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August 29, 2008

Palin and McCain
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:27 PM *

John McCain has announced that his running mate is going to be Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.

Who is Sarah Palin?

Alaska legislature will probe Palin’s firing of state’s top cop

Monday, 28 July 2008
Alaska legislators approved Monday hiring a special investigator to look into the firing of Walt Monegan from his job as commissioner of public safety.

Meeting in Juneau, the Legislative Council voted 12-0 to spend up to $100,000 “to investigate the circumstances and events surrounding the termination of former Public Safety Commissioner Monegan and potential abuses of power and or improper action by members of the executive branch.”

Monegan was fired two weeks ago at Gov. Sarah Palin’s direction by her chief of staff. The firing was unexpected and unexplained and gave rise to accusations that it was retaliation by the Palin family for Monegan’s refusal to fire an Alaska state trooper formerly married to Palin’s sister and currently embroiled in an ugly custody fight with her.

The Legislative Council is a bipartisan, 14-member panel made up of seven senators and seven House members that manages legislative business when the Legislature is between regular sessions. Two members were not at the Monday session.

Was there anything to that? Unfortunately….

Alaska’s governor admits her staff tried to have trooper fired

Thursday, 14 August 2008
Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday revealed an audio recording that shows an aide pressuring the Public Safety Department to fire a state trooper embroiled in a custody battle with her sister.

Palin, who has previously said her administration didn’t exert pressure to get rid of trooper Mike Wooten, also disclosed that members of her staff had made about two dozen contacts with public safety officials about the trooper.

“I do now have to tell Alaskans that such pressure could have been perceived to exist although I have only now become aware of it,” Palin said.

But Palin said her decision to fire Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan last month had nothing to do with his refusal to dump trooper Mike Wooten.

The governor said evidence of what she called a “smoking gun” conversation, and other calls made by her aides, only recently surfaced as the attorney general started an inquiry at her request into the circumstances surrounding her firing of Monegan. Palin wanted the review because a special investigator hired by the Legislature is about to investigate the firing and a legislator has been quoted in a newspaper story talking about impeachment.

The majority of the calls came from Palin’s chief of staff at the time, Mike Tibbles, according to an information gathered by the state attorney general’s office. Attorney General Talis Colberg and Palin’s husband, Todd, also contacted Monegan about the trooper.

Palin said she’d only known about some of the contacts and never asked anyone on her staff to get in touch with state public safety officials about Wooten. “Many of these inquiries were completely appropriate. However, the serial nature of the contacts could be perceived as some kind of pressure, presumably at my direction,” she said.

Palin said the “most disturbing” was a phone call Frank Bailey, the governor’s director of boards and commissions, made to trooper Lt. Rodney Dial in February. The Public Safety Department recorded the call, as it does routinely.

Palin, who said she’d only just learned of the call, released a recorded copy of it to the press on Wednesday. In it, Bailey clearly pressures the lieutenant.

Bailey told him during the conversation that Palin and her husband want to know why Wooten still has a job.

“Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, ‘Why on earth hasn’t this, why is this guy still representing the department?’ He’s a horrible recruiting tool, you know,” Bailey told the lieutenant.

Bailey made several accusations against Wooten in the call, including that he lied on his application. Dial asked Bailey how he knew about any issue with the application.

“I used to be a recruiter. I know a lot of times that information is extremely confidential,” Dial told him.

Who else is Sarah Palin?

Alaska’s Palin misrepresented state’s polar bear findings

Sunday, 25 May 2008
A newly released e-mail from last fall shows that Alaska’s own biologists were at odds with the administration of Gov. Sarah Palin, which has consistently opposed any new federal protections for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act.

The state’s in-house dispute seems to refute later statements by Gov. Sarah Palin that a “comprehensive review” of the federal science by state wildlife officials found no reason to support an endangered-species listing for the northern bears. The governor invoked the state’s own scientific work both in a cover letter to the state’s official polar bear comments, and in an opinion piece published in the New York Times.

But the Oct. 9 e-mail, which was released this month to a University of Alaska scientist who had filed a public records request seeking information on the state’s polar bear decision-making, shows that the head of the marine mammals program for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and two other staff biologists agreed with the conclusions of nine polar bear studies that the federal government was citing to justify a threatened-species listing for the bears.

“Overall, we believe that the methods and analytical approaches used to examine the currently available information supports the primary conclusions and inferences stated in these 9 reports,” Robert Small wrote.

Alaska officials have expressed concern that a threatened-species listing gives environmentalists more leverage to oppose oil and gas development in Arctic Alaska and poses risks to Native subsistence. The state’s efforts to raise contrary scientific arguments have been met with derision by some environmentalists, who liken it to efforts from the tobacco industry to raise questions about the dangers of smoking and delay regulatory action.

Palin brings strength to the Republican ticket. Her resume is solid:

Mayor of a town of nearly 6,000 people.
Governor of a state of 650,000 people for nearly two years.
PTA Member

Comments on Palin and McCain:
#1 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 01:51 PM:

I've pointed out elsewhere that being mayor of New York City is a bigger job than being governor of Alaska. And she's only been at it a year and a half.

#2 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:00 PM:

$0.02: I was very surprised that he chose a woman running mate. Given her political inexperience, and the differences between her limited experience and what would be expected of her as VP, his decision seems crazy. It he trying to win over the still-disenchanted Hillary supporters?

I also don't really get his adoption of the "maverick" thing. Is it to make him seem younger? I don't want a maverick in the white house; I'd rather have someone dependable. And then he makes a decision like this, all flashy and surprising and "see? he does respect women," and I'm left with my jaw hanging wondering, "!"

#3 ::: Ronit ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:01 PM:

I'm really stunned by this choice. Some interesting background from a former Alaskan reporter here .

#4 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:01 PM:

Plus, she hates polar bears. How can anyone in good conscience vote for someone who doesn't like polar bears?

Think of the bears, everyone. Think of the bears.

#5 ::: glaurung_quena ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:04 PM:

She also has a history of pandering to the creationist camp (this from a debate during her gubernatorial election campaign:

"'Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.'


That was how she was brought up, she said. Her father was a public school science teacher.

"My dad did talk a lot about his theories of evolution," she said. "He would show us fossils and say, 'How old do you think these are?' "

Asked for her personal views on evolution, Palin said, "I believe we have a creator."

She would not say whether her belief also allowed her to accept the theory of evolution as fact.

"I'm not going to pretend I know how all this came to be," she said.

#6 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Avadaggio at #2: "[Is] he trying to win over the still-disenchanted Hillary supporters?" I'm not, nor can I be by virtue of non-citizenship, be involved in US politics, but as soon as I read that he chose a woman, that was my first thought.

Cynical? Maybe.

#7 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Well, since he's trying to appeal to people who take Geraldine Ferraro seriously, he may get both their votes with this pick.

#8 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:09 PM:

Question: Who would McCain really have to nominate as VP to get you to vote for him?

My A: I’m thinking Twain as VP would do it for me. No no, not Mark Twain, he’s younger, smarter, wittier than McCain and a world class curmudgeon to boot, that wouldn’t end well at all. I meant Shania. She’d totally rock my vote, and she’d be a huge hit on the foreign leader circuit, single-handedly repairing foreign relations in a way Biden never could!

#9 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:09 PM:

Mayor of a town of nearly 9,000 people.

Not that it makes much difference either way, but it was only about 5500 at the time she was mayor of it.

#10 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:11 PM:

But she has executive experience! (McCain, of course, has none; and if Obama can lean on Biden for wise counsel, McCain can surely lean on ...)

And as she brought up in her own speech, she's commander of the Alaska National Guard!

This sounds really impressive. It just doesn't mean much.

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Not that it makes much difference either way, but it was only about 5500 at the time she was mayor of it.

I can fix that.

#12 ::: hope ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:13 PM:

Is anyone else visualizing the phone ringing at 3:00 am?

Someone picks up the handset and a woman says in the voiceover, "Uh, he died. Is there, um, can I help you?"

#13 ::: Total ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:14 PM:

It's actually a pretty solid pick, worryingly enough. It shores McCain up with the insane right-wing of the Republican party while putting forward a blue-collar woman candidate with a vague background.

#14 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:15 PM:

[FX: boop, beep, bap... ring, ring] "Mitt? this is John..."

[FX: kerlunk]


[FX: beep, boop, bap... ring, ring] "Mike, this is John..."

[FX: crash]

[Sighs] "Hail Mary, Full of Grace..."

FX: bap, boop, beep... ring, ring]"Sarah? We haven't met, but I'm John McCain..."

#15 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:15 PM:

And her foreign policy experience is... Canada?

#16 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:18 PM:

By picking Palin (CNN keeps saying McCain has "tapped" her for VP; omg) as his VP candidate, doesn't this somewhat create a problem for him to attack Obama on his inexperience?

After all, a first term governor of Alaska, the state with the least population, is hardly the person I'd want to be next in line to run the US should McCain's heart stop beating. Obama has at least sat in on Congressional hearings on foreign affairs and other matters of national import; Palin got to hold big fish in her hands, and make appearances at the Alaskan State Fair.

She does bring the pro-life, pro-gun, pro-drill pro-oil, and pro-family vote, though. Oh, wait; those were already going to vote for McCain. Will she bring disaffected Clinton voters over to her side? Only if they look no further than Palin's gender, IMO. McCain and his handlers don't think they're that shallow, do they?

#17 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:20 PM:

Gah, not happy. The anti-abortion thing really cheeses me off.

McCain himself makes me not want to vote for him...I say this as a repub.

#18 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:21 PM:

The fact that's she's a union member will offend a large subset of Republicans, I think.

I'm expecting a large number of Huckabee's supporters to walk, as they don't want any women in public office (they didn't just hate Hillary). I spent part of the growing up years in Arkansas, so I'm familiar with the type...

#19 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:23 PM:

I think McCain got confused. I think he thought he was picking Michael Palin; he knows how popular Monty Python was and thinks that's a huge untapped set of voters.

#20 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:27 PM:

Comparing governing Alaska to running New York City on population alone doesn't work; I suspect Michael Bloomberg would have as long a learning curve on dealing with Native Corporations, let alone the wildlife issues, as Palin would have with, say, transportation issues in a dense metropolitan area or the demands of the arts establishment. And scoffing at the magnitude and complexity of those Alaskan issues may be funny but it's not particularly well-informed.

That said, and all Laura Roslin joking aside, the worst thing about this appointment is the pong of "any woman at all" about it. I suspect that no one in the McCain camp knows her very well, and no one in the GOP has been paying attention to what she's actually like. Alaska issues get more coverage in my neck of the woods than anywhere else in the lower 48, and that's not saying much. She's young and cute and conservative, but there are issues of both intelligence and personality which are going to be exposed rather quickly.

#21 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:28 PM:

As a woman I feel *profoundly* insulted, and I've been an Obama supporter since the Austin debate. The least McCain could do was find some woman with a resume longer than fits on a postit note. The only way I can possibly read it is "token token, who's got the token?"

#22 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:29 PM:

The problem with her as a pro-family candidate is that she has an infant son, and a disabled one at that. A certain proportion of the Republican demographic is going to think she should be home caring for him.

Of course, that slice of voters is unlikely to switch to Obama, so I suppose they're safe to offend?

#23 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:30 PM:

Someone on a comment thread pointed out that the Alaska legislature is only in session for 3 months every year. So her ability to maneuver politically as President of the Senate is probably non-existent. She's a purely political choice, chosen for her "story," for the image. She's bringing a type, not skills, to the ticket. She's meant to appeal to Republican moderates. This from Russ Douthat at The Atlantic:

"I'm pretty excited, I have to say. This could, of course, turn out to be an enormous debacle if she isn't ready for prime time. But for now, Sarah Palin looks like a perfect face for the sort of Republican Party I want to support: She's a pro-life working mom; she's tough on corruption and government waste without being a doctrinaire Norquistian on taxes; she's more supportive of gay rights than the current GOP orthodoxy (while stopping short of backing same-sex marriage); she has a more conservationist record than your typical GOP pol, but supports drilling in ANWR; she's an evangelical but she isn't a southern evangelical ... and if McCain loses, she can run at the top of a Palin-Jindal ticket in 2012!"

Will it work? Frankly, I don't think so. For one thing, her appeal to the moderates is going to make the hard-core conservatives very suspicious and unhappy. As for that so-called "appeal": does McCain really think that women candidates are somehow interchangeable? (People like Hillary so they'll like Sarah Palin -- and they'll overlook the fact that she's a Republican, anti-choice, etc.) Also, picking her gives the Obama camp freedom to mention McCain's age, and to bring it up over and over again.

Did I mention she's a Republican?

#24 ::: SisterCoyote ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:32 PM:

abi @ #22

Not really. They're more likely to stay home than vote McCain if they're offended enough.

#25 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:32 PM:

Linkmeister @ 19... he thought he was picking Michael Palin


#26 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Concerning the length of Palin's resume, there's this to note:

The last time the Republicans nominated an incumbent governor for vice-president, he too had been in office for less than two years, and his previous experience like Palin's had been in local government rather than legislative.

His name was Agnew.

#27 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:33 PM:

If this is a bid for Clinton voters, it looks like an incredibly transparent and cynical one. No way are Clinton supporters going to fall for it, especially with neither McCain nor Palin being pro-choice [at the moment].

#28 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:33 PM:

We are all neglecting her most important qualification: winning the "Miss Congeniality" title in the Miss Alaska contest. So, um, she's used to losing.

#29 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:33 PM:

John @16 - you said what's been bugging me (except you said it more clearly and with a dig at CNN, which gets bonus points).

What also vanishes from the McCain arsenal are the digs at Michelle Obama for following the campaign trail when she should, you know, be at home with her children.

I think putting Palin on the ballot is a frighteningly brilliant move from a pandering-to-the-masses perspective. She's young (for a VP candidate) and a mother of 5 (which is surely enough kids for any pro-lifer especially as she deliberately kept the one with Downs Syndrome), attractive but not TOO attractive, articulate, not willing to come out against creationists (whatever she does herself think on the issue) - and she's happy to play second fiddle to the old white guy who served his country. She's mirroring the Religious Right's dream relationship AND she's going to pick up the women voters who would vote for a woman over everyone else AND she'll get the lower-class-racist vote - or at least won't stand in the way of that vote.

#30 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:35 PM:

#19 Linkmeister: he thought he was picking Michael Palin; he knows how popular Monty Python was ...

Actually, one of my personal anti-McCain talking points is this: back in his 2000 campaign for president, he was completely baffled why there were so many Dead Parrot jokes and snickers when he strode out from backstage to the strains of his campaign's theme music... He had no idea that he'd picked the Monty Python march.

He doesn't even have the excuse of not having lived through the Monty Python era. He's just that out of touch.

#31 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:35 PM:

John 16: CNN keeps saying McCain has "tapped" her for VP

That's it! He saw her and said "I'd tap that" and his aides thought he meant he was selecting her as Veep! Then it was too late to turn back. What could he do, admit he was making a sexist, objectifying remark about a woman—other than his wife, I mean?

#32 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Question: Who would McCain really have to nominate as VP to get you to vote for him?

Well, since I don't want McCain as President, his VP selection would have to be someone who was reliable, solid, canny, pragmatic, a man or woman of the people, and able to assassinate McCain without evidence before taking office. I'm thinking Vlad Taltos would be the best choice here, but I'm open to other possibilities.

#33 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:36 PM:

abi 22: One must remember the Republican capacity for cognitive dissonance. Disabled son or no. Phyllis Schlafly, a woman with a husband and children, went around the country for years lecturing on how women should stay home and take care of their husbands and children, and none of her supporters seemed to find a problem with this.

#34 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Palin was practically the only woman he could find who was more conservative than he was.

But if all that mattered was someone with more social conservative credentials, then it's odd he didn't go for Huckabee. Some of those social conservatives would never vote for a woman in the first place.

#36 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:38 PM:

Dbratman @33 - but as we all learned from The Handmaid's Tale, once we live in Gilead then the women who preached will all go home and be housewives and be completely happy. So it's okay!

#37 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:39 PM:

From what I'm reading, she's a sop to the evangelicals. PETA will have a field day, because she has vetoed a bill to prevent wolves from being hunted from helicopters. (In this case, I'll be cheering PETA on.)

And she's under investigation for trying to have her sister's ex-husband fired from his job as a State Trooper.

She's no Hillary Clinton...and her anti-choice stance will not endear her to Clinton's supporters.

#38 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:40 PM:

John L. Last I checked, Wyoming is the state with the least population.

#39 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:40 PM:

Is there something fiendishly clever about this pick, or are they just flailing?

Does she help bring in the Christian right vote, or the extreme right-wingers who can't stand McCain? Something like that?

Do they figure the media and the Democrats already had a response lined up for any of the usual choices, so what the hell, let's confuse them?

I mean, if the Democrats nominated someone with her resume, can you imagine what the media would be saying?

#40 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:42 PM:

Scraps @ 39... Is there something fiendishly clever about this pick, or are they just flailing?

"Mr. Blackadder, I have a cunning plan."

#41 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:43 PM:

she deliberately kept the one with Downs Syndrome (Tracey S. Rosenberg at #29)

As opposed to having an abortion, or perhaps just drowning the baby at birth, which would have been a "non-pandering" way to react to a Downs Syndrome pregnancy?

Sorry, but your phraseology just pushed my buttons bigtime. If that isn't what you meant, I apologize for being extremely rude. If that is what you meant -- WTF?

#42 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Timor mortis conturbat me.

This is plausibly McCain -- in defiance of the actuarial odds, which aren't what one could describe as good -- insisting on a VP pick that flatly assumes he's not going to die in office.

One might justly suppose that says a whole lot about both their capacities for mature and dispassionate judgement, right there.

#43 ::: Gerri ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:45 PM:

I'm actually quite ticked about this choice, not because of her, but because of the skewed pressure it brings.

If I vote for Obama, I'm a sexist. If I vote for McCain, I'm a racist.

Bah. I'm a Democrat, been registered as a Democrat all my life. I'm voting Democrat. If that makes me a sexist, so be it.


#44 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:46 PM:

Scraps - I'm going with 'fiendishly clever' (though not without risk). Would anyone care 1/17th as much if he'd gone with expectations and picked Romney? Snooze.

#45 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:49 PM:

Actually, it just clicked. I don't know what McCain may be thinking, but I think for the rest of the party it's really damn simple. They don't expect her to draw any votes. She's a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb.

Her selection says to me that the Republican committee and strategists have concluded that they're going to lose this one, period, no matter what they do. McCain will be tainted, but the RNC didn't want him anyway, and by the next national election he'll be that much older and further into irrelevance. But anyone who runs with him as VP will be tainted with the loss and unelectable thereafter; therefore they will be happy to run someone with absolutely no relevance to the national party or politics. When McCain loses, they can write her off and continue with business as usual.

#46 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Laurie Mann @ #34 writes:
Palin was practically the only woman he could find who was more conservative than he was.

That, and she's:

A) A former beauty queen, like both his wives, and
B) Shorter than him

As someone on DailyKos said: "Palin? She's young enough to be his next wife!"

#47 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:53 PM:

Scraps @ 39
She helps bring in the Christian right vote. Her name has been floated a number of times from the evangelical base. And, since she's also a woman, she's a two-fer.
In addition, her lack of national exposure is an asset. At least once the decision was made to give the VP nomination to someone from the X-tian right, it became an asset. She doesn't have a record that actively scares people.
The Cheney wing of the party will return to their normal position of having an unelected advisor running things. Cheney's visibility is unusual.

#48 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:53 PM:

Also, the other computer user currently home has located a VPILF site already.

#49 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 02:55 PM:

Lizzy - sorry, I was sloppy there. I recently read Martha Beck's book on having a son with Downs Syndrome and she discussed how, during her pregnancy, she was overwhelmingly pressured to 'get rid of it' by having an abortion - Palin, like Beck, chose not to do this, but to keep the child.

I suspect that Palin's decision will not only be approved of within the pro-life movement but be seen to act as an additional 'up yours' to what many right-wing Christians seem to think is a medical establishment which promotes 'designer abortions'.

#50 ::: Dave Lartigue ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:00 PM:

I don't think Palin is a gesture to the unhappy Hillary Clinton supporters. I think she's a gesture to the unhappy Harriet Miers supporters.

#51 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:02 PM:

Tracey at 49, thank you. I think you are correct. And I liked that Beck book also...

#52 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:02 PM:

I'm just astonished that McCain's campaign would pick a running-mate who is right in the middle of an abuse of power investigation.

When I first heard the vague details, I thought it obviously couldn't be that big of a deal. I mean, it couldn't possibly amount to much, right? A major political party's VP vetting couldn't be that incompetent, right?

But the more I read about it, the more convinced I am that this is going to be a real problem for McCain. I mean, I could see it not amounting to much if the special investigator had already issued his report and she had been cleared. But he hasn't. It's still just hanging out there. Worse, she and a number of her staff at first issued strong denials that there had been any pressuring phone calls to Monegan. Then a CD of a telephone conversation emerges with a conversation showing exactly that.

The Alaska Legislature allocated "no more than $100,000" for the special investigator to complete his investigation. You can bet your sweet Polar Bear Bippy there is going to be a hell of a lot more than $100K spent on this investigation, now, when you add up the Dem's opposition research, and the networks, and god knows who else... if there's anything out there, it's coming soon.

You know what this reminds me of? The thing that really and truly destroyed Geraldine Ferraro's chance at helping her ticket were the sleazy dealings of her husband.

From what I've read, it seems that somehow Palin's husband might have been diddling around in this mess along with the Governor's staff.

I bet you one whole American dollar that the Husband Problem is what's going to happen to Palin too.

#53 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:02 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 45 - It may be even worse. If they're writing this one off, then they also get to say, "See? Woman on ticket = kiss of death. Don't do that again."

#54 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:05 PM:

Laurie Mann @34: But if all that mattered was someone with more social conservative credentials, then it's odd he didn't go for Huckabee.

I guess because of his occasional forays into economic populism. The GOP business establishment wouldn't like it if a McCain/Huckabee ticket would win, McCain would die, and then they'd have to put up with the second coming of William Jennings Bryan as President.

#55 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:08 PM:


Stephen Colbert's just gonna love her!

#56 ::: Judith ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:18 PM:

She's got an interesting mix of credentials to appeal to various (somewhat incompatible groups):

* Young
* Female
* Husband is a union member
* Evangelical
* Strongly anti-choice
* Pro-gun
* Pro ANWR drilling
* Governor
* Son in the military (and about to be deployed, on 9/11, which is an odd date but she managed to repeat it 6 times in her introduction of her family).

#57 ::: Mike G. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:25 PM:

@8: Shania has a slight eligibility problem, since she was born in Ontario (Canada, not California)...

Otherwise, she WOULD be a rocking choice :)

#58 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:29 PM:

Her children are named Track, Bristol, Willow , Piper, and Trig.

Really. Trig's full name is Trig Paxson Van Palin.

#59 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:31 PM:

On the "abuse of power" thing, Mike Wooten (the person she allegedly wanted fired) was her ex-brother-in-law, who had apparently threatened to kill her father. (According to "reliable" Wikipedia). Assuming this is accurate for the moment...

