Palin a Friend of Big Oil?

Count me among those stunned by McCain’s pick for his VP candidate. It neutralizes the strongest argument he had against Obama: Not enough experience. Never again can he utter these words. Further, I can’t comprehend her as president (and with McCain’s age, I think we would have a fair chance of seeing that happen). I think the job is over her head, and I have witnessed the carnage several times when people step into a job over their heads. Imagine letting a first year medical school student do your heart transplant, and you start to get the picture.

I have also heard several people today refer to her as a friend of Big Oil. Ha! She has been called the Hugo Chavez of Alaska for her approach to oil companies (particularly her threats to tear up existing contracts). A story from CNN today explains:

Palin also raised taxes on oil companies after Murkowski’s previous tax regime produced falling revenues in 2007, despite skyrocketing oil prices. Alaska now has some of the highest resource taxes in the world. Alaska’s oil tax revenues are expected to be about $10 billion in 2008, twice those of previous year. BP says about half its oil revenues now go to taxes, when royalty payments to the state are included. Earlier this week, Palin approved gas tax relief for Alaskans, and paid every resident $1,200 to help ease their fuel-price burden.

Sure, she favors drilling in ANWR, but a friend of Big Oil? Please. A recent story in the Anchorage Daily News referred to her as “an anti-oil, tax-and-spend liberal with a nice smile and a pretty face.” With her on the ticket, now 3 of the 4 presidential/vice-presidential candidates are openly hostile to oil companies.

I have written about Palin previously, specifically highlighting the Hugo Chavez comparison (not that I originated it):

The Alaskan Gas Pipeline Controversy

I know some disagree (in fact, some of my closest friends – Republicans and Democrats – think the pick is brilliant), but I think after the dust settles this looks like Dan Quayle all over again. People are going to seriously question McCain’s judgment over this. The most important question to ask when picking a vice-presidential candidate is – Is this person ready to be president?

Of course Bush Sr. did get elected with Quayle on the ticket…

164 thoughts on “Palin a Friend of Big Oil?”

  1. Why does Palin blunt the argument that Obama has no experience? She is the VP not the President. If McCain is elected, she will get foreign policy experience. In terms of accomplishment, she already has a much better record than Obama. And she has won elections by actually campaigning, instead of using Chicago strong arm politics to get elected. Let’s review Senator Obama’s record:

    Obama pushed out his mentor and the incumbant state senator, Alice Palmer, by going to court to challenge the validity of signatures on her petition to get on the primary ballot. Then he ran unopposed in a heavily democratic district.

    When he ran for US Senate, he defeated Democrat favorite Blair Hull when allegations of abuse arose when a judge mysteriously unsealed Blair’s divorce records.

    In the general election Obama ran against republican Jack Ryan. Again, a judge unsealed child custody records that included allegations by Ryan’s wife, actress Jeri Ryan, that he had forced her to go to sex clubs. Ryan resigned. Illinois Republicans hurredly put up Alan Keyes as a replacement candidate. Obama won the senate seat in a landslide.

    In Obama’s brief senate career he has sponsored no legislation, and voted with party leadership nearly 100% of the time. When asked to name an instance where he crossed party lines, Obama said he had worked on ethics reform with John McCain. The truth is that Obama withdrew his support for McCain’s reforms when Democrat leaders pressured Obama.

    Obama is a joke. Unqualified and unready to lead.

  2. Robert,

    I think she was a better pick then some of the others that were under consideration (Romney, Lieberman, Guliani). They all had significant flaws.

    I do like the fact that she is not part of a political dynasty and that she has taken on the entrenched republican good old boy network in Alaska and beat them.


  3. Obama already neutralized the experience argument with Biden and the simple fact that voters this year want “change”, not experience. Meanwhile Palin neutralizes the “continuation of Bush/Cheney policies” argument the Dems have used against McCain with some success.

    I don’t know anything about her positions on the pipeline, etc. I do know Alaska has had the most corrupt state government in the nation for some time, which is saying something when you remember Louisiana is still a state. I also know oil money has historically played a big role in that corruption. I also know Palin directly took on corrupt politicians in her own party, something rarely seen in big ticket politics.

    Anyway, she has run 80-90% approval ratings while in office. The other 10% seem to mostly be members of the corrupt old guard who are naturally unhappy they no longer control the state.

    I think McCain picked her to help with the Republican base and attract some disenchanted Hillary voters. The former should work, the latter not so much.

    Whoever Palin may or may not be, one thing is abundantly clear. She’s no J. Danforth Quayle.

  4. Robert,

    The link below has more information on Palin. Fair warning, it is a partisan site, but the author makes some good points.

    I really do like the fact that she has taken on entrenched good old boy political networks in her own party and beat them. We could use some of that in Washington.

    Would Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin be a grand slam as McCain’s Veep?

    in 2004 Palin, from her appointed position as chair of the Alaska Conservation Commission (the state agency which regulates oil and gas), complained to “[then-]Governor Frank Murkowski and to state Attorney General Gregg Renkes about ethical violations by another commissioner, Randy Ruedrich, who was also Republican state chairman.”

    Rebuffed, she resigned — but then deftly proceeded to drive all three of them out of office, finally triumphantly besting incumbent Murkowski in 2006 by capturing 51% of the vote in a three-way GOP primary. Palin then won handily (and against national trends) against popular former governor Tony Knowles in the 2006 general election.

    Sarah Palin actually risked her entire political career to take on her own party’s entrenched leadership, and then thoroughly and effectively cleaned house in the largest state in the Union.

    This spring she used her line-item veto to cut $268 million from state spending bills — in a state that, comparatively, is flush with money, which makes pork projects almost irresistible. She resisted, and it appears that she’s going to make her vetoes stick.


  5. People are already throwing out the idea of a Palin / Jindal ticket in 2012.

    Win or lose if Palin does well on the campaign trail this year that ticket would be very, very, interesting.


  6. Elected? Yes. Re-elected? No. I specifically didn’t vote for Bush Sr. again because of his idiot VP. This selection is awesome; it now completes the circle of stupidity and has McCain backpedaling on nearly everything he’s said, including comments about other candidates known for backpedaling themselves. Awesome.

  7. Why does Palin blunt the argument that Obama has no experience? She is the VP not the President.

    King, she has got to be ready to step up to the plate and assume the presidency from day 1, especially given McCain’s age. She is a minor leaguer on the national, and especially the international stage. This is all especially ironic in light of McCain steadily beating the inexperience drum on Obama. He simply can’t say that anymore without someone pointing at Palin.


  8. Whoever Palin may or may not be, one thing is abundantly clear. She’s no J. Danforth Quayle.

    You are thinking of the stupid factor. I am thinking of the “unknown with little experience placed a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

    Here is Charles Krauthammer in today’s Washington Post, echoing my disbelief:

    McCain had been steadily gaining on Obama (before the inevitable convention bounce) and had the race in a dead heat in a year in which the generic Democrat is running ten points ahead of the generic Republican. He had succeeded in making this a referendum on Obama. The devastating line of attack was, “Is he ready to lead?”

    The Palin selection completely undercuts the argument about Obama’s inexperience and readiness to lead — on the theory that because Palin is a maverick and a corruption fighter, she bolsters McCain’s claim to be the reformer in this campaign. In her rollout today, Palin spoke a lot about change. McCain is now trying to steal “change” from Obama, a contest McCain will lose in an overwhelmingly Democratic year with an overwhelmingly unpopular incumbent Republican administration. At the same time, he’s weakening his strong suit — readiness vs. unreadiness.

    The McCain campaign is reveling in the fact that Palin is a game changer. But why a game changer when you’ve been gaining? To gratuitously undercut the remarkably successful “Is he ready to lead” line of attack seems near suicidal.


  9. But if you consider Obama’s experience vs. Palin’s, it’s very easy to argue that she is more qualified to be president. Obama has NOTHING. If her inexperience bothers you, then his should be a total show stopper. Will she be held to a higher standard than Obama because she is a woman?

    I did notice that Obama mentioned Nuke and CTL in his speech. My approach to voting for Obama will be the same as his approach to Nuclear power. If he says no, I say no. If he is going to think about it, I will think about it. If he can convince me he will do it, I will do it.

  10. I think RR’s bigger beef may be that she is a Creationist. I know how he feels about those anti-science types.

  11. Count me as one of those who thinks Palin was a great choice. And this comes from someone who regularly votes 3rd Party and may still do so this time around.

    Kingofkaty is correct, unless McCain dies in office on inauguration day, she will be more like an apprentice. So the argument that her inexperience negates Obama’s inexperience is non sequitur.

    Let’s see, which is better, two years in the Senate (or even four), or two years of running the largest state in the union? Yea, I know it’s not the most populous but does that matter? How many governors of more populous states have had to wrestle with oil companies over revenues?

    In fact, I think her two years as governor tops McCain’s years in the Senate. There is one heck of difference between being one of a hundred debating wording of bill and being the one person help responsible for implementing the law and running things.

  12. So McCain’s choice for vice president gives the Obama campaign the argument that the Republican vice presidential candidate is just as inexperienced as their presidential candidate. And that’s a winning argument for the Democrats … how?

  13. When i heard the female governor of Alaska had been chosen, the first thoughts I had were, will she be another Harriet Miers? Because of the Obama/ Clinton dust up, I can see the appeal to have a woman as a VP pick for Republicans. But in a close race like this, I think McCain would have done better to have chosen someone with a proven, quality track record.

  14. I’m getting tired of this argument, heard here and elsewhere:

    Dennis Moore said: But if you consider Obama’s experience vs. Palin’s, it’s very easy to argue that she is more qualified to be president. Obama has NOTHING.

    Obama has a degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard, and edited the Law Review there (a big thing for lawyers). He worked in law and community organizing, taught at the University of Chicago law school, spent 8 years in the Illinois state senate, and 4 years in the US Senate. Hardly “nothing”.

