Palin’s Speech Reax

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Most of the analysis of Sarah Palin’s vice presidential acceptance speech has, predictably, divided on party lines. Republicans tended to love it, thinking it struck the right tone, while Democrats think it was mean-spirited and full of lies.

If one reads through the text of the remarks, thereby ignoring the delivery and optics, one sees a pretty standard party convention speech.  The characterizations of the opponent were clever but unfair.  The record of the speaker and her party were embellished.  Promises were made.

The Obama camp has already put out a “fact sheet” rebutting Palin’s speech.  See Mark Kleiman for a reprint.  Hilzoy does her own fact checking as does AP’s Jim Kuhnhenn.

Palin Lied About Palin

The most problematic charge, because it cuts against the “reform” image Team McCain is trying to craft for her, is that this line is untrue:

I told the Congress “thanks, but no thanks,” for that Bridge to Nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, we’d build it ourselves.

This is, at best, political pandering and, at worst, an outright falsehood.  She supported, as one would reasonably expect an Alaska politician to do, all sorts of earmarks for her state.  As Steven Taylor reminds us, Palin supported the so-called Bridge to Nowhere during her 2006 campaign for governor.

Who finally killed the Alaskan bridge projects?  The Republican Congress, back in November 2005, well before Palin became governor.

Straining to show new dedication to lower spending, House and Senate negotiators took the rare step of eliminating a requirement that $442 million be spent to build the two bridges, spans that became cemented in the national consciousness as “bridges to nowhere” because of the remote territory and small populations involved.

The change will not save the federal government any money. Instead, the $442 million will be turned over to the state with no strings attached, allowing lawmakers and the governor there to parcel it out for transportation projects as they see fit, including the bridges should they so choose.

And spend it she did.  She did cancel Gravina Island Bridge last September.  But she approved funding for a road that was supposed to go to it (I’m not familiar enough with Alaskan infrastructure to know whether it’s therefore a Road to Nowhere).  Oh, and she’s still building the less infamous of the bridges to nowhere, the Knick Arm Bridge.

Palin needs to explain herself on this and stat.

Palin Lied About Obama

The most talked about line this morning has been this one:

And there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state senate.

My colleague Alex Knapp details the response.  In his short Senate career, Obama has had his name on at least two laws and was a sponsor of many more.  He was more accomplished as a state senator.  And he has  worked on ethics reform issues in both places.

Was this a “lie”?  No, since one can hide behind the word “major” here.  Indeed, it would be hard to characterize two laws that virtually no one has ever heard of as “major.”

This is well within the bounds of political puffery and it’s an effective line.  First, it pokes fun at Obama’s self-importance and reinforces the “elitist” meme.  Second, it effectively rebuts the attacks on her as being unqualified because she’s a mere small town mayor.

Palin Lied About McCain

This is the weakest of the “lies” charges.   Hilzoy and others seem particularly vexed by this line:

As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes, and whoever is listening, John McCain is the same man.

It’s true, as Steve Benen has documented, that McCain has had more than his fair share of position changes over the years, some of them curiously timed for political advantage.   It’s also true that McCain has maintained some unpopular positions, notably on the Iraq War and immigration, which many of us thought would kill his chances of getting the nomination.

Palin Was Too Mean

Bernard Finel, writing in the comments of my instant reaction post last night, wrote,

Perhaps the nastiest, most divisive speech on a national stage since Pat Buchanan’s culture war speech in 1992.   Amazingly contemptuous. The Democrats did nothing like that last week. You need to go someplace like DailyKos to find a similar level of venom.

Or, you know, her counterpart Joe Biden’s acceptance speech.  Both he and Palin told their own life stories and that of their running mate in glowing, rose-hued tones.  Both he and Palin spent large parts of their speeches attacking the top of the other ticket.  That’s what VP speeches do.

TNR’s Franklin Foer dubbed the speech  “Disrespectful, Angry, and Effective

Tonight, [McCain] presided over an unending stream of raw right-wing populism: attacks on the ivy leaguers and cosmopolitans and media and Washington and elites. Welcome back to Nixonland. To their credit, they were disrespectful and angry with humor, albeit a sophomoric humor. (Giuliani would have done a splendid job at a Dean Martin roast.)  But it’s clear where they are headed. They will respond to the Democrats’ economic populism with cultural populism. Where Obama talked about “One America,” they will run in the polarizing mode of Rove and Atwater. In an election where they don’t have much of an economic case, this was their best card to play. I have a sinking feeling that it will work and we’re in for an ugly eight weeks.

I only caught the tail end of Rudy Giuliani’s speech owing to a TiVo glitch (let’s just say that I didn’t also need the Spanish language version of “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys”) but thought it was flat and mean until it softened at the end.  Palin’s speech, by contrast, was surprisingly warm.  She delivers attack lines with a surprising charm, mocking without sneering.

Foer’s colleague Sacha Zimmerman hated the cheap shot against community organizers.

Since when is a “community organizer” such a big bad thing to the Republicans? I mean, aren’t delegates essentially–nay, actually–community organizers? And shouldn’t Republicans, along with all Americans, encourage all citizens to be community organizers?

She’s not down on community organizers; rather, she’s making a somewhat sneering rebuttal to the Obama campaign’s assertion that she’s a mere “small town mayor” and, yes, attacking Obama’s presidential experience.

