested Thursday at her home by Alaska State Troopers with a search warrant in an undercover drug investigation. Sherry L. Johnston was charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.
Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, the Wasilla 18-year-old who received international attention in September when Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, announced their teenage daughter was pregnant and he was the father. Bristol Palin, 18, is due on Saturday, according to a recent interview with the governor's father, Chuck Heath.
The arrest of Sherri Johnston
Troopers served the warrant at Johnston's home at the "conclusion of an undercover narcotics investigation," said a statement issued Thursday by the troopers as part of the normal daily summary of activity around the state.
Troopers charged Johnston with second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance -- generally manufacturing or delivering drugs -- as well as fourth-degree misconduct involving controlled substances, or possession.
Troopers released no other information, including the kind or amount of drugs, because details could jeopardize an ongoing investigation, spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
Asked how long the investigation had proceeded before Johnston's arrest, Peters would only say "a while."
A while? A while??? How much of a while? Like, a couple of months, maybe? Like, I don't know, during the PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN???
BTW Miss Sarah isn't commenting, and the baby? He's due TOMORROW. And interestingly enough, his parents (otherwise known as America's Next Reality Show Superstars... on the CMT channel...) still aren't married! Ah, Republican family values.
What's the perfect gift for horny/creepy conservatives everywhere? The Sarah Palin calendar! Only $15.95, just in time for HanukkahKwanzaawinter solticeRamadan Christmas!!! (Heavy on the "Christ" please...) Yup. Got it right from the fine folks at Human Events in an email sent out this morning:
The Sarah Palin 2009 Wall Calendar
A personal look at Alaska's Governor
Sarah Palin went from virtual obscurity to huge popularity as Presidential Candidate John McCain's running mate. Since then she has re-energized the Conservative base of the Republican Party. As a front runner in the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, she is showing America that she is willing to reform her own party and politics as usual.
Now you can have your very own 2009 calendar featuring never before seen photos of Sarah, with Todd, Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig Palin.
Filled with exclusive photographs by professional photographer Judy Patrick, long time friend, who also served as Palin's Deputy Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.
Sarah Palin 2009 Photo Wall Calendar just $15.95
This high quality 13 month wall calendar features:
Over 50 photographs of Governor Sarah Palin and her family
Many never before seen photos
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Closed dimensions: 9"x12"
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With this special offer receive 15% off:
just enter: EAGLE in the "Instructions, Comments" on the final step of checkout, and your discount will be calculated before your credit card is charged.
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Seriously. Really? Well, I guess as long as there are no pictures of a really, really pregnant Bristol or of that little horror Piper slathering baby Track's head with her spittle, we'll be fine. ... You betcha. (Sorry, couldn't help it.)
You can't go home again... Well, actually, you CAN go home again, but she doesn't want to.
Arnold Schwarzenegger thought bubble: "I wonder if anyone notices me looking at her butt..." Sarah Palin thought bubble: "I wonder if that foreign actor guy Arnold wants my autograph..."
Will somebody please get the big hook out for Sarah Palin? She is clearly so enamored of the spotlight, she can't help herself. At the recent gathering of 48 governors and President-Elect Obama, Palin shoved the others aside and basked in the limelight one more 'gain (only this time, no turkeys were slaughtered in the process. Just the English language...)
“I appreciated that President-elect Obama recognizes, first that he recognizes how valuable it is to have governors in his cabinet and we assume that all will go well and some of these governors will be in his cabinet,” she continued, adding that governors “know best” about the economic issues raised Tuesday.
“In fact, remember on the campaign trail I tried to convince the majority of voters that governors knew best. Obviously that didn't work, I'm here and VP-elect Biden is there,” she said, calling the meeting “overall great.”
Overall great. Great. As for Obama being a Socialist who "pals around with terrorists," Sarah of Wasila appears to have forgiven the president-to-be, and warmed up to the idea of "spreading the wealth," too -- or at least to those darned governors:
PHILADELPHIA – It's been only a few weeks since the last time Gov. Sarah Palin called President-elect Barack Obama a socialist.
All seemed forgiven at a meeting with the nation's governors, where Mr. Obama made a beeline for the GOP vice presidential nominee, shaking her hand before those of 47 others, sharing a friendly chat and, apparently, saying nothing further about her claim that proximity to Russia yielded foreign policy insight.
"The campaign is over," Ms. Palin told reporters afterward, passing up a chance to accuse him of using a huge new stimulus plan to "spread the wealth." After all, most of the governors support the plan, too.
But for all the love and hugs, some folks back home aren't so happy with Sarah's newfound "life in the fab lane"... Here's an inauspicious headline:
Governor Palin Neglects Alaska Duties for Partisan Stumping on Campaign Trail in Georgia
While Gov. Sarah Palin is out of state again, this time in Georgia campaigning for incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss on the eve of the runoff election, Alaska faces challenges including a lack of leadership from the Governor.
Palin will stump for Chambliss, the draft-evading incumbent Republican who waged a notoriously misleading campaign against a decorated war hero, at rallies Monday in Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah and Perry, Georgia. Palin has been back in Alaska at work for only a few days since running for vice president.
"Alaskans need our Governor here earning her salary and working on key problems facing Alaska families," said Alaska Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins.
Alaska is facing significant challenges, Higgins said, including:
Oil prices have dropped dramatically to about $45/bbl from the peak of $144/bbl in July, which threatens the state budget.
Alaskans are paying some of the highest prices for gas in the nation, averaging $2.87 per gallon, while the national average is $1.91.
The state’s oil production continues to decline, due to falling prices and mature fields.
The global credit crunch and falling natural gas prices threaten the Alaska gas line.
The State is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to take care of public education as shown by the high drop out rates and the low graduation rates.
Many Medicare patients cannot find doctors.
There is continued flight from rural villages.
Alaska faces the prospect of reduced federal dollars from Washington, D.C.
"Alaska's challenges are significant, and there is much that needs to be done right now. Our Governor should remember that her primary job is to work on behalf of the citizens of Alaska, not engage in partisan politics in other states," Higgins said. "Governing is more than creating photo ops. We'd like a commitment that the Governor is working, not just scheduling media appearances."
From an Alaska Democratic Party press release
But it doesn't end with Dems. Linda Murkowski has had a few choice words for Sarah, too, and her quite transparent ambitions:
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has some Republican-to-Republican advice for Gov. Sarah Palin: If you want to make a run at the White House, keep your hands off my Senate seat.
Murkowski, up for reelection in 2010, is nervously awaiting word on whether John McCain’s former running mate will run against her in the GOP primary. But she says Palin is the one who should be nervous.
“I can guarantee it would be a very tough election,” Murkowski said in an interview.
Palin is also up for reelection in 2010. She could run for a second term as governor, but the Senate holds some obvious attractions: a national platform, and with it the chance to beef up a thin résumé and rebuild damaged credibility on foreign policy and other issues.
But Murkowski says a run against her would be fraught with risk. If Palin lost, her stock would drop just ahead of a potential 2012 presidential run. And if she won, she’d be a backbencher in a chamber that is dominated by seniority — and would have to begin her presidential campaign as soon as she took office.
“If she wants to be president, I don’t think the way to the presidency is a short stop in the United States Senate,” Murkowski said.
Read the whole Politico post. The beef between these women is very much personal. Cat fight!
Well, the bird has met its demise (even without Sarah Palin looking on,) the tryptophan has kicked in (I overslept and had to do my radio show by phone this morning, but Roland Martin was great! And those two glasses of wine didn't help!) ... and I'm going to make it through Black Friday without having to tramp through a mall (I refuse. Sorry, kids.) So now, since I've been skipping out on my blogging duties of late, here are ten things I think we can all be thankful for:
#1. Sarah Palin. She brought so much joy and laughter during the campaign, with her kooky vocab and inability to articulate her thoughts in anything resembling adult English. And she put the nail in John McCain's campaign coffin (sorry if that sounds like an age joke,) ensuring, even if he really couldn't have done so anyway,) that he wouldn't win. Thus, Sarah helped spare the country from four more years of Bush-like policies, along with the spectacle of herself playing a Bizarro World, Hilbilly Princess Di to McCain's doddering Charles. You betcha!
#2. John McCain. When he wandered in front of that camera during the town hall style debate, he made my year. Serioiusly. And by so debasing himself during the campaign, McCain has all but ensured that his rehabilitation will involve helping Barack Obama get much of his domestic agenda through the Senate. Thanks, Grandpa! (And thank Joe the Plumber for us when you see him next. Oh, that's right, you're not gonna see him again, because he's irrelevant.)
#3. Steve Schmidt. What a maroon. See #s 1 and 2 above.
#4. Right wing talk radio. Those of us who already thought you were irrelevant blowhards just weren't getting through until you called the Senator from Illinois a terrorist, Marxist Socialist and America elected him anyway. Thanks guys! By the way, Glenn, are you serious about seceding? If so, let me know what the rest of us can do to help you along.
#5. American voters. Well, 52 percent of them, anyway.
$6. Barack Obama. Yes we did.
#7. Tina Fey. See #1 above.
#8. David Letterman. See #2 above.
#9. Fox News. See #4 above. And what will you do at those press conferences now?
and last, but not least...
#10. George W. Bush. No, seriously. Had he not been such a rotten president, we might not be here, on the brink of positive change. And he's been damned funny to listen to over the last eight years, even as he was screwing up the world.
Oh, wait! One more thing! I'm also thankful for this video. Enjoy!
MSNBC this morning gave some airtime to a new ad campaign, which simply "thanks Sarah Palin," for all she's done. No, it's not from a group of late night comedians, stand up comics or liberal talk show hosts (or Democratic strategists.) It's from a group of faithful Palinites who, well, just think she's gotten a raw deal. Watch their first ad:
There's also a Thanksgiving version ... which might not have been so advisable, given that whole, unfortunate turkey massacre incident...
A political action committee called “Our Country Deserves Better” is raising money to air a series of TV advertisements voicing support for Gov. Palin. The group is headed by Howard Kaloogian, a California Republican and former state legislator.
All three versions of the ad — which are being streamed on the PAC’s website for now — feature group members complimenting Gov. Palin over her role in the 2008 campaign. Lloyd Marcus, a singer-songwriter and spokesman for the group, says to the camera, “Thank you, for the grace and dignity you showed even when some tried to smear and destroy you.”
Mark Williams, a conservative commentator, says, “We thank you for your passionate, hopeful and articulate advocacy of common sense, conservative values.”
During the presidential campaign, the Our Country Deserves Better PAC conducted “The Stop Obama Tour,” with a bus that traveled from the West to the East Coast to promote the Republican ticket.
The latest campaign includes a special Thanksgiving ad, which highlights Gov. Palin’s penchant for moose stew as an alternative to turkey.
Doh! Don't say "turkey..." puhleeeze...!
The above-mentioned "commentator" Mark Willians was also the guy angrily flacking for the ad (and for Palin's fight to stop the "anti-American policies of our in-coming president." More of this crowd's greatest hits ... er, misses ... here...) with the light-questioning, giggly Norah O'Donnell this morning. Commentator is such a vague term. In fact, he's an out of work talk show host. From a posting in the "news" section on an industry website called AllAccess this morning:
Look for former KFBK-A/SACRAMENTO, WWDB/PHILADELPHIA, and WROW-A and WGY-A/ALBANY talker MARK WILLIAMS on MSNBC this morning at 11a ET. WILLIAMS will be at the studios of NBC affiliate KCRA-TV/SACRAMENTO to appear on the cable network defending the "Thank You SARAH PALIN" ads he produced for his OUR COUNTRY DESERVES BETTER political action committee.
WILLIAMS is available for fill-in and full-time talk gigs and has a full ISDN studio at his home; call him at (XXX) XXX-XXXX or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey, it's a recession. Everybody needs a gig. But since "Our Country Deserves Better" (an ironic name if I've ever heard one...) isn't actually HIS PAC, does the actual chairman, the Gingrichite Mr. Kaloogian, know that Williams -- listed as just a spokesman on the PAC's website -- is grabbing the credit for the ads on a radio site that just also happens to offer job and gig listings? Either way, this is a rather pathetic band of left behinders, also including Mark Steyn, apparently.
Oh, and in case you're wondering who the high-voiced black guy in the cowboy hat is, his name is LLoyd Marcus, and apparently, he sings, too! Even tried to write Florida's state song (poor dear.) From his PAC bio:
Lloyd Marcus is a passionate and patriotic American who has been a leader in the fight for common sense conservative values.
Lloyd Marcus has touched the hearts of Americans across this great land with his powerful songs “United We Stand” and “Sarah Smile” - a tribute to Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. You can learn more about Lloyd at his personal website: www.LloydMarcus.net.
Lord, can't this lady do anything right? The Word Wizard of Wasila chatters away while a cheeky bastard in the background slaughters Thanksgiving dinner. I guess not every turkey got a pardon that day. Notice how the slaughter guy keeps grinning into the camera, as if he knows he's doing Sarah in...
Does listening to Sarah Palin talk make you dumber?
A Facebook commenter on CNN said she feels dumber every time she hears the Wasila Queen speak. Here, listen to the titular leader of the Republican Party (smirk) speaking to fellow GOP governors in Miami and see for yourself:
According to CNN's Rick Sanchez, netowork reporter Dana Bash was at the Intercontintal Hotel for the earlier, awkward press conference during which she was flanked by a smattering of unhappy looking conservative fellow governos and which was abruptly cut off after a few minutes by Rick Perry (heretofre to be referred to as Ellie Mae and the Socially Conservatie Pips.)
Not a lot of clapping went on during what sounded an awful lot like Sarah's campaign stump speech. Hell, she even mentioned Joe the Plumber, Tito the Builder, (What? No Bob???) Jack the Dishwasher, there, Pip the pit bull trainer, Jack the Janitor and not to be forgotten: Sweetie the laid off teacher turned call girl. Okay, maybe not ALL of those, also.
... from a partisan perspective ... The more Palin the better. But I think we also need to think about this from the broader perspective of national dignity. And simple human decency. You're at a party and someone's drinking too much and starting to do embarrassing things. Even you don't like them, and even if the unlovely part of you thinks it's kind of funny, still someone should step in. On the other hand, if Rush and Sean, are up for it, maybe we just tap another keg?
In other words, somebody pull her away from the cameras. Please.
The Alaska governor said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that she would be willing to help if Obama asked her for assistance on some of the issues she highlighted during this year's campaign, such as energy or services for special-needs children.
"It would be my honor to assist and support our new president and the new administration," said Palin, whom Sen. John McCain chose as his running mate in August.
"I speak for other Republicans and Republican governors, also," she said.
"They would be willing also to seize this opportunity that we have to progress this nation together, in a united front."
... and talking in the exact opposite manner as she was just talking:
BLITZER: Because, you know, during a campaign, every presidential campaign, things are said, it's tough, as you well know, it gets sometimes pretty fierce out there. And during the campaign, you said this, you said: "This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America."
And then you went on to say: "Someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he is palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."
PALIN: Well, I still am concerned about that association with Bill Ayers. And if anybody still wants to talk about it, I will, because this is an unrepentant domestic terrorist who had campaigned to blow up, to destroy our Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol. That's an association that still bothers me.
And I think it's still fair to talk about it. However the campaign is over. That chapter is closed. Now is the time to move on and to, again, make sure that all of us are doing all that we can to progress this nation.
Hey! Sarah! That thing ... that Wolf handed you there ... it was a SHOVEL. Stop using it!
Sarah Palin will be in Miami for the Republican Governors Association meeting this week there, and, you know, she'll be doing a lot of media and press conferences also, and well, when she ... rears her head ... in Miami ... where will she be? So, and ... she wants to be president in 2012 also. You betcha!
When she gets here, on Wednesday I think, Sarah will be welcomed by a chastened Charlie Crist and a battered Republican Party:
In 2006, when the GOP governors gathered in Miami, Crist was dubbed a ''rock star'' at the meeting. He was one of only three nonincumbent Republicans to win governor races in a nation that started leaning Democratic.
This time, the Republican Governors Association meeting comes on the heels of John McCain losing in Crist's state, a Republican must-win, on Election Day.
And the number of real jobs lost is troubling Crist even more. Florida lost 115,000 jobs -- the most in the nation -- in the past year on Crist's watch. The state budget is hemorrhaging money. And Crist's strong poll numbers have slipped slightly in recent months.
The losses have fueled worries about Republican leadership in Florida as well as the nation, targeting every leader from President Bush to Crist himself to Crist's hand-picked state party chief, Jim Greer.
''Crist can't be blamed for McCain running a crummy campaign and being weighed down by the burden of President Bush,'' said national Republican strategist Ed Rollins. ``But Crist needs to rebuild his own party in Florida because it's not as safe for Republicans as it once was.''
Few places are, leaving Republicans to debate which way the party should go. Among the questions: How much can the party push social issues, and how can Republicans attract more minority voters like Hispanics? Hispanics flocked to the Democratic side amid the immigration debate in 2006.
Crist said governors ''traditionally'' have provided the leadership to solve these problems. The RGA spotlight will be on that other fresh-faced Republican governor's race winner from 2006: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose sharp tongue and social conservatism set her apart from the affable centrist from Florida.
''I look forward to seeing her this week'' Crist said Tuesday. ''I think she'll be a significant factor in the future of our party. I certainly hope so.'' What of his own poll numbers and political fortunes? ''I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about Florida,'' Crist said, pledging to ``stay focused on the people of our state.''
Crist will likely run for reelection in 2010. Republicans like J.M. ''Mac'' Stipanovich say Crist will beat any Democrat ``like a rented mule.''
But others, like lobbyist and McCain Hispanic outreach chief Ana Navarro, fault Crist for appearing to help himself more than the party or McCain.
''Charlie Crist milked this campaign for all it was worth, used it to enhance his national profile, and never put in any sweat equity. When there were cameras he would show up,'' she said. ``We begged Jeb Bush to come out the last few weeks because we realized Charlie Crist had no coattails. It's clear that any Republican running statewide is more vulnerable than they were four years ago. There's clearly a kink in the organization.''
A chief Florida fundraiser for Crist and McCain, lobbyist Brian Ballard, dismissed Navarro's broadside as hard feelings left over from her support of Crist's Republican opponent in 2006. Ballard said Republicans should credit Barack Obama for a win, and should credit Crist for governing effectively and showing the party how to win.
''There are some who want fire-breathing, red-meat-eating conservatism and are proud to lose with honor. We'll remain in the minority as a result,'' Ballard said. ``I like to win.''
The last time Sarah and Charlie hung out, she was caterwalling about Obama "palling around with terrorists" and being introduced by a 1950s-era southern sheriff. Now, things are slightly different, also.