    Sarah Palin has a BA in journalism from the University of Idaho, 2 terms on the Wasilla City Council and 2 terms as Wasilla mayor. She served as chair of the Alaska Conservation Commission, and has 1 3/4 years as governor of Alaska.

    As far as national experience goes, Palin has none. The inherent argument I’ve heard so many times, that 1 3/4 years as Alaska governor is more valuable than any amount of US Senate experience (after all, it’s not “executive”), is nonsense. It’s as if US Senators are mere functionaries while a governor is running a huge administration single-handedly. By that argument, Palin is more qualified than McCain to be governor, and I don’t hear Republicans saying that. Heck, Mike Huckabee and Dave Freudenthal (governor of Wyoming) would be more qualified than McCain and Obama.

    This pick looks like a gimmick to me, and I’ll bet I’m not the only one. It shows poorly on McCain’s decision-making, and that’s the main impact a VP choice has on an election. The actual people chosen rarely make a difference, unless one of them goes off the rails. Come November, the VPs will have little impact on who people vote for. But how they were chosen can make a difference.

  15. I like the Mark Steyn

    comments on Palin .

    So you don’t think that a lady who has hunted down moose and bear, took on corruption in her own state, told big oil to buzz off, isn’t capable of staring down the Russians or the Chinese?

    I would remind you also that Margaret Thatcher was a minor MP and Minister of Education when she became the PM of Great Britain.

    Obama is a Chicago machine politician who got where he is by working the system, not by record of accomplishment.

    So please, list 5 things Obama has done. I can rattle off the list of Palin’s accomplishments without even thinking much about it.

  16. “So you don’t think that a lady who has hunted down moose and bear, took on corruption in her own state, told big oil to buzz off, isn’t capable of staring down the Russians or the Chinese?”

    So, going hunting is now to be considered a qualification for President of the United States?

  17. From the Steyn piece:

    real people don’t define “experience” as appearing on unwatched Sunday-morning talk shows every week for 35 years and having been around long enough to have got both the War on Terror and the Cold War wrong. 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).

    Palin IS change and hope. Obama is a poser.

    The “creationist” tag is a slam. It goes back to an off-the-cuff comment she made during a TV interview saying she thought that schools should be at least able to discuss the issue. She isn’t pushing an alternative education program. She’s been a bit busy selling the state jet, cancelling the bridge to nowhere, and actually accomplishing things to mess with a debate on evolution.

  18. Her local papers aren’t even impressed. From today’s Fairbanks newspaper:

    “She has never publicly demonstrated the kind of interest, much less expertise, in federal issues and foreign affairs that should mark a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. Republicans rightfully have criticized the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for his lack of experience, but Palin is a neophyte in comparison; how will Republicans reconcile the criticism of Obama with the obligatory cheering for Palin?…Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it. It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance.”

    Bizarre choice if you ask me. ABC News said it was a last-minute decision and McCain did what he does; he shot from the hip. Looks like his gun misfired.

  19. Thanks for seting me straight anonymous. Wow, Columbia, Harvard, a lawyer, and a community organizer (whatever that is). I’m sure Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Putin are quaking in their boots.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to voting for him, but I need more than his soaring rhetoric of change. I need something concrete. Preferably concrete in the shape of giant cooling towers.

  20. Republicans just crack me up. They complain about Obama’s supposed lack of experience and in the same breath say Palin’s lack of same is no big deal. Really? A heartbeat away from a president who will start at 72 and has had four bouts of cancer? Who has been governor for less than two years and only other experience was in a city of less than six thousand people? Plus has her very own state of Alaska scandal brewing?

    Obama is ready to lead or he wouldn’t be where he is and he beat a Democratic institution in the Clinton machine to do it. There is plenty of material available besides what he presents himself describing his policy positions.

    Wow, using Mark Steyn as a credible resource? Next you’ll be using Limbaugh and Hannity.

  21. “So, going hunting is now to be considered a qualification for President of the United States?”

    Hey, at least she was hunting another species, remember deadeye dick cheney!

    Quite frankly, since I deal in financial things so much(probably too much)it seems to me that the career politicians with ‘experience’ have just about bankrupted us, actually, for all practical purposes, they have…maybe we need someone with less ‘experience’.

  22. I am still stuck on kingofkaty’s comments about “forcing” actress Jeri Ryan to go to sex clubs. Why are we talking about Palin?
    Okay, back to Palin (regrettably), Palin strikes me as okay, but so young and inexperienced, she could actually morph on the job into something different than what her backers want.
    Indeed, I think McCain and Palin could easily raise taxes on America’s wealthiest, despite promises now not to do so. Both could support a vigorous alternative fuels/conservation programs, and the GM Volt. And when it comes down to it, are they really going to outlaw abortion, drill more wells, and beat up gay people? Of course not. The R-Party has already said drilling off Florida iis verboten.
    And we are getting out of Iraq, one way or the other by 2011. Red China is getting the big oil contracts. How do you lke those apples? We spent a trillion and killed off 4,5000 of our best so that Red China could set up shop in Iraq?
    So much for experience counting for poop in foreign policy. Palin can’t do worse than that.
    If McCain wins, he will have to cut deals with a Dem. Congress. We could see a centrist presidency very easily.
    I do worry about anybody who takes creationism seriously, indeed so seriously that she has it inflicted on children.
    Church and state should always be seperate. End of story. Period. My religion, your religion, anybody’s religion.
    I also wonder about any parent with a four-month-old baby, who decides to run for the White House. Is she wet-nursing that baby? She should be. That’s just wacky. Have a baby and run for the White House, all in a season.
    What a choice. This election is a house on fire, every day. Amazing.
    By the way, the oil bull looks deader than a doornail.

  23. The other part.

    If they picked Romney, that would have shored up McCains admitted weakness in economic policy.

    Meanwhile with Palin, he isn’t getting jack on economics.


    Toss in that she:

    1. Thinks evolution doesn’t exist
    2. Thinks manmade climate change doesn’t exist
    3. Thinks that even if a girl is raped, that it should be a federal crime if she were to have an abortion.


    To top it all off, this is just hilarious.

    “Palin: As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?”

    How freaking clueless can you get 😛

  24. She has more executive experience than Obama in the same way that a McDonald’s manager has more executive experience than the VP at a Fortune 500 company.

  25. As the above debate kinda reveals, the base will generally always vote for their candidate. The question is how many loose independants did the VP picks shake from the tree?

    Biden was a ho-hum old guard pick, unlikely to swing many votes to Obama. Palin is a wildcard pick. [People are saying it throws out the ‘experience’ question, it also throws out Obama’s “Change” message.] This pick is gonna throw things heavily one way or the other in the end.

    It’s too soon to tell which way this swings the votes outside the base, but if she manages to stand up under scrutiny, McCain just played the best poker hand in national politics in a long time.

    The anti-big oil line she has is just the icing on the cake for McCain.

    Should be a lot of fun to watch.

    May the best.. team win!

  26. anon..”She has more executive experience than Obama in the same way that a McDonald’s manager has more executive experience than the VP at a Fortune 500 company”…there are some problems with this analogy.

    Obama (and Hillary and Biden) have NO executive experience beyond running a senate office staff. McCain doesn’t have much more, but at least he ran a training squadron for a while. None of these experiences correspond to a VP at GE, for example, who is running an entire business and several thousand people, or even to a functional VP at GM who is running five manufacturing plants and also several thousand people. The Obama experience is more analogous to someone just out of business school who has a VP title, but it’s VP of some corporate staff function, without measurement or accountability. I personally would be disinclined to pick such an individual as a CEO or General Manager of any substantial business.

  27. ==Biden was a ho-hum old guard pick, unlikely to swing many votes to Obama.==

    That depends.
    For people who are of a military persuasion, Biden is a pretty amazing pick.

    When the Pakistan Benezir Bhutto thing flared up, who’s the first US official they called? Biden.

    When the George/Russia Conflict flared up, who’s the first US official they called? Biden.

    Biden has even more Senate experience than McCain does. And he is about as principled as you can possibly get for a Senator. (Consequentially, also the poorest senator)


    While I admit he’s not fireworks, he certainly is a rather strong choice.

    Besides which, Obama has plenty of Style.

    Biden however brings the depth of profound Substance.

    Combined, you get the whole package deal over everything you could possibly ask for from the executive office.

  28. ==Obama (and Hillary and Biden) have NO executive experience beyond running a senate office staff. McCain doesn’t have much more, but at least he ran a training squadron for a while.==

    Yeah, McCain also crashed 4 planes, graduated 5th from last in his class, and his “training squad” was never actually deployed while he was in charge of it.

    And of course, the only reason he got the position in the first place was because of his Dad. Admiral McCain Senior. (Kind of like how George Bush got into Yale on a C- average GPA)

    Hardly something claim as a “strong” point in his resume.

  29. GreyFlcn you said “Biden however brings the depth of profound Substance.”

    I don’t think Biden offers the substance that voters (democrats in particular) are looking for

    Did Biden have a hand in worsening the mortgage crisis?

    Experts say hundreds of thousands of Americans may have lost their homes due to a bill championed by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., Barack Obama’s vice-presidential running mate.

    But the 2005 law Biden championed made it more expensive and more difficult to declare bankruptcy, experts conclude. That forced hundreds of thousands of distressed homeowners to sell their homes, or default on their mortgages, after which the bank would sell their former home, according to the studies. That flood of homes going up for sale in an already-weakening market further depressed home prices, according to the two reports, snowballing into the current crisis.


  30. I find myself at the same point I always seem to come to in presidential election season: Not liking either of my choices. In 2000, I liked neither Bush nor Gore. In 2004, I liked neither Bush nor Kerry. In 2008, I like neither Obama or McCain. Both have major baggage from my perspective.


  31. You really should stick to chemical engineering. You just don’t do enough research before you opine on other topics.

  32. Robert,

    I think the best description of most presidential elections is that

    …choosing between candidates is like choosing between hitting yourself in the knee with a sledgehammer or slamming your hand in the car door…

    I think the Palin was the best available VP candidate for mccain. I think it is fair to say that fact shows how shallow the republican bench is.

