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Tilting at Windmills

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August 29, 2008

PALIN AND THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE.... John McCain's introduction of Sarah Palin as his running mate this afternoon was an interesting sight. If you watch the video carefully, and I hope you do, notice that in order to tell the audience his running mate's name, he had to carefully read it from a script. That's really not a good sign.

Palin's speech was rather routine, but there was a paragraph that stood out for me:

"...I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress -- 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."

The McCain campaign has been flagging this pretty aggressively this afternoon. It's a shame, then, that Palin wasn't exactly telling the truth. As TNR's Brad Plumer explained, Palin actually supported the funding for the much-derided bridge project.

That's not a good start for her very first public appearance as the Republicans' VP candidate.

I'd add, by the way, that her reference to earmark spending is itself problematic. For all of McCain's alleged disgust for pork, Palin's Alaska receives more earmarks than any other state.

As for the rest of the event, I had a similar reaction to Jonathan Chait: "It sort of seemed like one of those regular person testimonials where somebody gets up and talks about their family and their blue-collar job -- except then she says that she's on the ticket. Maybe it will help McCain connect with blue-collar voters. Maybe she'll come off as someone you can't possibly imagine as president. I don't know. It's really different."

Steve Benen 3:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Comments

I think the oil links are pretty interesting. I, for one, am not so excited to have McCain and Palin--Team Exxon--take over from Team Halliburton.

Posted by: myproxy on August 29, 2008 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

She was for the bridge to nowhere when she didn't expect to get anywhere.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on August 29, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Benen: I hope you do, notice that in order to tell the audience his running mate's name, he had to carefully read it from a script. That's really not a good sign.

McCain knows Obama's VP pick better than his own.

Posted by: grape_crush on August 29, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

It took them 24 years to pick a woman for VP as we did, which means a non-white male will win a primary some time around 2032.

Posted by: Memekiller on August 29, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't figure out who she reminded me of all morning but I've got it now:

Ellie May Clampet: beauty queen, hunter, oil

Posted by: amy on August 29, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

That's not a good start for her very first public appearance as the Republicans' VP candidate.

Steve B., are you high? This is the perfect intro for a Gooper scam artist. She apparently fits right in with the other lying pieces of shit that go for the Goop these days.

Ugh.

Frightened yet? I am.

Posted by: MsJoanne on August 29, 2008 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's striking, given the leadership the national republic party has provided, the type of campaign they've waged, the reality of their platform, and the theatrics we see everyday on so-called television "news," that smart people always attempt to discuss the 'rights' viewpoints from the legitimacy standpoint.

They all lie. If they said it, it's a lie, or at least a distortion or misrepresentation. Nothing the republic party has said in at least 10 years has an ounce of credibility.

There use of "doublethink" has been chronicled and recently admitted.

Posted by: TBone on August 29, 2008 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, she opposed the bridge to nowhere like McCain fought for the Webb GI bill. Sure.

But here's the attack I think should be made as a theme: McCain -- like the Bush Administration -- just isn't serious about governing.

Who was the Bush insider who wrote a book saying, with them, it's all politics, but no policy? This fits perfectly into a pattern:

a) the gas tax gimmmick -- a nice soundbite, no real substance;

b) off-shore drilling -- 2 cents in savings in a decade; yeah, that'll help.

c) Paris/Britney adds

d) Palin, just to woo the Hillary voters;

e) all those attacks on Obama as too inexperienced? Just a gimmick, w/no substance either.

f) remember Brownie? the guy who watched New Orleans drown?

g) Harriet Myers? The best qualified!

Isn't it time we had a government that took governing seriously?

Posted by: retr2327 on August 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

'That's not a good start for her very first public appearance as the Republicans' VP candidate.'

No, but it's entirely in keeping with the primary strategy of the McCain campaign, which is to lie at all times about everything and hope the media is too lazy to call you on it.

You have to admit, this strategy has served them well up 'til now.

Posted by: David Bailey on August 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

It is sexist to point out she's lying about the bridge!
POW! Sexist!

Posted by: John McCain: More of the Same on August 29, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

If the candidates were judged solely on their VP picks (of course, there are and should be a lot of other considerations), it would strongly support the view that Obama is the prudent, sound choice and that McCain is risky and unpredictable.