By the way, many Republicans here in the sunshine state are still sore at Miss Charlie for extending early voting hours, and for restoring many felon voting rights, both of which helped Democrats. But Charlie shouldn't be blamed for McCain's losses here. Obama handed him an historic drubbing among Hispanics statewide, winning 57 percent. And black turnout was overwhelming enough that had Crist not extended early voting hours, he probably would have been sued, and the state would have become a 2000 style embarassment (after which I believe Obama still would have won.) But Republicans have to hang someone, and at the moment, Crist is in the crosshairs. And yet, it is moderates like Crist who represent the future of the party, if it has one, no matter how much Rush and Beck and Hannity squeal. They take pot shots at him at their peril.
The myth was born, the myth was hyped by the mainstream media, the myth met Katie Couric and Tina Fey, and the myth was shattered. The unkindest cut of all comes from Fox News, where Carl Cameron reveals behind-the-scenes details about Ms. Palin, including her diva-like behavior, temper tantrums, and the fact that she didn't know Africa is a continent, not a country, let alone which countries are in NAFTA ... the ... North ... American ... Free Trade Agreement. Shep Smith, at the anchor desk, asks the obvious question: "how could they end up with a running mate who doesn't know that Africa is a continent and they don't know that in advance?" Watch:
And then there's the new twist in Wardrobe-gate ... no, not the extra $40 grand for close for the First Dude. This one involves a towel:
At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Palin was completely unfazed by the boys' club fraternity she had just joined. One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. "I'll be just a minute," she said.
Newsweek also reports she dove into the William Ayers attacks without authorization from the campaign, and that Schmidt vetoed her request to speak during McCain's concession in Arizona Tuesday night.
Palin has pushed back against attempts to blame her for McCain's defeat, including in an interview with CNN"s Dana Bash:
BASH: One more question about the election that just ended yesterday. If you look at some of the polls and you talk to people who are really crunching the numbers and specifically who voted what way and who was swayed one way or the other. Independent voters, suburban voters, some of the people -- women. People who the campaign thought you would be able to help, actually looked at your presence on the ticket and said, I'm going to vote the other way. What do you make of that?
PALIN: Well, you know, I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit that I would trump an economic, woeful time in this nation that occurred about two months ago that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain's loss to me.
But now having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I am sorry about that because John McCain, I believe, is the American hero. I had believed that it was his time. He being so full of courage and wisdom and experience. That valor that he just embodies. I believe he would have been the best pick. But that is not the Americans' choice at this time.
But it's just not working. Exit polls show she was, along with George W. Bush and the crappy economy, a serious drag on the ticket:
But among the things that will dog her into 2012, if her political celebrity lasts that long, is the association between her rallies and a particularly vitriolic kind of hate, with a strong racial tinge, that are now linked forever in history. Also from the Newsweek web piece:
The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. "Why would they try to make people hate us?" Michelle asked a top campaign aide.
Can't you be struck by lightning for stuff like this?
A Detroit-area Palinite turns away trick-or-treaters whose parents support Obama. Seriously. Hat tip to RawStory:
Shirley Nagel of Grosse Pointe Farms gave out treats Friday evening, but only to those who share her support of John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin.
Fox 2 News reports a sign posted outside Nagel's house, about 12 miles west of Detroit, served notice to all trick-or-treaters. It read: "No handouts for Obama supporters, liars, tricksters or kids of supporters."
Nagel told a Fox 2 reporter that "Obama's scary." When asked about children who'd been turned away empty-handed and crying, she said: "Oh well. Everybody has a choice."
Things you really don't want, but that you have to say thank you for anyway
To the delight of the Obama campaign, Darth Cheney endorses the McCain-Fey ... er ... Palin ...ticket:
"I believe the right leader for this moment in history is Sen. John McCain," said Cheney, who grew up in Wyoming and represented the state in the U.S. House of Representatives. "John is a man who understands the danger facing America. He's a man who has looked into the face of evil and not flinched."
Cheney also said he was pleased McCain has "chosen a running mate with executive talent, toughness and common sense, our next vice president, Sarah Palin."
Oh, that'l help...
At an appearance Saturday in Pueblo, Colo., Obama used the Cheney endorsement to underscore his charge that McCain represents a continuation of current policies in Washington.
"I'd like to congratulate Senator McCain on this endorsement because he really earned it," Obama said. "That endorsement didn't come easy. Senator McCain had to vote 90 percent of the time with George Bush and Dick Cheney to get it."
And McCain can't pull a grandpa and claim he "doesn't agree" that the endorsement ever happened, cuz it's on the Youtube:
Sarah Palin aide Nicole Wallace apparently taking friendly fire over divagate
According to ABC's Jake Tapper, Palin handler Nicolle Wallace, is getting hosed over that $150,000 Sarah Palin wardrobe malfunction:
Palin has taken to blaming the entire incident – as well as her introduction to the nation – on her “handlers,” presumably meaning Wallace, who was a key part of the team that handled Palin's successful announcement speech, her successful convention speech, and her interviews with Charlie Gibson, Sean Hannity and Katie Couric.
McCain allies say that Palin allies talked to Fox News commentator Fred Barnes to further throw Wallace under the bus. Barnes yesterday said, “the person who went and bought the clothes and, as I understand it put the clothes on her credit card, went to Saks and Neiman Marcus...the staffer who did that has been a coward” for not coming forward and accepting the blame for the $150,000 shopping spree. Barnes clarified that he was talking about Wallace.
... some Republicans are starting to now say they should have seen this coming, since Palin has a reputation for making friends who can help her and then screwing them over.
The list is long:
* Former Wasilla Mayor John Stein says he mentored Palin during her 1994 run for City Council. Then she decided to challenge him and run for Mayor. “Things got very ugly,’ Naomi Tigner, a friend of the Steins, told Salon.com. “Sarah became very mean-spirited.” Palin allies suggested she would he “Wasilla's first Christian mayor,” even though Stein is Protestant. Palin allies also whispered that Stein and his wife – who hadn’t taken his name - were not legally wed. “We actually had to produce our marriage certificate,’ Stein said. His wife died in 2005 without ever reconciling with Palin. “I had a hand in creating Sarah, but in the end she blew me out of the water,” Stein told Salon. “Sarah's on a mission, she's an opportunist.”
... all I can tell you is that some McCain allies are now quite suspect of Palin and worried that Sen. McCain is going to become just the latest Palin ally whom she uses – and then discards -- in her rapid ascendance to power.
Contrast the praise for Palin with the back of the hand given to the lamentable Harriet Miers. Nominated to the Supreme Court by George W. Bush, she encountered fierce resistance from, of all people, conservatives. They questioned her ideological fervor and wondered about her legal acumen. "There is a gaping disproportion between the stakes associated with this vacancy and the stature of the person nominated to fill it," wrote a certain Kristol in the Weekly Standard. As luck would have it, he was right.
But why such keen objectivity regarding Miers and not Palin, for whom the phrase "gaping disproportion" would seem to have been coined? The answer is obvious. It is not "the stature of the person nominated" that matters, it is the person's ideology. Miers not only had questionable credentials but questionable ideological purity as well -- what the National Review called "the substance and the muddle of her views." Palin is a down-the-line rightie, so her inexperience, her lack of interest in foreign affairs, her numbing provincialism and her gifts for fabrication (Can we go over that "bridge to nowhere" routine again?) do not trouble her ideological handlers. Let her get into office. They will govern.
Aha. There's the rub.
Like George W. Bush: Sarah Palin is seen by the neoconservative coterie as the simple-Simon (or is that Simone...) faux populist rube whom they hope to set up as the popular vessel through which they will govern. She mollifies the "crazies" (the religious right, the rural right, and the more self-determined fiscal right,) and they get to keep foisting their Middle East think-tankery on a hapless public. The payoff to the fiscons is that they get to loot the Treasury and hoard the money through obscene tax cuts for the rich. Sadly, the religious right and the rural "real American" Limbaugh listeners get nothing but jingoistic cheerleading, empty promises (I'm sure the GOP is gonna get right on that federal banning of gay marriage and abortion thing... any minute now...) and frightening tales of shotgun confiscation and scary brown people lurking at the Mall of the Americas! to keep them in line...) As for Sarah, in the neocons' estimation, like George, they need only flatter her and promote her and suppress opposition to her within the Republican Party, and it's a go. In that sense, it is she, and not John McCain (the neocons' original candidate in 2000 and again this year) who truly is Bush II.
He really is better than the network he finds himself on ...
The Fox News anchor forced to live through yet another strange Joe the Plumber interview as the Average Superstar bungles more precious moments of his 15 minutes of fame with Palinite babbling. Here's a bit of Joe's eternal wisdom. Asked if he really meant it when he "went ahead and agreed with" a McCain supporter who suggested a vote for Barack Obama would mean the death of Israel...
PLUMBER: No, that is just my personal opinion that I've come up with by looking into different facts and what I think. That is what my message has been about. I haven't been telling people to go out and vote. Listen, you don't want my opinion on foreign policy. I know just enough about foreign policy to probably be dangerous.
SMITH: That is what I was wondering. I wonder if you think it is dangerous at all for people to say that a vote for Barack Obama is the same as a vote for Israel, if you think that is dangerous for people to start believing. What happens if the polls are right and he becomes President of the United States and people start thinking that this means the death of Israel. Are you worried about what people might do if they actually believe something like that?
PLUMBER: That goes back to what I just got done saying. Some people believe it wholeheartedly. This gentleman I spoke to is Middle America. Therefore...it is very important to him -- important to me, but especially important to this gentleman. He is Middle America and he was able to get on there and make his point, and I agreed with him. I have no idea where John McCain's position is on that. John McCain is his own person, just like I am.
JTP is all McCain's now -- he's campaigning for him, dontcha know! Which should work really well with swing voters ... did I mention that he doesn't want his Social Security checks when he retires? Maybe he could sit next to "Jomama" on the bus and keep her company, since apparently, John McCain has fallen for Joe, and out of love with her.
The wheels continue to fly off the McCain-Palin straight talk express... Politico's Mike Allen reports:
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, on a “demoralized” McCain campaign: “Palin is going to be the most vivid chapter of the McCain campaign's post-mortem. … Those loyal to McCain believe they have been unfairly blamed for over-handling Palin. They say they did the best they could with what they got.”
***In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless “diva” description, calling her “a whack job.”
One McCain aide describes Sarah Palin as "going rogue," and going off script, perhaps on purpuse, on everything from her $150,000 wardrobe to whether the campaign should have pulled out of Michigan. Meanwhile...
A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.
And this anonymous tipster goes further:
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," this McCain adviser said. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.
"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."
Not ever her own family??? Oh, those small town values!
Is the Republican Party destined to become the dunce party? Maybe so... having spurned "big city America", science, and intellectual elitism in favor of small-town, "real America", the Party of Palin is losing the major metropolitan areas that Ronald Reagan once coopted. Worse, by courting anti-intellectualism and pandering to the worst instincts in American life: jingoism, racism, tribalism and regionalism, including questioning the patriotism of whole coasts, how does the party grow, especially since Hispanics (especially non-Catholic Hispanics,) are running away from them in droves, turned off by the race-baiting, "whites in the White House," anti-immigrant rantings of the right; and African-Americans barely give the GOP a second look? I think it's clear which way the tide in this country is turning, and it's not in the direction of the Limbaugh-Buchanan-Hannity party.
More on election demographics here. You don't even have to click on the link to figure out that Palinism, which appears to be the dominant element within the GOP right now, is incredibly destructive to the Republican Party.
A senior Republican strategist, speaking with authority about the view of the party’s establishment, issued a wide-ranging critique of the McCain high command: “Lashing out at past Republican Congresses, … echoing your opponent's attacks on you instead of attacking your opponent, and spending 150,000 hard dollars on designer clothes when congressional Republicans are struggling for money, and when your senior campaign staff are blaming each other for the loss in The New York Times [Magazine] 10 days before the election, you’re not doing much to energize your supporters.
“The fact is, when you’re the party standard-bearer, you have an obligation to fight to the finish,” this strategist continued. “I think they can still win. But if they don’t think that, they need to look at how Bob Dole finished out his campaign in 1996 and not try to take down as many Republicans with them as they can. Instead of campaigning in Electoral College states, Dole was campaigning in places he knew he didn’t have a chance to beat Clinton, but where he could energize key House and Senate races.”
ORMOND BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A private watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over Sarah Palin's new wardrobe.
The complaint alleges that the purchase of clothing for Palin and her family violates the Federal Election Campaign Act.
It was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, and it names Palin, the Republican National Committee and several political operatives.
The watchdog group notes that the regulations clearly apply to clothing -- but not to items donated by the candidates to charity. The group says that exception might apply to Palin's clothing, but doesn't appear to apply to clothes for her family.
And now, for something completely different: John McCain has yet another new strategy: attack George W. Bush. No, seriously. Maybe he should drop Sarah and run with his obsessive love object, Joe the Plumber? Or he can do like this guy and just support Obama himself.
So ... let me get this straight ... Joe the "plumber" has $250,000 lying around to buy a plumbing business worth $150,000 less than that, even though he only makes $40,000 a year ... and Sarah the Hockey Mom gets paid by Alaska voters to stay at home, lets her constituents pick up the tab for her kids' travel, and has a $150,000 clothing allowance? Boy, those small town values sure are expensive... either that or all those poor GOPer shlubs slumming it out in the heartland are some kind of suckers... (hmm... given the new valuation of small town America, I wonder how much the Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber Halloween costumes cost? I'm sure I can't afford them...)
Yes, I did listen to the John McCain appearance with his pal Don Imus this morning (on the purportedly liberal AM 940 down here in "Flawrida..." or as much as I could stand, anyway. And his defense of Palin not going on "Meet the Press" was basically laughter. He laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and still didn't explain why C.B. couldn't do the show.
There will be a Sarah Palin deposition in the Troopergate case on Friday, which I'm sure Team McCain is looking forward to. And it turns out the Alaska governor may have tried to cover up state spending on her kids:
An investigation has revealed she charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later changed expense reports to indicate that they were on official business.
The charges, which totalled more than £10,000, included costs for hotel stays and commercial flights for three daughters to watch their father in a snowmobile race.
Other expenses included a trip to New York, where Mrs Palin attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17 - year- old daughter Bristol for five days and four nights in a hotel.
The investigation, by Associated Press, found that Mrs Palin had charged the state of Alaska for 64 oneway and 12 round-trip commercial f lights since she took office in December 2006. In other cases, she charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.
Alaska law does not address expenses for a governor's children, but does allow for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.
The latest allegations come soon after an inquiry found that the Republican vice-presidential candidate had violated ethics laws in attempts to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired after an acrimonious divorce from her sister.
And the latest NBC/WSJ poll finds that Keith Olbermann may have been right back in September about the McCain campaign being better off ditching Sarah altogether:
Fifty-five percent of respondents say she’s not qualified to serve as president if the need arises, up five points from the previous poll.
In addition, for the first time, more voters have a negative opinion of her than a positive one. In the survey, 47 percent view her negatively, versus 38 percent who see her in a positive light.
That’s a striking shift since McCain chose Palin as his running mate in early September, when she held a 47 to 27 percent positive rating.
Now, Palin’s qualifications to be president rank as voters’ top concern about McCain’s candidacy - ahead of continuing President Bush’s policies, enacting economic policies that only benefit the rich and keeping too high of a troop presence in Iraq.
Even women aren't feeling her, which was part of the point of picking her, no? More details on the poll data for the wonky types here.
Meanwhile, how does Tina Fey do such a dead-on imitation of Sarah P? Two words: ear glue...
Mr. Wurzelbacher told reporters Thursday morning that he worked for Newell Plumbing & Heating Co., a small local firm whose business addresses flow back to several residential homes, including one on Talmadge Road in Ottawa Hills.
According to Lucas County Building Inspection records, A. W. Newell Corp. does maintain a state plumbing license, and one with the City of Toledo, but would not be allowed to work in Lucas County outside of Toledo without a county license.
Mr. Wurzelbacher said he works under Al Newell’s license, but according to Ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work.
He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio, which means he’s not a plumber.
2. He's not about to buy a plumbing business, $250,000 or otherwise:
Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was hired by Mr. Newell six years ago and that the possibility of him eventually buying the company was discussed during his job interview.
3. He doesn't make anywhere near $250,000:
Mr. Wurzelbacher said he objects to Mr. Obama’s plans to raise income taxes on incomes above $250,000. He said he makes no where near that much money but he would not say how much he makes or if he ever expects to make $250,000. Court records from a divorce show Mr. Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006.
4. He really, really doesn't want to pay taxes...
In January, 2007, the Ohio Department of Taxation placed a lien against him because $1,183 in personal property taxes had not been paid, but there has been no action in the case since it was filed.
5. He has ties to both Alaska and Arizona:
He said he was born in the Toledo area, lived until he was 13 in the Florida Panhandle area, went to Springfield High School, and then entered the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at an Air Force base in Alaska from 1992 until 1995. He said he was honorably discharged.
Mr. Wurzelbacher also said he lived in Arizona from 1997 until 2000.
6. His Alaska ties could include Todd Palin... Wurzelbacher, who has described himself as a Sarah Palin fan, may also be tied to Wasila via Doug Wurzelbacher, a "31-year-old musher," as described by this Kos diarist, and who lived in Wasila while Palin was mayor. More on the Wasila connection from Progress Ohio:
Is Doug Wurzelbacher related to Joe Wurzelbacher AKA "Plumber Joe"?
According to the census, there are less than 175 Wurzelbachers in the country, and one of them lived in... WASILLA, ALASKA! and was involved in competitive snow racing.
Interestingly enough, according to this record, Robert Wurzelbacher is betting his presidential money on Bob Barr... 8. He may be purged from the voter rolls in Ohio by his party of choice. Per the Brennan Center for Justice:
... many thought Joe was not a registered voter. Turns out there was likely a misspelling in the Lucas County Board of Elections database. From the Blade: "Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said a Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher, whose address and age match Joe the Plumber's, registered in Lucas County on Sept. 10, 1992. He voted in his first primary on March 4, 2008, registering as a Republican. Ms. Howe said that the name may be misspelled in the database."
Politico's Ben Smith makes the connection that if Joe registered this year, he could be purged from the rolls under a 6th Circuit Court ruling on Tuesday.
That's because on Tuesday, following a lawsuit by the Ohio republican party, the court ordered Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to disclose to local election officials the names of 200,000 new registrants whose names didn't match with state motor vehicle or federal Social Security databases. This list could be used by local election officials and party operatives to prevent these voters from casting ballots that will count. As Secretary Brunner knows and the Brennan Center demonstrated in the brief, almost all mis-matches are the result of typos and administrative errors—like in Joe's case.
