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Give her credit for ambition!

I’ve been remiss in posting presidential race stuff over the past few days. I’ll try to catch up tonight. It looks like it’s a whole new race. Unfortunately, it took a Wall Street apocalypse to get it.

Addendum: I’m not posting this video. It’s disgusting and sophomoric. It’s sexist and demeaning to women. It has no place in serious political discourse. It’s immoral. It’s evil. It’s a betrayal of all which represents goodness and light.

But…. it’s funny.

Second addendum: Palin won’t be coming to California.

The soundbite of the week (yes, I know it isn’t over yet) excluding McCain’s “fundamentals are good” quote comes from Obama yesterday:

“This is somebody who’s been in Congress for twenty-six years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign, and now he tells us that he’s the one who will take on the ol’ boy network.

The ol’ boy network? In the McCain campaign, that’s called a staff meeting.”

Meanwhile, Obama has broken out a sizable lead in Colorado and New Mexico, probably due to consolidation of the Hispanic vote over the past week and defecting Californians. I suspect that he’s going to rebound in Nevada after yesterday’s tour. He’s made some movement in the rust belt, but it’s still close. I hate to admit it, but Clinton would probably be blowing McCain out of the water at this point.

Personally, I’m suffering Palin fatigue, and given the economic news of the past couple of days and the astounding fact that McCain is quoting Herbert Hoover for economic wisdom, I think there are issues much more pressing than McCain’s VP pick. But my wife doesn’t often ask me to blog something, and she asked me to post a link to Women Against Sarah Palin; which I guess started with an e-mail to 40 women and went “viral” culminating in 140 thousand responses since September 3.


Meanwhile, Palin is reneging on her previous promise to cooperate with the Troopergate investigation. And finally someone got around to interviewing Walt Monegan. He accuses her of lying and says he was fired for refusing to can Palin’s ex-brother-in-law, but the McCain campaign is saying that he was fired for trying to raise money to investigate sexual assault cases. Are they serious?!


Conservative commentator David Brooks doesn’t believe Palin can govern. Brooks is an old-style “elitist” conservative and not a populist, and I’m sure that’s how Palin supporters will respond. He names some other prominant conservatives as holding similar views. Kudos to him for honesty – when it can hurt his cause (presumably his cause, I don’t think he supports Obama).

Frankly however, I don’t know whom to root for in that fight. His argument is not only elitist, but reveals a distinct Burkean prejudice rooted in the association of power and wealth with virtue.

He does also slam Bush, on similar grounds.


Is Sarah Palin a feminist?


Meanwhile, Obama is hammering on the equal pay for equal work issue. Honestly, I think both sides oversimplify that debate. But if McCain is losing his luster in the blizzard of media discussion about his lying beyond the normal threshholds, it may play well with the lower educated white women who may make the difference in this election.


And the McCain people didn’t like Tina Fey’s depiction of Palin last Saturday night. I thought I’d seen a report that Palin watched it and thought it was funny. Apparently the campaign staff itself is irony-deaf.

Check out this video of the “Alaska Women Reject Palin” demonstration in Anchorage yesterday morning. No Maoist sectarians with big red banners and bullhorns. No blocking traffic. No single-issue crashers. No 911 conspiracy theories. No stilts with Cat-in-the-Hat caps. No anger. No material for Zombie. The women are serious about their intentions, and clear and articulate about their message. They don’t make it personal. They aren’t acting out of some need for personal therapy. They aren’t chanting mindless tired slogans. Their signs are focused – on point. I’m jealous.

And they’re getting national coverage. When was the last time a demo in San Francisco got national coverage?

Now, conservative Alaskans aren’t quite so sanguine. “They’re a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots.” The organizers got some threats of violence.

Here’s a clip from a vehicle driving by.

She doesn’t… well, she does now, but she didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine is. You could see it immediately in her body language and tone when she asked “in what respect Charlie?” She’s not a poker player. And it becomes even more painfully clear after a few questions, before Gibson hands her a lifeline by explaining the doctrine to her. She hasn’t been engaged. I’m sure they’ll have her ready to regurgitate talking points for the debate and be proclaimed to have held her own, but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She wasn’t ready for this interview. I can see why they hid her from the press.

I think she was in a bit of a bind with the Pakistan question. Ironically, it’s actually Obama who has suggested unilateral action against Pakistan, and McCain called the suggestion amateurish as he holds the military alliance with Pakistan to be paramount. But Palin probably agrees with Obama. She can’t answer yea or nay. She had to dodge with the standard talking points.

Addendum: Here’s a Gina Gershon parody of Palin. I actually don’t think it’s all that funny, but I’ve had a crush on her since City of Hope, and even more so since she punched out Bob Dylan.