Posted by: Nate Levin on August 29, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I say that all Obama has to do is repeat his charge that Republicans want to make this election about small things, while ignoring the big things. It is extremely easy to do, and it actually makes Palin look like the victim of McCain's cynicism, rather than a victim of attacks from the Obama campaign.

Turn Palin into a cynical political checklist, rather than an actual person.

Posted by: enozinho on August 29, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

She's been the Rethugs' VP choice for less than 4 hours, and she's already under investigation (for abuse of power) and caught in a lie (about spending).

Definitely a Rethug, in a Dick Cheney/Karl Rove sort of way.

Posted by: CMcC on August 29, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

If the candidates were judged solely on their VP picks

McCain would win hands down.

Posted by: Econobuzz on August 29, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Pat Buchanan said that the Palin pick was the "biggest political gamble I believe just about in American political history." Interesting thing to say about a candidate like McCain with a known fondness for craps.

Only recently have McCain's aides urged him to pull back from the pastime. In the heat of the G.O.P. primary fight last spring, he announced on a visit to the Vegas Strip that he was going to the casino floor. When his aides stopped him, fearing a public relations disaster, McCain suggested that they ask the casino to take a craps table to a private room, a high-roller privilege McCain had indulged in before. His aides, with alarm bells ringing, refused again, according to two accounts of the discussion.

"He clearly knows that this is on the borderline of what is acceptable for him to be doing," says a Republican who has watched McCain play. "And he just sort of revels in it." Did McCain roll the dice with the vice presidency?

Posted by: gerryblog on August 29, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Good gawd! I just watched her speech. This would be funny if it wasn't so insulting to voters. I don't think the Obama campaign is going to have to say a word, just give her air time. I can't wait to hear the late night monologues.

Posted by: clar-z on August 29, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Palin is to VP what Harriet Myers is to a good Supreme court choice.

Posted by: coz6 on August 29, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

"I couldn't figure out who she reminded me of all morning but I've got it now:"

I had the same question, and my answer was: porn star.

It has to do with that plain black dress with the huge flag pin, those over-sized glasses, and that piled up hair. Did you see the way McCain kept checking out her butt? He had to be thinking about how she would look with those glasses off, that hair down, and that dress ....

Posted by: CMcC on August 29, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

gerryblog's comments point out that the really teriifying thing about this gambit is not the possibility that Ms. Palin could become president (we survived Darth Cheny and Chimpy, how much worse could she be?) but rather what it says about McCain. Will aides be able to prevent him from shooting nukes the way they prevented him from shooting craps?

Posted by: dcsusie on August 29, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, Great, Strong, Confident Pick by John McCain.

This shows that J-Mac, as today's youth refer to him, is "in it to win it." We are already seeing a surge in support from Hillarylanders.

As everyone knows, when done properly, a surge leads to VICTORY!

And secondly, speaking of a surge of a different type, we need a Surge in Drilling. This will be the first step toward VICTORY over our dependence on Foriegn Oil.

Thank You

McBOC

Posted by: McCain Blog Outreach Coordinator on August 29, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't figure out who she reminded me of all morning but I've got it now - amy

I was thinking maybe Megan Mullally (Karen from "Will and Grace") with a voice a bit more like Rachel Ray.

Posted by: Danp on August 29, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Did you see the way McCain kept checking out her butt?

At his age, he would probably trade the presidency for one really good piece. We have seen that happen before, remember?

In the debate, if those glasses come off, and that hair comes down, Biden will have to excuse himself.

Posted by: Econobuzz on August 29, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

This blog has been pushing her for VP since last year:

http://palinforvp.blogspot.com

Posted by: Speed on August 29, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Stop. Stop with the "who does she look like," "wouldn't McCain like to do her" bullshit. Nobody would be saying these things about a male candidate. There are dozens of reasons to rip her without being sexist about it.

Posted by: yowza_bean on August 29, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe she'll come off as someone you can't possibly imagine as president. I don't know.

Christ, I couldn't imagine her as governor, but here we are.

Posted by: on August 29, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Sarah Palin is a bought and paid for tool of the oil corporations. Just like Dick Cheney. Just like George W. Bush. Just like John McCain. Government of, by and for ExxonMobil is not the change we need. It's more of the same.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 29, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

"We are already seeing a surge in support from Hillarylanders."

Within 4 hours of announcing the pick? How is that even possible? How could someone say that with a straight face?

OH OK comment from:

McCain Blog Outreach Coordinator

Gotcha.