The Brennan Center is trying to help Joe -- and the other 200,000 people the GOP is trying to purge -- to get their right to vote restored.
Mr Wurzelbacher told ABC he was "not even close" to earning $250,000, but worried that Senator Obama would increase taxes for those making less.
In a video interview with the Toledo Blade newspaper after the debate, Mr Wurzelbacher described himself as a man of modest means.
"You see my house. I don't have a lot of bells and whistles in here, really. My truck's a couple of years old and I'm going to have it for the next 10 years, probably. So I don't see him (Obama) helping me out."
He said he wasn't swayed by Obama's health-care pitch, either, describing it as "just one more step toward socialism."
Mr Wurzelbacher said he was pleased with Senator McCain's performance. "McCain came across with some solid points, and I was real happy about that," he said.
He's also against Social Security, pro-Iraq invasion, wants to seal the borders and he's sick of people saying America isn't the greatest country in the world. In other words, he's a typical, right wing talk radio trained winger:
and last but not least:
10. He's the right wing's latest "common man" indulgence. They're absolutely smitten with his absolutely ordinariness. Move over Sarah, and like, also...
The Naples News-Press has endorsed Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott, despite his ethical lapse at a Sarah Palin rally in which he used Barack Obama's middle name to disparage the Democratic candidate (while Scott was in uniform.) Well, that's their prerogative, just as it's the feds' prerogative to investigate Scott for possible violation of the Hatch Act. But what Scott said long after the rally, in his own defense, might actually be worse than what he did on stage. Specifically, from an October 14 story in another Naples paper:
Scott, when told by a reporter that some people saw use of the name as an attempt to frighten people, responded, "Well, what is ‘Barack Obama?' That's not ‘Mike Scott' or ‘Jim Smith.'"
Well, what does Sheriff Scott mean by that, exactly? "...what is ‘Barack Obama?' That's not ‘Mike Scott' or ‘Jim Smith.???" If I lived in Lee County and my name were, say, Samir Muhammad or Sebastien Ibeke (my father's name) or ... say ... Barack Obama, I might not be so quick to take the News Press' endorsement to the polls, and I might not be so confident of the police services Mike Scott would provide for me.
Mac and Charles in better days, just after McCain won the Florida primary in January
After the GOP presidential campaign veers off the rails, Miss Charlie quits John McCain like a bad tanning parlor:
He says he will "try" to help McCain when "I have time."
He didn't have time over the weekend when he skipped a McCain rally before the UF-LSU football game, opting instead for a trip to Disney. The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, managed to show up.
I was reminded of Crist, during his 2006 gubernatorial campaign, bailing out of an event with George Bush.
Truth be told, Crist will have nothing but time on his hands until after the election. On Monday, his schedule included nothing in the morning and a tour of two small businesses in St. Petersburg in the afternoon. ...
Sure hate it.
Turns out Crist was with Sarah Palin when she made her now infamous "palling around with terrorists" jab at Barack Obama on Florida's west coast, and he was also "palling around" with Sarah (and even introduced her,) at the Germain Arena when Sheriff Mike Scott entered the annals of campaign history. Crist's comments after the rally (the day after last week's town hall style debate) were cool, to say the least, and he was careful to preserve his bi-partisan bona fides, even while playing the good partisan soldier:
“There’s always a back and forth, especially toward the end of these campaigns,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s fun for anyone.”
Asked how much time he would spend campaigning for McCain this month, Crist said it was not his priority.
“I’ll be involved, but my first duty is to the people of Florida, to be their governor and I take that role very, very seriously,” he said. “So when I have time to be able to help, I’ll try to do that but I know where my first loyalty is to and it’s to the 20 million people that live in the state that I love.”
Crist was magnanimous in his assessment of Tuesday night’s presidential debate.
“I thought Sen. McCain did very well. In all fairness, I think Sen. Obama comports himself very well,” said Crist.
It should also be noted that the Florida guvnah also skipped the GOP convention. He probably doesn't enjoy big, rowdy right wing crowds who tend to boo moderate, not exactly completely verifiably straight Republicans like him, if you know what I mean. And Crist has had a good, solid relationship with Florida Democrats, who could also increase their numbers in the state house in November, and with groups like the NAACP, who have been horrified by the goings on at the McCain-Palin campaign. Why would Crist put all of that at risk for McCain, after McCain abandoned the reasonable wing of the party for the kooks?
Oh, and if I were Charlie's fiancee, I wouldn't bet everything I had on that December wedding. Getting engaged was kind of part of the veep marketing strategy, and well ... McCain, as we now know all too well, went another way.
The $12.5 million sports complex and hockey rink that is the lasting monument to Palin's two terms as Wasilla mayor is also a monument to the kind of insider politics that dismays Americans of both parties. Six months before Palin stepped down as mayor in October 2002, the city awarded nearly a half-million-dollar contract to design the biggest project in Wasilla history to Kumin Associates. Blase Burkhart was the Kumin architect on the job—the son of Roy Burkhart, who is frequently described as a "mentor" of Palin and was head of the local Republican Party (his wife, June, who also advised Palin, is the national committeewoman). Asked if the contract was a favor, Roy Burkhart, who contributed to her campaign in the same time frame that his son got the contract, said: "I really don't know." Palin then named Blase Burkhart to a seven-member builder-selection committee that picked Howdie Inc., a mostly residential contractor owned at the time by Howard Nugent. Formally awarded the contract a couple of weeks after Palin left office, Nugent has donated $4,000 to Palin campaigns. Two competitors protested the process that led to Nugent's contract. Burkhart and Nugent had done at least one project together before the complex—and have done several since.
A list of subcontractors on the job, obtained by the Voice, includes many with Palin ties. One was Spenard Builders Supply, the state's leading supplier of wood, floor, roof, and other "pre-engineered components." In addition to being a sponsor of Todd Palin's snow-machine team that has earned tens of thousands for the Palin family, Spenard hired Sarah Palin to do a statewide television commercial in 2004. When the Palins began building a new family home off Lake Lucille in 2002—at the same time that Palin was running for lieutenant governor and in her final months as mayor—Spenard supplied the materials, according to Antoine Bricks, who works in its Wasilla office. Spenard actually filed a notice "of its right to assert a lien" on the deed for the Palin property after contracting for labor and materials for the site. Spenard's name has popped up in the trial of Senator Stevens—it worked on the house that is at the center of the VECO scandal as well.
Todd Palin told Fox News that he built the two-story, 3,450-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bath, wood house himself, with the help of contractors he described as "buddies." As mayor, Sarah Palin blocked an effort to require the filing of building permits in the wide-open city, and there is no public record of who the "buddies" were. The house was built very near the complex, on a site whose city purchase led to years of unsuccessful litigation and, now, $1.3 million in additional costs, with a law firm that's also donated to Palin collecting costly fees from the city.
Dorwin and Joanne Smith, the principals of complex subcontractor DJ Excavation & Development, have donated $7,100 to Palin and her allied candidate Charlie Fannon (Joanne is a Palin appointee on the state Board of Nursing). Sheldon Ewing, who owns another complex subcontractor, Weld Air, has donated $1,300, and PN&D, an engineering firm on the complex, has contributed $699.
Ewing was one of the few sports-complex contractors, aside from Spenard, willing to address the question of whether he worked on the house as well, but he had little to say: "I doubt that it occurred, but if it did indirectly, how would I know anyhow?" The odd timing of Palin's house construction—it was completed two months before she left City Hall and while she and Todd Palin were campaigning statewide for the first time—raises questions, especially considering its synergy with the complex.
So ... I guess being a maverick involves ... cronyism, enriching oneself through one's office, and getting a brand new hockey rink AND a new house that the taxpayers pay you to live in? Who knew?
The McCain campaign is in a huff over a statement from one of the three "wise men" John McCain claimed in that Rick Warren confab that he would consult in the White House if he were to become president: Georgia Congressman, and civil rights icon, John Lewis, who on Saturday ripped into the McCain-Palin ticket, accusing the campaign of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division." Referring to 1960s-era Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Lewis said in a statement on Saturday:
"As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing today reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.
"During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who only desired to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed one Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.
"As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Governor Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better."
"Congressman John Lewis' comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama's record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I've always admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the right track.
"I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the important debate about the path forward for America."
Clarifying his remarks later Saturday, Lewis said his statement "was a reminder to all Americans that toxic language can lead to destructive behavior."
"I am glad that Sen. McCain has taken some steps to correct divisive speech at his rallies. I believe we need to return to civil discourse in this election about the pressing economic issues that are affecting our nation."
Obama's campaign said Obama "does not believe that John McCain or any policy criticism is any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies" but said Lewis was "right to condemn some of the hateful rhetoric."
So here's the thing. The McCain campaign is brimming with fake outrage over Lewis' remarks, but then the same day, what we can now call "the trouble" happens again...
I would also add, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you will guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and election day.
"While we understand the important role that faith plays in informing the votes of Iowans, questions about the religious background of the candidates only serve to distract from the real questions in this race about Barack Obama's judgment, policies and readiness to lead as commander in chief." - Wendy Riemann, Midwest Regional Communications Director
And McCain has another problem. What Rep. Lewis said isn't even the first time someone has raised the possibility that McCain and especially Sarah Palin, are systematically bringing the nut-jobsout of the woodwork. Chris Matthews has said it, as have David Gergen, Joe Klein, Bob Shrum and any number of commentators and analysts, some of whom I've chronicled here. Just this weekend, right wing talker Mike McConnell compared the McCain-Palin rallies to excursions into "Hooterville," and suggested that the only people still attending, and still interested in Bill Ayers, are people named "Jebediah and Jethro." And McCain has apparently realized himself that he's got to begin walking the crazies back from the grassy knoll. And McCain's troubles with his angry mob of followers are now an international story. No backing away from it now.
Here at home, just today, we have Frank Rich opening his column like this:
IF you think way back to the start of this marathon campaign, back when it seemed preposterous that any black man could be a serious presidential contender, then you remember the biggest fear about Barack Obama: a crazy person might take a shot at him. ...
Is what John Lewis said any more jarring than that? I think not.
The verdict is in: 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats on the legislative panel in Alaska investigating "Troopergate" find that Sarah Palin abused her power as governor, and used her husband as her "cappo." From the Anchorage Daily News:
A legislative investigation has concluded that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in pushing for the firing of an Alaska state trooper who was once married to her sister, or by failing to prevent her husband Todd from doing so.
The report by investigator Steve Branchflower was made public late this afternoon by a bipartisan 12-0 vote of the Legislative Council, which authorized the investigation.
Branchflower's report contains four findings. The first concludes that Palin violated the state's executive branch ethics act, which says that "each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."
Branchflower was investigating Palin's involvement in an effort to get state trooper Mike Wooten fired. Wooten was involved in a nasty divorce from Palin's sister. Palin and her husband, Todd, have accused Wooten of threatening Palin's father.
The investigation also looked into whether Palin dismissed public safety commissioner Walt Monegan because he resisted pressure to fire Wooten.
The report says Palin failed to reign in her husband's inappropriate efforts to use the governor's office to contact trooper employees in his attempts to have Wooten fired.
"Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda ... to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired," Branchflower's report says.
"Compliance with the code of ethics is not optional. It is an individual responsibility imposed by law, and any effort to benefit a personal interest through official action is a violation of that trust. ... The term 'benefit' is very broadly defined, and includes anything that is to the person's advantage or personal self-interest."
In the second finding, Branchflower says Monegan's refusal to fire Wooten was not the sole reason for his dismissal but that it was a "contributing factor." Still, he said, Palin's firing of Monegan was "a proper and lawful exercise" of the governor's authority.
The third finding says a workers compensation claim filed by Wooten was handled appropriately. Number four concludes that the attorney general's office failed to comply with Branchflower's Aug. 6 request for information about the case in the form of e-mails.
The chairman of the Legislative Council, Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, said he agreed with Branchflower's findings but wasn't ready to suggest there should be any consequences for the governor. ...
The report is in many ways an indictment of Todd Palin, who apparently spent literally years pursuing a vendetta against his wife's former brother in law, in an attempt to get him fired as a state trooper. (Full report here.)
"Today's report shows that the Governor acted within her proper and lawful authority in the reassignment of Walt Monegan," said Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapelton. "The report also illustrates what we've known all along: this was a partisan led inquiry run by Obama supporters and the Palins were completely justified in their concern regarding Trooper Wooten given his violent and rogue behavior. Lacking evidence to support the original Monegan allegation, the Legislative Council seriously overreached, making a tortured argument to find fault without basis in law or fact. The Governor is looking forward to cooperating with the Personnel Board and continuing her conversation with the American people regarding the important issues facing the country."
Anger and frustration, even rage, have become the prevailing emotions at rallies for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin (not to mention their latest ads.) That's the storyline almost anywhere you look. And it's not a good look for a campaign that at this stage, has to bank on swing voters not being completely turned off by the spectacle of angry, vicious mobs hurling epithets at Barack Obama. From Politico sums it up:
The raw emotions worry some in the party who believe the broader swath of swing voters are far more focused on their dwindling retirement accounts than on Obama’s background and associations and will be turned off by footage of the McCain events.
John Weaver, McCain’s former top strategist, said top Republicans have a responsibility to temper this behavior.
“People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Sen. Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Sen. McCain,” Weaver said. “And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive.”
“Sen. Obama is a classic liberal with an outdated economic agenda. We should take that agenda on in a robust manner. As a party we should not and must not stand by as the small amount of haters in our society question whether he is as American as the rest of us. Shame on them and shame on us if we allow this to take hold.”
But, if it were up to them, such hard-edged tactics are clearly what many in the party base would like to use against Obama.
The anger is spilling over at campaign events such as the one in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where the now infamous "angry man" held forth:
“It's time that you two are representing us, and we are mad,” reiterated the boisterous Republican at McCain’s town hall in Wisconsin Thursday. “So go get 'em!”
"I am begging you, sir, I am begging you — take it to him," pleaded James T. Harris, a local talk radio host at the same event, earning an extended standing ovation.
“Yosemite Sam is having the law laid down to him today in Waukesha, Wis.,” quipped Limbaugh on his show Thursday, referring to the GOP nominee. “This guy, this audience member, is exactly right,” the conservative talk show host said of the first individual.
The problem for Team McCain is that their current strategy only works with the base, which is shrinking, while the spectacle of shrieking, angry ralliers turns off key voting blocks, including suburban swing voters and Hispanics, or even conservative blacks (immigrants in particular) who can't possibly feel comfortable aligning themselves with what looks like a party driven in part by racial fears and animus. With Republican party identification declining, you can't win a national election with lower middle class whites alone (and even if you can pull it off this year, that strategy is clearly, demographicaly, a long term loser.)
... Neither McCain nor Palin would dare mention Obama's middle name, Hussein, but they can play up Obama's past associations and let others connect the dots. Terrorist. Muslim. Dangerous. Other.
It is legitimate to question character and dubious associations -- and William Ayers is certifiably dubious. The truth is, Obama should have avoided Ayers, and his denouncement of Wright was tardy. But this is a dangerous game.
The McCain campaign knows that Obama isn't a Muslim or a terrorist, but they're willing to help a certain kind of voter think he is. Just the way certain South Carolinians in 2000 were allowed to think that McCain's adopted daughter from Bangladesh was his illegitimate black child.
But words can have more serious consequences than lost votes and we've already had a glimpse of the Palin effect.
The Post's Dana Milbank reported that media representatives in Clearwater were greeted with taunts, thunder sticks and profanity. One Palin supporter shouted an epithet at an African-American soundman and said, "Sit down, boy."
McCain may want to call off his pit bull before this war escalates.
Former Michigan Gov. Roger Milliken (who endorsed McCain during the primary):
"He is not the McCain I endorsed," said Milliken, reached at his Traverse City home Thursday. "He keeps saying, 'Who is Barack Obama?' I would ask the question, 'Who is John McCain?' because his campaign has become rather disappointing to me.
"I'm disappointed in the tenor and the personal attacks on the part of the McCain campaign, when he ought to be talking about the issues."
Milliken, a lifelong Republican, is among some past leaders from the party's moderate wing voicing reservations and, in some cases, opposition to McCain's candidacy.
Those include former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, who comes from an old GOP family and whose father was Yale classmate of George W. Bush's father:
McCain campaigned for Chafee's unsuccessful re-election bid in 2006, but Chafee said he is concerned McCain has swung to the right, a divisive strategy that could make it difficult for him to govern.
"That's not my kind of Republicanism," said Chafee, who now calls himself an independent. "I saw what Bush and Cheney did. They came in with a (budget) surplus and a stable world, and look what's happened now. In eight short years they've taken one peaceful and prosperous world, and they've torn it into tatters."
As for McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate, "there's no question she's totally unqualified," Chafee said.
Bob Eleveld is a former Kent County Republican chairman who led McCain's West Michigan campaign in 2000. This year, he has remained mum unless asked.
"I'm not supporting either of them at this point," he said. "Suffice it to say there are a number of people who have been strong Republicans in the past, including party chairs, who feel as I do."
He declined to name them.
In the past, McCain was more of a moderate known for his straight talk, Eleveld said.
"I think the straight talk is gone," he said, describing himself as a member of the party's moderate wing. "I think he's pandering to the Christian right. That's some straight talk from me."
American voters are staggering under the worst financial crisis since at least 1982. Asset values are tumbling, consumer spending is contracting, and a recession is visibly on the way. This crisis follows upon seven years in which middle-class incomes have stagnated and Republican economic management has been badly tarnished. Anybody who imagines that an election can be won under these circumstances by banging on about William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright is … to put it mildly … severely under-estimating the electoral importance of pocketbook issues.
We conservatives are sending a powerful, inadvertent message with this negative campaign against Barack Obama's associations and former associations: that we lack a positive agenda of our own and that we don’t care about the economic issues that are worrying American voters.
... and he adds this:
Those who press this Ayers line of attack are whipping Republicans and conservatives into a fury that is going to be very hard to calm after November. Is it really wise to send conservatives into opposition in a mood of disdain and fury for a man who may well be the next president of the United States, incidentally the first African-American president? Anger is a very bad political adviser. It can isolate us and push us to the extremes at exactly the moment when we ought to be rebuilding, rethinking, regrouping and recruiting.
I’m not suggesting that we remit our opposition to a hypothetical President Obama. Only that an outgunned party will need to stay cool. A big part of Obama’s appeal is his self-command. It’s a genuinely impressive quality. Let’s emulate it. We’ll be needing it.
"One of the most striking things we've seen in the last few day, we have seen it at the Palin rallies and we saw it at the McCain rally today," said David Gergen, appearing on Anderson Cooper 360 Thursday evening. "And we saw it to a considerable degree during the rescue package legislation. There is a free-floating sort of whipping-around anger that could really lead to some violence. And I think we're not far from that."
