Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 4, 2008

PALIN AND RUSSIA, PART V.... It started like a harmless joke, didn't it? Sarah Palin is from Alaska, Alaska is near Russia, and since Republican rhetoric has become breathtakingly ridiculous lately, some of us joked that Republicans might think the proximity between the state and the country counts as foreign policy experience. It was meant as satire. No one really expected Republicans to make the argument.

And yet, here we are. On ABC's "World News Tonight," none other than John McCain became the latest Republican to make the connection.

GIBSON: But as you know, the questions revolve really around foreign policy experience. Can you honestly say you feel confident having someone who hasn't traveled outside the United States until last year, dealing with an insurgent Russia, with an Iran with nuclear ambitions, with an unstable Pakistan, not to mention the war on terror?

MCCAIN: Sure. And one of the key elements of America's national security requirements are energy. She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C., and she understands. Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that.

What does that even mean? She understands what, exactly?

For those keeping score at home, the first person to make this argument was Fox News' Steve Doocy, who said, with a straight face, that Palin does know about international relations because she is right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia." Cindy McCain was second, telling George Stephanopoulos, in response to a question about national security experience, "[R]emember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. It's not as if she doesn't understand what's at stake here."

U.S. News' Michael Barone was third, defending Palin's credentials by insisting, "Foreign policy experience? Well, Alaska is the only state with a border with Russia." Fourth was conservative writer Frank Gaffney, who said Palin has learned foreign policy "by osmosis," because of Alaska's physical location.

John McCain, then, is fifth. Remember, when Doocy first made the argument, it was so laughable on its face that Jon Stewart called him a "moron." Now, the Republican nominee for president is making the same pitch, hoping people are just stupid enough to believe it.

Palin has never been to Russia. She's never demonstrated any expertise on U.S. policy towards Russia. She doesn't have any background in international relations at any level. But for Republicans, the fact that she's lived in a state near Russia is somehow a qualification for national office.

It's the dumbest argument I've ever heard.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (79)

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Sarah Palin will break no ceilings. But she is breaking the floor -- of John McCain's credibility.

Posted by: lou on September 4, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

At any moment I keep expecting John Cleese to walk out and say, "And now for something completely different."

Posted by: Speed on September 4, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

I know I'm nowhere near as smart as John McCain or Michael Barone, but for the life of me, I can't figure out where the Russia/Alaska border is. Does the Bering Strait really qualify as a border?

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on September 4, 2008 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...

Posted by: locanicole on September 4, 2008 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

It's the dumbest argument I've ever heard.

And "Google" is the dumbest name I've ever heard, but what the hell does that matter to its effectiveness?

We Democrats risk losing when we apply our standards to an arena where we have far less demonstrated success than Republicans.

Get a clue people! People don't vote on the issues. Liberal blogs cite poll after poll that show that a majority of Americans agree with the Democrats on key issues, and have for several election cycles.

So it must not be policy that wins elections.

People must vote using other, far less rational and predictable criteria (predictable to Dems that is).

If every voter that is already firmly in Obama's corner showed up to vote, he'd win. That's what Dems can be good at. Organizing.

We suck at manipulating the media because we are trying to appeal to people's intellect and not their emotions. We just can't be as crass as we need to be, and, even if we could, it would not work nearly as well because it would be in conflict with the brand we've built for ourselves. A brand that says we are thoughtful and rational (even if we aren't).

Inexperience is a net negative for a Dem. It is a net positive for a Republican. Impulsiveness is a net negative for a Dem. It is a net positive for a Republican.

To paraphrase Bill Clinton, they've got the "strong and wrong" vote sewed up. Now they are working to energize that vote.

We need to keep our eyes on the prize.


Posted by: lobbygow on September 4, 2008 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

>"Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that."

Statement should probably be taken at face value... she knows that Russia is close to Alaska.

Most 6th graders probably know that too.

Posted by: Buford on September 4, 2008 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

And because she's short, she's especially close to the ground, and this makes her almost qualified to be a geologist.