    I think the fact that these are the candidates we ended up with (democrat and republican) shows we have a fairly dysfunctional political system.

    Too much slogan chucking to little informative discussion. The media driven attempts to deal with complex issues by using 15 second sound bites is a big part of the problem.


  33. You really should stick to chemical engineering. You just don’t do enough research before you opine on other topics.

    What’s to research? Seriously? The subject is whether or not Palin is friendly to big oil, as some have asserted. She has not been. And all apologetics aside, she is in no way ready to be president. I think that will become abundantly clear after the dust settles, especially when the debates start. But I guess “more research” would lead me to the “right answer.” At least whatever anonymous thinks the right answer is.

    And while broad-based insults are certainly much appreciated (and add a great deal to the discussion), perhaps next time you could point out something that was actually in error?


  34. OK, I dare you to watch this video interview of Gov. Palin discussing energy issues with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo. This is one smart lady who knows her stuff. Around the 7:30 mark she explains the relationship between “Big Oil” and Alaska. It is clear that she takes her job representing Alaska’s interests very seriously.

    She speaks passionately without the “uhs” and “ands” that Obama uses when he doesn’t have his teleprompter.

    BTW – I didn’t know that Biden voted against the Trans Alaskan Pipeline. Biden is going to have his hands full during the debate.

  35. I searched the R-Squared Energy Blog. It seems I was the first person here to post about Gov. Palin. I have admired both her and Gov. Bobby Jindal (who I have met twice).

  36. mtbiker – non sequeter.

    Compare Palin to Obama. I couldn’t find the original link to the story. Obama wants to end Big Oil . It seems that Obama’s energy policy could have been written by No wonder, Jason Grumet, Obama’s energy advisor hails from Brown and Harvard. Providence, Rhode Island isn’t exactly the center of the energy universe.

  37. As far as I can see Obama does not have a lot of legislative / policy accomplishments to showcase for his experience.

    I’m willing to be persuaded but his record looks pretty thin.

    He has a good academic record but the record is replete with examples of people who were brilliant in the academy and catastrophically inept when trying to function in a non academic setting.

    I think it can be reasonably argued that Palin’s experience and credentials are superior to Obama’s.

    And Palin is not at the top of the republican ticket.


  38. Non sequeter? I don’t know what you mean. Oh, non sequitur. I get it, quite cheeky.

    Actually, I am not sure how anyone with a straight face can defend republican policies of the last few years. Low tax revenues + big spending = deficits. Two disastrous wars in the middle east while ignoring Israel/Palestine. Deregulation of markets (Phil and Wendy Gramm) to the point of near collapse. Tell me when to stop.

  39. greyflcn – and his “training squad” was never actually deployed while he was in charge of it.

    Well, duh! A training squadron doesn’t deploy.

    kingofkaty – I don’t know if she has hunted bear too but I like your comment.

  40. mtbiker – ok I can't spell. I was watching college football and typing.

    I'm not defending Republican policies. But the right formula is:

    lower taxes = higher revenues + even higher spending = bigger deficits

    Bush took office in 2001. The USUu Treasury took in slightly less than $2 T. In 2003 & 2004 receipts were down slightly owing to the attacks of 9/11 and the resulting economic slowdown. In 2007 the Treasury took in $2.5 T. But spending went (partly the war, but mostly increased domestic spending) up at a greater rate.

    When Republicans start acting like Democrats, you might as well elect the real thing. Which is what happened in 2006.

    But Obama's plan sounds like this:

    higher taxes = lower revenues + higher spending = massive deficits

  41. Grey – can you list for me 5 accomplishments of Senator Obama that wouuld make him qualified for POTUS?

    1. He’s a constitutional scholar, at the top of his class at Harvard
    2. One of his first bills in the Senate was spearheading Nuclear anti-proliferation
    3. The policy he’s chosen on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have so far proved to be right, with an overwhelming majority of Military officials now backing him. (And grudgingly even the Bush administration)
    4. He took out Hillary Clinton, a candidate with gigantic name recognition on her side, by running a campaign that required a highly professionals degree of logistical/executive skill.
    5. He authored and passed the federal bill that made it so that you can’t be a federal Lobbyist, right after holding a Federal Congressional position.
    6. He’s met personally with the leaders of nearly every major nation.
    7. He just spoke before a crowd of 80,000 people, with a TV audience of 38 million.

    8. He knows how to use a Computer

  42. ==But Obama’s plan sounds like this: higher taxes = lower revenues + higher spending = massive deficits==

    A majority of the GDP created by the American economy comes from Medium Sized businesses.

    Obama wants to cut taxes for 95% of Americans. Infact 3x more tax cuts for that group of people than McCain proposes.

    On the flip side, the taxes on the upper 5% will go up. As well as moving the capital gains tax back to where it was in 1992.

    Furthermore, Obama understand the critical value of infrastructure and efficiency. Which creates roughly a return on investment of 7x.

    Lastly, we’re spending 12 billion dollars a month in Iraq. 1.4 million dollars per hour.

    One would think that is being a drain on our economy.


    And as for “Who creates more debt”.

    Here’s some charts for America, and for Canada.

    There’s a pretty obvious trend.

  43. US elections.. *yawn*

    The only material difference between the parties is their logos. It’s just a circus to make people think they actually have a choice.

  44. Grey – you prove my point. Obama is light on accomplishments. If you have to include “he is popular” as an accomplishments, then he hasn’t done much.

    His claim that he will only raise taxes on the top 5% is a lie. He wants to remove the payroll limit on Social Security taxes. That kicks in at about $100,000 in wages. There are a lot of “working people” that make $100k when you factor in overtime and other benefits. That is an increase in taxes. These increases are not needed now as the Social Security system is taking in more in revenues than it is paying out.

  45. Kingofkaty,
    The idea that tax cuts on the rich produce higher tax revenues is a fallacy, proven so by both Reagan and Bush II. So is the idea that Democtrat presidents are always tax and spend liberals. Reagan and Bush II tax revenues went down before the went up but never reached the point where they would have been if the tax cuts were never made. You can see this for yourself on the CBO website.

    Clinton’s spending as a percentage of GDP is the lowest of any president in recent memory. Couple this with his and Bush I’s tax increases and you get budget surpluses.

    Obama’s economic team includes Austan Goolsbee from the University of Chicago, not exactly a hotbed of liberal economic thinking. And Jason Furman, a protege of Robert Rubin, love him or hate him, who championed deficit reduction to Clinton.

  46. King:
    •We spend $1 trillion on Iraq, a nation of 20 million people. That’s 50k per man, woman and cjild.
    •We lose 4,500 soldiers, many more wounded.
    •We install an Islamic government to replace the secular one that was there before.
    •The new Islamic Iraq is very friendly towards Iran (both Shia) and gives the first big, multi-billion oil contracts to Red China.

    What part of this should be rewarded?

    I will say this: Palin could not do worse, even if McCain croaks at the Inaugural Ball.

  47. ==His claim that he will only raise taxes on the top 5% is a lie. He wants to remove the payroll limit on Social Security taxes. That kicks in at about $100,000 in wages. There are a lot of “working people” that make $100k when you factor in overtime and other benefits==

    What would you say if they exempted those who earn inbetween $102,000 and $250,000 from rate increases, and only increased taxes on those above $250,000?


    ==These increases are not needed now as the Social Security system is taking in more in revenues than it is paying out.==

    And what would happen if you have a whole generation of people started reaching retirement age soon, one might think that would increase the rate we need to pay-out social security by quite a lot.

    ==Grey – you prove my point. Obama is light on accomplishments. If you have to include “he is popular” as an accomplishments, then he hasn’t done much.==

    Compared to Palin, it’s like comparing a fresh college graduate and a preschooler.

    She has zero national or international experience.
    And only minor state and local experience.

    Especially when you consider the miniscule scale, and seclusion of Alaskan politics.

    And her only formal education is an undergraduate degree in Journalism, and minor in Political Science.


    Now while 3 years of national experience, 7 years of state experience, 3 years as a civil rights lawyer, and President of the Harvard Law Review, is relatively small compared to McCain.

    All Palin brings to the table is 18 months of state experience, from a small state.
    And 2 years local experience from a small town.
    And hardly any formal education.


    It’s hardly true to say that these two are “equivalent” when it comes to experience or capability.

  48. However. Even if they didn’t exempt those inbetween $102,000 and $250,000.

    At worst, that would affect 6% of the US population.

    Which frankly is splitting hairs when you start arguing tax cuts for 95% of Americans versus 94% of Americans.


    As is, McCain thinks you’re “Middle Class” if you are within the lower 99.5% of Americans. (i.e. Earning less than $5 million dollars a year)

  49. Would you rather have a person with “experience” or a person with good judgement and the strength of character to oppose the typical tax and spend habits of government?

    The Bush dynasty has “experience”.

    I rest my case.

    Besides…every administration goes into office with hundreds of advisors and aides.

  50. The comments here have totally clarified, for me, what this pick is all about. When her lack of experience is brought up, it only highlights Obama’s own lack of experience. She is a heartbeat away and he is a vote away.

    Obama supporters then try to show that he is actually much more quallified, Columbia, Harvard, Harvard Law Review…Whoops here comes the elitism charge. This worked against Gore and Kerry. It is OK to be ivy league, but you cannot act ivy league (see exhibit W).

    Now they try to tear her down, she has a lowly undergraduate degree from an unknown university in a middle of nowhere state. She was just a mother on the PTA, not nearly as important as a community organizer, then she got on the city council and then was elected mayor, not nearly as important as state senator (voting present), then she was elected governor of the state, but again not nearly as important as US senator…the happily married guys know where this is going. What about equal pay for equal work?

    Because everyone who even remotely understands women and the equal pay issue understands that it is not about pay at all, it is about respect. And the crap I’ve been reading here like the Palin=McDonalds manager, Obama=Fortune 500 VP, or describing her as having almost no formal education, is the kind of crap that could potentially blow this election, that has all but been handed to Obama, wide open.