She either did try to get him fired, or didn't. If she didn't, no issue.

If she did, I don't think the Democrats want to go there on how she should have gone about it with more bureaucratic punctilio. That way lies Mike Dukakis's response to what he'd do if his wife was raped.

All she would have to do is say "That moron threatened to kill my father so I wanted his ass fired," and 90% of America would nod in agreement.

#60 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Damn, Nina, that child named Willow gets the Buffy vote too!

It is a cunning plan!

#61 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Does she help bring in the Christian right vote, or the extreme right-wingers who can't stand McCain?

She helps a lot with the pro-lifers, who are (to put it nicely) unenthusiastic about McCain.

Warning: rude epithets in following anecdote.

It reminds me of a friend's comment when Mark Earley, running for governor as a Republican, sent out a gay-baiting piece of campaign literature in October. "If you're running, as a Republican, for governor of Virginia, and it's October, and you STILL don't have the fag-basher vote in the bag--you've got problems."

#62 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Wooten had also tased his 11-year-old son during the course of the divorce. He's no saint.

Thing is, if Palin had ordered her subordinates to go after every policeman in Alaska with domestic violence convictions on their record, and gotten them all disciplined or fired (I have no idea if there are others, but even in a small state like Alaska there probably all), she would have been lauded, brilliant, a feminist hero. But she only went after the one who had affected her personally. That's abuse of power.

#63 ::: jenny ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:40 PM:

I think this is a great pick! It practically guarantees Obama '08 :)
1. Palin's major lack of experience will take McCain's Obama-inexperience card... particularly relevant because McCain is so old.
2. Speaking of age, the Veep pick will allow that topic to be brought up over and over and over again.
3. Something will come of this dubious involvement with the PD, I can feel it.
Scandals in election season... mmm the media is licking their chomps!

#64 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:40 PM:

#59 DaveL: ...All she would have to do is say "That moron threatened to kill my father so I wanted his ass fired," and 90% of America would nod in agreement.


From what I've read, there's no question her ex-brother-in-law was a real piece of work, but his firing is not the issue. It's the firing of Monegan, Wooten's boss, that's the issue.

A couple of weeks before she fired Monegan she praised his work on some sort of state board or commission or something (having to do with bootlegging in rural Alaska, I believe). Then she fires his ass a couple of weeks later for doing a lousy job of what she just praised him for doing a good job at.

But you could be right. It all depends on what the networks and cable channels and Dems come up with. If there is something bad going on, and the cable channels or the networks keep pressing the issue, this could hang over her for the next two months. Even if nothing gets resolved, it's going to keep our Intrepid Journalists digging and bringing it up and talking about it.

I just thinks it's got the potential to turn into a nightmare for the GOP.

#65 ::: jon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:41 PM:

Nothing against Ms. Palin. But her as president would be a disaster roughly equivalent to -my- election as president which would, I assure you, be quite the disaster. There's inexperienced, and then there's "dude. the white house. it's WHITE!" inexperienced. Nothing to do with intelligence, ability, or anything else; were Sen. McCain to stroke out and die, folks like Putin and Kim Jong Il and I'm a Dinner Jacket would eat the lunch of ANY person that new to the field, and leave that person asking if their guest would like dessert, too.

At least Obama has looked over a few shoulders and READ a treaty or two, and the more-experienced individual in his pairing is second-in command and therefore replaceable should -he- stroke out and die.

Unfortunately, I fear will be a great number of people who will look at the idea of a Fundamentalist in the White House and assume God will look after her and this great nation of ours should she find herself in the big chair. "Look how well President Bush is doing, and -he- didn't have much of a clue, either," I think they'll say.

I do hope I'm wrong.

#66 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:44 PM:

Clifton Royston @ 32

Vlad comes with a little too much baggage for my liking. I'm not thrilled with the idea of exchanging Dick Cheney as éminence grise for Sethra Lavode.

#67 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:50 PM:

Bruce @66 --

Sethra at least admits her undead state.

#68 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:54 PM:

She's the McCain campaign's Hail Mary play.

So far it's worked well. This is all anybody and the chattering class is talking about today.

The chattering class is not talking about the Katrina disaster (today's the third anniversary). It is not talking about Gustav and the reThug's consideration of postponement of theirCON.

It certainly isn't talking about last night, which had so much to like and to talk about. The contrast, for instance, between Mrs. Biden (short, blonde, been in D.C. for how long? a grandmother) and Michelle ( tall, not blonde, a young mom -- and how occasionally a stunned expression would escape to appear on her public face, and how the two who are probably going to be in each other's company a lot in the next 67 days -- and maybe the next 4 years, will get to know each other.

Love, C.

#69 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:54 PM:

Guys, she also helps a lot with the Western vote. New Mexico and Colorado are in play, and their 14 electoral votes could flip this. Every voter in the West is probably pretty sick of a bunch of snotty East-coasters (and the occasional Southerner) telling them that DC knows better what to do with Western land. All this "whole state smaller than the city of Oakland" stuff is great, but if it goes farther, into "who cares what those flyover rubes think anyway" it's going to be a major problem for Democratic prospects in moderate states.

#70 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Can anyone enumerate the things that "executive experience" is said to bring? Or the skills that it requires? Are there other ways to get those skills, such as by running a campaign, or a company?

I'm probably just being thrown by the term, which I don't recall being so extensively used before this election.

(Which is a clear marker of an invented talking point term, I know.)

#71 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:01 PM:

I agree that picking Palin is a way for the RNC to wash their hands of the whole election. It's a trifecta:

    1. McCain goes down, along with the whole "the voters want a maverick" argument.
2. "See, running a woman is a bad idea."
3. "The party did as much as it could, too bad that jerk McCain picked a criminal
to run with."

Also, this way Huckabee gets to run in 2012 without any baggage from the 2008 election.

#72 ::: Total ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:02 PM:

Actually, it just clicked. I don't know what McCain may be thinking, but I think for the rest of the party it's really damn simple. They don't expect her to draw any votes. She's a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb.Actually, it just clicked. I don't know what McCain may be thinking, but I think for the rest of the party it's really damn simple. They don't expect her to draw any votes. She's a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb.

No, she's really not. As others have already pointed out, she helps McCain with the right wing of the party, she helps in the West, she makes a play at reducing the gender gap for the GOP, she's got blue-collar credentials, etc.

#73 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Also, looking at Senate prospects, as I first did in February: three of the states Democrats are looking to pick up to get a 60-seat majority in the Senate are Alaska, Colorado, and New Mexico.

A fourth is New Hampshire, and it's my impression that New Hampshire also has a strong "don't tread on me" streak.

Palin will play up her "Western independence" and that may get more Western Repubs out to vote, hurting Democratic prospects in the Senate, too.

I'm really not happy about this pick.

#74 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:11 PM:

Madeline F- I suspect I'm way further west than you are, and a whole lot closer to Alaska, and I don't see her doing anything except hurting the GOP in the western states I know the most about- except for Idaho, which is so red it flouresces. I suspect that the more people know about her as a politician, the less good she's going to do.

And as for the comparisons to Agnew: well, I can hope we all learned from that experience, can't I?

#75 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:13 PM:

abi @ 70

All the "informed"* opinion on the experience issue has been that there aren't any other jobs like POTUS, including CEO of a Fortune 100 company, so the question is really moot. Unless, of course, you're CEO of a large corporation with a really big security department (the kind with tanks and nukes), that runs its own banks, espionage services, and prisons.

This is just an extension of the old "you're too young" arguments that were used against JFK and Bill Clinton.**

** Those arguments are symptomatic of a real change in US society; everyone's calling Palin a "young woman" when 44 used to be considered solidly middle-aged. I guess that's just relative to a 72-yo who doesn't want people to remember what the auctuaries say about his odds of living another 4 years.

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:14 PM:

Something just occurred to me... We're talking about McCain's and his veep, but not about the fact that, for the first time ever in American History, a black man is now officially running for President of the United States.

#77 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:15 PM:

Madeline F. #69: Yeah, but McCain's already from Arizona, and not in a token way, either -- and if McCain doesn't have the Western vote sewn up by now, to paraphrase someone above....

#78 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:22 PM:

JESR @ 74

And as for the comparisons to Agnew: well, I can hope we all learned from that experience, can't I?

If we'd learned anything, the last 8 years wouldn't have happened. Which I wouldn't mind at all.

Re: Palin getting the West: I'm just south of you, Julia, and I agree that this won't help the Republicans much out here. The Bush administration has been stomping all over the rights and needs of the western states, and the voters have noticed.* Getting someone in from Alaska (not a place that many US Westerners think of as part of their region) isn't going to make them think better of someone who won't blanket disavow the Bush legacy.

* Example: a lot of small towns in the forest regions of Washington and Oregon are about to go under because the Repubs refused to vote to renew the money they used to get to replace timber revenue, even though our Congresspeople brought it up three separate times.

#79 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:22 PM:

#74 JESR: Well, my LJ userinfo says that I'm in Oakland, CA. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Denver, Colorado, though, and I'm still in touch with my family back there, on both sides of politics. From what I've seen of the Pacific Coast, it's not the West, except for the inland areas which are overwhelmed population-wise and largely voiceless. I have met left-coasters who disagree, though.

#77 Connie H.: Hoom, good point. That encourages me somewhat. Though McCain has spent so many years in DC that he's out of touch. Still, a ray of sunshine, thanks.

#80 ::: Max Kaehn ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:30 PM:

I'd vote for Sethra Lavode. We could use someone who can plan past the next election.

#81 ::: mary ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 04:54 PM:

There are so many comments I want to respond to, I've lost track of them.

JESR@20:"the worst thing about this appointment is the pong of "any woman at all" about it" Yeah.

joann@21: Me too, and I'd feel particularly insulted if I were a Hillary supporter.

Dave Lartigue@ 50: I, too, thought of Harriet Miers, and how quickly she was the nominee, then not. This smacks of the same kind of "oops" decision.

Stephen Colbert? How about Tina Fey? The resemblance has already been noted: Tina Fey's Wilderness Twin

I just googled VPILF+Palin and got 1460 hits. (UPDATE: 1480 now)

Another beauty queen? Give me a break. Seeing McCain standing between Palin and his wife makes him look like a dirty old man.

This is farce. What are the Republicans thinking?

#82 ::: Arthur D. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:02 PM:

Serge @ #76 We're talking about McCain's and his veep, but not about the fact that, for the first time ever in American History, a black man is now officially running for President of the United States.

Exactly. This announcement and the VP choice were done to block Obama's momentum coming out of the convention. Had it been any of the known short listers, there would have been a bit less attention paid to the choice. It seems to have been done to maximize short term gain, without regard to viability for the rest of the election cycle or beyond.

#83 ::: argonaut ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:21 PM:

John McCain made the wrong choice, experience is important. He passed up two Republican women who are experienced and both have been on Forbes Magazine's World's 100 Most Powerful Women.

Maine’s Senator Olympia J. Snowe:

In 2006 Time Magazine named her one of the top ten U.S. Senators. Calling her “The Caretaker,” Time magazine wrote of Snowe: “Because of her centrist views and eagerness to get beyond partisan point scoring, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is in the center of every policy debate in Washington., but while Snowe is a major player on national issues, she is also known as one of the most effective advocates for her constituents.”

Texas’s Kay Bailey Hutchinson:

Senator Hutchison has played a vital role in shaping America's defense policy and fulfilling our nation's promises to our veterans as former Chairman and now Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and as a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense . She introduced and passed legislation creating an Overseas Basing Commission, which conducted a comprehensive review of the U.S. military's global footprint to help ensure that our Armed Forces are prepared to meet 21st century threats. She currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Visitors for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She received the National Military Family Association Award for Service to Military Families, 2001

Being from Arizona I know about McCain and we can't be nice with him. He is a mean man, the Clintons' are more Christian than he or I for that matter. I would never have forgiven him for the mean, nasty joke he told about their daughter and our Attorney General at the time. He pushed a woman in a wheelchair and the complaints were ignored by the Republican Ethics Committee. Being in a wheelchair myself I know how vulnerable we feel in our chairs; McCain should have paid for that mistake but everyone always excuses him because he was a POW and we have to be lenient about his temper tantrums, like some little boy. If he can't control his temper with a women in a wheelchair visiting his office about a POW Bill, then I surely don't want him near the button in the White House.

One link is: McCain Assaulted a Woman in a Wheelchair

just Google: John McCain, temper......hundreds of links will pop up.

another is: A wheel-chair bound woman asked McCain about the Community Choice Act, a piece of legislation for disabled Americans that would give individuals greater freedom on where to live. “What that would do is it would end the institutional bias,” the questioner said, then asked him if he would consider supporting it.
“I will not,” McCain responded, “because I don’t think it’s the right kind of legislation.” A trio of people in wheelchairs left the room shortly after his response.

Why didn't he tell why he didn't like it?

The Republicans have had the Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court. They will never do anything about abortion because they need it to rally the Republicans.

John McCain is wrong for President!

#84 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:25 PM:

Can anyone imagine how she will look when she debates Biden on, well, anything? He doesn't have to attack what she says, all he'll have to do is mention his experience and accomplishments, and keep hammering on how little experience SHE has.

She's eye candy that helps give McCain the appearance of being younger than he really is. He'll be seen over and over with her, and except for the occasional (well coached) comment she'll be there to just look nice. Her personal views and beliefs match well with the core Republican voter, and (they hope) her gender will pull angry Hillary voters over to their side.

Yeah, right. They're dreaming if that's truly what they thought.

#85 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:29 PM:

>Can anyone enumerate the things that "executive
> experience" is said to bring?

Getting subordinates motivated to do things.
The pressure of being responsible for outcomes rather than just being a Monday-morning quarterback.
Showing you can handle the stress of a job. (This is why governors usually beat Senators for the Presidency; governorship is Presidency-in-miniature, while Senatorial status... isn't.)

> Or the skills that it requires? Are there other
> ways to get those skills, such as by running a
> campaign, or a company?

Some of them, probably. And some of our greatest Presidents have learned them on the job (Lincoln, for instance).

#86 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:38 PM:

Trophy VP.

I can't claim it, it's a hilariously apt comment found on this blog of an Alaskan guy who's apparently been writing for months about how Palin has been screwing up there.

#87 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:40 PM:

BTW, I just want to get a prediction in here before it is too late...

I watched Palin's speech, with McCain standing right next to her.

Now... I don't know what McCain was really looking at while he was standing next to and just behind her, but I'm telling you it looked exactly like the whole time he was standing there eying the Governor's ass.

My prediction is: you are going to be seeing that shtick on Jon Stewart tonight, and maybe Letterman, and maybe SNL Weekend News (or whatever they call that segment).

I swear to gawd it was both hilarious and creepy. You just watch. You are going to be seeing on a screen near you.

#88 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:51 PM:

Well, Palin is an attractive woman; McCain checking her out just shows how youthful he truly is!

Besides, he's got the past history of straying outside his marriage vows, so he's just repeating his old habits, right?

When I heard Palin was his VP choice, I kept thinking "nah, this has to be a joke, no one on his staff could be THAT naive, could they?". She brings NOTHING to his candidacy other than "see, we've got a minority running for office too!".

#89 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:53 PM:

Madeline @ #86, it is a funny crack. The guy who wrote it lost the gubernatorial election to Palin in 2006.

#90 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:54 PM:

Ah! The aforementioned blog is written by a guy named Andrew Halcro, who ran as an independent against Palin and Knowles in the 2006 gubernatorial election and won 9.5% of the vote. Wikipedia says, "He was widely regarded as the winner of the several debates in which he participated with Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Tony Knowles."

#91 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:56 PM:

Reading through this thread, I just had a really horrible thought. Others have mentioned how the Palin selection is taking away all the momentum for Obama and Biden coming out of the Democratic convention. What if that's the the sole purpose for the Palin selection? The media spends the long, Labor Day weekend (and possibly next week if the GOP convention is postponed because of Hurricane Gustav) talking about Palin. Then they go into the convention and it's "discovered" that her actions in the firing of the commissioner of public safety were totally inappropriate. So she withdraws as VP candidate, McCain chooses someone else, and the GOP gets to have its cake and eat it too. The Dems lose any advantage they should have had coming out of Denver and the GOP would have a new "surprise" VP candiate for the media to obsess about coming out of the GOP convention.

Tell me I'm wrong, please.

#92 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 05:58 PM:

Clifton #45: Are you saying Palin is the Republicans' Ferrarro? That's sort of broadly plausible, but I'm not sure I buy that McCain's campaign has given up on his chances of election. More likely, his campaign was looking for a woman to draw Hillary supporters, but one who would not alienate any more of his base than was necessary, which meant she had to be solidly in the religious conservative camp.

And honestly, this is a monumentally stupid strategy. Enthusiastic, committed Democrats who campaigned for Hillary may very well have been talking about voting McCain, but I don't buy that they're going to do so in any kind of large numbers. Being a registered party member, volunteering for a campaign or donating money, and being deeply interested in the primaries are all strongly related with being much more partisan than the average American. It's going to take more, IMO, than some disappointment at Hillary losing and concern that the Democratic establishment and Obama campaign were insufficiently critical of some sexist BS floating around to get large numbers of those folks to cast a vote for a Republican. The best McCain could hope for from those voters is to get them to stay home or vote Green, and once they're in the voting booth in a swing state, I'd hate to bet on them doing even that.

McCain's age (which is impolite to discuss), his health history (which is impolite to discuss), and perhaps even his combat stress/PTSD issues (which are *really* impolite to discuss) make his VP choice terribly important, the VP needed to be someone with a realistic hope of stepping into the job quickly. Someone like Biden, or Lieberman, or Cheney, or Kemp, or Gore. This pick seems to me much more like choosing Quayle, or even Edwards--someone who just didn't seem like he could have picked up the job in the middle of the term, after some tragedy befell the president.

#93 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:00 PM:

Hmnh. Guess Colin Powell was busy. Or, more likely, smart.

Now *that* would have thrown the cat among the pigeons. Oh well - it's in the realm of alternate history now.

#94 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:01 PM:

John L, #16: They might. Given the amount of recent media speculation and blithering about "disenchanted Hillary supporters who are going to vote for McCain instead of Obama," it's not a completely unexpected move. Where it falls flat is that I continue to be convinced that the whole PUMA thing is a put-up job, designed to make the numbers look a lot stronger than they really are. And if I'm right, then McCain just got fooled by his own side's dirty trick. Can you say "poetic justice"?

SisterCoyote, #24: That's a result not to be sneezed at. Every Republican butt that stays in the armchair instead of heading out to the polling place is two fewer votes that we have to field. (Cynical? Who, me?)

Nina Katarina, #58: Ye ghods and little fishes! She could have a whole section of the Bad Baby Names website all to herself!

Arthur, #82: It seems to have been done to maximize short term gain, without regard to viability for the rest of the election cycle or beyond.

And doesn't that sound awfully familiar?

#95 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:04 PM:

Well, she's not an obvious choice, and I'm a little surprised they would pick someone with a home state scandal threatening to break over her. I sense that experience isn't going to be a big factor in this election... Hmmmm....

Checking the stats: Snowe and Hutchinson are about the right age to be prez, normally. Running down the senators, Collins in Maine is up for re-election and might not want to bet the farm. Murkowski in Alaska seems problematic for a variety of reasons. Dole of NC is too old (gad-- Hillary vs. Liz: that would have been a weird re-run, er, match-up).

Governors: Besides Palin, we have Rell (CT) -- not a chance the party would swallow her. Lingle (HI) has some issues too. After that we would have to go to retirees, such as Whitman of NJ and Hull of AZ.

OK, I'm still not sure; but one has to wonder whether the two more obvious choices were asked and said no.

#96 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:07 PM:

Google News' top headline:

Experts: Palin chosen for women's votes

Thank you, USA Today.

#97 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:15 PM:

C. Wingate #95:

The rumors I keep hearing are that Hutchinson wants to be governor at some nebulous point in the future.

#98 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:15 PM:

The sacrificial lamb theory sounds plausible to me, but I'm going to float a couple of more.

One is that they haven't accepted that they're going to lose, they're intending to lose to leave Obama holding the bag.

Another is my background theory that the current administration is chaotic evil. They don't like planning and they mostly don't do it. If they do something that looks like it doesn't make sense, it may well not make sense.

Meanwhile, the outside world is more complicated and fraught than it's ever been. Aside from Russia, China, India, nukes, climate change, the Middle East (various), and financial crisis (have I missed anything?), there isn't much going on. We *really* can't afford a stupid or ignorant administration.

#99 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:17 PM:

C. Wingate @ #95, I don't know what issues you found that you think accrue to Lingle. Out here she's regarded as a nice but fairly ineffectual governor (not surprisingly, since the legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic).

#100 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:18 PM:

Laina #91:

That would be a strategy on a par with planning a wintertime invasion of Russia, making McCain look incompetent and indecisive, and leaving him dumping someone who's well-liked by a part of his base he really needs to get elected.

#101 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:18 PM:

It's Palin and McCain
Yes, Palin and McCain
One is a lightweight, the other's insane
They're candidates you see
To rule o'er you and me
They're Repubs,
They're Palin and McCain, Cain, Cain, Cain
Cain, Cain, Cain, Cain

Before each night is done
Their plan will be unfurled
By the dawning of the sun
They'll take over the world.

They're Palin and McCain
Yes, Palin and McCain
Their twilight campaign
Is easy to explain.
To prove their right-wing worth
They'll overthrow the Earth
They're Repubs
They're Palin and McCain, Cain, Cain, Cain
Cain, Cain, Cain, Cain

(Tune: Pinky and the Brain theme song)

#102 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:21 PM:

Madeline F, I'm the kind of westerner who grew up thinking anything east of the Cascade Crest was "back east:" fifth generation western Washington stumpfarmer. The "Intermountain West" or what my academic side wants to call "basin and range" is less a unified polity now than it was twenty years ago; Denver is not Colorado Springs is not Boulder and none of them are Phoenix, Tuscon, Flagstaff, Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City, Provo, Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Laramie, nor most especially Missoula, Butte, or White Sulfur Springs. Bruce mentioned the problems in small towns in the upper left hand corner where timber impact money has been withdrawn; there are local manifestations up and down the rural parts of the West where the drive for "small government" has translated into specific and particular local disasters.

I find myself musing, also, at how the "how many houses" issue works away at McCain's support in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, where summer house people drive up land values and thence property taxes, do not become members of communities in any useful fashion, and have become shorthand for unwanted and destructive change.

#103 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:28 PM:

'Trophy Veep', were the words around my parent's house this morning, as we gleefully swilled coffee, and discussed the delicious way in which McCain shot himself in the foot when he selected Our Fair Governor.

She is an astonishing liability. And I for one am so very pleased.

#104 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:47 PM:

Bruce #75:

If you believe that, would you vote for someone for president who'd previously done nothing more impressive than, say, successfully manage a Wal-Mart? That is, do you really think that experience is entirely irrelevant to the presidency?

