Archive for the ‘Vice Presidential Candidate’ Category

Biden Stakes the Vamp

Senator Joe Biden plunged a stake in Governor Palin’s chest last night, ending recent speculation about his timidity in facing Palin. Palin, who at times rambled, entered the debate with such a low bar, that the viewing public was probably amazed she did as well as she did. But let’s not lose sight of the bottom line here: Palin was absolutely no match for Biden. At the podium, Palin seemed to recite – at times – memorized lines, which had little meaning to the current question or her answers were vague enough to be applied to almost anything. Worse yet, the Governor on several occasions did not answer the moderator question at all and seemed proud of it:

And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.

Palin tried hard to remind Americans of Ronald Reagan’s exhange with Jimmy Carter when Reagan said, “There you go again”. But came off plastic and insincere when she stated:

Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again.

Incredibly, after watching the debate, a quick flick through the news channels (excluding Fox, of course since comedy does not count) had most saying Palin did well and some even saying she beat Biden. This seems utterly ridiculous to me. Thankfully, the American public did not feel this way. According to the latest CNN polls, Biden soundly defeated Palin in the debate by 51% to 36% margin. In addition, a CBS poll of 473 uncommitted voters favored Biden by a 46% to 21% margin. In the same poll by CBS, 18% of uncommitted voters now strongly favor an Obama/Biden ticket.

It seems, with only weeks from the general election, that the McCain/Palin ticket is in serious trouble. Republicans are screaming to have Palin removed from the ticket before it is too late, and media interviews with Palin have been disasterous. Any digging at all in her positions reveals a vacuous empty space in most of her commentary. The debate format last night, did not allow for such digging by the moderator. If it had, I think we would have seen a repeat of the real Sarah Palin we all know so well now – uninformed, unqualified, and inexperienced.

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Once Again, It’s About the Economy, Stupid!

As yet another major financial institution goes down in flames, we are reminded again – during an election year – that despite all the distractions, it is still all about the economy. Republican candidate John McCain would love you to think it’s all about his military service, gay marriage, or several other distractions. It is, however, much simpler than that. To quote Ronald Reagan, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

The answer is equally simple: no. The economy is in shambles, job loss is increasing, energy costs are skyrocketing, and our financial institutions are crumbling.

Alan Greenspan, the respected former Chairman of the Fed, has been prominently espousing his point of view on just what is going on and how to handle (or not handle it). Greenspan is, for instance, dead certain that McCain’s tax cut plan is disasterous for the country. You cannot cut 3.3 trillion dollars in taxes and continue to spend 10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan. Plain and simple.

Greenspan also notes that the more financial institutions will fail, but the extent of the impact of such failure is not necessarily bad – that will depend on our leadership’s response to this crisis.

See we are….ooops. Guess we’re in trouble.

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Untangling the Republican Spin

Tonight on Countdown, Rachel Madow put it best: They lie. Who “they” you ask? Republicans present at the Republican Convention, of course!

Barack Obama, according to Palin, never wrote a law, wants to raise your taxes, and has less experience than her. Obama, of course, has written laws, has promised to cut taxes on the middle class and raise them on the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the country, and has more practical experience than Palin.

Lies.

Palin, according to pundits and even herself, fought corporate lobbyists, sold an airplane on Ebay, and said “no thanks” to the infamous bridge to nowhere.

Lies.

Romney, in his speech, told Al Gore he needed to start saving the environment by grounding his private jet. One problem, Gore doesn’t own and has never owned a private jet. Ooops.

Lies.

McCain, who decided that arguing against change is a bad idea has attempted to co-opt Senator Obama’s message of change. McCain, with little fervor, proclaimed he was the candidate of change and that he and Governor Palin represent the true chance at change in Washington since they are both Mavericks.

Lies, lies, lies.

It never ceases to amaze me that the attendees at the Republican convention can lie so easily. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – they’ve had a lot of practice over the years.

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Sarah Palin: Ebay Power Seller

For all those media analysts who think Joe Biden or Barack Obama should be ‘careful’ when discussing or debating Sarah Palin, I think that is clearly behind us now. Tonight, Sarah Palin put the gloves on and came out swinging. Her criticism of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the Democratic party was harsh and absolute. I think it interesting that Palin – after attacking the Democratic ticket – extended the olive branch in seemingly unlikely fashion:

No one expects us to agree on everything.

But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and … a servant’s heart.

I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States.

These statements, given at the end of her speech seemed almost to reach across the aisle. However, after her prolonged attack on Obama, the Democratic ticket, and Democrats as a whole, it seems insincere at best.

Palin, it seems, is really good at following the party line and Republican-scripted attack used throughout the convention. For instance, Palin made sure to mention McCain’s POW experience and sacrafice prominently:

A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio, recalls looking through a pin-hole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway, by the guards, day after day.

As the story is told, “When McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn toward Moe’s door and flash a grin and thumbs up” – as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.” My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through these next four years.