No, dammit, she IS qualified to be a geologist! And only an America-hating sexist liberal would say that a woman isn't qualified to be a geologist.

Posted by: Redstate on September 4, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Palin has never been to Russia. She's never demonstrated any expertise on U.S. policy towards Russia.

—Steve Benen

Judging from Condi's record, that may actually be an advantage.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 4, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

The Russian lines also seem to be a bit of a slap in the face of Condi. Why did she bother getting a PhD when she could have just lived in Alaska for a few years? Reporters should ask Condi who really understand Russian politics and policies better - her or Palin.

Maybe when the press gets a chance they can also ask Palin how she will resolve the Georgia/Russia conflict - she is the newest expert.

Posted by: Kelly on September 4, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

You forget that Bush had no foreign policy experience either (except for international trade, i.e., the cocaine he used to buy) and look how well he turned out. Sarah Palin will bring that kind of experience to being veep.

Posted by: tomeck on September 4, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe we need the follow up:

"at stake? why? what is it you're planning to do to Russia?"

Posted by: cletus on September 4, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Sure, the Bering Straght is the border between Russia and Alaska. And Alaska is the trivia answer to the question of the farthest north, east and west state.

They fail to mention that AK borders two foreign countries giving Palin double the foreign policy osmotic expertise of Obama. You'd think the Republicans would jump all over that fact.

Posted by: mikeyes on September 4, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

If I understand McCain correctly, he's implying that many Alaskans don't understand the simple geographic fact that Russia is right next to Alaska. But Sarah Palin, she understands that. She doesn't need a map with the big arrows and the "You are here" and "Russia is over here" labels.

That's some rigorous criteria for a Republican vice-presidential candidate.

Posted by: josef on September 4, 2008 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

I thought the "by osmosis" line was snark, didn't realize until just now that someone actually said it.

Posted by: Matt on September 4, 2008 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

I couldn't be more embarrassed about our politics if I were twins. Experience by osmosis. From the nominee for president. It's obvious that the point is just to move your lips and make noise.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the end of the line. You must change buses to go on from here.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Glad to see Palin is making all you guys happy.

Posted by: Jose on September 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK


i know it must be frustrating to Democrats - but you are missing the point - the truth is irrelevant. Dont get hung up on it.

Republicans are experts at this - develop a narrative and keep hammering it on all media outlets. Let respectable/articulate people hammer it home. Over time it becomes a known FACT.

Posted by: on September 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Dumbest argument I've ever heard" is received by Republicans as something of a challenge. By the end of the week, they will have topped it.

Posted by: jibeaux on September 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I often wonder how long a country can survive when so many of its citizens and leading politicians are certifiable lunatics and idiots. I can't find any good historical parallels, except maybe the Third Reich (and the Germans weren't idiots.)

Posted by: Confused on September 4, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

B..b..but.. She also lives next to Canada -- even more international experience!

Posted by: osmo on September 4, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

It's the dumbest argument I've ever heard.

OK. This is dumber:

I happen to live near Jerusalem, Ohio. QED, I'm a MidEast expert. Also, I played with toy soldiers when I was a kid.

I challenge other posters on this blog to come up with even dumber arguments.

How low can you go?

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on September 4, 2008 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Condi Rice must be some kind of GOP freak - she could've just moved to Alaska and lived next door to the former Soviet Union and been as qualified as Sarah to, oh I don't know = go toe to toe with Putin?

Posted by: bcinaz on September 4, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

My grandparents came from Russia. Can I be Secretary of State?

Posted by: Stuart Shiffman on September 4, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, the fact that Barack Obama spent some time living in Indonesia while he was growing up makes him not a foreign policy expert, but downright un-American.

Posted by: Boots Day on September 4, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

People ARE stupid enough to believe it. This is the primary reason our country is in such a tough spot. We are faced with challenges of a new century where old relationships and paradigms no longer work, yet here is America, once again poised to give the presidency to an unqualified cold war relic with no new ideas.

