Sarah Palin, “Small Town Mayor”

Those who’ve read my previous commentary on Sarah Palin, notably yesterday’s post on the announcement of Palin as McCain’s VP pick, know that I think she’s a poor choice.  While she has many fans and may be possessed of some remarkable political gifts, she’s a tough sell as “Ready On Day One” and thus undercuts McCain’s best argument against Barack Obama.

On the surface, at least, she’s Dan Quayle and Harriet Miers rolled up into a single package.

That said, I’m rather baffled that the “small town mayor” meme is catching on so readily.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, “Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.” National Review‘s David Frum, who presumably wants McCain to win, echoed this: “If anything were to happen to a President McCain, the destiny of the free world would be placed in the hands of a woman who until the day before Friday was a small-town mayor.”  (In a companion piece at NR, he dropped the metaphor and simply called her “an untested small-town mayor.”) The phrase appears in dozens, if not hundreds, of newspapers.  (1905 Google News references come up, although presumably a large number of those are duplicate wire service copy.)

These memes are often amusing and sometimes stick.  Jimmy Carter was “the peanut farmer” long after his presidency, even though he’d 1) never farmed peanuts, 2) had been a successful naval officer, and 3) had been governor of Georgia.   Ronald Reagan, who spent eight years governing California, a state with a population and economy that dwarfs most countries, was always “the B-movie actor.”

Granting that Alaska has fewer people in it than quite a few American cities, the woman is in fact the governor of a state.  And, goodness, until four years ago, Obama was a state legislator.  Indeed, one could argue her experience and his are comparable, in that he’s spent almost the entirety of his short time in the Senate running for president.

Neither “small town mayor” nor “state legislator” are usually jobs that we bother to count when assessing presidents and one can argue which is better preparation for Chief Executive.  Ordinarily, only the vice presidency, the Senate, and state governorships are considered relevant experience, although sometimes we issue a waiver for particularly important generals.

The four people on the two national tickets include two, McCain and Joe Biden, who are manifestly prepared to be president using the résumé-at-a-glance test. They’ve both spent decades at the highest levels of government service, including the making of American foreign and national security policy.

A third, Obama, has convinced the Democratic nominating electorate and roughly half the country, judging by the current polls, that he has unique gifts that make him ready despite a dearth of traditional experience.  Even those of us ideologically predisposed against him acknowlege that he’s unusually bright and a quick study.  And the mere fact that he’s been running for president for the last two years has sped his preparation along.

And then there’s Sarah Palin.  Some smart people whose opinions I respect, including Bill Dyer and my colleagues John Burgess and Dave Schuler, are favorably impressed by her. But most of the country had never heard of her before yesterday.   She doesn’t pass the résumé test.  So, she’ll have to persuade the public that she’s ready on the campaign trail, the interview shows, and a debate against Joe Biden.

Photo: STEPHEN NOWERS / Anchorage Daily News file, 2007

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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. Maggie Mama says:

    Why are you suprised that the MSM is demeaning Palin by calling her a small-town mayor, totally ignoring the fact that she is currently a governor?

    As Obama belittled behind the scenes, Palin fits so well into the “clings to their guns and their religion” putdown.

    The 2006 population (est.) of Delaware was 853,476.

    I believe we should start calling Biden a small-state-senator.

    Britain had Maggie Thatcher, The Iron Maiden.

    America has been given Sarah Palin, The Iditarod Maiden.

    As for me, I’m finally excited about this election.




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  2. just me says:

    I like the pick.

    I like her as the pick. I liked her months ago, so maybe I don’t count.

    And she has been a governor and she took on the corrupt politicians in her own party in the process.

    How many corrupt politicians has Obama taken on?

    I also like her earthiness-she is a woman who has worked hard at various thing-business and politics-over her lifetime, and she is the mother of five children. One of whom is about to deploy, and one of whom has special needs. She is interesting-she isn’t the typical Beltway politician and that appeals to me.

    I think she also brings interest to the ticket-McCain didn’t need another boring person on the ticket. And she compliments him-they have both bucked their party, and lived to tell about it.

    Are there other possibles? Sure. More experienced possibles? Sure. But this is I think over the long haul going to prove to be a good one.




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  3. PD Shaw says:

    In the Illinois state legislator, you are pretty much nobody unless you are one of the four tops (majority and minority leaders in both houses). You can work yourself up to being a lieutenant in someone else’s army, but that’s it. You are a part time politician, voting (as I think Obama has complained) for bad legislation as better than worse.

    Governor is a buck-stops-here position where you send people — you are not sent.




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  4. Maggie,

    You’re not seriously comparing Palin and Thatcher are you ? By the time she became PM, Thatcher had a proven record. Palin has been Governor for 18 months.

    She still needs to prove herself.




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  5. Alyssa Bush says:

    Comment in violation of site policies deleted. Those wishing to buy advertising should send inquiries to otb@blogads.com




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  6. James says:

    Because it’s like a dangerous sitcom: “Small-town mayor, in a series of improbable plot twists, becomes President of the United States. Mad hijinks ensue.”

    At best, the current Alaska scandal involving Governor Palin shows her to have bad judgment and a questionable grasp of how to use executive power.

    Do we really want to take a chance on another “Heckuva job, Brownie”? The possibility, or not-at-all negligible probability, of a hitherto unknown and untested small-town mayor stepping into the presidency on an emergency basis to have to deal with a neocon-dream China and Russia nuclear standoff, with North Korea resuming its nuke program, with Iran obtaining all of its centrifuges, with Pakistan turning dangerously unstable, and two wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    When is the GOP finally going to get serious about governing, James? I grant that you’re good at politics. But is your party thinking at all about what they are going to do next if they win this thing?




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  7. bains says:

    On the surface, at least, she’s Dan Quayle and Harriet Miers rolled up into a single package.
    […]
    These memes are often amusing and sometimes stick

    They stick because people such as you seem committed to repeat them. Outside the beltway? Hardly!




