Archive for the 'Election 2008' Category

Tracking Obama’s Campaign Promises

Here’s a site to add to your bookmarks and check every once in awhile. It’s a site called set up by the St. Petersburg Times to keep track of all 510 of might as well call him President now Obama’s campaign promises. He’s already got 2 listed as completed and none as broken. So far so good. No. 502: Get his daughters a puppy is still listed as “in the works.” though. Guess he hasn’t decided whether to follow through with that poodle poll yet.

(H/T Ronald Bailey at Reason)

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Resignations for Radicals

Sadly, it seems Angela Keaton has finally resigned from the Libertarian National Committee. If you haven’t been following this little bit of salacious Libertarian Party drama, here’s the “Resolution of Discipline” against her from December 1st, which details many of her alleged injuries to the “public image” of the party. My personal favorite demand:

An apology [from Angela Keaton] to the Libertarian National Committee for offering sex to the LNC officers conditional on the performance of our Presidential candidate by stating in an Internet interview on June 26, 2008, “If Bob Barr breaks 1%, the officers of the national party can pass me around like a pu-pu platter.”

For the record, Bob Barr received 0.4% of the national popular vote in 2008, and thus Angela was spared the indignity of becoming a Chinese appetizer in a vorarephilic Libertarian orgy. That in itself is probably a source for some of the hostility by members of the LNC. It’s one thing to brutally mock your party, it’s something altogether more offensive to be proven accurate in your mockery.

Yet with the passing of the colorful and combative Ms. Keaton, there is once again officially no immediate reason to pay attention to the doings of the LNC that I can think of. Not that anyone outside the LP was paying attention to this either…which does call into question the integrity of the charges made by Angela’s critics. After all, a “public image” which is subject to injury, does tend to require a public audience.

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Sullivan: Unhinged as a Truther

Andrew Sullivan, who’s never met a Sarah Palin rumor or slander he didn’t like, continues his transformation into an irrelevant and deranged Palin truther. It’s sad to see a once respectable voice in the blogosphere come unraveled, but Sullivan has decided to become the Palin deranged equivalent of Obama Birth Certificate Deniers and 9/11 truthers.

Maybe Michelle Malkin is right that this is truther, tin-foil hat territory.

Well at least he self aware, maybe there’s hope for a recovery.

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Post Election Polling?

I’m signed up to recieve emails for Zogby Polls so I too noticed the strange questions a reader at Clayton Cramer’s blog did.

If you knew Barack Obama supported a plan to place a 75% excise tax on the sale of firearms – where a $500 rifle would now cost $875 with tax, would that have made you…

More likely to vote for Obama
Less likely to vote for Obama
No difference
Not sure

If you knew about Barack Obama’s support for national legislation that would overturn concealed carry handgun laws in 40 states, would that have made you…
More likely to vote for Obama
Less likely to vote for Obama
No difference
Not sure

Of course the poll before that asked me what kind of dog I thought Obama should buy his daughters and what they should name it, so I don’t know what to think.

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Animal Sacrifice and Sacrificial Punditry

Delighted with the American election result for whatever reason, Kurdish villagers in Cavustepe, Turkey to honor Barack Obama. They also smeared the blood of the offering on Obama campaign posters, purportedly for good luck. Now there’s a weekend project for the press corps.

On a similar note, here’s another reminder that conservatives desperately need a new commentariat in addition to new leadership in the congress. Krauthammer sees Obama as the next Reagan striding across the globe, and Mary Katharine Ham reminds us of David Brooks in October, confessing to being warm quivering goo in the hands of the giant. One should always demand more than surrogacy from the opposition. One might even insist on opposition.

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Blaming Obama for the Market

Ben Armbruster at ThinkProgress is upset Fred Barnes and Dick Morris are blaming Obama for the post-election declines in the stock market. Armbruster’s case is a little defensive and misjudged (he cites the New York Times’ opinion, as if that would mollify critics), but then the transition from implacable critic of a government to determined apologist for a proto-government has been swift for all at TP.