There's surely no exact match for being president, but there are some jobs (governor, especially of a large state, mayor of a large city, years of experience in the senate or house, CEO of a large company, high-ranking military commander, cabinet-level positions or the tier of appointments just below them) that seem like they have some relevance to your qualifications as president. Not everyone has had one of those jobs; some people have had several. I find it hard to think that Bill Richardson, frex, wouldn't have arrived at the White House much more equipped to do the job than Barrack Obama will.

abi #70:

I think the experience issue gets into a few different questions:

a. Has this person ever actually run a large organization? The president will be managing a large organization, dealing with subordinates and bureaucracy and all the lovely aspects of the agency problem and the Peter Principle and such. If this is his first time dealing with this kind of problem, it's reasonable to think he might do it badly.

b. Does this person know the kind of stuff he needs to know, to be president? Has he dealt with budgeting of a large organization? With congressional budget battles? With the whole process of writing and getting laws passed? With foreign policy issues? With military issues? Will he be a captive to his advisors on these issues, or will he be able to draw on his own experience as well? (I think this lack was a major weakness of the current president.)

c. Does this person have the right kind of personal contacts to do the job? Does he have contacts he can trust to explain stuff to him, people from whom he can call in favors? Does he have personal relationships with people in the military, the justice dept., etc.? (I think this lack was a major weakness of Carter.)

Bill Clinton got a certain amount of criticism for having relatively little international or federal experience. George W Bush got a fair bit of criticism for being relatively light on experience, as well. Both men chose VPs based partly on that lack of experience, I think. Obama's choice of Biden seems to me to follow the same pattern--Biden is someone whose years of experience in Washington lend him (and by association, Obama) some credibility that he'll be able to handle what comes up.

I don't think there's anything unreaonable about worrying about these questions, or that they're just talking points. Being the president looks to be a pretty hard job, and it sure seems plausible that never having tried to run anything larger than your presidential campaign before might make that hard job still harder. We've just spent the last eight years finding out how it works out to have a guy who's not very qualified for the job trying to do it. When 9/11 hit, might we have seen better choices made by a guy who'd faced a few more crises and challenges in a position of authority?

#105 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:49 PM:

After thinking about this some more, I have concluded it is a novel choice. As in: post-apocalyptic novel.

You know... like when the end of civilization comes and the survivors struggle to rebuild society and its institutions and so they reconstitute the Christian States of America or something and elect as the President the local postal carrier and maybe a popular member of the local city council as Vice President.

Well, it isn't as if living in Bush America hasn't been a little like living in the End Times. It probably shouldn't surprise us too much that McCain would pick Palin.

#106 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 06:54 PM:

Jim @101
ROTFLMAO!! It's a good thing I wasn't drinking anything when I read that. And I knew whose theme song it was before I got to the end of the first verse.

Maybe we need to put *that* on YouTube. What an earworm.

#107 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:02 PM:

Maybe we need to put *that* on YouTube. What an earworm.

If anyone has the audiovisual and musical chops to do it, they're welcome to it.

#108 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Does anyone know if it's possible for a Blogspot blog to change its URL and keep its same content? I just found Draft Sarah Palin for VP, which has apparently been around since July 2007--unless it's a new site with faked dates or an old site with a new URL to fit the new situation, hence my question.

#109 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:07 PM:

ABC News just reported that McCain had wanted Lieberman for his VP all along, but was talked out of selecting him on Sunday because of the conflict he'd give Republicans due to his abortion views.

So, McCain went over his remaining choices, discarded all of them, interviewed Palin on Wednesday, and decided within 24 hours she would be his VP. That sounds like he made that decision on his own, without any vetting or advice, all because she was considered a "maverick" and he wanted to "shake things up".

I wonder how he'll feel when he finds out she's a lightweight in anything voters are interested in, such as foreign policy, defense, health issues, the economy, etc, etc.

#110 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Linkmeister @ 99, C. Wingate @ 95: The main issue I can see them seeing with Lingle is that she's not all that Republican - in the sense that she's not one of the hard right Republicans who took over the party. IIRC, she's lukewarm pro-choice, she's not rabidly anti-gay, she mostly works with the Democratic legislature instead of denouncing them as commies, etc. I think in some ways she's fairly typical of what small-town Republicans used to be like. That would never fly. Oh, and she's not married. That might Raise Questions.

#111 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:13 PM:

Jim, I nearly lost my dinner over that!

Yes, yes, let's get it up on YouTube soon. I think Patrick is still playing in a band, right?

(There's a great rumor in more salacious parts of the Internet saying Palin's baby is really her daughter's - that, mysteriously, Palin didn't look pregnant until she suddenly turned up seven months pregnant. If it's true, this is kind of like the Cheneys never admitting that their daughter is gay.)

#112 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:17 PM:

With John McCain's age, there's a decent chance that he won't live out his first term, much less a second. If he wins, and then passes away, the thought of Sarah Palin dealing with Putin and Iran and North Korea terrifies me...

#113 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:18 PM:

Something to keep in mind.

McCain Thinks He's Losing. And not just losing, but losing badly. There are SO many ways this nomination can end up backfiring on him. Enough that no sane candidate would have made it unless they were feeling desperate.

(Constance at #68 referred to the nomination as a Hail Mary play. Sounds like a good description to me.)

(This doesn't mean it might not possibly work out well. Sometimes drawing to an inside straight does work but the odds are against it.)

#114 ::: Red (Chris Holdredge) ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:23 PM:

I think Palin already has some pretty significant Youtube problems

That video is edited in a fairly biased fashion, but the full quote doesn't actually present her in a much better light:

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? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.

#115 ::: Aliza ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:28 PM:

vian #93: Colin Powell was discussed as a Presidential candidate 9 years ago. He said that his wife vetoed the idea because she didn't want him to get assassinated.

As for Palin herself, she's a train wreck, but I have a horrible feeling that either the only people who care wouldn't vote for Obama anyway, or that she'll be replaced at the convention with someone who will look spectacular by comparison.

#116 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:30 PM:

On sacrificial lamb versus getting votes from [various segments of the American electorate]; assuming that she was chosen by a shadowy group of Machivellian Republicans, why not both? Improve your chance of winning AND consolidate your control of the party if you lose.

All that said, the version John L puts forward @109 sounds pretty plausible to me.

#117 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:41 PM:

Speculations...she's going to be attractive to conservative rural voters. Her looks will probably be an asset in getting people's attention, and that might help turning out the R voters. She's not a loser like W. Bush, as far as can be told, and anyone who takes on raising a Down's Syndrome child either can afford servants or is pretty tough--caring for a developmentally disabled child is a lot of work. On the other hand, she's probably a religious fanatic like Bush, and her anti-abortion stance indicates a lack of empathy. I wonder if she was one of the "in" girls in high school, and I wonder if she still has that attitude of superiority. Based on these speculations, I think she could be quite a lot of trouble.

#118 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:42 PM:

Yeah, I don't buy the "sacrificial lamb" model at all. John's #109 is consistent with other stuff we've seen from McCain, and Michael I's #113 seems spot on--McCain's people (and Obama's) probably have a reasonably good idea what the next few months are likely to look like, and how the election is likely to fall out. If they're taking desperate measures, it's probably because they think things are desperate. (On the other hand, it doesn't pay to underestimate the total amount of dumb in the world. Most of the big political campaigns pulled some boneheaded stunts for various mostly bad reasons this year. Why not one more?)

#119 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:43 PM:

John L, #109: Oh, my. What that sounds like to me is that his dick made that decision! "Trophy Veep" indeed...

#120 ::: sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:46 PM:

I have been depressed at the comments in some of my favourite online spots.

"Palin is an obvious choice because of all of the Clinton supporters who will vote for a woman, whoever that woman is. "

"Those who put down Palin make their sexism clear: a woman in politics is OK, but only if it's a liberal woman."

I feel ill. Can I turn off the internet until it's over?

#121 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:51 PM:

Palin is a terrible VP pick by any sane criteria... but as a public relations move--and assuming the political media are the public in question--she's brilliant. When I heard the news, my first thought was that the media are going to love her. Sometimes she disagrees with the party line... why, she's a maverick! And she's a self-described "soccer mom!" Just like a Hollywood movie where the good-hearted PTA mom, through some wacky contrivance, finds herself in the White House and ends up outsmarting the cynical professional politicians with her ordinary aw-shucks folksy wisdom... or that'll be the spin, anyway; look for coverage to be somehow at once both admiring and faintly condescending. The press hasn't had a potential pal like this since the 2000 election, when they met that down-home regular guy who gave them Dove bars, and designer water, and was so much fun to have a beer with.

Not that they aren't still in love with McCain himself. If Obama had given an interview like this the media would have come down on him like a ton of Talky Tina dolls, and not let up until 2009. McCain gets a "Get Out of Embarrassment Free" card. As usual.

#122 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 07:52 PM:

Pretty good recap of the ongoing investigation of Palin's abuse of power problem here.

#123 ::: sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 08:16 PM:

@32 Clifton

I'm probably being thick but despite knowing the taltos, I can't quite envision Vlad Taltos. Could you please add a bit of description?

@41 Lizzy Well said! I saw the resulting discussion (yay) but your words bear underscoring.

#124 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 08:34 PM:

Sylvia @ 123: Vlad Taltos, the main character in Steven Brust's series, is an assassin by trade--which I think was the point of the comment at 32.

#125 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 08:41 PM:
"Those who put down Palin make their sexism clear: a woman in politics is OK, but only if it's a liberal woman."

A good response to this would be: "Oh, so because she's a woman, we're not allowed to criticize her? How very Politically Correct of you."

#126 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 08:50 PM:

My first thought was "McCain didn't pick Geena Davis, but he came close." I liked the Commander in Chief TV series!

Palin has some solid lower-case c conservative things in her record - she sold the former Alaska governor's plane (on eBay!) A friend in AK on another board suggests that "she's not a bit demure" and "McCain may not know what he's getting".

But, yeah, this doesn't sound like playing to win.

(I'd still like to see the Republicans nominate Colin Powell with Condaleeza Rice for VP next time. That'd put a pile of cats amongst the pigeons.)

#127 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:01 PM:

#117: "she's going to be attractive to conservative rural voters."

Yeah. She's Soccer Mom fodder.

Interesting piece on NPR about the Wikipedia edits. Very science fictional.

#128 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:15 PM:

I think her main function is to be a sexual-politics porcupine. (Clearly, she was not hired for her credentials, since she has none worth mentioning. There were plenty of Republicans with credentials, some of them women, but McCain didn't pick them.) Touch her, no matter how carefully, and pull back a hand full of quills. (Either that, or they really do think a substantial number of women will ignore the issues and vote for the ticket with a woman on it. But for the most part, Republican political operatives are evil, not stupid.)

Everyone knows that right-wingers and Republicans are unreconstructed troglodytes on gender issues, so they can bash Hillary for months and nobody bats an eyelash (or, if they're in the media, bothers to cover the incident at all). But if a *liberal* says something bad about a *woman*, even if it has nothing to do with sex, well, free up the next 24 hours for continuous loop replay and get your best shocked and appalled disapproving voices ready.

Even worse if it's something that *does* have some plausible connection to sex, like (unfortunately) #101 above. Yes, "bimbo" does scan. But it probably doesn't actually apply to anyone who can campaign for and win the governorship of even a small (populationwise) state, former beauty contestant or no, which makes it a nasty wart on an otherwise funny and original (well, the lyrics anyway) song.

It's disturbingly easy to make gender slurs without even trying, which means liberals now have to watch themselves and each other to avoid stumbling into something like that. Meanwhile, race-baiting can pretty much only be done intentionally, so the Republicans can do it on purpose, in a controlled manner, and only to the right audiences. (And again, it's not news when they do it, so they don't have to worry about it being repeated to the *wrong* audiences.)

Under this viewpoint, her obvious lack of qualifications is an *asset*, since it invites criticism, and criticism is exactly what they want (under the assumption that it will hurt the attacker worse). Republican political operatives manage to get Republicans elected, so I don't like to underestimate their intelligence if there's a potential cunning plan that explains the facts equally well.

P.S. Actually it's even worse than I thought - attacking her is mean and sexist, but not attacking her is patronizing - they wouldn't go easy on a *man*, would they? - and therefore *also* sexist. So you have to attack her exactly the same amount that you would attack a man in the same position, while studiously ignoring the fact that a man would never have gotten *into* the same position because she was obviously chosen for her gender but you can't say so.

Trying to navigate through *that* with a Republican-owned media waiting to pounce on anything that can even semi-plausibly be described as a gaffe won't be a picnic, that's for sure.

#129 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:20 PM:


Yes, as Liza said and Bruce alluded to, it was a joke about Steven Brust's character, not a reference to the Hungarian legends which I don't really understand. (It probably came to mind because Jo Walton was just discussing those books over on the Tor site.) I was intentionally a bit oblique, because one wants to be cautious with jokes about assassination, especially in the middle of an election season.

(I knew a fellow once who posted on Usenet, after Clinton was elected in '92, that he couldn't wait to see Bush Sr's head on a pike. A few days later, the Secret Service was visiting his workplace, and he ended up having to plea-bargain for probation.)

#130 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:22 PM:

re 110: That's more or less the liabilities I meant.

re 117: Randolph, if Shrub reads as a "religious fanatic" to you, then you need to get out onto the internet more. Fercryingoutloud, he's a Methodist; as far as religious fanaticism is concerned, he's somewhere below the average level here. And frankly, as someone who has been down the same path with a Down's child, I think you talk too freely about her empathy.

re 121: Well, isn't (as far as the electing of the president is concerned) public relations the foremost point of the veep? (/cynicism)

My wife and I discussed this, and we've come to the conclusion that Palin's youth and appearance were big factors. Snowe, in a more rational world, would be the better choice; but she looks her age, and she isn't handsome. Other than that, she would seem a better choice strategically, especially since she can pick up the rural, moderate, female, and Easterner leanings all in one package. I'm inclined to believe that either she was asked and turned it down (less likely), or that young, pretty Palin was picked to counterbalance young, pretty Obama.

#131 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:23 PM:

Actually, I just checked and there's no existing restriction on the candidates nation of birth. The Way Back Machine has some older documents with hits, but it looks like those have all been updated or deleted. So, my Shania Twain option is still on the table.

Having said that, I could be strongly persuaded to go with Vlad:
"Senators, I am entirely honored that you found the time to see me at the last moment this morning. Was that door really carved from old growth California Redwood? I'm sure the new door will be just as magnificent. Not to worry about your assistants either, most of them looked revivifiable and my office will be happy to cover the costs.
I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce Mr...Glowbug. He has some very interesting and strongly held beliefs about the responsibilities of duly elected officials that I'm sure you'll find fascinating..."

#132 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:28 PM:

Laurie @111: There's a great rumor in more salacious parts of the Internet saying Palin's baby is really her daughter's - that, mysteriously, Palin didn't look pregnant until she suddenly turned up seven months pregnant.

Meh. There were people around work who had no idea I was pregnant until they found out I'd had a baby.

I agree 100% with Wesley @121. It's a good PR move. Having the media in love with you may be the biggest single asset a candidate can have. It certainly covers a multitude of sins.

Unfortunately, the sexist criticism (as opposed to legitimate criticism) of Palin began immediately. Shakesville is already up to post #3 of its Sarah Palin Sexism Watch. And too much of this is coming from the putative left.

#133 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:37 PM:

BTW, the wingnuts love her. And the information on her abortion position (only when the life of the mother is endangered--not even in case of rape and incest) in the Alaska Eagle Forum blog has been taken down, but was still in Google's cache when I looked, and I have a copy.

#134 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:42 PM:

For anybody in the non-Eastern time zones, there's an interview with Monegan, the Public Safety Commissioner who was fired by Palin for not firing her ex-brother-in-law State Trooper on the MSNBC show following Olbermann tonight (used to be "The Verdict" with Dan Abrams... now it's David Shuster doing something).

Anyway, Monegan says the alleged crappy behavior by the Trooper supposedly took place before the divorce proceedings were started, but were never mentioned to anybody (in any official capacity anyway) until the divorce proceedings were started where it came out in a custody battle.

The Governor and her husband made several personal calls to the Public Safety Commissioner until Monegan told her to quit calling him about it because the investigation of the Trooper was still going on. She stopped calling. At some later point Monegan was fired. He believes the whole brother-in-law incident played a role in his firing, but is waiting for the special investigator to finish his report.

#135 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 09:58 PM:

I don't agree that Palin can't be attacked because she's a woman. For example, she can be attacked for incompetence, if those charges can be proved true. From a diary on DailyKos:

Sarah Palin left the finances of her town Wasilla in tatters when she moved on in 2002 (h/t xgz). She wanted a legacy as mayor, it seems, and pushed hard for the town to build a hyper-expensive sports complex. But Palin screwed the process up badly. Instead of buying the land for the complex when it was offered, her administration allowed a developer named Gary Lundgren to snap it up. Then Wasilla tried to seize the land from Lundgren through eminent domain. In the end, what with court costs Wasilla paid at least $ 1.7 million for land it could have bought for less than one tenth that sum - if the purchase had been handled properly. For this incompetence, Wasilla is still paying a steep price: higher taxes and cutbacks in services.

#136 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 10:04 PM:

Tony Zbaraschuk: Governors are more electable than senators?


The count is 15 senators, 17 governors, but some of each weren't elected (Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Johnson and John Tyler all succeeded the office on the death of the incumbent, in the governor column. Truman and Johnson in the Senator). Which makes it 16-15.

It's worth noting only one Governor to succeeded the office was re-elected (Rooseevelt), while the Senators (Truman, Johnson) both managed to get a second term (which wore them out).

Two of those governors, as well, weren't elected (and yes, I know that's the case for all those who were in the Senate prior to the 18th Amendment too). They were appointed military governors (Jackson to florida, and Johnson to Tenn., during the Civil War).

So, I think the best which can be said is... having been on the political stage matters.

#137 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 10:33 PM:

Lance Weber: No restriction on Nation of Birth?

No, not at present. They do, however, have to be a natual born citizen. The VP has to be legally eligible to succeed to the office, so Ms. Twain is still out.

#138 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 10:49 PM:

Terry #136:

But four of the last five presidents elected have been governors. I wonder if this has to do with the huge change in how nominees are selected, from deals made at the conventions to mostly having primary voters make the decision.

#139 ::: Kristi Wachter ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 11:06 PM:

Geri @43:

If I vote for Obama, I'm a sexist. If I vote for McCain, I'm a racist.

How in the world does that make you a sexist? Obama's the candidate. If you're a Democrat and you support his platform, you vote for him. Senator Clinton didn't win the nomination. You, as a Democrat, no longer have a woman you can vote for.

... And ... voting for a woman BECAUSE she's a woman - that's sexist.

I would have been perfectly happy to vote for Senator Clinton for president if she had won the nomination and if there hadn't been a candidate I liked more. I think her lifetime of experience as a woman informs many of the positions I appreciate. But I would not vote for her because of her gender, or because she shares it with me, even though I think a greater balance of gender and race and experience in elected office would be a good thing.

#140 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 11:17 PM:

I haven't commented in awhile, but....

1) I think it's incorrect to assume Republicans are throwing this election. Not with the poll numbers being so close. Democrats traditionally have a bigger margin right now than Obama has, and this should tell the Republicans they still have a shot. So no, I do not believe the Sarah Palin selection is "sacrificial". McCain and the Republicans want to win.

2) The only real way to win is to get two candidates on the ticket who can plausibly come off as reformers. Republicans know their cred is dirt right now, and only a ticket which can paint itself as "transformational" will get enough centrist voters to seriously challenge Obama. McCain has spent half his political life pissing off members of his own party. Palin is a newbie with no federal baggage who has a regional rep as a "cleaner-upper" in a Republican state rife with scandal. Whether you personally believe Palin is clean or not, doesn't matter as much as whether this narrative can be sold to the voters.

3) Niven's Second Law states, "Never fire a laser at a mirror." Attacking Palin on her youth and inexperience will be a huge invitation to reflect every last one of those comments back at Obama. Again, you personally might believe that Obama has worlds more experience than Palin. What will matter in the debates is whether or not this can be successfully demonstrated. Too many "lasers" hitting Palin, and suddenly it's Obama getting fried. Republicans know this. And they might even be able to keep hitting Obama on his inexperience, because Palin is "just the veep" while Obama wants The Big Chair.

4) Don't disregard the female x-factor. It is not a given that centrist feminists will automatically follow Clinton's lead and rally around Obama. Had McCain picked a male, it would have made the feminist choice an easy choice. But picking a female.... The equation suddenly becomes complex. At least for the women in the middle. Dedicated Democrats will probably rally to Obama in spite of feeling like Hillary got tossed under the bus. Middle-of-the-road feminists and women who just generally would like to see a woman in high office, without being politically motivated to one pole or the other, won't necessarily feel inclined to go with Obama-Biden. If they study Palin enough, and especially if they like one or more of her "independent" qualities, they might quietly pull the lever for McCain-Palin without broadcasting their intent beforehand.

5) Don't bank on sexism. It's common trope that Republicans are sexist pigs who would sooner cut off their own penises than put a woman in (or even near) the White House. But then, how to explain Condi Rice? And how to explain the visible (positive) disturbance the Palin selection is causing in the conservative base? McCain by himself was a yawner for many. Now, not so much. Again, Republicans want to win. Sexist or no, they'd far prefer a Republican woman with a reliably conservative pedigree, than someone like Obama.

That about covers it. I strongly believe that if the Democratic Party discounts the Palin selection as a "stunt" they will be making a tactical, or even strategic, error. Again, Obama's lead is too thin. Democrats of the last few electoral cycles have usually had bigger leads in the summer before the election... And most of them lost. Bill Clinton was the only one who defied the odds, and in his first term he needed Perot to ruin it for Bush Sr. to claim the win.

Obama's final-stretch campaign needs to be brilliant against McCain-Palin. Especially in the debates. Mailing it in and/or relying on the thin lead and the Republicans' bad reputation, as a result of Bush and the war, will be an invitation for yet another narrow Republican win.

Frankly, from a detached perspective, I find McCain's decision to go with Palin to be remarkably clever.

#141 ::: Jane Dark ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2008, 11:17 PM:

I think that it could be really effective to draw comparisons between Biden and Palin using Biden's work on domestic violence. It sounds like Palin's scandal involving her ex-BIL has connotations of DV (see Nina Katarina, #62, on Wooten tasing his son). So: both are sensitive to DV issues, but while Palin is dealing with them in a way that constitutes abuse of power, Biden is passing legislation.

This, of course, is assuming that the Palin scandal doesn't die.

#142 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:21 AM:

hope @ 12: "Is anyone else visualizing the phone ringing at 3:00 am? Someone picks up the handset and a woman says in the voiceover, "Uh, he died. Is there, um, can I help you?""

That ad functions on sexism. I wouldn't want to vote for someone who ran that ad.

Clifton Royston @ 45: "But anyone who runs with him as VP will be tainted with the loss and unelectable thereafter; therefore they will be happy to run someone with absolutely no relevance to the national party or politics. When McCain loses, they can write her off and continue with business as usual."

I think you misunderstand the right-wing relationship with defeat. A VP candidate of a losing campaign becomes a martyr, and they loooove martyrs. Nothing stokes their fires like being unfairly (and it is always unfair) denied. If anything they're setting Palin up for future prominence.