Politics ain’t beanbag and convention speeches aren’t objective analysis.  Palin’s speech, like Obama’s, was good political theater that accomplished its goals.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    Didn’t McCain flip hard on immigration, even saying he would vote against his own legislation? Probably not the best example to use there.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Something else of note, now that I read the speech again, is that Palin put her son’s service in Iraq front and center–something that both Joe Biden and John McCain have refused to do. Not sure what that means, but it’s definitely noticeable.

  3. Neo says:

    No executive experience

    Obama seems to have left out this job from his resume ..

    Recently [1995] he [Obama] was appointed president of the board of the Annenberg Challenge Grant, which will distribute some $50 million in grants to public-school reform efforts.”

    … I wonder why … this would be an excellent comeback for Obama to all those complaints that he never had executive experience or handled a payroll.

  4. Ben says:

    This was weird as well:

    And one week from tomorrow – September 11th – he’ll deploy to Iraq with the Army infantry in the service of his country.

    Whenever she talks about her son leaving for Iraq, the date is always emphasized. Am I reaching?

  5. Mike P says:

    James,
    Not surprisingly, we see the community organizer shot in a different light…if she didn’t mean to belittle what they do, she could have said something like “While I respect the work that community organizers do, I don’t know that it makes one ready to be president” (as if Obama is running only on that). But, no…she was sneering and disrespectful. And be honest…would you have said 3 weeks ago a person who was mayor of a small town in Alaska and a gov. for less than 2 years was ready to be president? I doubt it.

  6. Pug says:

    When the media frenzy began over Palin’s pregnant 17 year old daughter Obama defended her by saying families should be off limits and she should be left alone.

    Palin’s response? Sarcastic, ridiculing personal attacks on Obama and his wife. Stay classy, Sarah.

  7. Ben says:

    She’s not down on community organizers; rather, she’s making a somewhat sneering rebuttal to the Obama campaign’s assertion that she’s a mere “small town mayor” and, yes, attacking Obama’s presidential experience.

    Don’t know if it will change your opinion, but since you missed some of Rudy’s speech, he had his own “community organizer” line, and its intent wasn’t ambiguous.

  8. Derrick says:

    Don’t know if it will change your opinion, but since you missed some of Rudy’s speech, he had his own “community organizer” line, and its intent wasn’t ambiguous.

    The funniest thing is that Obama’s “community organizer” position was almost a decade ago. A decade ago I was an intern, but I’ve done a whole lot more since then. The comparison is completely apples and oranges, discounting the fact that at the time she was running for the great city of Wasilla’s mayoral race, Obama was already an accomplished state senator in a district with more people than the state of Alaska.

    That speech was nothing but red meat with little substance for the base, that’s easily refuted.

  9. DMan says:

    I was very surprised to see her repeat the Bridge to Nowhere lie last night. Unlike many of the lies and smears the Republicans spouted last night, this one can so easily be proven false that it’s unlikely the Obama camp won’t use it against them in an upcoming ad. The only question is whether team Obama allows McCain and Palin to repeat the lie a few more times before they take them to task for it.

  10. sam says:

    Nate Silver has an interesting piece on the speech and its prospects called “Cognitive Dissonance” over at fivethirtyeight.com.

  11. joe5348 says:

    Just reread Biden’s speech. Please tell me where he was mean spirited, I don’t see it. He praised John McCain, but said that McCain simply represented more of the same. That seems like criticizing policy, but isn’t personal.

    Joe5348

  12. Bithead says:

    Something else of note, now that I read the speech again, is that Palin put her son’s service in Iraq front and center–something that both Joe Biden and John McCain have refused to do. Not sure what that means, but it’s definitely noticeable

    I would suggest that what it means is Biden is afraid to make notice of that for fear of annoying too much of his base, by appearing too hawkish. He’s probably right.

    As to McCain’s not doing so, his seems to me an innate modisty that is unique to those who have seen heavy service while in the military. Something which Biden, by the way, can never lay claim to, having used deferments five seperate times to get out of military service.

    The funniest thing is that Obama’s “community organizer” position was almost a decade ago. A decade ago I was an intern, but I’ve done a whole lot more since then.

    But has Obama?
    The answer is ‘No’.

    One of the things that I noted last night, was Palin’s youngest daughter, holding the baby… the one with Down’s syndrome… I forget his name. I noticed, and was touched by two seperate occasions of this. In one random shot, we see the girl… of what, about 9 to 12 years old… wetting her fingers and smoothing the baby’s hair, and talking to him. Later, we see the same girl, still holding the baby, and looking directly into his eyes and talking to him, drawing him in to an interaction, and smiling.

    Now, we’ve seen an awful lot of supposedly leftists, supposedly feminists asking if Palin has the time to be a power broker and a good mom. Leaving aside the question of whether or not a man running for the office would ever have been asked this stuff, my conclusion based on the observations of that young girl and her brother, is yes, she clearly does have the time to do both. I suggest to you that in the in the scenes I’ve just decribed to you, the girl is exhibiting learned behavior. Her mother obviously took the time to teach her these things.

    So much for that argument, even absent the discussion about who is watching Sally Quinn’s kids.

  13. cian says:

    After the stardust has settled on Palin’s speech, the only fact worth discussing will remain front and centre- will enough moderates buy the Palin dazzle and so win McCain the presidency?

    Certainly the Rove wing of the republican party are all fired up, but the more fired up they get, the more fired up the Democrats will become, and neither group on their own can deliver a final blow.

    For now the undecided are not impressed by McCain’s choice, with the ‘less likely to vote for him’ numbers going up. What worries them most is McCain’s health. He’s 72 and has struggled with cancer, and this looks like a ‘Base First’ choice rather than ‘Country First’.

