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Thread: Race for the White House

  1. #3121


    September 6, 2008

    Political Memo

    In the Spotlight, and Often Out of View


    ST. PAUL — The Sunday morning political programs will be jammed with candidates this weekend. Flip through the channels and see them all — Senators Barack Obama, John McCain, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    Only one name, it seemed, was missing from the scheduled lineup: Gov. Sarah Palin, Mr. McCain’s unexpected running mate.

    While Ms. Palin spent Friday greeting large, enthused crowds in the Midwest, chatting up families eating ice cream and shaking hands with police officers, she held no news conferences before the crew of reporters who are already trailing her, step by step, along her political journey.

    For the moment, Ms. Palin, in her first term as governor of Alaska, has been elusive when it comes to many reporters’ inquiries.

    “Governor Palin will be focused on speaking directly to the American people about why she and John McCain will fix Washington,” an aide to Ms. Palin said, adding that Ms. Palin has been interviewed by radio and newspaper reporters from Alaska.

    Even during her weeklong introduction to the nation at the Republican National Convention here (where she was, undeniably, the story of the convention), Ms. Palin was awfully hard to find.

    For all that people here were discussing her, her spunk, her political experience, her family life, Ms. Palin rarely emerged again in public, aside from her nationally televised speech, an obligatory appearance on stage with Senator McCain after his speech and some fleeting sightings.

    Ms. Palin’s transformation could hardly have been more abrupt. Until this month she had tooled around her hometown in Alaska at the wheel of her own car. Now she was seen on the convention’s final day being whisked away in the back of a sport-utility vehicle, huddled beside a political adviser, surrounded by grim-faced Secret Service agents and trailed by a paparazzilike clump of news photographers desperate for any glimpse of her, even through a darkened car window.

    Ms. Palin stayed out of view for much of convention, her aides said, simply because she was busy. Busy preparing to give the biggest speech of her life. And then busy, they said, holding a handful of private meetings; they named five such visits here — with Cindy McCain and Laura Bush; Phyllis Schlafly; Alaska’s delegation; leaders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; and a small group of governors, most of whom said they already knew her.

    A sampling of state party chairmen and top fund-raisers said they had not met with Ms. Palin in the passing days, as some might have expected. Still, among the Republican chairmen here, no one seemed to mind in the least.

    “With a national scene that she’s pretty new to, she has a lot of other things to do than to meet people like me,” said Erik Iverson, the chairman of the Montana Republican Party, who (like so many other state chairmen here) said he felt certain he would be seeing Ms. Palin campaigning in his state within the month.

    “This is the first time we have heard a presidential candidate or a vice-presidential candidate even talk about what it’s like to live in rural America, and believe me, they were listening,” Mr. Iverson said. “All over the Western United States, there were a lot of heads nodding.”

    Dick Wadhams, the Colorado Republican Party chairman, who said he had not met with Ms. Palin here either, said she had nonetheless already had an effect on his efforts; local offices in his state had an uptick, he said, in volunteers and donations.

    Along these streets, there were also hard-sought, uncertain spottings of the rest of the Palin family, who had captured so much notice here. (Was that one of her daughters in downtown St. Paul?)

    At a Republican women’s luncheon, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico noted that she had seen Todd Palin, the governor’s husband (who was himself introduced, a tad confusingly, as the “future first second man”), introduce Mrs. McCain to the room, and tease that if he had “a crystal ball” a few years back, he might have asked a few more questions when Ms. Palin decided to join the PTA.

    At the Museum of Russian Art in South Minneapolis on Thursday, about seven governors, mainly from the West and Midwest, entertained Mitt Romney, the former presidential candidate and onetime vice-presidential contender, as their luncheon speaker before Ms. Palin appeared — a late addition to the meeting and the reason, at least one of the governors confided, that he had changed his plans and turned up for the lunch.

    Some of the governors who had met Ms. Palin at official functions in the past two years, her time as governor, said they were eager to see how she was doing given the sudden tornado of attention (the covers of People and Us Weekly magazines, for starters) and the intense political coaching she was expected to undergo as she sets forth on a national campaign.

    “With all this kind of frenetic activity, she seemed very poised and calm — the same person she was before,” said Gov. John Hoeven of North Dakota, one of those who attended the art museum lunch.

    In fact, said Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Ms. Palin actually seems to be thriving in the spotlight. “She is enjoying the moment, it’s very, very clear,” Mr. Heineman said. “She relishes the challenge, and you can feel it. She said that even her kids are enjoying this convention, and she told us how the kids were saying things like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a senator I’ve seen on TV before.’ ”

    Mostly, Ms. Palin avoided questions during the convention from the news media.

    After the governors’ lunch in Minnesota on Thursday, a restricted pool of news media representatives listened as she introduced herself once more and spoke of her plans.