Wesley @ 121: "Palin is a terrible VP pick by any sane criteria... but as a public relations move--and assuming the political media are the public in question--she's brilliant. "

Yeah, this is a pander to McCain’s most important constituency—the media. First off, it’s unexpected, and the media will love wondering out loud how this will change the race. (“Well, Bob, I think this really caught the Democrats off guard. McCain has a real chance at winning this now!”) They also get to keep breathlessly speculating on whether those Hillaryites will abandon Obama for the ticket with the woman candidate, they can interview black women about who they’ll support, etc. It muddies the water: now the McCain campaign can claim that a vote for him is also a history-making vote.*

That said, I don’t think it’s going to work. It’s great storyline, but no substance. Her youth may balance out McCain’s age, but it also draws attention to it. How old does McCain look, standing next to her? Picking someone that young seems like a defensive move, far more so than Obama's choice of Biden. Additionally, it blurs his experience argument: how will a VP who's new to Washington help McCain pass bills? Unlike Obama/Biden, where you get the best of youth and experience, with McCain/Palin you get the worst.

*Also, like Serge said @ 76, it killed the buzz that came from Obama’s (made of awesome) speech and ended the Democratic convention with everyone talking about...McCain.

#143 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:34 AM:

#142 heresiarch: Also, like Serge said @ 76, it killed the buzz that came from Obama’s (made of awesome) speech and ended the Democratic convention with everyone talking about...McCain.

I think the Obama campaign is probably the most intelligently and professionally run political machine I have seen in my many years of being politically aware. As evidence, I submit the story-arc of the convention just ended and the way it tricked out the media's expectations to perfection.

I therefore look forward eagerly to whatever it is they are planning for the day after the conclusion of the convention in St. Paul.

#144 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 01:11 AM:

heresiarch #142:

I dunno. I don't think that hypothetical ad would be too effective if McCain had chosen Kay Bailey Hutchinson, say, or against Hillary, had she won the nomination. It would be effective against Palin because she really is pretty short on relevant experience, as is (to a lesser extent) Obama.

And it raises a legitimate point. McCain's an old man, and it's uncomfortably likely that she will end up as president at some point if they're elected. That means asking about her qualifications is 100% legit, as legit as it is to ask about Obama's. Painting that as sexism does the country no favors, and makes the world no better.

Why should we think this lady will be up to the job? She's going to have to answer that question, in a convincing and forceful way, up front. Or she's liable to be Quayled. I know pretty much nothing about her, and it's quite possible she can make a pretty good case for being up to the job, albeit not one based on her deep, relevant experience, since she's pretty short on that. But if she can't make that case, it sure seems like she could end up sinking the McCain ticket.

#145 ::: Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 03:38 AM:

There are three things that the vice president does as part of his/her job.

Attend funerals for foreign dignitaries, preside over and cast tiebreakers in the Senate, and step in if the president dies.

Sarah Palin got her first passport in 2007, so she really doesn't have much international experience.

The Anchorage Daily News interviewed a number of her political allies and rivals about her qualifications for the VP slot. House Speaker John Harris, a Republican from Valdez, was also astonished at the news. He didn't want to get into the issue of her qualifications. "She's old enough," Harris said. "She's a U.S. citizen." Gee, sounds like she's got lots of experience working with the legislature.

And it takes a Fox News anchor level of mendacity to claim that, out of all the Republicans in the country she is the most qualified to step up in case McCain's years catch up to him. He's 72, and spent 5 1/2 of those years as a POW (I don't know if you've heard - his campaign doesn't talk about it much)(more than ten times a minute)

Palin was chosen to win the news cycle. Biden was chosen to serve as vice president.

#146 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 05:19 AM:

I just don't see truly centrist, independent women voting for McCain as Palin is way far right. I was one of those women for a long time, but have gotten more liberal over the years and have been a registered Democrat for nearly four years.

While McCain had an independent streak earlier in his career, he's been pandering to the far right for most of the last year. Choosing Palin is part of that pandering. I don't think it's a sign that he's trying to throw the election, but I don't think she's going to play all that well outside of the South and in the more conservative central states (like Indiana).

(An Alaskan and a person who doesn't sound like a friend of Palin says the rumor I mentioned is indeed false.)

#147 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 05:44 AM:

Wow, it seems that the media really isn't buying Palin as VP. According to Ezra Klein, pundits are jumping all over this, saying things like

"It's a joke," [Jack Cafferty] said. "Alaska has as many people as Austin, Texas. What does she know about inner city poverty? The war on drugs? The Middle East? You want to put her against Putin?"

Either I'm wrong and this wasn't a ploy to intrigue and distract the media, or McCain just f---ed up royally.

#148 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 06:15 AM:

Heresiarch #147: Either I'm wrong and this wasn't a ploy to intrigue and distract the media, or McCain just f---ed up royally.

Sen. Schumer (D-NY) described the move as a "Hail Mary" (which, for those not conversant with the jargon of American football, is a long, risky pass that has a chance to produce a score -- usually winning a game at the last minute -- and an equal or better chance of being intercepted or forced to be incomplete, and thereby worthless). I'd say he got it in one.

#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 06:57 AM:

Arthur D @ 82... This announcement and the VP choice were done to block Obama's momentum coming out of the convention.

It seems to have worked. I watched Obama's speech. I don't know if it was a great speech, or a good sppech, as I usually stay away from political events, even televised ones. But my wife and I did watch, this time, at the house of a very wealthy couple, her white, him black. That was a sign that things can become better, plus the fact that we have a black man who may become President by running as himself and not because he was the veep and the Prez died. (Isn't that how Morgan Freeman got the Job in Deep Impact? And James Earl Jones in a 1970s movie?) And the better things don't usually come from the Republicans so people will understand if I get more than slightly irritated at suggestions that my Party is the same as theirs.

#150 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 07:08 AM:


So far most of the media coverage seems to be going largely the way McCain would want. Still, I seriously doubt whether this is going to help him much in the long run (and there are lots of ways it could end up hurting him badly).

And, assuming what appears to be McCain's own assessment of the race is correct, he loses unless this substantially helps him.

#151 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 07:14 AM:

#145 - Alaska has nothing but international boundaries; however crossing one of them (to Canada) didn't used to require a passport. (Now, it depends on how you travel.) Still, a bit odd.

#152 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 08:42 AM:

Yesterday I said to my husband that I could think of several prominent Republican women who would be more likely VP candidates than Palin: Snowe, Whitman, Dole, etc. He pointed out that they're mostly pro-choice. And that naming Dole would cause voter confusion.

I couldn't believe that Palin was the only pro-life Republican woman McCain could have plausibly picked. I have spent the last couple of hours looking up Republican women with more substantial national or international experience than Sarah Palin. I started off with senators, governors, and cabinet members.

Kay Orr: somewhat elderly, pro-choice
Elizabeth Dole: Bob Dole confusion, also she doesn't want her Senate seat to go to a Democrat
Kay Bailey Hutchison: pro-choice
Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii: pro-choice
Judy Martz of Montana: prolife but scandal-plagued?
M. Jodi Rell: pro-choice
Jane Swift: scandals, can't tell abortion stance
Olene Smith Walker of Utah: probably pro-life, somewhat elderly
Christine Todd Whitman: pro-choice
Susan Collins: pro-choice
Lisa Murkowski: pro-choice
Olympia Snowe: pro-choice
Nancy Hollister: was governor of Ohio for 2 weeks. Served in the house. Supports some abortion rights.
Jane Dee Hull, former Arizona governor: supports some abortion rights. Plus, McCain doesn't need help getting Arizona.

Then I moved on to prominent White House and administration officials:

Condi Rice: "mildly pro-choice" but mostly pro-life
Gale Norton: scandals, pro-choice
Ann Veneman: can't tell abortion stance
Elaine Chao: can't tell abortion stance
Margaret Spellings: can't tell abortion stance
Susan Schwab, US Trade Representative: can't tell abortion stance
Jo Anne B. Barnhart, head of Social Security for six years in the current Bush administration: can't tell abortion stance

We also have dozens of female ambassadors, such as Anne E. Derse (Ambassador to Azerbaijan) who's been at the Department of State for 27 years, and Karen B. Stewart (Ambassador to Belarus) who's been at State for 31 years.

I also found former administration officials such as Lynn Morley Martin, George H.W. Bush's Secretary of Labor and five-term Illinois Representative. But she's pro-choice. And I'm running out of time before brunch, but I'm guessing Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman are too.

There are a LOT of Republican women McCain could have chosen. But abortion policy is a big constraint.

#153 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 09:21 AM:

Heresiarch @147 Wow, it seems that the media really isn't buying Palin as VP. According to Ezra Klein, pundits are jumping all over this, saying things like

"It's a joke," [Jack Cafferty] said. "Alaska has as many people as Austin, Texas. What does she know about inner city poverty? The war on drugs? The Middle East? You want to put her against Putin?"

So the media have now switched from helping McCain directly to helping him indirectly by playing the role of stereotypical "Big City Mainstream Media Elitists Who Look Down on Small Town America"? Is there some way to make them stop?

Bruce Adelsohn @148: Thanks for clearing that up; as a non-American from a mainly Protestant region, I thought this was some Catholic cultural reference I didn't know about.

#154 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 09:37 AM:

Raphael #153: So the media have now switched from helping McCain directly to helping him indirectly by playing the role of stereotypical "Big City Mainstream Media Elitists Who Look Down on Small Town America"?

Do you mean to say that when the media cover McCain positively, they're helping him, and when they cover him negatively, they're helping him?

#155 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 10:26 AM:

Oh, all knowledge containing fandom:

I always thought that airlines don't let pregnant women who are too far along onto their flights. Is that just an old wive's (or expectant mother's) tale?

This April 18, 2008 story from the NBC affiliate in Anchorage reports:

The governor's water broke during the energy conference [in Texas] but she stayed and gave a 30-minute speech before boarding an Alaska Airlines plane home to deliver the baby.
So this thing about airlines not letting too pregnant mothers on board flights must be hooey, right?

Otherwise, how in the hell could a mother whose water had already broken be allowed on that plane?

Probably All Wet

#156 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 10:33 AM:

I think Sten at 140 makes some extremely good points. It's going to be very hard to attack Palin without sounding condescending or dismissive. I don't think she's going to bring any Democrats to vote for McCain, but some Independents may really like her, and by choosing her, McCain is reassuring the hard-right Republican base that he really is one of them, totally anti-choice. Abortion is still the big issue for them. Plus, we should assume that she is smart, hard-working, not a bimbo, and will do well in the debates. I can see a press narrative developing where the press starts out aghast and ends up charmed and believing in her as a real asset, proving once more that McCain is The Man. I think Obama and Biden have a real challenge here.

#157 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 10:53 AM:

Michael #155: That story sounds like complete BS to me. Boarding a flight from Texas to Alaska after your water has broken pretty much means you're planning to deliver your baby on the airplane, if not on your way to the airport. Now, if you were going to a private plane with your midwife or doctor on board, that would still sound nuts to me, but not as nuts as boarding a normal passenger jet in labor. That's Darwin-award material, IMO.

Both doctors and airlines have some kind of guidance about not wanting you to travel during the last bit of your pregnancy, though I'm not sure how effectively the airlines can enforce their rules. If you say "no, I'm only 7 1/2 months along," I doubt they turn you away. I think the limit we've been given is not to fly in the last month of the pregnancy, and I think the reason is simply that you'd like to not be at 30,000 feet, an hour from a hospital, when you go into labor. Anyone have better information?

#158 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:05 AM:

It's going to be very hard to attack Palin without sounding condescending or dismissive.

My very first reaction to this was "Nothing would've stopped the Republicans from pulling out every sexist stop against Hillary Clinton." Not to argue that we should do that too -- just in an extremely bitter, cynical statement of fact. The right-wing pundits would have pulled out everything they've got against Hillary, accusations that she's secretly a lesbian, a witch, a bitch, not motherly enough, not pretty enough, too fat, too assertive, you name it.

But if the left wing pulls out sexist accusations against Palin -- bimbo, ditzy, too young, too pretty, too mommy, etc. -- just by making the sexist attack, it alienates a lot of its own base.

Such attacks are obviously disgusting no matter who makes them. A woman running for office, like a man, should be judged and attacked on her record, proposed policies, or lack thereof. The difference is that most liberals care, and most conservatives don't.

McCain is using the left wing's better nature against itself. Well played, sir. Dammit.

#159 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:07 AM:

I also liked Sten's comments at #140. An important distinction to make here is between feminists (in the sense of the whole ideology) and people (mostly women) who dream of seeing a woman president and will vote on that basis. Those are two different groups.

I suspect choosing Palin will bring in very few Hillary supporters, but that a lot of otherwise-disillusioned Republican women may go to the polls, in excitement about getting to vote for a woman as VP. And a lot of other Republicans may go to the polls because the ticket really does look to be something different from the corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent folks who've been running the country for the last eight years.

It's way too easy to blur those groups in your head. In fact, that's the sort of thing the media does all the time (thus, Christians, blacks, women, hispanics, and any number of other groups often get "spokesmen" assigned to them by the media, regardless of how little the spokesmen have to do with those they're assumed to represent). There are a lot of pro-life, Christian women with careers and a desire to see women in the highest offices, and it's very easy to miss that when your model is that the only women who care about seeing women in office are (overwhelmingly liberal/progressive/radical, Democrat or Green) feminists.

#160 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:12 AM:

Lizzy L, #140: um, what about "anti-choice, corrupt [check this], religious fanatic"? This has the added advantage of being true.

BTW, this page includes a picture of downtown Wasilla, where Palin is supposed to have achieved so much executive experience. No, really!

#161 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:13 AM:

Caroline #158:

Yep, that's the problem with having principles. You really need to stick to them even when they're inconvenient. Though the 2004 attempt to play this game against the Republicans by nominating a war hero didn't work--the Republicans were quite willing to smear him, call his patriotism and his record into question, etc., even though respecting military service and overt patriotism are part of their core values. I expect that we will see a great many Democrats similarly willing to go sexist when it suits them, and also that we will see a great many howls of outrage from Republicans alleging sexism anytime someone says a negative thing about Palin.

We have a great opportunity here to have a political campaign where at least half the discussion is not about the candidates, but about the motives and beliefs of anyone questioning them. That won't serve the country particularly well (though ending up with a black president or a female VP may serve the country well in other ways), but elections are manifestly not about serving the country or making the world a better place or choosing a leader wisely, but rather about winning at all costs.

#162 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:18 AM:

What Caroline said. Obama can't attack Palin the way the Republicans will attack him because his big theme is change, including changing the way national politics is done. Personal attacks will backfire and should be rejected. I believe Palin must be treated with complete seriousness, no mockery, no disrespect, and absolutely no reference to gender.

Instead, she should be attacked on the issues. She left the small town she was mayor of millions of dollars in debt. She doesn't believe in human influence on climate change. She holds contradictory positions on a windfall profits tax on oil companies -- she opposes the national tax, but imposed a state windfall profits tax to fill Alaska's coffers. She believes that women who have been raped or victims of incest should be required by the state to carry the baby to term. The Obama/Biden campaign can make all these arguments -- and there are probably more good ones out there.

If the Obama campaign does anything else, they will make her sympathetic and will undercut their own message.

#163 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:35 AM:

#157 albatross: Michael #155: That story sounds like complete BS to me.

Well, I hope to gawd it is. As you say, it just seems like an astoundingly stupid thing to do. What idiot would do something like that? Or, perhaps more to the point, why would somebody do something like that? She knew the baby was a Downs Syndrome baby. The birth was a little early. How could you endanger the child like that?

Unfortunately, the story was reported in mainstream media sources. So what does that mean? Either it happened, or it didn't happen and she let the story stand. Or she denied it happened and that wasn't reported? I'd like to hear what she has to say about all this.

Both doctors and airlines have some kind of guidance about not wanting you to travel during the last bit of your pregnancy...

Yeah, in the meantime I've been reading up on this. Alaska Airlines is one of the very few (only?) domestic airlines that puts no restrictions on Flying While Pregnant. Most of the others don't have a problem with it until you are getting close. At that point most will require a letter from your doctor saying it's okay for you to fly. Many won't let you aboard if you are within 7 days of your due date. In almost all cases they will take your word for it regarding where you are in your pregnancy.

If it happened as reported, I just don't... I don't know what to think. I can't believe even Alaska Airlines would let a woman on board whose water had broken. I can't believe she would be such an idiot. Gov, head to the hospital, not the airport... for the sake of the child, if not you.

I read somewhere she wanted her baby to be "Alaska born". Jeezus H. Effing Christ...

Well... I want to hear her interviewed on this subject by somebody who is as astonished by the story as I am.

#164 ::: Chris J. ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:41 AM:

There's another narrative that has me fear for the VP debate -- the perennial love we have for the feisty, scrappy underdog. Palin will be seen by many as winning against the old Washington pol if she merely gets through without becoming obviously unglued. A think a big chunk of the pundocracy will bite on that and it will become the standard meme. It will be "lady moose hunter goes to Washington."

#165 ::: Chris J. ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Michael at #163.

Speaking medically, a woman who's had as many children as she's had typically delivers very fast -- like an hour or two -- after her water breaks. I just can't believe the story.

#166 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:48 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara: I think you're on the right track here; thanks for putting that list together.

Carly Fiorina is apparently anti-abortion but she is so pro-contraception that she assumed McCain was too. Being pro-contraception may be enough to make the fundamentalist base unhappy (but in some circles, being a working woman is still enough for that).

As for Jane Swift, I think she's in a bind where declaring her stance on abortion either way will hurt her political chances. She's also a bit of a local joke, and Massachusetts isn't going to go Republican this election regardless of who McCain's veep is.

There are a couple of big reasons why Condi Rice won't be a Republican candidate for major office, and I trust that one of them is because she's been terrible at her jobs, particularly National Security Advisor.

#167 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:53 AM:

It's going to be very hard to attack Palin without sounding condescending or dismissive.

I'm cool with sounding condescending and dismissive.

#168 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:54 AM:

"Alaska Airlines is one of the very few (only?) domestic airlines that puts no restrictions on Flying While Pregnant."

That's because in parts of Alaska, flying is the way people get around--there are few roads and no rails, and the few roads are often blocked with snow, even in the summer. BTW, another thing we have to be careful about dinging her on--small-town experience. It's amazing how many USers, especially conservative Christians, think that being from a small-town or farm environment confers some mystical knowledge. From my perspective, it looks a lot like thinking you can captain a man-of-war because you can sail a coracle.

#169 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:58 AM:

#165 Chris J.: Michael at #163... Speaking medically, a woman who's had as many children as she's had typically delivers very fast -- like an hour or two -- after her water breaks. I just can't believe the story.

Yes, I know. I believe you. And not that the story appearing in her local media market, reported by the NBC affiliate, makes it true, but I can't find any information anywhere indicating she denied the story.

She needs to be interviewed by somebody about this. It seems very difficult to believe that it is true, but if it is... there's some judgment for you. Yeah, there's somebody we want one heartbeat away from having her finger on the button.

#170 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:01 PM:

er, captain an aircraft carrier because you can paddle a kayak. Which--don't get me wrong--is a demanding physical and mental skill. Sailors can still learn a lot from small boats. But it doesn't teach you how to be a captain.

#171 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:08 PM:

Okay, here is a story that has a somewhat more reasonable version of the flying with broken water story. But to me, it still seems like a pretty stupid thing to do.

#172 ::: Greg Morrow ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:22 PM:

#157: When my Ph.D. advisor was pregnant, she didn't fly in her third trimester. The reason cited was that there's greater radiation exposure at 30,000 feet (roughly similar to a chest x-ray, IIRC). Growing a fetus is a really complicated process, and it's happening really fast in the third trimester, and a whole lot can go wrong, and if you can avoid the chance that a stray 20 KeV electron will crack an important molecule somewhere, you really want to.

Presumably, various factors at other times reduce the chance that there are important molecules in the way of the radiation, and gives self-repair mechanisms more time to work.

(For your sodium evalution: We were doing an experiment at Fermilab, so we know considerable something about the radiation, but not so much about the biochemistry.)

#173 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:26 PM:

Huh, I always kind of vaguely assumed that the no-flying rule had to do with changes in air pressure (had no idea what specific effect it would have on the devolping fetus, but assumed nonetheless). Interesting that it would be radiation.

#174 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:28 PM:

Oh, sure, devolping. Right.

#175 ::: Betsy-the-muffin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Backtracking for a minute...

Red (Chris Holdredge) @ 114:

I think this part of the quote could actually become the more fruitful soundbite:

We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans....

Its meaning doesn't change with context, so you can't get slammed for misquote, and it would be a great way for the Obama campaign to attack her for being provincial. "Do you want a VP who represents fifty states or just one?"

#176 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:37 PM:

James at 167, dismissive can only happen after you've made the case, and I repeat, the case has to be made on the issues. I believe we have to be Rovian about this. What is Palin's strength? Her strength is that she has been chosen to strongly appeal to the right wing base, and shore up McCain's credentials with those folks. Obama/Biden need to hammer at that appeal, pointing it up, (anti-choice, a creationist, mean to polar bears, etc.) making those issues huge, not because it will make her less appealing to the right but because it will make her less appealing to independents: she will be seen as so clearly a political, not a substantive choice. This also makes an issue of McCain's judgment in choosing her. Obama/Biden can use the words "risk" and "gamble" a lot. They also need to hammer at whatever financial and administrative weaknesses she has displayed. The press and the lefty blogs will go for the scandal stories, and that's great -- let them go there!

#177 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:37 PM:

#173 ethan: Huh, I always kind of vaguely assumed that the no-flying rule had to do with changes in air pressure (had no idea what specific effect it would have on the devolping fetus, but assumed nonetheless). Interesting that it would be radiation.

From what I've been reading about the airline policies, they don't much care about air pressure or radiation effects. They, quite reasonably in my view, don't want to have to deal with women giving birth in the aisles of their airplanes. Also from what I've been reading, the air pressure and radiation considerations are somewhere along a continuum edging toward urban legends. Still, if it was my baby, I'd avoid flying if I could.

In the comments section of that last article I linked to, a few medical professionals (or so they claim, but they do sound as if they know what they are talking about) opine that the Governor was an idiot to get on that plane, despite the precautions she says she took. The basic idea is: leaking amniotic fluid is the same as your water breaking, and the risk of infection or other complications is very high. Also, the Governor's baby was premature by a few weeks and its birth was induced. According to these commenters, inducing premature birth means the medical team has determined the risk of premature birth outweighs the risk of letting that baby further develop in the womb. Which means the Governor's baby was in trouble.

Makes sense to me.

#178 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:38 PM:


Not to mention that we've had seven, nearly eight, years of the VP position being 'fruitful' in ways that it shold not have been; do we really want more of that?

#179 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Seconding Lizzy L @ 162, so very hard. If they stick to hammering her on her record and the issues -- and there's a lot to hammer on there (see for example the entirety of this post) -- it will be great. Hammer on corruption, on lack of experience, on social issues. Personal attacks will make her sympathetic.