    Still, she did a good job yesterday, and looks like she’ll be a strong performer on the campaign trail.

    Watch that number.

  14. sam says:

    The funniest thing is that Obama’s “community organizer” position was almost a decade ago. A decade ago I was an intern, but I’ve done a whole lot more since then.

    But has Obama?
    The answer is ‘No’.

    A Bit over the top that, doncha think? You might not agree that this is “a lot”, but I think most folks would:

    [P]racticed as a civil rights attorney before serving in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate in January 2003. After a primary victory in March 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He was elected to the Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote. He ran a successful campaign for the Democratic nomination to be President of the United States in 2008.

  15. Bithead says:

    A Bit over the top that, doncha think?

    No.

    Perhaps a reminder is in order, here. The subject used to be ‘executive experience’, remember? Funny how we seem to ahve lost that focus once the argument got disected.

  16. sam says:

    A Bit over the top that, doncha think?

    No.

    🙂

  17. Ben says:
  18. DMan says:

    But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state senate.

    It has already been pointed out that this is not necessarily a falsehood because of the clever use of the subjective word “major.” Nonetheless the purpose of the statement is clear, to mislead the audience into believing Obama has done nothing as a legislator. Is anyone else sick and tired of politicians, taking the public for easily manipulated fools? The reason Obama has been such a fresh air is because, more often than not, he sticks to legitimate criticisms of his opponents. Of course I’d be lying if I said all of Obama’s attacks have been fair, but the point remains that the Obama campaign has done a much better job of sticking to legitimate criticism than the McCain camp has.

  19. Joe says:

    It remains to be seen how either campaign will combat crime and prison overpopulation. A huge percentage of our citizens are serving jail time, often for outdated drug laws, and neither campaign is addressing an important domestic issue.

  20. […] bad position. The bit about how she killed “The Bridge to Nowhere”, in particular, is quite a whopper, and claiming the high ground on earmarks was a real thigh-slapper. The MSM is going to eat her […]

  21. Triumph says:

    I can’t say how impressed I am with Gov. Palin. She is simply brilliant and a new Republican celebrity. She clearly should be at the top of the ticket given her vast executive experience and diplomatic fortitude being our country’s front-line defender against Russia.

    I’ll forget that she entertained the idea of banning books and that she is rejects science. She is a nurturing, tough cookie.

    A tough cookie is exactly what we need as the Number 2 for McCain.

  22. rodney dill says:

    A tough cookie is exactly what we need as the Number 2 for McCain.

    LMAO

  23. Beldar says:

    Nate Silver is clueless. Sorry, that’s the funniest analysis I’ve read in a long time. There’s a solid 20% of the country, clustered along the coasts, who are that insular and out of touch, but most of them realize there are “others” in some number out there, some vague, confused — umm, bitter gun- and religion-clingers out in the fly-over country. But he just doesn’t see it. Thanks for the link, though, sam.

    Joe: I’m with you, bud. From your keyboard to Barack Obama’s ears! I really, really want the Dems to run on a platform of clearing out the prisons.

    DMan: The fact, re the Bridge, is that when she was in the position of power to spend the federal funds on the Bridge to Nowhere, she decided not to. Now, she didn’t send the money back to Washington. Can you point to one state governor, Republican or Democrat, who would have? I think it’s appropriate to judge politicians more on their acts than their abandoned intentions. I think most Americans will agree.

    Mike P: Some very significant segment of the American public equates the term “community organizer” to “rabble-rouser.” It’s someone who’s paid to make trouble. Lots of us think that citizens ought to be able to speak directly to their elected representatives. Lots of us think that “community organizer” is also a code word for “graft distributor.” If you read Obama’s book, that’s actually what he describes himself as doing — as with the “jobs bank” that was being opened in North Chicago, and he had to clash with other “community organizers” (who sound, frankly, more like pimps or drug dealers protecting their territory) to get the mayor to move it into Obama’s neighborhood. There’s nothing in the book about anyone actually getting a job through this “jobs bank,” by the way, except the people (closely tied to Obama’s organization) who were getting salaries for working at the jobs bank.

    There may be “community organizers” who rival Mother Theresa. I’ve never met one, if so. But I’ve seen a whole lot of hustlers who traded votes for all kinds of other goodies. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

  24. Billy says:

    Big fan of the new Triumph. Now do Bithead!

  25. Beldar says:

    Oh, re the Bridge and James’ questions: What I’ve read is that by the time Palin was in a position to make the decision canceling the Bridge, the road was already under construction. If it were abandoned, it would deteriorate and become an environmental problem, and construction couldn’t be resumed on it. They finished the road; they’re still looking into a ferry or less expensive type of bridge that would use the road; but in any event, it opens territory through which it runs to development even if it’s never connected to a bridge or ferry.

  26. Floyd says:

    “”Is anyone else sick and tired of politicians, taking the public for easily manipulated fools?””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    How could they be sick and tired of it? The evidence indicates that they ARE easily manipulated fools!
    How many times does Axelrod’s puppet* have to change his tax plan before people start to suspect prevarication?
    Does the latest version sound good enough to buy your vote?
    Don’t forget, AP* has his “wet boys” in the media to do his mud slinging.
    Neither side deserves your vote! That’s why they have curtains on voting booths.
    Maybe we have reached the point in this country where cynicism is technically impossible.
    [*Obama]

  27. Sarah Palin dissed community organizers. The horror. You can keep the community organizers and I’ll bet Sarah Palin will happily trade them for all the single moms your friends dis, all the parents struggling with pregnant, unwed children your friends dis, all the families with sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, and husbands and wives in uniform your friends dis, all the families of those with special needs children your friends dis, and all the small town residents your friends dis.