Gergen's remark came hours after John McCain and Sarah Palin held a rally in Wisconsin that saw attendees pleading with them to go on the attack against Barack Obama over his past associations and "socialistic" behavior. Earlier in the week crowd members at other McCain-Palin events have screamed out that Obama is a terrorist, has committed treason, and should be killed.
"I really worry when we get people -- when you get the kind of rhetoric that you're getting at these rallies now," said Gergen. "I think it's really imperative the candidates try to calm people down."
Christopher Buckley (son of William F.) speaking about the hate directed back at conservative intellectuals on behalf of McCain-Palin, and announcing that he's endorsing Obama:
My colleague, the superb and very dishy Kathleen Parker, recently wrote in National Review Online a column stating what John Cleese as Basil Fawlty would call “the bleeding obvious”: namely, that Sarah Palin is an embarrassment, and a dangerous one at that. She’s not exactly alone. New York Times columnist David Brooks, who began his career at NR, just called Governor Palin “a cancer on the Republican Party.”
As for Kathleen, she has to date received 12,000 (quite literally) foam-at-the-mouth hate-emails. One correspondent, if that’s quite the right word, suggested that Kathleen’s mother should have aborted her and tossed the fetus into a Dumpster. There’s Socratic dialogue for you. Dear Pup once said to me sighfully after a right-winger who fancied himself a WFB protégé had said something transcendently and provocatively cretinous, “You know, I’ve spent my entire life time separating the Right from the kooks.” Well, the dear man did his best. At any rate, I don’t have the kidney at the moment for 12,000 emails saying how good it is he’s no longer alive to see his Judas of a son endorse for the presidency a covert Muslim who pals around with the Weather Underground. So, you’re reading it here first.
Then there are the once-McCian-friendly members of the media, including Atlantic's Ta-Nehesi Coates:
The saddest thing about many Republicans isn't just that they disagree with liberals on race--it's they are largely ignorant on race. When the McCain campaign cast the spell of diabolical jingoism, they have no idea of the forces they are toying with. We remember Martin Luther King's murder as a sad and tragic event. Less remembered is the fact that ground-work for King's murder was seeded, not simply by rank white supremacy, but by people who slandered King as a communist.
This was not some notion bandied about by conspiracy theorist, but an accusation proffered by men who were the pillars of the modern Republican Party:
As late as 1964, Falwell was attacking the 1964 Civil Rights Act as "civil wrongs" legislation. He questioned "the sincerity and intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations." Falwell charged, "It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed."
Falwell was not alone. These men didn't kill Martin Luther King, but they contributed to an atmosphere of nationalism, white supremacy and cheap unreflective patriotism that ultimately got a lot of people killed. Confronted with Aparthied South Africa, men like Helms and Falwell used the same "communist" defense. While Mandella wasted away in prison, they dismissed the whole thing as a communist plot.
Let me be clear--This is the ghost that McCain Campaign is summoning. This is the Ring Of Power that they want to wield. The Muslim charge, the "Hussein" thing is nothing more than today's red-baiting, and it is what it was then--a cover for racists.
But seriously, folks, I'm beginning to worry about the level of craziness on the Republican side, the over-the-top, stampede-the-crowd statements by everyone from McCain on down, the vehemence of the crowds that McCain and Palin are drawing with people shouting "Kill him" and "He's a terrorist" and "Off with his head."
Watch the tape of the guy screaming, "He's a terrorist!" McCain seems to shudder at that, he rolls his eyes... and I thought for a moment he'd admonish the man. But he didn't. And now he's selling the Ayres non-story full-time. Yes, yes, it's all he has. True enough: he no longer has his honor. But we are on the edge of some real serious craziness here and it would be nice if McCain did the right thing and told his more bloodthirsty supporters to go home and take a cold shower. But McCain hasn't done the right thing all year. His campaign is appalling, as the New York Times editorial board said today--and more, it is a national disgrace.
Well said. John McCain must now decide: he can dive in further into the muck and become a political Michael Savage, or he can try to salvage some shred of the integrity that he has mostly shredded during this most inglorious campaign.
Stop the ACLU leads the right wing charge against Newsweek for ... putting Sarah Palin on the cover without soft lighting (and for Jonathan Meacham's cover story) ... and then commits an illuminating act of truthiness:
Newsweek’s Jon Meacham thinks that Governor Sarah Palin is too much a commoner and too stupid to be allowed to become vice president of the United States of America and apparently his employer agrees with him. The October 13 cover of Newsweek features a close up photo of the Governor with the headline “She’s One of the Folks (And that’s the problem),” and Meacham writes the accompanying cover story. Be clear about what this means: This is a direct attack on Mr. and Mrs. America. We are all too stupid to be president in the elite opinion of Jon Meacham and Newsweek magazine.
Yep. that about sums it up. Most "regular folks" (and just about everybody at Stop the ACLU...) ARE too stupid to be president. We should start electing smarter applicants. STAT. (STACLU won't be liking this gal either, nope, you betcha not!)
The gubernatorial superstar did appear at one of those big ole rallies in Ohio today, where she kinda forgot to mention that the Dow Jones plunged below 9,000 for the first time in years, but she did bring up Bill Ayers, doncha know!
Meanwhile, the TrooperGate probe is back in business following a ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court, with a report on John McCain's little Sancho Panza's nasty little vendetta due to drop tomorrow (which at this point, has become today...) And we're finding out a little bit more about Todd Palin's role, not just as "First Dude," but apparently, also as Alaska's unofficial personnel manager:
Todd Palin campaigned for years to get state trooper Mike Wooten fired, he told the Alaska Legislature's "Troopergate" investigator, in a 25-page response to a list of questions.
Palin provided his answers to special counsel Stephen Branchflower yesterday, according to news accounts and sources familiar with the probe. Palin's lawyer and the McCain-Palin campaign made the document available to reporters that evening, a move condemned by State Senate officials.
"The McCain campaign should not be releasing these documents to you," said Alaska Senate President Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, after learning the camp had offered the document to a reporter, under condition of anonymity. "This is a confidential report," she said. "The campaign should have nothing to do with this."
Silly Alaska guy. The campaign has got something to do with EVERYTHING... (country first!)
Finally, I think we can all agree that it's high time the media began taking a serious look at the nefarious associations of one of the candidates vying to lead this country, because those associations are pretty gall-darned disturbing...
PALMER, Alaska — | On the afternoon of Sept. 24 in downtown Palmer, Alaska, as the sun began to sink behind the snowcapped mountains that flank the picturesque Mat-Su Valley, 51-year-old Mark Chryson sat for an hour on a park bench, reveling in tales of his days as chairman of the Alaska Independence Party. The stocky, gray-haired computer technician waxed nostalgic about quixotic battles to eliminate taxes, support the “traditional family” and secede from the United States.
So long as Alaska remained under the boot of the federal government, said Chryson, the AIP had to stand on guard to stymie a New World Order. He invited a Salon reporter to see a few items inside his pickup truck that were intended for his personal protection. “This here is my attack dog,” he said with a chuckle, handing the reporter an exuberant 8-pound papillon from his passenger seat. “Her name is Suzy.” Then he pulled a 9-millimeter Makarov PM pistol — once the standard-issue sidearm for Soviet cops — out of his glove compartment. “I’ve got enough weaponry to raise a small army in my basement,” he said, clutching the gun in his palm. “Then again, so do most Alaskans.” But Chryson added a message of reassurance to residents of that faraway place some Alaskans call “the 48.” “We want to go our separate ways,” he said, “but we are not going to kill you.”
Though Chryson belongs to a fringe political party, one that advocates the secession of Alaska from the Union, and that organizes with other like-minded secessionist movements from Canada to the Deep South, he is not without peculiar influence in state politics, especially the rise of Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin!!!??? Heeeey, wait a minute...
An obscure figure outside of Alaska, Chryson has been a political fixture in the hometown of the Republican vice-presidential nominee for over a decade. During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin’s campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.
Well, at least we don't have to worry about John McCain's associations ...
McCain associated with Bitburg defenders
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
John McCain was associated with a far-right group that derided opponents of President Reagan's visit to a Nazi cemetery.
Senator McCain (R-Ariz.), the Republican presidential candidate, joined the U.S. Council for World Freedom's board around the time he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982.
At the time, the group was distancing itself from the former Nazis and fascists who made up the international group with which it was affiliated, the World Anti-Communist League. McCain's endorsement was a boon to the council, reportedly cited in a 1981 Anti-Defamation League report because of those international ties.
McCain first sought to distance himself from the group in 1984, when the council was named as involved in efforts to support the Contras, the right-wing militias in Nicaragua, The Associated Press said in a report Tuesday. The McCain campaign supplied the AP with a letter he wrote that year resigning his position, but the group apparently did not take note.
It was later revealed that the council was acting as a front for the CIA in Nicaragua, and in 1986, McCain again asked the group to remove his name from its letterhead, and this time it complied, the AP reported. In the interim, however, McCain attended the group's Freedom Fighter of the Year award ceremony in October 1985.
A few months earlier, the group's newsletter had derided opponents of Reagan's decision to mark 40 years since the end of World War II with a visit to Bitburg, a German cemetery that includes the graves of members of Hitler's notorious SS death squads. Jewish groups led the opposition to the visit.
It has been discovered that McCain may have some connections of his own. In today’s article on the TIME Magazine website, it is revealed that McCain served on the advisory board of the US Council for World Freedom. This group has been linked to Central American death squads that leaned to the far right.
This group was stripped of its nonprofit tax exemption by the IRS. This was due to the group aiding rebels that wanted to take down Nicaragua’s leftist government. Keep in mind, McCain served on the advisory board during the 1980s.
This group was the US arm of the World Anti-Communist League. And yes, this was still during the Cold War. It was the battle between Capitalism and Communism. The US Council for World Freedom was founded by John Singlaub, a retired Army Major General.
It is also revealed that this group is also linked with Nazi collaborators.
On Monday, October 6,2008 Lee County Sheriff, Mike Scott in full uniform, spoke at a political rally for the McCain-Palin presidential campaign. He spoke of Barack Obama, calling him "Barack Hussein Obama". This was a blatant attempt to conjure images of Islamic extremism and the rally attendees took it as such. They began to cheer after the word "Hussein" and before the Sheriff had made his point. It was the name, and its connotations, they were cheering.
Sheriff Scott has said that he will not apologize and if Obama doesn't like being called Hussein, "Perhaps he should have changed his name." I would like to point out that the Sheriff's middle name was not used when he was introduced. Sarah Palin's middle name was not used when the Sheriff introduced her just moments after he referenced the Senator by his full name. This is clearly an attempt to make a racially charged assertion about who Barack Obama is, based upon his name.
Associations like these, are not only inaccurate as Senator Obama is not a Muslim, but they are inappropriate because being a Muslim doesn't equate to being a terrorist. Suggesting otherwise is offensive to Muslims, and others living in the state of Florida. The Sheriff is a public official, whose salary is paid by the very citizens he offends with such a statement.
Central Florida is home to more than 25,000 practicing Muslims according to The Islamic Society of Central Florida and countless other religious and racial minority groups. It is unacceptable to have public officials who display their disdain for these groups so proudly.
We request that Sheriff Mike Scott be publicly reprimanded for his behavior and asked to issue a public apology.
So far they're at 75 signatures. The actual petition is here.
Sheriff Mike Scott gave an interview to the Lehigh Acres News Star in Fort Myers and issued a statement on what will heretofore be known as "Namegate." First, a clip from the statement:
• Everyone seems to agree on the underlying issue…my mention of a Presidential candidate’s full, legal name of record. There were no accusations, innuendos, untruths, or malicious words before or after the candidate’s name; although many others have made inflammatory statements about the candidate’s character, etc. I did not change my tone or otherwise punctuate or repeat the name with any verbal or physical emphasis.
• “Why” did I use the Candidate’s full, legal name of record? Despite varying inferences, interpretations, opinions, and extrapolations; the answer is because I wanted to, much like I wanted to voice my support for the Barron Collier Marching Band.
• The issue of my status as an elected official participating in a political rally has been raised along with the suggestion that this somehow clouds my representation of all constituents. I have not heard similar concern over the many other elected officials that day and everyday engaging in the same activities across our state and country. For example – Governor Crist is the Governor of all Florida’s people and his support of the Republican ticket in no way implies diminished concern for anyone opposing his political choice. Likewise, my political choices against the backdrop of my proven record of service, in no way suggest diminished concern for any individual or group.
• The issue of my appearance at the rally in uniform has been raised. It is noteworthy that I recently completed my primary campaign and continue my general campaign in the same uniform. My practice has been to wear the uniform at all times and as is undisputed, I am on duty 24/7 and 365. It is also noteworthy that I joined my fellow Florida Sheriffs in Tampa very recently for a political rally…all were in full uniform. At no time during this week’s rally did I mention the agency I represent; however, I was introduced by my official title. Given the introduction and my widespread name and face recognition in this area, I am satisfied that my apparel is irrelevant and the same reactions would have resulted had I been wearing a suit and tie.
Now, about that uniform you say you wear "at all times...." when you say "at all times," do you mean "ALL times, all times? Or just at "sometimes" all times...
Mike Scott (second from the right) at an event last summer, sanz uniform...
In the statement, Scott also goes after the local NAACP for criticizing him, saying:
... The strong support these groups have always provided me is rooted in my tireless efforts to work equally hard for all of Lee County. I delivered the Dunbar Community Policing Office and shocked business owners along MLK Jr. Blvd. by regularly stopping in to say hello during my first term as Sheriff. If their support is so shallow as to wane over one (1) word that was legal, accurate, and void of supporting malice beyond dispute, then I will respectfully move on without their political support and without change to my loyalty to them or their constituents.
Well, I mean he did come by and visit...
Scott says he expects to be fully cleared on the Hatch Act charges, and that he won't be making any further public statements. Except for in this intervew, as recounted by columnist Sam Cook, in which Scott appears to leave his body, where the reason and logic purportedly reside...
"I answered a lot of e-mails and signed my middle name (Joseph) on all of them,'' says Scott, 45. "I don't see anything wrong with calling him Barack Hussein Obama.
"That is his name.'' ...
... Scott, in an interview Tuesday with news-press.com and The News-Press, says he doesn't comprehend the commotion his name-calling put in motion.
"I was told to speak three to four minutes and fire up the crowd,'' he says. "Help welcome her to Southwest Florida.
"That's pretty much what I did. I've watched that tape over and over. I don't see any malice. What I said was truthful and accurate. I did not say anything unethical, immoral or illegal.''
That's a matter of opinion.
If Scott didn't believe name-dropping "Hussein'' would create upheaval in Southwest Florida, he isn't the astute politician who captured 91 percent of the vote in Lee County's Republican primary victory last month.
Again, Scott says he won't back down from his comment.
"I'll never, ever, ever apologize,'' he says. "There is nothing in my mind to apologize for. I just can't do it. That's all. It's the principle of the thing.''
Politically speaking - even for a landslide winner - his remark was one dumb move.
Perhaps no one ever told the sheriff that throwing Barack Obama's middle name into a conversation is the most common tool that right wing talk radio hosts, bloggers and such use to deride the Senator as "foreign," an undercover Muslim, and even a friend of terrorists. (In fact, it was just done again less than two hours ago in Pennsylvania...) Maybe he's the one guy in America who despite being a Rudy Giuliani-loving Republican, who I'm assuming has at least heard of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the like, or even listened to them from time to time, still doesn't know that. Assuming he is that dumb, or that naive, maybe next time, our man with the badge should simply use the names Sarah Louise Palin or to refer to John Sydney McCain III in public conversation, just to balance things out.
The Secret Service is now investigating the infamous "kill him!" remark hurled at a Sarah Palin rally here in Florida this week, which has so far been a crescendo of pretty scary crowd reactions to insinuations by Palin that Barack Obama -- who I might remind you is a sitting U.S. Senator, and one of those colleagues John McCain supposedly would "reach across the aisle" to work with as president -- is essentially a terrorist (or terrorist sympathier) -- allegations Joe Biden is calling "mildly dangerous" (to put it mildly.)
Apparently, agents at the rally site didn't hear the remark, but people in the crowd did, as Dana Milbank reported in the WaPo. Some people, myself included, are now warning McCain that his campaign is playing with fire, and possibly even endangering Obama's life. There are real nuts out there, some of whom are being whipped into a frenzy of racist and xenophobic hatred against Obama even before Sarah P started aligning him with terrorists. Remember those screwballs in Denver? Well even a screwball can change the world, as Lee Harvey Oswald proved in 1963.
Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan puts it bluntly: "they know what they're doing."
It is a sorry fact of American political life that campaigns get ugly, often in their final weeks. But Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember.
They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and distortions of an opponent’s record — into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia. Senator Barack Obama has taken some cheap shots at Mr. McCain, but there is no comparison. ...
... Ms. Palin, in particular, revels in the attack. Her campaign rallies have become spectacles of anger and insult. “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America,” Ms. Palin has taken to saying.
That line follows passages in Ms. Palin’s new stump speech in which she twists Mr. Obama’s ill-advised but fleeting and long-past association with William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground and confessed bomber. By the time she’s done, she implies that Mr. Obama is right now a close friend of Mr. Ayers — and sympathetic to the violent overthrow of the government. The Democrat, she says, “sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
Her demagoguery has elicited some frightening, intolerable responses. A recent Washington Post report said at a rally in Florida this week a man yelled “kill him!” as Ms. Palin delivered that line and others shouted epithets at an African-American member of a TV crew.
Mr. McCain’s aides haven’t even tried to hide their cynical tactics, saying they were “going negative” in hopes of shifting attention away from the financial crisis — and by implication Mr. McCain’s stumbling response.
We certainly expected better from Mr. McCain, who once showed withering contempt for win-at-any-cost politics. He was driven out of the 2000 Republican primaries by this sort of smear, orchestrated by some of the same people who are now running his campaign.
And the tactic of guilt by association is perplexing, since Mr. McCain has his own list of political associates he would rather forget. ...
In a way, we should not be surprised that Mr. McCain has stooped so low, since the debate showed once again that he has little else to talk about. He long ago abandoned his signature issues of immigration reform and global warming; his talk of “victory” in Iraq has little to offer a war-weary nation; and his Reagan-inspired ideology of starving government and shredding regulation lies in tatters on Wall Street.
But surely, Mr. McCain and his team can come up with a better answer to that problem than inciting more division, anger and hatred.
Lee County, Florida Sheriff Mike Scott isn't talking to the press. So says Lt. Robert Forrest, Commander of the county's Publ ic Information Office. Forrest, the day after Scott delivered a stem winding introduction for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a campaign rally in Estero, located north of Bonita Springs on Florida's Gulf Coast.