However, in a general way he does have a point to object on I think. People are out to make cash gains where and when they can in this market, and opportunities have been rather few lately. To the extent that there was a specific macro cause, it seems to me the abrupt election day rally was the more likely culprit for the subsequent sell-off. That is what we’ve seen in other isolated spikes on events this year. The Saturnian habit for feeding yourself by eating your children, rather than letting them grow up to sow the fields, if you will.

Although it should be said that Dick Morris’ point that provoked Armbruster’s ire is not entirely unreasonable either. There’s certainly some incentive for selling on a small gain now, if you expect capital gains taxes to be substantially higher later. Comprehensively rejecting that as a buried motive is not reasonable.

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Blaming the Social Conservatives

As readers will know, I’m certainly no apologist for the social conservative movement in either its style or purposes. But it seems to me to be an awful injustice to lay at their feet the defeat of John McCain, in an election almost exclusively dominated by economic concerns:

If the GOP decides to go in the Bobby Jindal direction (fundamental Christianity, creationism, hard-line anti-abortionism, aggressively anti-gay rights), it will be committing political suicide. As much as anything else, this election was a referendum on the social conservative agenda, and the social conservatives did not win.

A fine verdict that I’m entirely sympathetic to…had Mike Huckabee just gone down in flames, beside defeats for his favored anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort happened.

As frustrating and silly as the soc-cons can be, one needs to be cautious of the temptation for blaming  them for everything that goes wrong with the Republican party. John McCain is certainly not their creature by any stretch of the imagination, and yet it was the soc-cons in their core red states who arguably remained most loyal to the party.

LGF often understands the silliness of the Democratic penchant for criticizing US allies more frequently and forcefully than avowed enemies. A similar rule might be applied here.

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An Immunity to Ecstasy

So we had an election. For those in the new opposition the outcome was variously enviable, troubling, or contemptible. For the victors it was…what else, an occasion for gathering an enormous outdoor rally at an urban theatrical stage to chant.

For my own part, I’m always somewhat reluctant to criticize the phenomenon of Barack Obama, because I cannot do so without confessing I miss the point itself. That’s because I possess a certain immunity to his allegedly irresistible charm. I miss the intimate personal connection supposedly conveyed through elaborately choreographed and cinematically lit mass spectacles, I find his celebrated speeches largely barren of purpose, and perhaps above all, I remain permanently unmoved by the emotional ecstasy his presence provokes in so many.

It should be acknowledged as true that if these impressions precondition your criticism, you do miss the point of Obama as political leader and cultural phenomenon on a profound level (and I surely do). For the critic, this can pose a difficulty that one must become an opponent of the phenomenon itself, rather than just its policy projects. And for the moment, that is to be the adversary of a powerful political tide.

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1948 After All


[W]e are on pace for the worst reaction to an election since Truman won in 1948.  Interestingly, the only times the DJIA has ever declined by more than 1% [are] the day after a presidential election when the Democratic Party won complete control.

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Our President

Yes, Obama has made history and been elected president. I didn’t vote for him nor support him, but I have supported every US president in my lifetime and President Obama will be no different. I am going to disagree with him on plenty of stuff I imagine, just as I disagree with my friends and family on plenty of stuff, but he’s still the President of the United States of America, and I will want to see him do the best for this country.

The slate is wiped clean today, the benefit of the doubt is given, let’s move forward together.It’s a new day, a day to rise above partisanship and just all be Americans.

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Proper Voting Attire

People are finding out that you have to be careful what you wear to the polling booth.

The 40-year-old Houston Realtor was wearing one of her souvenir T-shirts when she went to cast her ballot at a Cypress polling place Oct. 26. A poll worker told her she would have to change the shirt if she wanted to vote.

Hurley, who votes in every election, is familiar with poll site etiquette. She knows not to wear campaign paraphernalia. She’s never run into trouble before.

What, she asked, was wrong with her light blue cotton T-shirt, emblazoned with a moose head, fishing poles, and the words “Seward, Alaska”?