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  8. devildog666 says:

    Obviously you’ve been sucking on lemons with Michelle Obama. Palin is a fantastic pick. This has the base energized and donating both time and money.

    You need that enthusiasm to win an election and until Palin we weren’t into it. I wasn’t even sure I’d vote for McCain. This was a brilliant move.

    Semper Fi




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  9. it’s like a dangerous sitcom: “Small-town mayor, in a series of improbable plot twists, becomes President of the United States. Mad hijinks ensue.”

    Laura Roslin !




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  10. bains says:

    While she has many fans and may be possessed of some remarkable political gifts, she’s a tough sell as “Ready On Day One” and thus undercuts McCain’s best argument against Barack Obama.

    Counter to your assessment, Democrat Kirsten Powers:

    The importance of experience is the topic of the day.

    The more Democrats complain about this, the more Republicans can turn it on them and say, “If you are so concerned about the amount of experience of the vice president, what about the top of your ticket?”




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  11. JBJB says:

    “How many corrupt politicians has Obama taken on?”

    Not only that, Obama wants to actually bring Chicago style politics to DC as evidenced by his fascist like attach on Stanley Kurtz.

    If you want to get flavor of how scared the left his, go look at Dandy Andy Sullivan’s website. I’ve never seen such a slathering panic, he’s trying to throw all the mud his minions can find to see what sticks.

    Not surprisingly, the pundits and bloggers are missing the key idea behind the Palin pick. Sure, she has an awesome biography, a true libertarian/conservative reformer, gun loving mother of five. Of course her experience at the bottom of the ticket is arguably better than what the D’s have at the top. But I think Palin is going to focus on energy independence, and energy independence as a national security issue. She is the only one of the four candidates who actually understands the energy issue, and she’s got the dirt under her fingernails to prove it. Go check out the CNBC piece w/ Maria Bartiromo, she is actually brilliant on the topic of energy production and supply, as well as managing the relationship between government and ethical and environmentally sound energy production. She is also coherent on managing domestic supply along w/ alternative sources from an executive perspective. Both Obama and McCain has made energy independence as a key security issue, now here comes someone who has actually has done something about it. Like most Americans, she is a true conservationist, not some phony East Coast or Hollywood enviro nitwit. Also, her husband is a true energy worker, not a corporate executive or some DC blowhard. The contrast with Obama/Biden is striking.

    I am not saying that this will put McCain over the top, and sure it’s a risky pick, but she is a compelling pick if you are serious about getting to the core issue in national security which is our dependence on foreign oil.




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  12. Bithead says:

    I will make no secret about the fact I like the pick of Palin. Indeed, I’d have preferred she be on the top of the ticket.

    That said, as regards the experience meme… Do the Democrats really wanna fly that particular battle flag? You know, the one with the big orange circle on it?

    It seems to me that my bringing in Palin, who has more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined, a woman who has actually run a state, whereas all Obama and Biden have in their history is running their mouths, what we have here is a full-on panic situation for the Democrats. Anything they complain about with this candidate, frankly, brings up the utter lack of experience both ends of the Democrat ticket bring to the table.

    Oh… and of course the energy thing, seems to me the final nail in Obama’s box. THe Democrats are dead wrong on that issue, and the polls keep telling us that my read on that particular aspect is accurate. (What was it, 70% want domestic drilling, now, last I saw? Something like that) With Palin, knowledgeable, and articulate on the subject of Energy, that being so wrong will cost them at the polls.

    Combine that with the rest, and you can more fully understand the amount of hate dripping off the left-side sites this morning. It’s called a ‘fear response’




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  13. Ace Armstrong says:

    Palin is a fantastic choice.
    Why did the dinosaur cross the road?
    “Cause the chicken hadn’t evolved yet.




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  14. Steve Plunk says:

    The experience question centers on foreign policy experience yet we have elected many governors to the presidency. Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush were all governors with little or no foreign policy experience. Having executive experience can more than offset that perceived weakness.

    The aura of being “one of us” will endear her to many voters. Most of us could not imagine spending a real weekend with the other three but Palin’s vibe is that of a neighbor at a BBQ or parent at a school meeting. All of the sudden representative democracy is an accurate statement.




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  15. rodney dill says:

    I like the pick, any candidate would’ve had risks, but the safe candidates (i.e. Romney or others) would’ve played into the ‘same old politics’ problem.

    In the scope of all national level politicians both Obama and Palin are ‘light’ in experience. I’m not going to get into ‘yea but’ arguments about who might edge the other out in the experience category. I certainly won’t concede that Palin has less either, but they are close enough not to matter. Except for the position each is running for. The more Palin’s experience is attacked to more emphasis will be placed on Obama’s own lack of experience for a Presidential role.

    I also like how Palin plays in the ‘change’ dynamic. Palin has successfully fought for change an Alaskan politics even if confronting her own part. Obama voted with his part 97% of the time picked a party hardliner as his VP choice.

    Of course the biggest change people may be looking for may just be a change of party in charge, not just a change in how policitics are done. That will be the hardest battle for McCain and Palin to overcome.

    I doubt if many Hillary hardliners will be swayed. When push comes to shove I think they will most likely vote along party lines. Some women more in the center may end up voting Republican, due to Palin, but there will be no wholesale sway.

    The biggest problems with Palin are all political and not issue related to the voters. She’s just less known then others.




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  16. Spoker says:

    It is an interesting bit of logic on the part of BHO campaign to say it is OK for BHO to get OJT (on the job training) in the while sitting in the presidential chair but not OK for Sarah Palin, who is more experienced than BHO on day one, to gain experience as Vice President. If this is the thinking of their ‘best and brightest’, heaven help us if they do come to power and need to make really important decisions!




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  17. jpe says:

    At best, the current Alaska scandal involving Governor Palin shows her to have bad judgment and a questionable grasp of how to use executive power.

    ie, she would’ve been a shoe-in for the GOP nomination if she’d run.