Scott told a roaring crowd, Monday, that there are three types of people in the world: "the ones who make things happen, the ones who watch what happens and the ones who wonder what happened." Then he added, "let's leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened."
The response from Lee County constituents, and from the media, was immediate.
"We've taken probably 1,000 phone calls during this business day and we've had pretty much a 50-50 proposition," when it comes to callers' opinions of Scott's rhetoric Monday, Forrest said, "with some individuals very passionately stating their opinions, some of them in a calm, well articulated manner and others in a not so articulate, calm demeanor."
Forrest added that Scott has "wiped his hands" of the matter and didn't plan to give any interviews.
Before he stopped talking to the press, Scott was unapologetic, telling local reporters he "absolutely, unequivocally" didn't regret using Obama's middle name, and adding, "frankly, if this is such a hot-button issue, he, as a Harvard lawyer, could have changed it if he didn't like it." Obama's middle name is often used derisively by conservative talk radio and blogs, including by those attempting to imply that Obama, who is Christian, is in fact a Muslim.
"Obviously a lot of folks feel compelled to say something about this," Forrest said, but "he meant nothing by the use of the middle name, he was surprised by all the hoopla and he is moving on."
He might be the only one.
On Tuesday, the Office of Special Counsel in Washington D.C. confirmed to THE REID REPORT that it has opened an investigation into Scott's political activities Monday, which were conducted while he was in uniform. According to the federal Hatch Act, such activities might be prohibited by law. According to the Office of Special Counsel:
The Hatch Act applies to executive branch state and local employees who are principally employed in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency. Employees who work for educational or research institutions which are supported in whole or in part by a State or political subdivision of the State are not covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act.
It states that covered persons may not "use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination," and that while "an employee's conduct is also subject to the laws of the state and the regulations of the employing agency… employees should be aware that the prohibitions of the Hatch Act are not affected by state or local laws."
"Today we've launched a formal investigation into the sheriffs activity during yesterday's political event," OSC Director of Congressional-Public Affairs Anthony Guglielmi told THE REID REPORT Tuesday. Guglielmi said that the first step would be to determine whether Scott was in fact covered by the Hatch Act, including if the Lee County Sheriff's office has received any federal grants. If violations are found, Scott would be notified and advised "how to rectify" the situation, and could face penalties including dismissal, or forfeiture of federal assistance equal to two years salary.
Guglielmi said his office became aware of the situation through "media coverage and calls from concerned citizens." He said the OSC is "taking a pro-active step" to investigate this and many other Hatch Act related claims "before the election."
On the local laws, at least, Scott appears to be in the clear. According to Forrest, Lee County policy states that "deputies and officers can't campaign in uniform, but a sheriff can because he is an elected official." Forrest added that Scott is always in uniform: "he is the chief law enforcement officer of Lee county regardless of where he is or what he is doing."
Scott's previous statements to the media said he was not speaking for the Sheriff's department on Monday.
Forrest called Scott, a Republican who is on the ballot for re-election in November, "a thorough professional and extremely popular sheriff in Lee County who is well respected and well liked," adding that "his track record speaks for itself." Scott was elected in 2004 after defeating a first-term incumbent, Rod Shoap. His official website states that former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is his "inspiration," and that he keeps a Votomatic Vote Recorder used in the 2000 Lee County election in his office. The site reads in part: "the voting booth is the sheriff's daily reminder to be responsive to voters who elected him to office. At the center of his conference table sits a sculpture with an arrow pointing outward, keeping him grounded and focused on the whole agency. Three framed words sit on his desk: Honesty. Trust. Integrity."
Update: Lee County Sheriff under federal investigation
It's the Hatch Act, stupid. I just confirmed with the Office of Special Counsel in D.C. that Sheriff Mike Scott is being investigated for possibly violating the Hatch Act during his partisan speech in uniform on behalf of Sarah Palin yesterday. My story should be posted to an online news outlet near you, very soon. The Public Information Officer at the Lee County Sheriff's Department says Scott has "wiped his hands" of the controversy and won't be talking to the media. This one's Developing...
Under color of authority: Lee County Sheriff a hatchet man in uniform
Lee County, Fla. Sheriff Mike Scott campaigns for Sarah Palin on Monday
Did Lee County, Florida Sheriff Mike Scott violate the rules of his office (in addition to those of propriety,) when he rallied for John McCain and Sarah Palin, and attacked Barack Obama while wearing his uniform? First, the story from yesterday:
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott took the stage moments ago as one of the introductory speakers at a rally here for Sarah Palin. After delivering brief remarks in support of Palin, Sheriff Scott flipped the switch and used Barack Obama’s middle name in order to incite the crowd of thousands of people who have already gathered here.
“On Nov. 4, let’s leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened,” the law enforcement officer said.
Sheriff Scott essentially lent the color of police authority to the implication, by him, and by the subsequent speakers (including Sarah Palin,) not to mention right wing talk radio, Fox News, and the McCain campaign itself, that Barack Obama is an undercover Muslim who is aligned with terrorists. And not a few observers have noted that the McCain campaign is subtly dipping into racist sentiment as well, attempting to scare working class white voters about Obama's "exoticism." (There was a time when race baiting in full uniform wasn't all that uncommon for police officers in the American south, which makes the tone of Scott's appearance all the more ... well ... troubling.) Do the people Scott "protects and serves" in Lee County, which includes Fort Myers, Naples, Punta Gorda and other cities on the Gulf Coast, which I'm assuming includes at least a few black people and which does include more than 95,000 Democrats, feel comfortable with the apolitical and fair disposition of his authority today?
And while the campaign attempted to distance itself ever so slightly from the remarks, they aren't much worse than what John McCain's running mate has been saying in her stump speech about Obama "palling around with terrorists," (which is funny coming from a woman who pals around with her Alaskan separatist hubby...) including the remarks she made after Scott and a talk radio host were done introducing her.
A bit about Scott, from the Lee County Sheriff's website:
Small details in Scott’s office are telling. At one corner sits a Votomatic Vote Recorder used in the 2000 Lee County election. The voting booth is the sheriff’s daily reminder to be responsive to voters who elected him to office.At the center of his conference table sits a sculpture with an arrow pointing outward, keeping him grounded and focused on the whole agency. Three framed words sit on his desk: Honesty. Trust. Integrity.
The new sheriff’s first experience with law enforcement came in 1986 as a probation officer. He joined the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in 1988, serving as a public information officer and Southwest Florida CrimeStoppers coordinator until he resigned in April 2003 to run for sheriff. He also served as a motorcycle deputy in the Traffic Unit. His accolades include being named the 2003 Law Enforcement Coordinator of the Year by the Southeastern CrimeStoppers Association.
He didn’t always want to be in law enforcement, though. Scott had intended on becoming a dentist until advanced chemistry classes at University of South Florida made him think otherwise. He earned an undergraduate degree in political science instead. He also considered general contracting, following his father’s profession, but an economic downturn during that time pointed him in a different direction. Scott later earned his master of business administration degree from IMPAC University.
For inspiration, the sheriff looks to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who Time Magazine named 2001 person of the year for his leadership in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Scott also admires the leadership of Colin Powell and H. Norman Schwarzkopf.
Well, he keeps a memento of the 2000 election (though he wasn't elected until 2004) and callsh Rudy Giuliani his inspiration ... no wonder this guy behaves like a BrownShirt...
“I absolutely, unequivocally don’t regret saying it,” Scott said. “In order to be a speaker at this event, I had to give my full name — Michael Joseph Scott — to the Secret Service, even though I’m the sheriff of Lee County. So why would I apologize? Is there some kind of double standard here where I have to give my full name, but I can’t use his?”
... “I just wanted to use his full name,” Scott said. “And frankly, if this is such a hot-button issue, he, as a Harvard lawyer, could have changed it if he didn’t like it.”
Scott, who was wearing his uniform, said he was representing his own views, not his office.
He defended making those comments while in uniform, though.
“That’s what I wear every day,” Scott said. “That’s what I wore to the McCain rally in Tampa with my fellow sheriffs. But at no point did I say I was speaking on behalf of the sheriff’s office.”
I see. Well while I'm waiting for the Lee County Public Information Office to call me back regarding the ruless about campaigning while in uniform, perhaps we should take a look at a little thing called the Hatch Act. What's that, you ask?
The Hatch Act applies to executive branch state and local employees who are principally employed in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency. Employees who work for educational or research institutions which are supported in whole or in part by a State or political subdivision of the State are not covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act.
Employees of private nonprofit organizations are covered by the Hatch Act only if the statute through which the organization receives its federal funds contains language which states that the organization shall be considered to be a state or local agency for purposes of the Hatch Act, e.g., Headstart and Community Service Block Grant statutes.
An employee’s conduct is also subject to the laws of the state and the regulations of the employing agency. Additionally, employees should be aware that the prohibitions of the Hatch Act are not affected by state or local laws.
... Covered state and local employees may not-
be candidates for public office in a partisan election
use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination
directly or indirectly coerce contributions from subordinates in support of a political party or candidate
So did Sheriff Scott commit a violation? I'm not an attorney, but maybe one should look into it.
If you want to beat a Republican, it's a good idea to know their strategy. We've talked a lot about the McCain campaign admitting that it is going to attempt to "turn the page" on talk of the economy by mounting a scorched earth, personal attack campaign against Barack Obama. Well, an email sent out by Human Events today underscores the strategy. After several paragraphs of boilrtplsyr drivel about the Democratic candidate's "dangerous liberalism", fictional opposition to guns, big spending proposals and fantasized mania for abortion, comes this bit, which starts with a strange, but newly standard, right wing endorsement of Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton was late in recognizing the threat Obama posed to her campaign, but once she did, her strategy worked.
When Hillary exposed Obama publicly, her campaign saw a major turnaround.
Hillary won every major state primary in the nation with the sole exception of Obama's home state of Illinois.
And even though Obama was "anointed" by the media and Democratic elites, Hillary went on to win eight of the last 10 Democratic primaries.
How did Obama beat Hillary for the nomination?
Well, using a loophole in Democratic rules, he was able to rack up large majorities in caucus states where he outspent and out organized her.
But in large, contested states she won almost every time. Why? Because when Democrats heard what Obama really stood for, they turned on him.
Make no mistake about it: If we let Americans know the truth about Obama, John McCain can win this election!
But we must employ Hillary Clinton's strategy.
We must expose Obama for the dangerous radical he is.
... This is why the National Republican Trust Political Action Committee is moving to implement a "shock and awe" strategy against Obama in key states.
We plan to take out powerful television ads, Internet ads and other communications to inform Americans about the dangers posed by Barack Obama.
... As a political action committee, we can accept up to $5,000 in donations per contributor.
A $5,000 donation can help us saturate a key market for a full day with television ads.
Why the Hillary Love? Could it be a not-so-subtle appeal to those the media said Hillary spoke to? In other words, this is about ginning up the fears of white voters -- lower middle class white voters, to be precise. But wait, there's more. The right has another weapon in its arsenal to use to stir up white rage against Obama, and her name is Sarah (my teenage daughter's marrying a f***in redneck) Palin. As the AP's Douglass K. Daniel sums up:
WASHINGTON (AP) - By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists" and doesn't see the U.S. like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin targeted key goals for a faltering campaign.
And though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret.
First, Palin's attack shows that her energetic debate with rival Joe Biden may be just the beginning, not the end, of a sharpened role in the battle to win the presidency.
"Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country," Palin told a group of donors in Englewood, Colo. A deliberate attempt to smear Obama, McCain's ticket-mate echoed the line at three separate events Saturday.
"This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America," she said. "We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism."
Her reference to Obama's relationship with William Ayers, a member of the Vietnam-era Weather Underground, was exaggerated at best if not outright false. No evidence shows they were "pals" or even close when they worked on community boards years ago and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama early in his career.
Obama, who was a child when the Weathermen were planting bombs, has denounced Ayers' radical views and actions.
So what's a little lying between friends? Well...
Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?
In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.
Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.
Most troubling, however, is how allowing racism to creep into the discussion serves McCain's purpose so well. As the fallout from Wright's sermons showed earlier this year, forcing Obama to abandon issues to talk about race leads to unresolved arguments about America's promise to treat all people equally.
Oh, so that's who Sarah was winking at: racist white people ... The desperate McCain campaign has been using a subtly racist argument to take Obama down for months, only now, it's about to get real un-subtle. As a friend of mine said recently, the slogan of the McCain campaign could well be boiled down to: "Forget the economy. Vote to keep the White House white."
From the beginning, there were two ways the McCain could use Sarah Palin: as the feel good face of an otherwise brittle, old mannish campaign, or as McCain's attack dog -- literally, his pit bull with lipstick. After last week's conference call in which the McCain campaign admitted it was about to go nuclear on Barack Obama, I think it's fair to say they've taken door number two...
CARSON, Calif., (AP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" because of an association with a former '60s radical, a harsh attack on his character that she repeated at three separate campaign events without substantiation.
Palin's reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members were blamed for several bombings, including a pipe bomb in San Francisco that killed a police officer and injured another. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, has denounced Ayers' radical views and activities.
While it is known that Obama and Ayers live in the same Chicago neighborhood, served on a charity board together and had a fleeting political connection, there is no evidence that they ever palled around. And it's simply wrong to suggest that they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts.
Nonetheless, Palin made the comments at three appearances in separate states.
"Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country," said told donors at a private airport in Englewood, Colo. Palin echoed the line later in Carson, Calif., and Costa Mesa, Calif.
Falling behind Obama in polls, the Republican campaign plans to make attacks on Obama's character a centerpiece of candidate John McCain's message in the final weeks of the presidential race. Coming late in the campaign, Palin's remark could be particularly incendiary, either backfiring on McCain or knocking Obama off his focus on the troubled economy — or both.
On that question, I'm choosing door number one...
By the by, the Obama campaign isn't just sitting around waiting to get doused in slime. They go up tomorrow with a new add calling McCain "erratic in a crisis." Politico, perhaps locking the Palin-loving Roger Simon in a closet, previews the coming war games:
Obama officials call it political jujitsu – turning the attacks back on the attacker.
McCain officials had said early in the weekend that they plan to begin advertising after Tuesday’s debate that will tie Obama to convicted money launderer Tony Rezko and former Weathermen radical William Ayers.
But Obama isn’t waiting to respond. His campaign is going up Monday on national cable stations with a scathing ad saying: “Three quarters of a million jobs lost this year. Our financial system in turmoil. And John McCain? Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy. No wonder his campaign wants to change the subject.
“Turn the page on the financial crisis by launching dishonorable, dishonest ‘assaults’ against Barack Obama. Struggling families can't turn the page on this economy, and we can't afford another president who is this out of touch.”
Then Obama says: “I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message.”
McCain officials told Politico that the new offensive is likely to focus on Rezko and Ayers. The officials said the campaign will not bring up the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor, because McCain has forbade them from using that as a weapon. Without being specific, the officials said outside groups may focus on Wright.
Meanwhile, both the NY Times and the Wapo expound on the cause of Team McCain's desperation: the map ... the dreaded, awful, shrinking map. (By the way, I'm not sure how confident I am in Rasmussen, but if this poll is correct, and Obama is pulling away in Nevada, this race is over.)
CBS News and Knowledge Networks have conducted a nationally representative poll of 473 uncommitted voters to get their immediate reaction to tonight's vice presidential debate.
... Forty-six percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed say Democrat Joe Biden won the debate, compared to 21 percent for Republican Sarah Palin. Thirty-three percent said it was a tie.
Eighteen percent of previously uncommitted percent say they are now committed to the Obama-Biden ticket. Ten percent say they are now committed to McCain-Palin. Seventy-one percent are still uncommitted.
Both candidates improved their overall image tonight. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say they now have a better impression of Biden. Five percent say they have a worse opinion of the Delaware senator, while 42 percent say they debate did not change their opinion.
Fifty-five percent say they now have a better opinion of Palin. Fourteen percent say they have a worse opinion, while 30 percent say their opinion hasn't changed.
After the debate, 66 percent see Palin as knowledgeable about important issues – up from 43 percent before the debate. But Biden still has the advantage on this – 98 percent saw him as knowledgeable after the debate. That figure was 79 percent before the debate.
In tonight's debate, Sarah Palin delivered 90 minutes of word salad. She was like a "talking points shooter" you'd purchase on one of those cable infomercials, growing wide eyed and automatic while churning out whatever was locked in her memory banks regardless of whether the verbal lettuce and cucumbers flying out had any relationship to the question being asked. The theme of the night could have been, "and now, for something completely different." Shouldn't you wait for the moderator to ask you about energy before you start spouting off about it?
In 90 minutes, and a blizzard of non-sequitors, I'm honestly not sure the woman directly answered a single question. Gwen Ifill didn't even need to be there! Asked about A, she answered about tomatoes. Asked about B, she declared that she wasn't going to answer the question at all. She was folksy to the point of being a Clampett. But would you elect Ellie Mae president?
Clearly, Gov. Palin was coached to the hilt, crammed with information (some of it off key, like General "McClellan", the non-existent military general in charge of Afghanistan, or the dangerous announcement that a McCain Palin administration would be moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem) to help her get through the evening. But she spit out those memorized talking points like she was anxious to pump them out of her brain before they dissolved. How many times did she say "Ahmadinejad," exactly? Joe Biden, several times, had to keep from visibly laughing out loud!
This is the woman who wants to not only be a cancer recurrence away from the presidency, but who also would like to expand the powers of the vice presidency beyond with Dick Cheney has done??? What's she going to use her newfangled powers for? To blather the Congress into submission on drilling?
On a factual level, Palin declined to defend John McCain's policies, particularly on tax cuts for the wealthy, or on his healthcare plan which would tax health benefits for the first time in history. Instead of defending the assertions made about McCain, she simply launched into her word fusilade and pretended the question never happened. Stunning.
For his part, Biden was coherent, adult, and presidential. That, frankly, is all he had to be. And his personal story about his first wife and sons was moving. His closing was terrific.
The media will pat her on the back because she didn't drool or stare off into space. Expect that. But make no mistake, Sarah Palin didn't help herself tonight with anyone who wasn't already voting for John McCain.
In this week's South Florida Times, my Friday radio co-host, Elgin Jones, drinks John McCain's milkshake. He drinks it up:
Before now, I believed that anyone would be better in the White House than Bush, so I yearned for the Jan. 20, 2009, Inauguration Day to hurry along.
The damage he has overseen is done, and it will take decades to correct. For these and other reasons, I wanted to bid him farewell back to Texas as soon as possible.