The question is, why is America so ignorant?

Posted by: citizen_pain on September 4, 2008 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Stanford is actually taking advantage of the Palin buzz by creating a new "Condi Rice" PhD fellowship in International Relations, boasting three summers of study in Alaska, Canada, and Hawaii.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 4, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Russia is governed from Moscow. Siberia is a huge largely uninhabited wilderness area. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how fair Wasilla is from Moscow?

Posted by: CJM on September 4, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Biden needs a real Howard Beal moment at the debate.

Posted by: S on September 4, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

One thing we libruls have yet to learn: a large percentage of this country isn't fueled by logic and reality when it comes to politics! So the aghast expressions on our faces only amuse conservatives when they natter on about Palin and Russia. Believe me. I live in a red state. McCain supporters, whether local Republicans or hacks working on national TV, are thrilled with Palin. They're positively gleeful about our horror. They'll check periodically to make sure we stay horrified. For them it's about winning, not about "country first."

Meanwhile, all our energies seem to go into preaching to our own chorus.

Posted by: PW on September 4, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Well all I can say is be afraid very afraid. I work in an Repug ennclave in Central Florida and they are all positively buzzing about their "pit bull" The repugs are so good at directing the focus away from issues that all they hear are the talking points and then their minds close. I just had a woman with a Masters and CPA tell me with a straight face that Ms. Palin has international experience because pipelines go from Alaska across international borders and that the oil companies are multinational. Besides that she likes her 'cause she's from a small town and one of us. If the Democrats don't take her out of the equation they are doomed.Do not make her the issue make McCains judgement and policies the issue.

Posted by: John R on September 4, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

So then, Bill Richardson should be an expert at Mexican relations, and the Governor of Florida an expert at dealing with Cuba...what?

a friggin ocean separates Alaska from Russia!

Moose is the new steak...pork isn't really pork, it's fat chicken...

The ministry of peace os about war...

Posted by: RememberNovember on September 4, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

I'm guilty of having way too much fun in my youthful days. Guess that makes me an expert on the intricacies of illicit drug policies vis-a-vis Columbia & Mexico. I'm calling John McCain and demanding an appointment as head of his DEA!

Posted by: steve duncan on September 4, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Dumb has nothing to do with it. It's whether it'll be repeated enough so McCan't flacks and RNC stooges can go on TV and bully network hosts who question the new "conventional wisdom." Then the National Review will put out a "serious" article detailing how Palin's "proximity value" as Guv of Alaska so exceeds the insider old boy experience Biden or Obama bring to the table. On another note, how long are the Obama folks going to let the Repugs compare Palin to Obama? I realize that her selection was a move towards the future, the "New [yet how depressingly familiar] Republican Party," but c'mon, it's about time for Obama to squash their equating of her and him. It'll hurt if it continues unanswered. Interesting dynamics, though. Is McCan't just being the good soldier, sacrificing (knowingly or unknowingly) his ambitions for the future of his party? Is Palin's speech a 'Reagan' moment? When will the "New Dems" stand up and eviscerate these paper tigers like we all know they can and must? Tune in tomorrow....
And Mr Benen, I realize you're working for the stolid WM now and all, but calling the Repugs "dumb" is about as effective as calling a rabid pitbull "excitable." They're venal, amoral, incompetent, hateful, cold, calculating, inhuman, destructive, lying, soulless....but dumb they are not. Please do not enable them with ineffectual, milquetoast rejoinders.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on September 4, 2008 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Please, please, please (h/t J. Brown), can we stop buying in to the Cold War framing of what "Russia" is? Alaska is nowhere near Russia-proper. Russia's influence in the areas of Siberia, et.al. is nowhere near what it was in the USSR days(this includes Irktusk, for all you Risk players who are now, apparently, qualified for the Heritage Foundation). Using "Russia" as short-hand for the long-defunct Soviet Union is a monumental mistake in this political environment.
[rant off]

Posted by: 'trane on September 4, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

I thought John Stewart's rejoinder was the best: "Alaska is also closer to the North Pole, so that makes her an expert on Santa Claus." The absurdity of the argument can be pointed out in a light hearted way (Stewart's first response "You're a moron!" struck me a counter-productive.)

