LIPSTICK SMEAR. The economy is in the tank and we're about to invest trillions in a failed mortgage company, but the week's biggest story was whether Obama was making fun of Sarah Palin's "lipstick" comment. You can put lipstick on the press, but they're still wasting your time.P.S. fwiw, I don't think Obama intended to reference Palin, but I think it was a breathtakingly stupid quip to make given that her pitbull/lipstick line was one of the most memorable lines from the convention. And given how he gets touted as such a brilliant rhetorician, I think it's fair for me to be disappointed.
Later on Friday morning, I was watching CNN in the gym.
They had Roland Martin on and said they were gonna be talking about race and gender. He said age, too. (He said McCain's 72 and some people think, "I'm 72, and I don't want someone like me in the White House," whereas other people look at Obama, who's 47, and think he's too young to be President.) The correspondent talking with him was saying isn't a little silly for us to be talking about that, 'cause everyone says what they care about is the issues. He said that people say it's about the issues but deep down, race/gender/age really do play a role in who people vote for. I was reminded of a lot of the arguments Ian has made.
Later, they had Fmr. Mayor Ed Koch on. Asked his opinion on Sarah Palin, he said she was, "plucky, perky, scares the hell out of me."
As an example of that last one, he cited her censoring library books.
I literally facepalmed. I was on the elliptical and I hit my forehead with the heel of my left hand.
The day it rained (Tuesday?) MaryAlice said something about that and I said I'd heard it was more ambiguous -- that Palin had asked about how one would go about getting books removed from the shelves, but she hadn't actually asked to get any specifically removed. I said certainly even just a probing question like that was legitimate grounds for concern, and I didn't know all the details, but I thought it was more complicated than that soundbite.
Later, MaryAlice came by my desk and said that Newsweek had put out a FactCheck on Palin which basically agreed with what I had said. I assume she's referring to this (dated Sept. 8, 2008).
Thursday, Sept. 11, metro had a "Get the facts" sidebar (p. 06) which rebutted a bunch of the claims around Palin thanks to FactCheck.org -- basically the exact same thing as the first few items in the Newsweek piece (which was, after all, written by factcheck.org folks). One was:
Banned books? She did not demand that books be banned from the library in Wasilla, where she was mayor. Some of the books on a widely circulated list weren't even in print at the time, The librarian has said Palin asked a :"What if" question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin's first term.They also state:
Special Needs? Palin did not cut funding for special needs education in Alaska buy 62 percent. She didn't cut it at all. In fact, she tripled per-pupil funding over just three years.The Newsweek piece follows up the summary rebuttals with longer explanations.
Anyway, back to CNN. Koch said, "It's in dispute, but The New York Times hasn't retracted it." I thought of how many times I've seen stuff on InstaPundit saying that NYT or some similar media outlet has yet to issue a correction/retraction despite evidence contrary to their claim.
The woman interviewing him argued that CNN had debunked that particular claim
He replied, "You're not better than The New York Times."
"Yes we are. We're CNN." She laughed, and I thought of how dKos has railed against CNN's self-importance. [Of course, dKos also insists that CNN -- like the rest of the MSM -- is in the pocket of the Right, a proposition with which some would disagree.]
Koch voted for G.W. in 2004 because he felt national security was the key issue at the time. Whereas in this election he thinks both tickets solidly understand the threat of terrorism, etc., so he's supporting Obama because he sides with him on domestic social issues as well. This is the kind of pragmatism I can respect.
Sidebar: They talked about Sarah Palin's interview on Charlie Gibson, which they'd shown some clips of earlier in the house, and Koch mentioned as a throwaway remark that he himself didn't know what the "Bush Doctrine" meant. This comforted me, as I'd had no idea what Gibson was getting at when he said it myself. I just assumed this was because I'd absented myself from political debate for quite some time (and later that day, I saw many bloggers loudly insisting that Palin was ridiculously out-of-touch to not know exactly what Gibson was referring to).
Today, InstaPundit linked to this:
Let's be clear about this: George Bush did not say in either a speech or in written form anything with the title "Bush Doctrine." The reference to the existence of a Bush Doctrine was a literary invention of Charles Krauthammer; at the very least he claims to be the first to have used the term. So anyone who wished to define the term Bush Doctrine should show some deference to Krauthammer's opinion of what Bush Doctrine means.Krauthammer argues:
He devotes his latest column to the subject and tells us that what the media claims and what Charles Gibson claims is simply wrong.
