Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 30, 2008

THE RIGHT OFFERS SOME REVIEWS.... It's probably fair to say most sensible people would find it tough to defend John McCain's choice of running mates, but I've been genuinely curious to see how Republicans respond to yesterday's Sarah Palin announcement. I don't mean campaign surrogates or Fox News personalities, who don't have a choice; I mean more traditional Republican voices who actually have to consider this decision on the merits (or lack thereof).

* Charles Krauthammer: "The Palin selection completely undercuts the argument about Obama's inexperience and readiness to lead.... To gratuitously undercut the remarkably successful 'Is he ready to lead' line of attack seems near suicidal."

* Noah Millman, presenting a defense for Palin: "I realize, of course, that she's totally unqualified to be President at this point in time. If McCain were to die in February 2009, I hope Palin would have the good sense to appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor."

* Ramesh Ponnuru called it "tokenism," adding, "Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?"

* David Frum: "The longer I think about it, the less well this selection sits with me. And I increasingly doubt that it will prove good politics. The Palin choice looks cynical.... It's a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign. Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I'd be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it's John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.... If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?"

* Kathryn Jean Lopez: "As much as I loathe Obama-Biden, I can't in good conscience vote for a McCain-Palin ticket. Palin has absolutely no experience in foreign affairs. Considering both McCain's advanced age and the state of the world today, it is essential that the veep be exceedingly qualified to assume the office of president. I simply don't have any confidence in Palin's ability to deal effectively with Iran, Russia, China, etc." [Update: Lopez was quoting an email, not expressing her actual views. My apologies.]

* Mark Halperin: "On the face of it, McCain has failed the ultimate test that any presidential candidate must face in picking a running mate: selecting someone who is unambiguously qualified to be president."

The phrase "jump the shark" keeps coming to mind.

Steve Benen 1:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (105)

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Whoa. I cannot believe I'm sort of defending the repulsive Lopez, but she was quoting an email she got, not speaking for herself.

The hilarious ending to it was the plaintive wish that McCain had picked foreign affairs expert... um... Mitt Romney.

Posted by: Julie on August 30, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I read that K-Lo quote and thought "that's the most serious bit of punditry that woman has ever uttered." Then I clicked on the link and saw that that was an email from a reader. K-Lo has not subscribed to such an off-message pronouncement. The earth continues to orbit the sun.

Posted by: br on August 30, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

The phrase "jump the shark" keeps coming to mind.

This one sentence beats out any 1500+ word op-ed piece on the McCain campaign. Brilliant.

Posted by: Mick on August 30, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

To be serious for a moment, the overwhelming majority of voters vote for the presidential choice, not the vice-president. It is, therefore, actually incumbent on the presidential candidate to pick someone who is at least as if not more than experienced as he or she is, because he is in effect acting as the voters' surrogate. The presidential candidate puts himself up before the voters, and if they think he's too inexperienced they can always reject him -- but they can't really do that with the VP choice, and moreover the VP, unlike a Cabinet officer, isn't subject to congressional confirmation.

The only person, therefore, who has any real substantive say in who the VP is going to be is the presidential candidate, and he owes it to the voters and to the country to make that choice so that if something were to happen to him then the country would have at hand someeone ready to step in at a moment's notice.

By that criteria McCain has manifestly failed. Aside from all else, his choice of Sarah Palin should disqualify him for any more serious consideration for the presidency, because plainly McCain doesn't have the judgment, foresight or seriousness necessary to lead this great country.

Posted by: Stefan on August 30, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Jump the shark" = three little words.
But better: Putting. Country. Last.

Andrew Sullivan's post should be on top of the piling-on pile:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/08/three-words.html

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on August 30, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

This is unbelievable:

there was no advance team vetting!

"Former House Speaker Gail Phillips, a Republican political leader who has clashed with Palin in the past, was shocked when she heard the news Friday morning with her husband, Walt.

"I said to Walt, 'This can't be happening, because his advance team didn't come to Alaska to check her out," Phillips said.

Phillips has been active in the Ted Stevens re-election steering committee and remains in close touch with Sen. Lisa Murkowski and other party leaders, and she said nobody had heard anything about McCain's people doing research on his prospective running mate.

"We're not a very big state. People I talk to would have heard something."

http://www.adn.com/news/politics/story/510249.html

Posted by: on August 30, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

This is moot. John McCain is Made of Iron, and will live longer than all of you. His Rage for Freedom makes him superhuman, and we see that in his passion.

Sarah Palin is a beautiful, strong and free reformer. I look at her and feel the trust in her motherly loveliness and prudent exercise of the great political power she has wielded in her star spangled life. She has faced the Russian threat first hand.

You liberals are merely pathetic to denigrate such heroes of America. That's because your minds are not free.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty on August 30, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

They're going Miers McCain into having her step down from accepting the nomination.

I don't see her being on the ticket come November.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 30, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

He's lost Halperin? Whoa, this is serious.

Posted by: Ellie on August 30, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

You can tell a lot about a Presidential candidate by looking at their VP pick, if only in the sense that strong leaders don't feel threatened by strong running mates. On the strong side: JFK, LBJ, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Obama, and even in a perverse way, Bush 43. On the weak side: Goldwater, Nixon, Bush 41, McCain.