#180 ::: Chris J. ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:40 PM:

I used to do a lot medical air transports. Most person's blood oxygen saturation drops a bit when they fly since cabin pressure is usually maintained at about 5-7,000 feet (we can get it lower, but usually that means we need to fly lower also). If you live at sea level and go skiing in Colorado, you may know how you feel at that altitude if you're not used to it. The oxygen needs of the fetus are already being met at the margin, and dropping a mother's blood oxygen level even a bit for several hours can cause problems. One very good Colorado obstetrician I know tells his patients not to go higher than 8,000 feet unless it's only a very brief zip over a pass.

#181 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:43 PM:

I had a lot to say built up, but I think most of it has been addressed already....

John L @109:
Anyone else notice this means Lieberman is all but finished? He's completely alienated his old party, and the new one he's been courting just rejected him.

Bruce Cohen @75:
Waitaminute. 44? Will she be eligible to be President by inauguration day?

Clifton Royston @32:
If I recall correctly, Cawti might question the "of the people" part.

#182 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Ethan @154- Depends on how they criticise him. If they snigger a lot about how the idea of someone from a small town in a small (by population) state as Vice President is obviously completely ridiculous, then, IMHO, they are helping him (and so are people on the internet with that attitude).

James Macdonald @167: Some undecided voters in this 50+1 election might be less cool with it, though.

geekosaur @181: The age minimum is 35.

#183 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Chris J. @ #180:

Interesting. Thanks.

Another thing in that article I linked to, the Governor's personal OB/GYN makes a careful point (or so it seems to me) of saying that the Governor, when she called, never asked for an "okay to fly". IIRC, the Governor got simply a "keep an eye on things" from her doctor.

Look, I know it seems I'm obsessed with this, but (a) I find the topic of flying while pregnant interesting, and (b) I think we need to see some more reporting on this because I think it speaks directly to the question of judgment. After we get that reporting, people can decide for themselves what sort of judgment the Governor has.

At the moment, she appears to me to be a Major League Dope, but who knows? After we see some more reporting on this, maybe I'll change my mind.

#184 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 01:03 PM:

Another mode of attack: it appears that there are issues on which Palin and McCain (in one of his earlier incarnations, anyway) disagree. For example, she doesn't believe that human activity influences the climate; he does. He believes there should be a rape/incest exception to anti-abortion law; she doesn't. There are others. A very good TV ad could be made with "John McCain says this; Sarah Palin says this" contrasts.

#185 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 01:06 PM:

Randolph, #168: It's amazing how many USers, especially conservative Christians, think that being from a small-town or farm environment confers some mystical knowledge.

It's part of a general distrust of experts and faith in ignorance. For these people, knowledge and experience are bad. Experts are impractical, out-of-touch eggheads tarnished by book-learning. But you can trust simple, honest, ordinary folk: their ignorance and inexperience keeps their opinions pure. When your vision isn't clouded by facts, you're free to see the Truth.

You can find this attitude behind creationism, and alternative medicine, and the denial over global warming, and the people who show up occasionally on old threads to defend PublishAmerica and its ilk, because they just know how the publishing industry works. And so on.

Sometimes the attitude is encouraged by certain educated people who think having a large less-informed population around makes life easier, and more profitable.

#186 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 01:06 PM:

Randolph at 160: I loathe McCain. I'm don't like Palin, the anti-polar bear, trophy veep, either and she's my governor. . .

But that is not a shot of downtown Wasilla (and the person who posted the photo knows it because they are local). That is a shot of one building in the middle of several square miles of otherwise pretty anonymous urban sprawl and box stores (I don't think highly of urban sprawl and box stores either), which probably looks an awful lot like the usual poorly planned development near where most of the posters live (and come to think of it Palin does have something to do with the utter charmlessness of downtown Wasilla -- though the Mug Shot precedes her).

I know it seems like a foolish thing to get annoyed about, but Alaska sounds exotic, and it's one of the things that the McCain campaign wants you to think; that Alaskans are exotic and we have some secret wisdom (if you believe that I've got a bridge to nowhere to sell you), which qualifies a Mrs. Palin despite her lack of obvious credentials.

Somethings about life here do differ from the norm. My favorite route for riding my bike to work is currently closed because of bear attacks, and I live in the largest urban area in the state. Come to think of it, I've called in late to work because of moose.

But if you want a truly damning picture of Wasilla think of a congested four lane road winding through miles of chain stores. Think of a town in an area with hurricane force winds, lots of seismic activity, and a minimal building code. Think about poorly funded schools, and rural poverty (enough of a stereotype that Ben Stevens, Ted Stevens' son, torpedoed his political career by dismissively talking about Valley Trash).

Mismanagement and poor planning are the real problems with Wasilla, not the Mug Shot Saloon.

#187 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 01:21 PM:

I did some checking on how high Denver really is, earlier this month.

Yes, it's 5000 feet above sea level, but the summer temperature can push the "Density Altitude" up to around 8000 feet. That's what determines how well an aeroplane flies. Higher temperatures mean that the pressure needs less actual air.

Now, I didn't dig out what thet meant in terms of pressure and lung function, but I've seen hypoxia, and it's pretty bad when it becomes obvious. Blue lips are a medical emergency.

But it's not just the low pressure. Alcohol drops blood oxygen levels, for instance.

#188 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 02:08 PM:

As the Alaskan who had her laptop die right after WorldCon, and finally got it fixed last night, I just want to say . . .

I love you guys.

The whole state is atwitter, and I've been on the phone with people about it since it was leaked yesterday. I've been scanning the comments here.

Xopher, you called it right there in comment #1.

She's charming and appealing. But VP material? Heck no. She's not a sophisticated thinker, can be phenomenally naive, and while directness and straightforwardness are admirable, you need to have a little more depth operate on a higher level. VPOTUS should be operating on a higher level.

I like how she has pissed off her own party. I wince every time I hear her "aw shucks, I'm just a hockey mom, let me tell you this cute thing Piper did the other day..." especially when it's about things like pulling the hair of GOP leader in the senate. Barf.

Sarah E - Howdy! The bear attacks down in Anchorage have been rampant, be careful. You described Wasilla perfectly, though I would say Ben's career really god torpedoes when Bill Allen confessed to bribing him (which Ben has yet to be indicted for/over). And the phrase Valley Trash has been applied to some pretty good beer they brew down in your part of state (I live in Fairbanks/North Pole).

The pregnancy story - that's the way she tells it. Official Sarah line.

#189 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 02:22 PM:

Tania @ 188... I was wondering what was going on with the Girl from the North Pole.

She's not a sophisticated thinker, can be phenomenally naive
This sounds very familiar.

#190 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 02:50 PM:

Sarah E, #186: like much of the northwest, only moreso. I'm always amazed at what people will put up with around their homes. That said, is it perhaps accurate to say that the saloon is a major social center?

#191 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 02:50 PM:

Hammer, hammer, hammer that she likes to kill polar bears.

No child in the world will allow their parents to vote for that.

Not a joke. I cannot tell you how many people I've encountered who supported either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama on the basis of what their kid(s)' preference was.

Hard for me to understand. If I'd even hinted that I was telling my mom and dad what candidate they should vote for before I was 18, I'd have been dead.

Love, C.

#192 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 02:57 PM:

According to SusanG at DailyKos, newspapers in Fairbanks and Anchorage are negative about Palin as VP pick, saying outright that they think she's not experienced enough. A quote from the post: Dermot Cole, a longtime columnist for Alaska's second largest newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, called McCain's choice of Palin "reckless" and questioned her credentials. "Sarah Palin's chief qualification for being elected governor was that she was not Frank Murkowski," Cole said of her enormously unpopular predecessor, who lost favor with Alaskans in part because of unpopular budget cuts. "She was not elected because she was a conservative. She was not elected because of her grasp of issues or because of her track record as the mayor of Wasilla."

It will be interesting as folks from her state (Hi, Tania!) weigh in.

#193 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 03:09 PM:

I was told by my doctor that if I had any leaking of amniotic fluid, I should aim to be at the hospital within 30 minutes, because even if it's just leaking, the baby is losing it's cushioning, and is at greater risk of complications. I was hesitant even to drive up to Chicago (2 1/2 hours) in my whole last month. Now, she had been in false labor for months and spent an entire day away from the hospital after her water broke? Yikes.

#194 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 03:11 PM:

What Digby said.

#195 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 03:26 PM:

Our local paper carried an AP article on Palin this morning, with quotes from a union representative who had endorsed her for governor but later withdrew his support. He described her as "a mile wide but an inch deep", and said she was incredibly charming and charismatic, but also not a deep thinker and not very interested in details. Her own Republican legislative leader only said that she was qualified for the VP because she was a US citizen and above the minimum age, but that even though she had little substantial to say about issues, she tended to convince people to go along with her just by being charming.

#196 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 03:26 PM:

#193 EClaire: Now, she had been in false labor for months and spent an entire day away from the hospital after her water broke? Yikes.

See, I don't have uterus and, as you can imagine, have never had a baby, so I probably don't know what I'm talking about here, but...

There is some chance this going to the Flight Lounge instead of the hospital story could be viewed by some as Palin being the Plucky She-Grizzly of the Tundra... "Just boil some stinkin' water and get me a paper towel, will ya? On second thought, just run the tap a bit and make it luke warm."

Who would be attracted to the Plucky She-Grizzly of the Tundra motif? My guess is conservative men, conservative women who have never actually given birth to a child, and idiots.

Most of those people would probably be voting for McCain anyway, so... I'd like to see a bunch of women who have actually given birth to a child, like you, expressing their opinions on this story, as you have done.

Maybe it wouldn't bother some or most of them. If that was the case, then I guess I, as a male, would be a bit smarter about how it is for some portion of the female population who've actually given birth to a child. If it does bother some or most of them, I think there's a good chance those women would have to think long and hard about voting for a women with Palin's (in their view) extremely poor judgment.

#197 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 03:32 PM:

#136, 138: Senator vs. Governor:

I'm thinking more of the period post-1900, particularly the last 30-40 years or so. (Yes, yes, all one's own lifetime...)

I categorize winning Presidential leads in four categories: Generals, Governors, Senators, and Veeps, more or less in that order unless there are special conditions (successful presidents can _often_ pass the office to their Veeps, but it's not a sure bet. Sitting Presidents _usually_ win reelection if their first term was moderately successful. We haven't had a General since Eisenhower; it needs to be a fairly big war that really tests executive experience, which is one reason Powell was unlikely to win and Pershing didn't really try IIRC.)

(Lincoln and Wilson are the big outliers to the model, btw. Secretary of State used to be a steppingstone to the VP and then the Presidency, but Cabinet offices haven't been a great route since the early 19th century.)

1960: Senator beats VP
1964: Sitting Prez beats Senator
1968: ex-VP beats third-string choice
1972: sitting Prez beats Senator
1976: governor beats [ERROR! CATEGORY NOT DEFINED]
1980: governor beats VP
1984: sitting Prez beats ex-VP
1988: VP beats Governor
1992: Governor beats sitting Prez, huge help from 3rd-party splitting vote
1996: sitting Prez beats Senator
2000: governor beats VP
2004: sitting Prez beats Senator

Note that two-term recent winners (Reagan, Clinton) and all recent Democrat winners (Carter, Clinton) come at this out of the governor's box. 2008 is the first Senator-vs-Senator election since the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.

#198 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 03:36 PM:

#1, #104: Mayors of big cities really don't make it to the Presidency, at least not without some stops on the way (like Palin moving from small-town mayor to governor). LaGuardia didn't get close, and you recall how fast Giulani faded this time around. I suspect it's because the job, while it admittedly provides a lot of executive experience, doesn't make one well-known on a larger scale or give practice in dealing with national issues.

#199 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 03:55 PM:

Three corrections to the timeline:

1968: ex-VP beats VP
1976: gov beats sitting prez
1980: gov beats sitting prez

#200 ::: Red (Chris Holdredge) ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Betsy @ 175:

Its meaning doesn't change with context

Do you think there's a change in meaning between the edited video and the text quote? I'm not convinced. It's not as if she said "What would the Vice President do every day in the context of a McCain administration"

I know I'd react very differently to an interviewee who asked "What exactly will be the boundaries of my authority and responsibility, if I should take this position at [employer]?" as opposed to one who said "So what exactly does a [job role] do everyday?" I'd consider the later only if I was willing to train somebody with no relevant experience or knowledge whatsoever.

We've done that at my employer, sometimes with very positive results, but the job we hired for is not exactly a heartbeat away from leader of the free world.

#201 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 04:19 PM:

C.E. Wingate: Correction, again: Ex-Gov. beats sitting prez. (Jerry Brown was Gov. when Reagan beat Carter).

geekosaur: 44, why yes, she will be qualified to assume the office.

"No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States..."

I'm eligible (41). Kennedy was less than 44, and Teddy Roosevelt less than that (he was 42, when he succeeded McKinley)

Some interesting things about T. Roosevelt.

He didn't have a VP for his first term. He and JQ Adams, were the only presidents to not swear the oath of office on a bible.

He's the guy who named the White House, the White House.

He was the first president to invite a black to dinner (Booker T. Washington).

He was the youngest person ever to hold the office of president.

#202 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 04:31 PM:

This VP selection reminds me so much of what I remember about the analysis of Senior Bush selecting Dan Quayle as VP -- "hey, he's young, energetic, and cute!". I sincerely hope this VP debate goes as well as that one. I can still hear Lloyd Bentsen's beautiful "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" moment (there's actually a Wikipedia entry about it, not to mention youtube videos).

On a positive note, there's a great AP story about Obama's speech: "NEW YORK (AP) — Barack Obama's audience for his acceptance speech likely topped 40 million people, and the Democratic gathering that nominated him was a more popular television event than any other political convention in history.

More people watched Obama speak from a packed stadium in Denver on Thursday than watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final "American Idol" or the Academy Awards this year, Nielsen Media Research said Friday. (Four playoff football games, including the Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots, were seen by more than 40 million people.)"

#203 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Sarah E, That's what I expected when I read "Wasilla, population 9,000," that most of it would look like, oh, Marvin Rd. between Martin Way and I-5, or Reserve St. in Missoula, MT, or most of Spokane Valley, ID, or, God Save Us All, Beaverton, OR. What I've come to think of as the Great North American Nowhere.

I like the picture of the Mug Shot: there's not a Money Tree or a Panda Express in sight.

#204 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 04:34 PM:

Red @ 200: the job we hired for is not exactly a heartbeat away from leader of the free world.

Nor will Ms Palin be, even should the worst occur.

She will be a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States of America.

#205 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 04:49 PM:

According to CNN, Obama is playing this exactly right: recognizing that Palin is a tactical choice, not a substantive one, and continuing to attack McCain's policies. Since Palin brings nothing to the policy debate except closer, firmer adherence to right wing positions, it cannot hurt Obama to ignore her -- without, mind you, being rude -- and to focus the debate on the last 8 years and McCain's promise to continue Bush's policies on the economy, the war, immigration, etc. IMO, this is precisely what they should be doing. Let the newspapers and TV folks bring up all the personality-related issues.

#206 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 04:56 PM:

Constance #191:

How is this different from hammering on the evils of hunting? That's great for convincing a lot of mostly Democratic occasional voters not to vote for McCain/Palin, but probably also pretty good for convincing more of the mostly Republican occasional voters to come to the polls.

#207 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 05:55 PM:

#199 Wingate: Thanks for the detail corrections. (I deliberately did 1976 as a category error because that one was so unusual -- Ford hadn't gotten to be a sitting President by any of the usual routes, not having been elected as VP, and in the aftermath of Watergate the guy who pardoned Nixon was probably going to lose against a finger puppet anyway).

Senators still don't win terribly often in the last half-century or so, though.

#208 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Someone logged into David Brin's blog as "Rocky Persaud" posted:

"I hear Sarah Palin just won another beauty pageant: she was crowned Miss Culture War."

#209 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 06:46 PM:

Eh, honestly, the flying-while-pregnant thing doesn't sound like that big a deal. The general rule appears to be delivery within 24 hours of rupture to minimize the chance of infection, and if she was only leaking - not losing serious amounts of fluid - insufficient fluid wasn't likely to become a problem before she got home. The stuff keeps getting made; it's not as if there's only so much and no more. I don't think I would have done it, if only because having the airplane seatbelt on while any sort of contractions were going on sounds miserable, but she wasn't in frank labor, so no big deal. She may have felt quite strongly about delivering with her own doctor.
I never flew while significantly along, but did fly while a couple months pregnant with son #2.

#210 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 06:53 PM:

Bleh. I'm not sure how I got 45 stuck in my head, but there it is (and it still wants to ooze out now. sigh)

#211 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 07:09 PM:

Randolph at 190: No, the Mug Shot is not a big social center. The official population figures for Wasilla are misleading as Wasilla proper is surrounded by developed but unincorporated areas. The Matanuska-Susitna Valley Borough* population in 2003 (the most recent reliable looking data I could find) is about 67,000, most of whom live in and around Wasilla and Palmer (the borough seat, about ten miles down the road from Wasilla). So Wasilla's functional population is much higher, and growing rapidly.

And just to add to the suburban anomie, most of that population is, God help us, driving pickup trucks and SUVs into my home town. If Wasilla had a social center it would not be the blight on the landscape that it is.

Tania at 188: I remain very relieved that I was not on the trail when that runner got attacked a couple of weeks ago. I had seen the fresh scat on my way to work, and came home by another route.

And the phrase Valley Trash has been applied to some pretty good beer they brew down in your part of state (I live in Fairbanks/North Pole). That's what this thread needs, more discussion of local beers. All of whom I like more than the trophy veep (even Moose's Tooth's seasonal white chocolate, orange Belgian style ale that they put out a couple winters ago).

*The land division equivalent to a county in most states.

#212 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 08:04 PM:

re 207: Senators don't seem to win much, ever. From JFK you have to go back to Harding, and before that Harrison. Senators run a lot, but they don't get to be the party candidate very often either; most nominees were governors. The last all-Congress race was in, um, 1860. Most popular position at nomination: governor of New York.

#213 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 08:40 PM:

ethan @174 (wrt discouraging pregnant women from air travel): Oh, sure, devolping. Right.

Yeah, it's difficult enough to deal with possession by fox-spirits under normal conditions-- aside from considerations of space on board, even in an aisle seat, the proper exorcism equipment is probably impossible to explain to TSA personnel.

--what? Oh.

#214 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 09:00 PM:

Julie 213: Usually when I say LOL it's a metaphor, and I really just mean "that's pretty funny." This time...after I looked closely and figured out what you were getting at...I actually laughed out loud. Softly, because there's a little girl asleep right under my computer (on another floor, silly, she doesn't sleep under the desk), but in a way that would be clearly audible to anyone in the room with me.

#215 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 09:05 PM:

John L, #195: "incredibly charming and charismatic, but also not a deep thinker and not very interested in details"

And, to judge by her conduct during her sister's divorce case, nasty and cliquish under it all. Now, where have we heard that before?

Sarah E, #211: I see. Thanks.

#216 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 09:23 PM:

Lizzy L @ 192 Hi back! I haven't got around to reading today's paper, but I usually enjoy Dermot's column.

The Anchorage Daily News has an Alaska Politics blog* that is well done.

I still can't believe he picked her. People I respect are over the moon about it, and I want to whack them with my clueX4.

My impression of her is that she's not especially brainy, but she does have a spine. And a wicked sense of humor. She's probably getting a laugh out of being called Trophy VP. Honestly, she makes me think of a more ethical, less easily influenced version of Da Shrub. Yes, I admit it, I'd probably have a fun time eating a moose burger and drinking some Darth Stout with Sarah Palin. I wouldn't vote for her, but I would probably enjoy her reputedly charming company.

*Disclaimer - Kyle is the brother of one of my friends, but I think I've only met him once, at her wedding. But I don't even remember meeting him there/then.

#217 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 10:13 PM:

Randolph at 211: You're welcome. I feel slightly apologetic about letting my inner explainer run away with me (at least I stayed away from why Anchorage is the best place to live on the planet, or would be if we had decent public transit). I sometimes think that Alaskans elect politicians for entertainment value. It's why we have a capital unconnected to the road system -- so that we can watch from a safe distance. It's disorienting to see one of the performers escaping to the national stage.

#218 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 10:46 PM:


Killing what you can't eat -- and you can't eat polar bear -- it tastes terrible -- is not hunting. That's something else. Killing what's on the endangered species list is a crime against the planet.

I grew up with hunters. My family is still hunters. They eat what they kill. I know the difference and so does anybody else who doesn't believe hunting is flying down wolves, coyote, fox, bear, etc. from a helicopter or small plane.

Which she likes to do.

My dad used to fly richies around in his Cessna to do that, but even he, no animal lover, was too sickened by that and gave it up. This was a sacrifice since richies pay lots of money to shoot fish in a barrel and he came from the class that needed a bank loan to buy a plane -- unlike, say, oh Cindy McCain (she loved flying so much she just went out and bought herself one!), or Ms. Palin Married to Big Oil.

Love, C.

#219 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 10:50 PM:

Albatross Additionally, one should take into account how passionate the younger generation is about saving the environment and how they feel about sexy animals like polar bears.

Like taking into account when comes to polls and so on -- how many kids listened to, and even watched parts of, Obama's acceptance speech on their -- cell phones. So far these are people that the pollsters can't find.

Love, C.

#220 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 10:59 PM:

And with the reThugs'CON turning themselves into a fund raiser for the Red Cross, they've already grabbed all the media, they've gotten off the hook of nobody wanting to watch THEM, unlike the demCON and Obama's acceptance speech, and people won't see what a twittybint/Harriet Meiers Palin is, and the media will repeat EVERYTHING he says, and Obama will be lost.

Yeah, the reThugs should be down on their knees right now giving thanks.

Yes, I am bitter.

Love, C.

#221 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:04 PM:

heresiarch, #142: Worse, that ad functions on the sniggering suggestion that he died in bed with her. No, thanks.

Sort of along the same lines, may I suggest that we just not use the word "bimbo" to refer to Palin? If you're writing filk, "wingnut" scans just the same and has the advantage of being (1) accurate and (2) gender-neutral. IMHO, it even helps Jim's filk upthread by introducing a certain amount of ambiguity about which insult refers to which person!

Bruce, #148: I'm more familiar with the "Hail Mary" in the context of basketball -- a shot taken from the other end of the court, which might just drop in and provide the 1-point win.

Chris, #180: Heh. I had a sharp lesson about high altitudes just a couple of weeks ago, when hauling my not-terribly-heavy suitcase up one flight of stairs at a Denver motel left me puffing and wheezing as if I'd just come off a half-hour's worth of double-progression contradance. Scared the hell out of me until I thought about where I was.

Wesley, #185: Don't forget that among the Christianists, there's a lot of emphasis on Original Sin -- and it's almost always painted as the sin of desiring knowledge. That's what REALLY got humanity kicked out of Paradise, not mere disobedience or yielding to temptation. Knowledge is dangerous, and the seeking of it never comes to any good end.

Marna, #204: Good point. That particular description is, oh, about six years out of date.

Which in turn leads me to wonder, O Multinational Fluorosphere: who is considered to be the leader of the free world these days?

#222 ::: Karounia ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:22 PM:

Where the "tapped" thing comes from.