  28. DMan says:

    Beldar,

    She campaigned for the Bridge to Nowhere! I’ll make it simple so you can understand it, she was “for it, before she was against it!” Of course she changed her mind about it after it became a national joke, but that doesn’t make her claim that she was against it anymore truthful.

  29. anjin-san says:

    Now that the speech is over, is the McCain campaign going to let Palin out of quarantine so she can talk to the press? Or does she only talk to celebrity magazines?

  30. sam says:

    Well, there is that Tee-Shirt thingy.

  31. Snoop Diggity-DANG-Dawg says:

    Christ, what a bunch of whiney cry-babbies. For the first time you see a strong female politician make an bold, aggressive speech and you instantly retreat into ‘that-so-mean’ mode.

    “Ohhh, she’s so mean! It’s too over the top! How dare she make derisive comments about her opponent?!?”

    It’s politics, bitches. If you can’t take the heat, get the hell out.

  32. Benedict says:

    Some very significant segment of the American public equates the term “community organizer” to “rabble-rouser.” It’s someone who’s paid to make trouble.

    Amen, Beldar. Here in the NYC metro area, we have the ultimate “community organizer” in Al Sharpton, whose vicious exploits are well known and include inciting a crowd to arson and murder. Less well-known nationally, but also significant in New York, was the uber-thug Sonny Carson, who the Village Voice, in this article, called a “community leader and activist”, but who is better remembered for the following:

    Since his death in 2002, many New Yorkers may have forgotten just who Sonny Carson was. But his record of hate dates back to the contentious 1968 school strike on Ocean Hill-Brownsville, where he stood out for his demagoguery.

    A decade later, he was convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder and served a stretch in prison.

    Carson’s backers claim this is when he changed, devoting his life to fighting drugs and police brutality. But those who followed his career knew otherwise.

    In 1990, Carson personally led the campaign of boycott and physical intimidation against Korean-owned delis in Brooklyn’s black neighborhoods, marching with signs that read, “Don’t Shop With People Who Don’t Look Like Us.”

    Defy the boycott and you were spat upon and threatened: “In the future,” he said, “there’ll be funerals, not boycotts.”

    A year later, he hailed the Crown Heights lynch mob that killed Hasidic scholar Yankel Rosenbaum, saying he was “very proud” of what had happened.

    Accused of anti-Semitism, he replied: “I’m anti-white – don’t limit my anti’s to one group of people.”

    Carson proved that when he mourned the death of Khalid Abdul Muhammad – a demagogue so odious even Louis Farrakhan disavowed him – by praising him as “a fighter.”

    (above taken from this article)

    So when a former Mayor of New York City mocks the role of “community organizer”, now maybe you know why.

  33. Spoker says:

    Wow! You mean to tell me that she took money from the feds, didn’t waste it on a bridge to nowhere but rather put it to work on things that the state really needed and that benefited the citizens of Alaska. The one’s that elected her and she promised to serve. Shame on her! 10 lashes with a strip of moose jerky!!

  34. BigFire says:

    To be fair, Obama put ‘community organizer’ on his resume to padded it out. He did afterall spend $120 million of Chicago Annenberg Challenge money with no noticeable differences. That’s the reason why he wanted those file sealed. Not because of who he’s working with, but how he had managed to spend so much money for so little result.

  35. Our Paul says:

    James:

    It’s true, as Steve Benen has documented, that McCain has had more than his fair share of position changes over the years, some of them curiously timed for political advantage.

    Your link to Steve Benen brings up an error message, your readership can find the link here.

    I, for one, do not find anything odious in a politician changing or adjusting a policy viewpoint. That after all is what a sentient creature, aka evolving Homo sapiens, is supposed to do if evidence or facts deems such changes necessary…

    I have always avoided the term flip-flopper as it does not advance any discussion. I note that you avoided it in your post, even though it is a favorite of those on the Center Right. A round of applause from this corner for your post, and its avoidance of nonsensical inflammatory terms.

    What came out of the Palin choice and speech is that McCain has embraced the fundamental religious right. This is not a position switch. Some may call it an essential political move, I call it a cave in the worst political strains in this country.

  36. Snoop Diggity-DANG-Dawg says:

    “What came out of the Palin choice and speech is that McCain has embraced the fundamental religious right.”

    Negative, ghost rider. Did you hear one word about religion or abortion in her entire speech?

    McCain recognized in Sarah Palin a political soul mate, and chose her for his veep.

    Wise choice.

  37. cian says:

    The Bitheads and Beldars of this world have been supporting liars for the last eight years, so their championing of Palin is no surprise and will be of little consequence in the final shake up.

    Undecideds, however, are not so sanguine about dishonest leaders, and Palin has shown herself to be just such a politician. She lied about having no contact with Monegan, she lied about refusing funding for the Bridge To Nowhere, and she lied about being against earmarks (The Washington Independent has a great photo of a note she sent her council highlighting new earmarks she had managed to grab. ‘We did well!!!’ she writes).

    Thing about liars is, once they start they can’t stop, so expect plenty more. And without the undecideds, McCain/Palin are going nowhere (via that bridge, maybe).