    It is a brilliant pick, McCain just handed out the shovels, and the greyflcns of the world immediately started digging. The republicans need someone like Biden to start digging too. He does occasionally have a short circut between his brain and his mouth, so this is possible. He needs to be very carefull.

    Of course Obama will still win.

  51. Dennis Moore – BINGO.

    In the 3 days since the Palin VP announcement, liberals have gone nuts with some of the most vile and cruel rumors about her, none of which I would dignify by repeating here.

    The Palin pick obviously has gotten under their skin. If she is such a lightweight and no threat to them, there would be no reason for the vicious attacks on her character.

  52. You are thinking of the stupid factor. I am thinking of the “unknown with little experience placed a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

    Actually, Quayle had far more experience than Palin or Obama. 12 years national office (8 Senate, 4 House) plus a half dozen years in the state bureaucracy.

    Obama chose a VP with experience to compensate for his lack thereof. McCain chose a social conservative with youth and beauty to offset his shortcomings.

  53. I liked comparison of Biden and Palin on oil resources .

    And this on Sarah Palin vs. Barack Obama , obviously from a conservative point of view.

    Funny how Grey doesn’t list among Obama’s accomplishments all the good things he did for his constituents while he was an IL state senator – other than funneling state money to Tony Rezko and other developers who were supposed to use it for low income housing.

    Or maybe all he has done for his half-brother in Africa.

  54. “So you don’t think that a lady who has hunted down moose and bear, took on corruption in her own state, told big oil to buzz off, isn’t capable of staring down the Russians or the Chinese?”

    This statement is totally insane, and really King, you should sit back and think about what part of your brain it came from.

    It is certainly an anti-intellectual argument, that all we need to beat Putin is someone tough to ‘stare him down’.

    Our problem with Putin isn’t just that he’s tough, it’s that he’s smart and understands international strategies short and long term.

    Now maybe if Palin had said she was ready to bring back the Bush I team to deal with Putin, we might have something to sink our teeth into … but because she hunted moose?

    Because Putin is no tougher than corrupt old Republicans?

  55. BTW, the answer is pretty easy to “does Obama have enough experience?”

    It is “yes, because he won a national primary.” He was judged by however many people to have the experience. Biden scored his primary votes as well.

    Palin has many pluses and I might be willing to vote for her in some circumstances, but the risk in this kind of “left field” choice is that she hasn’t had that kind of examination and vote.

    McCain picked her, and Party stalwarts step up to say sure, she is a player on the national scale …

    But ask yourself, why wasn’t she in the 2008 Republican Primary? Would you really have argued that she was ready, this year?

  56. 3rd idea: there was obviously some electoral math on the McCain side. I’m sure they knew that this choice would sit less well with a centrist Republican like me – but maybe they counted me lost to Obama anyway.

    Maybe they knew this would fire up the very hard right evangelical Republican wing.

    OK, as we see in the blogs, it has.

    I’d like to think that means McCain has lost – because it is WAY too late to be locking down your base. This is the point when you are supposed to be reaching for the middle, the independents, the swing votes.

    Authentic swing voters are not going to be talking like King above, or be excited in quite the way his (“hunt moose, win at global strategy, same thing”).

  57. odograph, the electoral math is simple. McCain is behind. Fighting against the blunders of our current administration is too steep a hill for anyone to climb.

    Also, he is fighting against a historic candidate in Obama. Obama also has big media (BM) on his side. He has unbiased reporters literally cheering for him at campain events. I saw one BM reporter covering Obama being interviewed and I thought I was watching a pre-teen girl describing her favorite backstreet boy (I am too old to know who the current heart-throbs are).

    So who does he pick? A safe smart pick will gaurantee him second place. He is playing a wild card. It probably won’t work, but it is worth a try. He is going to need some help from democrats to pull this off.

  58. Odo – I was joking around.

    McCain has never appealed that much to the conservative base. Palin is a twofer pick. She is a maverick, like McCain, taking on her own party; and she has been described as “Reagan in a dress”.

    Obama has NEVER stood up to his party or the machine policians that elected him. If you think that Chicago politics is the way to run the US, then Obama is your man.

    Look at the Daily KOS smear machine and the crap they are slinging at the Palin family and the Palin kids. Is it any wonder that it is difficult to get good people to run for elective office.

  59. Her resume doesn’t look much worse than the top of the other ticket. McCain’s not in ill health so maybe y’all should put the obituaries back in the drawer for a few years? If McCain wins, she’ll have plenty of time to get the “experience” she lacks with national and international matters while in the VP job. If not, she’ll have up to 8 years to beef up her national credentials (assuming she wants to), perhaps as Ted Stevens’ replacement in the Senate. Reading the personal and professional details, Palin sounds like exactly the sort of forthright, courageous, and independent person that Obama is not. Maybe McCain picked her because he just plain likes her.

  60. Palin has had her critics in Alaska. She faced bitter opposition from the more conservative members of Alaska’s legislature over the tax increases. And many in the bureaucracy feel that without the oil companies’ cooperation, the pipeline will never get built, since oil companies still own the gas under their lease of the North Slope. And now that TransCanada has bid for the pipeline, Alaska is committed to covering up to $500 million of its costs regardless of whether the pipe gets built.

  61. Palin/Jindal ticket in 2012 looks very interesting indeed.

    All this trash talk about Palin is hurting your own cause, lefties. Give it up and try to get back to the issues if you are capable of it.

    Robert, you managed to get a lot of comments, but if your intent was a discussion of Palin and big oil, you missed your target.

    As for Obama? Bow down before the one. Give him your money and your guns. Our saviour, our saviour, Obama, Obama, give him a country that makes his wife proud!

  62. OK King, sorry I missed the joke.

    FWIW, I the more cautious responses to Palin, even on the conservative side, are the reasonable ones.

    And on Obama, I think I buy the argument that he is an economic centrist, which is what I’m looking for, that an a break from the anti-democratic Presidency crafted by the Republicans surrounding Bush.

    … maybe McCain would like to repudiate some of that, but the fact that he can’t might be the reason he has to go down. The Party doesn’t have its head straight.

  63. “As for Obama? Bow down before the one. Give him your money and your guns. Our saviour, our saviour, Obama, Obama, give him a country that makes his wife proud!”

    This might seem like a non-sequitur, but do you ever wake up early in the morning, flip TV channels, and see ads for 600 pc knife sets? Complete with “authentic” swords?

    Ever wonder who on earth buys these things, and how there could possibly be enough of them in the US(!) to make the ads pay?

    Well, the knife-buying, authentic-sword-buying demographic is out in force, and they’ve got their candidate.

    It isn’t mine. I don’t think the overlap between old Buckley conservatives and sword-buyers is too high.

    The scary thing might be that we’ve somehow created enough mass-idiocy (aluminum in the beer cans?) to make this work.

  64. I don’t think that’s as big as this:

    Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old , unmarried daughter is five months pregnant, the campaign has announced. Hoping to quell internet rumors about about her youngest son, Palin released the news about her daughter Bristol earlier today.


  65. You bet it’s crazy, odograph. The nut-focques were out in force claiming that Governor Palin’s son Trig was actually the Governor’s daughter’s child. Big scandal, huh? But only if the girl is able to bear two children at once, in “staggered” pregnancies! Idiots.

    As for Obama’s “ bow down before the one . . . ” that’s from a pretty cool music video put out by the Obama campaign. Just kidding. It was put together by that silly wascal Glenn Beck.

  66. See conservatives Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough belittling the idea of Palin as VP. Of course this was before the announcement. They were laughing about her experience relative to Obama’s, and Scarborough at one point said “That won’t work.” Funny how the conservatives are now downplaying her inexperience.

    Pat and Joe Ripping on Palin

    Comments like “real risk”, “not ready to be Commander in Chief”, “hard to believe”, and “condescending to women” are peppered throughout. Worth a listen.

    R2 is right. After a week or so, this is going to look like an increasingly bad choice for McCain. Skeletons are already coming out of closets.

  67. It seems that the looney left just sling whatever they can at Sarah Palin hoping some of it might stick. Now she gets pounded for doing her job.

    Grey – do you even read the articles you post before you embellish them? The HuffPo piece said Palin fired for “not fully supporting her efforts to govern”, then jumps to the conclusion that it meant that they didn’t support her election. Could it be that they weren’t doing their jobs? Or they didn’t want to follow the direction that Palin wanted to take the town? You left out the part where the Chief sued, and lost. And you forgot the state law that said Palin could fire them for any reason.

    As for taking pork, yes Alaska has been the beneficiary of a lot of earmarks courtesy of Sen Ted Stevens and ex-congressman Don Young. (If you think Alaska is bad go to West Virginia and Robert Byrd country.) There is a difference between mayors and governors trying to get federal dollars for their towns and state and congressman and senators dolling out the money as political favors or to campaign donors.

    Unless Palin was involved in some pork scandal or benefitted personally in some way, I don’t see the big problem. She is playing within the rules set up by congress. I hope that her and Senator McCain make earmark reform a part of their campaign. McCain doesn’t do earmarks.

    Compared to Joe Biden, D-Amtrak, Palin hardly takes the prize for transportation earmarks. (That would be Biden’s son Hunter Biden on the board of Amtrak, who is the beneficiary of all that Biden pork.)

  68. I don’t really consider this about Palin, though I can see how the hard right would want to frame it that way.

    This is about McCain, his vetting process, and his risk-taking.

  69. Strange how completely tone-deaf to the electorate so many “legends in their own minds” are turning out to be.

    Palin does not represent radical feminists, like Hillary Clinton. She represents the hopes and aspirations of the hordes of ordinary women, who don’t want the same things that radical feminists want. This is political dynamite, and all the morons can think to do with it is question whether Palin’s Down’s syndrome child is really hers, or whether a governor who makes executive decisions every day can be more experienced than a Senator who virtually never makes executive decisions.