Posted by: on August 29, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Look at it this way: She was for the earmarks before she was against them and Steve can start making a list of HER flipflops too.

It seems to me that this is, again, a perfect pick for the neo con endless agenda bent on hijacking democracy: not only a presidential nominee whose quickly emptying head can be filled with the latest greedocractic demand and whose brittle temper can be easily manipulated, but a vp nomineee all too eager to please and with so much to learn that she can be, again, made to push any policy.

The main thing has been pointed out here already and by Obama's team too: this choice proves that McCain's attack on the importance of foreign policy experience (as if he had foreign policy-making experience himself, or even recalled what policies he's supported in the past) was completely bogus.

A "cynical" pick? No kidding.

Posted by: SF on August 29, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Attention Hillary voters: This VP's for you." -
Posted by: Orwell

Why?

Posted by: 2Manchu on August 29, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Attention Hillary voters: This VP's for you."

Thanks, but no thanks.

Posted by: Steph Mineart on August 29, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

There are plenty of reasons for Democrats to rejoice at McCain's selection of Palin as VP candidate: the muting of the "experience" meme, her questionable ethics and her extremist religious views. That, and the fact that hardly anybody knows much about her here in the lower 48 (which is important, considering Alaska was not a toss-up state).

But the most disturbing element boils down to the blatant tokenism of the selection. Can anybody seriously make the case that Palin would have even been on the long list if she were male? This is rank sexism, and while it's a positive that a woman is on the ticket, it doesn't compare to what Hillary accomplished -- coming within an eyelash of the nomination on her own merits, rather than merely as a symbol. Those "18 million cracks" are Hillary's doing; Palin has never drawn even a quarter-million votes in all of her elections combined and has no legitimate claim to breaking the glass ceiling. (If this doesn't energize Hillary to campaign for Obama, I don't know what would.)

Posted by: MoCrash on August 29, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody see Ron Paul? He's a republican that is not a joke. May have even won if HIS grassroots campaign wasn't brainwashed out of the spin cycle.

Posted by: waitadamnmoment on August 29, 2008 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody see Ron Paul? He's a republican that is not a joke. May have even won if HIS grassroots campaign wasn't brainwashed out of the spin cycle.

Posted by: waitadamnmoment on August 29, 2008 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

So, basically Palin was FOR the bridge to nowhere before she voted against it? LOL

Posted by: deja vu on August 29, 2008 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

** Palin: Fail **

The falsity of 'intelligent design' is proved by the existence of those who can believe it.

bipolar2

Posted by: bipolar2 on August 29, 2008 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Please stop with the sexist discussion of butts and porn stars. She's clearly a smart woman with a lot of drive and potential. But not exactly ready to be VP. Plus she's currently embroiled in an ethics scandal investigation AND now there's a question of whether her daughter is actually the mother of Trig. (By the by, weird names for her children. Not that that's my business, but interesting. Track?? Maybe they're nicknames.) Now I would normally say leave her daughter and Trig alone, but if she lied about it to everyone (and if so, it was a pretty elaborate lie) publically?? -- Ok, she's a protective mom, but if true, this behavior doesn't exactly inspire trust or argue for public integrity. If it turns out to be blog crap, then it's another really sad case of misogynistic attacks. (And this info was from Moderate Voice blog, Jazz Shaw--so not exactly a cesspool to begin with.)

Posted by: plack on August 30, 2008 at 4:43 AM | PERMALINK

....this is an intelligent discussion about the issues?...get your candidate and his vp pick to meet every night of the week to seriously discuss everything...what you people have written here is childish at best...it reflects a desire to "hate" the other side...there are serious issues in the country and the world right now and they require serious consideration so LEAD FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY and go watch a soap opera or a baseball game then comment on that

Posted by: jack on August 30, 2008 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone have the transcript of her discussion with this guy named "congress"?

Posted by: adsf on August 30, 2008 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK

There's the whiff of tail-hook flyboy in the choice of Palin. Women are not interchangable in the eyes of other women and most men. Picking a younger beauty contender rather than a more experienced woman like Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson says a lot more about McCain than it does about Palin.

Posted by: TexasEllen on August 30, 2008 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK
Stop. Stop with the "who does she look like," "wouldn't McCain like to do her" bullshit. Nobody would be saying these things about a male candidate. There are dozens of reasons to rip her without being sexist about it.

We aren't ripping her here. We are ripping him. We are ripping his decision to pick her.

there are serious issues in the country and the world right now

That's exactly why McCain should lose.