  38. Clint says:

    Ben: “Didn’t McCain flip hard on immigration, even saying he would vote against his own legislation?”

    Yep.

    But when he did change, he gave the same opinion everywhere.

    Unlike Obama’s different views on NAFTA when speaking to Democratic primary voters, and when sending secret envoys to reassure the Canadian government; or his different takes on working folks in Scranton and San Francisco; or …

    You’d be hard pressed to find Senator McCain doing that. Love him or hate him, he is not afraid to tell you he doesn’t agree with you. You could ask President Bush, or you could ask the corn farmers of Iowa.

  39. […] think Outside the Beltway’s got a great redux of Palin’s speech last night. He lays out her exaggerations and the criticisms from the left, […]

  40. Bithead says:

    The Bitheads and Beldars of this world have been supporting liars for the last eight years, so their championing of Palin is no surprise and will be of little consequence in the final shake up.

    I’m sure this gives you comfort, Cian, but ’tain’t so.

  41. deek says:

    Goldenboy was emasculated by “Mrs Smith Goes To Washington.”

    The abject terror on the left is simply delicious.

  42. bc says:

    So far, McCain has not taken any bait from Biden or Obama. I hope he ignores all this as well. Run the “Hillary gets finger from Obama” video with a voice over about Obama’s true message to women. Peel off the women’s vote. That is where “fairness” should be front and center as the core issue of this campaign.

  43. armchairpunter says:

    This morning the WaPo made this brilliant observation:

    the real tests will come in the weeks ahead, when, or so we hope, Ms. Palin will submit to searching interviews and open town-hall forums

    Seems a pretty scathing indictment of the press, given their months of complacency as Obama refused to accept McCain’s invitation to engage in joint town-hall forums and avoided answering many questions concerning his CV.

  44. Monica says:

    I’m seeing more and more people implying that if a politician changes his or her mind that somehow that’s a political “gotcha”. For me – if they change their mind to the correct position – it’s a no harm no foul situation. Now, if they went from the correct decision to the wrong one and did it for political points then in that case I can see where the “gotcha” is legitimate.

  45. kenyg says:

    I just keep wondering why all the critics are pouncing on her “lack of experience” – and wonder why these same folks never asked the same questions of Obama?

    Sexism is alive and well my friends.

    So – It appears now that it’s Sarah vs. Obama and McCain vs. Biden – interesting.

  46. One of the biggest problems the left has is their inability to concede any point and move on, no matter how small or peripheral the point is. If Obama has a brain cell in his head, he will come out and state in no uncertain terms that Palin has the experience to be VP and even the President before it kills his campaign. If the left had a brain cell in their collective heads, they would simply concede that if Obama has the experience to be the President, then Palin does too.

    But you know what? The left won’t do it. They can’t do it, because admitting being wrong about anything isn’t in the rationalist DNA. The left has to face the music; they nominated for President a man without a serious record. They have no one to blame for this other than themselves. They need to either concede the point or watch as Obama flames out at 40k feet and crashes and burns in November.

    yours/
    peter.

  47. Pat says:

    That John McCain is the “same man” remark was about how he’s not going to trash talk constituents behind their back and then praise them to their face. I didn’t get a sense of policy-relevance in that statement.

  48. apb says:

    Look at this from the top-level, mush-heads. Obomber comes from Illinois – where the schools are crap, the roads are crap, the taxes are out-of-sight, and we’re looking at a trillion dollars of unfunded liability over the next forty years.

    The State’s run by Dems from Daleytown through Cook County, down to the house, senate, and (corrupt) governor – and it’s a machine run on graft and corruption. This is the place where Obomber was hatched, and he didn’t have the integrity to serve his first term in the Senate before his arrogant aspirations caught up with him.

    The ‘change’ mantra has made chumps out of a bunch of folks – the ‘change’ involves the imposition of IL corruption in D.C. – not the change ANYONE should want. Obomber’s a fraud – and his followers are just simple tools. Sad.

  49. Bithead says:

    Seems a pretty scathing indictment of the press, given their months of complacency as Obama refused to accept McCain’s invitation to engage in joint town-hall forums and avoided answering many questions concerning his CV.

    heh… it does, doesn’t it? I somehow doubt they’d see it so.

    But you know, there’s this, too… after the treatment McCain and Palin have been getting from the Dinosuars the last 72 hours, anything less than abject prostration by McCain and Palin before the mighty editorial boards will result in even worse treatment, now, and complaints that they’re “not cooperating” and “Hostile”.

    I ca

  50. Joe says:

    You can nitpick to your heart’s content, but her message was basically correct and on the mark. Many more inaccuracies of the type that you’ve found in your analysis can be found in any political speech, but perhaps you’re not aware of this because you don’t look at those other speeches with the same level of scrutiny.

  51. Mitch H. says:

    I call shenanigans. Coburn and Lugar did all the heavy lifting on those two bills, with Obama acting as typical bi-partisan coverage for Senatorial procedural purposes. I seem to remember a famously scathing public letter from McCain about Obama’s worthless lip-service attitude & general disinclination to actually work on ‘his’ bill in the context of the Coburn-Obama measure.

  52. anjin-san says:

    In other news:

    Vanity Fair estimates that the “rather fancy designer clothes” Cindy McCain wore while taking the stage Tuesday night at the Republican convention cost somewhere between $299,100 and $313,100.

    Yes, small town America, the McCain’s understand your problems. They are really just like you. And that Obama feller is an elitist.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/politics/2008/09/cindy-mccains-300000-outfit.html

  53. just me says:

    With regards to flip flopping.