    Palin is bigger than you think. When everything you thought you knew was wrong, you just dig in deeper.

  70. A poll for you, Al Fin.

    It is hard for people on the hard left, or the hard right, to remember where the middle is, and how the middle reacts.

    On that note, I thought the phrase spoken on a couple TV channels yesterday was interesting: “even in the best families”

    It’s phrase Rove would have wanted planted, if he’d been on the other side. Yes, this happens even in the best families, but the word “even” sort of highlights the gut reactions about where it “usually” happens.

    Sad, if it is all possible, that Palin and McCain knew this story would come out and walked right into it.

  71. Sarah Palin, as Governor of Alaska, staked out a very tough negotiating position against the oil companies on behalf of the interests of the Alaskan public. It has been so long since we have had anyone in any high government position actually be a tough negotiator for the public interest that it seems strange and shocking to us to actually see it in action. Personally, I find it refreshing. I am not anti-big-oil, but to my way of thinking, businesses should have to negotiate their deals rather than have things handed to them on a silver platter (with a little bit of silver put back into politician's pockets). We've had far too much of that old way of doing business.

    As for the experience thing, she has run a business, a city, and a state. Obama, and Biden and McCain for that matter, have mostly only run their mouths. I consider Sarah Palin to be the only one of the four to really be even remotely qualified for the Presidency.

    I don't know why people have gotten this idea that service in the Senate is adequate preparation for the Presidency. The jobs could not be more different. We have only had two senators become president directly (without first having been VP) in the last century – JFK & Harding. I know people idolize JFK, but the fact is that he was grossly unprepared and made huge mistakes. Exhibit A: Bay of Pigs fisaco. Exhibit B: Vietnam Coup & engagement. Exhibit C: Exhibited weakness to Soviets at Vienna summit, leading to Cuban Missile Crisis and very nearly to WWIII (yes, he successfully avoided Armeggedon, but just by the skin of our teeth). Exhibit D: Sitting quietly in the White House and doing nothing while unarmed American citizens were having full-blast fire hoses and attack dogs turned on them down south. As for Harding, if I mentioned Teapot Dome, I have just mentioned exactly everything you need to know about his unregretably short tenure in office.

    Stefan Stackhouse

  72. Stefan brings the thread back OT!

    If you listen to the CNBC interview I linked she talks about representing Alaska’s interests (as opposed to her own political interests). That might be the key to understanding Palin. She is qualified for VP because she is actually doing her job!

    What a concept! Let’s see, Obama spends 150 days in the Senate, doesn’t accomplish all that much, then runs for the POTUS!

    But wait – now he considers himself qualified BECAUSE (I kid you not) he is running a succesful presidential campaign. Therefore from now on, ANYONE, who can get the nomination need not worry about what they’ve done in the past. According to Obama, running a campaign MAKES you qualified.

  73. Funny, my reaction was that Stephen was still in last week’s conversation.

    Tell me King, did McCain pick the best possible VP for the Republican party?

    Straight question.

  74. McCain did a hell of a lot better with his pick than Obama the messiah. Joe Biden? Gosh, how stupid. No business experience, no executive experience, no military experience. Just a gray pompous ass career politician, career senator. Excuse me for my eructations in response.

  75. Odo – If best means the best choice to help him win, then yes. He picked someone that could energize conservatives, help the party raise money and could shake things up. If the campaign theme turns towards corruption and pork barrel spending then he made a really good choice.

    BTW – somebody posted earlier that Pat Buchanan had dissed the pick, or maybe not: Buchanan said this:

    For his boldness in choosing Palin, McCain deserves enormous credit. He has made an extraordinary gesture to conservatives and the party base, offering his old antagonists a partner’s share in his presidency. And his decision is likely to be rewarded with a massive and enthusiastic turnout for the McCain-Palin ticket. Rarely has this writer encountered such an outburst of enthusiasm on the right.

    Besides, a Biden – Palin debate is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

  76. I also found a nice summary of Palin’s oil tax changes:
    The Facts on Gov. Palin’s Oil Tax in Alaska – Reversing Corruption

    It is a good summary of the changes in the taxes. SHe does something I’ve advocated here. The taxes are structured in a way that rates are higher when prices are high, but are greatly reduced when prices are low. The taxes also encourage more production rather than raising marginal tax rates on income (as in the Dem’s windfall profits tax).

  77. I’ve been watching the top “McCain” news stories at Google News all day. Spending a news cycle defending his vetting is probably not what he intended.

    Having his VP’s daughter as the most-viewed story at People magazine probably was not either.

    The old guy went One Campaign Too Far. He would have been a great President in 2000. In 2008 … not so much.

    (Note that soring up your base is what you do in the beginning, ideally well before the Convention. That way you can come out of it with a solid pitch to the middle, the Independents. It’s almost tragic the way that did not happen.)

  78. BTW, maybe the tragedy for the Republicans is that old-McCain could have won, but within their party, they can’t let him be old-McCain.

    He has to be born-again McCain.

  79. Odograph,

    Palin was an excellent choice.

    In one pick mccain aligned the interests of the evangelical, libertarian, and fiscal conservative wings of the republican party with his campaign.

    The pick provided a great opportunity for the mainstream media ( a wholly owned subsidiary of the obama campaign) and the netroots to have a disgusting slime slinging fest that continues to be breathtaking to behold.

    I suspect this slime slinging fest is going to boomerang back on obama and alienate a lot of voters who would have otherwise voted for mccain.

    Furthermore it emphasizes the point that mister change we can believe in selected the ultimate Washington insider (Biden D MBNA credit card companies) to be his vice president.

    The ball is now in Palin’s court. If she does a decent job in the next two weeks mccain’s judgment will be vindicated.


  80. The palin selection has provided one other huge benefit to mccain.

    It has brought obama’s utter lack of any management experience into sharp focus.

    This has left Obama and his supporters (I’m looking at you greyflcn) in the rather ridiculous and untenable position of attempting to say (without bursting into laughter) that the fact he is running for president makes him qualified to be president.

    Which leaves me RFLMAO.

    Experience? Why I’ve run a multi-million dollar campaign!

    This, folks, is Barack Obama’s own explanation as to why he has “more experience” as a PRESIDENTIAL candidate than his opponents VICE PRESIDENTIAL candidate:

    “OBAMA: Well, you know, my understanding is, is that Governor Palin’s town of Wasilla has, I think, 50 employees. We have got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month.”

    A) She hasn’t been the mayor of Wasilla for a few years now, but she is currently the governor of Alaska.

    B) As Byron York reminds us, “Just for the record, Alaska’s FY2008 operating budget is $11.2 billion, and the state employs approximately 15,000 people.”

    So C) it would appear that Obama’s Republican critics may be on to something.

    More pathetic than that, though, is that his only claim to “executive experience” is running for office. And he makes a dishonest comparison to boot.

    Of course when you add the proper numbers to the equation (she’s been running Alaska as long as he’s been running for president), he comes out on the short end of the comparison.

    What a surprise.


  81. Odograph – the “McCain didn’t vet Palin” must be the Democrat Party talking point of the day.

    I guess sliming the Palin family didn’t work out so well for them.

  82. The problem with being an extremist (what’s your scores?) is the danger of believing your own BS.

    A solid question regarding vetting can become a talking point, yes. It can also play in the mainstream.

  83. For those that are dismissing Palin’s experience, since when is running a state as the governor an entry level job out of college?

    As far as I know, governors do spend time negotiating trade deals with foreign countries (think maybe the state of Alaska deals with Russia on occasion?), governors also normally command the state’s National Guard, and typically have the responsibilities of balancing the state’s budget on their shoulders, among other executive duties.

    Are you dismissing it because it’s Alaska? Somehow the complexities of a 600k person state are that different than the rest of the country? Have you been to Alaska?

    I personally feel governors make better candidates for president than guys that have been in Congress that have hid behind voting the party line.

    Can’t wait for the debates…

  84. King,

    Palin’s firings of Wasilla Department Heads were for purely political reasons, as far as I know.

    Sarah Barracuda is the nickname she picked-up in captaining her team to a state small school round ball championship. A lot of people here don’t see much reason to call her anything else. She’s had a charmed political life; external factors have fallen exactly her way.

    Today, Alaskans learned she’d Lawyered-up 10 days ago on “TrooperGate”. Last month. the 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats of the State’s Legislative Council (the Alaska legislature’s standing Committee between sessions) unanimously voted for an investigation of her abusing power in trying to get her sister’s ex fired from the State Troopers. (The ninth Republican on the Council is facing Federal Trial for bribery).

    The Palin tactical position seems to be to try to keep this under the rug until November. She’s on record backing away from previous statements about her culpability, and the case against he looks quite strong.

    I talked a bit with my state representative two weeks ago, before Palin went national. Actually I offered to work on his re-election campaign, but he said it didn’t seem he had much opposition. He’s a fiscally conservative Democrat, who seems just to want to make sensible government work and mostly voted Palin’s way in the 2 years they’ve both been in office.

    I asked what he thought of Palin, really only in passing. His take was she was a real “hands-on” manager, and wasn’t too good at it.

  85. So Pat Buchanan, who thought Palin would be a disaster before she was picked, now thinks she is a great pick? Well I will be damned. Who could have seen that coming?

  86. Whitebeard – Palin’s firings of Wasilla Department Heads were for purely political reasons, as far as I know.

    And even if they were, she did nothing wrong. Alaska law gives her the authority to hire of fire these positions at will. Firing a couple of people is nothing compared to firing whole departments and then loading them up with your cronies who mostly just work on your campaign at the taxpayers expense. That is the Chicago way.

    She’s had a charmed political life; external factors have fallen exactly her way.