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  18. davod says:

    “Even those of us ideologically predisposed against him acknowlege that he’s unusually bright and a quick study.”

    Have teleprompter will travel.




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  19. davod says:

    Obama’s books and history show he has spent his life learning the wrong message about the USA.




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  20. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I was going to chime in with some of my usual pity comments, however after having read what was written here, no need.




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  21. JohnG says:

    Well, it’s easy to compare Palin to Obama. Both are candidates of change against establishment.

    One candidate saw corruption in her own party and succeeded in eliminating a corrupt governor, a corrupt attorney general, and a corrupt fellow member of the state oil commission, all from her own party. She ran on a platform of cutting wasteful spending and then immediately started chopping up the state budget, including killing a lot of her own perks of office.

    The other candidate has been a community organizer, spending $100M to improve Chicago schools. Chicago schools are still among the worst in the nation. Then he was an state senator where by all accounts he was merely another cog in the state political machine. He became a US Senator and has no significant achievements to the point where his campaign itself is what his supporters portray as his greatest achievement.

    While Obama can seem ‘thoughtful and a quick study’, Palin has an actual record of achievement and carrying out her political agenda. I know which one I think is more imndicative of being ready to lead the country, but I’m guessing that if the ability to read a teleprompter and look presidential outweighs actual political accomplishment then you are probably not the target audience.




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  22. spencer says:

    Does this mean the republican party now supports a windfall profits tax on oil?




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  23. Marty says:

    As a member of her small Alaskan community I have to say I am surprised, but pleased by the pick.

    I think the opponents will have a hard time countering her because the press will like her. They won’t figure that out until after November.

    She will make mistakes, everyone does, but I would count on her to make the major decisions correctly easier than I can count on Obama or Biden.




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  24. paguy says:

    There is a big difference between not being resume-ready for 2nd in command versus top of the ticket. The Obama-Biden ticket pits someone with a thin resume at the top and a thick (albeit very liberal) thick resume at the bottom. McCain-Palin puts a maverick with experience at the top and the only one of the four candidates with any executive experience (unless you count McCains military command experience which I would but the democrats of course wouldn’t) at the botom. I think she is an outstanding pick that not only will excite the base but also will appeal to moderate independents. She will also take some of the wind out of the Obamamania of the media because I think the American public will want to get to know her. The only ones I see really criticizing her are those on the far-left and true partisans who would have leveled criticism no matter who was picked. They are not going to vote Republican no matter what so I don’t see how they really matter in terms of winning the election. The rest who still have open minds will make their own decisions.




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  25. J Gary Fox says:

    I agree with those who believe that Palin is a great pick.

    McCain was third on my list of Republican candidates. With the choice of Palin, I and my family are now charged up.

    When I place her accomplishments in her 18 years in politics against Obama’s … but wait that’s unfair … he has none … all his accomplishments are in the future.

    Unlike Sen. Dan Quayle, she is very articulate and talks in a down to earth language.

    The Dems can question her “accomplishments” but that brings up the question, “What has Obama accomplished?”

    Thank you Obama, from the bottom of my conservative heart, for not putting Hillary on the ticket. That would have made a very tough ticket to beat.

    Biden … wasn’t he the one who exalted himself by the works of others?

    LEAD: Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., fighting to salvage his Presidential campaign, today acknowledged ”a mistake” in his youth, when he plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at law school.

    Mr. Biden, who graduated from the law school in 1968, was 76th in a class of 85.

    NY Times 9/18/87

    Senator Biden’s plagiarism of a speech by British Labor Party leader Neal Kinnock took place at a campaign stump at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. In closing his speech, Biden took Kinnock’s ideas and language as if they were his very own inspired thoughts, prefacing Kinnock’s ideas with the phrase “I started thinking as I was coming over here . . . “. Little did Biden suspect that video footage of this speech would be spliced together with footage of Kinnock’s speech in an “attack video” which would be distributed by members of the Dukakis campaign.

    http://www.famousplagiarists.com/politics.htm




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  26. JBJB says:

    I’ll add an anecdote about the excitement Palin is creating. I just spoke with my mother who lives in SE Ohio. She told me that the women in her office yesterday were so excited about the Palin pick that they were organizing to go to see the McCain/Palin campaign stop. She said many of the women were prodded by their teenage daughters. My mom is a conservative, but she was planning on voting for Hillary is she made it (glass ceiling and all), after Obama won the nomination, she switched back to McCain. She describes most of the women in her office as hardcore Hillary supporters, but not doctrinaire liberals.

    Anyway, I not sure what it all means, but damn if she hasn’t created excitement.




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  27. nobozons says:

    The contrast is great, it makes Obama accomplishments less than that of the republican vice presidential candidate. His vote on surviving fetus against her willingness to have a downs baby.




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  28. John Burgess says:

    Fully realizing that there is such a thing as tin foil…

    Have you noticed all the programs on cable of late that focus on Alaska? Those things about crab fishermen and the ice truckers?

    Did Discovery Channel know something everyone else did not?




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  29. anjin-san says:

    Combine that with the rest, and you can more fully understand the amount of hate dripping off the left-side sites this morning. It’s called a ‘fear response’

    I fear ol’ Bit is in his manic phase again 🙂

    Here is a bit of information about Palin’s character:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKkydrUnBZE

    So what is dripping from where?




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  30. Anthony says:

    “Britain had Maggie Thatcher, The Iron Maiden.

    America has been given Sarah Palin, The Iditarod Maiden.”

    By the time she became Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher had been a Member of Parliament for two decades, served as Tory Transport Spokesman, been Secretary of State for Education and had spent four years as leader of the Tory party. She was also reasonably well versed in foreign policy.

    A touch early to be making these sorts of comparisons, I think.