But after paying closer attention to McCain over the past few months, and delving deeper into his past, I now know I was wrong. The American people should be concerned, if not downright scared, of a John McCain presidency and the tricks he is pulling from his bag.
Nearly every position he has staked out in this year's campaign runs counter to those positions he took during the 2000 presidential primary....
... He has taken both sides of nearly every issue. In March, and after the government bailout of Bear Stearns, he vigorously supported loosening more regulation on Wall Street firms, only to state the opposite days later.
Even in our age of YouTube and other electronic information, it’s almost as if he and his advisors thought the people would not catch on.
Nonetheless, the last straw came with his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, which amounts to an insult being foisted upon the American people. Palin is in no way qualified, and her only asset to the campaign appears to be her ability to throw acid-tongued quips at Obama.
The home schooling the campaign has done on her gets a failing grade, and she is proving to be an embarrassment. There are a number of qualified, sensible women he could have chosen as a running mate, like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But what does it say about his judgment when he selected a pleasing face and empty bathing suit, instead of experience and substance?
At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose. Walking along the grounds at Fort McNair, McCain runs into John Dramesi, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was also imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam.
McCain is studying at the National War College, a prestigious graduate program he had to pull strings with the Secretary of the Navy to get into. Dramesi is enrolled, on his own merit, at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the building next door.
There's a distance between the two men that belies their shared experience in North Vietnam — call it an honor gap. Like many American POWs, McCain broke down under torture and offered a "confession" to his North Vietnamese captors. Dramesi, in contrast, attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn't survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service's highest distinctions. McCain would later hail him as "one of the toughest guys I've ever met."
On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.
"I'm going to the Middle East," Dramesi says. "Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran."
"Why are you going to the Middle East?" McCain asks, dismissively.
"It's a place we're probably going to have some problems," Dramesi says.
"Why? Where are you going to, John?"
"Oh, I'm going to Rio."
"What the hell are you going to Rio for?"
McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.
"I got a better chance of getting laid."
Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."
Having failed in their desperate attempts to get the mainstream media to portray Joe Biden as just as dimwitted as their gal, Sarah Palin, the right wing noise machine is deploying a new strategy on the eve of the most anticipated vice presidential debate in modern history: Take Down The Moderator: Gwen Ifill.
Drudge led the way with a blockbuster headline this morning announcing what many in Washington already knew: that she has a book on black politics in the "age of Obama" that's set to drop on inauguration day. Drudge, of course, links to a reputable and impartial news source: WorldNetDaily, where Ifill is accused by various sources of being "in the tank" for Obama, of hoping he wins so as to boost book sales, and of "giving dismissive looks" following Palin's RNC acceptance speech. Seriously. She supposedly made unpleasant faces. Maybe she and Nancy Pelosi could see the GOP Nanny 911 together...
On this one, McCain, shockingly, keeps his head, while all those around him are acting ... like John McCain... The GOP nominee says he approves this moderator.
I think the GOPers would have a point ... if Gwen Ifill was either 1) not a serious journalist, but rather a political hatchet carrier, like Jerome Corsi, with whom some of them are trying to draw an analogy ... 2) moderating a debate featuring Barack Obama. Neither is the case. Gwen Ifill's reputation is nearly universal, for those without an agenda, as a serious and respected journalist. And Obama will not be on the stage.
Beside, her book, "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," according to the much linked Amazon.com write-up, is about black politicians more broadly, not just about Obama. The write-up reads:
In THE BREAKTHROUGH, veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.
Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the 1960s. She offers incisive, detailed profiles of such prominent leaders as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, and also covers up-and-coming figures from across the nation. Drawing on interviews with power brokers like Senator Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict and the "black enough" conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history.
Nowhere in that write-up do I see an endorsement of, or even a biographical sketch of, Barack Obama. Rather, Ifill is writing about how "black politics" has changed in light of his candidacy, which by the way will be "stunning" whether he wins or not, simply by virtue of its scope, primary success, fundraising, and the fact of an African-American claiming the nomination of not just any major political party, but of the party that for the most part, led the charge to keep black people in chains until about 40 years ago. A book about that doesn't hang on Obama's election, so Ifill can rightly claim to be dispassionate about the upcoming debate, which once again for those in the cheap seats, DOESN'T INVOLVE BARACK OBAMA.
To make the wingers' analogy work, Gwen Ifill wouldn't be allowed to moderate a debate between ANY black politician and an opponent, because of this book. (And Tom Brokaw couldn't moderate a debate about any member of the "greatest generation," including John McCain.)
But of course, that would be ridiculous.
UPDATE: McCain reverses his initial grown-up stance on Ifill, and pouts on Fox & Friends.
“Frankly, I wish they had picked a moderator that isn’t writing a book favorable to Barack Obama — let's face it," McCain said on "Fox & Friends." "But I have to have to have confidence that Gwen Ifill will handle this as the professional journalist that she is. ...
“Life isn’t fair, as I mentioned earlier in the program.”
Also on Fox's ridiculous morning show, Ed Rendell helps the other side game out how best to use Ifill to their advantage:
RENDELL: Well, what we -- what I would advise my people to do is make a big stink about it but not remove the moderator so the moderator would bend over backward to be fair to me...
RENDELL: ... to show that he or she was fair.
RENDELL: So we'd use it to our advantage.
CARLSON: Well, and it could be used an advantage for Sarah Palin tonight...
CARLSON: ... because all eyes, right or wrong, will be on the questioning of the Gwen Ifill.
Steve Doocy was in on the conversation, too, but I cut him out because ... well ... he's stupid.
Meanwhile again ... the right is lying through its teeth when it claims no one knew about the Ifill book before the debate was agreed to in August:
In fact, media outlets, including the Associated Press, reported that Ifill was the book's author well before the August 21 announcement that she would moderate the debate.
... Ifill's role as moderator of the October 2 vice presidential debate was announced in an August 21 joint statement from the Obama and McCain campaigns, which is posted on the McCain-Palin website.
And Gwen Ifill reacts to all the sturm and drang over the debate.
A bit of free advice to Joe Biden in his debate tomorrow with Sarah:
1. Pretend she isn't stupid -- The available video suggests Gov. Palin is actually a pretty good debater, and a master at diffusing specifics with shiny, pleasant sounding generalities. Besides, you get no points for treating her like an idiot, no matter how dumb she might sound. So no matter how absurdly general her answers, treat them seriously, and treat her like she's a serious politician, and an equal. Refer to her as "Governor," not "Sarah," and try not to make faces when she's talking that translate on television as "oh my god, what a moron!" See Katie Couric's therapist-like interview faces for reference.
2. Don't be snide -- Governor Palin isn't good at putting together complex thoughts, and she isn't in possession of a lot of words, but she does do one thing well: the snide laugh line. She'll probably have one or two zingers rehearsed for Thursday night, and when she drops them, be prepared with a snappy, but jovial, comeback. Let her come off as the nasty one.
3. Don't be a smarty-pants -- Unfortunately, Americans don't seem to like the smartest kid in the room. Even when the country is going down in flames, most prefer someone they like, to someone who seems to know more. Keep your answers short and simple, and not larded up with "I've been theres" and "I know that leaders" -- just ask John McCain. It doesn't work.
4. Don't look at her legs -- One of Palin's key strategies could be taglined, "pretty always wins." Since she's a "conservative" brand of "feminist," she's not above using her looks to her advantage. That's why she wore her hair down in the Fox News interview -- she knows that the geezers who watch that station like a little cake on their plate. And she wears skirts that highlight her lower limbs. So whatever you do, don't look down (if the debate is behind podiums, apply the same advice to her cleavage area.)
5. Don't go easy on her -- A tie goes to Ms. Palin, who will get tremendous credit from both the punditocracy and the public if she literally doesn't drool or fall on the floor. So hit the issues hard, without making it about her. Your target during the debate should be John McCain, and Palin figures in only to the extent that you can tie her beliefs and policies to his, and to the extent that her shortcomings point out HIS irresponsibility in putting her on the ticket. Let the moderator point out her dubious record and odd past performances. One exception: do use the phrase "bridge to nowhere" sometime during the 90 minutes, and feel free to point out Alaska's penchant for earmarks and pork. Those issues are relevant because they expose McCain's hypocrisy.
2. Don't count on her to stumble -- Gov. Palin will be so completely rehearsed and robotically programmed by the Rovites, she almost can't screw this thing up. Besides, to repeat, a tie goes to her, and if she gets through the 90 minutes without spitting up, crying or forgetting who the current president of the United States is, most of the media chattering class will declare her the winner, just for beating expectations.
Make no mistake: Biden (who I believe won a couple of those primary debates, though he didn't get credit for it) can't just turn in a so-so performance and walk away unscathed. He has to actually WIN this debate, by being more knowledgeable than (which is a foregone conclusion) but also just as charming, as Sarah Palin. Otherwise he'll be the one being ridiculed on SNL this weekend, for losing to a dumb girl.
Howard Kurtz hints that, oh wait, there's MORE embarrassing Sarah Palin footage knocking around CBS. Teased Howie:
It may have been a turning point for Couric, who was persistent without being overbearing, in shedding early doubts about her ability to be a commanding presence in the CBS anchor chair. And the worst may be yet to come for Palin; sources say CBS has two more responses on tape that will likely prove embarrassing.
And Politico has details on one of the offending clips in its story about the latest Palin sit-down, in which she was joined on CBS by her dad ... I mean, by John McCain. Politico?
Palin was far more aggressive in another interview with Couric today, this aide said
Sitting with McCain for their first joint interview a week after the widely panned sit-down with Couric, Palin interjected when the CBS anchor brought up a report about the Wasilla Assembly of God, the governor's childhood church and one she still attends at times, seeking to pray gays away from homosexuality.
"Sarah Barracuda showed up today," the aide said, reprising the feisty former point guard's high school basketball nickname and one that has been largely forgotten since her post-convention cosseting.
"We're encouraging CBS to run entire thing," the aide said of today's session. "Run it end to end online."
Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.
The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.
After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.
There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.
Um ... just off the top of my head and without using "the Google" ... Brown v. Board of Education, maybe? I think my kids even know that one ... or Plessy vs. Fergusen? That's one evangelicals like to talk about ... Hamdan v. Rumsfeld? That's pretty recent on the whole "held for years without a trial thing..." ... I would say Boumediene v. Bush, but that would be showing off, so maybe, oh, I don't know ... BUSH v. GORE??? Jeez, Sarah... Watch part of the two-person interview here.
Meanwhile, did Sarah endorse Hamas? She may well have unless of course she doesn't...
a) Know what happened in Gaza; b) Know where Gaza is; c) Know who rules Gaza today; d) Care.
It's got to be clear to anyone but the extreme partisans and right wing radio hacks that John McCain is no longer a serious candidate for president. He's more like a drunken man careening through the crystal section at Macy's, side swiping dishes and dessert plates and candelabras as he stumbles between the tables, leaving flustered cashiers to race through the aisles catching breakable objects as they wobble.
Worse, he's a drunken man in the crystal section while Macy's is on fire.
Nothing says "I'm a desperate, unhinged candidate" like McCain's wild volley of stunts this week: supposedly canceling his campaign so he can fly back to Washington and screw things up. Except that one thing does say that even more clearly: his choice of the clearly inadequate Sarah Palin as the person who he would hand the nuclear football.
Palin's painful interview (part two here) with Katie Couric was the last straw for conservative columnist Kathleen Parker (hat tip to Jill Miller Zimon over at the Moderate Voice) who wrote:
Ms. Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.
No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Ms. Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.
Ms. Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage, and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example from her interview with Mr. Hannity:
“Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”
Parker's solution is for Ms. Palin to drop out of the race, for the good of Sen. McCain and her country. I don't see that happening. Having sworn that he selected her on the merits, McCain cannot now admit that he had no clue she would be so clueless. He's stuck with her, and so is the GOP.
Meanwhile, a guy calling himself Crunchy Con adds this:
Couric’s questions are straightforward and responsible. Palin is mediocre, again, regurgitating talking points mechanically, not thinking. Palin’s just babbling. She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero….
... and describes Sarah as akin to a kid who didn't study for a big exam, and is just winging it on the way to an F.
Over at National Review, big time Palin defender Kathryn Jean Lopez admits to feelings of angst and says she refuses to watch another Palin interview, because as much as she likes the "hackey mam":
... I also watch these interviews and I cringe a little. That Russia answer with Couric. Oy. It was a loaded question to be sure. But I thought a certain governor of Alaska had told us this was a time for no blinking. For (Uncle) Sam’s sake. You’re Sarah Palin. You’re governor of Alaska. You’re the mom of five. You’re married to a tough guy. You can handle America’s Former Sweetheart. And yet, you didn’t. She may have come off catty, but you came off hesitant and unprepared. What happened to the pitbull? I see the lipstick.
I don’t know Sarah Palin. Having missed the last cruise to Alaska, I’ve actually never met her. National Review wasn’t on her list of stops this week in New York. So I can’t pretend to know what her wiring is all about. But I know I like a lot of what I’ve heard her say. I also know a lot of what I like about her could be projection. I’m not where my friend Kathleen Parker is — wanting her to step aside to spend more time with her family and Alaska — but that’s not a crazy suggestion. She's right to say that something’s gotta change.
My guess — based on nothing but hope for a change — is that Sarah Palin just needs some freedom. I don’t know who is holding her back but if John McCain wants to win this thing it had better not be him and his staff. When I watch these interviews, I see a woman who looks like she’s stayed up all night studying and is trying to remember the jurisprudential chronology of privacy vis-a-vis reproduction, the war on terror, and public figures (add 12 more things, described in the most complicated way possible, to the list to be more accurate). She looks like a woman who’s been cramming talking points and great Matt Scully lines and Mark Salter-McCain war stories and Steve Schmidt marching orders into her head since that first plane ride from Alaska. She looks like a woman who has ceased being the confident, successful executive who got herself elected mayor of Alaska without the full force of her party behind her and managed to have an approval rating of which most can’t even dream.
Back at the Mod Voice, Zimon herself adds:
A strong democracy requires that nominees for our highest office possess basic threshold competencies. This is because democracy means there will always be millions of people who will be governed by someone they did not vote for. But we stay intact as a government because we trust that even if we don’t agree with the political leanings and decisions of the winner, we trust that he or she will do what’s best for all 300 million of us.
There are tens of millions of voters, now, on both sides of the aisle, who find Sarah Palin to fall below this basic threshold for competence as a vice president or president of our country. And at least two of us are asking for her to step down.
Again, I don't see Sarah going anywhere, anytime soon. Not unless something untoward happens to Todd, courtesy of McCain's organized crime friends in Arizona... Therefore, the Republicans are stuck with her. Frighteningly, if enough Americans decide that their racial discomfort is more powerful than their economic discomfort, we all could be stuck with her after January 20, 2009.
On an up note, Slate's Christopher Beam has some advice from experts on how in the next interview, Sarah can rise above the "constant low hum of mediocrity." Bottom line: do more interviews.
A clip from Sarah Palin's painful, painful interview with Katie Couric.
I mean, when an interview makes Katie Couric look like Dan Rather back in the day, the moose, my friends, has wandered into the pipeline...
UPDATE: Turns out the McCain camp would like to postpone the VP debate, too, by moving the main event to Sarah and Joe's day, and suspending the veep contest ... indefinitely. Wonder why that could be...
Oh, and if you don't have them yet, here are your official "John McCain is suspending his campaign to put country first" talking points. Use them wisely. Just for fun, let's take a look and see if Redstate got theirs...
I heart Hagel: Sarah Palin edition. Plus: Quien es Senior Zapatero?
The man whom I still believe would have been a fantastic veep for Barack Obama (my totally platonic love for Joe Biden aside,) hits the nail on the head once again, only this time, the nail has a bouffant and can see Russia from her house...
WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska on Wednesday became the nation's most prominent Republican officeholder to publicly question whether Sarah Palin has the experience to serve as president.
"She doesn't have any foreign policy credentials," Hagel said in an interview. "You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don't know what you can say. You can't say anything."
Palin was elected governor of Alaska in 2006 and before that was the mayor of a small town.
Democrats have raised questions about Palin since Sen. John McCain picked her as his vice presidential running mate. Most national Republican officeholders have rallied to Palin's candidacy.
Palin has cited the proximity of Alaska to Russia as evidence of her international experience.
Hagel scoffed at that notion.
"I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, 'I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia,'" he said. "That kind of thing is insulting to the American people."
Late Wednesday night, news made its way from the other side of the Atlantic that John McCain, in an interview with a Spanish outlet, had made a series of bizarre responses to a question regarding that country's prime minister.
"Would you be willing to meet with the head of our government, Mr. Zapatero?" the questioner asked, in an exchange now being reported by several Spanish outlets.
McCain proceeded to launch into what appeared to be a boilerplate declaration about Mexico and Latin America -- but not Spain -- pressing the need to stand up to world leaders who want to harm America.
"I will meet with those leaders who are our friends and who want to work with us cooperatively," according to one translation. The reporter repeated the question two more times, apparently trying to clarify, but McCain referred again to Latin America.
Finally, the questioner said, "Okay, but I'm talking about Europe - the president of Spain, would you meet with him?" The Senator offered only a slight variance to his initial comment. "I will reunite with any leader that has the same principles and philosophy that we do: human rights, democracy, and liberty. And I will confront those that don't [have them]."
The implication seemed fairly clear: McCain was refusing to commit to meet with Zapatero, the "socialist" party leader, whose country is a member of NATO and intricately involved in many of America's global financial and national security objectives.
Already, several explanations are being offered to explain McCain's statements. As Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo opined: "The great majority [of those who have weighed in] appear to think the McCain was simply confused and didn't know who Zapatero was -- something you might bone up on if you were about to do an interview with the Spanish press. The assumption seems to be that since he'd already been asked about Castro and Chavez that McCain assumed Zapatero must be some other Latin American bad guy. A small minority though think that McCain is simply committed to an anti-Spanish foreign policy since he's still angry about Spain pulling it's troops out of Iraq."
The financial crisis continues to ripple across the globe this morning, from Moscow to London to New York City. Stocks took a dive this morning on Wall Street, even after the Fed agreed to bail out AIG, the nation's largest insurance company. The FDIC -- you know, the one that insures the money you have in the bank, up to $100,000? It's running short of cash, meaning that, in the AP's words, "the taxpayer may be the lender of last resort."
Meanwhile, maybe Sarah Palin can get on this right away: Russia is threatening to seize part of the oil-rich Arctic. Yep. Seize it.
And last but not least, no, Gerald Warner, it's not just you...