Posted by: Tim Morris on August 30, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Her motherly loveliness"

Says it all, man. Perverted as it gets, but precisely what *you* flaccid freedom freaks seek in a professional female: someone who gives you a boner and at the same time fix your little boo-boos.


Eleven Four 0 Eight will be YOUR day of reckoning, BITCH.

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 30, 2008 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Once again (sorry to repeat, but I can't stop laughing or get it out of my mind), John Dickerson from Slate:

"That (McCain) picked a woman he doesn't know well and who has little experience suggests he continues to progress as a pragmatic political realist."

Dickerson claims to be an independent, I think. I only hope he didn't damage himself too severely twisting into this rhetorical pretzel.

Posted by: ericfree on August 30, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reasonably sure Free Lover of Freedom is a parody, and has been in these parts for ages.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 30, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

The Palin pick may work with the hard-core wingnuts but how will it play with "elite opinion"? This will lose McCain his base, the media.

Posted by: bob on August 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

The real question is: what do the PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) Hillary supporters think- and how will they vote? Because this choice was a naked attempt to woo them over. Never mind Palin's views on choice (100% against it) or any other issue that Hillary's supporters care about.

Posted by: Goose on August 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

To be serious for a moment, the overwhelming majority of voters vote for the presidential choice, not the vice-president.

True. But the last thing you want is a VP who distracts people from your message.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on August 30, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reasonably sure Free Lover of Freedom is a parody...

Ok so now my face is red.

(Suddenly I felt the need to support very liberal gun laws)

My bad.

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 30, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Jumping the Barracuda

Posted by: MB on August 30, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Lopez also thinks the Palin choice is an excellent way to respond to Barack Obama's support of infanticide. Seriously, she believes all of that to be true.

Halperin is the one I'm intrigued by, since he so clearly adores McCain. I wonder if he had a horse in the McCain veepstakes race and is disappointed by the Palin pick as a result. I wonder if said horse is from Connecticut.

Posted by: dB on August 30, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

The very heart and soul of parody is the thinness of the membrane between the parody and the parodied, MsMuddled.

Your red face is mute testimony to his art.

Ask any high school English teacher who ever assigned Jonathan Swifts' "A Modest Proposal"....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Never mind Palin's views on choice (100% against it) or any other issue that Hillary's supporters care about."

i'm beginning to feel that the ONLY issue pumas care about is whether or not someone on one of the tickets has ovaries.

Posted by: mellowjohn on August 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody else tired of these parody comments?

This VP pick really screws up their convention planning. Every theme they present will now automatically generate a sarcastic "yeah, right."

That's Just What I Said

Posted by: Dale on August 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

According to Rasmussen Reports, 53% of voters, including 63% of Independents, have a favorable opinion of Palin after McCain announced his choice yesterday. Only 43% had a favorable opinion of Biden on the day Obama made his choice known.

The views of women, who favor her by 48%, breaks down by party as follows:

48% of Republicans
23% of Democrats
61% of Independents

Posted by: emmarose on August 30, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, You should really update your entry regarding K-Lo. She was quoting a reader email. On the other hand, that's the M.O. of those lizards at the Corner, so let 'em eat their own swill. On the other hand, that's why you should change it, I'm sure you don't want to crawl on your belly.

Posted by: The Decider on August 30, 2008 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

No one has noted this yet, but the Republicans just threw away the fear card for the rest of the cycle, along with the experience card. Because the one is linked to the other: you frighten voters, in order to make 'experience' seem like a more valued commodity.

Posted by: lampwick on August 30, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oh wow, Mark Halperin called Todd Palin "dishy."

Posted by: dB on August 30, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the parody comments do not bother me. Its the real life parody of the right and their actions that bother and worry me.

Voinovich by October.

Posted by: bubba on August 30, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

McCain wanted a conservative and a female. It'll be obvious to all the Hillary supporters that it's just a weird coincidence that the person McCain selected is the youngest and prettiest and least experienced of the possible choices.

Posted by: MattF on August 30, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is one of those moments where, in order to please the childish Religious Right elements in the party (abortion! gays! creationism!), McCain has pissed off the serious adult elements in the GOP (few though they are).

Posted by: Speed on August 30, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

They'll all be changing their tunes in a matter of weeks, if not sooner. First, she's popular with the wingnuts, the bread-and-butter audience of these people, and second, she's a smooth talker and "likeable." Pretty soon she'll be the female Ronald Reagan, and woe to the pundit who badmouths her. The line will be, "I was skeptical [establishes credibility], but she's won me over in a big way [stays in line with the mores of Wingnuttia]."

Posted by: MG on August 30, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

61% of Independents

Will be 30% or less within two to three weeks. Crazy Fundy. Big oil. Improper use of ececutive power. If those folks truly are independent, and not just embarrased GOP posers, this percentage will drop pretty quickly.

Posted by: on August 30, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

61% of Independents

Will be 30% or less within two to three weeks. Crazy Fundy. Big oil. Improper use of ececutive power. If those folks truly are independent, and not just embarrased GOP posers, this percentage will drop pretty quickly.