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  31. Anthony says:

    Also worth adding that as an MP, Mrs Thatcher was one of the key supporters of the legalisation of abortion.




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  32. Bithead says:

    So what is dripping from where?

    Fear.
    From the Democrats.
    You, for example.




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  33. jeff b says:

    All you wackos who never heard of Palin before think she’s great, based on the rantings of the ignorant over on Redstate, but all the major papers in Alaska, which by the way are all quite conservative, think it’s a bad idea.

    Anchorage Daily News: “The long and short of it is this: We’re not sure she’s a competent governor of Alaska. And yet McCain, who is no spring chicken, has decided she’s the best choice to replace him as president if he should win and then fall afoul of the Grim Reaper.”

    Fairbanks Daily News Miner: “Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it.”




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  34. Floyd says:

    Sarah Palin, “governor of the largest state in the union”
    Obama, “flunky puppet from the most corrupt state in the union.”




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  35. rodney dill says:

    Sarah Palin, “Small Town Mayor”
    Barack Obama, “High-School Drug User”




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  36. anjin-san says:

    Fear.
    From the Democrats.
    You, for example.

    Well there is something to that Bit.

    The thought that the man who might be President in a few months selected someone he does not know to be a 72 year old heartbeat away from the Presidency is a little scary…

    This is the guy who will always put country first?

    At any rate Bit, keep the Fox talking points coming. Saves me the trouble of tuning in.




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  37. Dave Schuler says:

    Ordinarily, only the vice presidency, the Senate, and state governorships are considered relevant experience, although sometimes we issue a waiver for particularly important generals.

    I think a more accurate statement would be “Ordinarily, only the vice presidency, the state governorships, and the military are considered relevant experience.” The last sitting senator elected to the presidency was John Kennedy (who, coincidentally, was the son of the richest man in the country). Although many are nominated very, very few sitting senators (without other relevenat experience) have been elected to the presidency so I think that operationally it’s not considered relevant experience.




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  38. James says:

    Aside from how enthusiastic my fundamentalist Republican mother-in-law is about the selection of Governor Palin to the Republican ticket, I myself have deep concerns about the increasingly reckless, shoot-from-the-hip judgment of John McCain, a four-time survivor of invasive malignant melanoma, for selecting an inexperienced person he hardly knows, anyone hardly knows, to be first in line to the presidency.

    Let’s hope she’s a quick study in current and pressing nuclear non-proliferations issues. Because that’s what we want, isn’t it? To limit the acquisition of nuclear weapons by rogue states? Or is that too “liberal” a position for the majority of Republicans?




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  39. JohnG says:

    The “conserative” papers in Alaska don’t think she’s qualified? But lets remember that her platform was pretty much to root out corruption in Alaska, a state controlled by “conservative” Republicans.

    Meanwhile, Gov Palin has an 80% approval rating in Alaska, probably the highest in the nation.




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  40. Anthony says:

    As far as I can tell, the most recent polls have her on 65%. On the one hand, that’s not bad in absolute terms, on the other hand she seems to have suffered a fairly substantial drop-off in a fairly short period.




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  41. od says:

    I think the main thing that is going to come out of the choice of Palin is more cynicism from people who aren’t members of one of the parties. Democrats and republicans are both going to argue that there’s a big difference in experience/qualifications between Palin and Obama (both sides using nuanced arguments to prove their point). This has nothing to do with Palin, other than her selection makes a kind of symmetry between the candidates.

    Most independents, who aren’t going to be interested in the little details of arguments, are going to see it as splitting hairs and an example of how hypocritical both parties are (ie what to most people will seem like similar qualifications will be “good” if the person is from the “good” party and “bad” if the person is from the “bad” party). Probably the smartest thing either party could do is to avoid arguments about age and experience, but I suspect both have already got their ads drawn up, and so are just going to run them and then in effect say “but the same argument doesn’t hold for our candidate for these reasons”, and then list things most independents will think are trivial.

    Other than that, she’s probably as good a VP pick as any other – definitely better than Quayle was.




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  42. rodney dill says:

    I don’t think the cynicism will come from the actual choice of Palin, Od. I think it will come from all the spin surrounding the choice from people that knew who they were going to vote for before this choice was made. Those in the center, not from either party will likely give her a fair shake.




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  43. Bithead says:

    The thought that the man who might be President in a few months selected someone he does not know to be a 72 year old heartbeat away from the Presidency is a little scary…

    Even going with the nonsense that ‘he doesn’t know her’… the scarier option is the judgment that would place Joe Biden anywhere near the Presidency.




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  44. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Anjin, you criticize Governor Palin for her lack of experience, yet you have no problem with Obama’s lack of anything close to it. Mayor vs Community Orgainzer? High School state championship point guard vs High School Drug use. 18 Months as a Governor vs 140 days as Senator. The only thing Obama has accomplished in his life is he is running for President. By the way, please explain how you give a tax cut to 95% of tax payers? These are questions he will be asked during the campaign. This dumb f**k doesn’t even know how many states there are.




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  45. anjin-san says:

    Even going with the nonsense that ‘he doesn’t know her’.

    I have been reading that they have met once. One article said twice. Is that incorrect? Feel free to prove me wrong…




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  46. anjin-san says:
  47. Maggie Mama says:

    Yeeks, who’s been in the Kool-aid? To the gentlemen commenting on mine – I was doing a little play on words:

    Iron Maiden – Iditarod Maiden

    Lighten up, guys.

    While you may not be able to compare their experience, and I wasn’t, I don’t think that is unreasonable to use a term that represented the toughness of Maggie and which I believe we will see demonstrated in Sarah.

    Why are some men so intimated by a strong woman that they have to come crashing down on them like a ton of bricks? Let’s see how she handles Biden.

    And for those commenting on her “abuse” of power I’m checking out a story that the ex-brother-in-law State Trooper used a tazer on his stepson. Good cause for any governor to get that kind of officer off the force before he started on the citizenry.