The word “Alaska,” a poll worker answered.

“She said it could be misconstrued as support for a candidate,” Hurley said.

She argued with the poll worker, but neither one backed down. The worker told Hurley she could go into the bathroom and flip her shirt inside-out. She even offered duct tape to cover the offending word. Hurley refused. Finally, outraged, she stormed out of the polling place.

“I couldn’t believe she wouldn’t let me vote because of my vacation T-shirt,” Hurley said this week. “Every time I talk about it, my blood boils.”

Cooler heads prevailed in the parking lot, and a campaign volunteer urged Hurley to check with the precinct judge overseeing the polling site.

The judge took a look at the shirt and let her vote. She didn’t even need duct tape.

Of course there’s other solutions too

During early voting, the clerk’s office got a report of a woman who showed up to a polling place in west Harris County wearing an Obama T-shirt.

She was told she could cover the shirt up, turn it inside out, or not wear it. She chose not to wear it, and voted in her bra.

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Cocktail Politics, Rio Rancho Office Space and Truman Republicans

It occurs to me that the sequence of cocktails is the best political indicator I know of on election night. In 2004 I was attending a Democratic election party and early on everyone was drinking wine and martinis in stemware, or beer and soda in tall glasses. The ambiance befit the beverages: general levity and young merriment. Sporty coquettish girls with wide white toothy smiles dominated all conversations.

But when it became clear that the exit polls predicting a Kerry victory were wildly mistaken, and field reports were coming in on cell phones of Karl Rove’s successful mobilization effort, it wasn’t long before the assembled Democrats had exchanged their drinks for short glasses filled with dark brown fluids. To match the new taste for scotch and bourbon whiskey, the sporty girls seemed to disappear and old men began to dominate conversations.


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The Philippines as Red State

Filipino writer Benjamin Pimentel is surprised to discover that his countrymen were among the very few foreign populations to prefer John McCain to Barack Obama in a Gallup international survey. A happy place for Republicans in a lonely world apparently, as in the Philippines the outgoing Bush administration enjoys a 66% approval (more than twice its abysmally low domestic support).

Pimentel then speculated somewhat interestingly that had the Philippines ever applied for US statehood or multi-statehood (the most recent proposals call for the country to be broken into three states: Luzón, Visayas, and Mindanao), McCain would handily win the general election. The Philippines 91 million plus population would easily dwarf the combined advantage of Democratic California and New York in the electoral college.


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Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtains

Alan Reynolds at Cato asks “How’s Obama Going to Raise $4.3 Trillion?

Altogether, Mr. Obama is promising at least $4.3 trillion of increased spending and reduced tax revenue from 2009 to 2018 — roughly an extra $430 billion a year by 2012-2013.

How is he going to pay for it?

Read the whole thing for an overview of what Obama is promising in inscreased spending and loss of tax revenues and how his rational for paying for it falls far short of the goal. How will we pay for all this? It’s something I’ve wondered for a long long time and have only found hand waving about corporate loopholes and better efficiencies savings that seem absurd on their face.

That leaves 3 options as I see it. We will do one or some combination of

  1. Increase the national debt
  2. Raise taxes
  3. Cut Spending

Increasing the national debt may not be as politially feasible in the near future as it has been in the past (at least I hope), so it’s clear that can’t account for all of it. I’m not sure how much more the democrats will be able to tax the rich and corporations. I mean, they might try, but I don’t think it will give them the returns they would hope for. So that leaves raising taxes on the rest of us and cutting spending. Any whats the only part of the budge the democrats have been known to favor spending cuts for? The military.

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Is Income Tax Becoming Too Progressive?

Under McCain and Obamas tax plans 43% and 44% would pay no income tax respectively

Under McCain and Obama's tax plans 43% and 44% would pay no income tax respectively

Fewer and fewer people are paying income tax and even less will be with either candidates tax plan. I don’t think this would be such a problem if we didn’t have such high spending, growing entitlements, and if so many of these zero income tax filers weren’t getting additional handouts from the government (especially under Obama’s tax “cuts” ie. handouts).