Posted by: bubles on August 30, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Says it all, man. Perverted as it gets, but precisely what *you* flaccid freedom freaks seek in a professional female: someone who gives you a boner and at the same time fix your little boo-boos. Posted by: MsMuddled

That was a great comeback even if the poster was trying to be funny. The Republicans not only want a Daddy. They want a Mommy too. An oediPalin.

That's Just What I Said

Posted by: Dale on August 30, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

After I stopped laughing hysterically, I could not but remember vividly the Vice-Presidential debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Danforth Quayle (aka "potatoe-head") in 1988. I don't remember who was the moderator that night, but the first question was directed to Danno, something like "If you suddenly became the President, what is the first thing you would do?"

Oozing piosity from his very pores, he said with schoolboy earnestness (and dead aim at Jerry Falwell) "I would fall on my knees and pray." And I, a life-long atheist, no doubt along with several million other listeners shouted "And so would I!"

But let's not get too euphoric here. Palin is known as "Sarah Barracuda" and it would be foolish to assume that she is an airhead because she resembles Tina Fey (who BTW is definitely NOT an airhead). In debate, Biden will have to be careful not to look like a bully; I don't know much about his debating style, but I am sure that the stiletto will be a more effective weapon than the club in this fight. I think "troopergate" should be best left to surrogates, and I hope that Big Dawg Clinton will do the honors here.

Another point: For the "Family Values" folks, how does it compute that the mother of a months-old handicapped baby will be campaigning full-time?

BHP may be inexperienced (what kind of experience ever prepares one to be POTUS?)but he has demonstrated political skill, persuasive ability, serious thoughtfulness, and excellent temperament in the face of pressure (does anyone remember that Lincoln --- our greatest war leader among other things ---had his sole experience in national politics as a one- term Congressman --- and aside from a few months in the militia during a minor Indian war had no military experience at all?) How does Palin measure up in these areas? Who knows? Does McCain? Does he care?

Given the evident state of his mental acumen, not to mention the risk factors in his age and prior health history, his choice is recklessly irresponsible, poltically bone-headed, and transparently cynical. Should the worst occur, I would not be praying...it would be too late for that.

And anyone who votes for McCain now just out of gender-based pique and not sincere belief that he is the wiser choice (I suppose there a those) is being as irresponsible as he is. (I guess there is a contradiction lurking in that last statement but I haven't the time to root it out.) Anyone who has a grandchild, as I do, should think very hard about the implications of their choice in this election.

Posted by: jrosen on August 30, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah Davis, and it's also testimony to my abnormal sensitivity right now.

I'm realizing how much this selection is affecting me. At first I was laughing, but now I'm angry as hell about the whole idea. No matter what is said here in Steve's place, it just doesn't make a damn!

Go read Free Republic, they love the woman! The spin is nauseating but she just may get there with it. That pisses me off so much more than being pranked.

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 30, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

An oediPalin! LMAO

Thanks Dale. I'll get a grip soon.

And also, "Jumping the Barracuda" LOL!

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 30, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

The best things I am hearing about Palin regard her "mom next door" attributes, the "hockey mom" persona. There's nothing wrong with that. Being genuinely likable is not a fault.

Apparently, some defenders cite her experience in dealing with a family budget, mortgage rates, taking care of her kids, etc. -- as almost unique, advantageous experience for a political candidate.

Based on this simple standard, McCain should have chosen "the mom next door(s)." In fact, why not by lottery?

Demonizing Sarah Palin is counterproductive. Acknowledging her for who she is will call attention to who she isn't.

Posted by: alibubba on August 30, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

HRC needs to pick up the phone and make a personal phone call to the leaders/funders of the most visible PUMA groups, like PUMA PAC, since many of the funders are former big donors to Hils. She needs to lean on them personally, to tell them how offended she is with McCain's apparent belief that Palin is an even substitute for her, and to remind them in the strongest most personal terms that Hillary herself is who gets hurt the most if the PUMAs succeed.

I'd be very curious what they would do if confronted with Hils one-on-one about what they claim to do in her honor.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 30, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Great job in finding old hack insiders who are shocked. Look at the donations to McCain/Palin yesterday for another opinion. You might also read this. Note the prediction in mid-article.

Palin has dismissed speculation she might leave Juneau for higher office before her term expires in 2010, saying, "My role as governor is where I can be most helpful right now unless something drastic happens, and I don’t anticipate that right now."

Nevertheless, John J. Pitney Jr., a political scientist with Claremont McKenna College in California and former analyst for congressional Republicans, said Palin could be an ideal presidential running mate next year.

"What separates her from others is that at a time when Republicans have suffered from the taint of corruption, she represents clean politics," Pitney said.

"The public stereotype of Republican is a wrinkled old guy taking cash under the table," he said. "One way for Republicans to break the stereotype is with a female reformer."

Posted by: Mike K on August 30, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jumped the barracuda wins this thread.

Posted by: on August 30, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

If there are one thing that needs to escape from the blogosphere and into the mainstream narrative it's that Palin was in favor of the biggest pork barrel project in living memory, the Bridge To Nowhere.

She supported it. She wanted it yesterday. And she wanted the funds to be pushed through while Republicans still had the votes to pass the funding.