    I think it is a bad charge. It is one that worked well with Kerry, partly I think because he never really mastered explaining the reasons why he changed his mind.

    People change their minds all the time-I actually want people to have a mind open to change, when new evidence is brought to the table that indicates their original position should be altered or completely changed.

    That isn’t a flip flop-it is taking in new information, applying it to the problem and coming up with what may be the better answer to the problem. That is a good thing.

    My opinions 20 years ago aren’t consistent with a lot of my opinions now. My mind has changed a lot over the years-I have moved further left on some issues and further right on others.

    In the end, I don’t care if a politician changes their mind, I just want to hear a good coherent reason why it happened. For instance Palin does have a good coherent reason for her change on ear marks, and I do think ear marks from the perspective of the recipient compared to the congress member making them is different.

    And I would point out that even the anti earmarkers out there aren’t 100% opposed to funding projects and the like in home states, but they object to the process by which they are attached to legislation with very little ability to provide real oversight.

  54. Judith says:

    Most of obama’s state legislature activities were bills stripped from individuals that had worked long and hard to develop them and put them on the agenda, obama needed a resume, quick. obama used the same slash and burn techniques in his campaigning in chicago, the finesse he has added on the national level is that he lets it play out for 24 to 48 hours, takes the stage and denounces it. We are not fools, obama is a clever, skilled political hack from the old corrupt chicago political machine. the media and fellow pols have done a very good job hiding his activities, but they are becoming known.

  55. anjin-san says:

    obama is a clever, skilled political hack

    Ummmm… Judith,

    A hack is someone who is neither clever nor skilled.

    Don’t get out much, do you?

  56. Palin Lied About Palin
    Palin Lied About Obama
    Palin Lied About McCain
    Palin Was Too Mean

    Going for the US Weekly demographic?

  57. belloscm says:

    “I was very surprised to see her repeat the Bridge to Nowhere lie last night.”

    I’m not.

    It appears that the money allocated by Congress was about $325 billion short of what was required to actually complete the project. Alaskans didn’t want to fund the difference, so Palin decided to use the money for other, higher priority, infrastructure projects. I think that this is called taking lemons and turning them into lemonade.

    Lie, or astute political repositioning on an issue? Lie is kind of mean and shrill, don’t ya think?

    Appears to have been a very popular decision in Alaska. Of course, the Ketchikan area politicians who initially pushed for the bridge and it’s anticipated benefits are not happy at all. They now like to share their unhappiness with the press.

  58. lunacy says:

    Re: Cindy McCain’s wardrobe-

    Did Cindy McCain ever claim to be small town America?

    Cindy McCain can afford to dress in designer silk. She looks beautiful in them. Why the hell shouldn’t she wear them?

    If I had her budget I’d dress well too.

    Compare to Michelle Obama, who on her night wore a simple blue dress and on the last night wore a pretty calico dress, both, no doubt chosen to say small town although she isn’t really, is she?

    Compare

    And

    Contrast

  59. anjin-san says:

    If I had her budget I’d dress well too.

    There is dressing well, and then there are gratuitous, tasteless displays of wealth. With so many American’s struggling to save their homes and pay for health care and education, I would say a 300k ensemble is the latter.

    I like to dress well myself. I have quite a bit of Armani, Zegna, Robert Talbott and so forth in my wardrobe. Got most of it for 50-70% off by shopping carefully. I have nothing against dressing well.

    As for Michell Obama, perhaps she just understands that understated good taste never goes out of style.

    Compare and contrast indeed…

  60. just me says:

    I can’t believe the political discussion has devolved into a critique of the candidate’s wives dresses.

    I am not anywhere close to rich-the majority of my wardrobe comes from the sales rack at Penny’s. I really do not care how much McCain’s wife spent on her dress or how much Michelle spent on hers. If they liked the dresses, and they could pay for them-that is their prerogative.

  61. bbbeard says:

    Well, in re “meanness” and Biden, leading the crowd in chants of “Kill Michelle Malkin”, er, “That’s not change!” is pretty far out there, not to mention pretty anti-intellectual for a guy of Biden’s three-digit IQ. I don’t see anything in the Palin speech that qualifies as “mean” — except for the stark contrast between MO’s “for the first time I’m proud of my country” and Palin’s “we’re always proud of our country”. Horrors! It’s so, so… mean to say you’re always proud of our country.

    In re Biden’s slippery relationship to the facts, he said at one point, “And he made their lives the work of his life. That’s what you do when you’ve been raised by a single mom, who worked, went to school and raised two kids on her own.” Umm, isn’t this factually challenged? IIRC, Obama’s grandmother raised him. You remember Grandma Dunham, right? The “typical white woman” that The One threw under the bus? Now Biden is making sure she stays under the bus. (Talk about mean! She’s his grandma! You folks are vicious!)

    Biden said, “He reached across party lines to pass a law that helps keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.” Is he talking about Lugar-Obama? Couldn’t be — that dealt with conventional weapons. Maybe he was confusing BO with Sam Nunn. Or maybe he was lying, because it’s more impressive to say you’ve kept nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists than to say you’ve kept conventional weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

    “John thinks that during the Bush years “we’ve made great progress economically.” I think it’s been abysmal.” Well, I guess that’s not technically a lie, because only he knows what he really thinks. But surely he knows that the US real GDP has grown 18% under George Bush, after grinding to a stuttering halt under Clinton. Surely he knows that unemployment remains at historic lows. And surely he knows that it’s the Democrat Congress that has prevented action that would lower oil prices by enabling drilling in the continental shelf. Because, after all, he has such a high IQ. And I’m sure you won’t catch him with underinflated tires.