Anybody see Ron Paul? He's a republican that is not a joke.

So creationists are not jokes? Because, remember, he is one. And that's apart from, well, believing the USA should be more like Somalia.

Posted by: David Marjanović on August 30, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Fuck. Why is my e-mail address displayed publicly here? I really get enough spam already!!!

Posted by: David Marjanović on August 30, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

If a person voted for Hillary they would never vote for Palin as their ideals are on the opposite side of the universe, the GOP must think women are stupid. Just because she has tits does not means anything Women will vote on policy not tits

Posted by: kim on August 30, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

McBush must think American women are the dumbest people on the planet. Oh ok, I'll pick a woman and automatically every woman in America will vote for me. And it is obvious he couldn't care less about our country to put someone 2nd in command with no experience. Everyone keeps comparing her to Tim Kaine. Oh wait, Obama didn't pick Tim Kaine.

Posted by: Jan on August 30, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think McCain will definately get the Fundamentalist votes with Palin. He'll get some of the Evangelicals but not the more moderate ones which I think is what he's after as they were not that sure of him. I imagine Palin is smart enough to know she's being used & if she's ambitious, good move for her. Hillary' supporters? Hell NO!!! Having said that, I think it's terrible choice. She has a degree in journalism, no foreign policy experience,no international experience,no judiciary experience. All the important portfolios that really matter,esp. now. Obama and Biden are Constitutional Lawyers with experience & knowledge of international/foreign policies. You can't compare a country as large as America with a State of 700,000 people esp. Alaska, no insult meant, but it's not exactly a cosmopolitan or sophiscated state with major issues like the other states.

Posted by: sandra on August 30, 2008 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Sarah Palin made a decision without consulting her doctor to fly to the Governor's conference in Texas when she was 36 weeks pregnant.

While on this self-promoting trip to deliver a speech, the fetal membrane ruptured.

Most women go to the nearest hospital when their water breaks. Sarah Palin decided instead to make an 11 hour flight back to Alaska. She did not inform any of the flight personnel that was in premature labor.

She was immediately hospitalized when arriving in Alaska, and labor was induced within an hour.

The "family first" Palin returned to work within 3 days of giving birth to a premature special needs baby. Is that dedication to the job, or more stupidity?

Posted by: Neal Karlin on August 30, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Unbelieveable. So McCain's thought process goes like this: "All those women who rabidly supported Hillary, who are almost unanmimously pro-choice are going to love the choice of Sarah Palin, who is rabidly anti-abortion? Gosh, women will vote for any woman on the ticket, regardless of her qualifications or her views on the issues. Let's find me a woman, but fast!!!!"

All I can is ''WOW" to that kind of twisted thinking. Just how shallow and stupid does John McCain think American women are? Just when I was starting to worry about McCain getting a little momentum going on the basis of Obama's inexperience, he makes this totally boneheaded decision that one could only compare to George W. Bush's nomination of a clearly unqualified Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

Not to mention the made to order criticism on Palin's stance on the Bridge to Nowhere: "Sarah Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it."

Posted by: Todd on August 31, 2008 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

This is a very interesting election year. I'm paying more attention than I usually do. One of the things I'm seeing more and more (both sides) is the negative, hateful, personal attacks. I don't understand why this process needs to be only emotional. Either the candidate has something of value that recommends him/her for the job, or he/she doesn't. I will concede, however that while sources are available for research......we are mostly served by a biased media (for both 'sides'), and end up 'reacting' and emotional, rather than researching a candidates qualifications (i.e. voting record, etc.)and making an informed decision..

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Palin's nomination speech was ugly -- full of attacks and untruths, such as the "Thanks, but no thanks" when she actually accepted the money. It was a vicious attack, a nasty attack. Making fun of other people, as was done in several speeches, is so immature.

None of the Republicans talked positively about the programs they were proposing for getting us out of the problems we're in. They just threw stones and, in general, acted like brats on a playground.

Posted by: Eleanor on September 7, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Palin's nomination speech was ugly -- full of attacks and untruths, such as the "Thanks, but no thanks" when she actually accepted the money. It was a vicious attack, a nasty attack. Making fun of other people, as was done in several speeches, is so immature.

None of the Republicans talked positively about the programs they were proposing for getting us out of the problems we're in. They just threw stones and, in general, acted like brats on a playground.

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