See more Gina Gershon videos at Funny or Die

Addendum: McCain’s free ride with the media may be over, at least for the moment. AP is slamming him on Bridge to Nowhere, his claims that Obama would raise taxes, his claim that Obama called his running mate a pig, earmarks, his running mate’s ignorance of the Bush Doctrine, her insights into Russia, and the fact that apparently there is something to the book burning claim.

Meanwhile, despite her previous pledge of cooperation with the Troopergate investigation, Palin may try to kill the subpoenas.

And a fellow Republican calls her a “cocky wacko.”

Second addendum: The milibite of the week? “In what respect, Charlie?”

Third addendum: The Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee just voted to issue 13 subpoenas in the Troopergate matter, including one for Todd Palin, Alaska’s “jfirst dude.”

And hmmm – the vote included two Democrats with a Republican from Wisilla breaking the deadlock.

Until the Republican convention I was pretty confident that Obama would be the next president. Sarah Palin has changed that prediction, somewhat. I still think Obama’s more likely to win than lose, but she has energized McCain’s campaign and for the moment they control the debate. When McCain’s campaign manager said that the campaign was going to be decided based on character rather than issues (in defiance of Obama’s renewal of the 1992 “economy stupid” meme), he probably knew that the announcement of Palin as VP candidate would eclipse Obama’s historic speech, erasing the “I have a Dream” anniversary moment, and send us off into marathon circus about pregnant teenagers and lipstick on pigs.

The left blogosphere reacted with panic, and quickly dug up all the dirt they could find in order to force the MSM to diminish some of her luster. Some of it was pure crap, such as rumors that her newest child was actually her daughter’s, or that she had fired a librarian in order to ban books while she was mayor. Some of the dirt is valid. She did lie about her history of opposition to earmarks, and in fact she accepted the money for the “bridge to nowhere” and spent it on other projects. And it appears that she abused executive power to pursue a vendetta against her ex-brother-in-law. But none of her supporters really cares that she lied to pad her resume. After all “they all do it.” And many voters won’t begrudge her using her position to stick up for her sister. They relate to that. The heroes in all the movies they watch bend the rules, which get in the way of justice. It only reinforces her “maverick” status.

She’s good news for conservatives, and great news for McCain. She will hold her own against Biden in the debate and they’re keeping a tight leash on her with regard to the media. There won’t be any serious gaffes. She’s the perfect window dressing.

Of course, nothing comes without a price, and there is one demographic which is clearly not impressed with her, not even all of the conservatives therein. The Palin selection has probably ended any hope for a McCain bid for a significant chunk of the Jewish vote. Now, we’re only talking about 2 percent of the vote, maybe a little higher since Jews tend to turn out in high percentages. But in the US elections are about electoral college votes, and in states which are close these demographic shifts can make a huge difference. Florida has been a “battleground state,” but most of the pundits have been giving McCain the advantage due to recent election results, the galvanized Cuban vote, and the controversy during the primaries. But the polls have been very close of late, and Obama’s people are sensing blood. Obama is set to have a huge event in which Bill Clinton is going to join him at the end of the month (I’ll try to fill this post in with links later). Palin is rocking the south, but she may actually be creating a vulnerability in Florida.

Why aren’t Jewish voters impressed with her? No, it’s not the Jews-for-Jesus controversy in which she sat passively in her church while a guest speaker for Jews for Jesus proclaimed that Israel had brought terrorism onto itself as punishment from God for not taking Jesus into their lives. She later said she disagreed, and most Jewish voters would probably give her the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t help her with Jews, but it’s not the issue per se. Her support of Pat Buchanan’s presidential bids probably don’t help either. But it’s also not the issue.

The problem is her greatest strength, which is her ability to reinvigorate the culture war. All of the faith talk, the guns, the concept of a “normal American” leave many Jews cold. Nothing like swipes at the “liberal elite,” or at New York City, San Francisco, etc. to remind them that there is a real America and the other. No matter how many praises Christian fundamentalists sing of Israel and the so-called “Judeo-Christian roots” of western civilization, the bottom line is that historically speaking anti-intellectualism, anti-Hollywood, and what is perceived as the innate virtue of the small town – all of it overlaps with anti-semitism. It’s code. The contrast of the “rugged individualist” with the image of the fem effete Jewish intellectual, and all that represents.

Bear in mind, this is not to say that Sarah Palin is anti-semitic. There’s no reason to belief she is particularly anti-semitic. She apparently gets along fine with the community leaders of the 5000 or so Jews who live in Alaska. It’s the symbolism. Symbolism is everything in Jewish politics. They are quite sensitive to it. The veneer of decency has slipped off on occassion, particularly when controversial moves about Jesus Christ are released. Most recent memory is Mel Gibson’s comments following his film, but a few years before that there were Christian voices screaming about the “Jewish money” backing The Last Temptation of Christ, which was perceived by the braindead as an attack on the Christian faith.