    “Barack Obama will bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the typical family, and, at long last, deliver affordable, accessible health care for all Americans.” Does anyone actually believe this? I don’t. Doesn’t this qualify as “pandering”? Doesn’t this qualify as “red meat”?

    You people (yeah, I said “YOU PEOPLE”) need to get a grip.

  62. anjin-san says:

    I can’t believe the political discussion has devolved into a critique of the candidate’s wives dresses.

    Really? Can you believe how much effort the McCain campaign has put into characterizing Obama as a “celebrity” when it could have been discussing the issues? Or have their Paris Hilton adds raised the level of political discourse?

    The cost of Mrs. McCain’s wardrobe in of itself is irrelevant. But it does go a ways in suggesting that the McCain’s do not have a clue of a clue about the financial challenges facing most Americans.

    If they did, perhaps McCain would be working for greater, not less availability for health care, and more, not less benefits for vets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan…

  63. sam says:

    I’m as guilty as anyone here of what Orin Kerr so brilliantly skewers over at the Volokh Conspiracy. Boogie on over there, and scroll down to this absoulte gem:

    [Orin Kerr, September 4, 2008 at 1:07am]
    VC Commenters On Apples and Oranges: A play in one act, inspired by recent comment threads here at the VC

    Substitute “Outside the Beltway” for “VC”

    Hilarious.

  64. worried.about.a.socialist.president says:

    that cindy mccain vanityfair blog article is pretty outlandish. $290,000 for 3kt diamond earrings? wtf?! that’s quite unlikely.

  65. anjin-san says:

    $290,000 for 3kt diamond earrings? wtf?! that’s quite unlikely.

    Not really…

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/11/business/jewel.php?page=2?pass=true

    The reason the diamonds at the mall are relatively inexpensive is they are crap for quality. The real thing can cost quite a bit more…

  66. Cleanthes says:

    “Obama was already an accomplished state senator in a district with more people than the state of Alaska”

    This is false.

    The Illinois state senate has 59 districts. The population of Illinois in 2000 was 12,852,548 which works out to 217,839 people in the average district. The population of state senate districts cannot vary much because of Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962).

    The population of Alaska in 2000 was 683478.
    Additionally, Alaska has many, many tourists to keep track of, so that the summer population swells to over a million.

    Another way to judge the significance of a government position is salary:
    The salary of the Governor of Alaska is
    $125,000
    Legislators in the Illinois State Senate (a part-time job) are paid $66,000.
    Some get kickbacks from Tony Rezko.

  67. anjin-san says:

    Another way to judge the significance of a government position is salary:

    Really? Here is a state employee in Texas who makes more than the President.

    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/finance/entries/2007/06/15/bonus_babies_part_i_1.html

  68. lunacy says:

    Sorry us girls (anjin and I) disturbed the discussion with our fashion comments 😉

    Obviously, anjin would rather redistribute Cindy’s wealth so that all women in America can dress like Michelle Obama. That’s the only way Cindy can shed her guilt for being more fortunate than the rest of the ladies.

    Me…if she can afford it and it looks good, why shouldn’t she wear it?

    Shall we compare the cost of Obama’s shoes and suits to John McCain’s?

    Or Cindy’s charitable contributions to Michelle’s?

    I thought not.

  69. anjin-san says:

    Obviously, anjin would rather redistribute Cindy’s wealth so that all women in America can dress like Michelle Obama.

    No, its just that I prefer class to flash. But hey, you may be right. The McCain’s are big celebrities, and they have to think about appearances for the paparazzi and such…

  70. kenyg says:

    Sarah’s just plain hot. Much better looking that Barack. Plus the first-dude elect plays like a normal guy –

    This is America – the hot couple wins.

    The Obama dream machine just had their bubble burst.

  71. Bithead says:

    There is dressing well, and then there are gratuitous, tasteless displays of wealth. With so many American’s struggling to save their homes and pay for health care and education, I would say a 300k ensemble is the latter.

    Newton’s law states that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction.

    Bithead’s correlary states that for every action, there’s at least one power hungry yutz trying to make you feel guilty about it.

    Why do liberals busy themselves with assocaiting guilt with wealth? I figure it’s mostly because guilt is one major power they know they can exert over others.

    Personally, I refuse to feel guilty about my accomplishments and what I own as a result of them. Nor should Cindy McCain, or anyone else.
    Put another way, stuff your guilt trip. I’m not buying.

  72. Web Smith says:

    This is a mother who thinks that the deployment of her 19 year old child to Iraq is such a good idea that she has bragged about it to every radical Muslim on the planet. She then told them when.

    The reward and promise of eternal bliss has, most likely, already been announced.

    Perhaps she doesn’t realize that just the idea of a woman seeking power enrages our enemy, but anyone seeking to be Vice President should.

    She has plenty of time to think about this and put her son and those around him more at risk. When her boy arrives home in a body bag, maybe it will be another one of those up and down things that families go through.

  73. anjin-san says:

    Hmmm, Bit missed the point about class and good tasted and class. Now there is a shocker.

  74. anjin-san says:

    Please pardon the garbled language, cat, phone and laptop interfaced over coffee in bed. Class and good taste….