It has been said by an unknown author “[Democracy] can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury…” and this is where we’ve been heading for awhile. I think just as a tax plan can be too regressive, it can be too progressive in that it places too high a burden on “the rich” resulting in them leaving (atlas shrugs) or seeking tax shelters, and at the same time having too much of the population with no civic tax obligation leaving them no incentive to constrain public spending (hey, it’s not their money right?)

(HT Greg Mankiw)

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Socialism, Polls, Matt Drudge

You’ve probably heard that John McCain has denounced Barack Obama’s ’spread the wealth’ formulation for tax policy as . It’s an inflammatory but not unjustified charge, as a good definition for socialism is the equitable distribution of wealth to the community, coercively enforced by law.

But here’s a troubling aspect: suppose the electorate doesn’t mind if it is socialism?


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Not Sure if You’ve Voted?

I’ve been seeing this amusing banner ad for Obama popping up all over the web. Given the behavior of some of ACORN’s representatives, it might not be an illegitimate question.

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Christopher Hitchens & Political Irresponsibility

interrogating Christopher Hitchens over his rather weakly supported endorsement of Barack Obama for president.

Hitch’s primary position in this chat is that Obama should be supported because he is “evolving” toward support of a more aggressive policy against international terrorism. Hardly the most persuasive pitch to say the least. Perhaps all those years of arguing for evolution through natural selection may have given him too much of a preference for the word itself.

His auxillery case is that McCain has become senile and temperamentally unfit for leadership. That’s something which is supposedly entirely and exclusively demonstrated by his “irresponsible” selection of Sarah Palin for vice president. Hardly more persuasive.

But in reading Hitchens’ recent writing on this matter, one tends to think that last point is what is actually driving the others (something Laura instantly zeroes in on). There is a certain reflexive personal hostility to Mrs. Palin in Hitchens’ writing, which is far closer to a definition of political irresponsiblity than McCain’s selection of her allegedly is.

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Joe the Plumber is Evil

I’m experiencing a little déjà vu over the invective that’s starting to pour out of the left against “Joe the Plumber.” It has a decidedly reminiscent over-reactive, hysterical feel to it of the anti-Palin crusade. Here’s a typical example of what I mean from a Kos diarist:

“I have watched the Joe Plumber video several times and this right wing nut is nothing but a liar.”

Uh-huh. Regular Nazi threat to the republic that plumber.

Probably not the wisest attack. As my friend Jason puts it: “Joe the Plumber is Pennsylvania and Ohio personified.” By consequence, team Obama might want to restrain the volume on this sort of immoderate ideological raving to the fullest extent that they can.

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The Folly of Heroes

What a day for indignity. Just when I’d stopped shaking my head at the image of Paul Krugman accepting the Nobel Prize, I read two of my most cherished heroes offering rather embarrassing endorsements for bad things.

Christopher Hitchens, always aloof from the elderly McCain, has been pushed into a categorical and insulting rejection in Slate, animated mostly by a festering hatred of Sarah Palin that seems to grow more infected by the day. It’s not quite an Andrew Sullivan endoresement in that it lacks the enchanted fascination with Obama, but it’s still advocacy that makes you wince at the superficiality.

But worse is yet to come. Francis Fukuyama, in his most aggressive Obama endorsement yet, reboots history in The Times (adapted from the Newsweek piece) by denouncing the entire edifice of the Reagan-Thatcher revolution for capitalism and democracy as destructive and driven by uneducated American swing voters, who are stupid enough to endorse the philosophy he once championed as the endgame of civilzation itself.

Sad affairs. I suspect I shall have to become an antiquarian for these men’s opinions in order to remain a fan. Their current thinking seems only demonstrative of the strangely stupefying effect partisanship for Obama can have on otherwise able minds.