    “I have a big job cut out for me, running for vice president, and I intend to give this campaign all that I have to give,” Ms. Palin said. “And I look forward to these 60-plus days on the trail. My family looks forward to it. We’re excited about it. I look forward to every day in front of us. One of our missions is to bring the experience and the knowledge of a chief executive to the issues in this campaign.”

    Ms. Palin did not respond to reporters who shouted questions. But she made a single exception when an Alaskan television reporter posed a concern: Are you going to still be there for Alaska?

    “I’m happy to be governor of Alaska,” Ms. Palin said, adding, “couldn’t be more proud, of course, of my position as governor of Alaska.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

    And therein lies the weirdness of the McCain-Palin ticket (or should we say Palin-McCain).

    At the moment, she seems to be the campaign lead, although unlike the other 3 candidates, she is isolated from any true discourse. It doesn't help that McCain has nudged the media toward confrontation with his claims of "liberal bias." Can they do this for 60 days, shuffling her off to make canned remarks, and then whisking her away?

    This afternoon, McCain and Palin were somewhere in Wisconsin. I only watched Palin's intro statement; it was basically a condensed rehash of her convention speech, which she read from a paper on the lectern. It already seemed a little boring.

    What was interesting in the scene was McCain waiting behind and to the left, glancing in her direction, but not really at her. His pose was such that you could compose thought balloons over his head.

    Was he bored? What was he thinking?

    "What have I done."

    "Where's Joe Lieberman?"

    "Goddam Rove."

    It'll be interesting to see how long the Republicans can keep this sham operating, before they have to throw Palin out there.

  2. #3122


    Your Pocket Guide to Speaking Palin-guage (Vol. 1)

    John Ridley

    Posted September 3, 2008 | 03:12 PM (EST)

    Up in the Twin Cities area folks are speaking a new language. Or, should I say Palinguage. It sounds sorta familiar because it's Latin based. But different from the plain English we're used to speaking, in Palinguage recognizable words take on new meanings. Won't you take a moment to learn some Plainguage so you can talk like a hypocritical conservative?


    If you're a minority and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "token hire." If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a "game changer."

    If you live in an Urban area and you get a girl pregnant you're a "baby daddy." If you're the same in Alaska you're a "teen father." (Actually, according to your own MySpace page you're an F'n redneck that don't want any kids, but that's too long a phrase for the evil liberal media to take out of context and flog morning noon and night).

    Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black America. White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."

    If you grow up in Hawaii you're "exotic." Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're the quintessential "American story."

    Similarly, if you name you kid Barack you're "unpatriotic." Name your kid Track, you're "colorful."

    If you're a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual you're "reckless." A Republican who doesn't fully vet is a "maverick."

    If you say that for the "first time in my adult lifetime I'm really proud of my country" it makes you "unfit" to be First Lady. If you are a registered member of a fringe political group that advocates secession that makes you "First Dude."

    A DUI from twenty years ago is "old news." A speech given without proper citation from twenty years ago is "relevant information."

    And, finally, if you're a man and you decide to run for office despite your wife's recurrence of cancer you're a "questionable spouse." If you're a woman and you decide to run for office despite having five kids including a newborn... Well, we don't know what that is 'cause THAT'S NOT A FAIR QUESTION TO ASK.

    The Guide to the Conservative Palinguage Vol.2 -- the People's Edition

    Posted September 5, 2008 | 05:06 PM (EST)

    This is the Vol. 2 of The Guide to the Conservative Palinguage. I'm calling this one the People's Edition because you, the people, have obviously been taking AP courses in talking Conservative. I've been slammed with responses. Enough that I can promise you there will be future volumes. Along with some of mine, I've mixed in a few of yours for everybody's linguistic pleasure.

    Before we start, I'd like to note that I intimated in Vol. 1 that English is a Latin based language. Hondorf was among a few others who pointed out that English is "primarily German based, yes, but it is really a hybrid of Germanic and Romantic languages . . . by the way, I am a redneck."

    Clearly, none of us should judge a neck by its color.

    A reminder, we're collecting Palinisms here, and over at That Minority If you've got 'em, send 'em.

    If you get 18 million people to vote for you in a national presidential primary, you're a "phoney." Get 100,000+ people to vote you governor of the 47th most populous state in the Union, you're "well loved."

    SoyAA says: If you are biracial and born in a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs darn near 2 years and 3 major speeches to "get to know you." If you're white and from a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs 36 minutes and 38 seconds worth of an acceptance speech to know you're "one of us."

    If you give your wife a dap on stage, it's actually a "terrorist fist jab." If your daughter licks her palm so that she can slick down your youngest child's hair on national TV it's an "adorable moment." (Seriously, forget about abstinence only, teach these folks some grooming skills).