    By the way Bit, your “guilt trip about wealth” line is pretty lame. My professed love for sports cars and Armani makes it fairly clear that I have nothing against wealth and luxury (though I am a big fan of moderation), and I have my own career accomplishments that I take pride in.

    My boss has 3 beautiful homes and a bitchin’ plane that he flies to them in. Good for him. He started from scratch and built a fantastic business.

    Tell me something, do you classify inheriting 100 million an “accomplishment”?

  75. lunacy says:

    So when your boss dies, anjin, are his children entitled to his inheritance?

    And if so, are they entitled to spend it on Armani, Givenchy or whomever?

    More importantly, how do you feel about the fashion legacy of Jackie K. Onassis and Oleg Cassini and huge triple strand pearls with herme head scarfs?

    I’m a blue jean and t-shirt tomboy, myself. But I must tell you, because I know fashion means so much to you, all the fashion savvy women in my office think Cindy looked beautiful. Her blue outfit last night was unanimously perceived to be “fabulous”. They likened her to Jackie O.

    They also loved Palin’s gun-metal blouse, too.

    I hadn’t noticed but, the ladies in my kaffeeklatsch also observe that Michelle seems to be trying to channel Jackie O. Unsuccessfully, by their estimation.

    But more than anything, they were glad to see the skirts and heals over the pantsuit.

    Maybe you should ask your kaffeeklatsch how they feel about the current fashions among the political class, since this topic is so important to you.

    Perhaps it will help you develop your own sense of style.

  76. anjin-san says:

    They likened her to Jackie O

    Thank you lunacy. Its been a long week, and I needed a good laugh.

    My sense of style? Paris is my favorite city, and I like to pick up mid-20th century gallery prints when I am there (or I did when the dollar was worth something). I like Armani shirts, Canelli suits and Zenella slacks. The Robert Talbott outlet in Carmel Valley is a great place to shop after a round of golf. I also have an affinity for Italian audio equipment. (Unico valve amps are smoking!)

    I am afraid I don’t have a kaffeeklatsch, but I do find that how people present themselves tells us a lot about them. Its interesting that you mention the Kennedys. On the campaign trail, JFK changed shirts 10 times a day. He always looked tight and put together, I think he was the first one to do that.

    One of the interesting things about the Kennedy’s, at least the JFK generation, is that despite great wealth, they seemed to have a genuine desire to try and understand the issues of poor, working class, and middle class folks. FDR was like that too. Both men had empathy, and an appreciation of how fortunate they were. I think Reagan was too, to some extent. He remembered where he was from.

    A gratuitous display of wealth at the convention, with the whole country watching, with so many getting laid off, being foreclosed, struggling to pay for health care and education is in poor taste. If you are a Republican, I can see why you might want to sidestep the issue.

    You can get beautiful clothes and jewelry with money. Style is more elusive, you can’t always buy it.

  77. anjin-san says:

    So when your boss dies, anjin, are his children entitled to his inheritance?

    Of course they are. I don’t believe I questioned the legitimacy of inheritance, just that it represents any kind of accomplishment.

    I am a bit old fashioned about some things, and am not particularly impressed by men who live large on their wives dime. This feeling applies to John Kerry as well as John McCain.

    While we are on the subject of politicians lifestyles, it is a good time to point out that the right absolutely blew a gasket over John Edwards $400 haircut. A 300k ensemble kind of trumps that, don’t you think?

  78. lunacy says:

    All my needling aside, I’m not overly fond of overt displays of wealth. But I’m just not fond of jewelry, fancy clothes, etc… I don’t even have my ears pierced. And I’m not a huge fan of Jackie O, either. Don’t dislike her, just don’t see what all the fuss was about. It really was my kaffeeklasch who brought that up. Ladies my age and older who relish looking at the wedding dresses in the newspapers and the celebrity rags at the latest frocks. It’s our social agreement that I listen to them regarding fashion and they listen to me regarding gardening and bird watching.

    But I don’t think it’s fair to say that the McCain’s are any less concerned about those less fortunate. Cindy, has, after all, put her money where her mouth is. As do MANY ungodly wealthy people. But she also put her efforts where her mouth is.

    And, anjin, for what it’s worth, I’m a little sexist in that I don’t like it when men are more vain or spend more attention and money to their appearance than women do. So, although, truly I’m independent, I chuckled over JE’s haircut too.

  79. anjin-san says:

    bird watching.

    Well that is something we agree on. We have 9 feeders and 5 water stations in the backyard, and my wife and her crew maintain about 250 boxes for cavity nesters in the area.

  80. anjin-san says:

    I chuckled over JE’s haircut too.

    It rated a chuckle. The right blew a gasket over it..

  81. Bithead says:

    By the way Bit, your “guilt trip about wealth” line is pretty lame. My professed love for sports cars and Armani makes it fairly clear that I have nothing against wealth and luxury (though I am a big fan of moderation), and I have my own career accomplishments that I take pride in

    And yet when others do it, it’s a problem?
    Why do I get the impression you’re simply looking for something to get offended about, and that you’re willing to apply your usual double standard to get there?

  82. anjin-san says:

    Look BIt, I you think a potential first lady wearing 250K earrings while unemployment is up for the 8th straight month is a tasteful thing to do, well thats your view.

    There is a vast difference between a nonsense discussion, like McCain’s $500 dollar shoes, and an ensemble that costs more than a lot of hard working Americans make in 10 years.

    And yet when others do it, it’s a problem?

    Oh, you mean like when the right went ballistic about Edward’s $400 haircut?