Her advocacy for it should be front and center of a week-long series of TV spots from the DNC. Once her (extraordinarily shaky) fiscal conservative credentials are dismantled, she doesn't have a lot going for her.

Besides, I want to see her spending at least a week explaining why it seemed a good idea at the time.

Posted by: Rapid Eddie on August 30, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"The public stereotype of Republican is a wrinkled old guy taking cash under the table," he said.

Now why on earth would that be the case.....?

Posted by: Stefan on August 30, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I question whether the comments Steve has chosen are cherry-picking the political punditry.I've been surfing through the more popular conservative blogs and Google searches of blog comments, and I'm seeing more like 90% plus positive comments from the these non-pundit responders.

Perhaps a group of key pundits are unhappy with the pick, but how many votes does the pundit community generate in the election. The interesting aspect should be: Will this pick energize a moribund base of Republican voters, attract a currently disinterested group of voters, and capture a much larger segment of independant voters.

Like polls, the results may make you feel good up until the election, but then you might be on the side of analyzing why the polls did not correctly capture the actual vote. The pundits may have a self-serving sense of importance in influencing the vote, but I remain skeptical of their influence.

Posted by: pencarrow on August 30, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

@ Zeit, re: PUMAs

It appears PUMAs are starting their own hissy-fit party.

Whatever.

Posted by: on August 30, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

The war on drugs would end tomorrow if the cops rounded up the fReichtard hacks. I especially love Millman's admission that as a VP Palin isn't ready to serve her main function. But that's OK! The little lady can just let a man take over and keep doing the ribbon cutting and waving.

Not. At. All. Sexist.

If I recall correctly Kristol suggested the same thing a few days ago re: Lieberman.

Of course these are the guys who hate carpetbagging. Until a ReThug does it. And they were all for repealing the law that blocks non-U.S. born citizens from running for president. When they had their eye on Ahnahld. So I really shouldn't be surprised that they're willing to re-write the rules for the executive branch on a whim.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on August 30, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

pencarrow, i agree that given declining circulations etc that the "traditional" conversative punditry likely does not pull the weight it once did and I agree that the more rabid righty blogs show that the more socially conservative/younger segments of the party are pleased as punch with Palin.

here is why the oldtimers matter this time around. most people outside of relatively small uberconservative circles dont know Palin at all. the conventional wisdom that sets in on her in the next few days is critical to the public at large's perception of her. if columnists on both left and right in WaPo, NYT, LAT, Time/Newsweek and the bigger onlines like Politico and Slate all take shots at Palin, it doesn't matter what happens on Red State or with the Freepers. We often don't like it, but it remains true that Halperin, Broder, Milbank, etc drive the CW. This time that may finally help us for once.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 30, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

It is clear to me that there are enough (not all, but certainly enough) conservative and Republican critics of this pick; as well as enough lingering ethical issues, that the Obama-Biden strategy re: Ms. Palin is to IGNORE HER, not strategically, but in the press and campaign up until the debate.

In the debate Biden has to be careful to be very polite but also very confident. He needs to make it clear that he has a much greater depth of experience and understanding of global and domestic issues without being condescending or bullying. Just stick to the facts and his experience. And if she brings up the raising children angle, Biden can match her to some extent on that after losing his first wife (rather than dumping her ala McCain).

Posted by: Brian on August 30, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

According to Rasmussen Reports, 53% of voters, including 63% of Independents, have a favorable opinion of Palin after McCain announced his choice yesterday. Only 43% had a favorable opinion of Biden on the day Obama made his choice known.

Those are the favorability numbers. What you want are the numbers of people who say she makes them more or less likely to vote for McCain.

For men:

38% more likely
32% less likely

For women:

33% more likely
34% less likely

And those are as good as those numbers will get for her. She's a blank slate, and people aren't going to be more impressed with her as time goes on. It's all downhill from here.

Posted by: on August 30, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

2:17, that is exactly what was driving my suggestion. the comments at PUMAPAC re "the New Democratic Party" are so mind-numbingly myopic and inane it calls for strong measures. My first thought was involuntary commitment. Then I figured a call from Hils would at least give them one more chance.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 30, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

While visiting the Corner, I'm suprised that you don't notice Mark Steyn's strong support for the Palin choice. Allow me to paraphrase his post:

Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of "community organizer" and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy.

Second, it can't be in Senator Obama's interest for the punditocracy to spends its time arguing about whether the Republicans' vice-presidential pick is "even more" inexperienced than the Democrats' presidential one.

Third, . . .Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are more or less the same age, but Governor Palin has run a state and a town and a commercial fishing operation, whereas (to reprise a famous line on the Rev Jackson) Senator Obama ain't run nothin' but his mouth. She's done the stuff he's merely a poseur about. Post-partisan? She took on her own party's corrupt political culture directly while Obama was sucking up to Wright and Ayers and being just another get-along Chicago machine pol (see his campaign's thuggish attempt to throttle Stanley Kurtz and Milt Rosenberg on WGN the other night).

Fifth, she complicates all the laziest Democrat pieties. Energy? Unlike Biden and Obama, she's been to ANWR and, like most Alaskans, supports drilling there.