Once again this transparent and obvious attempt to divert attention from the great issues of our time – which the Republican Party is great at – is revolting in the extreme. In particular, the convention focus on John McCain’s POW experience is – again – manipulative and sickening.

But Palin was not through beating us over the head with this issue. In case there was any doubt that she was sincere instead of politically shrewd and manipulative, Palin added:

There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you … in places where winning means survival and defeat means death … and that man is John McCain. In our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world in which this man, and others equally brave, served and suffered for their country.

It’s a long way from the fear and pain and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.

I guess we have our answer: Politically shrewd and manipulative. Sadly, it is blatantly obvious that the single minded focus of the Republican Party in this election is to win by any means – even if that means manipulating McCain’s military service, distorting the facts, or frightening the voting public with talk of war and terrorism.

In fact, Palin and all the speakers tonight make it very clear that the politics of fear and division is their preferred method of campaigning, relating to the American people, and defeating their opponents. Palin and her colleagues attempt to instill this fear and division by mentioning 9/11 again and again, referencing McCain’s POW status and torture over and over again, and talking about the continued dangerous threat by terrorists – that could attack on our soil again.

But, in her attempts to convey this message to the American public, Palin faultered.

Palin is – to put it bluntly – factually challenged. But she was not alone. Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and President Bush all seem to manufacture the truth – a Republican truth – not, of course, the actual truth.

But don’t take my word for it. The bipartisan group – FactCheck.org holds both parties accountable for their misstatements. Last night, they worked overtime to keep up with the misrepresentations and distortions of the Republican speakers.

My prediction is that Sarah Palin will keep FactCheck.org very very busy, indeed.

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Sarah Palin, Reformer?

There’s a lot of buzz about Governor Palin as a reformer, and yes, even a maverick. Incredibly, it took all of one day for convervative pundits to start calling her a maverick and reformer. But does the Sarah Palin of reform lore match the Sarah Palin Alaskans know?

Sarah Palin the reformer fought hard against earmarks, rebuked Senator Stevens and the bridge to nowhere, and told congress to shape up.

The Sarah Palin Alaskans know is a little different.

According to the non-partisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense, Palin, as mayor, hired Senator Ted Stevens former chief of staff as a lobbyist for Wasilla. Palin, and Wasilla, benefited greatly from this relationship. Senator Stevens, who at the time headed the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, was in a position to work closely with his former chief of staff and funnel earmark money to Alaska and, specifically, Wasilla in the tune of $27 Million dollars. Palin’s investment for these earmarks? A paltry 140,000 over 4 years. For a town of less than 10,000 people, Wasilla Alaska favored better than Des Moines Iowa (population 200,000).

Despite all this and Senator Stevens indictment on corruption charges, Palin and her supporters say she is a maverick and reformer.

Palin herself, contrary to her own public record of benefiting from earmarks and publicly supporting the infamous bridge to nowhere, stated the following after McCain selected her as his running mate:

And I’ve championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress thanks, but no thanks, on that “bridge to nowhere.” If our state wanted a bridge, I said, we’d build it ourselves.

It seems that Governor Palin has learned a few things from the Bush Administration: if you distort the facts enough, maybe people will believe you.

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Sarah Who?

There is personal irony in McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin. I had, back in June of this year, posted a test article to a news blog I was designing that listed a ‘faux’ article entitled, “Who is Sarah Palin?” which purported to supply readers with more information on McCain’s VP choice. At the time, her serious consideration for a job as VP was about as realistic as a Nader Presidency. But I was looking for fodder to fill up my test news site and this was the best fodder I could find. After all, John McCain would never choose a candidate with zero real political experience. Nor would he choose a vapid and vacuous candidate merely to play a gender game with disenfranchised Clinton primary voters.

At least that’s what I thought at the time. Three months later, however, that is exactly what John McCain has done. So, let’s take a serious look at Governor Palin’s political career:

  • Two terms on the Wasilla City Council (1992-1996)
  • Mayor, Wasilla AK – Population 9000 (1996 – 2002)
  • Chairwoman, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (2002)
  • Governor, Alaska, (2006 to Present – less than 2 years)

So, with that outline, one can deduce that Palin has little to qualify her as a choice for Vice President of the United States.

What is even more interesting is that McCain and the Republican party have shot themselves in the foot with this selection. The experience issue is now off the table – at least for the Republicans. Democrats, I’m sure, will crucify McCain’s selection – as well they should. Not because of Palin’s gender, however. Instead, they will crucify it as a choice of someone completely unqualified for the role. After all, Palin is, in direct comparison, even more like Bush than McCain is – another sore point for disillusioned Reagan Republicans.

Glaring similarities include:

  • She is rabidly right-wing
  • She is pro-life
  • She strongly supports Gas and Oil interests over the environment
  • She uses her personal power as Governor to help her husband (British Petroleum employee)
  • Ignoring ethics and law, she has helped her sister with her divorce against an Alaskan State Trooper (under investigation by the legislature)

All qualifications that seem to better qualify her for a post in the Bush Administration.

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