(ht: Ghost of a Flea)

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McCain and the Electoral College

For two weeks, as John McCain’s national polls first rose above Obama and then solidified there, Democrats protested that the popular vote was irrelevant. Look to the state polls said they, in a sensible but amusingly opportunistic argument for the electoral college (for those of us who recall the venom of 2000). Alas, this was a comfort built upon something of an illusion, given that few state polls were available after the Republican convention. That’s begun to change of course, and for the first time Rasmussen has given McCain a slim electoral college advantage.


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The Palin Democrats

Tim Reid travels to Mount Clemens, Macomb County Michigan, to talk to white working class female voters. Macomb County should be core Democratic blue country, but it was here that Stanley Greenberg first identified the “Reagan Democrats” of the 1980s, and Reid thinks we just might be seeing the ground shift once again:

The Times spoke to dozens of women here – perhaps the key demographic in this election – in an area that is 88 per cent white, has one of the highest unemployment and home repossession rates in the country, and will play a big role in determining who wins Michigan in November. It is a crucial swing state that no Republican has won since 1988 but where Mr Obama is particularly vulnerable. Nearly all said that they were still undecided. Yet the disturbing fact for Mr Obama was how many said that they had been leaning towards him – until Mrs Palin entered the race.
(The Times)

Read on>>

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Mark Penn on the Press & Palin

Boy, this was an awfully interesting exchange. Democratic strategist Mark Penn, absurdly invited by Brian Goldsmith to argue the press has been soft on Sarah Palin, instead slams the media for counterproductively biased and vindictive coverage:


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The Error of Inexperience

According to a new Associated Press poll 46% of the public thinks Barack Obama is too inexperienced for the presidency, and only 36% say the same of Governor Palin. So much for that line of attack.

In contrast with both, a staggering 80% feel Senator McCain has the right experience for the job. An almost unbelievable contrast of opinion in a presidential election.

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Palinmania and the Stature Gap

Toby Harnden weighs in with his thoughts on the Palin effect. All interesting, all very astute IMO.

Of particular interest is Toby’s argument that McCain commands enough public respect for his experience and expertise, that he has no concerns about being eclipsed by Sarah. Because of that, he’s perfectly comfortable to ride in her publicity tailwind, legitimately without a fear that voters could fall into doubt about who is in command.

This is of course correct and it’s enormously important as a contrast between the candidates. That’s because this intrinsic stature gap is precisely what Barack Obama didn’t have (or suspected he didn’t have), when he declined consideration of Hillary Clinton for his own vice presidential slot. Something that’s regarded today even by Joe Biden as a considerable mistake.

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Sarah Palin: FlightSim Gamer

Playing a demo for Aviation Day, at the STARBASE Alaska Military Youth Academy in Fort Richardson. Nice rig.

Sarah Palin - flightsim
Photo: Capt. Guy Hayes

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John McCain and Sarah Palin: Fairfax Gallery

Ron Hilton caught some great shots at the McCain/Palin rally in Fairfax, Virginia. He was gracious enough to let us post them here for you:

Sarah Palin Virginia rally


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Stop Making Sense

I really need to write my thoughts out sooner…

Imagine for a moment if John McCain had used a similar shopworn phrase in reference to Barack Obama’s policies. Suppose he said, “Obama says he’s going to cut your taxes but he’s really going to raise them. My friends, it’s time for some straight talk about taxes, it’s time to call a spade a spade.”

Do you think for a second the Joe Kleins, Andrew Sullivans, and Josh Marshalls of the world wouldn’t scream from the rooftops that McCain had used a racial slur against Obama? Of course they would – and they’d scoff at the notion that McCain was somehow unaware of how that phrase would be interpreted. Anyone who tried to argue that McCain was simply using a well known phrase that predated the current presidential race would be tagged as an apologist for racism. Even if McCain hadn’t meant it that way, it wouldn’t matter.

And you can bet if McCain made that sort of mistake he would immediately turn around and apologize publicly for using a phrase that could in any way have been construed as racist. Further, it’s inconceivable that McCain would begin a speech the following day, as Obama did, by not only failing to issue an apology but instead blaming his opponent for ginning up a phony controversy.