Posted by: (d)avid on September 4, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

I used to work maintenance at an apt. complex I lived in while in college. Did a lot of electrical work.

Hey McCain, how about making me the Energy Czar?

Posted by: citizen_pain on September 4, 2008 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

As Buford has pointed out, it's true that Alaska is located next to Russia. Sarah Palin understands that. This might not seem much of an intellectual leap to you, but imagine you were so geographically inept that you believed Iraq and Pakistan were next to each other. Looks more impressive now, doesn't it?

I know this is a trap, and if you make fun of how dumb Republicans sound, you risk being branded an elitist who is not in touch with the common man, and would therefore be no fun to have a beer with. Lobbygow spelled it out clearly and correctly, and being right is no comfort when you lose, even though it shouldn't happen. Still, it seems that people who can navigate around America on a map -not to mention the Middle East - are not in the minority this year. If everybody who is eligible to vote and isn't as dumb as a post actually DOES get out and vote, the margin should be large enough that Diebold won't be able to carry the day for McPOW and the admittedly geography-smart Palin.


Posted by: Mark on September 4, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you CJM @ 9:56.
Now give me my two armies for holding Australia for another round.

Posted by: 'trane on September 4, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Little Diomede Island is a handful of miles from Big Diomede Island- but the only people living on them are indiginous Eskimos. Not exactly hot-blooded Putin supporters.

Posted by: RememberNovember on September 4, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

They did this same thing with Bush, as I recall. Didn't they make a lot of noise about all the great advantages he'd bring to US-Mexico relations, being as he was governor of the border state of Texas? And he could "speak" Spanish?

How's that working out?

Posted by: KG on September 4, 2008 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama had made a similar argument about Biden, the right-wing mocking machine would have kept cranking this out until it reached the level of "Al Gore invented the Internet." On the left, we have no such machine, so we can't drive the attention that these ridiculous assertions deserve.

Think about this. A major candidate for president made an argument this stupid and desperate, and no one even noticed. In a world with a responsible, diligent press corps, this could and should end a political career, or at least severely damage it.

Posted by: BH on September 4, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

PW You said it "preaching to our own chorus" If a story appears on a blog and the MSM fails to pick it up. News Flash: IT DOESN'T EXIST. The low information voters (especcially here in Central Florida) get their info from their friends around the water cooler and what they catch on the 1 minute clips on the nightly snooze. All they see and hear Palin- pit bull - good talker - Obama Bad. They don't give a rats ass about policy issues which is how W got elected. The Rovians play them like a fiddle.

Posted by: John R on September 4, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

I note that to the right of this entry there is a web ad for Russian mailorder brides ("Find your Russian Beauty today! ...Browse Photos Now!"). Should pillow-talk ever falter, I presume that each of these lovelies can hold forth at encyclopedic length on all things Alaskan...

Posted by: Rand Careaga on September 4, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that this would be a good area on which to quiz her during the debate. I doubt she really knows much of anything about Russia, and it will show. Where it is on the map is not foreign policy.

Posted by: Mark on September 4, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"If I understand McCain correctly, he's implying that many Alaskans don't understand the simple geographic fact that Russia is right next to Alaska. But Sarah Palin, she understands that."

That's why she was elected governor. The people of Alaska had longed for a leader who could tell them where in the world they are. For decades, they believed themselves to be located between Peru and Brazil.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Palin led a dangerous expedition via dog sled to a the local library. There, she drew on her vast experience of the arcane and exotic Dewey Decimal System to find a long-hidden world atlas and discover the Bering Strait. Proudly, she planted the Alaska state flag in the book. Briefly passing the Science section, she learned particle physics by osmosis, banned a couple of books, and fired the librarian.

Upon her triumphant return to the State House, she told the people Alaska was next to Russia, called up the National Guard, and declared martial law.