Also, Johan writes that "[i]f she does a good job at the convention and survives about three weeks of serious media scrutiny — no horrible gaffes, no unforgivable I-don't-knows to gotchya questions (fair and unfair), no botched hostile interviews — she will emerge as the single most inspired VP pick in modern memory and she will give the Democrats migraines for a long time to come, assuming there are no terrible skeletons we don't know about."

Posted by: Chicounsel on August 30, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not shocked in the least that McCain's donations are way up - the religious right has a dog in the fight now and their wallets are opening up like the red sea. Appealing to bible thumpers worked for the GOP in 2000, but will it work against a whole new segment of energized Dem voters? If anyone was in doubt about drive to turn the USA into a theocracy, all they need to do is look at who is being groomed as McCain's successor. The Obama camp better not screw this up otherwise in 4 years we will be following biblical law, not the constitution.

Posted by: Art Eclectic on August 30, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

McCain shot himself down hot-dogging.

My guess is he's done it many times in his life. He's proud of it.

Posted by: Larry Birnbaum on August 30, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

zeitgeist... appreciate your comments, but remain skeptical that the total numbers of actual voters on election day that closely or even casually follow political columnists.

Would love to see some polling results on what percentage actually follows political opinion in whatever form of media.

I personally think that elections are swung (excuse the syntax!) by blocs of voters who begin to feel strongly for one candidate or against the other. If the Palin pick generates that kind of passion in favor of Republicans, then regardless of all the comments on how laughable or ridiculous a pick she is, the political needle will make a significant swing towards McCain,

Posted by: pencarrow on August 30, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I posted this "downstream", but thought I should put it up here as well:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/08/misreading-amer.html

A reader emails Andrew:
No sooner did my best friend hear about the Sarah Palin pick than I received an e-mail from her. It said simply: "Sarah Palin is a Bad Mother!"

Go read the whole thing. I think this issue (Palin's decision to campaign for VP while having a special needs infant) will resonate with a lot of moms across the country.

Posted by: Hannah on August 30, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is a foul-tempered blowhard who is eager to get on the world stage and prove, unlike 40 years ago, he can win a war. Even if he has to start several before he can prove it.

We have the likes of Putin, Ahmadinejad, an unknown entity in Pakistan, Kim Jong Il, and Bin Laden ready to call McCain's bluster for what it is.

And who does McCain pick to stand with him against those who have the ability to nuke us or bring our economy to its knees?

Hockey Mom.

Country First, my ass!!

Posted by: jcricket on August 30, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

at 2:37 I think this issue (Palin's decision to campaign for VP while having a special needs infant) will resonate with a lot of moms across the country.

I think Dems need to be careful on this issue. I read one comment that suggested something to the effect that most mainstream American women need to work and get only 6 weeks maternity leave before having to arrange daycare or nanny-care. Do the Dems really want to suggest that only childless or women with grown children deserve to run for Vice-President?? That sure would be a great way to capture the women's vote.

Posted by: pencarrow on August 30, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Rapid Eddie: If there are one thing that needs to escape from the blogosphere and into the mainstream narrative it's that Palin was in favor of the biggest pork barrel project in living memory, the Bridge To Nowhere.

I'm sure the good governor is in favor of most pork, and her state already receives so much from the oil industry (with residents receiving checks each year).

This actually may help us with the fiscally conservative crowd. My mom, a staunch R and bush supporter, was appalled by the Bridge to Nowhere. This should be out there, everywhere.

Posted by: Hannah on August 30, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Chico, you really think there's no difference between being a state senator, a US Senator, a Harvard Law graduate (president of the Law Review) and a woman who was, until 20 months ago, the mayor of a town so small it barely has a name?

Which one, Mr. Unsel, can give a speech on any topic you care to name? Do you think Ms. Palin can give a prescient speech on Iraq? How about if we lower the bar? Can she explain exactly how much it will lower pump prices to drill in ANWR?

Guess what you clueless thief of the Marx Brother's names? She's already been asked those questions and been shown to be rather dim on them.

Then again, she's supporting McCain - who clearly knows nothing about either topic, so I guess we can't expect much from the bottom of the ticket.

Posted by: the on August 30, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals never knock a political decision made by one of their own. They are much too ideological for that. The fact that many conservatives are upset by the Palin choice, some of whom threaten not to support the ticket, speaks well for them and their sense of integrity. Ultimately the American electorate will be the final arbiters of the wisdom or lack of it of McCain's decision. All the fancy reasons liberals cite for opposing Palin are irrelevant- they were never going to vote for a non-leftist anyway.

Posted by: mhr on August 30, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

For me, the point here isn't that these people won't vote for McCain, as I'm sure they'll all be defending this decision within the week. The point is that if Republican hacks are willing to write this stuff for others to see, imagine what the non-hacks must be thinking. McCain is screwed.

I suspect that this decision will go down as the big one that lost him the election. That won't be entirely accurate, but conventional wisdom rarely is. It just has to be close enough to the truth to stick.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on August 30, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

But again, where are the big names of the Republican party? I've reading about this yesterday, today, and I see nothing from the party bigshots. Was the the theme of the convention "experience"? What do they do now? I can't imagine the Party being pleased at all about this.