There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today.In fairness, there is wiki-edit debate (along with an argument that the "spreading democracy" meaning, which Krauthammer argues superseded the "pre-emptive war" definition, has been dropped and that really, a doctrine of "preventative war" is its lasting definition), and a commenter on an earlier diary said:
Why worry about what reader editors change in the Wikipedia entry about the Bush Doctorine? Just post the AEI link that InsultComicDog already posted above.I would point out that this commentor is citing a January 2003 essay, while Krauthammer states that "the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine [...] was most dramatically enunciated in Bush's second inaugural address," which was January of 2004.
"The Underpinnings if the Bush Doctrine" by Thomas Donnelly; posted Friday January 31, 2003.
NATIONAL SECURITY OUTLOOK
AEI Online (Washington)
Publication Date: February 1, 2003.
"...But in fact the Bush Doctrine represents a return to the first principles of American security strategy. The Bush Doctrine also represents the realities of international politics in the post-cold-war, sole-superpower world. Further, the combination of these two factors--America's universal political principles and unprecedented global power and influence--make the Bush Doctrine a whole greater than the sum of its parts; it is likely to remain the basis for U.S. security strategy for decades to come."Then read on down to find the section entitled: "The Logic of Preemption"
Personally, I think if a "Doctrine" has gone through four incarnations, and the author of said doctrine has never explicitly stated one particular articulation as THE definition, then it's problematic to quiz someone on it as a "gotcha." And really, can't we just debate the substance of these "doctrines" and whether we do or do not want them as guiding foreign policy principles?
I never intended this blog to become Sarah Palin Watch!!!11elevenI took a break from PalinWatch myself a bit this week because I was reading and discussing feminism(s) -- which totally grew out of Palin conversations. But reading the metro and watching CNN on Friday morning, I was feeling tired of it. Which leaves me with a pile of claims and rebuttals about mostly insubstantial stuff. Hi, dKos etc., you could have been using all that "unknown quantity VP pick!" energy to focus on Troopergate etc., but instead you got all tabloidy and are only focusing on more substantial stuff now that a lot of that energy's died down. I'm above average engaged (in relation to the populace as a whole that is; I'm below average engaged compared to the people I surround myself with) and I'm tired of talking about Sarah Palin. What about all those "low information" voters? Yeah, people will keep repeating the untrue things about Palin and will be swayed to not vote for her, but don't we decry that same thing on the other side? It may get the vote out, but it also makes that side look bad. I mean, are you likely to listen to any critiques from someone who insists that Obama is a Muslim?
But because I haven't seen this on any of the feminist blogs I follow (got it via LJ), here's Sarah Palin's record on Native Alaskan issues, with citations. The formatting's a bit wacky thanks to Blogspot, but C&P isn't hard, and I think it's relevant information.
I later read:
Over the Labor Day weekend, with most of the big enchiladas of the major media on vacation, the vacuum was filled with a hallucinatory hurricane in the leftist blogosphere, which unleashed a grotesquely lurid series of allegations, fantasies, half-truths and outright lies about Palin. What a tacky low in American politics -- which has already caused a backlash that could damage Obama's campaign. When liberals come off as childish, raving loonies, the right wing gains. I am still waiting for substantive evidence that Sarah Palin is a dangerous extremist. I am perfectly willing to be convinced, but right now, she seems to be merely an optimistic pragmatist like Ronald Reagan, someone who pays lip service to religious piety without being in the least wedded to it. I don't see her arrival as portending the end of civil liberties or life as we know it.Paglia also writes:
-Camille Paglia ("Fresh blood for the vampire")
But what of Palin's pro-life stand? Creationism taught in schools? Book banning? Gay conversions? The Iraq war as God's plan? Zionism as a prelude to the apocalypse? We'll see how these big issues shake out. Right now, I don't believe much of what I read or hear about Palin in the media. To automatically assume that she is a religious fanatic who has embraced the most extreme ideas of her local church is exactly the kind of careless reasoning that has been unjustly applied to Barack Obama, whom the right wing is still trying to tar with the fulminating anti-American sermons of his longtime preacher, Jeremiah Wright.Bless her atheist libertarian heart. I so often read stuff like this dKos diary ["Is Mormonism Christian? Just Ask A Pentecostal"] which prompted me to write to a friend:
Oy, I need to not read secular folks talking about religion. I mean seriously, people pull some statement of dogma off of wikipedia or some statement from an "official" representative of that faith and then argue that clearly all members of that denomination believe that. Like, have they ever met any religious person ever? Do they have any idea how it works? Don't they at least make the connection that you can't assume someone with a political party affiliation believes all the official planks of the platform and so perhaps religion works similarly?From InstaPundit:
GOOD QUESTION: "What is it about Sarah Palin that seems to have driven so many smart, thoughtful Obama supporters around the bend?"From the post he links to:
Or maybe they just weren't as smart and thoughtful as they seemed.