Posted by: alibubba on September 4, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe we can ask why McCain's famous trips to Iraq didn't osmotically give him knowledge of the Sunni and Shia?

A friend's father, typically a republican voter, said he's absolutely voting for Obama because the Palin pick demonstrates a complete lack of seriousness about governing. I believe making this argument continues that trajectory.

Also, I think a commenter the other day (sorry, forgot who and too lazy to review all the comments) already won the contest of 'how low can you go' with this, when observing that since they were surrounded by air, they should be qualified as an astronaut.

Posted by: short fuse on September 4, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

I want to be President.

I have been to Russia last month.

OK, well not exactl "BEEN" to Russia.

I was flying from Tokyo to New York and the plane had to fly north and west into Russia in order to avoid the dust from a volcano on one of the Alaskan islands. So we flew over 1500 miles into Russia.

So, I think I am now an expert on Russia and volcanos.

Come to think of it, volcanos have a lot of energy. Does that make me as much of an expert on energy as Palin?

Posted by: neil wilson on September 4, 2008 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Meant as hyperbole, I will often toss lines like your "It's the dumbest argument I've ever heard" into various conversations. When I do, I know full well that it's impossible to define the dumbest argument ever. That being said, I think you may be correct. This may, in fact, also be the dumbest argument I have ever heard.

For once, I am not going to be cynical - I am going to trust the huge majority of American people to hear this and know it is ridiculous on its face.

Posted by: HungChad on September 4, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

There was a comment here the other day that said it all - Obama was born in Hawaii that is surrounded by water on all sides. He has Navy experience!

Seriously, how do we stop the media from perpetuating the lies coming out of McCain campaign? If I didn't read WaMo or Kevin Drum's website, and went by what i hear from MSM (like the majority of Americans), I wouldn't know anything positive about Obama and anything true about Palin.

Posted by: TrueBlue on September 4, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

In the GOP, their understanding of global strategy comes from a RISK board. Every child knows how important it is to hold Alaska to repel invasions from Kamchatka.

Posted by: biggerbox on September 4, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

The only other argument that's this monumentally stupid is the one about Palin being in charge of "our nation's largest state." Yes, in square miles. Not people.

This, of course, must mean that Antarctica is an ungovernable mess, and what about Mars? Heavens to betsy, Mars needs better government! All that land!!!

Posted by: Dave G. on September 4, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Once Mrs. McCain got on board with this nonsense, Hon. Sen. McCain could hardly start admitting it was nonsense (prenuptual agreement); and if the Senator can't, I wouldn't want to be the campaign flunky who did.

Posted by: jhm on September 4, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

We're one step away from idiocray folks.

Posted by: Gandalf on September 4, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I found this remark of McCain's more disturbing: "She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C."

The comment about Russia is transparently ridiculous, and most Americans can see through it. Not so the one about energy, and it bolsters the disastrous view that drill/drill/drill is the solution to the energy/climate change crisis.

Posted by: hark on September 4, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

"Why is America so stupid?"

"Stupid is as stupid does". GUMP

Seems to be a theme here. We are so stupid because we have not been educated. Our schools don't teach civics anymore or apparently current affairs (unless you count the TV crap that pervades our news cycles. Americans are more interested in John Edward's type trysts than why one of Cheney's henchmen pushed Georgia into attacking the separatist regions there that were being policed by Russian "peacekeepers". That's why.

My college class of "Honors Students" didn't know what a neocon is. And that's the Honors Class. 95% GPA's and no idea of what is going on here or anywhere. Lemmings to a fault.

So next time you are wondering why normal people "don't get it" it's because America has decided to not let them in on the secret. It's why Pelosi won't Impeach, it's why our citizens weren't appalled by Bushit condoning Torture, it's why they aren't outraged that their phones and e-mails (this one included) are being tapped, etc. etc.

Americans are rapidly becoming like Somalians. Perfect victims.

Posted by: Stevo on September 4, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Actually everyone in Alaska is a foreign policy expert since they all live so close to Russia.