    So let’s wait some more facts before we believe the MSM/Obama political machine.




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  48. Derrick says:

    Mayor vs Community Orgainzer?

    You can be willfully ignorant if you want, but Obama was a Community Organizer over 10 years ago, while Palin was a small time mayor less than 2 years ago. Palin wasn’t exposed to even regional politics before the last winter Olympics. Some people were practically writing Bush on Mt. Rushmore after 2 years.




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  49. anjin-san says:

    Let’s see how she handles Biden.

    That will be telling. I suspect Biden will dismantle her on national television during the debates, shake her hand, and say “welcome to the major leagues”.




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  50. KT says:

    Karl Rove on his prediction of Obama’s VP pick:

    “I think he’s going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice…He’s going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he’s going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He’s not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president.”

    “With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States? What I’m concerned about is, can he bring me the electoral votes of the state of Virginia, the 13 electoral votes in Virginia?'”

    Tim Kaine makes Sarah Pallin look like a news anchor. And how isn’t McCain’s VP pick “an intensely political choice?” The GOP strategists can’t even keep a straight face 24 hours later trying to defend Pallin’s Commander-in-Chief qualifications.

    This VP pick will definitely backfire.




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  51. Mir says:

    Very excited about the pick–perfect choice for McCain. Don’t buy the pundits’ desire for this to be about picking up Clinton supporters. It’s not. It’s about reform and getting someone who fits with McCain’s agenda. Anyone who wants to debate experience is welcome. Palin has more executive leadership on every scale–local and state–than the person who wants to be Prez. As for foreign policy or national exposure: So what? She was to work on economic and border issues with Canada. She is on committees with the Governors Association. She’s done more in less time than Obama has in his entire career.




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  52. marya says:

    McCain’s pick is simply an embarrassment. Imagine how the world is laughing at us.




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  53. Chrome says:

    James posted :

    Aside from how enthusiastic my fundamentalist Republican mother-in-law is about the selection of Governor Palin to the Republican ticket …

    I am not stopping there because the rest of his message is valid or invalid. But it is THERE he has the whole point of this pick.

    The fundamentalist, pro-life, Dobson, Huckabee, etc. crowd is ECSTATIC. They are in a FRENZY of glee.

    Yes, some independent moderate white women may vote for McCain now who may not have.

    But the Democrats hopes and desires of the BASE that got out, volunteered and showed up in droves to re-elect Bush sitting at home fuming over McCain’s past transgressions?
    History.

    In essence. This pick re-energized and enthused the Republican ground-game to the level of Obamamania.

    Palin’s pick was NOT about PUMA.
    It was to bring in to play the ground game that got Bush re-elected.
    And if you listen to Axelrod ( Sen. Obama’s campaign manager ) he doesn’t care about polls.
    He believes this election will be won by the ground game.
    Now AXELROD sees what is going on and HE is scared.

    A brand new effective 50 state get out the vote ground game …
    versus …
    an established “phone numbers already in my pocket ‘Hey Gina need a ride to the polls …’ ” ground game.

    BOTH now incredibly enthused.

    Wasn’t supposed to happen that way. The conservatives were supposed to be demoralized.

    Palin changed it all.

    James’ comment :

    Aside from how enthusiastic my fundamentalist Republican mother-in-law is about the selection of Governor Palin to the Republican ticket …

    Shows EXACTLY why this was a brilliant choice. All the rest can be dropped.
    Qualified?
    Who cares the Conservative base is now on board.
    Pandering to Women?
    Hell no! Pandering to the BASE.
    The Base is on board.




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  54. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Yes the world is laughing. A major party has nominated a person who’s only accomplishment is that he got nominated that partys candidate for President. All based upon speeches not accomplishments. When America learns of the true nature of the relationship between Bill Ayers and B. Hussein Obama, that is was much more than a guy who lived in the neighborhood and whos grown up kids when to the same school as Obama’s youngsters (another lie) we will find out who is more attractive. A woman who has actually accomplished what she set out to do or a minion of Saul Alinski.




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  55. Dave says:

    Joe Biden has no earthly idea of what’s going to happen to him in the VP debate.

    Sarah Palin is not only incredibly intelligent, she is also very witty. If anyone is going to pull off a line like Lloyd Bentsen’s, it’s going to be Governor Palin.

    When Joe Biden tries to talk about energy and ANWR, Governor Palin will absolutely embarrass him. Joe Biden has never been to ANWR, Sarah Palin has governed it. Joe Biden has never worked in oil fields or built a pipeline, Sarah Palin has. Joe Biden talks about windfall taxes on oil companies and sharing the meager profits with 300 million people, Sarah Palin enacted taxes on oil companies and reinvested that money in alternative energy sources. In other words, Joe Biden can only talk about energy policy in the abstract…Sarah Palin has actually dealt with energy issues in a concrete fashion.

    Joe Biden thinks 36 years serving on the Senate Foreign Relations committee makes him an expert on foreign policy. Has anyone not told him that foreign policy is determined by the White House, not the Senate? Sarah Palin has actually dealt with foreign leaders in her capacity as Governor…has Joe Biden ever negotiated directly with a foreign leader?? I’d be willing to bet that Sarah Palin has had more conversations with Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin in the last 18 months than Joe Biden has had with any Russian President/General Secretary in the last 36 years.

    Those of you expecting Joe Biden to slice and dice Sarah Palin in the VP debate ought to remember what happened to Drago in Rocky IV. Biden is a lot less intimidating than Drago, and Palin is a whole lot better fighter than Rocky.




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  56. anjin-san says:

    Those of you expecting Joe Biden to slice and dice Sarah Palin in the VP debate ought to remember what happened to Drago in Rocky IV.

    You know Dave, I think you are right, a bad movie made 20 years ago has a lot to do with the VP debate.

    If you are going to use a Rocky analogy, at least use Rocky III, which was a pretty decent flick.