    The same could be said about Barry Obama. His mentor Alice Walker vacates her state senate seat to run for congress but Jesse Jackson, Jr. runs also. Barry’s Democrat opponent folds when nasty divorce records are unsealed by a judge. Barry’s Republican opponent folds when his divorce records are unsealed by a different judge. Barry wins US Senate virtually unopposed. Barry wins Iowa caucus pushing Hillary Clinton to third place because the press refuses to investigate rumors of John Edwards affair. (Compare and contrast the press’s disinterest in Edwards private life to their investigation of Palin and her daughter.) The early Clinton loss enables the Obama campaign to pick up momentum and run up an early insurmountable lead. Add to that the fawning mainstream press coverage of Obama. If it isn’t already obvious, compare the cover stories in US Weekly on Barry & Michelle in June vs. this week's cover of Gov. Palin.

    Charmed political life? Yes his name is Obama.

    Today, Alaskans learned she’d Lawyered-up 10 days ago on “TrooperGate”.

    And that attorney prepared a 13-page affidavit giving Palin’s side of the story and asking the ethics commission to clear her name. What would you have done if someone were smearing you? Getting a lawyer to help defend you seems like the right thing to do.

    Last month. the 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats of the State’s Legislative Council (the Alaska legislature’s standing Committee between sessions) unanimously voted for an investigation of her abusing power in trying to get her sister’s ex fired from the State Troopers.

    An investigation that Gov. Palin is cooperating with fully. In fact the Democrat leading the investigation said they would not need subpeopnas because the Gov. was cooperating. The accusation is that Gov. Palin fired Commissioner Walt Monegan because he refused to fire a state trooper that was threatening the Palin family. But here is the quote:

    “For the record, no one ever said fire Wooten. Not the governor. Not Todd. Not any of the other staff …” – former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, Anchorage Daily News, August 30, 2008.

    For most of us, that would be then end of the story. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for those conducting the Palin witch trials.

  87. I voted Libertarian in the last election, not that my vote matters one whit out here on the left coast. I’d consider myself a conservative in the classic sense, and I haven’t seen much to like from either party since Reagan.

    As much as the left loves to hate Bush, he’s been an absolute disaster for us conservatives as well. He’s set back the cause of limited government by a generation with an ill-considered and costly war and his gushing budget deficits. He’s made no progress on defusing the biggest ticking budget bomb we have (health care). And, to the subject of this blog, he’s been unwilling or unable to bring the Democrats along on an obvious compromise on energy policy – let’s face it, we’re in trouble and we need to do it all: conservation, solar, wind, nuclear, and more domestic oil and gas.

    All that said, McCain’s not bad on most of the issues. Neither was Clinton (too bad the Democrats dumped her for the silver-tongued Obama) or Gore (too bad he lost to Bush). I think McCain’s energy policy is most in line with mine. Hopefully Palin will bring him around on ANWR and he’ll bring her around on global warming. My biggest ding on McCain is that he’s switched horses on the budget problem. Realistically, we need to roll the tax rates back to Clinton-era levels to balance the budget. A lesser ding is that I don’t think his health care plan is sufficient (neither is Obama’s) – even though I’m generally conservative, I’ve reluctantly concluded that we need to go Hillary’s way on health care, or face runaway costs that will sink our economy in our children’s lifetimes.

    Obama strikes me as a poor choice. Little experience, poll-driven thinking, and generally socialist inclinations. His social security tax grab will be crushing, especially if you’re a business owner and have to pay both ends of it. The protectionist trade rhetoric is also scary, though perhaps he doesn’t mean it (which is in a way even scarier). We can’t be competitive in the world by closing ourselves off. I worry that he’s going to try to pay off his base in the unions with more Chicago-style featherbedding. Finally, on energy policy, I don’t think his plans, drawn straight from the NRDC, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace, are going to work. He blasts McCain for wanting to drill, saying it won’t have any effect for 10 years. How long before his conservation and renewables only plan takes effect? We have to get through the next 10-20 years as we transition to the future he’s outlined, and we’re going to need more oil and gas to get there. He’s also waffling shamelessly on nuclear power. The good news: it looks like gas production from shale (ironically thanks to high nat gas prices) and (again ironically) Palin’s gas pipeline will allow us to keep the lights on with nat gas while we find out if Obama’s plan works or not.

    There, I feel better – nothing like a good rant to clear your mind in the morning!

  88. For some sense of where Obama comes from, read Chicago Democratic Machine

    Obama emerged from the patronage machine politics of Harold Washington. Perhaps a milder version of the old Daley machine or the NY Boss Tweed machine, but a machine nonetheless.

    And you worry about Palin firing a librarian and a police chief?

  89. ~ “So, going hunting is now to be considered a qualification for President of the United States?”

    It served Teddy Roosevelt pretty well.

  90. So how does TR compare to Sarah Palin?

    TR was Asst. Sec. of the Navy for one year before forming the Rough Riders. Returning from the Spanish-American war a hero, he was elected Gov. of NY, serving just 2 years before being elected VP. Six months later he ascended to the presidency. TR’s only elected experience was 2 years as a gov. Less than Palin’s.

  91. Oh my goodness … it’s circle the wagons time:

    “The chorus began at dawn Wednesday when senior adviser Steve Schmidt released a statement declaring that the campaign would no longer answer questions about its background check of Palin, a little-known governor whose every blemish is being paraded before Americans.”

    I feel sorry for them. They can do no better than those old Bush press conferences, and refuse to answer the question.

    Quite preposterously, they are claiming that any question about the vetting is “sexist” and an attack on Palin.

    Their ship is holed, lower lifeboats.

  92. Odo – TR came from privilege yes. But in the 19th century such people frequently were sent out to work their way up from the bottom rungs of the business or distinguish themselves with military or other service.

    The Palin vetting scandal is entirely driven by the media. Among delegates there is no push to dump Palin. No running away. Watch the video of McCain arriving in MN today. He warmly embraces the Palin family and talks for several minutes with Bristol & her future husband.

    Little wonder that McCain is telling the media to pound sand. Members of the media were calling for DNA testing on Palin's kids to disprove a vicous, unfounded rumour. The media is just embarassing itself now.

  93. I’m sure you realize that “circle the wagons” will play better in-house than with the broader public.

    It’s simply obvious that there is a difference between Palin, and the choice of her.

    The two are separable in a rational discussion. The fact that the GOP (and their folk) want to force a linkage means only one thing: that they know there is danger is a purely rational discussion of the vetting process and quality.

    They know that a discussion of McCain’s gamble is about McCain, but they really don’t want to go there.

    The whole “bad dems” thing is laughable. This is about a misunderstanding of broader American culture. How anyone would (as they claim) choose a VP with a hidden pregnant teen, immediately following the Jamie Lin Spears news-cycle is preposterous.

    It would be the act of a deaf and blind man.

  94. BTW, I’m sure you can come back at me forever, and argue that you, as a Republican partisan, can buy the party line.

    But geez louise, try to imagine yourself as a centrist or an independent for a second.

    The “what was he thinking?” jumps right out at us.

  95. Inconvenient facts:

    “An American Lawyer article out today on the topic asks whether McCain’s timing may have made life difficult for Culvahouse and his team. McCain’s need for discretion and secrecy may have compounded problems. According to the WaPo, Culvahouse was chasing down last-minute information about Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty at the request of the campaign as late as last Thursday, the day McCain offered the job to Palin and she accepted. Culvahouse did not respond to a request for comment made by AmLaw, and did not immediately respond to a call placed by us.”

    From that liberal sh*thouse, the Wall Street Journal

  96. t thats the trick.

    Palin is merely being used as a tool to shift discussion away from topics where McCain is weak, and towards topics where he feels he can be strong.

    i.e. Away from “Rich and out of touch white guys” and making a bee-line straight for Drilling, and Abortion.


    It has absolutely nothing to do with her ability to lead the country.

  97. Odograph – the woman was elected Governor of Alaska. How much more vetting should be required? Are we to believe that Murkowski, the sitting governor she beat in the primary and Tony Knowles, the former Democrat Governor didn’t try to dig up dirt on Palin?

    The pregnant teen thing wasn’t hidden. It seems it was pretty common knowledge in Wasilla and around Alaska. Nobody seemed to care all that much. I haven’t heard anyone but Dems and Palin opponents make a big deal out of it. The daughter and her boyfriend made a mistake, which they are trying to correct. Most of us probably know families in similar situations.

    I haven’t heard pundits question whether it was wise for Joe Biden to take his senate seat when his wife died making Biden a single father with small children. I don’t hear rumors surrounding the Obamas and the parentage of their children.

    How well was Joe Biden vetted? Did anyone look into the lobbying activities of his sons? Anyone raise issues with Biden getting one son on the board of Amtrak?

    For that matter, wasn’t John Edwards being considered at one time as a possible VP?

  98. You are playing a game King.

    I’m sure you can pretend that People magazine ran Bristol’s story on-line because they are “lefties”.

    That does not explain how it got to be their “most read story this week.”

    It is a game that Democrats are driving the media storm. It is a game that the media storm was not obvious, would not have been avoided by any rational would-be President.

  99. Good point.

    Add in complete disregard for Endangered Species, Global Warming, and Evolution for flavor.

    And the whole “OMG She’s stealing Hillary voters” narrative too.


    Meanwhile Barack has his hands tied on making the argument on experience, or that he’s the “Candidate making history”.

    And as for the teen pregnancy thing. It’s possible that might have even been a selling point, considering she’s not getting an abortion. Great for narrative creation and a reason to rally around and support the candidate.


    That said, say did you hear about the $27 billion in pork Palin got for and the $200 billion she got for fiscal year 2008 through Abramoffs lobbying firm. Or how she kept the money from the “bridge to nowhere” project.

    Or that Palin used to be a member of a party which wanted Alaska to break away from America, and become it’s own country.
    With their motto of “My hatred for the American government is hotter than the flames of hell”.

    Good times.

    (And no, I’m not making that stuff up)

  100. (It will actually be interesting to see how well the mainstream press takes to “attack the media” as a answer to “was this responsible vetting?)

  101. “Meanwhile Barack has his hands tied on making the argument on experience, or that he’s the ‘Candidate making history’.”

    Silly. He never ran on experience, he ran on preparation. For the rational, study Constitutional Law and the Harvard Law review, apply.