So count me among those who are underwhelmed by the entire episode. Obama played cute and got caught. The McCain campaign did what any campaign would do – and probably a lot less than the Obama camp would have done if the shoe were on the other foot.

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Obama’s Plan: Does This Work?

According to the Associated Press, a sequence of interviews with Democratic leaders has revealed this to be the political plan being recommended to the Obama campaign:

1. Tie the Republican to an unpopular President Bush.
2. Let no charge go unanswered.
3. Stress plans to fix the economy.

Well, I’m not sure any of these items is good advice, with a possible qualitative exception on #3.

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Obama and the Fate of Criticism

Tattered Hope, Barack Obama posters
“Tattered Hope” by Nathan Rupert

Jason at postpolitical and I often get into testy email arguments about Barack Obama’s alleged “arrogance.” He is quite Greek in the sense that he thinks hubris is the fatal flaw at the heart of all political downfalls. I don’t entirely agree with that, nor with his contention that Obama represents an emblematic example of arrogant leadership. At least no more so than any other politician.

On this matter Jason is of course much more in line with majority opinion on the right than myself. Many conservative bloggers have argued for Obama’s arrogance for so long, it once was merely a kind of premonition.


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Jason Linkins is a Crazier Guy

Jason Linkins takes exception to my reading his Huffington Post editorial about the silly ‘lipstick’ controversy as a suicide fantasy. He protests in his defense that he didn’t want to shoot himself, he wanted to shoot other people. Wonderful. How about nobody gets shot and you lighten up Jason.

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A Rosy Future for Anti-Americanism?

Longtime Clinton ally Leon Panetta pronounces Barack Obama “intimidated” by Sarah Palin, and lost in a deepening cycle of reactive defense. With McCain now winning a majority of independents and erasing the gender gap, the blood is most definitely in the water. It’s now a legitimate question to ask whether McCain can finish him off. My sense is that the Obama campaign isn’t too many more mistakes removed from a serious structural collapse in a significant segment of its support outside the Democratic ranks. Panetta is quite right, Obama needs to regain the initiative and fast.

On that matter Jonathan Freedland is pessimistic. So much so, that he is evidently consumed with stomach pains of grief. He warns us that the entire planet will seek revenge against the United States if we fail to appoint Obama president.

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Debbie Does Palin

Debbie Schlussel isn’t exactly thrilled about the prospect of Sarah Palin as veep. She can’t seem to make up her mind however, on whether Palin is the “sleazy t-shirt” wearing representative of a “low class” family, or a upper-middle-class high income fraud, with a lifestyle of fashionable luxury.

I don’t know why it is, but almost all negative commentary on Sarah Palin seems to take on exactly this sort of concatenating dissonance. There’s always just a handful of dirt thrown too far.

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Immunizing Sarah Palin

(photo: Tom LeGro)

Christopher Hitchens notices a pattern with anti-Palin rumors: their troubling tendency to turn out highly exaggerated or entirely fabricated, in a very short turn.

[A]s often as I have forwarded some alarming e-mail about her from a beavering comrade, I have afterward found myself having the sensation of putting my foot where the last stair ought to have been and wasn’t.

Hitch gets close to what’s happening there by recalling Walter Dean Burnham’s prescient 1960s prediction that Ronald Reagan would one day be president, based on Ron’s inability to exude hostility and thus not attract it. This is slightly misdirected. Reagan attracted as much hostility as any politician in the modern era from the political left, save perhaps Nixon. The trouble consisted in that the product of that hostility, criticism, didn’t seem to stick. Or even worse, seemed to possess a counterproductive property.


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The Sarah Palin Style


Apparently Sarah Palin has become the latest women’s fashion trendsetter. Ladies across the country are flocking to find her rectangular rimless spectacles, created by Japanese designer Kazuo Kawasaki, to achieve that “Sarah Palin look.” Some are comparing the glasses to Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hats.