    The lameness of the right really knows no bounds.

    I pity da fool…




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  57. George says:

    How come the democrats did not complain about a man without experience running for president and now they are furious about a woman nominated for vice president because she does not have experience? It looks like the same kind of male chauvinism Hillary had to face during the primaries. If I were Obama I would try not to touch the experience subject. In my case I would take a major’s experience any time over a community organizer’s experience (whatever a community organizer is)




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  58. Mandy says:

    Learn the meaning of the word “meme”!




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  59. rodney dill says:

    McCain’s pick is simply an embarrassment. Imagine how the world is laughing at us.

    LOL, moonbat hysteria is just hilarious.




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  60. rodney dill says:

    On some of the other comments, I wouldn’t underplay Biden’s chances in debates. These could be pretty good debates, and probably more entertaining than McCain/Obama match ups. Biden could easily win out in the debates, but Palin may surprise him and some of us.




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  61. Maggie Mama says:

    Thanks, Dill, for picking up the moonbat hysteria….my response to that one was going to be a step too far, knowing me something really snarky about the French!

    Although with Sarkozy there it just isn’t the same.

    Amazing, isn’t it, that France, Britain, and Germany have all elected leaders from the right but the press in this country want the #1 Leftist senator to win.




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  62. DL says:

    Experience is having ben bit by a rattlesnake

    Wisdom is having brains enough to wear snakeboots.

    Experience is overated

    Look at Biden’s experience – years of failed legislation.

    Question: Why do we always have to repair law written by so many lawyers)
    Answer – it’s a special interest group that survives off of myriads of confusing laws.




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  63. James says:

    Barack Obama has subjected himself to intense public scrutiny for more than a year and a half. He has troubled himself to formulate policies on the most pressing foreign and domestic issues of our time. He has respectfully subjected himself to rigorous questioning about each of those policies and has prepared himself to talk about each one of them at any time and at any place. He has done this out of sober respect for the office that he seeks. You don’t like some of any of those policies — that’s fine. You don’t have to like them and are entitled to disagree. I don’t like some of them myself.

    Out of sober respect for the office of Vice President, Obama set on a national search, seeking advice and wisdom from a wide variety of people, considering his choice from numerous angles, including qualifications, national experience, compatibility, character, and political issues. He, out of respect for the office, chose Joe Biden, an expert on foreign policy and national security issues, indeed a foreign policy wonk. Joe Biden complements Obama in a number of ways. You don’t like Joe Biden — that’s fine. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But no rational person would wonder whether Joe Biden, if called, could take up the mantle of the US presidency and step in to handle emergency foreign policy issues if need be.

    All of these very public steps demonstrate that, whatever you think of the policies proposed by the Obama-Biden ticket, they have prepared themselves in good faith to assume the top leadership of the country and of the free world. I don’t think that anyone could seriously make that case for the Republican ticket of McCain-Palin.

    I’m afraid we have another Michael “Heckuva job, Brownie!” Brown on our hands. Two of them. What are you Republicans thinking, for heaven’s sake?




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  64. Bithead says:

    That’s a fair enough point, and one I’ve made several times here previously. Specifically, several times since president Sarkozy took office.
    in fairness, however, it should be pointed out that their right starts about where our left does, and then moves to the left further from there.

    Still, as I pointed out the last time the subject came up, it’s the direction of the thing not where they’re currently standing that is of greatest import.




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  65. JohnG says:

    So while Obama pondered soberly and campaigned, all Palin did was behead her own party’s corrupt leadership and slashed Alaskan state spending, starting with her own perks of office. To put it another way, during a time when pretty much all levels of US Government is spending more than they bring in, Palin cut spending during a time her state had a budget surplus.

    Obama – Gives good speeches about “change” and thinks a lot, no actual accomplishments

    Palin – Made promises to bring change to her state’s government, actually went out and did them

    The more emphasis that is put on Obama’s great mind and effective campaign, the more glaring it is that the man has accomplished NOTHING in his entire time in public office. If Obama had actually done something more than think about the issues, then we’d be talking about all the great things he’s done for his country, his state, or his city.




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  66. Bithead says:

    LOL, moonbat hysteria is just hilarious.

    It really is, Rodney… and with all respect it’s funnier than most of the caption contests. (Snicker) OK, it’s a close call.

    Seriously, though, what we’re really seeing here, is a fear/flight reaction. Witness the first place they ran to when the news hit that Palin was the choice…

    My secretary was just listening to channel 7 news on the thedenverchannel.com online.

    The news guys had the audio on and did not know it.

    They commented that they think McCain and Palin must be sleeping together.

    They commented about Sara(h) Palin’s nice ass.

    They said a lot of very unseemly things.

    This seems like a big deal and they should be called on it. My secretary sent them an e-mail and they immediately cut off the audio…

    …For myself, as the father of a little girl who I want recognized for her accomplishments and hard work, it was pretty offensive.

    Notice, please, this comes up mere seconds after the news hits. The instinct when one is in serious trouble to to move to an area one knows best. Apparently, that’s what happened here.

    I’d like you to consider something, here about the roots of all of this.

    Consider Hillary Clinton, whose sole reason for having the power she has today is because her erstwhile ‘husband’ repeatedly screwed around on her. Given Hillary Clinton as the example of the powerful woman, it’s logical to assume all women who attain positions of power, have similar backgrounds, or slept their way to the top. This is in no small part, a fear reaction. They don’t understand it, so there’s only one possibility. They fall back to the one thing they can understand. Sex.

    Thing is, Palin, in reality, presents no such attachments. Not only is this a woman who attained her position on her own, and without the soap opera, she raised a family, with a special needs kid, while her Hubby was off earning a living, to boot. These morons simply don’t understand it, and can find in their list of possibilities, only one condition for Palin to have been so successful.