And the people that live on the Aleutian Islands are super-experts.

Posted by: david s on September 4, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

It is obvious, besides the fact most all the comments on here are blatantly elitist, that none of you has ever spent any time in Alaska. Eveyrone who lives there carries the knowledge of their proximity to Russia in the back of their mind. Alaska has a huge US military foot print and the residents know all too well why that is. It is because, if it ever did happen, Alaska is where the missiles would first fly over on their way to the continental US. Alaska also has many strategic military installations which are also probable targets of some of those missiles, so Alaskans do understand foreign relations ramifications. This fact does not make Palin a foreign relations expert, but it does mean she as well as all other Alaskans have a perspective on Americas adversaries that is more pointed than the rest of us may have nestled here in the lower 48.
Don't believe me? Just spend some time in Alaska before you discount this.

Posted by: The man on September 4, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Benen, please check your facts. The dumbest you've heard? Obviously you havent done your research. It just so happens that any and every Governor of Alaska is briefed every single morning on Russia and our National Security Interests as it relates to Russia. This has been going on for decades. Yes, Palin is briefed daily about Russia. The least you could do is be fair and honest.

Posted by: Todd on September 4, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Thankfully, Sarah Palin has been holding the line for us in the great north. She's kept the hordes of troops stationed in Orotukan, Russia from traveling 1272 miles to Shismaret, Alaska - where their invasion of the United States begins! The great news is that Shismaret is only 1131 miles from Juneau. I guess that 2403 miles is all easy road though, which is why the Russians have been so cavalier about invading our country through Alaska before....oh wait...

Sarah Palin - you are a true patriot; keep that border safe from Russian gulag-prisoner aggression!

Posted by: Richard on September 4, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Every first year law student knows this, the Supreme Court has ruled, time and time agian, that foreign affairs is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. In fact, state governors don't even have the right to negotiate directly with Indian nations residing on reservations inside their own states, without the permission and oversight of the Federal government.

She has no foreign affairs experience - and the constitution says so. So, yes, they are just making it up - pure fabrication.

If she did, have foriegn policy experience, so would at least 24 other state governors.

Posted by: Bub on September 4, 2008 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, I just realized! I live jjust two states away from Quebec! They speak FRENCH in Quebec! That makes me an expert on FRANCE!

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on September 4, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Of course it's a dumb argument. Just as dumb as Obama's claim to foreign policy experience. Obama lived overseas as a child so he has experience? He went to Berlin and gave a speech so now he has experience dealing with Russia? For the vast majority of people, all four candidates are a Rorschach test where they can place their preconceived ideas about the political parties, which is the way it has always been. Here's a challenge, pick your party's nominee and find 10 things you disagree with. Now do the opposite with the nominee from the other side.

Posted by: MattR on September 4, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

As Obama said (I believe in the context of the tire gauge...uh...phenomenon), it's like the Republicans take pride in being ignorant.

That's a better line than Jon Stewart's.

We need a campaign commercial with that as the theme.

Posted by: CMcC on September 4, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

It is because, if it ever did happen, Alaska is where the missiles would first fly over on their way to the continental US.

Yeah, and New York, where I live, is where they'd hit, you fucking moron. So I'd say my perspective may be a little more "pointed" than those Alaskans who'll be gaily waving at the missiles as they cruise overhead on their way to blow me up.

And, since I was in New York City on 9/11 and my window looks onto the World Trade Center site, I am by osmosis an expert on international terrorism.

Posted by: Stefan on September 4, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, according to McCain, I must be an incredible expert on domestic affairs because I've lived domestically my whole life. I mean, that's thirty years of constant osmosis, right? And I make and spend money, so I must be an osmotized expert on the economy? Heck, my college roommate was an economics major, so I should be up for the Nobel Prize thanks to all the Economics wisodm I've gained through osmosis.