    DTD SAYS: If your pastor rails against inequality in the United States of America, you're an "extremist." If your pastor welcomes a sermon by a member of Jews for Jesus who preaches that the killing of Jews by terrorists is a lesson to Jews that they must convert to Christianity, you're a "fundamentalist."

    If you're a black man and you use a scholarship to get into college, then work your way up to being the president of the Harvard Law Review, you're "uppity." If you're a conservative and your parents pay your way to Hawaii Pacific University . . . you only have four more schools to attend over the next five years before you somehow manage to graduate (it might be five more schools over the next five years. No one has yet verified whether or not Palin was actually ever registered at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. But, you know how shady people are who ever attended any kind of school in Hawaii).

    SeanOcali says: If you're 18, white, and get a 16 year old girl pregnant "life happens." If you're 18, black, and impregnate a 16 year old girl, you're a "registered sex offender."

    If you spend 18 months building a campaign around the theme of "Change," it's just "empty rhetoric." If one week before your party's national convention you SUDDENLY make your candidacy about "Change," that's "red meat."

    And your last lesson for the day:

    If you are a Democrat, an Independent, or even a moderate Republican, if you're female, male, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, bi-racial, multi-ethnic, or GLBT, if you're a Jew, Gentile, Muslim, agnostic or atheist -- "Yes, we can!"

    If you're a pitbull with lipstick from Alaska, "Yup, yup!"

  3. #3123


    Leading The News
    Westmoreland calls Obama ‘uppity'

    By Mike Soraghan
    Posted: 09/04/08 03:07 PM [ET]

    Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the racially-tinged term "uppity" to describe Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama Thursday.

    Westmoreland was discussing vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech with reporters outside the House chamber and was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.

    "Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said.

    Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

    Other Democrats have charged that the Republican campaign to paint the Illinois senator as an “elitist” is racially charged, and accused them of using code words for “uppity” without using the word itself.

    In August, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) told reporters, “When I hear the word ‘elitist’ linked with Barack Obama, to me, that is a code word for 'uppity.' I find it extremely offensive and John McCain should know better.”

    Political consultant David Gergen, who has worked in both Republican and Democratic White Houses, said on ABC’s "This Week" that “As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, 'The One,' that's code for, 'He's uppity, he ought to stay in his place.' Everybody gets that who is from a Southern background.”

    The Obama campaign, asked about the quote, did not note any racial context.

    “Sounds like Rep. Westmoreland should be careful throwing stones from his candidate's eight glass houses,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

    Campaigning against the first black major-party nominee has already created some problems for Republicans.

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said that Obama's middle name – Hussein – is relevant to the public discourse surrounding his candidacy, saying in March that if Obama were elected, "Then the radical Islamists, the al Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror."

    At an April 12 event in his district, Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis (R) said of Obama: “I’m going to tell you something: That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button. He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country.”

    Davis sent a letter of apology to Obama in which he described his remark as a “poor choice of words.”

    Westmoreland originally supported former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. He now supports McCain, but missed an August fundraiser for the nominee because he was vacationing with his family.

    © 2008 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

  4. #3124


    Barack and Michelle Obama are ‘uppity,’
    says Lynn Westmoreland

    Jim Galloway
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Thursday, September 4, 2008, 03:50 PM

    U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who was born and raised in the South, said Thursday that he’s never heard the word “uppity” used in a racially loaded fashion — and meant nothing more than “elitist” when he applied it to Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

    Courtesy US House of Representatives

    “If anyone read more into it, no undercurrent was intended,” Westmoreland spokesman Brian Robinson said this evening.

    In a Washington D.C. conversation with reporters, the two-term Sharpsburg congressman was discussing the speech of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin when he was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama.

    “Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity,” Westmoreland said, according to The Hill, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill.

    When asked to clarify, Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

    The Hill immediately posted the incident on-line, where it zipped around the Internet, causing Westmoreland’s office phones to ring off the hook.

    The incident underlines the cultural minefields that come with a presidential campaign that features the first African-American to win the nomination of a major political party. Republicans say they’re merely trying to portray Obama as out of touch with working Americans, but some Democrats say the GOP is speaking in cultural code.

    For decades in the segregated South, “uppity” was a word applied to African-Americans who attempted to rise above servile positions.

    “It was only a matter of time before Republican officials shifted from oblique racially-charged language to brazen racially-charged language,” wrote Steve Benen, author of a blog for Washington Monthly magazine.

    Though raised by a struggling, single mother, Obama studied at both Columbia University in New York and Harvard University. Michelle Obama was raised on Chicago’s rough south side, the daughter of a city pump operator — but she attended both Princeton and Harvard universities.