    As does his state senate time.

    As does his US senate time.

    The “inexperience” thing was always a filtered truth from a fringe element.

  102. I read this one first.

    A more solid Republican friend, and I, agreed that McCain was going “all in” with the Palin choice. That was before anything hit the fan. That was our reaction just based on her being a relatively unknown Alaskan governor.

    It now looks like he’s going “all in” with “blame the media.”

    Poor old guy.

  103. King @ September 03, 2008 4:16 PM

    First, I’m only trying to provide a bit of background for the people reading a blog that I find worth my while to visit, and occasionally comment. I’m not trying to advocate, but introduce some facets of reality as I understand them. I’ve read your comments on the nuts and bolts of energy with much interest, as well as those on the politics surrounding energy, but generally skim when you go pure political.

    I’m pretty much in agreement on the needed policy directions outlined in the Anonymous post following yours that’s addressed to me – except for oil shale (and the implied oil sands) – although I don’t arrive there from a libertarian perspective.

    To Palin:

    She’s clearly smart, and likable. I’ve agreed with her on most issues, until quite recently. She’s dealt with things peculiar to Alaska. I parted ways on her last action in the state this summer. She championed a solution to a real and serious State problem with a blatantly expensive and highly popular policy of sending everyone in the sate a check, rather than targeting the problem. The run-up in oil is devastating to the huge roadless areas of the state where very, very high transport costs run up the cost of every imported product including those used for the hunting, fishing and gathering that supplies a basic diet. In her defense, her proposal was expeditious against a tight timeline.

    “she did nothing wrong [as Mayor of Wasilla]” is kind of an “definition of ‘is’” thing. She didn’t violate the law, but she seemed quite vindictive in victory. I don’t have all the facts at hand, as she wasn’t my mayor, and I don’t closely follow most Mat-Su (that’s her area) issues, like most of the country doesn’t follow, blow by blow, what’s going on in Alaska. She didn’t seem to be Saint Joan, and appears to have left quite a few chared stakes there.

    “And that attorney prepared a 13-page affidavit giving Palin’s side of the story and asking the ethics commission to clear her name. What would you have done if someone were smearing you?”

    King, this is just spin. What’s going on is a move to transfer the investigation to her own administration from the legislature. This, after claiming she was ready to co-operate. Again, the legislative branch investigation was authorized by the unanimous vote of 8 Republicans, and 5 Democrats. There’s enough smoke that no member of the legislature has made a peep in her defense that I’ve heard of. This is about her actions, and, in Alaska, it goes to our governance. She holds office here.

    We found out she had an attorney speaking for her on the second, ten days after he came on board, when he asked that the investigation be run by the Ethics Board within her administration, requested all result of the investigate to date, and claimed he had to be a party to any future proceedings. The guy the legislature tapped to run the investigation replied that a complaint to the Ethics Board (3 gubernatorial appointees who are required to keep everything confidential until they make a finding) was needed before the Board could become involved, and asked where’s the complaint. He refused to turn over anything, and asked whether Van Flien, the Palin attorney, was challenging the legislature’s standing to conduct an investigation.

    Van Flien then went to the media and express concerns of a “Ken Star” “political vendetta”, but said that having her or her husband available will be difficult, now.

    Today’s news has Van Flien delivering to the Ethics Board a complaint by Palin, about Palin, and citing State Statute prohibiting the use of subpoena power by the Legislative Council. He claims the Ethics Board now has jurisdiction through the complaint, and says basically the Palin’s will only testify before that Board. The status of other members of her administration remains unclear. Apparently Palin has waived the confidentiality requirement. If I read this right, Palin has probably put off any inquiry participation by herself until after the election.

    A big part of the problem is her constant theme has been openness and transparency. She jumped to major prominence here by being a whistle blower, although she made a good showing when running for Lite Gov 6 years ago as a fiscal and, it seemed to me more prominently, as a social conservative.

    Monegan, the Public Safety Commissioner that she had a subordinate dismiss, says there was lots of pressure from her administration to deal with her sister’s ex, and claims to have had no indication of any failing from her in his performance. There are apparently a lot of emails being held under executive privilege. There are questions of illegal inspection of personnel files, etc. As you point out, Monegan was not explicitly told to fire Wooten, the ex of Palin’s sister. Her stated explanations for why she removed him have been weak, and have changed.

    Here, I think, only the Palinestas and PalinBots, of which there are many, think this is a smear job. Since Palin’s stayed away from the church lady issues as Governor, few care about her daughter. On anything but local issues, I’ve herd her say nothing.

    Personally, I question her vindictiveness, and putting her daughter’s picture into every home in the country, by accepting the nomination.

  104. The newspapers have McCain meeting Levi Johnston, like an arriving hero.

    Continuing my “media observer” role, I’d guess that isn’t where John McCain pictured himself a month ago.

    Heck of a way to run a campaign.

    (BTW, I heard so many WTF?s and inside jokes in Romney’s speech that I wondered if he was trying to sink them.)

  105. whitebeard – thanks for the reply. I’m a native of Washington and only been to Alaska a couple of times. So I don’t know as much about Alaska politics as you do. I have many friends and coworkers in Alaska.

    I just like Gov. Palin. She is smart and tough, and interesting. Even IF she used her office to try to get rid of a dirtbag state trooper, at worst that seems a minor offense.

    For a small town mayor turned governor, she did a fantastic job tonight. Alaska should be proud.

  106. I agree that Palin came across as likable, as did her family. Though the channels spending camera time on Levi weirded me out a bit. (That’s not over, the entertainment channels are playing the Bristol / Jamie Lin Spears parallel.)

    It’s really too bad Palin couldn’t get a couple years on the national stage before this though, and without that headache.

  107. BTW, the substance issue that gave me real trouble was the push for fiscal irresponsibility.

    That’s what it is when you say the answer to a $10,000,000,000,000 debt is to cut taxes.

  108. In other words, the nuts have got no real ammunition against Palin and are scared to their toes of what she might mean to this political race.

    Fair enough, nuts. Go to it. Knock yourselves out. Literally. 😉

  109. Boy, the media folly of the Palin choice still plays out. That is real, not imaginary.

    And her appeal to fiscal conservatives does have real, not imaginary, problems as well:

    “Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next ten years, according to a newly updated analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Compared to current law, TPC estimates the Obama plan would cut taxes by $2.9 trillion from 2009-2018. McCain would reduce taxes by nearly $4.2 trillion. Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers. In contrast, McCain would cut taxes across the board and give the biggest cuts to the highest-income households.”

    From the non-partisan Center for Tax policy.

    Explain to me how “cut taxes”, as “fiscal conservatism” is anything other than a lie at this point?

  110. Bottom line:

    “Senator Obama’s plan would add $3.3 trillion to the national debt (including additional interest costs) while Senator McCain’s plan would add $4.5 trillion.”

    Jeez, I remember when being a Republican meant something.

  111. BTW Al, more media analysis:

    Do you think we’ll get a big blip in conservative babies 9 months from now?

    I think the message some kids may get is that sex with 17 year-olds is OK, if you “plan” on marriage.

    Adults may see more subtly in the national embrace of Levi Johnston, but kids …

  112. Grey – I read through your links and came to the conclusion – so what.

    Curious that Anne Kilkenny doesn’t tell people in the letter that she is a Democrat. At least it would disclose that she has that point of view.

    So Palin fired a few people along the way. Raised taxes on some people and lowered it on others. If things are as bad as Kilkenny said then why did Palin get re-elected mayor? Why are so many people moving to Wasilla, one of the fastest growing towns in Alaska, you know that hell hole that Kilkenny seems to think that Palin created.

    Then knowing all this, why was she elected Governor? And why does she maintain a high approval rating?

    So her vision of Wasilla was to be a bedroom community with Wal Mart and Target, again, so what. I could see how that might make ruffle some feathers. And as I’ve said before, you can’t be a reformer without leaving a few political dead bodies around.

    Looking back to my very first post, where are the media stories about Obama and Alice Palmer? Palmer had cut a deal with Obama on her state senate seat. Obama then cheated her out and went to court to get petition signatures disqualified so that Palmer wouldn’t appear on the primary ballot. Now that is ruthless.

    So Palin plays conservative identity politics, Obama plays racial identity politics. Do you think that Obama attended Jeremiah Wright’s church because he liked the theology? Or could it be that his church memebership there could help him get connected politically?

    So Palin is mean and vindictive? Sometimes that is just politics. If you don’t believe me, just ask Alice Palmer or Blair Hull.

  113. Odo – From the non-partisan Center for Tax policy.

    Explain to me how “cut taxes”, as “fiscal conservatism” is anything other than a lie at this point?

    First off if I said From the non-partisan Competitive Enterprise Institute you would probably go off on me. The Center for Tax Policy is a joint project of the Brookings Institute & Urban Institute, both left-of center, big government promoters.

    Secondly, the CTP only looked at the tax side and not the spending side. Their base assumption is that the current tax cuts expire, so McCain's proposal to make them permanent represents NEW tax cuts (it doesn't). CTP implictly assumes that Government continues to get bigger, growing at a rate that exceeds inflation.

    The way to have tax cuts is to FREEZE the size of government in constant dollars. Somewhere previously I linked to a chart showing taxes and spending in both nominal and real (2000$). Government is about twice as big as it was in the 1980s in constant dollar terms.

    If McCain/Palin would freeze Gov't growth at say 1% below the rate of inflation (which means gov. spending would continue to grow.) You could have tax cuts AND balance the budget. That is because businesses invest at a real growth rate that exceeds inflation. As their revenues grow faster than inflation they pay MORE taxes. Salaries too usually outpace inflation.

    The problem isn't taxes, it is spending. As congress takes in more money they ever expand the size of Gov't at a greater rate.

  114. “Secondly, the CTP only looked at the tax side and not the spending side. Their base assumption is that the current tax cuts expire, so McCain’s proposal to make them permanent represents NEW tax cuts (it doesn’t).”