He may have ignited the freaky Christian right, but it comes at a time when the the Republicans must try to pry their party away from them. He f**cked up big time.

Just a casual observation: at work yesterday people were disgusted, at the gym this morning, the same thing. People are taking this election seriously. I don't think alot of people are finding this clever or ammusing.

Interesting article in Politico today. They say don't pay attention to alot of polls. Everything is trending towards Obama and this stunt was desperation.

Posted by: Saint Zak on August 30, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty is one of our Professional McCainiac Bloggers.

He does get emotional sometimes and I will encourage him be more rational and less emotional with his posts in the future, lest he wind up like MsMuddled.

Many of you are being too Hard on Gov Palin. Granted, I can understand the disappointment that Mitt Romney was not chosen. Mitt is Great, so this is understandable, but Sarah will be a good VP.

Thank You. Go McCain!

McBOC

Posted by: McCain Blog Outreach Coordinator on August 30, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals never knock a political decision made by one of their own. - mhr

I'm guessing you were in a coma when the recent FISA bill passed. Here's wishing you a speedy recovery.

Posted by: Danp on August 30, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Just a casual observation: at work yesterday people were disgusted, at the gym this morning, the same thing. People are taking this election seriously. I don't think alot of people are finding this clever or amusing.

Not to mention that Obama exactly predicted this in his acceptance speech when he said the Republicans would try to make a big election into one about small things.

In her largest elected job, Palin represents 670,000 people. In his largest election job, Obama represents 12 million people. Who is more prepared to lead a diverse nation of 300 million people?

I'm sure Sarah Palin is a nice person and a good hockey mom. She must be a smart politician if she's risen so quickly from mayor of a town of 8,000 people to governor of her state. That doesn't make her qualified to potentially run a nation that's fighting two wars and is $410 billion in debt.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on August 30, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Two out of the last seven US presidents were replaced by their VP. That's 1 out of 3 on average over the last 48 years.

Posted by: rab on August 30, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Two out of the last seven US presidents were replaced by their VP. That's 1 out of 3 on average over the last 48 years.

Posted by: rab on August 30, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Oh and I almost forgot - Reagan came awfully close which would have made it 3 out of 7.

Posted by: rab on August 30, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic mantra is an easy one:

Is Sarah Palin the most qualified person to be a heartbeat away? If not why not?

I dont think she would even make the top 20 list.

Posted by: rab on August 30, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

McBoc sez: "He does get emotional sometimes and I will encourage him be more rational and less emotional with his posts in the future, lest he wind up like MsMuddled."

Yes, let's get Mother Muddled riled up. She's raised one kid and *razed* 2 husbands, which makes her perfectly qualified for, at the very least, Attorney General. (Now if she could just get that bouffant thing going...)

For laughs I found this quote over at gambling911:

Hunting trips with Cheney
"Someone should post odds on whether Palin will go on a hunting trip with Cheney and who shoots whom first!

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

Do the Dems really want to suggest that only childless or women with grown children deserve to run for Vice-President?? That sure would be a great way to capture the women's vote.

To be honest, I don't think it's the same thing at all and there are a LOT of women having a serious negative reaction. It's one thing to have to get back to work to keep the bills paid and hold onto your job. Palin needs neither of these things, she's just fine as is. Abandoning your 4 month old special needs child to go jetting around the country on a Presidential campaign 24/7 speaks to pure, unadulterated ambition and selfishness. People who think Hillary was too ambitious are going to be horrified at what Palin has CHOSEN to do. Classic Republicanism at the heart: pro-life before birth, after that you're on your own. They should just write it into the party platform.

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

No offense to Ms Palin but really, if McCain had selected a rock-
Limbaugh and OReilly "Fantastic pick, God I'm great"
K-Lo "super choice, that rock will never have an abortion"
Red State "Excellent pick, it's a white, non-muslim rock"
Hugh Hewitt "Best choice possible, that rock never met Ayers or Wright"
Rove "brilliant choice, that rock has at least 50 million years of experience"
Dobbs "a great pick, that rock will be useful in that fence to keep the Mexicans out"

what they really beleive- "We are so screwed"

Posted by: on August 30, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

rab - 2 out of the last 9 were succeeded by their VP. Kennedy and Nixon.

That's still over 25%.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 30, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

jen
I stand corrected. I wasnt counting the unelected replacements

Posted by: rab on August 30, 2008 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Do the RNC rules permit overriding the nomination of McCain and/or Palin? Maybe McCain's got a cynical end run in play here. He nominates Palin, squelches Obama's acceptance speech, dominates the long weekend. Then the convention dumps Palin, replacing her with Pawlenty or some other orthodox candidate. McCain gnashes teeth (on cue), but can't do anything about it.

Message: McCain tried to be bold, but the mastadon convention overrode him. He wins points for maverickness, and puts some daylight between himself and the tainted Republican brand.

Posted by: Stuart Eugene Thiel on August 30, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

I dont think she would even make the top 20 list.

Top 20 list? She wouldn't make the top 2,000!

Posted by: Stefan on August 30, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

As an independent I find McCains choice insulting. The only NON-POLITICAL reason for selecting a veep is that he/she is ready to be POTUS in an instant. Palin may be a great person but she does not meet that test. This was pure politics and just another example of why America hates Washington.