Some Jewish voices have already been heard:

“For a party which claims it is trying to reach out to the Jewish community, McCain’s pick is particularly strange,” NJDC director Ira Forman said in a statement. “On a broad range of issues, most strikingly on the issue of women’s reproductive freedom, she is totally out of step with Jewish public opinion. The gulf between Palin’s public policy positions and the American Jewish community is best illustrated by the fact that the Christian Coalition of America was one of the strongest advocates of her selection.”

Justified or not, some of the internal polling is indicating that Jewish voters are not on the bandwagon, and Obama is going to hit hard where it will make a difference. His campaign has gone dark in Georgia, and I suspect he’s going to pull out of the plains states as well. But he’s moving more people into Florida, where about four percent of the voters are Jewish. The McCain campaign meanwhile, had her meet with AIPAC, accompanied by Joe Lieberman, and has had her meet with other Jewish conservative leaders. They’re obviously concerned about losing the inroads the GOP has made into the demographic in recent years.

McCain will receive Jewish votes. He’ll trot out some spokespeople, and play up Israel in foreign policy discourse (which he’s avoiding like the plague these days). Jewish conservatives will vote the issues as they see them. But some of those votes will be cast uneasily.

The media is finally catching up to some of Palin’s fibs. She didn’t fire her chef. She didn’t sell the airplane on E-bay. And she has no problems with earmarks, having supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it.

Ironically, one of the most hard hitting articles on the latter fib is in today’s Wall Street Journal.

You can find more details on all these items and more at


Most candidates love getting free television time, especially long interviews where they can make their points at length and have the voters get to know them better. The Sunday talk shows are a favorite. Today John McCain will get a full half hour on CBS’ Face the Nation, Barack Obama goes on ABC’s This Week, and Joe Biden takes the hot seat at NBC’s Meet the Press. Sarah Palin is avoiding free media when every network would love to have her. All it would take is one phone call to CNN, for example, and she’d be on there for half an hour, for free. This behavior gives the impressesion that the McCain campaign is afraid to have her interviewed in depth by experienced reporters for fear of what she might say. The problem is not gaffes–Biden makes them from time to time, but will still be grilled. The real problem is she might say something intentionally that she really and truly believes (like victims of rape should be forced to bear their rapist’s child) and this will shock the viewers. It will be interesting to see how long Palin can avoid giving interviews and whether the media starts to point out this behavior.

In the same post the webmaster reports that the Intrade people are predicting an Obama win.

Also Joe Biden’s son and brother have been sued in a business dispute.

And though McCain did get a poll bounce, Obama remains ahead in the two primary tracking polls.

Meanwhile, the McCain-is-hiding-Palin-from-the-media storyline is becoming an issue.

And with this ad, community organizers (once referred to by the Republicans as “a thousand points of light,” but are now non-grata unless they happen to be faith based) are hitting back.

One faith based C.O. is calling on Palin to apologize.

On the other hand, give credit to President Bush who is touring the country to survey the disastrous effects of his presidency.

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

Addendum: Anecdotal evidence that while Palin has “shored up the base” she will not have broad appeal to Clinton voters.

Addendum: The O’Reilly interview is extensive. A few minutes were aired tonight. There will be additional segments next week.

Second addendum: state polls – good news for Obama. From

We have three new presidential polls today, two of them surprising. In North Dakota, Barack Obama has a small lead over John Mcain, 43% to 40%. This is within the margin of error, so it is a statistical tie. This is a state George Bush won by 27 points in 2004 and 28 points in 2000. It is not supposed to be a tie. It is supposed to be a rout for any Republican. It bears watching. If Obama actually campaigns here at the very least it will force McCain devote some money and energy to a state he should win on autopilot.

The same is true of Indiana. Here McCain is ahead 45% to 43%, again a tie. Bush won Indiana by 21 points in 2004 and by 16 in 2000. Shouldn’t even be on the radar, but it is and has 11 electoral votes. It is hard to tell what’s going on in North Dakota (except maybe the people who like small government–except for farm subsidies–are disappointed in the current administration). Indiana is a bit different. The northeastern part of the state is a bit like Ohio, which is a swing state and the northwestern part is close to Obama’s base of Chicago and gets Chicago TV stations. With Palin on the ticket, Alaska is off the table and the Republicans will pick up its 3 EVs as usual.

Meanwhile, the Wilson sisters have asked the McCain campaign to stop using their music.

“Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image. The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late 70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The ‘barracuda’ represented the business.) While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.”