    This spring, Obama apologized for his “poor word choices” at a California fund-raiser in which he described small-town Americans as “bitter” over the souring economy and clinging to religion and guns in response.

    Citing that gaffe, Hillary Clinton sought to apply the “elitist” label to Obama in the Democratic primary. Republicans have tried to do so during their national convention in Minnesota.

    “In small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening,” Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP nominee for vice president, said Wednesday in her debut speech.

    A spokeswoman for the Obama campaign in Georgia declined comment.

    In the article published by The Hill, the national Obama campaign did not note any racial context in the Georgia congressman’s remarks. ...

    Robinson, Westmoreland’s spokesman, said the Obama response proved that no offense was intended. “They saw it as the way he meant it,” Robinson said.

    Westmoreland, who is contemplating a 2010 run for governor, released the following statement:

    “I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of ‘uppity’ is ‘affecting an air of inflated self-esteem — snobbish.’

    “That’s what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up,” Westmoreland said.

    Considered one of the most conservative members of Congress, Westmoreland represents the 3rd District, which covers much of central and western Georgia, from Henry County to Muscogee County. He was first elected to Congress in 2004, after beating Republican primary rival Dylan Glenn, an African-American.

    Glenn was supported by several high-ranking Republicans, including former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, who argued that the state GOP needed more diversity. That prompted DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, a Democrat who is also African-American, to jump into the campaign on Westmoreland’s behalf.

    Both Jones and Westmoreland were first elected to the state House in 1992. Westmoreland later became the House minority leader.

    Copyright© 2008 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  5. #3125


    Stopped outside Wasilla’s post office on a blustery afternoon this week, Cynthia Shoemaker said “people in Alaska want to give the national media a mouthful” for scrutinizing Palin’s background. “She answers to God, not reporters,” Shoemaker said.

    Alaskans fed up as press floods the zone

    9/6/08 6:53 AM EST

    Photo: AP

    Jim Palin, father of Todd Palin,
    displays photos of Sarah Palin's
    early years at his house in
    Wasilla, Alaska, on Aug. 28.

    PALMER, Alaska—The liberal blogosphere was abuzz Friday with news that a friend of Sarah and Todd Palin had tried to seal his divorce records.

    Surely, the netroots speculated, that friend must be the unnamed business partner who this week’s number of the National Enquirer alleges—without proof so far—was romantically linked to Palin. The McCain campaign's characterization of the story as a "vicious lie" seemed to only fuel more speculation.

    And then the moment of truth, as the motion to seal was denied.

    The filings, housed in a district courthouse in this town about eight miles east of the Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, contained a lot of hot news—presuming, that is, you’re interested in the child-custody agreement reached by Scott Richter and his ex-wife Deborah Richter, or in the former couple's holdings, which include a recreational property that Scott owns with Sarah and Todd Palin.

    That hasn’t stopped a stream of journalists and couriers from NBC, the Los Angeles Times, Court TV and other outlets (including this reporter, presently serving as Politico’s Alaskan bureau) from making their way to the Palmer courthouse to photocopy, for 25 cents a page, the 75 or so pages in the Richters’ marriage dissolution file.

    Hence, Scott Richter’s motion this week to seal the file, in which he wrote, “I am friends an (sic) landowners in a remote cabin property with (the Palins) and as her campaign moves forward, my phone #’s and addresses are being used thru this file to obtain unwanted contact daily. My cabin life and private life is extremely important to me and my young son, who find ourselves and our lives disrupted by such contact.”

    The judge was not sympathetic, writing in a Thursday ruling “there is no legal basis for the request.”

    (For the record, Richter, who valued the property he co-owns with the Palins at $12,000, did not return messages left by Politico Northwest at the phone numbers listed in the records.)

    Those who couldn’t make it to the Palmer courthouse in person were out of luck for much of Friday, since the court’s website crashed from all the traffic directed to it by a link on Andrew Sulivan’s blog.

    The Palin sleuthing in and around Wasilla is getting a little ridiculous, said T.C. Mitchell, an Anchorage Daily News reporter who covers Wasilla and Palmer and was waiting in the Palmer courthouse clerk’s office to make copies of the Richters’ file. He had been there earlier in the day and inspected the most pertinent parts, but wanted to make sure he didn’t miss a peripheral detail and get scooped by the suddenly ubiquitous national press.

    Mitchell said the Daily News received a call from a media outlet seeking the rules of the Miss Wasilla Pageant, presumably to determine whether Palin cheated when she won it in 1984.

    There’s a growing backlash in and around Wasilla to the prying of the national media into the life of their native daughter and her family.