I'm sure John McCain would find the idea of physical contact with Sarah Palin highly appealing, but tapping someone is the traditional term for being chosen for secret societies at Yale, especially Skull and Bones. I think it started appearing in the media as a term for being chosen for a high position only after Bush 41.

#223 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:30 PM:

Short-term, this worked as a distraction. It's true--it stepped on the buzz about Obama's speech and the convention; it's keeping people from talking about Katrina, Gustav, Obama's bounce in the polls, the war, and all the other things Obama talked about on Thursday. McCain wins the media cycle even if it's mostly bafflement.

Longer term, it helps his turnout with the religious right, and maybe with some conservative women who weren't that enthusiastic about McCain but would like a female on the ticket. And there's a risk that Biden will open his yap and make some sexist remark about her, which would be a problem for Obama/Biden.

But I think that's it. Palin's a likeable enough person, and for all I know she might be a competent governor, but the act of selecting her, and the way it was done, mark McCain's campaign as fundamentally unserious. I think even most of the TV dopes get that. This Eagleton scenario where McCain replaces her at the convention would just make him look even dumber.

The shock is going to wear off in a few days, and we'll be left with this puzzling choice. There's a hurricane bearing down on NOLA, which even if it spares the city will bring up the same bad associations McCain was looking to quash. Bush is looking for any excuse to skip the Republican convention. I'd be relishing the impending trainwreck but with the hurricane it's just too horrible--no kind of way to win. Maybe the Republicans can salvage something out of this but I doubt it.

Could McCain still win? Sure he could, in lots of ways. The polls are still pretty close; before the bounce, they were almost tied and I was feeling really pessimistic. It could be that way again if Obama screws up somehow or if events intrude in some unfavorable way. (Just to state the obvious, I think a lot depends on how Obama will react when another war suddenly erupts in October, or when Osama bin Laden pops out of his hole and endorses Obama just to mess with our heads. I sincerely hope Obama has that last one gamed out already. I bet he does. This is what differentiates him from John Kerry.)

But I don't think Sarah Palin will be the deciding factor. It's a desperate move, and a basically dumb one.

Far, far too many Democrats seem inclined to interpret anything surprising a Republican does as an unbeatable political genius move. It's learned helplessness, what happens when you lose too many presidential elections. We have to snap out of it.

#224 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Lee: I think it's been out of date longer than that.

Honestly, it's always bothered me. Leader implies followers. I think what I want is fellow travellers.

It also implies a common end, and; for all that I am fond of the country I grew up in, I don't know that the US is the best way to go about things for everyone.

We've failed at a lot of pretty basic aspects of caring for our citizens.

#225 ::: Betsy-the-muffin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2008, 11:41 PM:

Red @200:

Oh, I agree, Palin's statement isn't any better in context—but it is, unfortunately, ever so slightly different. I think it's possible to spin the context as Palin making fun of how a VP's main job is sitting and waiting for the president to die, and if that clip gets overplayed then the McCain campaign is going to cry "Misquote!" and start spinning it that way as hard as they can.

Lee @221:

It all depends on whose definition of "free" you use. I'm sure China thinks they are.

#226 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 12:12 AM:

She's Dick Cheney's spiritual daughter? (He goes shooting at birds raised to be released for hunters to shoot at--and hits his fellow hunter instead. Hmm, apparently Palin is a more accurate shooter).
So, instead of being the domestic manager she was off hundreds of miles from home, late in a pregnancy that already was not going ideally, giving a speech. That's responsible dutiful motherhood?!

Sen Biden went home every night, and commuted to and from Capitol Hill as a widower with children: "The state of Delaware [could] get another Senator; my sons couldn't get another father."

Who's the Family Values upholder? Sen. Biden's speech was very much that of someone who was loyal to wife and children...

#227 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 12:20 AM:

Tania, #216: "Honestly, she makes me think of a more ethical, less easily influenced version of Da Shrub."

It would be hard to be more stubborn than the Shrub. And her conduct in office has been, ah, less than exemplary.

"Yes, I admit it, I'd probably have a fun time eating a moose burger and drinking some Darth Stout with Sarah Palin."

Wasn't that what they said about W. Bush? We're doomed. Doomed!

#228 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 12:30 AM:

Sarah E, #186, (if you believe that I've got a bridge to nowhere to sell you)

I believe Ted Stevens already did that.

Fabulous bit from Comedy CentralFabulous bit from Comedy Central

#229 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 12:32 AM:

I only typed that once!

#230 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:13 AM:

Julie L #213: the proper exorcism equipment

What exactly does that consist of in the case of a devolping?

I was going to make a bell, book and candle joke, but then I realized that I didn't actually know for sure if that was exorcism or not, so I looked it up, and it turns out it's excommunication, and by then I'd forgotten the joke anyway, and right now I'd rather go to bed than think of a new one.

#231 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:21 AM:

Constance #218:

Sorry, I took your comment entirely the wrong way. Attacking hunting would be dumb; attacking hunting of endangered species, or nonsporting hunts like you're describing, makes sense.

#232 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 06:13 AM:

OK, suppose John McCain is elected President (through a series of random accidents, race-baiting campaigns and a few "hanging chads"), then dies of age-related causes (cancer, heart attack, what-have-you)... and Palin finds herself suddenly being thrust into the limelight as President and Commander-in-Chief.


1. Who is going to be her pick for Vice President?

2. The Russian leader (i.e. Putin) decides she's a pushover and invades Kazakhstan.
What does Palin do (or not)?

3. Pakistan is taken over by Fundamentalists who threaten all-out nuclear war with India.
What does Palin do (or not)?

4. Why couldn't Michael Palin be Vice President instead? (I mean, if you're going to have a Silly Party then why not make it properly silly...)

#233 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:21 PM:

Randolph @ #227 - I was trying for irony - slightly mocking all the people who voted for Bush because they thought Bush seemed like the sort of guy they'd have a beer with. What completely ludicrous criteria for POTUS!

When it comes to a candidate I'd vote for, I want someone that is smarter, more manipulative, more sophisticated, a better decision maker, ethical, and committed to upholding the Constitution. Excepting that last one, a person with those qualities probably wouldn't want to have a beer and burger with me, as I'd likely bore them to tears. I'm ok with that. I don't think Sarah Palin is any of those things, except maybe the Constitution, and I'm not sure she's that familiar with it outside of her HS American Government class and some Cliff Notes from the NRA.

#234 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:24 PM:

Realistically, if the Russians have any serious intent of invading someone in the -stan zone, they know that we aren't going to stop them, and we know that we aren't going to stop them.

#235 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:31 PM:

Tania, #233: d`oh! Thank you for handing my leg back. Problem is, I think you've accurately summarized some of the wingnut writing I've seen. They just love her.

#236 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:36 PM:

Tania @233, I listened to excerpts of Palin's inagural speech on NPR this morning, and the moment I lost any hint of respect for her was when she said "Girls?! Bristol, Willow, and Piper..." in exactly the tone of voice used by the 4-h leaders from Pend Oreille and Ferry Counties (across the state line from Sand Point, ID) who tried to have our county banned from state 4-H conference forever for some obscure infraction I can't even remember at this late date. I'm from a small town, and I know this woman, the one who ran Girls League and signed annuals with Bible verses and later (and not that much later) made the life of other PTA parents hell on earth.

I've been saying she's not Laura Roslin; I suspect she may, instead, be Bella Snow.

#237 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:41 PM:

Tania: I think (apart from the questions of diplomatic poker; and maybe having the weight of the US behind me might make up for it), I have pretty much all of those qualities, and I'd probably be willing to have a beer with you.

But, by and large, I don't care if the president is affable, approachable, etc.

I sure as hell don't care how a bunch of reporters feel about having a beer with him.

I care about all those things you just said, and a few others (like how he'll actually treat, "the little people" when he has power.

Bush's track record on that was a huge red flag, and lots of the nation seems to have not cared about that; despite his obviously thinking almost everyone else being "little people."

#238 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:44 PM:

JESR @ 236... Bristol, Willow, and Piper...

Billie Piper?
Piper Laurie?

#239 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:57 PM:

Serge @ 238: Piper Cub, I believe, the classic Alaska bush plane.

"Bristol" kills me because, whatever else Bristol might be, the name smells of fish for anyone who's had friends and relatives living in Alaska. I know my grandfather refused to eat salmon ever again after working in Bristol for a season.

Willow, if memory serves, is the small town which was officially chosen for a new Alaska capital that was never built- although it is equally true that something like 80% of Alaska's vegetation is composed of members of the genus Salix.

#240 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:57 PM:

Serge - Bristol Bay, willow ptarmigan, and Piper Cub, it seems. The New York Daily News claims that Trig was picked because it's Norse for "true".

Personally, I suspect that the names relate in some way to the manner of the children's conception. I'm trying not to suspect too hard or too visually. On a related note, "Van Palin" is apparently a Van Halen reference.

#241 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Serge @ 238: Piper Cub, I believe, the classic Alaska bush plane.

"Bristol" kills me because, whatever else Bristol might be, the name smells of fish for anyone who's had friends and relatives living in Alaska. I know my grandfather refused to eat salmon ever again after working in Bristol for a season.

Willow, if memory serves, is the small town which was officially chosen for a new Alaska capital that was never built- although it is equally true that something like 80% of Alaska's vegetation is composed of members of the genus Salix.

#242 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 02:01 PM:

JESR @ 239... the small town which was officially chosen for a new Alaska capital that was never built

There's something of a fantasy tale about that sentence.

#243 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Note: I checked memory and decided I was not 100% sure about the cousin referrenced. However, I'd posted when I thought not. Sorry. This is especially important because my personal correction service in Missoula called me up last night to remind me that White Sulphur Springs uses the British spelling of sulfur.

Give birth to someone, raise them to use critical thinking and be independant and self-reliant and you pay and pay and pay. Maybe the women with the bossy nasal voices have it right.

#244 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 02:04 PM:

FungiFromYuggoth @ 240... So, no Billie Piper? Or Piper Perabo? Bummer.

#245 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 02:15 PM:

Well, since Billie Piper was nine when Piper Palin was born, I doubt it. To think otherwise would involve time trav.... hm.

Perhaps the names of her five children are a message from the future; a rebus that transcends time and space.

One thing's for certain: It's going to be a loooong two months.

#246 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 02:20 PM:

Albatross #231, in Alaska the usual argument about hunting is not whether it's sporting or unsporting; trophy hunts (for head and hide) are widely considered to be in the best tradition of hunting sportsmanship, and they are just as widely despised by "real Alaskans" (a self-defined group in which I include myself, with conscious irony) because of the waste. Those of us who grew up hunting for meat tend to be contemptuous of people who hunt for any reason but to obtain meat (or to get rid of a problem predator in the vicinity of home, children, and chattels, but that's not really hunting per se).

This attitude leads to other strange results. Your typical NRA-hat-wearing lower-48ian hunter will not, for instance, shoot at a duck on the water with a rifle; this is considered "unsporting" and is prohibited by all pertinent hunting laws. A subsistence hunter or anybody who is hungry will do it anyway, because it's cheaper, more efficient at putting meat on the table, and results in many fewer lost and injured birds than sweeping flying flocks with a host of tiny low-velocity pellets.

Meanwhile, Constance at 218 writes "Killing what you can't eat -- and you can't eat polar bear -- it tastes terrible -- is not hunting." Although polar bear is reputed to taste terrible, it is indeed edible and, historically, fairly commonly eaten by those with no better options; the liver is reputed to contain toxic amounts of vitamin A however, so exercise due caution. (If you have successfully hunted a polar bear from the ground, you know already about due caution.)

As my Alaskan mother would admonish, "Don't say you won't eat that; say that you're not that hungry yet." I have hunted both brown and black bear, both of which have people who claim they are inedible; both are nutritious and some black bears are in my opinion actually very tasty. Brown, not so much, although you'd never know it if you make the right kind of onion-heavy savory stew. So I'd join Constance in her condemnation only after modifying it: Killing what you don't intend to eat is not hunting. I must admit, however, that on my part this is a rural prejudice that is not supported by the "sporting" regulations in Alaska or anywhere else I know of.

#247 ::: Jonquil ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 02:25 PM:

Wow. Palin really is a piece of work.

When she was mayor, she fired both the librarian and the police chief for "not fully supporting her efforts to govern". The police chief sued, but lost because police chiefs are at-will.

The lady will fit right in with the Bush/Cheney tradition of cronyism.

#248 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 03:31 PM:

#236 ::: JESR

"I've been saying she's not Laura Roslin; I suspect she may, instead, be Bella Snow."

Did you mean Twilight's Bella Swann (or, really her, alter ego, Stephenie Meyer)?0 Because, all those neoCON appointments from what's her face who graduated from that rightwingxtian law school founded by Pat Robertson, she who couldn't remember anything when questioned as to her activities in the DoJ and didn't know that pleading the 5th was NOT the same right as refusing to answer a supoena to Harriet Meiers, etc., are brought to mind by Bella Swann, which explains my visceral disgust and contempt upon first contact.

This isn't sexist, btw. This isn't even attacking them on the base of their gender. But there are a lot of that gender who are like this who have flocked to these dawgies, and that cannot be denied or ignored.

This isn't sexist, unlike the way the guys over at another place have been talking about Palin. It's really gross and disgusting, just exactly a buncha guys sitting around and talking dirty about a woman who isn't there, and they think they are cool and oh so politically astute. Which is probably why so many no longer go to that place, but nevermind.

Love, C.

#249 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 03:38 PM:

#236 JESR

I'm from a small town, and I know this woman, the one who ran Girls League and signed annuals with Bible verses and later (and not that much later) made the life of other PTA parents hell on earth.

"signed annuals" ??
How did she "make the life of other PTA parents hell"?

(Details, details--description to use as substantiative proof of
1) This person is the wrong material and has negative credentials for the Vice Presidency,
2) Anyone who nominates and promoter her as a candidate for the position, is someone of either or both surpassingly bad judgment and/or duplicitious in the extreme.

#250 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Paula Leiberman:

1. Gov. Palin signed her high-school friends annuals with bible verses (the one refrenced was a verse from Thessalonians). This was a quote from the NPR piece this morning, brought forward by a woman who has written a biography of Palin.

2. This is where I was referring to the women I know who address their daughters using the voice and intonnation Gov. Palin addressed hers: they are, in general, the people who a decade later are using the PTA to advance their political and social agendae by such petty tyrannies as banning field trips to the local brewery or refusing to have a can recycling drive as a fundraiser because it's undignified.

I think that there is sufficient evidence of bad judjement, questionable ethics, or both, in her job performance of Mayor of Wasilla , where she began her term by firing the librarian and police chief who had campaigned for her opponent, and ended it leaving the town in debt for a sports complex she pushed for (no reference for that but it's floating around the web somewhere).

#251 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 04:02 PM:

And, you know, every criticism of Palin is going to be defended as misogyny, probably by the very same people who were attacking Hilary Clinton just a week ago, and who tried very hard to destroy her husband and her marriage.

I'm not real happy with America this morning.

#252 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 06:24 PM:

Paula #259, JESR #250:

Language difficulty here. JESR is using "annual" for what Paula may have learned to call a yearbook.

#253 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 06:56 PM:

Palin's lack of accomplishment or experience, or, for that matter, common sense, make her a joke to be nominated for the VP position. I've heard this said repeatedly by both Democrats and Republicans, and the latter are saying if McCain wanted a woman VP there were plenty of far better qualified Republicans he could have chosen.

No, either McCain went with his "gut feeling" after speaking with Palin twice, or he's demonstrated yet again how incompetent and unable he truly is to be trusted with the Presidency of this nation.

Obama should ignore Palin; with the number of times she's put her foot in her mouth in the past, the media will soon have her candidacy looked on as a sham and nothing but fodder for the late night entertainment shows. The first time she's asked a pertinent question about anything more substantial than the Alaskan State Fair, she'll show how unqualified she truly is.

#254 ::: Jim Satterfield ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 07:52 PM:

My understanding is that the child named Bristol is actually named after Bristol, CT because of Palin's admiration of ESPN, where she had hoped to land a job when she was young.

#255 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 08:16 PM:

246 -Your typical NRA-hat-wearing lower-48ian hunter will not, for instance, shoot at a duck on the water with a rifle; this is considered "unsporting" and is prohibited by all pertinent hunting laws. A subsistence hunter or anybody who is hungry will do it anyway, because it's cheaper, more efficient at putting meat on the table, and results in many fewer lost and injured birds than sweeping flying flocks with a host of tiny low-velocity pellets.
Emphasis added -

I suggest "[y]our typical NRA-hat-wearing lower-48ian hunter", of which I am one, has better sense than to skip rifle bullets along the water into the unknown nor do I sweep flying flocks.

In my experience bear as most animals depends on what the animal has been eating and especially on care after the kill. Prepared as Chinese food in place of pork, by a skilled Chinese - no idea of actual region - cook, bear has been part of good eating with good friends.

#256 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 08:20 PM:

>Don't forget that among the Christianists, there's a lot of emphasis on Original Sin -- and it's almost always painted as the sin of desiring knowledge. That's what REALLY got humanity kicked out of Paradise, not mere disobedience or yielding to temptation. Knowledge is dangerous, and the seeking of it never comes to any good end.

I'm not sure where you're coming from on this, but every discussion of the situation in question I've ever heard has emphasized the disobedience part of it.

#257 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 08:58 PM:

I think they were talking polar bears, not your more usual species. I don't know how edible polar bears are, but I understand it's a bad idea to eat their livers - vitamin D poisoning is a real possibility.

As far as Palin's judgment (or lack thereof) - I'd submit that going on a long plane trip when eight months into a difficult pregnancy, to give a speech that someone else could easily give for her, isn't a positive sign. Worse is making the same flight home when the difficulty became real trouble, and there were good hospitals in the city where the speech was given.

#258 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 09:16 PM:

Randolph @ 251, yeah, exactly. I'll accept calling-out of sexist insults of Palin from people who have previously shown themselves to be feminists. I won't accept it from the right-wing talking heads. They wouldn't know misogyny if it jumped up and bit them -- or if it came out of their own mouths.

I like zuzu's post at Shakesville this morning -- it expands and adds to the thought I had up above here, that sexist attacks against Palin do nothing but hurt Democratic turnout. So for pragmatic reasons along with ideological ones, let's not play that game, and let's not accept other people playing it.

#259 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 09:23 PM:

#257 - It's vitamin A.

Polar bears are mostly seal eaters and concentrate vitamin A but can also be garbage dump bears - the animals exist the full range of the Arctic around through Northern Europe for a full circle of the arctic - and often are taken on snowmobile/dog hunts under conditions that are hard on the meat - Freuchen and others enjoyed them under primitive conditions.
... The polar bear's liver, much like those of arctic seals and huskies, contains extremely high levels of retinol (the form of vitamin A found ...
HowStuffWorks "Vitamin A in Polar Bear Liver"

Vitamin D, like distilled water, kills in extreme doses but it's not a general problem. Vitamin D shortage is a general problem these days; perhaps sunscreen related or lactose intolerance leading to little Vitamin D fortified milk consumption.

#260 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 09:31 PM:


You are indeed correct and I misremembered the vitamin. (Polar bears have fur that transmits light like fiber optics, incidentally. It's a neat adaptation.)

#261 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 09:44 PM:

....Polar bear meat, other than that of males in the rut, is quite palatable...... - that is Alaska Department of Fish and Game official website. My own observation without benefit of much science is that the Polar Bear is not that different from the big brown bear (which is the same as the Grizzley save for access to all the fish it can eat) the Polar Bear separated from the brown maybe about the time Homo Sap appeared (no connection). Trichinosis is an issue as it is in parts of Western Europe that had been free of trichinosis and bears for a long time - Bern had to import bears for the tourists but bears are wandering across borders there now.

As for the original topic the OpEd piece in the NYT seems to me well reasoned in that crying wolf - or bear - when the species is under only local pressure is a dubious tactic and with Dr. Pournelle I'll say I'd rather see her [Paliin] President than McCain, but we live with the choices we have. Jerry is of course notoriously easy to get along with and make a good impression on.

#262 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 09:48 PM:

Jerry is of course notoriously easy to get along with and make a good impression on.

*snerk* Just about needed to run the monitor through the wash!

#263 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 10:00 PM:

Palin lacks only red hair to be a Heinlein heroine after all.

#264 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 10:13 PM:

Polar bears are under only local pressure if you're a climate change denier; otherwise they, like tigers, are in a sort of pre-extinct state. Saving them will take some combination of new habitat and heroic measures.

#265 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 10:35 PM:

Reuter's Friday 29 August
....A scientific panel on Thursday released detailed findings of an April review that classified the bear population as a "special concern," but not endangered or threatened with extinction....."Protecting the polar bears is something we are committed to, but we going to base it on science and with input and collaboration with Inuit and northern people," Environment Minister John Baird told reporters in Inuvik, Northwest Territories......Canada's Arctic Inuit people say the bear population is not in as much trouble as some fear, with the most serious problems more localized in nature, and they complain further restrictions on hunting will hurt their communities.
Silly Inuit -

#266 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 10:58 PM:

A.R.Yngve, #232, she doesn't get to choose. We have a legal presidential line of succession.

#267 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 11:00 PM:

It occurs to me that it's very likely the petroleum industry has put Palin forward. It makes all kinds of sense--we know there are ties between the Alaska Republican Party and Exxon/Mobil and ties between that industry and the Bush administration. It would explain why someone so lightweight got the nod, and why the propaganda setup was so good. We'll have to wait and see.

#268 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 11:17 PM:

Marilee: were she elevated to the presidency, she would get to choose her Vice President (subject to Congressional approval). The line of succession would only come into play if the President and Vice President were both incapacitated at once, or if the President became incapacitated and for some reason there was no Vice President at the time.

#269 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 11:26 PM:

Clark E. Myers, #265: "Palin lacks only red hair to be a Heinlein heroine after all."

Caroline, #258: thanks & thanks for the link.

Heinlein heroines aren't religious fanatics, and aren't into political cronyism. The presentation of Palin is just perfect, so perfect that I think it was prepped quite a bit before the announcement. Even the slightest slip would have left most of the country shocked and wondering where Palin had come from, as opposed to rather liking her. This nomination is starting to smell like rotten fish to me.

#270 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 11:28 PM:

If you've been reading around the blogs today, you know there's a lot of stuff coming up about Palin. A great many questions. And you'll know there are some people who are saying, "Hey, you can't talk about stuff like that! What does it have to to with Palin being a nominee for Vice President!"

Well, here's my feeling about that... it's clear the McCain campaign didn't do any real vetting of this nominee. I'm sorry. We are the people of the United States getting ready to hire a Vice President. We have a right to know who this person is.

Since McCain didn't vet her, then we will have to. If McCain or Palin or anybody else didn't want all this stuff being talked about in impolite company, then they should've done the vetting first, in private, in a competent manner.

This isn't rumor-mongering, this isn't darkening people's names with scurrilous talk... this is doing what the McCain campaign should've done for us so we wouldn't have to.

She wants to be our Vice President. Fine. We have a right to know who she is.

We have the right to vet the hell out of her because McCain apparently couldn't be bothered.