    Open minded, these Democrats. For possibly the first time in their lives they’re being confronted with a powerful woman who didn’t get her power from a bunch of know-nothings on a sympathy jag. And they simply don’t know how to cope. Or, maybe they just don’t like a powerful woman. Either way, what we’re witness to here is a fear reaction.

    My guess is there will be a lot of women out there who will identify with her a lot more readily than they did with Hillary Clinton… and I suspect the Democrats think so too… which explains the fear reaction bordering on full-on panic, we’re seeing, just now.

    Which brings us full circle, doesn’t it?




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  67. G.A.Phillips says:

    Is it not a good thing to have a woman in this race that is nice to look at, interesting to listen to, and who’s image in your mind dose not keep you from ever wanting to masturbate again?




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  68. Beldar says:

    Dr. Joyner: This is a fine post, much of which I agree with, and to which I’ve published a lengthy reply on my own blog (trackbacked above).

    I’d like to address one specific point in the comments above. Spenser asks:

    Does this mean the republican party now supports a windfall profits tax on oil?

    This is a basic factual mistake that, unfortuantely, Ed Morrissey and Stephen Spruiell have spread without looking very closely.

    The tax that Gov. Palin championed and saw passed is not a “windfall profits tax” on corporate income, like that which Barack Obama and the Democrats have proposed, but rather a revision of the long-standing state severance tax. Severance taxes are common in many states, albeit often at lower rates than are typical in Alaska (where mineral, oil & gas assets make up a vastly higher share of the overall property values). Severance taxes ensure taxation of severable assets being removed from the state that would otherwise never be effectively taxes (e.g,. by conventional property or retail sales taxes).

    The previous version had been passed by the ethically challenged predecessors of Gov. Palin after closed-door negotiations with ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and British Petroleum, which have the production rights. Gov. Palin insisted on open-door negotiations with complete public transparency. The base rate only went from 22.5% to 25%, and the mildly progressive structure to capture part of the revenue-stream during times of high oil prices actually was modified to be slightly higher than previously (0.4% instead of 0.25%) on oil prices between $30-92.50/bbl, and lower (0.1%) at levels above $92.50.

    More details here, and a post on how Gov. Palin has engaged in energetic head-knocking of big oil companies for the benefit of the Alaskan public here.




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  69. anjin-san says:

    which explains the fear reaction bordering on full-on panic, we’re seeing, just now.

    Bit, does telling yourself this sort of nonsense really do something for you? Do you really think that Plain is a cross between Joan of Arc, Margret Thatcher and Madame Curie and Democrats are quivering in fear?

    Hate to pop your bubble, but it is not the case.
    Palin does shake things up, and she does add excitement to the race. Will she be an asset to the ticket over time and under the sort of scrutiny she will have to endure? Time will tell. One or two rookie mistakes could fry her bacon very quickly.

    There is also a very good chance she will get smoked in the VP debates. It is a long way from double A ball to the majors.

    My guess is that when Hillary Dems, especially women, are exposed to her thoughts on choice and contraception (which apparently, she feels should not be available) Obama will look pretty good to them. She sounds, on the surface, like someone who feels all Americans should be forced to live her values. So much for getting government off our backs.

    Well, if it makes you feel good to tell yourself fairy tales, be my guest. Palin will either rise to the occasion or not.

    Time will tell. One thing seems clear to me. John McCain saw what he perceived as a political opportunity. And he picked someone he does not know to be a heartbeat away from the oval office. He has put his personal ambition above the well being of the country. Not an attractive quality in a potential commander in chief.

    Palin may well be an exception woman with many fine qualities. How would McCain know? HE DOES NOT KNOW HER. Did he check our her website and pull the trigger based on that?




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  70. JBJB says:

    “My guess is that when Hillary Dems, especially women, are exposed to her thoughts on choice and contraception (which apparently, she feels should not be available) Obama will look pretty good to them.”

    I don’t think the goal is to get the abortion loving feminazis, it’s to get those conservative women who may have been leaning Obama, or the pro choicers that are not voting on the abortion issue alone.

    This is a game of percentage points. Zogby ‘s first poll will be welcome to the McCain Palin ticket:

    http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews1547.html

    The latest nationwide survey, begun Friday afternoon after the McCain announcement of Palin as running mate and completed mid-afternoon today, shows McCain/Palin at 47%, compared to 45% support for Obama/Biden.

    Will it hold up? We shall see. Can’t say the whole thing didn’t get much more exciting though.




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  71. G.A.Phillips says:

    There is also a very good chance she will get smoked in the VP debates. It is a long way from double A ball to the majors.

    anjin-san is listing to “Don’t stop me now” by Queen, as he wrights this like I am as I right this, FTW it’s a good song!!!!!!!

    you crazy crazy kook I just got to love your delusion.




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  72. Bithead says:

    Hate to pop your bubble, but it is not the case.
    Palin does shake things up, and she does add excitement to the race. Will she be an asset to the ticket over time and under the sort of scrutiny she will have to endure? Time will tell. One or two rookie mistakes could fry her bacon very quickly.

    If that was supposed to be an overwhelming argument, you should know it comes up just a bit short.

    Palin may well be an exception woman with many fine qualities. How would McCain know? HE DOES NOT KNOW HER. Did he check our her website and pull the trigger based on that?

    Nice attempt at spin, but try this with soeone who wasn’t here 6 months ago, and who doesn’t recall Palin’s name being on the list of possibles all through this process.

    t is a long way from double A ball to the majors.

    I seem to recall Bubba and the Peanut Farmer having a bit of success with that transition. And W, lest we forget. All of these cane from the same position in each of their respective states.




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  73. Beldar says:

    anjin-san: Provide a link, please, for your assertion that Gov. Palin feels contraception should not be available.

    Or do you equate abortion and contraception?




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  74. anjin-san says:

    and who doesn’t recall Palin’s name being on the list of possibles all through this process.

    So if you have someones name on a list it means you know them? McCain met Palin once. He does not know her. His staff may have vetted her, he may have read briefs on her, but, he does not know her.