Posted by: anonymous lawyer on September 4, 2008 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Whomever chooses to use such an idiotic argument have forgotten what Gen. McNamera observed at the end of our Vietnam experience - you can't fight and win a war by using only a map of the field of engagement! Auntie Em, Auntie Em why are the Republicans stuck in Oz? =Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 4, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

I played Risk last night. I am Empress of the World!!

Posted by: sullijan on September 4, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Time will show who is Palin

Posted by: nemtyrev on September 4, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Alaska is 4,365 miles from Moscow. I hope Todd has a real good snowmobile.

Posted by: sullijan on September 4, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Since John "Zinger" doesn't know geography, he is impressed that Sarah "Secessionist" knows that Alaska is near Siberia.

Posted by: Lance on September 4, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

I've lived next to a hospital for years. Do I get to open a medical practice?

Posted by: cecil on September 4, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

We all know that if Obama had actually lived in Russia, it would only make him a Communist. Republicans don't praise his insight into foreign policy because he lived in Indonesia. They label him as a Muslim.

Posted by: cowalker on September 4, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

For some reason Ms. Palin's speech makes me want to keep repeating a line from a movie, The American President, where the president gets all excited and rants a bit, saying something like, 'These times call for serious people.'

There are some serious people who want America to move forward and then there was the very un-serious Republican convention last night. "Drill baby drill"? Really?

The real authority on what makes a person ready to be president would be a former president or the current one. Bill Clinton, for example, said there really isn't anything which would properly prepare a person for the job. I suspect Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the House, would say the same of her job.

I think a lot comes down to your concept of America's place in the world -- and right now the Bush-McCain-Palin idea is pretty scary. They remind me of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and the Johnson t.v. ad where the little girl plucks petals off a flower and then an H-bomb explodes. We really don't need that kind of extremism.

We need serious, intelligent, hard-working, compassionate people who aren't afraid of the world and want to collaborate with whomever will make the world a better place. Right now that's Senator Obama and the Democrats.

Posted by: MarkH on September 4, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, and New York, where I live, is where they'd hit, you fucking moron.

Back at you 'Moron', you missed the point of my argument. Why am I not surprised. Get out of NY more often.

Posted by: The man on September 4, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

My state is next to Mexico...

Posted by: Phil on September 4, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, they are Republicans! It only *sounds* idiotic!

Stay with me for a moment: If Barack Obama had been governor of Alaska, and that had been said about him, Republicans would have lined up to punch his lights out, metaphorically speaking.

So they get that it's an idiotic notion.

But, do you recall the hue and cry that went up because Obama correctly claimed foreign policy experience because he "grew up" with these people in Indonesia and Pakistan and Africa?

If Palin had done that, she'd be the toast of the GOP.

It's not dumb at all, it's fiendishly self-aggrandizing. We have to deal with that mentality head on.

Posted by: actor212 on September 4, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

You have to be joking when you say this is the dumbest argument you've ever heard. It's not an argument, and yours is the dumbest article I've ever ready.

Sarah Palin's international comes in the direct experience of having Russian Submarines and Russian Ice Breakers right in her her waters. The fishing boats out there regularly see Russian ships patrolling, and breaching, the Alaskan border. She is in *constant* contact with the secuirty forces of the USA.

If Foreign Policy experience negelcts having foregin potential invaders miles away from your own shore, then I don't know what the purpose of Foreign Policy experience really is.

Posted by: tc on September 4, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Actually the Russian and American Coast Guards work closely together to rescue boaters and fishermen. We regularly assist their people and they help ours.

Posted by: Th on September 4, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Bottom line. The Republicans will hammer this Experience stuff about Palin and the general public will believe it. I cannot believe that our people are so gullible to the lies of politicians and are willing to give them their liberty and life. Reminds me of a nation that once did the same thing. Nazi Germany. The populace was brain washed by the lies of Hitler and his insistence on National Security and the evil of the Jews that they closed their minds and marched to the tune of War monger and criminal. We are not far from this same scenario. We never learn from the mistakes of the past.

Posted by: lucero1946 on September 4, 2008 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK



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