    As journalists from ABC News—and, of course, Politico—on Wednesday leafed through bound copies of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman at the local newspaper’s Wasilla office looking for a 1996 story detailing then-Mayor Palin’s conversations with the local librarian about censorship, Frontiersman reporter Michael Rovito said he was not going to write about the pregnancy of Palin’s 17-year-old daughter Bristol.

    He and another local reporter swapped notes on all the media outlets bombarding them with Palin inquiries, including some from as far as France.

    Though some folks in Wasilla brag about how many media calls they’ve gotten in much the same manner that delegates to the national conventions showed off pins they collected, most folks seem to welcome the attention about as much as Scott Richter.

    Stopped outside Wasilla’s post office on a blustery afternoon this week, Cynthia Shoemaker said “people in Alaska want to give the national media a mouthful” for scrutinizing Palin’s background. “She answers to God, not reporters,” Shoemaker said.

    © 2008 Capitol News Company LLC

  6. #3126


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    And therein lies the weirdness of the McCain-Palin ticket (or should we say Palin-McCain).

    At the moment, she seems to be the campaign lead, although unlike the other 3 candidates, she is isolated from any true discourse. It doesn't help that McCain has nudged the media toward confrontation with his claims of "liberal bias." Can they do this for 60 days, shuffling her off to make canned remarks, and then whisking her away?

    This afternoon, McCain and Palin were somewhere in Wisconsin. I only watched Palin's intro statement; it was basically a condensed rehash of her convention speech, which she read from a paper on the lectern. It already seemed a little boring.

    What was interesting in the scene was McCain waiting behind and to the left, glancing in her direction, but not really at her. His pose was such that you could compose thought balloons over his head.

    Was he bored? What was he thinking?

    "What have I done."

    "Where's Joe Lieberman?"

    "Goddam Rove."

    It'll be interesting to see how long the Republicans can keep this sham operating, before they have to throw Palin out there.
    Zippy, I read these words, and sighed in relief, "Finally someone in the press is writing the obvious truth."

    Then I looked again and saw it was you.

    So the question becomes, "Why is no one in the press writing the obvious truth?"

  7. #3127


    McCain's choice won't fool women

    Perhaps the most delightfully candid assessment of Palin's dismal lack of experience came from Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan. During an off-camera moment on MSNBC …

    By Jessica Reaves
    September 7, 2008

    Sarah Palin is a woman. Hillary Clinton is a woman. Women just love voting for other women. Women candidates are interchangeable. Therefore, women who would have voted for Clinton are obviously going to vote for Palin.

    If this syllogism strikes you as stupid, that's because it is.
    Not to mention cynical and not a little bit sexist. Yet it also appears to be one of the reasons behind John McCain's choice of a running mate.

    Oh, lots of alternative explanations for his decision are floating around: McCain chose Palin because her staunch anti-abortion stance bolsters his case among Christian conservatives; he chose her because she personifies youthful energy while he, well, doesn't. Possibly the Palin decision was a big Bronx cheer meant for strategist Karl Rove, who pushed hard for Mitt Romney (over Joe Lieberman, McCain's rumored first choice). Then again, maybe the Republican candidate for president of the United States plucked his running mate from relative obscurity because he's desperate for the moose-hunting vote. (But really, who isn't?)

    Setting aside for a moment the political clout of America's moose-hunting bloc, let's take a closer look at one of the more plausible reasons behind McCain's peculiar pick: He's tipping his cap and winking at disconsolate Clinton supporters, hoping he'll pick up a few all-important Lady Votes from the pool of Still Undecideds who monitored last week's events in Denver but remain unconverted—and unconvinced.

    Let's be honest: If McCain really wanted to wow Evangelical voters, he could have gone with any one of the roughly 87 Republicans currently in national office whose politics are virtually indistinguishable from Palin's. If his goal was to lower the average age of the GOP ticket, the only real requirement is that the candidate be alive. So why on earth would he overlook dozens of far more qualified candidates (Tim Pawlenty and Lieberman, for example) only to choose Palin, whose national experience could be described (kindly) as negligible?

    Because Palin's a woman. And because Rove, currently serving as an "informal adviser" to McCain's campaign, once read a book about women that convinced him the only thing women love more than a good white sale is casting a vote for another woman. (OK, I just made that up. I have no idea whether Karl Rove has ever read a book).

    Here's something McCain might have considered during the 45 minutes his aides apparently spent vetting Palin, whose slowly expanding biography keeps yielding unpleasant surprises: Women aren't interested in voting for just any woman. They want to vote for an experienced, competent woman whose accomplishments can stand up to any man's, not someone they have to make excuses for. ("Oh, you'll have to excuse her lack of understanding of NATO's operational plan in Afghanistan. She's a woman.") Hence the allure of Hillary Clinton, whose positions—whether you agreed with them or not—have been articulated clearly (and often at stupefying length) over the years.