Carly Fiorina proved again today why she isn't the woman standing next to John McCain on the stump: she has a truth tic. This time, it's not about Viagra. This time, she slips a little nugget into her Palin support schtick, saying Sarah couldn't run HP:
Not that the shareholders thought Carly was fit to run the company either, but... it probably wasn't "on message."
Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor, take it away:
"If John McCain’s top economic advisor doesn’t think he can run a corporation, how on Earth can he run the largest economy in the world in the midst of a financial crisis? Apparently even the people who run his campaign agree that the economy is an issue John McCain doesn’t understand as well as he should."
If Team Obama is smart, the economic meltdown of the United States, and John McCain's clear lack of understanding of it, will become the cudgel they beat Grandpa over the head with from now until election day.
Why do the neocons love John McCain? Because he was always one of them, long before George W. Bush knew where to find Iraq on a map. Bill Kristol and the other neocons were McCainiacs back in 2000, before most of us were aware of their existence. They jumped to Dubya only after McCain lost South Carolina, and seemed doomed to lose the primary. Through Dick Cheney, they took over Bush's presidency, shaping it into what Palin hasn't yet figured out: the Bush doctrine. Now, via the HuffPo and the London Telegraph, word that it is happening again: the neocon crowd is grooming Sarah Palin to be their new George W. Bush...
As the McCain campaign points out, both Barack Obama and Joe Biden have requested earmarks and voted for earmarks. Neither is anything close to pure on this issue. But neither Democrat is claiming otherwise. They aren’t trying to deny reality. Nor are they trying to construct their entire political identity on that falsehood.
Palin — with the full backing and support of the McCain campaign — is doing herself longterm political damage with this ploy. The American people are watching her repeatedly lie to them, day after day, and watching her do so with no apparent compunction. This is her introduction to the national scene; this is when her image is being cemented into the public mind.
And her image is increasingly that of a guiltless liar.
As Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin has done quite well, for Sarah Palin (and Piper and Todd too...)
The media is beginning to round out the so-far glowing profile of Sarah Palin, the savior of humanity according to both the McCain campaign, Pat Buchanan, and much of the me-too media. Now, we're beginning to get a fuller picture of the only thing we have to go on regarding her experience: Alaska, and more to the point, her running of it.
ANCHORAGE, Sept. 8 -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.
The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.
Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.
The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.
Um, is Wasila like, the Western White House, or what...? More:
Palin charged the state a per diem for working on Nov. 22, 2007 -- Thanksgiving Day. The reason given, according to the expense report, was the Great Alaska Shootout, an annual NCAA college basketball tournament held in Anchorage.
In separate filings, the state was billed about $25,000 for Palin's daughters' expenses and $19,000 for her husband's.
Flights topped the list for the most expensive items, and the daughter whose bill was the highest was Piper, 7, whose flights cost nearly $11,000, while Willow, 14, claimed about $6,000 and Bristol, 17, accounted for about $3,400.
One event was in New York City in October 2007, when Bristol accompanied the governor to Newsweek's third annual Women and Leadership Conference, toured the New York Stock Exchange and met local officials and business executives. The state paid for three nights in a $707-a-day hotel room. Garnero said the governor's office has the authority to approve hotel stays above $300.
Asked Monday about the official policy on charging for children's travel expenses, Garnero said: "We cover the expenses of anyone who's conducting state business. I can't imagine kids could be doing that."
...The family also charged for flights around the state, including trips to Alaska events such as the start of the Iditarod dog-sled race and the Iron Dog snowmobile race, a contest that Todd Palin won.
Meanwhile, Todd Palin spent $725 to fly to Edmonton, Alberta, for "information gathering and planning meeting with Northern Alberta Institute of Technology," according to an expense report. During the three-day trip, he charged the state $291 for his per diem. A notation said "costs paid by Dept. of Labor." He also billed the state $1,371 for a flight to Washington to attend a National Governors Association meeting with his wife.
Wow, what a fiscal hawk... Todd, I mean. That Sarah's a real spender!
Sarah Palin thinks she is a better American than you because she comes from a small town, and a superior human being because she isn't a journalist and never lived in Washington and likes to watch her kids play hockey. Although Palin praised John McCain in her acceptance speech as a man who puts the good of his country ahead of partisan politics, McCain pretty much proved the opposite with his selection of a running mate whose main asset is her ability to reignite the culture wars. So maybe Governor Palin does represent everything that is good and fine about America, as she herself maintains. But spare us, please, any talk about how she is a tough fiscal conservative. ...
... Back to reality. Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 21/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. The trick is that Alaska's government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it. Although Palin, like McCain, talks about liberating ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, there is no evidence that being dependent on Alaskan oil would be any more pleasant to the pocketbook.
Alaska is, in essence, an adjunct member of OPEC. It has four different taxes on oil, which produce more than 89% of the state's unrestricted revenue. On average, three-quarters of the value of a barrel of oil is taken by the state government before that oil is permitted to leave the state. Alaska residents each get a yearly check for about $2,000 from oil revenues, plus an additional $1,200 pushed through by Palin last year to take advantage of rising oil prices. Any sympathy the governor of Alaska expresses for folks in the lower 48 who are suffering from high gas prices or can't afford to heat their homes is strictly crocodile tears.
As if it couldn't support itself, Alaska also ranks No. 1, year after year, in money it sucks in from Washington. In 2005 (the most recent figures), according to the Tax Foundation, Alaska ranked 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434) but first in federal spending received per resident ($13,950). Its ratio of federal spending received to federal taxes paid ranks third among the 50 states, and in the absolute amount it receives from Washington over and above the amount it sends to Washington, Alaska ranks No. 1.
In case you're curious, #1 and #2 are New Mexico and Mississippi, respectively. Bet you won't hear that in one of those "Maverick!" ads... or this:
Under the state constitution, the governor of Alaska has unusually strong powers to shape the state budget. At the Republican Convention, Palin bragged that she had vetoed "nearly $500 million" in state spending during her two years as governor. This amounts to less than 2% of the proposed budget. That's how much this warrior for you, the people, against it, the government, could find in wasteful spending under her control.
Is that a fiscal hawk ... or a fiscal chickenhawk?
I'm literally being driven insane by the Barack Obama campaign. Literally. The nicey-nicey approach, the courtliness, the inability to use the word "lie..." the 11 days they've allowed the superior marketers in the McCain campaign to positively define Sarah Palin, the failure to capitalize on early focus groups showed she tested poorly with undecided voters... all of it represents wasted opportunities for Team Obama due to poor messaging and lack of aggressiveness, and that's bloody frustrating in a year when we're facing the possibility of four more years of Bush policies and evangelical nonsense in the White House.
That said, and after watching Olbermann last night practically giving Obama campaign advice (um ... might you want to attack...? Ya think???) the Obama camp may finally be getting the message.
They've produced their first really direct attack ad of the campaign. Here it is:
Good ad. Now the Obama people need to follow it up by going on offense, every day, pushing back hard at the Palin-loving media, and stomping a mud-hole in the McCain-Palin ticket. It really is this simple: there is no new politics. There's politics. And the candidate with the more disciplined, aggressive messaging wins. Right now, the McCain team is playing kick-ball, while the Obama team is playing croquet. Get in the game, people, or watch the geezer and the church lady take the oath of office in January.
Does Palin attract Hillary women ... or repel them?
Will angry Hillary Clinton supporters be the Naderites of 2008, throwing the election to John McCain out of bitterness, and then living to regret it? Signs point to "no."
William Arnone, an informal adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign during the primaries, and a very smart political analyst, conducted a small email survey of Hillary voters around the country, many of whom are older white women. From his press release this morning:
Two questions were asked:
If the election were held today, would you vote for the Democratic ticket of Obama-Biden or the Republican ticket of McCain-Palin?
If you would vote for McCain-Palin, why?
A total of 328 responses were received. Respondents included many of Senator Clinton's most fervent supporters, some of whom were convention delegates.
Obama-Biden: 254 (77.4%)
McCain-Palin: 35 (10.7%)
Undecided/Neither: 32 ( 9.8%)
Write-In Clinton: 7 ( 2.1%)
William's conclusion, based on conversations with many of the women, which are included in the detail of the report:
Overall, it appears that John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate has backfired with a substantial portion of Senator Clinton's supporters. The most common word used by those who responded in support of the Obama-Biden ticket was that McCain's selection of Palin was "insulting" to women. Among those respondents who said that they would vote for the McCain-Palin ticket, or vote for neither ticket, or are undecided, there remains a residue of resentment over what they perceive as an unfair nominating process, as well as questionable treatment of Senator Clinton's candidacy by Democratic Party leaders and others.
The latest Gallup daily tracking poll shows John McCain moving ahead of Barack Obama 50% to 46%. Since Friday, Obama has lost one point, but McCain has gained seven. Among "likely voters," the poll has McCain up by ten points. That's what you call a bounce (unimpeded by the Bradley effect.)
Republican enthusiasm has jumped from 42% at the end of August to 60% now. Democratic enthusiasm is higher, at 67%. Clearly, Sarah Palin is making a difference.
The question is, who is she making a difference with? Base voters, or swing voters? Signs point to the former. Let's see how long McCain holds that number, and if he's able to grow beyond 50%.
“He has become a kind of shadow governor,” noted Andrew Halcro, a Republican businessman running as an independent who was trounced by Palin in the 2006 governor’s election. “We need to get the facts about how power is being used in the governor’s office.”
And on Sarah:
“At the first sign of disloyalty, she’ll throw you under the bus,” said Halcro [whom she defeated for mayor]. “Once you cross her, you’re off the list for ever,” warned Hollis French, a Democratic state senator.
Shared thoughts from the New York Times op-ed page
In the Sunday paper, Frank Rich was feeling what I'm feeling (that Sarah Palin's pick shows how truly scary and sad John McCain has become) but MoDo is thinking what I'm thinking: that the way things are going, including the blithe lack of urgency that, frankly, is emanating from the Obama campaign, this country is in big trouble; and four years from now, the presidential race is going to include more hair pulling than "America's Next Top Model." Perhaps I'll be living in England by then.
The Apprentice: Sarah Palin training to lead God's army to Washington
My parents came to America sometime in the early 1960s, to further their educations by earning master's degrees. When I was growing up, my mother (my African father quit us, much like Barack Obama's...) taught us that education was the most important credential you could have. Sure, we went to church on Sundays, but religious fervor didn't rank close to the value of being an intelligent, well-read, educated citizen.
That, I'm sad to say, is not a typical American experience. It is for immigrants. The Hmong and Vietnamese kids at my various elementary, middle and high schools were high achievers, routinely pulling in top grades and spending hours and hours studying. In my AP classes, most of the students were white or Asian, even though my town was about 80 percent black. Anti-intellectualism was then, and is now, a prominent feature of "real Americanness." You saw it in 2000 and 2004 when Americans who voted for George W. Bush seemed to revel in his apparent ignorance, and spit on the "effete" snobbery of "smart kids in class" Al Gore and John Kerry. It's clear that many, if not most Americans, look to a president not to govern, but to ratify their completely phony image of "small town America" -- hyper-Christian, war-like, "traditional", gun-loving, freedom loving (except for the domestic spying and indefinite detention,) falsely chaste and full of government dole-funded "frontier spirit."
And then there's stuff like this. Not nearly enough people have seen the following video, (the accompanying article is here) which shows exactly who John McCain picked to put a heartbeat away from the presidency. The video documents the churches with which Sarah Palin is affliated, which include ties to the "Jesus Camp" ministries, a Kenyan sect that believes it expelled demons from an entire town, Pastor Hagee and other extremist Christian movements. Watch, and if you're like me, cringe...
The more I look at the Sarah Palin spectacle, the more dispirited I become with the state of this country my parents chose for me. Yes, Ms. Palin is "George W. Bush with lipstick," in more ways than one (thin resume, anti-intellectual, fundamentalist bent, questionable gubernatorial record...) but she's also the next best hope of the truly radical Christian fundamentalist movement in this country -- our version of the Taliban in Afghanistan -- of literally taking control of this country, and of succeeding where Dubya ultimately failed them. (Earth to fundies: he's a Methodist. As a former Methodist I can tell you, they're not the "Jesus Camp" type...)
If you think for a moment that the American Taliban are going to be voting for John McCain in November, think again. In essence, John McCain has promised to make Sarah Palin his "apprentice," training her to rule in four short years. And I suspect that the wack-jobs won't exactly be praying for his good health, should he and the Queen of the Undamned get elected... (and make no mistake, "my friends," they very damned well might get elected.)
The top ten reasons Oprah should tell everybody to kiss her entire ass
White women in a huff over Oprah's booking decisions.
The cat fur is flying over the non-story about Oprah supposedly banning Caribou Barbie from her show (recalling a previous cat-fight over Oprah not backing Hillary Clinton during the primaries.) This enterprising blog even offered five reasons O should let Sarah Palin on. Some of the comments the post elicited ranged from the profane, to the downright ridiculous: #1. Those who say that Oprah owed her support to Hillary Clinton and now owes it to Sarah Palin because they are women are rank hypocrites for criticizing her for supporting a black candidate.
#2. Those who claim Oprah owes white women for her success are blatant racists, whose sense of entitlement even extends to Oprah's well-EARNED success. I suppose she should show her appreciation by giving up her seat on the bus when a white woman wants to sit down?
#3. Clearly Oprah owes nothing to people who are so quick to turn on her, including drawing for the race card, when she doesn't tow the line by putting (white) women first.
#4. Anyone who thinks Sarah Palin MUST be allowed to go on Oprah's show, but don't mind that she refuses to go on actual news shows like "Meet the Press", or face reporters at all, is an authoritarian fool so nurtured on Fox News propaganda that you feel Palin should be worshipped into office instead of voted in on the basis of facts. By your logic, the geezer must immediately be booked on "Montel."
#5. If you don't like the way Oprah runs her show, don't watch it, or better yet, create a (right wing) show of your own. Oh, that's right, you have no talent, and instead have been bamboozled into watching Oprah's show all this time, thinking you were purchasing her eternal loyalty to white women along with her favorite things...
#6. Each of you is entitled to your political views, and so is Oprah. You don't see her out there telling you how stupid you are for voting for four more years of Bush policies just because they're dressed up in the guise of a geriatric old man and his pretty Alaskan nurse, do you?
#7. I thought dittoheads didn't believe in the fairness doctrine...
#8. If you're so hopped up on entertainers giving equal time to pols, maybe Kelsey Grammar and Bruce Willis could be forced to do a movie with Barack? It could be called "Die Hard with a guy who sounds British but really isn't and a guy Sean Hannity says is Muslim, but also isn't..."
#9. OPRAH IS NOT A REPORTER, AND HER SHOW IS NOT THE PLACE FOR ELECTION COVERAGE!
#10. Republicans have already established that they hate celebrities. Going on Oprah would further establish Sarah Palin as a celebrity, thereby making you hate her. And you can't hate her, wingers ... because she is your queen.
--- Banned books + lots of earmarks + abuse of office to fire brother-in-law + Alaska secessionist party + mayor of 9,000 = vice presidential material! Only in America...
Sarah Palin: not ready to take questions on day one
So, we're supposed to take Sarah Palin seriously as a potential vice president of the United States, AND accept that she's not ready to take questions from reporters ... because she might make a mistake???
The coordinated right wing assault on the media, and the mega-marketing of Sarah Palin, is in full swing. Step one: intimidate the press into giving her only positive, glowing coverage, and scare them out of pursuing stories related to her family. Mission? Not accomplished. Instead, the bully boy tactics risk provoking a serious journobacklash.
Step two: hide Sarah from the mainstream media. According to campaign spokesbarbie Nicole Wallace, Sarah doesn't need to talk to the press and that "the American people will learn all they need to know (and all they deserve to know) from Palin's scripted speeches and choreographed appearances on the campaign trail and in campaign ads." So there! Instead, she will be inserted into key swing markets, where she can help John McCain finally draw the big crowds he craves (and that he tried to get by glomming onto Barack Obama in his silly "town halls," and generating lots of local free media. Meanwhile, John Mac Daddy is pimping Sarah out to 30 fundraisers in 60 days.
And now, the right is going after Oprah Winfrey, who came out in support of Barack Obama during hte primaries, igniting a furor from some of her female fans. From Drudge this morning:
Oprah Winfrey may have introduced Democrat Barack Obama to the women of America -- but the talkshow queen is not rushing to embrace the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket!
Oprah's staff is sharply divided on the merits of booking Sarah Palin, sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.
"Half of her staff really wants Sarah Palin on," an insider explains. "Oprah's website is getting tons of requests to put her on, but Oprah and a couple of her top people are adamantly against it because of Obama." One executive close to Winfrey is warning any Palin ban could ignite a dramatic backlash!
It is not clear if Oprah has softened her position after watching Palin's historic convention speech.
And this update:
OPRAH'S STATEMENT: "The item in today's Drudge Report is categorically untrue. There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. At the beginning of this Presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over."
But don't look for that to be the end of it. The right, particularly talk radio and the blogs, will now beat up on Oprah daily, and eventually, probably on Limbaugh, it will get racial. And the story will trigger a battle within the ranks of the media, too (it has already begun,) which will distract us into a war between the O and the B (barracuda, I mean...) Because in the end, what the right WANTS is a fist-fight with the media, with Oprah, with the "elite" blacks and effete "libs" (and lowly community organizers) who support Obama, and with anyone they can make noise attacking, because as long as the MSM is clanging and banging about the Oprah wars, they're not talking substantively about the one in ten Americans who are late on their mortgages or in forclosure, the 6.1 percent unemployment rate and eight straight months of job losses, Jack Abramoff, the mess in Iraq, including our government spying on the government we installed there, the fact that John McCain and his party and president and fellow Republicans have been in charge of this mess for 12 years between the Congress and the White House or ... well ... Sarah Palin, and whether she's even remotely qualified to possibly have to take on the biggest job in the country.
As McCain's campaign manager said: this election will not be about issues, it will be about personas, and the battle to write the narratives for the four people on the ballot is on.
In the end, maybe they'll even beat Oprah into submission and get Sarah on her show, which will produce HUGE ratings and even more talk about ... Sarah Palin ... maybe they'll prompt "The View" to schedule her with dispatch, producing still more big ratings, and getting Palin in front of as many potential women voters as possible, which they hope will excite even MORE winger women (and swing voting women) into voting for her ... I mean ... John McCain.
And that's the way the right plans to win this election. When it's over, you won't know anything more about her than you've seen in her speech, their press releases, the mythology and hype, and the lone interviews she will likely do, not with real reporters, but on Fox News (and probably on right wing talk radio, too.)
Watch for it.
The right simply does this better than the left, and its how they convince ordinary people to keep them in power, even as they're screwing them. It worked when they sold you George W. Bush -- twice -- and it's still working to make you lionize Ronald Reagan. It's a game that I've never seen the Democrats out-play them in (except maybe the Clintons, but that wasn't deft myth-making, it was pure Bill charisma.)
