Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Sunday, August 31st, 2008.


Don’t Go There

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McCain-Palin

There’s a lot of talk about what we can and cannot say about Sarah Palin. There are some who seem to think any criticism at all of Palin amounts to sexism, an attitude that strikes me as sexist. It says that women can’t be taken seriously in the political world and treated the same way men are treated. It’s like the high school coach who puts girls on the boy’s varsity team not because he thinks they are good players, but because he thinks the opposing team will hesitate to rough them up. (Which, come to think of it, might explain McCain’s choice of Palin.)

I argued yesterday that it’s absurd not to talk about Palin’s inexperience. Anyone who says that talking about her inexperience requires imposing a double standard is, um, imposing a double standard.

However, I will not criticize her as a mother or suggest she has too many small children to take care of to be VPOTUS. I haven’t seen any such criticism personally, but I understand there was some such carping among a few Daily Kos diarists, leading to the Times of London to report a “Left-wing websites such as the Daily Kos are leading the chorus of disapproval.”

It’s not much of a chorus; more of a small chamber ensemble. In any event, don’t go there. The late Benazir Bhutto gave birth while she was President of Pakistan, for pity’s sake.

And yes, I’ve heard the rumor that Palin’s youngest baby isn’t hers. I’m not going there, either, unless more evidence shows up. Making wild accusations that turn out to be stupid makes you look like a rightie.

On the other hand, Josh Marshall explains in detail why Palin’s troopergate issue needs to be discussed.

We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It’s called an abuse of power. There is ample evidence that Palin used her power as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. When his boss refused to fire him, she fired him. She first denied Monegan’s claims of pressure to fire Wooten and then had to amend her story when evidence proved otherwise. The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened.

There’s a difference between criticizing people professionally and criticizing them personally. Criticizing Palin’s stands on issues, yes. Discussing her record as a mayor and a governor, yes. Pointing out her lack of experience, yes. Ridicule of her appearance, family or personal lifestyle choices, no. I hope we’re clear.

Let’s not forget that the real focus needs to stay on John McCain. Todd Gitlin writes,

McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin is not a weird anomaly. It’s of a piece with his standard modus operandi. He’s impulsive, erratic. Put him in a jam, he leaps from petulance to exuberant nose-thumbing. He may be old, but he’s unseasoned–he’s childish. He jumps outside the box and takes pleasure in his insouciance. Faced with a foreign policy problem, he thinks: Bomb. (Sometimes he blurts it out, as in: Bomb bomb Iran.) Faced with energy crisis, he thinks: Drill. Faced with Russia-Georgia-Ossetia, he thinks: Let’s get the Cold War on. Bomb and drill, drill and bomb–this is not a steady hand at the wheel; this is a go-for-broke gambler playing the game as he loves to play it.

Whenever I see polls that say a majority think McCain would be a better commander in chief than Obama, I want to scream. We need to find a way to flush this jerk out into the open so the American people can see him for what he really is.

Update:
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes,

The entire Sarah Palin pick comes down to one thing–the hope that George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, or (God forbid) Will.I.Am. will make a joke about moose-burgers. At that point, the McCain campaign will cut an ad which says They’re laughing at you. Vote for McCain and you can show the world. You can show them all! Of course said ad will never appear on television but will be screened only for the media–who will then do their job and turn the cable news into giant echo chamber in which the “Real Americans” yell They’re all gonna laugh at you! They’re all gonna laugh at you! Welcome to Victimology 101–the White Working Class Edition.

Watch the Obama-Biden ad. Nice.

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It Could Have Been Worse

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McCain-Palin

Word is that McCain had wanted to choose Joe Lieberman as his running mate, and the GOP Powers That Be wouldn’t have it, because Lieberman supports abortion rights. So the “maverick” caved and chose someone else.

I think Lieberman would have been a much more dangerous choice for us than Palin will turn out to be. Joe may be persona non grata on the Left, but I think most people who are not politics nerds, which are most people, don’t understand why us lefties don’t like him. They see him as a moderate bipartisan who talks about Gawd a lot. The choice would have assured people that McCain intends to break with the extremist body of the GOP.

And the Dems sure as hell couldn’t have said he isn’t qualified to be veep.

The next question is, how carefully was Palin vetted? She wasn’t a complete surprise, as I’ve seen her name mentioned a few times in the past several weeks as a possible veep pick. The McCain campaign claims she was well and thoroughly vetted. Josh Marshall has reason to doubt this.

Oliver Willis calls it, I believe:

Increasingly, I’m beginning to believe the Palin pick is the latest manifestation of John McCain’s impulse control problem, a thread going through his entire life – from cheating on his first wife with Cindy McCain, advocating for war with Iraq right after 9/11, chanting “bomb Iran”, as well as his numerous flashes of rage both physical and verbal against his congressional colleagues. As Paul Begala notes, McCain picked someone who isn’t up to the job in a way that would endanger us all – and all based on what his ego is feeling at the moment.

There is speculation that Palin will end up being the GOP’s Thomas Eagleton and will be replaced on the ticket before November. I wouldn’t count on that. I think the true believers on the Right will support her and believe her to be an asset to the ticket no matter what happens between now and November.

But that’s OK. Obama will never win those votes, anyway. The real question is, how will independent voters perceive her? Those are the votes Obama needs. And I’m not much worried. As I said, Lieberman would have been much more dangerous.

On the minus side — I understand President Bush will not be attending the RNC convention because of Hurricane Gustav, which disappoints me terribly. But you know how our president likes to take charge and stay on top of things during hurricanes. In fact, McCain questioned whether the convention would be held at all.

“I’m afraid … that we may have to look at that situation and we’ll try to monitor it,” he told Fox News. “But you know it just wouldn’t be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near-tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster. So we’re monitoring it from day to day and I’m saying a few prayers too.”

Yep; wouldn’t be appropriate. Not at all.

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