    Palin, who has been governor of Alaska for about a year and a half, has clear positions on policy issues related to her adopted state (Drill in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Yes, please! Put polar bears on the endangered species list? No, thanks! Rack up $27 million in federal earmarks for her hometown of Wasilla? Oooh, yes!).

    She's rock solid on conservative hot-button social issues (pro-life, pro-gun, pro-abstinence-only sex education). But when it comes to issues with national or international implications, Palin can rest easy. She won't be called on to defend a single position, mainly because she doesn't appear to have any.

    Publicly, the GOP faithful is rallying around Palin, but scratch the surface, and you'll find rumblings of discontent—and even disbelief—over McCain's choice. Perhaps the most delightfully candid assessment of Palin's dismal lack of experience came from Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan. During an off-camera moment on MSNBC, Noonan, a former Reagan speechwriter, was asked whether the Alaska governor is the most qualified woman McCain could have chosen. Her blunt response: "The most qualified? No. I think they went for this—excuse me—political bull . . . about narratives."

    Back in the public (on-camera) realm, Republicans have spent the last 10 days hurling charges of sexism at the so-called "liberal" media. Given that this is the same party that has dedicated the last two years to attacking Hillary Clinton based on little more than her gender, the GOP's newfound respect for women feels hugely disingenuous.

    And the Republican case is not helped by Palin's nomination, which fairly reeks of sexism.

    Women, the Republican Party seems to be saying, are interchangeable. Worried about a weak ticket? Concerned about voters losing interest? Just stick a woman in there. Pretty much any woman will do. And by choosing Sarah Palin above the dozens of far more qualified women in their party (Sens. Olympia Snowe and Kay Bailey Hutchison, to name just two), John McCain and the Republicans have exposed every future female candidate to the same creeping, dangerous suspicion feminists have been fighting since the first female politician stepped forward: She's at that podium for all the wrong reasons: novelty, or shock value, or because her X chromosomes make her a politically expedient choice. Not because she's the best person for the job.

    Jessica Reaves is a reporter for the Tribune magazine.

    Copyright Tribune Services

  8. #3128
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

    Default Palin: Mayor of Meth Capital of Alaska

    By Jonas Oliver| Article Date: 9/04/2008 2:19 PM

    Newly minted Republican superstar and vice-presidential nominee, Gov. Sarah Palin, may have successfully fought oil interests and corruption in her home state of Alaska, but in her hometown of Wasilla, where she was elected to two terms as mayor, her iron hand did little to curb growing social problems in the tiny community.

    According to published reports, Alaska State Troopers have designated the Matanuska-Susitna area, in which Wasilla is the largest city, as the methamphetamine capital of Alaska. Meth use is apparently exploding in the borough, where production has expanded nearly seven-fold in the last five years.

    In 2003, authorities uncovered nine meth labs in the area. By last year, however, that number increased to 42, said Kyle Young, an investigator with the troopers who works with the local narcotics team.

    The most innocent victims of the Alaska’s meth epidemic appear to be the region’s children. Officials with the Office of Children's Services in Wasilla said their office receives about 40 calls a month from people reporting abuse or neglect related to the use of the highly addictive drug.

    Meanwhile, reports of children living in meth labs and in otherwise dangerous proximity to the drug and addicts help explain why such a huge percentage (nearly 50%) of Wasilla’s total monthly child protection calls are meth-related.

    With less than 10,000 residents, Wasilla is but 12.4 square miles of the 24,000 square mile area that makes up the Matanuska-Susitna borough.

  9. #3129
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

    Default Wimp Democrats - Palin the Hypocrite

    If we parse Palin’s words, she and her husband chose to have their latest baby. This after being told that it was going to be born with Downe’s Syndrome. Whether she realizes it or not, she exercised a “woman’s right to choose”. When her doctor told her there was a problem and she determined that she would keep the baby, she made a choice. She’s a hypocrite in using her elected position to deny other women of a similar right to choose. Of course, in her world, only her choice is the “right” one and therein lays the idiocy of legislating morals.

    On a completely different vein, I hope people WILL speak up about her 17 year old daughter’s child out of wedlock. Palin has set herself up to be in a role of moral arbiter by her stance on social issues. Clearly, her own daughter failed to live up to the tenets of conservatism – sexual abstinence until married. Even if we were to dismiss the pregnancy as outside the boundaries of tasteful and fair politics, it is clear that Palin failed to teach her daughter about safe sexual practices. She has failed to be a leader and communicator in her own home.

    Finally, she fought against expanding health coverage for children in Alaska, specfically for teenage pregnancy. In the meantime, the Alaskan people are paying for her child’s health costs as well as her teenage child’s child’s health costs through her Governor health insurance plan.