With that elephant in the room, Heart’s Nancy Wilson felt compelled to personally respond. “I think it’s completely unfair to be so misrepresented,” she said in a phone call to after the speech. “I feel completely f—ed over.

Third addendum: The Anchorage Daily News is accusing Palin of stonewalling on Troopergate.

I have some thoughts, which I’ll get to later.

No mention of Bush during the speech.

The talking heads, even after McCain’s speech, are talking Palin. Maybe they should have reversed the ticket.

Last week Obama made 29 specific policy proposals. Tonight McCain made 3.

The stage is set. I give Obama a 60 percent chance of winning.

Addendum: Apparently Palin will be ducking the press throughout the campaign.

And this story may be part of the reason. The Police Officers Union in Alaska has filed an ethics complaint against her alleging that she improperly accessed her ex-brother-in-law’s personnel file. The complaint states that “criminal penalties may apply.”

Second addendum: The 911 video played at the convention tonight have some upset.

Third addendum: This Kos blogger notes the words which never got mentioned tonight (Besides George W. Bush in tandem): Climate Change, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Torture, Abortion.

Fourth addendum: Palin has obviously had a revolutionary effect on right wing talking heads everywhere. Obviously she’s made them look inward in an introspective manner, confront their inner sexism, and evolve. Jon Stewart documents the remarkable transformations. It’s all very touching really. Maybe next we’ll see Rove, O’Reilly, and Morris out in the woods banging drums to call upon the Horned God in deference to the Goddess.

I have to leave for Bull Creek to camp with my son’s class tonight, but I wanted to provide a thread for the RNC. Fred Thompson is giving a very good speech as I type. Some good swipes at Obama, and a very detailed and moving account of McCain’s POW years. He’s doing his candidate well.

He is repeating a fib re McCain and earmark spending. McCain has in reality brought plenty of pork back to Arizona. If I have the time, I’ll post a link or two on topic.

Thompson also said something about McCain being the toughest candidate since “we first started pledging allegiance to the flag.” I believe that’s just over 60 years.

Kos on Thompson’s Green Bay Packers reference.

Fred just told the touching story of McCain giving the names of the Green Bay Packers to his captors while he was a POW, which makes sense since they’re in Minnesota. Not like when McCain told the story, saying it was the Pittsburgh Steelers when he was in Pennsylvania recently. I can’t wait until he goes to Florida and says it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Preceding him was a video mini-documentary on Reagan. I didn’t find it impressive, but then Obama’s video aside I didn’t find any of the DNC videos I saw last week particularly impressive either.

7:40 p.m. – Lieberman’s up. He’s about 30 seconds into it and he’s already putting me to sleep. Let’s see if it gets better.

7:44 p.m. – Well, he’s said that country is more important than party about seven times in a minute and a half. Got some cheers each time. Now he’s repeating his earlier comments about how it shouldn’t take a hurricane to bring us together. Put our country first.

Think he’ll bring up abortion?

7:49 – He just made the obligatory Michael Moore reference.

I wonder if he’ll make a special appeal to Jews, Palin being a concern having addressed Jews for Jesus favorably just two weeks ago.

Lieberman just praised Clinton. Very tepid clapping in response.

7:54 – He’s back to the country is more important than party theme.

8:03 – He’s through. I’ve forgotten how it ended. I’ve spent most of the last 20 minutes trying to find a black face in the crowd. I saw a very exuberant East Indian man, a more subdued East Indian woman. Other than that, a sea of white.

The stage is much more, well, conservative than the Democrats’. A black square box with a wooden podium and a huge screen behind, mostly showing flags.

Oh, there’s a black face. An MSNBC reporter interviewing Newt, who just said the GOP is “much broader than the Democrats.”

Newt just got testy with the reporter accusing him of “baloney” with regard to Palin’s record. The Republicans clearly don’t like the media coverage so far.

They just went to a commercial break with a clip from Bush. Did Bush really compare the “angry left” with McCain’s North Vietnamese captors? Sheesh!

8:13 – An e-mailing reader says of the Lieberman speech, “now I know how Gore lost in 2000.”

8:27 – Some of the commentators are marveling at Lieberman’s taking the kool-aid with regard to Palin. The odd thing is, I’ve now watched about a dozen Republicans, including Lieberman, interviewed about Palin’s qualifications and asked “do you really believe she was the best choice to replace McCain should something happen?” Not one straight answer. Lots of hemming and hawing about how it’s the top of the ticket that matters. But I remember a line from West Wing about the fictional president’s VP choice, “because I might die.”

The networks are suggesting that Palin’s speech may draw more viewers than McCain’s.

8:43 – Is Palin hiding from reporters? I’m off. Be back tomorrow.


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