    I seem to recall Bubba and the Peanut Farmer having a bit of success with that transition. And W, lest we forget. All of these cane from the same position in each of their respective states.

    Thats true. Some people make the jump. Some crash and burn. We will know which category she is in soon enough.

    If that was supposed to be an overwhelming argument, you should know it comes up just a bit short.

    Its not supposed to be overwhelming. But it is obvious. Time will tell if she is an asset or a liability. And you endless tripe about fear and loathing amongst Democrats is, well, tripe. But it is kind of like jerking off, if it makes you feel good, why not?




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  75. JBJB says:

    With all this said, and I really love the Palin pick, especially after watching the reaction of the elite left (and right), not to mention the online moonbat hatemongers. However, the McCain campaign is absolutely capable of completely f-ing this up.

    If the plan is for her to go out there everyday and thank HRC and mention the 18 million cracks line, it will wear old quickly and will reek of a political stunt which can be easily squashed by a single press release from HRC.

    However, if she goes in and speaks formidably and articulately about family values, work/life balance, and energy as both a domestic economic issue and a national security issue, she wont have to mention disaffected HRC voters. For those supporting McCain/Palin, lets hope its the latter, and I think Palin gets it, so lets hope the McCain campaign gets out of the way.




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  76. Bithead says:

    So if you have someones name on a list it means you know them?

    No, but it does tend to suggest she’s on the list because she’s been vetted.

    Thats true. Some people make the jump. Some crash and burn. We will know which category she is in soon enough.

    Based on the public appearances she’s already made, I would have to say the former. BY the way, I’d urge a visit to Flopping Aces, who deals with the supposed ‘inexperience’ nonsense very well indeed.

    But it is obvious.

    Oh, I dunno. What is obvious is taht the most obvious point about it, got by you.




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  77. Bithead says:

    So what is dripping from where?

    I’ll see that and raise you.

    Careful,those mines tend to be not very forgiving.




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  78. anjin-san says:

    No, but it does tend to suggest she’s on the list because she’s been vetted.

    So you are changing your tune and admitting he does not know Palin. As for her being vetted, duh.

    Based on the public appearances she’s already made, I would have to say the former.

    Two days in and shes made the jump? Thats a good one bit, you should do comedy. So far, she is in the honeymoon zone. Of course you will spin it as best you can, but I have heard quite a few comments along the lines of “she will probably be ok as long as they don’t let her talk”. So we both have our partisan viewpoint. Your claiming that she has proven herself ready for prime time only shows that you might be better off sticking to analysis back in double A…




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  79. Bithead says:

    So you are changing your tune and admitting he does not know Palin. As for her being vetted, duh.

    Well, let’s put it this way; I’ve never met you, even for 15 minutes. And yet, I know you … apparently better than you’re comfortable with.

    Two days in and shes made the jump? Thats a good one bit, you should do comedy. So far, she is in the honeymoon zone.

    With all the crap thrown at her from the left and you consider this a honeymoon? Liberal definitions and redefinitions never cease to be a source of amaze, being they seemingly change at need.




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  80. anjin-san says:

    Well, let’s put it this way; I’ve never met you, even for 15 minutes. And yet, I know you … apparently better than you’re comfortable with.

    Of course you do bit, of course you do. So answer a few simple questions.

    What is my wife’s name?
    What is my favorite band?
    What do I do for a living?
    What city do I live in?
    What do I look like?

    Even casual acquaintances can answer at least 2 or 3 of these, so it should be a snap for you, since you know me.

    In reality, you have a very (very!) limited picture of me based on single subject postings on a blog, postings that are generally made when I am distracted by more important things.

    So, in reality, you do not know me at all, except perhaps, by the standard McCain employs to decide if someone is ready to be President.




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  81. od says:

    I don’t think the cynicism will come from the actual choice of Palin, Od. I think it will come from all the spin surrounding the choice from people that knew who they were going to vote for before this choice was made. Those in the center, not from either party will likely give her a fair shake.

    I agree, I think its too early to say how she’ll do, and most unaligned people will give her a chance. For most unpolitical people her credentials sound pretty similar to Obama’s (senator about equivalent to governor, both young and new to politics), and I think attempts by either side to spin the differences in their favor is going to be interpreted as hypocritical.

    Splitting hairs is fun for people interested in politics, but most people think its just the usual partisan nonsense.




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  82. Steve says:

    Another wonderful bit of judgment by McCain. Like crashing 5 jets. This is such a desperate political decision. Even McCain doesn’t believe all the drivel that Palin does. He’s just adding a right-wing nut job to appease all the wacko “Christian” conservatives. Jesus was a liberal, why can’t you all sign on to his own teachings?




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  83. Adam says:

    I have a problem with Palin because even assuming she was the most qualified person on the planet to be VP, she’s still got crappy policies. It doesn’t matter!

    She wants to teach creationism in school, drill for oil in the ANWR, and doesn’t believe in safe-sex teaching. Those alone would make me not vote for her, because she doesn’t seem to see a problem with those stances.

    Among all other things going on, what everyone is being distracted from is the fact that she’s basically another person who, if she was elected, is deadset on trying to prove that a bunch of things that failed before are going to work this time.

    She’s another big crappy dunce who thinks her religion and her personal beliefs have anything to do with our lives. Even if she had thirty years’ experience governing five different states at the same goddamn time while juggling fourteen kids fed solely on mooseburgers, she’d still be some big crappy dunce who thinks condoms are evil and the world has only existed for a few thousand years. Perspective!

    There will always be plenty of people who are very, very qualified for the position and will still tremendously screw up. Experience is relative; that doesn’t matter so much to me in this election….It’s just the fact that a lot of things about this choice have caused the GOP to have to backtrack on all those things they said about Hillary and Obama just makes it really funny. It’s not a deciding issue for me, though.




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