Imagine yourself as a sleazy lawyer for the campaign in a dimly lighted room sitting across the room from this person demanding to know each and every one of her deepest darkest secrets. That's the image you want of yourself here. The job has apparently been left to you by McCain so stop seeing yourself as some slimy gossip.

It's a dirty, filthy job but for chrissake we are hiring a Vice President so somebody has to do it.

#271 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2008, 11:38 PM:

I don't much enjoy the spectacle of the left blogosphere becoming the equivalent of the people who have spent months poring over low-quality .jpg scans of Barack Obama's birth certificate and proudly declaring that they have proved he wasn't born in the United States.

#272 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:03 AM:

Nobody should be "declaring" anything until they have positive proof of whatever it is they are declaring, whether their "declaration" is about Palin or about Obama.

It's a different thing altogether to ask questions the McCain campaign apparently couldn't be bother to ask. If the McCain campaign didn't want people stumbling around trying to find out who the hell the person is, they should've nominated a nationally known and thoroughly vetted political figure. This is the price that has to be paid for McCain's impulsiveness. Don't blame the American people for trying to find out what questions to ask. Blame McCain.

#273 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:05 AM:

I think the Democrats can certainly fight back without having to stoop to name-calling and mud-slinging in this campaign. I don't think her two years as a mayor of a small city gives her the qualifications she needs to be the second-in-command of this country. My father was elected to the office of Town Supervisor, in a town of roughly 8,000 people (more people live there now, but in 25+ years, NYC has moved its suburbs a bit northwards). Running a town or small city isn't a bit like being a State Senator or a member of Congress. For one thing, at this level, you're required to make a budget and stick to it; otherwise your town can lose its rating which hurts when it comes to bonds, loans, and other financial instruments. Secondly, you live very closely with the people that you affect -- I see that she fired her police chief and librarian, although the police chief's separation was the only one "allowed" under the law. How did she expect the rest of Wasilla to react? I'm quite sure she left many enemies in Wasilla from that act alone.

So what if they'd been supporting her opponent in the elections? They're allowed to have opinions of their own. Firing someone for having a different opinion suggests to me that she cannot handle conflict, controversy, or contradiction. That's not good in a mayor, and it's double-plus ungood in a VP or President.

Neither of these firings was smart management; you have to manage people with varying opinions, not fire them. How does she propose to deal with people who -- unlike her -- are pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, anti-War in Iraq, etc? Fire them all? Or will she use the Cheney option and take them moose hunting?

In particular for the Vice-Presidency I'd like to see someone who is not afraid of dissenting opinions. We've already had too much of a President who doesn't want to think too much; we need someone who can get conflicting opinions from his/her people and synthesize a deal. I think this is one of Obama's strong points, (and Senator Clinton demonstrated her skills in this regard as the junior Senator from NY) in strong contrast to McCain and Palin both.

I used to respect McCain; I lost all respect for him after the last election when he started changing his tune on many issues. Yes, he did make it through Canoe U., and survived Flight School -- but how does that make him a leader? I don't think he held any leadership position as a mid (I'd have to find my copy of his autobio and look); he certainly didn't hold any leadership positions as a bomber pilot, and he was not the ranking POW at the Hanoi Hilton. Sure, he's been the Senator from Arizona for a long time; is he in a leadership position in the Senate or the GOP?

I really hope this country pulls together and votes against McBush. It would have been nice to have Senator Clinton as the Democratic candidate, but we've got Senator Obama in there instead, which is just as historic. In the long run, we don't need historic as much as we need "not Republican".

#274 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:07 AM:

Marilee, #266: I don't think that applies to Yngve's question. The line of succession specifies who's in control if multiple people on the top level are taken out at once (for example, a lucky hit on a sitting Congress when both the President and the VP happen to be present). But if Bush were to be successfully impeached, my understanding is that Cheney would move up and then get to select a Vice President -- Pelosi would not automatically move into the VP slot. So... who would Palin choose? Pat Robertson, maybe?

#275 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:14 AM:

One should note, I believe, that Congress would have to confirm the VP nomination, so you can probably rule most of the wilder names out right away.

#276 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:16 AM:

Jen Roth, #271: It seems to me that what's out in plain sight is damning, but we need to make sure that it stays in plain sight--stuff has already been taken down from the web. Beyond that, "know thy enemy." By which I mean ask reasonable questions and try to answer them, not compulsively research her.

#277 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:22 AM:

Josh Marshall, over at Talking Points Memo, thinks this was just as much of a last-minute choice as it seems. So I withdraw that speculation. Perhaps, though, the story was already prepared and Palin slotted into it. Either that or god is on her side, and we're all damned.

#278 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:25 AM:

Lots of Heinlein heroines are creationists.

#279 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:29 AM:

Stefan @278, besides Alexander Hergensheimer from Job: A Comedy of Justice, and John from "If This Goes On-" I can't think of any creationists. Well, Jubal Harshaw on alternating days, with a day off each leap year to be a solipsist.

Who else did you have in mind?

#280 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:30 AM:

I'm with Jen Roth and Ginger. It seems very Obama-and-the-pledge to me, and the collateral damage of being wrong affects a minor which is doubly bad form.

If you like, look at it from a realpolitik point of view. A big blowup over this - false or true - will undermine legitimate angles of criticism.

Thirdly, don't underestimate the Rovian angle of releasing false documents to support a real problem, then exposing the false information to close the line of discussion. It may be rat-fucking season, but I don't want to indulge.

#281 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:44 AM:

#279: I was being a wiseass.

#282 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:56 AM:

Terry, I'd eat moose burger and drink fine brews with you any time. I also have a lovely bottle of single malt that I've been saving for a special occasion.

Randolph, no problem. It just boggles my mind that people use criteria such as "someone like me" to select a POTUS. I think we could do better than me! Much better.

If anyone is interested, the Alaska Public Radio Network has put up a copy of a show they did profiling Sarah from February 08. AK is a pretty good show.

Check out the lyrics to a song played about 12 minutes in. It's by the Empty Oil Barrel Band, from the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau, April 2007. Sean Parnell is our Lt. Governor.

Hush little baby don't cry and whine
Sarah's gonna build you a gas pipeline
And if that pipelines starts to spill
Sarah's gonna pass you an ethics bill
And if that bills full of loopholes
Sarah's gonna shrink down the welfare rolls
And if poor people don't agree
Sarah's gonna talk about transparency
And if things turn into a mess
Sarah's gonna make sure she says "God Bless"
And if things still don't go so well
She can always blame it on Sean Parnell

#283 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 01:27 AM:

#263 Clare

Heinlein protagonists (gender irrelevant) did not kill gratuitously or reject results of scientific investigation on basis of religious prejudice.

Note that in Glory Road, when Oscar found out that dragons were part of the eco control system, he felt guilty about having killed the dragon.... At the time he killed it, it seemed to be a matter of life and death to him.

In Tunnel to the Stars, was it, there was both exposition and action deprecating guns with respect to knives as weapons and regarding psychological attitudes of being reliant upon the use of guns.

Palin might give the surface appearance of being a Heinlein protagonist, but regarding values, etc., she seems more like the folks who were out lynching members of the Howard Families on the basis of prejudice and bigotry.

Heinlein protagonists also included polygamists (the line marriage The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Lazarus Long's family in Time Enough for Love), incestuous relationships in a positive light Time Enough for Love, homosexuality in a positive light, and sex change surgery in a positive light (Time Enough for Love)

#284 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 01:51 AM:

Senator Kerry was on ABC talking about how out-of-the-mainstream Palin is, and do you know how out-of-the-mainstream Palin is? She's so out-of-the-mainstream that she doesn't even believe global warming is human-caused.

Now put Palin aside, and think about that: believing global warming is human-caused is a touchstone of normality. Not merely believing that it's real, but believing that it's manmade. I'm boggled--has the CW shifted that much? Ten years ago, merely mentioning the possibility of global warming was enough to taint you as a patently unserious DFH.*

I'd just like to take this moment to thank Al Gore, for proving that you really can sit people down for a couple of hours and change the world.

#285 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 02:12 AM:

#270 Michael

Well, here's my feeling about that... it's clear the McCain campaign didn't do any real vetting of this nominee. I'm sorry. We are the people of the United States getting ready to hire a Vice President. We have a right to know who this person is.

That depends on what you mean by real vetting. It seems to me that there was "real vetting" done. The vetting done didn't involvewhat the majority of the regulars on this forum would regard as appropriate, reasonable, and valid criteria, but we're neither the people who determined the criteria nor the targetted audience the vetting was oriented towards selecting the a candidate to appeal to.

That is, trying to use less complicated terminology:

1) There was vetting done.
2) The vetting criteria involved attitudes, values, and perspectives and perceptions antithetical to the beliefs, values, attitudes, perceptions, and intrinsic outlook of many, probably a majority, of the regular participants here on Making Light
3) The selection of Palin I suspect included most if not all of the below"
a) Candidate with a short history of political visibility, to limit how much "baggage" the person would have -- that thing about the longer someone has been in positions of visibility, the more data there is on them that could be used as a track record against them. This is something the regime in DC has been doing consistently the past 7 years eight months.
b) Vagina and ovaries rather than penis and testicles, and preferably proven fertility with offspring for the Family Value card of Plentiful Motherhood!!! (The sarcastic comment here is "Marian Worship/Madonna adoration," and the more fecundity, the more pious bleating to apply about sacred motherhood--recall the Soviet Union and its praises of women who had has a dozen children as being heroic women.)
c) Anti-abortion partisan
d) Gun owner and user, with hunting trophies as substantiation of expertise and dedication to the cause of bearing arms and using them (as opposed to arming bears)
e) Anti-scientific-establishment partisan (denier of Global Warming, for example)
f) oil lobby promoter and partisan/affiliate
g) Small Town Rural America Mythology representative (Urban Gotham background bad and repulsive and corrupt and dehumanizing, suburban background = privileged snob, but Small Town Rural is Real People... sarcasm strikes. Smallville and cowboys remain national myths pushed by the audiovideo entertainment industry which includes the so-called news media, despite the fact that a tiny percentage of the population actually lives and/or works for their day job providing the bulk of their income on working farms, and what, more than 80% of the US population is urban/suburban and is within what it is 50 miles of ocean coast, major lake shore, and/or side of a major navigable waterway?!)
h) married (see "motherhood" above
i) has close family member on active duty in the US military
j) Christian in-your-face religiosity partisanship
3) This is an emotion-yank, designed to bolster support among disaffected women, particularly ones who view themselves as having deeply-held and cherished religious values
4) It's a bolster to the core of evangelical activists and voters who were the loyal troops assisting Republican engineered takeovers of House, Senate, Office of the President of the United States of America over the past couple decades (though there was some slippage in the last federal election)
5) The spin's been torqued and the reporting rigged to downplay/ignore/not report on such considerations as Supreme Court nominee litmus tests and the consequences to the USA of continuing to make appointment by cronyism and religious values and partisan politics instead of merit independent of religiosity and merit based on nonsectarian criteria

Is that the sound of Onward Christian Soldiers I hear coming from the Republican National Convention and the news media promoting it?

#286 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:31 AM:

Clark E Meyers #255 writes "I suggest '[y]our typical NRA-hat-wearing lower-48ian hunter', of which I am one, has better sense than to skip rifle bullets along the water into the unknown."

To which I'd add the suggestion that your typical lower-48ian hunter does not understand the scale and emptiness of the landscape we are talking about. Obviously if your backdrop is unknown, you don't take the shot, that's a prime rule of shooting safety. But it's not unknown if you can see it, of course; and when it's most of a mile to the far bank of the Yukon, there's a hundred feet of soft sand bluff riverbank for a backdrop over there, there's nothing but empty muskeg swamp for ten miles beyond, and the river is clear of traffic for the three or four miles you can see up and downstream, such a shot is well within normal parameters of shooting safety.

#287 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:56 AM:

Rikibeth #279: Jonathan Hoag (From "the Unpleasant Profession of...")

#288 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 05:07 AM:

Thanks all, for explaining to me the succession rules.

Now, I'm not going to shout "They'll Kill Us All" about an eventual McCain-Palin presidency -- I still remember how people went on and on about how Ronald Reagan would start World War III, and the Cold War was a lot more dangerous than current times -- but man, that's one bizarro ticket. (Though Giuliani would have been even worse.)

#289 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 07:46 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ #285:

I take your point. Palin was certainly vetted for her right-wing political correctness.

But as I said, there is still a significant amount of appropriate vetting to be done and the impulsiveness of McCain has left that job to the press and the rest of us. For example, it's now coming out that this "I was opposed to the Bridge to Nowhere" announcement was a crock.

I can't imagine how McCain could think this wouldn't come out and be damaging to Palin. She's a political bs'er as bad as or worse than McCain.

#290 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 08:08 AM:

The vetting process for Palin consisted of McCain speaking to her twice; once several months ago and then last Thursday. She had been on the "B list" of candidates all along but no one paid any attention to her chances, but McCain apparently decided to go with flash rather than substance.

#291 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 08:58 AM:

Tatsuya Ishida on Palin in Sinfest -- pretty much nails it, as usual.

#292 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 09:47 AM:

Bruce @287: thanks, I'd forgotten him!

#293 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 10:47 AM:

For those of you who might be confused by this odd decision of Palin's to give a speech in Texas and then take an 11 hour flight back to Alaska after she started leaking amniotic fluid one month before her due date, never fear:

Sarah Palin's Pregnancey Decision Map

#294 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 10:49 AM:

(I do, in fact, know how to spell "pregnancy". I was just checking to see who is actually paying attention.)

#295 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:09 AM:

I think a very effective ad could be made to point out Palin's lack of experience without going at the issue too directly. It could show photos of LBJ taking the oath of office after Kennedy's death, and Ford taking it after Nixon's resignation. It could then point out that John McCain is 72 years old and a cancer survivor. Then show a bunch of photos of a casino, and mention that John McCain is an avid craps player. Let people watching it draw their own conclusions.

#296 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Michael Weholt, 293,

Well, that's full of win.
The problem with the Palin pick is that it shows how poor McCain's judgment is.*
The problem with Palin's birthing decisions is that it shows how poor her judgment is.

Scurrilous rumors and sexist attacks are out of court on moral grounds, and aren't even expedient, when the opposition has shown such colossally bad judgment.

*I think many women and few men get how big of an insult it to women: once again more qualified women (and men) were passed over for an important position.

#297 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:54 AM:

#296 don delny: The problem with the Palin pick is that it shows how poor McCain's judgment is.* The problem with Palin's birthing decisions is that it shows how poor her judgment is.

Absolutely. I've been saying that all along. I would only add that as far as McCain is concerned, the pick of Palin is frightening in its bizarre impulsiveness. I can understand the pick in terms of him pandering to his base, but to the rest of us, this penchant for shooting craps is really scary.

#298 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:10 PM:

Well, here's one way to effectively end the most scurrilous rumors:

To rebut rumors, Palin says daughter, 17, pregnant

#299 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Yup, I was just coming to share the ADN version.

#300 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 01:02 PM:

So she's saying that her 17-year-old daughter couldn't have given birth in May because she's 5 months pregnant now. I think that qualifies as "can't win for losing". That poor girl.

Also, imagine the right-wing outrage if any Democratic candidate had a teenage daughter who was pregnant out of wedlock. But this one will be spun as "she's going to keep the baby and marry the father, so that makes it okay."

#301 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 01:26 PM:

#300: That's exactly what they're doing.

That abstinence-only sex-ed stuff worked out really well.

#302 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 01:39 PM:

They really didn't vet her, did they? So much for my theories of evil Republican geniuses. Yet there could hardly be a better pick for spiking the Democrats's game, or at least forcing them to pick it up. I think I hear a god snickering. Oh, well. I don't think Palin's god knows how to laugh.

#303 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 01:54 PM:

I think the only relevant thing in this whole mess is this:

When you are preggers, your Delicate Condition is surely going to come out one way or another.

The McCain campaign is trying to say this only came out because of scurrilous rumors on liberal blogs.

Umm... apart from anything else to be said about that, this demonstrates a terrible understanding of human biology. Somebody should tell them that somebody was going to notice, sometime.

So what we know is that Governor Palin agreed to accept McCain's selection knowing full well that her daughter was going to be shoved into the national spotlight, with or without her consent.

It would be one thing if at the roll-out the daughter had been introduced and they'd said: "And by the way, we are only mentioning this because we know it will come out anyway, but our oldest daughter who we love dearly..."

Make the statement. Take the opportunity to address the situation forthrightly. Instead, what we get is what looks like an attempt to hide the young lady's condition. Why?

To me, it smells of naked (or, at least, partially disrobed) ambition on Governor Palin's part. She had to know it would come out, so why didn't she address it forthrightly? "Screw what my daughter might have to go through on the national political stage! I want this nomination!"

My guess is the daughter was assured that it wouldn't come out, that she wouldn't be dragged into the political spotlight, and she was naive enough to believe the McCain campaign's assurances.

That's cold, if that's the case. But who the hell knows? What the hell do any of us really know about Governor Palin? Not much.

#304 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 02:16 PM:

I suppose it is barely possible that Palin's daughter didn't reveal her pregnancy until just now; a young woman 5 months pregnant may or may not start showing at that point, depending on how much she weighs and what physical condition she's in.

Knowing her mom is a political figure, a fanatic pro-life proponent, and strongly believes in abstinence only sex education/birth control, it's not outside the realm of possibility that the daughter would be a bit reluctant to tell anyone about the pregnancy until there's no way to hide it.

I'm still a bit surprised that Palin herself was so slim and trim with a 5th pregnancy that no one knew she was pregnant until her water broke. Isn't it usual for a woman with multiple pregnancies to start showing faster the more children she's had no matter how in shape she is?

#305 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 02:25 PM:

The McCain campaign is claiming they knew about it before they announced Palin as their pick. It's in all the reports so I'm not going to link to a supporting article.

I, personally, think that's probably BS. I think it is more likely they just found out themselves and are crapping their pants right now and spraying the room with Air Freshener to cover the smell.

But I have a really hard time believing Gov. Palin didn't know before Friday. But you are right, we don't know for sure. I think we have a right to know. If she didn't know, then fine. Then it's just a screw-up of the vetting process. If she did know, that's just an ugly thing to do to her daughter.

#306 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 02:49 PM:

Two thoughts:

I wish the young couple all of the luck in the world, because they are certainly going to need it. Marriage and parenthood at 17 or 18 is not easy. Many of these marriages fail, and many of these young people have a very hard time of it, no matter how much family support they have.

Also, this does show, from a strategy point of view, that winning the news cycle is not always a good thing.

#307 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 02:59 PM:

#306 ::: abi : Also, this does show, from a strategy point of view, that winning the news cycle is not always a good thing.

Truer words. Never spoken.

But in any case, I've been thinking it hasn't been such a bad thing that McCain "stepped on" Obama's speech. As it is, 40 million people watched the very impressive speech and then were (to a large extent) spared all the crappy commentary about it.

In short, they saw a great speech and got to decide for themselves how it went.

But, yeah, I bet the McCain campaign is real happy they "won" that news cycle, all right.

#308 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 03:33 PM:

" . . . and spraying the room with Air Freshener to cover the smell."

Kind of hard to do after the fan has done its job.

* * *

The fact that Palin supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it was noted on the local Fox affiliate this morning.

I wonder if the scent of blood is in the air.

I usually wait until the prime-time repeat to watch The Daily Show & Colbert.

Not tonight.

#309 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Michael Weholt @ 305: I dunno, I'm not seeing how Palin or her daughter's pregnancies are really any of our business. It all seems a little panty-sniffing to me, and tends to make her more sympathetic -- and I'm already seeing that dynamic work on Shakesville, where several of the regulars are noting that they feel almost warmly towards Palin and McCain after all that's been said about her and her daughter.

I'd rather just stick to the issues.

I had a paragraph here starting to go into the issues, but it might veer too close to starting a brtn debate, which is no good. Suffice it to say that I'm not interested in judging Palin's fitness for the office of VP on how she handled her own pregnancies, or how her daughter is handling hers. Frankly, I find making judgments on that basis to be pretty sleazy, on par with right-wing tactics that judged Hillary Clinton's fitness for the office of POTUS by how she handled her marriage.

Let's be better than that.

There are a lot of things that are genuinely questionable about Palin's judgment -- hiring, firing, and budget decisions among them. Whether or not she made personal medical decisions that you'd agree with -- and whether she immediately exposed her teenage daughter's pregnancy to the national media -- are not among them.

#310 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 03:51 PM:

I've been trying to figure out who's been creating all of this "VPILF" and "McCain and MILF" stuff. Palin supporters who think they're being with-it and amusing? Democrats being rude? Disgruntled supporters of other potential Republican VP candidates?

Palin does appear to have a solid grasp of current practises of governance: "I'm in charge, so you have to do what I say, and the rules don't apply to me, and I'll use my position to bless my followers and smite my enemies."

#311 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 03:57 PM:

Liza @108: That url appears to have indeed existed since mid-2007:*/ Unfortunately, I can't get the archived copy to load, so I can't tell about the content....

#312 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:02 PM:

# whois

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to
for detailed information.

Domain Name: VPILF.COM
Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Status: clientRenewProhibited
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Updated Date: 04-aug-2008
Creation Date: 04-aug-2008
Expiration Date: 04-aug-2009

>>> Last update of whois database: Mon, 01 Sep 2008 15:58:38 EDT

NOTICE: The expiration date displayed in this record is the date the
registrar's sponsorship of the domain name registration in the registry is
currently set to expire. This date does not necessarily reflect the expiration
date of the domain name registrant's agreement with the sponsoring
registrar. Users may consult the sponsoring registrar's Whois database to
view the registrar's reported date of expiration for this registration.

Please note: the registrant of the domain name is specified
in the "registrant" field. In most cases,, Inc.
is not the registrant of domain names listed in this database.

Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States

Registered through:, Inc. (
Domain Name: VPILF.COM
Created on: 04-Aug-08
Expires on: 04-Aug-09
Last Updated on: 04-Aug-08

Administrative Contact:
Private, Registration
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States
(480) 624-2599 Fax -- (480) 624-2598

Technical Contact:
Private, Registration
Domains by Proxy, Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
United States
(480) 624-2599 Fax -- (480) 624-2598

Domain servers in listed order:

#313 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:13 PM:

#309 Caroline: There are a lot of things that are genuinely questionable about Palin's judgment -- hiring, firing, and budget decisions among them. Whether or not she made personal medical decisions that you'd agree with -- and whether she immediately exposed her teenage daughter's pregnancy to the national media -- are not among them.

I think your opinion is reasonable and I respect it, however -- for reasons I have already stated and so won't repeat -- I don't agree with it.

But your point is certainly reasonable.

#314 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:30 PM:

Evidently many women admire Palin for standing by her daughter. the 'cain's people say they knew about the pregnancy and assured Palin it wouldn't matter.

Oddities still though, at least to minds that bend to the winds of fiction: Bristol's 5 months preggers, while mama birthed her brother 5 months ago. What a coincidence that Bristol gets pregnant at that moment, just after coming out from an 8 month seclusion for mono.

However, the very women Palin was selected for, admire what she's doing, no matter what direction you spin it.

Which is another reason that this time around speaking about this VPOTUS candidate in terms of sex and gender roles is not irrelevant. She was picked for those very reasons.