    I imagine the Democrats won’t bother going after her on any of this. I think it is relevant AND it forces the lady to get in front of a microphone at a news conference to answer questions on her record.

  10. #3130


    BrooklynRider, John Stewart has honed in on this "choice" hypocrisy.

    The Daily Show Wednesday, September 3, 2008 - Newt Gingrich [episode 184082]

    Stewart brings this up directly with Gingrich who dodges by calling it a "policy debate" that Stewart should have with Palin. (He may get to?) [@ 19.00]

    Another gem from the episode:

    John McCain is a great leader because he endured five and a half years of brutal treatment by his captors -- hey... Guantanamo Bay isn't a prison -- it's a leadership academy! - John Stewart [@ 06:20]


    The Daily Show Thursday, September 4, 2008 - Mike Huckabee [episode 184093]

    Samantha B. on the convention floor asks delegates about clouding governor Palins candidacy with irrelevant issues and flummoxes them this "choice" line of reasoning: priceless. [@ 12:25]

  11. #3131


    Stopped outside Wasilla’s post office on a blustery afternoon this week, Cynthia Shoemaker said “people in Alaska want to give the national media a mouthful” for scrutinizing Palin’s background. “She answers to God, not reporters,” Shoemaker said.
    According to 2006 data by the Association of Religion Data Archives, three states, Washington, Oregon and Alaska are the least religious in the US. Only 39% of Alaska residents are members of a religious congregation.

    I think an attempt is being made to associate Alaska (not just its governor) with the traditional Bible Belt.

    In my experience, I've found the people I encountered to be quirky, interesting, but not particularly religious. Many seemed to be in Alaska to escape the Lower 48.

  12. #3132


    Well Zippy, I am not sure what any statistics will really tell you about these people, because religion is not always organised nor volunteered through surveys in this neck of the woods.

    I can, however, vouch that this type of us-against-them, God judges us not man, expresses quite accurately the small-town view not only of the Alaska I know, but the remote, non-urbanised reaches of western Canada as well.

    True, many of the Alaskans have come from elsewhere, but I daresay that the same holds true of their Canadian counterparts. And that lifestyle you see is often the coarse result of living out on the hard edge, making a living in an unforgiving environment. "Bible Belt" may not capture the essence, but make no mistake, the same elements are there, in a slightly different form.

    Last edited by Zephyr; September 6th, 2008 at 04:31 PM.

  13. #3133


    In Palin’s Life and Politics, Goal to Follow God’s Will

    Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Gov. Sarah Palin looked to
    biblical leaders for guidance.

    Published: September 5, 2008

    WASILLA, Alaska — Shortly after taking office as governor in 2006, Sarah Palin sent an e-mail message to Paul E. Riley, her former pastor in the Assembly of God Church, which her family began attending when she was a youth. She needed spiritual advice in how to do her new job, said Mr. Riley, who is 78 and retired from the church.

    “She asked for a biblical example of people who were great leaders and what was the secret of their leadership,” Mr. Riley said.

    He wrote back that she should read again from the Old Testament the story of Esther, a beauty queen who became a real one, gaining the king’s ear to avert the slaughter of the Jews and vanquish their enemies. When Esther is called to serve, God grants her a strength she never knew she had.

    Mr. Riley said he thought Ms. Palin had lived out the advice as governor, and would now do so again as the Republican Party’s vice-presidential nominee.

    “God has given her the opportunity to serve,” he said. “And God has given her the strength to carry out her goals.”

    Ms. Palin’s religious life — what she believes and how her beliefs intersect or not with her life in public office in Alaska — has become a topic of intense interest and scrutiny across the political spectrum as she has risen from relative obscurity to become Senator John McCain’s running mate.

    Interviews with the two pastors she has been most closely associated with here in her hometown — she now attends the Wasilla Bible Church, though she keeps in touch with Mr. Riley and recently spoke at an event at his former church — and with friends and acquaintances who have worshipped with her point to a firm conclusion: her foundation and source of guidance is the Bible, and with it has come a conviction to be God’s servant.

    “Just be amazed at the umbrella of this church here, where God is going to send you from this church,” Ms. Palin told the gathering in June of young graduates of a ministry program at the Assembly of God Church, a video of which has been posted on YouTube.

    “Believe me,” she said, “I know what I am saying — where God has sent me, from underneath the umbrella of this church, throughout the state.”

    Janet Kincaid, who has known Ms. Palin for about 15 years and worked with her on some Wasilla town boards and commissions when Ms. Palin was mayor here, said Ms. Palin’s spiritual path, from the Assembly of God to Wasilla Bible, has had a consistent theme.

    “The churches that Sarah has attended all believe in a literal translation of the Bible,” Ms. Kincaid said. “Her principal ethical and moral beliefs stem from this.”

