Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sit & Spin

I want to say a few things about the Sarah Palin nomination.

First, I want to say something about Bristol's pregnancy: This fact has absolutely nothing to do with Sarah Palin's ability to govern or with her qualities as a human being.  This is a family issue, and has no business in politics.  Obama's campaign has said the same thing, and in fact Obama said today that anyone in his campaign who talked about Palin's family would be fired immediately.  I just wanted to get that out of the way because some Republicans have been saying that all liberals are smearing Palin's character., and this is totally untrue.

But the real issue for me is that Palin is completely unqualified to be vice president, and I believe McCain's choice shows a kind of reckless pandering.  When Palin praised Hillary Clinton for the cracks in the glass ceiling, she made a direct appeal to the female voters, and I find it offensive that they believe that women will vote for Palin though they may disagree with all of her policies.  

But back to the experience thing . . . I think it is absolutely laughable that Republicans are trying to spin her experience as that which qualifies her for this job.  Putting aside the comparison to Obama's experience (which is another issue altogether), I cannot believe that the talking heads on television and in McCain's campaign actually buy into the notion that Palin's "executive" experience is enough.  Sure, she has more executive experience than Obama, but she has been governor for 18 months.  She has more executive experience than John McCain too, but you won't hear them say that.  And I actually do not believe that the McCain surrogates actually believe what they are saying either.  Some of them look so strained as they talk about her experience in the PTA and all that she has accomplished in Alaska.

Which leads me to the real trouble I have with this whole thing.  The way the McCain camp has reacted to the criticism of Palin is hilarious at best and despicable at worst.  For example, when James Carville (who is a nutjob) said that he does not think that Palin's experience qualifies her to be VP, Michalle Bachmann (an even bigger nutjob) said, "That is demeaning to women."  What the fuck?  How is questioning someone's experience demeaning to women?  What bullshit.  She went on to say that by discounting and demeaning all that Palin has accomplished, we demean all women.  First of all, Palin is not all women.  But more importantly, no one from Obama's campaign--and certainly not me--has demeaned Palin's experience.  Saying she is not qualified to be VP does not demean her experience.  I think she has a great story, and I love the idea that someone who ran for mayor on a whim can be elected governor.  That absolutely deserves praise, and is quite an accomplishment.

But it does not qualify her to be vice president.

Another example of the spin: CNN anchor Campbell Brown asked one of McCain's advisers what experience in Palin's term as mayor makes her qualified to be VP, and the guy said something to the effect of, "Surely you do not mean to suggest that qualified people can only come from big liberal cities like New York."  Way to deflect, my friend.

And then Campbell Brown asked what specific "executive decisions" as commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard had Palin made, and the guy said something to the effect of "Surely you do not mean to demean the National Guard?"  Are you kidding me with this?

Now, regarding Palin's speech last night: she definitely had some good zingers (entirely written by someone else, whereas Obama and McCain write most or much of what they say), and her speech was very well delivered.  But it also contained some lies (about Obama's lawmaking or her opposition to the "Bridge to Nowhere") and some clever obfuscations (about Obama's tax plan--she was quite clever in her manipulation of language here:  
Or maybe you're trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or Ohio ... or create jobs with clean coal from Pennsylvania or West Virginia ... or keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota. How are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?
Notice she did not say, "How are you going to be better if YOUR taxes go up?" because she knows that these people's taxes will not go up, but through clever language use she masks her message.  It is a good thing Republicans like substance over style.)

She went on to belittle civil liberties in her speech, but most importantly she offended and demeaned the thousands of people who work for little money to help improve the lives of those less fortunate.  Yes, I was deeply, deeply offended by her petty comment about community organizers, and the party faithful in attendance ate it up.  

What Palin has managed to do is recharge the right wing base and re-ignite the Gingrich culture wars.  It strikes me that such tactics are those that John McCain Version 1 spent a long time fighting against.

Palin did show she has some good fight in her, and this race just continues to get more and more interesting.


At 11:52 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

I find it offensive that they believe that women will vote for Palin though they may disagree with all of her policies.

Are you kidding me? This isn't offensive. This is absolutely correct. People in this country vote on an incredible number of non-policy related factors. This is a point I have harped about and hated for years. This is why I hated it so much when you persisted in writing W quotes on the blackboard. I couldn't care less how a guy speaks, I couldn't care less about gender, I couldn't care less about race, I couldn't care less about physical attractiveness, and a whole slew of other things that aren't political beliefs. But that is certainly not the case, I suspect, for millions of voters come November. I find the idea that women would vote for her on the sole basis that she's a woman as well -- but that's likely reality. Both sides are playing to win, as they should. And this is part of it.

At 11:53 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

*offensive, as well

At 12:28 AM, Blogger Pelk posited...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Pelk posited...

Palin has held public office for 16 years, most of which was executive experience (mayor, governor). Obama has held public office for 12 years, none of which was executive.

Obama is running for the most demanding job in the world, and Palin is running for a job where she has basically no real responsibilities.

And you're laughing at how inexperienced Palin is? I think you're stretching a bit.

I think she's very refreshing. I realize the GOP has been pounding this one over and over, but I have to agree with them that one of the most effective ways to change Washington poltics is to get someone elected to high office who has not been affected by the system. That's an advantage the other ticket cannot claim.

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Pelk posited...

*13 years, she had a little gap in there that doesn't really qualify as public office.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

This is why I hated it so much when you persisted in writing W quotes on the blackboard

...hated it so much that you loved stopping by my room in the following years so you could see the new quotes... :)

At 11:24 AM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

I've been adding it up myself:
-four years on student council in high school
- three years on the Student Government at college
- one year as All-Campus Event Coordinator at college (this was an executive position, in which I managed a staff and a budget, and I made sure that the laws and bylaws of the college were enforced)
- five years on the Site-Based Council at BHS

All of these were elected positions, so I too have 13 years of elected experience, including executive experience.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Pelk posited...

Well, it appears as if you have POTUS written all over you.

For me, the number of years a candidate has been within the Washington system has very little to do with how "qualified" I think a candidate is to hold office. I look at the content of the candidate's ideas, and then the content of the candidate's character to gauge how likely it is that the candidate's ideas will be realized. Experience is only of minor importance, as the more time candidates have spent in Washington, the better they are at manipulating the system to achieve their goals, but also the less likely they are to actually change the system. The only area where experience plays a major role for me is in foreign policy, as it is important for a President to have a relationship with world leaders and to be able to negotiate with them.

The experience Obama, Palin, and Wanninger have in Washington as compared to a Washington insider is laughable, but that isn't exactly the point.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

True, but even at three years, Obama has me and Sarah beat, times infinity.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger bluelinebloggers posited...

For all of the right's claims that Obama is a career politician, I can't think of anyone else who's sold out their ideals more than John McCain since '06. It's understandable that the guy is old and wants to be president, but Christ.

At 6:53 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

...hated it so much that you loved stopping by my room in the following years so you could see the new quotes... :)

Hah, you got me. Hate is probably incorrect. It was more akin to eye-rolling.

At 6:55 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

And re. selling out - this is actually another thing that worries me about Obama. I hate to see him moving (at least trying to move...) to the center, because I'm afraid gullible people might somehow perceive him as a moderate. Yeesh.


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