    Darkly amusing. When it those temporary tax cuts were passed, why exactly weren’t they called permanent in the first place?

    What kind of semantic limbo (or brain limbo) do you have to do to make a future change to permanence retroactive to the taxes “temporary” creation?

    On spending, heck yeah, if I believed a Republican President and Congress were a better bet on that than the last 8 years, I might lean differently.

    I searched the text to be sure, and Governor Palin’s speech did not even include the words “deficit” nor “debt.”

    How can you believe, when it isn’t even a stated priority to fix this, that it is a secret one?

    It sounds to me that this IS the old Bush II plan, that is “cut taxes” because that’s what the party loves, and debt be damned.

    (If McCain is elected I’m going into TIPS big-time.)

    ((You heard the Treasury is talking about reducing the TIPS offerings?))

  115. On spending, heck yeah, if I believed a Republican President and Congress were a better bet on that than the last 8 years, I might lean differently.

    I would agree. The Republicans fell in love with spending and pork as much as the Democrats. That is why they lost the 2006 majorities. Bush too. I’m not as upset with him over the war as I am about increasing spending. In particular the Medicare drug benefit.

    But who do you think is more likely to SHRINK the size of government McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden?

    Obama said he would get rid of federal programs that don’t work. Well name 5. I’ll give you one: Amtrak. Tell freeloadin’ Joe Biden he needs to find a different way home.

  116. “But who do you think is more likely to SHRINK the size of government McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden?”

    Just had this conversation at lunch, my Republican co-workers (bosses) are basically willing to trust McCain/Palin without their public commitment.

    I pointed out that for McCain to get back in line with Obama on total debt he has to name $2 Trillion in spending cuts.

    That’s the income-side gap (largely as a result of keeping cuts on very high ($1M+) income brackets).

  117. Correcting earlier post:

    Grey – you cited one of Obama’s accomplishments as:

    “7. He just spoke before a crowd of 80,000 people, with a TV audience of 38 million.”

    The TV overnights are in:

    Obama 38.3 million viewers.
    Palin 37.2 million.

    So now you have to say on this point that Palin is almost as qualified as Barack Obama. And Sarah Palin did it without using Britney Spears’ set designers!

  118. Can someone decrypt RNC lingo for me?

    When they say “Victory” they expect everyone to understand (or maybe they don’t maybe they only expect the word to operate on an emotional level).

    Is Victory a democracy? We arguably have that and can go home. Is it a democracy with the same values as ours (equal rights for women)? That might take a really long time.

    What’s the game here? Is it just that McCain wants to win on “Victory,” and then declare victory and go home?

  119. Grey – close the long haul routes that hardly anyone rides, then sell off the So. Cal routes and the Northeast corridor that might actually make money. Amtrak has been a miserable failure. It is something. Ok it may not be much in $3 trillion budget, but it is a start.

    Shut down the Rural Utilities Service. Declare victory, this new deal agency was formed to provide electric power and telephone services.

    Whack most of the department of agriculture. Start phasing out farm subsidies.

  120. Everybody plays a game with trains: calculate based on the idea that there will never be a serious energy crisis.

    Then it’s all dollars and cents, and judged based on all those past decades with 79 cent gasoline.

  121. Is it one that will vote for an Islamic Republic the moment we’re out?

    You can say “stand up for itself without our help” but that is, actually a fuzzy measure. That’s one we could call now, or call later.

    (I thought McCain gave a good speech. It was more the old McCain I always liked. And, as it settles, that might be the problem. It was a bit of a whipsaw from Palin’s speech last night. As commentators said, this one was a “throw the bums out” speech. Last night it was Republicans have the truth. Tonight it was forget all that, and let’s work together.)

  122. Note that I said above, on Sep 1:

    “I’d like to think that means McCain has lost – because it is WAY too late to be locking down your base. This is the point when you are supposed to be reaching for the middle, the independents, the swing votes.”

    Senator McCain just tried that switch, in a single 24 hour period. We’ll see how that plays – both with the new target audience, and the old one that just got tuned down.

  123. Triple: Note also on “stand up for itself without our help” that we’ve got to switch troops back to Afghanistan. You know that, right?

  124. I think you are right Odo. Palin appeals to the base and then frees up McCain to go after the independents. That is why you heard a slightly different message tonight. McCain has co-opted the Obama change message. Very clever.

    It is going to be interesting over the next 60 days.

    I’d trust the military to tell us when it is best for them to leave Iraq. Like you I fear that Iraq might vote in an Islamic government. But on the other hand, Iraq under Saddam was pretty secular. History will best judge whether the Bush Doctrine was right or not.

  125. ==I’d trust the military to tell us when it is best for them to leave Iraq.==

    Remind me. How many retired Iraq war generals say we’ve got our heads up our asses over there?

    How many did they cycle through before they got one that would tell them what they wanted to hear?

  126. I think we saw in Palestine the full conflict between our stated goal (“democarcy”) and our implied one (“a democracy which will ally itself with us”). The unfortunate, but simple, truth is that democracies vote against our interests all the time. That happened most glaringly in Palestine, but happens to a lesser degree other places … like France.

    (Conservatives love to hate France, or Canada, while assuming that a democratic Iraq will be the cat’s pajamas)

    Sorry to go back to GWB, but this was his most important foreign policy error, and one that Republicans haven’t really come to grips with.

    As they pursue “Victory” now, I think they really do hope for a peaceful and democratic ally.

    Democracy only gives Iraq that option, but it is about them voting THEIR way.

  127. OH, this one is just for you King … remember that Venezuela is a democracy. Imagine spending thousands of US lives, and a few trillion dollars, to set up a Venezuela of the middle east.

    That is the risk in this tricky word … democracy.

  128. Odo – Read Thomas Barnett’s book “The Pentagon’s New Map”. Or just watch the video

    What we really want is for Iraq to join what Barnett calls “the Functioning Core”. That doesn’t mean it has to be western type of democracy – but a government that isn’t a threat to its neighbors and doesn’t foment domestic unrest that could lead to terrorism or civil war.

    BTW – Barnett seems to like McCain for Pres. but doesn’t think much of Palin.

  129. I did business development in Venezuela for 4 years, I’ve probably spent all told about 1 year in the country.

    Unlike Iraq, they don’t threaten us or seriously threaten the region. One could argue whether we needed to invade Iraq in 2003, but I think most people would say that we would have had to deal with Saddam sooner or later.

    If Venezuela acquires advanced offensive weapons or invades one of its neighbors then we may have to change strategy. The best thing we could do for VZ is to ratify the trade deal with Columbia, something that Obama and the Dems are against.

  130. I think you told me what you’d like “their” democracies to choose.

    That is still the risk, right?

    Or do you want us to stay in Iraq until “their” democracy chooses the way we’d like?

    (Scott McClellan’s book trumps any arguments about how much Iraq’s “threat” was real, or mattered. The Downing Street Memos were simply put, true. We now have inside the Whitehouse confirmation on that).

    (stupid google/blogger … please pretend you didn’t see that)

  131. I just don’t get it. The argument seems to be: “We weren’t justified in going to war with Iraq. Therefore we should pull troops out immediately and just let whatever happens – happen.”

    What kind of a policy is that? That is what we did at the end of the Vietnam war. This lead to millions dying in southeast Asia. It is like saying hey we made a mistake in 2003, let’s just make another mistake in 2009 so we can be even.

  132. “I just don’t get it. The argument seems to be: ‘We weren’t justified in going to war with Iraq. Therefore we should pull troops out immediately and just let whatever happens – happen.'”

    I never made that argument, and it is far enough from my position that I’m somewhat offended by the quotes.

    I asked about “Victory” above because I wanted you to describe the difference, the rational difference between withdrawing on an Obama schedule and on a McCain schedule.

    My position is that the final outcomes will be the same. We’ll get a democracy, about as stable as the “democratic impulse” of Iraqis allow, and that as in any quasi-democracy they’ll vote their interests before ours.

    China is heading into their oilfields, right?

    (You know I’ve been totally out of the ratings discussion, don’t consider it interesting/relevant.)

  133. Maybe this is the way to encapsulate my problem with the RNC message: “Victory” was implied to be military, when real victory (anything I’d consider real victory) depends on nation-building.

    The Republicans are pushing the “Victory” hard, while being coy about what nation-building targets they hope to meet.

  134. Odo – the TV ratings post was for Greyfalcon, who listed Obama’s 38 million viewers as a “qualification” for the presidency.

    You seem a bit cynical. It may be that Iraqis can’t govern themselves and it all falls apart. It MIGHT happen under President McCain. It WILL happen under President Obama.

    I think a lot of this is Bush derangement syndrome. There are people who hate Bush so much that they believe we must fail in Iraq just to tarnish Bush’s legacy.

    Have we achieved victory in Japan? US troops are still there. Germany? Ditto. How about Kosovo? Victory in Iraq probably looks like those countries. Iraqis take over security for their country with a small US contingent to prevent an invasion or events from deteriorating into civil war or sectarian violence.

  135. “You seem a bit cynical. It may be that Iraqis can’t govern themselves and it all falls apart. It MIGHT happen under President McCain. It WILL happen under President Obama.”

    That is certainly the Party assertion.

    I am cynical enough to be uncomfortable with naked assertion.

    (Why will we get “Victory” from the Repubs? Because they chant it?)

  136. On Germany/Japan, we’ve already spent more time than we did nation-building in those cases.

    They had folk with a generation of real democracy under their belts. That matters.

  137. So it might take a little longer in Iraq. Things seem to be going better there than on the south side of Chicago. Iraq might be safer! And they may even have a better functioning government.

  138. OK, in case it isn’t obvious then, you can’t really make a rational case for that, you just have hope or faith.

    We could step back and look at this meta-level. The pitch for “Victory” at the RNC is about that hope and faith. And sadly they do want you to throw this southside of Chicago crap at me.

    Good job, but I think I’ll try to find a rational argument for it all working. Given the political climate, that might be hard.

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