Well, this is certainly one dimension of Sarah’s success I didn’t anticipate.

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VPILF: The Stencil Shirt

Michael Carian scores the shirt from a kid selling them out of the back of his car:


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Another Palin Smear Campaign Fails

Turns out the allegation of the Leftblogs that Palin associate Scott Richter was concealing an extramarital affair with Sarah, was just another desperate conspiratorial invention. TSG uncovers the exceedingly boring and ordinary divorce documents Richter filed a sealing motion for. Unsurprisingly, therein Palin is unconnected with any farcical adultery/business scandal conspiracy.

Apparently Richter filed the motion because he was eager to conceal his phone number and address, in the expectation that people would be shamelessly prying into his private affairs and harassing his family in a vain search for dirt on the vice presidential nominee. Gee, can’t imagine why he’d think that.

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Reconsidertions of McCain’s Speech

Jennifer Rubin becomes the latest to reconsider the merits of McCain’s convention acceptance speech. It’s interesting how many people on the political right are reevaluating it really. Like Jennifer, my own reaction was that it was unremarkable. I told friends that it failed to connect, but I held off on criticizing it very aggressively on grounds that I had the nagging sensation that the speech was merely not intended for me as an audience. It’s beginning to look as though that was indeed the case.

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An Encounter With Political Sexism

How many children does John McCain have? It’s seven including adoptions, but very few seem to know that. Easier question: how many children does Sarah Palin have? Five and I bet you knew that instantly. Welcome to sexism says liberal feminist Linda Keenan, in a profound and important confessional apology to Sarah.

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Sarah Palin in the Green Room

Sarah on babysitting, energy independence and CS Lewis in the Charlie Rose Green Room:

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A Western Vibe Ticket

Todd Zywicki, of the Volokh Conspiracy, takes a look at libertarianism in the McCain/Palin ticket and notes a distinct western vibe to the first all-western ticket in our history. He had an interesting observation that I think captures a lot of our hesitation about McCain.

The only caveat to this is that McCain’s westernism is tempered by his military background. And frankly, this is what concerns me most about him–his mind seems like a command-and-control, top-down worldview. To put the matter more elliptically to many but more accurately to my thinking, I think he simply does not understand or trust the idea of spontaneous order. In his worldview, things happen (good or bad) because somebody makes them happen. This is not a worldview that is conducive to understanding spontaneous order. That’s a statist streak in him that offsets some of his westernism.

An interesting point to think about. Does Palin temper that? Does she enhance it?

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Marital Advice from Todd Palin

Sound recommendation I’d say:

“I should’ve asked a few more questions when Sarah joined the PTA. When my wife starts talking about reform, corruption and making government work for the American people, it’s best to just move out of the way.”
(Political Radar)

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Substantive Debate vs Pot Shots vs Mudslinging

An interesting debate occurred through email over my short jab at Obama’s experience. Now, I think it’s great when we have substantive debate about important issues, but I’m not above taking pot shots at our political class. A little sarcasm can go a long way towards highlighting a particular issue.

Mudslinging – the act of throwing around outright lies, innuendo, and gossip, in the hopes of tarnishing the opposition. There may be the whiff of truth somewhere, but it’s usually hidden beneath a partisan agenda.

Pot shots – humorously pointing out a negative feature of the opposition. Should be true in and of itself.

Substantive debate – the point/counter-point revealing of facts about a topic.

Now, I’m not claiming that the following is a complete debate about the issues brought up. But it does show that, a pot shot may lead to a greater discussion of the issues. I think if you look through some of the comments on recent posts about Palin you’ll see examples of mudslinging. Actually you can look through the mainstream media and see enough mudslinging.