Posted by: nukev on August 30, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

They'll all be changing their tunes in a matter of weeks, if not sooner. ... The line will be, "I was skeptical [establishes credibility], but she's won me over in a big way [stays in line with the mores of Wingnuttia]."

Exactly.

Posted by: Econobuzz on August 30, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Someone who was the mayor of a small village 18 months ago is not qualified to be the leader of the free world. This is not the place for on-the-job training.

Posted by: JLM on August 30, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm absolutely floored by the GOP punditry reaction. If it holds up -- they've come around to preposterous positions in the past -- I may have to hock my cynicism.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on August 30, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Chico, you really think there's no difference between being a state senator, a US Senator, a Harvard Law graduate (president of the Law Review) and a woman who was, until 20 months ago, the mayor of a town so small it barely has a name?"

Posted by: the on August 30, 2008 at 2:55 PM |

So what concrete results or even legislation has the One brought about as a result of his experience? I can't think of any. Can you?

Posted by: Chicounsel on August 30, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

ericfree at 1:26 PM

This was just McCain being McCain. What more does he need to know about a woman besides how good looking she is and possibly her job title?

Any beauty queen in a storm. She's good looking and can be easily dominated by McCain. What more does he need to choose her as his Veep? Then he makes an impulse decision, one which was probably concealed from almost all his staff.

Posted by: Rick B on August 30, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

" If those folks truly are independent, and not just embarrased GOP posers, this percentage will drop pretty quickly."

I find most independents are exactly that.

Posted by: coldhotel on August 30, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

So what concrete results or even legislation has the One brought about as a result of his experience? I can't think of any. Can you?

He was at the forefront starting in the first days of the Democratic majorities in bringing the issue of 5-13 discharges and Traumatic Brain Injury to the forefront and signed on to S22, the new GI Bill early on. That is the sort of thing that gets you six dollars from military personnel for every buck your retiree opponent takes in. Just sayin.'

Posted by: Blue Girl on August 30, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Someone who was the mayor of a small village 18 months ago is not qualified to be the leader of the free world. This is not the place for on-the-job training.

Posted by: JLM on August 30, 2008 at 4:31 PM |

Then why are you voting for a ticket that has has even less chief executive than a mayor of a small town?

What would the One's first term be other than on-the-job training? lol

Posted by: Chicounsel on August 30, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer's argument is bizarre to say the least.

He does not fault McCain for choosing an inexperienced candidate, but for choosing a candidate whose inexperience will undercut the Repubs' argument against Obama. It's not clear if Mr. Krauthammer would have been OK with the choice of unqualified VP candidate if the argument being successfully used against Obama was the fact that the Democratic nominee is a Martian.

Where is this ultra neocon's loyalty to the country?

Posted by: gregor on August 30, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

So what concrete results or even legislation has the One brought about as a result of his experience? I can't think of any. Can you?

Sure, but then again we know from past experience that my ability to think of things far outpaces yours. To wit:

Lugar-Obama Nonproliferation Legislation Signed into Law by the President
Thursday, January 11, 2007

Date: January 11, 2007

WASHINGTON – President Bush today signed the Lugar-Obama proliferation and threat reduction initiative into law.

Authored by U.S. Sens. Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Barack Obama (D-IL), the Lugar-Obama initiative expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons. It also expands the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction.

--------------------------------------------
Of course, if you're really interested, Andrew Sullivan has compiled a comprehensive list of Obama's legislative accomlishments here:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/02/dear-chris-matt.html

Posted by: Stefan on August 30, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel- The only substantive decision either CANDIDATE has made thus far in this election is the choice for veep. Obama selected someone with decades of foreign and domestic legislative experience. McCain selected the Mayor of Mooseport. I give Obama the edge.

Posted by: nukev on August 30, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

@ Chicounsel:

http://tpzoo.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/obamas-senate-accomplishments/#more-6370

And that is only the Senate.

Posted by: citizenjane on August 30, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Chico, give some examples of Palin's knowledge about - anything. She's Harriet Myers, George W. Bush and John McCain - unaccomplished, uncurious, and unready.

McCain for all his time warming the crazy-person seat from Arizona still knows less than Obama. So we have an unqualified Senator pairing up with an even less qualified mayor on the Republican side.

No wonder Mr. Unsel is reduced to cheap messianic taunts and lauding the "experience" of a small town mayor because she once had a job.

Posted by: the on August 30, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Some in the media saying this was a "bold, mavericky" pick, but it is really just SOP under Bush's GOP:

- Completely unqualified? check.
- Incompetent? check.
- Under investigation? check.
- Believes Jesus rode a dinosaur? CHECK and You're hired!

Posted by: Orson on August 30, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

bubles at 1:49 PM

The trouble with that 61% of Independents is what Bob Herbert predicted in his Aug 26h column "The dog that isn't barking."

Not only do the polls show this to be a close race, but the polls, when it comes to Senator Obama, cannot be trusted. It is frequently the case that a statistically significant percentage of white voters will lie to pollsters or decline to state their preference in races in which one candidate is black and the other white.