    Prayer, and belief in its power, is another constant theme, Ms. Kincaid said, in what she has witnessed in Ms. Palin. “Her beliefs are firm in the power of prayer — let’s put it that way,” she said.

    Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign, said Ms. Palin had been baptized Roman Catholic as an infant, but declined to comment further.

    “We’re not going to get into discussing her religion,” she said.

    In the address at the Assembly of God Church here, Ms. Palin’s ease in talking about the intersection of faith and public life was clear. Among other things, she encouraged the group of young church leaders to pray that “God’s will” be done in bringing about the construction of a big pipeline in the state, and suggested her work as governor would be hampered “if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God.”

    She also told the group that her eldest child, Track, would soon be deployed by the Army to Iraq, and that they should pray “that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.”

    Larry Kroon, who has been the presiding pastor at Wasilla Bible for the last 30 years, declined to describe Ms. Palin’s beliefs or the role she plays in the church, but suggested that she is more of a back-bencher than a leading light.

    “Todd and Sarah come in as Todd and Sarah — they’re very discreet about it,” he said, referring to Ms. Palin’s husband.

    One of the musical directors at the church, Adele Morgan, who has known Ms. Palin since the third grade, said the Palins moved to the nondenominational Wasilla Bible Church in 2002, in part because its ministry is less “extreme” than Pentecostal churches like the Assemblies of God, which practice speaking in tongues and miraculous healings.

    “A lot of churches are about music and media and having a big profile,” Ms. Morgan said. “We are against that. That is why it is so attractive to politicians because they can just sit there and be safe.”

    “We’ve gotten a lot of their people when the other churches get too extreme,” Ms. Morgan continued. However, she added, “If you lift your hands when we’re singing, we’re not going to shoot you down.”

    Mr. Kroon (pronounced krone), a soft-spoken, bearded Alaska native, said he was convinced that the Bible is the Word of God, and that the task of believers is to ponder and analyze the book for meaning — including scrutiny, he said, for errors and mistranslations over the centuries that may have obscured the original intent.

    It is that analysis, he believes, not anything he preaches, that makes most people in his church socially conservative, he said.

    “I trust my people can go out with that and they can deal with an issue such as abortion — any issue out there — whether it’s in the public arena, or in the hospital room with their relative dying of cancer, because they will be equipped with a biblical perspective that will enable them to react in that situation,” said Mr. Kroon, who described himself as “pro-life.”

    “Our congregation would tend to be conservative, and it’s not because I’ve told them to be,” he said.

    Some Jewish groups have raised concerns since the announcement of Ms. Palin’s selection to the Republican ticket that discussions in the Wasilla Bible Church might go beyond conservatism. Last month, a leader in the group Jews for Jesus, which advocates converting Jews to Christianity — but which has been accused by some Jews of anti-Semitism — spoke at the church. The speaker, David Brickner, spoke enthusiastically about the “miracle” of conversions in Israel by the group’s missionaries.

    The church has also come under fire among some gay advocacy groups for promoting an upcoming Focus on the Family conference in Anchorage dealing with the so-called curing of homosexuality.

    The Wasilla Bible Church, which draws 800 to 1,000 people for Sunday service, itself is discreet to the point of self-effacement. Only a single small sign on the gravel road leading up to the property declares the name. On the three-year-old building itself, which looks more like a warehouse than a cathedral, a large cross over the rear entrance is the only declaration of purpose.

    People who know the church and its parishioners say that the mix of simplicity and quirkiness is common in Alaska, where many people have moved over the years and left their pasts and old church lives behind.

    Homegrown churches like Wasilla — started in the early 1970s by a handful of families, including Ms. Morgan’s, during the construction boom in building the Trans-Alaska pipeline — have become singularly Alaskan. Mr. Kroon still remembers the days of a single room with a wood-burning stove that he would have to fire up before services.

    Mr. Kroon said the Alaskan spirit of go-it-alone individuality gives the church a mix of joiners and resolute nonjoiners. The church offers full-immersion water baptism, which some people want and others do not.

    “I have people who’ve been here since I got here, and they still say, ‘Don’t put me on the membership roll,’ ” he said. “There’s definitely a cultural element.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  14. #3134


    What ever happened to "Separation of Church and State"
    All this bible thumping makes me wanna wretch!

  15. #3135
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    In the spirit of looking backward towards that rosy era of Reaganesque Republicanism which McCain & Palin seem to yearn for, folks might want to dust-off their copies of "The Handmaid's Tale" (Margaret Atwood, 1986).

    The 1990 film doesn't have the same power as the novel, but is instructive all the same. Perhaps they can remake it, with some of the current players taking on their obvious roles.

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