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A Republican Atavism

John Podhoretz thinks the Palin speech might be among the most dazzling debuts in American political history. I don’t know about that, but I do know it was the most powerful, important, and effective speech by a vice presidential candidate since Nixon’s “Checkers.” John later notes that McCain looked relieved by it all. Again, I thought of Checkers and and a smiling Eisenhower addressing the convention: “tonight I saw courage…”

The parallels are pretty striking actually. The week of acrimonious scandal, the uncertainty of the party leadership, the lack of truth to the charges, and ultimately the triumphant personal redemption through a national televised address, which transformed a very young party favorite into a powerful national voice. Interestingly, the most notable departure from this historical recreation is the conduct of McCain throughout. He cut a superior and more loyal figure than Ike did and that’s impressive.


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A Fine Figure of a Republican

The title is what Time Magazine labeled New Jersey’s Senator William Warren Barbour in 1940. The expression takes on a better curve for Sarah Palin, but it fits the occasion of a very partisan and frankly rather phenomenal speech tonight (transcript).

I suppose I’m surprised by the surprise in so many media reactions I’m seeing. Then again it’s a reminder that we on the pro-Palin political right have been following Sarah for over a year now, and this sort of thing is still very much an introduction for others.

Michael Crowley for instance calls Palin’s speech “alarmingly strong” and describes emails from liberal colleagues as “panicked.” I think that’s probably an ungenerous assessment. There is afterall a reason so many on the left have been trying to destroy her these past few days. You saw it this evening. Sarah does have a certain magic. Even when she fumbles in a long speech as she can, it tends to amplify her humanity. A characteristic interestingly shared with Barack Obama and almost totally alien to wizened veterans.

The amplitude of the attention and the stress of the experince is of course very new for Sarah, but you’d never know it from looking at her tonight. I realized I’d become a little emotionally invested in this candidate over the course of the week, with its grotesque slander and innuendo campaigns in the press. When the Republican party in assembly gave her a near endless welcoming ovation I kept saying “don’t cry, don’t cry,” which was slightly sexist for Sarah and slightly for my own sad benefit.

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Dick Morris on Palin


Understand: Palin is under attack because she was such a good choice.


After years of electing plasticized creations of political consultants, we have the chance to vote for a real person with real peoples’ problems. In standing by her, McCain speaks volumes about his attitude toward women and his empathy for those who face family troubles. His loyalty illustrates not just his decency, but his sensitivity and good sense.
(Rasmussen Reports)

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Palin vs. Obama

Sarah will slam Barack Obama in her address tonight. An excerpt:

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

Ouch. Yesterday, Obama attacked her experience as inferior to his own.

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Thoughts on the Republican Convention

I tuned in for a little bit and here are some thoughts.

  • ABC, NBC and CBS showed it in SD, while CNN had it in HD. Dunno why.
  • ABC was behind. They had Thompson speaking while the other networks had Lieberman.
  • Thompson had a great speech. Had some great sarcastic rebuttles to Obama’s tax policy. Still wish he was the Republican candidate.
  • I think his loudest applause came from his remarks that protecting our unborn and newborn children isn’t above McCain’s payroll though.
  • Lieberman is kind of boring, I’m switching back to baseball.
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What on Earth is Obama Thinking?

He’s actually starting to run against Sarah Palin:

“My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wassilla, has I think 50 employees. We’ve got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month,”
(CNN via Adam’s Blog)

No, no, no. You say: “Sarah Palin? I’ll remind you I’m running for the presidency against Senator John McCain, who I’ve worked with and known in the United States Senate, and who on almost every issue of substance today is critically and completely dead wrong…blah, blah, blah”

Instead he bites the equivalent of a frayed fiberglass lure the dumbest bass in Kentucky would pass on.

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McCain Hits Back. Hard.

John McCain, in an interview with Brian Williams on Sarah Palin:

“The facts are funny things. She’s been in elected office longer than Sen. Obama. She’s been the chief executive of the state that provides 20 percent of America’s energy; she has balanced budgets; she has had executive experience as governor, as mayor, as a city council member and PTA.

So she was in elected office when Sen. Obama was still a local community organizer. He’s never had one day of executive experience.

I think it’s almost ludicrous to compare her experience in elected office and as a leader of one of the most important states in America — certainly one of the largest — to compare her experience with his. It’s no contest.”

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