I think the basic problem is that these commentators believe that Palin is so unremarkable, so ordinary, so unaccomplished that her elevation to a national ticket can only be attributed to John McCain's cynical political calculations. Palin, they believe, is so vastly unqualified for the vice presidency that her mere presence on the campaign trail is an offense.***
Now, I'm not suggesting that Palin has the qualifications of vice presidential candidates like Dick Cheney or George H.W. Bush. But if you look at her work in Alaska, you have to — at least, I think you have to — come away with the conclusion that she is a real political talent.
She really did take on the Republican political establishment in her state. She really did take on the Democrats. She really did take on the oil companies. She really does have a sky-high approval rating. And she did it all by starting as a concerned citizen without any connections. It's quite a story.
Re: the Sarah Palin per diem, someone comments And, bottom line, when part of your defense is "I wasn't as bad as Frank Murkowski" isn't that a real sign of trouble?
More on earmarks:
When Gibson noted she had requested money to study the mating habits of crabs and harbor-seal genetic research — the kind of small-bore projects that draw McCain's ire — Palin said the specific requests had come through universities and other public entities and weren't worked out by lobbyists behind closed doors.I guess that makes it better, but I feel like the basic premise of "federal monies for pet projects is not of the good" still stands.
MORE ON Sarah Palin and the Bridge to Nowhere.The NRO piece there linked also points out that Obama (and Biden) had voted for the Bridge to Nowhere -- which I had just read about in the depressing book The Case Against Barack Obama. Adding to the irony, NRO notes:When it mattered, Gov. Palin stood up to Sen. Stevens and dealt the Bridge to Nowhere its death blow. This is something the U.S. Congress and senators Obama and Biden failed to do on multiple occasions.Well, yes.
And while it's true that John McCain, unlike his running mate, has always opposed pork-barrel earmarks, Sarah Palin, unlike Obama and Biden, did the right thing when it counted most and stopped an egregious example of earmark abuse. And now, of course, Palin has joined McCain in calling for an end to earmarks.
Isn't it better to come around to the right position than to keep on being wrong?
The Senate got another chance to stop the bridge on October 20, 2005, when it voted on an amendment offered by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn that would have redirected the funds from the bridge to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina relief. By then the grassroots outrage against the bridge was beginning to take hold and there was a good amount of pressure on the Senate to adopt the amendment. That pressure came from both the right and the left, with liberal Markos Moulitsas at the DailyKos stoking the flames. "Honestly," he wrote, "there's no reason for any Democrat to vote against this amendment."***
[...] Coburn's amendment got only 15 votes. John McCain missed that vote, although Obama and Biden both buckled to Stevens and voted against the amendment. Moulitsas commented afterward that "Those who voted against these amendments have zero credibility on issues of fiscal responsibility. Zero."
As Mayor, Palin Billed Rape Victims to Get Evidence by EmperorHadrian [Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 03:05:54 AM EDT]
The ABC News piece cited in the diary says,
Maria Comella, a McCain-Palin campaign spokeswoman, said Palin "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test." To suggest otherwise, she said, is a "misrepresentation of her commitment to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice."so I'm not sure it's really a compelling case against Palin.
What scares me is that Wasilla and Palin aren't the only people who do this. Apparently it's a lot more common than one would imagine.From liz_marcs:
I'm sorry, but any leader who even knows about such a practice and doesn't immediately take steps to immediately fix it isn't suited to lead a two car parade, much less an entire nation.
This is disgusting, especially since one of two things happened here:
1. Either Sarah Palin approved of the plan,
2. Sarah Palin wasn't aware enough of the activities and policies of her chief of police enough to know this was going on.
Neither one of those is a good thing.
Comparison between the Obama/Biden record on women vs. the McCain/Palin record on women. (Warning: PDF; Note: Put out by the Obama for America campaign.)
I'm not exactly a one-issue voter, but let's just say that the downloadable fact-sheet regarding the two tickets' records on women's issues is a big reason why I don't want McCain/Palin anywhere near the levers of power.