The WaPo reveals that Sarah Palin is being tutored in foreign policy by the same coterie of neocons who brought us the Iraq War:
ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 4 -- Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman is among several national security experts helping brief Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin on foreign policy issues as she prepares to hit the campaign trail while cramming for a debate with her Democratic opponent, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), in less than a month, according to officials from Sen. John McCain's campaign.
Lieberman, who was the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee but is now an independent, has helped introduce Palin to officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the leading pro-Israel lobby. In a meeting Tuesday, the day before she delivered her prime-time address at the Republican National Convention here, Palin assured the group of her strong support for Israel, of her desire to see the United States move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and of her opposition to Iran's aspirations to become a nuclear power, according to sources familiar with the meeting. ...
So who else is on the team?
The McCain campaign has tapped Stephen E. Biegun, the national security adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), to be Palin's principal foreign policy adviser. Campaign aides said Biegun, who is currently a vice president of Ford, is not serving as Palin's tutor but is merely briefing her on details of key issues in a way that is similar to what other candidates are receiving.
"The attempt is not to turn her into a professor of foreign policy but trying to get her up to speed on all the nuances of foreign policy issues that are hot and John's positions," said John Lehman, a former Navy secretary who is one of McCain's advisers. "She's surprised everybody at how current she is on Middle East issues. She doesn't pretend to be a foreign policy expert, but neither is she somebody who hasn't thought about the issues."
Bushies Come to Palin's Aid Michael Isikoff By Michael Isikoff
The McCain team has hastily assembled a team of former Bush White House aides to tutor the vice-presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on foreign-policy issues, to write her speeches and to begin preparing her for her all-important Oct. 2 debate against Sen. Joe Biden.
Steve Biegun, who once served as the No. 3 National Security Council official under Condoleezza Rice at the White House, has been hired as chief foreign-policy adviser to the Alaska governor, campaign officials told NEWSWEEK. After taking leave from his job as vice president for international affairs at Ford Motor Co. last Friday, Biegun flew to St. Paul and, together with McCain’s foreign-policy guru Randy Schuenemann, began briefings for Palin on national-security issues—an area where her resume is conspicuously thin.
Matt Scully, a former Bush White House speechwriter who helped draft some of the major foreign-policy addresses during the president’s first term, is working on Palin’s acceptance speech to the convention Wednesday night.
Mark Wallace, a former lawyer for the Bush 2000 campaign who served in a variety of administration jobs including chief counsel at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and deputy ambassador to the United Nations, has been put in charge of “prep” for the debate against Biden.
Wallace’s wife, Nicolle Wallace, the former White House communications director, has taken over the same job for Palin.
Tucker Eskew, another senior Bush White House communications aide, is serving as senior counselor to Palin’s operation.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former chief economist at the Council of Economic Advisers who has been serving as top economics guru for the McCain campaign, has moved over to serve as Palin’s chief domestic-policy adviser.
The National Enquirer promises more juicy revelations about Sarah Palin in its current issue, stemming from leaks pouring forth via Troopergate. The tab is also claiming credit for forcing Palin to go public with the preggers news:
Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin attempted to quietly have her daughter Bristol get married before news of her pregnancy leaked out, the NATIONAL ENQUIRER is reporting exclusively in its new issue.
Palin planned for the wedding to take place right after the Republican National Convention and then she was going to announce the pregnancy.
But Bristol, 17, refused to go along with the plan and that sparked a mother-daughter showdown over the failed coverup.
The ultra-conservative governor’s announcement about her daughter’s pregnancy came hours after The ENQUIRER informed her representatives and family members of Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol’s child, that we were aware of the pregnancy and were going to break the news.
In a preemptive strike Palin released the news, creating political shockwaves.
They're also claiming that the feud between Palin and her ex-brother in law, which is at the heart of Troopergate (she tried to get him fired and allegedly leaned on a state employee to do so, and now is refusing to testify in the state probe...) is threatening to spill more gossip gack into the political waters. Sit back kids, this one's only in the second inning...
More reactions to Palin: snidery doesn' always sell
My gut reaction to the Palin speech (one shared by Josh Marshall and in even more depth by James Fallows of The Atlantic,) that it was delivered fine, but way too snide, seems to be getting confirmation in various places. My take was that so far, the GOP convention is SO red meat, so "everybody but evangelicals and gun nuts GTFO!" that it can't possibly attract Independents, much less Democrats, who can't have felt "reached out to" by a night full of over the top insults, not just to Barack Obama (who's been more than gracious to Palin) but also to Democrats as a whole. First there was the Nevada focus group where women expressed dismay at Palin's negativity, and now this:
The Detroit Free Press invited a panel of Michigan voters to weigh in on Gov. Sarah Palin's speech last night. Their reactions run the gamut, but the independents didn't seem to care for her very much.
... George Lentz, 66, Southfield independent: “I was completely underwhelmed. She was a Republican novelty act with a sophomoric script. It was not even a speech I would expect for someone running for the local PTA, much less for vice president.”
Diane Murphy, 42, Sterling Heights independent: “It appears that once she makes up her mind, that is the end of it. We live in a gray world, not every answer is black and white.”
Jan Wheelock, 58, Royal Oak independent: “Nothing worked for me. I found her barrage of snide remarks and distortions to be a major turnoff. She is not a class act. The most important point she made is that she will be an effective attack dog.”
In fact, Palin's speech will only serve to deepen the antipathy of Democrats to her and to McCain, while not helping the ticket with Indies. A couple more from the Freep panel:
“Palin is a far better orator than McCain. But the tone of her speech is sarcastic, mean-spirited and divisive. Apparently, her role is to look good and throw out red meat for the base. …
“Palin has repeated her lie about ‘saying no’ to the bridge from nowhere. Has she no shame?”
-- James Melton, 45, Detroit Democrat
"Sarah Palin is a self-described ‘pitbull with lipstick.’ She spent little time helping Americans learn who she is. She is a cool, poised speaker, but her speech contained few statements about policy or the party platform. … I am not convinced that Palin's experience as a mayor or governor in Alaska meet the qualifications to be vice president much less one stroke or heart attack away from being commander in chief.”
-- Ilene Beninson, 52, Berkley independent
“Sarah got as much applause as Hillary did, and had a friendly, appealing appearance. Her delivery style reminded me of a high school valedictorian who also might have been a cheerleader. I thought she would appear more professional, more stateswomanly. She's no match for Joe Biden.”
Another issue with the speech is that there's nothing in it that will be memorable; no "yes we can" (the New Hampshire speech that will go down in history, I think, as one of the finest political speeches ever given...) no "America's promise" or "this is the moment," from Obama's acceptance speech, not even "morning in America." In fact, the most memorable lines from Ms. Palin's speeches will all be attack lines against Obama -- which may be good for McCain in the short run in that thos lines will energize the base; but as I've said repeatedly, just how big does John McCain think the red meat Republican base is? Like his gamble with Palin given her lack of experience, John McCain is betting everything on 50 percent plus one American voters being Dittoheads.
Meet the snides: long-talkin' Rudy, Snarky Sarah and Mean Ole' Mitt
As I digest the RNC's big night last night (and the media's love-fest over it,) it occurs to me that the Republican Party, probably since Pat Buchanan began writing for Dick Nixon, has been married to a strategy of, in Buchanan's words, "dividing the country down the middle and trying to grab the bigger half." Last night's red meat rodeo in the Twin Cities was that kind of politics. Like previous elections, the GOP seems determined to assure that no matter who is elected, half of the country will hate the next president's guts.
The GOP must believe that hard-right evangelicals and belligerent neo-cold warriors are the bigger half, because the night was so over-the-top negative, nasty and divisive, and so bereft of either uniting themes or policy solutions, and in the end, so petty, that you've got to take McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis at his word that this election is not about issues, it's about personalities. And to me, at least, Mitt, Sarah and especially Rudy's personalities were rankling.
They attacked Barack Obama and derided his public service ...
They attacked Michelle (families off limits? Not so much... though this should put Todd "Alaska Independence Party" Palin squarely "on the table...")
The attacked Democrats for refusing to harp on "Islamic fascists" or whatever the pet name is today...
They attacked and attacked and attacked, and attacked until even Sarah looked tired. And they still didn't manage to mention how all the snarkery would make this team any better managers of the country's affairs than the current administration. Nothing on what they would do for the middle class -- hell, they didn't even mention the middle class; nor did anyone on that stage mention how getting the prom queen and the fly boy into the White House would do a damned thing for America, other than make a few old ladies feel good to see a spunky gal make some history instead of that high-falutin ni... (ahem...)
Sorry, but last night wasn't a celebration of America, it was an orgy of snidery, not intended to achieve McCain's stated goal of "reaching across party lines," but a symbolic severing of those lines. It's now officially an "us" versus "them" election. The Palins vs. the Obamas; rural America vs. big city America, small towns vs. "elite" cities, red vs. blue, and yeah, white America versus suspiciously foreign America. Not a formula for governing, but it's the way Republicans have been winning elections since Nixon. Bottom line: to win this election, the GOP is dividing the country, along more partisan (and religious) lines, even than they did in 2000 or 2004.
Otherwise, why on earth would you make long-winded, trash-talking Rudy the warm-up act to Ms. Palin? After several minutes of Rudy's "gut the black kid" rant, I suspect many potential cross-over and swing voters simply turned off the TV. As for Palin, her speech, too, was full of snidery and snarkery (the eBay line was cute,) and so nasal and nasty, it can't possibly attract any but the most hard-core Republicans.
The GOP has, no doubt, solidified and energized their base, particularly evanglicals (and people who hate both the media and Barack Obama...) But the question is, do they represent the bigger half? Let's hope not, otherwise, god help this country.
In two different focus groups of Clinton-supporting Nevada women -- married and unmarried -- conducted immediately after Gov. Sarah Palin's Wednesday night speech to the Republican National Convention, a few common reactions quickly took shape.
First, women in both groups were impressed with Palin's speaking ability and poise. But they were hardly convinced that she was qualified to be vice president, or that she truly represented the "change" they were looking for, especially in light of what was deemed an overly harsh "sarcasm" pervading her address.
The (mostly) anonymous proceedings were webcast live to reporters, who were told in a press release that the Nevada focus groups would include "some former Hillary Clinton supporters who are now undecided or are weak supporters of Barack Obama or John McCain." No party identification was made available, though the approximately two dozen women were reportedly between 30 and 60 years old.
In the "married" group, when one attendee kicked off the discussion by saying "she's a good speaker, and a crowd pleaser," the rest of the room articulated their agreement. "I didn't expect to be as impressed as I was," said another respondent. But then another woman added: "Once she started mudslinging, I thought, it's the same old crap as other politicians. McCain used her to get the women's vote. And she's using McCain."
"Thank you," another woman responded. "That really upset me; there was no need for that. It was snippy."
The unmarried group also voiced similar objections to the harsh, partisan edge of Palin's remarks. "I'm not impressed with her at all as a person," one said, citing her "finger pointing" and general sarcasm after the group had generally agreed that she was a talented public speaker.
... in both groups, narrow majorities said they held a more negative view of Palin after her speech. "She comes off pretty cutthroat," said one.
What else did the focus groups say? That they wanted to hear ... wait for it ... more policy prescriptions, rather than attacks. The media love-fest over Palin won't tell you that, but if you know any women, you also know that women can't stand "snippy" women. As I've said many times before, Palin reminds me of that supervisor you just hate? You know the one: the one who makes you walk all the way to her office to bring her the stapler on the table near her desk? The one who blames you for her mistakes and rats you out to HER bosses behind your back? Palin may have wowed the red meat eaters, and she clearly has the media smitten, but I suspect that a lot of everyday women will be turned off.
Hey guys, look over here! ...on the left! It's me ... McCain???
I have to admit, the speech bored me at long intervals, but Palin did a decent job, given what she had to work with. Much of the speech was boilerplate rhetoric, and she threw some red meat (especially in her attacks on the media,) and sounded like a doting wife when talking about John McCain. No direct abortion appeal (used the downs baby to make the point to the faithful instead ...) A couple of downsides:
1. Too sarcastic. That may play in that room, but the incessant attacks on Barack Obama and the media coupled with that horrible, nasaly voice? She kind of reminded me of my least favorite female supervisor...
2. The foreign policy parts were clearly written by campaign staff. She just didn't sound credible.
3. No mention of the son-in-law? Wasn't the big unveil supposed to be the plan? I mean, damn, is he that embarrassing? ... Oh, right...
Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan and former John McCain adviser, Time columnist, and MSNBC contributor Mike Murphy were caught on tape disparaging John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate.
"It's over," Noonan said.
When Chuck Todd asked her if this was the most qualified woman the Republicans could nominate, Noonan responded, "The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives. Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and that's not what they're good at, they blow it."
Murphy characterized the choices as "cynical" and "gimmicky."
UPDATE: Noonan apologizes for the potty mouth, but makes this point:
When the segment was over and MSNBC was in commercial, Todd, Murphy and I continued our conversation, talking about the Palin choice overall. We were speaking informally, with some passion -- and into live mics. An audio tape of that conversation was sent, how or by whom I don't know, onto the internet. And within three hours I was receiving it from friends far and wide, asking me why I thought the McCain campaign is "over", as it says in the transcript of the conversation. Here I must plead some confusion. In our off-air conversation, I got on the subject of the leaders of the Republican party assuming, now, that whatever the base of the Republican party thinks is what America thinks. I made the case that this is no longer true, that party leaders seem to me stuck in the assumptions of 1988 and 1994, the assumptions that reigned when they were young and coming up. "The first lesson they learned is the one they remember," I said to Todd -- and I'm pretty certain that is a direct quote. But, I argued, that's over, those assumptions are yesterday, the party can no longer assume that its base is utterly in line with the thinking of the American people. And when I said, "It's over!" -- and I said it more than once -- that is what I was referring to.
Someday, we may hear what Sarah Palin has to say, and what she thinks about the world, and about domestic and foreign policy, in her own words. But not this day. Today, we hear from the flaks. From the Washington Post:
Since Sunday night, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been holed up in her suite in the Hilton Minneapolis while a parade of Sen. John McCain's top advisers have briefed her on the nuances of his policy positions, national politics and, above all, how to introduce herself to the national audience she will address Wednesday night at the Republican convention.
Sitting around a dining room table, the McCain team has talked to her about Iraq, energy and the economy, but has focused on what she should say in her speech, struggling almost as hard as she has to prepare for what will be, along with a debate in October, her main opportunity to shape the way she is viewed by voters. Not anticipating that McCain would choose a woman as his running mate, the speech that was prepared in advance was "very masculine," according to campaign manager Rick Davis, and "we had to start from scratch."
... Aides to McCain and Palin were still debating elements of the speech, according to several GOP sources familiar with the process, including whether the governor should make reference to her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy. On Tuesday, Levi Johnston, the high school student Palin has said her daughter plans to marry, left Alaska to join the Palin family at the convention.
In the speech, Palin is likely to emphasize her areas of policy expertise -- particularly energy and political reform -- rather than focusing on her biography or gender. An initial version of the address, which speechwriter Matthew Scully started crafting a week ago for an unnamed male vice-presidential pick, included plenty of attacks aimed at Democratic nominee Barack Obama along with ample praise for McCain, aides said. But they said Palin's speech will focus more on substantive matters.
"There's an expectation that she doesn't have a depth of knowledge on issues," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. "That's absurd."
The stakes for Palin are much higher than they were for her Democratic counterpart, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has run for president twice and has served in the Senate for 35 years. Several GOP strategists said Palin, who has been governor less than two years, needs to establish herself as someone who is credible as a potential president. "She's like any new person or product on the scene -- she's got to prove she can handle the job, that she's got the presence and suppleness of mind to be a heartbeat away from the presidency," said Ben Ginsberg, who was a senior adviser to McCain's GOP primary rival Mitt Romney.
In an effort to prevent any damaging mistakes, the McCain campaign is orchestrating Palin's public introduction carefully. Except for an interview with People magazine the afternoon her selection was announced, she has not taken a single question from a reporter, and it remains unclear when she will speak to the national news media.
Yes, we know, they all use speechwriters, but we also know that like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama works extensively on writing his own speeches. Meanwhile, two key paragraphs on Sarah's preparedness to be president, not from the "liberal media," but from John McCain's friends:
"Obviously the governor of Alaska spends very little time on foreign policy," Davis said, though he added that if something were to happen to McCain, "I think she's got the judgment to do the things as commander in chief that John McCain would think are the right things to do."
Graham, who lobbied hard for McCain to choose their mutual friend Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) as his running mate, said Palin would be able to handle foreign relations in McCain's absence as long as she relied on his staff.
Well that should help us all sleep better at night.
Sarah Palin: banning books and breaking heads ... for the Lord
A revealing look at Palin's time as mayor of Wasila, from the New York Times:
The traditional turning points that had decided municipal elections in this town of less than 7,000 people — Should we pave the dirt roads? Put in sewers? Which candidate is your hunting buddy? — seemed all but obsolete the year Ms. Palin, then 32, challenged the three-term incumbent, John C. Stein.
Anti-abortion fliers circulated. Ms. Palin played up her church work and her membership in the National Rifle Association. The state Republican Party, never involved before because city elections are nonpartisan, ran advertisements on Ms. Palin’s behalf.
Two years after Representative Newt Gingrich helped draft the Contract With America to advance Republican positions, Ms. Palin and her passion for Republican ideology and religious faith overtook a town known for a wide libertarian streak and for helping start the Iditarod sled dog race.
“Sarah comes in with all this ideological stuff, and I was like, ‘Whoa,’ ” said Mr. Stein, who lost the election. “But that got her elected: abortion, gun rights, term limits and the religious born-again thing. I’m not a churchgoing guy, and that was another issue: ‘We will have our first Christian mayor.’ ”
“I thought: ‘Holy cow, what’s happening here? Does that mean she thinks I’m Jewish or Islamic?’ ” recalled Mr. Stein, who was raised Lutheran, and later went to work as the administrator for the city of Sitka in southeast Alaska. “The point was that she was a born-again Christian.”
And on the books?
... for some, Ms. Palin’s first months in office here were so jarring — and so alienating — that an effort was made to force a recall. About 100 people attended a meeting to discuss the effort, which was covered in the local press, but the idea was dropped.
Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.
Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.
The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.
No wonder the fundamentalists love her so much. John McCain clearly made a run at consolidating the religious right on his own (read, without the help of George W. Bush) and he appears to have succeeded, wildly. The question is, will the rest of the electorate want to be governed by a religious zealot and her geriatric captive.