After many years of watching black candidates run for public office, and paying especially close attention to this year's Democratic primary race, I've developed my own (very arbitrary) rule of thumb regarding the polls in this election:
Take at least two to three points off of Senator Obama's poll numbers, and assume a substantial edge for Senator McCain in the breakdown of the undecided vote.
Using that formula, Barack Obama is behind in the national election right now.

If Herbert is correct, that 61% of Independents accounts for many of the voters who will never vote for Obama because of his Race and who will otherwise lie to the pollsters about the real reason they won't vote for him. That's in addition to the voters who will not vote for Obama but claim to pollsters that they are going to.

Posted by: Rick B on August 30, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Purely Sexist remark, but think about it:
A 43 year old (at the time, since she is now 44), woman, the newly elected Governor of the state of AK, gets pregnant. The risks of such a pregnancy are substantial, to both mother, but especially child. Was this a planned pregnancy? What form of birth control had she used in the past? This would not be relevant in most cases because it is none of our business, BUT, she advocates abstinence education only in school, so was she being responsible in her choices of getting pregnant at this time? She "chose" to bring this child to term, so I am guessing she had a procedure to check on its health, knew it was probably going to be special needs/Down, and went ahead with the pregnancy. For that I applaud her. She is pro-life and adhered to that conviction. She is now the mother of a 5 months old baby, Trig, I believe is his name, who will require special support and attention. What will she be doing over the next 2+ months with her baby? Is her husband going to stay at home and do the caregiving? I was told by another poster that he is very involved with the family, so that is a good thing. Family Values: don't the R's advocate for stay at home moms?

To crunch it down: A woman of a certain age "chooses" to get pregnant, in spite of being in a new job requiring substantial time and energy. She "chooses" to brng this child to term, though she knows he probably will have special needs. Then, 5 months later she is chosen as the VP running mate to a man who has demonstrated a tacit disregard for women and whom she barely knows. She is now willing to leave her child to travel all over the country, and possibly outside of the country, in a time that it seems she would want to be there for him. One final question: what form of health care does she enjoy? Is it available to me? To you? Or, does she go to the ER for post-natal visits? /snark
I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on August 30, 2008 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

A commenter over at HuffPo has a great idea for a bumper sticker: McCain - WTF '08.

I don't know who I fault more -- McCain for asking her to be his veep, or Palin for saying yes when clearly a brighter mind would have known they were no match for the position.

It's fitting that Hurricane Gustav is heading for shore just as the Republicans are trying to meet. Sara "heck of a job" Palin should remind us all competence counts.

Posted by: petorado on August 30, 2008 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Dobson or one of his surrogates, prayed for rain in Denver this week, to rain out the Dem Convention. God apparently was busy and missed the message. He is, instead, sending it to NOLA and vicinity so it won't be too close to the Twin Cities and cause any disruption to the Rep Convention. God watches over His own, for sure. And, the choice of Labor Day to open a R. convention is priceless. What if Labor took the day off? Are they being paid premium wages for that Holiday? I hope so!

peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on August 30, 2008 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

This was pure politics and just another example of why America hates Washington.

Well, maybe... but how is a party ticket with a long serving senator like Biden FROM Washington going to change that perception? I'm thinking that the same American voter that "hates" Washington, might be interested in voting a ticket that includes at least one outsider. I'm not convinced McCain made a bad pick, politically that is.

Posted by: pencarrow on August 30, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Pencarrow- As an independent I'm only interested in a government that works for me. The choice of veep by either candidate is at this point the only decision to date by either candidate. The veep role as I see it is to be ready to be POTUS. Unless you are making a selection on politics instead of performing the main function of veep, Biden is the best choice easily. If the selections were reversed, I'd say the same thing. The Palin pick is insulting. She was chosen strictly to meet some political calculation. That is why America hates Washington.

Posted by: nukev on August 30, 2008 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Wow--David Frum, of all people, offered an overwhelmingly accurate appraisal.

Palin's advancement further calls attention to the elderliness of McCain, the fact he has had cancer--the big C--
and his psychomotor retardation--anyone notice that???

Posted by: consider wisely always on August 30, 2008 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Once you understand that there isnt going to be an election due to the pending economic collapse, ensuing chaos and application of Executive Order 51, you will realize that McPOW's choice was calculated solely to minimize Obama's bounce. This is a sideshow whose outcome will never be known

Posted by: oldmaninkersey on August 30, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Once you understand that there isnt going to be an election due to the pending economic collapse, ensuing chaos and application of Executive Order 51, you will realize that McPOW's choice was calculated solely to minimize Obama's bounce. This is a sideshow whose outcome will never be known

Posted by: oldmaninjersey on August 30, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

The phrase "jump the shark" keeps coming to mind.

The jumping the Shark moment already happened.

It came with McCain's decision to double down with the neocons over the Russo-Georgian conflict.

This is just another step down his descent. This is sad. Really sad.

TCG

Posted by: TCG on August 30, 2008 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

PLEASE! Ignore chicouncil

It has nothing of value to add to the conversation.

Posted by: chico moron on August 31, 2008 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, telling in many ways, but how many read-meat-state conservatives read opinion pages, on paper or CRT, anyway?

Posted by: Neil B on August 31, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

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