It's like, well a beauty pageant. You discuss the candidates in terms of their attractiveness, because that is what they are competing on.

Dumb, all the way around? Yes. But it was the 'cain's choice to make it that way.

Love, c.

#315 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Liza @ #108 & Brooks @ #311 - That one has been around for quite awhile. Kyle Hopkins and Sheila Toomey at the Anchorage Daily News (ADN) have been reporting on the various Sarah cult of personality movements. I know I looked at that site back in spring 07, it was new and the guy isn't from Alaska.

Re: VPILF stuff - Wonkette has been calling her the GILF since she was elected, it was an obvious extension. Juvenile minds will be juvenile...

#316 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Constance @314: "What a coincidence that Bristol gets pregnant at that moment, just after coming out from an 8 month seclusion for mono."

Yes, what a coincidence that a young woman who's had eight months of seclusion makes a bad decision involving too much interaction with a young man? It almost stretches the bounds of plausibility!

(In case the sarcasm isn't evident, it seems to me that -- at least from what's implicit in that sentence, as I know no more details nor care to -- that that's very much the sort of situation that would lead to the sort of choices that lead to unplanned pregnancy.)

In any case, regardless of political leanings, I think that Palin's statement of unconditionally standing by her daughter and supporting her is very admirable indeed. I hope she follows through on it. And I also think that any attacks on her about it are going to really annoy me and put me emotionally on her side, and that's speaking as someone who is nowhere near on the fence about the election; for anyone who might still be undecided, it's a really counterproductive tactic.

Not to mention an obnoxious thing to do to her daughter.

#317 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:44 PM:

"I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be as clear as possible. I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people's families are off limits, and people's children are especially off limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics, it has no relevance to governor Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18. And how family deals with issues and teenage children that shouldn't be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that is off limits." —Barack Obama, on Palin and her daughter

#318 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Obama's response to the news about Palin's daughter, from a press conference:

I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be as clear as possible. I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people's families are off limits, and people's children are especially off limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics, it has no relevance to Governor Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18. How family deals with issues of teenage children shouldn't be the topic of our politics, and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that this is off limits.

A class act.

#319 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 04:50 PM:

Thanks Lizzy. What a perfect response. November can not come soon enough.

#320 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 05:03 PM:

Obama's statement is, indeed, admirable and a class act.

But I hope nobody -- not Obama, not Gov. Palin, not McCain -- thought this information about Gov. Palin's daughter wouldn't come out and that people wouldn't draw their own conclusions w/r/t Gov. Palin about it. Now, you can call me an asshole for drawing whatever conclusions I draw about it, but I have little (though more and more as time passes) information on what kind of person Gov. Palin is. I knew a great deal about Hillary Clinton before there was any talk of drawing conclusions about her based on how she dealt with her difficult marriage.

I admire Obama for his statement, but I draw my own conclusions about what all of this says about a political figure -- Gov. Palin -- who until a certain limited number of hours ago was a complete cipher to me and who wants to be Vice President.

I say again: all of this isn't anybody's fault except McCain's, but that doesn't prevent anybody from drawing what conclusions they will about Gov. Palin based on the paltry (though growing) amount of information we have about her.

#321 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 05:35 PM:

The problem is that it can't be had two ways: if Edwards and his family are fair game for speculation, then so is this.

Which is why these personal things should never have been made political in the first place.

But they have been, since Jefferson. the 'cain's ugly joke -- so characteristic of him, and why so many women don't like him, about Janet Reno, Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. He can't have it both ways -- that his joke isn't fair game for press coverage and this isn't.

Every one of us can know far more than any, or at least many, of us would ever have chosen to know about these people, because it is there. Unless we spend our time under rocks or something. But, I for one think it matters that the 'cain would tell a joke like that. I think it matters that Palin has already exhibited in so many areas of both her personal and political life poor judgment, and particularly where the personal and the political have intersected. That is a fair kind of questioning and investigation.

Love, C.

#322 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 05:50 PM:

Oh lovely.
Now they're looking at her connections with the Alaska Independence Party. There's some question about whether she's actually a member of the party.
I think that the Republicans might have some difficulty explaining how their VP nominee supports a group advocating Alaska's secession from the US. (No, that doesn't count as foreign policy experience.)

#323 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 06:10 PM:

Caroline at 317: Jinx!

Constance at 321; there are differences between the Republicans speculating about Edwards and Democrats speculating about Palin. One difference is precisely that Obama has strongly campaigned on this issue; he states he wants to change the way politics is done in this country, and for most of us that "way" includes "gotcha" journalism and probing into private lives of politicians and their families. If Democrats behave exactly as Republicans would in the same circumstances, it completely undercuts Obama's message. Another difference is frankly, that AFAIAC, Edwards asked for it by lying. If Palin has lied about something, I have no problem going after her for lying, but Democrats should not be attempting to score political points off of Palin's teenage daughter's pregnancy. Karma...

Individual bloggers will do what they like, of course, and some of what they do will be quite crude. No doubt the Republicans will do their best to have the Obama campaign and "liberals" in general held responsible for someone else's bad manners.

#324 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 06:20 PM:

Probably just convention bounce, but for the first time Obama hits 50%.

#325 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 06:43 PM:

There really isn't any reason to bring Gov. Palin's children into this fight, not when she has made statements like this for the record:

Q: Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

A: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

For readers from outside the U.S., the pledge was not written until 1892, while the phrase "under God" was not added until 1954.
#326 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 06:45 PM:

With respect to the daughter's bout with mono: 8 months of seclusion may strike some people as being way over the top. Mononucleosis affects primarily people ages 15-35; you develop signs about 4-6 weeks after exposure, and clinical signs last about 4 weeks.

There are exceptions, of course; there's a paper about one young woman who took around three years to develop neutralizing antibodies and finally kick the infection out. She repeatedly tested positive on a Monospot and had recurring clinical signs of sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. Mine took about 2 years to fully develop into classic mono, and took 6 weeks to recover from, but I was also 32 years old when I got sick. I was restricted from contact sports for 4 months, and that was it.

Teenagers generally sleep for two weeks and then recover; they're restricted from contact sports for 4 months to make sure the spleen isn't at risk for rupture.

Eight months of seclusion seems highly unlikely to be mono, even with complications. There may have been other factors involved in this (perhaps something else highly common in teens, like trouble in school), but this has not been brought out into public by the Palin family. Some honesty on this topic would have been ideal for preventing rumors about hidden pregnancies and the like. No matter what the true reason for her seclusion was, now that the family is in the public eye it becomes a matter of speculation and public discussion.

#327 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 06:46 PM:

Sorry -- the previous post is from this set of answers to an Alaska Eagle Forum questionaire. The relevant question is #11.

#328 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 06:49 PM:

More and more I'm convinced that Palin's premiere lack of judgment is and was ACCEPTING the VP slot.

"Too dumb to know you don't know enough for the job."

#329 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Wow . . . they've Roved themselves.

#330 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 09:23 PM:

My brother had mono when he was in high school, and had to stay home for about 4 weeks. He was tired and generally moped around the house during that time but that was it. Our stepmom said that his recovery was typical for teens; since she was an RN I tended to trust her comments on the subject.

#331 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 09:56 PM:

Those who campaign on "morals" bases, ought to get called for hypocrisy when their families don't display the Family Values they impose on everyone else...

I'm registered as unenrolled in any political party...

#332 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 10:04 PM:

Her poor daughter can't be kept out of this, because Palin didn't keep her daughter out of it. Ay-up. She's a bad woman for her ambition trumped her daughter's best interests.

Yet she'd condemn any other woman for the same behavior that she's just committed. Which includes, it seems she's lied. To everybody, if 'only' by ommission, about quite a few things.

But none of that mattered to the men who chose her, looking for their "Thatcher, but one more feminine." She fit all their criteria for what they wanted in a candidate. But it looks like they missed a couple of things they probably should have known ...

Ultra-Secretive Right-Wing Group Met In Minn. To Vet Palin

Great roundup of what we've learned about Palin today alone

#333 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 10:12 PM:

Constance, #321: The tack Obama should take about that is to say something like:

"This is what the Republicans have done in similar situations (and name names!), but my campaign is not going to stoop to that level. If I have to smear a 17-year-old girl's reputation to win this election, the cost is too high."

He should explicitly go on the attack, stake out the moral high ground, and then let the pundits on the other side try to explain why it's okay when their side does it.

P.J., #322: And there's exactly the sort of issue the Obama campaign can legitimately focus on instead!

Connie, #328: Dunning-Kruger Syndrome, perhaps?

#334 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:03 PM:

There's a great story about Sarah Palin and federal earmarks over on Huffington Post. Here's the money quote, for me. "From 2000 through 2002, Wasilla received more than $5.5 million in federal cash for transportation and social service projects." This is a town of (then) population under 6,000. So much for being a reformer.

Go here to read the whole story.

#335 ::: Jackie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:23 PM:

Arriving late to the discussion. After what we laughingly call ROM-NIL (rupture of membranes, not in labor) is noted, the only travel should be to a hospital. The risk of amnionitis (infection in the amniotic sac) can be life threatening to both mother and fetus.

As for flying, most insurance companies won't cover your hospital expenses if you travel after the second trimester (6 months along). A few stingy ones refuse coverage if you travel after 26 weeks.

As for delivering an infant into a cold and artificially drafty airplane with absolutely no equipment and no way to get help quickly, well, there's a reason why I never use my title when I travel.

As Jim the paramedic will concur, if everything goes well, having a baby is pretty easy. But if there's a hitch, it can be a pain in the left kneecap.

Oh, just in case you're wondering, my last child weighed over 10 lbs and I delivered her "from below" as we say--vaginally. But being a wuss, I did it in a hospital.

#336 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:25 PM:

Lizzy L @ 334: Bernard DeVoto, the greatest historian of the American West, nutshellized the desired relationship between Western politicians and the federal government thusly: "Get out, and send more money." Between the earmarking and her flirtation with Alaskan Independence Party, Sarah Palin is revealed as a type specimen of her class.

#337 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:33 PM:

1) Expectant mothers can make some amazing decisions, of which determining that "I'm going to have my baby at my home hospital with my own doctor" isn't the craziest I've heard. Maybe not smart, but within the realm of something they might decide and heaven help you if you try to make them do anything else.

2) After the membranes rupture, that lady is having a baby, one way or another, within 24 hours.

3) She'd have to be nuts in the head to fly, but see above about expectant mothers.

#338 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:38 PM:

Lee @ 300: "But this one will be spun as "she's going to keep the baby and marry the father, so that makes it okay." "

I'm dreadfully afraid that the "marry the father" bit of that is being forced on the girl for political reasons.* Perhaps she wants to, but if she didn't, I can't see anyway that she could say so. That's the script, isn't it? Get knocked up, marry the father, discover the joys of motherhood. How hellish would that be, to be forced to marry your high-school boyfriend in order to fulfill your mother's political ambitions? Even more so if she loses!

If she is being forced into it, I hope to Ghu they let her off the hook after the election.

*The "keep the baby" part too, to a lesser degree.

Caroline @ 309: "I dunno, I'm not seeing how Palin or her daughter's pregnancies are really any of our business."

It's our business because they're trying to force that life--no brtn, no contraceptives, no education, no options--on the rest of the nation. I laugh bitterly when Palin says, "My daughter decided to keep the baby herself," because that exact choice that she touts as her daughter's decision to make, Palin is eager to deny every other woman in the country. I'm not eager to let Palin off the hook for her family's decisions because it is a perfect microcosm of how she wants the rest of the country to live: if abstinence is the only reproductive choice you're going to allow, then teen pregnancy is the result. That Palin, who is being held up as a shining exemplar of the right-wing lifestyle, has a daughter thus entrapped is a powerful indictment of everything she stands for.

If she is to be their standard-bearer, then so be it. Let us investigate the consequences of their convictions.

#339 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2008, 11:49 PM:

So, if her daughter had gotten pregnant very young, maybe as an unmarried teen, what actions of hers would have shielded her from accusations of hypocrisy or bad judgment here?

Ah, what we need here is a sympathetic letter from a trusted clergyman:


I feel myself called upon by our relationship, and my situation in life, to condole with you on the grievous affliction you are now suffering under, of which we were yesterday informed by a letter from Hertfordshire. Be assured, my dear Sir, that Mrs. Collins and myself sincerely sympathise with you, and all your respectable family, in your present distress, which must be of the bitterest kind, because proceeding from a cause which no time can remove. No arguments shall be wanting on my part that can alleviate so severe a misfortune; or that may comfort you, under a circumstance that must be of all others most afflicting to a parent's mind. The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this. And it is the more to be lamented, because there is reason to suppose, as my dear Charlotte informs me, that this licentiousness of behaviour in your daughter has proceeded from a faulty degree of indulgence, though at the same time, for the consolation of yourself and Mrs. Bennet, I am inclined to think that her own disposition must be naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an enormity at so early an age. Howsoever that may be, you are grievously to be pitied, in which opinion I am not only joined by Mrs. Collins, but likewise by Lady Catherine and her daughter, to whom I have related the affair. They agree with me in apprehending that this false step in one daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will connect themselves with such a family. And this consideration leads me moreover to reflect with augmented satisfaction on a certain event of last November, for had it been otherwise, I must have been involved in all your sorrow and disgrace. Let me advise you then, my dear Sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to throw off your unworthy child from your affection for ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offence.

I am, dear Sir, &c. &c.

#340 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:23 AM:

Oh, wow. Turns out that Palin was once a member of the secessionist Alaska Independence Party. Love the charging moose icon at the bottom of their platform.

#341 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:55 AM:

From the Platform of the Alaskan Independence Party:

7. To seek the complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska in conformance with Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the federal constitution. [Get Out.]

9. To preserve and protect the Alaska Permanent Fund, Permanent fund earnings, earnings reserve fund and individual Permanent Fund Dividends. [Send More Money.]

#342 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:57 AM:

Randolph @ #340 - The AIP operate at a certain level of nutbardom, but I have a lingering affection for them. Kinda like the people that argue that federal income tax is unconstitutional.

Your nutty uncle that does have some points, but the time for anything to be done about them is so far in the past, he's really just a grumbling malcontent.

And finally, not to defend La Sarah, but when you consider the overwhelming corruption that the Republican party of Alaska has had, taking refuge with the ideologically similar AIP makes sense. They've only recently changed their primary goal of forcing a vote so that Alaskans can determine our preferred relationship to the USA - state, commonwealth, or independent country.

#343 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:11 AM:

Serge@242: I visited Alaska a few years ago and picked up a copy of John McPhee's book about Alaska, Coming Into the Country. Part of the book is about the process of choosing a new state capital -- it had a certain dramatic irony from my viewpoint, since I knew it all eventually came to nothing. Reading it, I finally understood why most states don't have their capitals in their largest cities. Roughly speaking: The people of Anchorage wanted the capital to be Anchorage, but the whole rest of the state was dead-set against that; similarly, the people of Anchorage wouldn't hear of it being Fairbanks. No doubt similar things happened in other states.

Paula Lieberman@283: Tunnel in the Sky, actually. (You are conflating the title with Time for the Stars, I suspect.)

#344 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:17 AM:

Tania, #342: that was the sense of the AIP I got from their website. Don't want them in charge of a short walk, but looks like they're kinda fun.

#345 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:18 AM:

Jen, #268, you're right. Section 2 of the 25th Amendment. That makes sense, because otherwise everybody would move up to cabinet ranks they weren't qualified for. But the new President nominates the new VP and a majority of both Houses must confirm them before they become VP. I suppose it would be possible for a new President to have to keep nominating.

Tania, #282, that's a parody of "Mockingbird.

heresiarch, #338, the choice might have been giving it up for adoption, which is not against the pro-life creed.

#346 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:19 AM:

I just posted this in the other thread, but it really belongs here.

The McCain folks have gone officially insane. According to Johh Marshall, McCain has just hired Tucker Eskew, the guy who who ran George Bush's dirty tricks campaign against McCain in 2000, the guy who came up with the ugly comments about Bridget, McCain's adopted daughter. Eskew's job is going to be to "prep" Sarah Palin to be a good running mate, whatever that means.

I am starting to feel just a little sorry for Sarah Palin. But only a little, because after all, she's a grown up and she said Yes, when she could have said, No, I'm not prepared to do this.

Over at DailyKos the poll is split 50/50 as to whether she'll make it to the election. I believe she will, but frankly, I wouldn't want to bet one thin dime on it. This is getting very weird. I bet Brent Scrowcroft and Richard Lugar and the usual Republican fixers are walking around in circles muttering, with bottles of Scotch permanently attached to their hip pockets.

#347 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:21 AM:

Tania, #342, we already have commonwealths. I live in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We don't actually get to act differently from the states.

#348 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:32 AM:

Hee! Snort! Jamie Smith a local cartoonist, has created this gem y'all might find amusing.

Marilee - I always like Mockingbird. It was fun listening to the group sing the song, their "God Bless" had the perfect tone.

I know we have commonwealths, Massachusetts is also one. The sort of commonwealth status that is part of the older AIP mission is like Puerto Rico's or the Northern Mariana's.

The Alaskan Independence Party's goal is the vote we were entitled to in 1958, one choice from among the following four alternatives:
1. Remain a Territory.
2. Become a separate and Independent Nation.
3. Accept Commonwealth status.
4. Become a State.
#349 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:11 AM:

Marilee @ 345: "the choice might have been giving it up for adoption, which is not against the pro-life creed."

Oh, that's a much more sensible interpretation. I mean, the "Abortions for me and mine, but not for thee and thine" thread among the pro-life anti-women crowd is usually better hidden than that.

#350 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:14 AM:

George Smiley @341:

7. To seek the complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska in conformance with Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, of the federal constitution. [Get Out.]

9. To preserve and protect the Alaska Permanent Fund, Permanent fund earnings, earnings reserve fund and individual Permanent Fund Dividends. [Send More Money.]

No, I think you got something mixed up there. Looks like the Alaska Permanent Fund is financed by the profits from exploiting Alaskan natural resources.

#351 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:24 AM:

David Goldfarb #343 : For the same reason, some countries don't have their capitals in their largest cities, e.g. Canada, Brazil, Australia, Nigeria.

#352 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:31 AM:

"The AIP operate at a certain level of nutbardom, but I have a lingering affection for them. Kinda like the people that argue that federal income tax is unconstitutional."

Well, folks who simply want a vote on independence seem harmless enough, but tax-denier folks, who typically encourage their followers to stop paying taxes, do actual harm, both to the communities that aren't getting full taxpayer funding, and to the people whose lives are messed up because they think they don't have to pay taxes and then get hit with civil and criminal penalties.

(I don't want to drift too far off topic by going into detail, but I knew someone who did end up buying into the tax-denier movement and eventually went to jail. It's not that he was an idiot-- he's done some notable software projects, and is quite intelligent in a nmuber of ways. But for some reason, he was vulnerable to this particular form of foolishness.

I suspect a lot of us can be similarly vulnerable at various points in our lives to cults of various kinds, given the "right" context and scheme.)

#353 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:04 AM:

I think the American public is being deliberately distracted to focus on the candidate's personal life and family. It serves to distract voters from what's really important: Policy.

Judging by the way Major Palin ousted city officials on dubious grounds, would a President Palin act the same?

I honestly do not care about her kids specifically -- they do not exist independently of everything else. They would be living under the same President as the rest of America -- not to mention the world...

So Palin can fire a gun. Good. But can she negotiate? What, precisely, will she be doing as Vice President of the United States -- or President, if McCain dies?

#354 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:20 AM:

John #352:

Computer people often get really tangled up when trying to deal with legal reasoning, which seems like it should work in a much more similar way to literalist computer/math reasoning than it really does.

#355 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:33 AM:

Which movie would you rather see?

When you think about the rival tickets purely in the terms of double-act movie pitches - and that's surely what they are - Palin changes everything. Obama-Biden becomes "two lawyers go to Washington". McCain and Palin? "Cantankerous war hero returns from the dead to storm the White House with a gun-packing, moose-wrangling, salmon-trawling milf from Alasksa who keeps a dead bear in her office."

#356 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:44 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 343... I finally understood why most states don't have their capitals in their largest cities.

Why was Sacramento made the capital of California? My understanding is that Ottawa was made Canada's capital because they wanted something as far away from the border as they could get. Good thing they didn't choose Moose Factory.

#357 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:52 AM:

Elect a mandator of shotgun marriages?!

#358 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 09:55 AM:

heresiarch @ 338, that runs alongside the paragraph I took out of my comment.

I still disagree that it's a reason to pruriently pry into a teenage girl's life, or to judge an individual's reproductive choices. It's just in tremendously bad taste to make an individual 17-year-old into a political symbol because her mother is running for VP. Sarah and Bristol Palin's pregnancies are still none of our business. How they tell me to run my hypothetical future pregnancy is my business, and I'll happily tell Sarah Palin she is full of it on that subject. But how they run their own is not.

Do only pro-choice women get to exercise reproductive choice without others making judgments? If so, what does that say about how pro-choice we really are? Again, I say: You get to knock her for the choices she would force on others. You don't get to knock her for the choice she has made for herself. And her daughter falls under that rubric. Her daughter is not a public figure and her life is not fodder for politics. I am quite willing to believe that her daughter did make her own choice, and it's not my business to second-guess someone I've never even met on a matter as intensely personal as this.

It just strikes me as pretty rude. Frankly I think albatross's quote @ 339 nails it.

#359 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:20 AM:

Serge #356 : The other reason for choosing Ottawa was that it wasn't a major settlement of either English- or French-speaking Canada and is, in fact (with Gatineau across the river) on the border between the two, and as a bonus is more or less equidistant from Toronto and Quebec City, thus ensuring that neither side could complain that the choice favoured the other. Similar considerations determined the choices of Brasilia and Canberra.

#360 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:27 AM:

I don't think it has anything to do with Gov. Palin or her daughter or anybody else in her clan now. What it has to do with is McCain and the story of how he arrived at Palin.

The narrative is emerging that he had been planning for the last three weeks to pick Lieberman, then a week ago his campaign advisers had a knock-down, drag-out screaming match about the fact that if McCain picked Lieberman there would be a walk out at the convention.

So McCain caved.

Some "maverick".

And then so McCain's weak-kneed collapse launched us and the Palin family into this mess.

As always, it's about judgment.

First we have McCain with this crackpot idea to pick Lieberman. Then we have his right-wing screaming at him. Then we have McCain caving in... and then we get to this mess.

If McCain hadn't been wedded to Lieberman, if he hadn't caved in at the the last minute to his right-wing, if he'd really wanted Gov. Palin from the beginning, she would have been properly vetted and the quirks in her story -- a pregnant teenaged daughter for example, which would have come out no matter what, pregnancies always do -- would have been leaked to the press, everything would have settled down to nothing by the time the announcement was made and none of this sordid frenzy would have happened.

Judgment. Nice one, "Maverick".

#361 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:31 AM:

John Stanning @ 359... Thanks for the clarification. By the way, when de Lint's Moonheart was published in the mid-1980s, I got a kick out of the story being set in Ottawa because one seldom thinks of it as a place where fantasy could happen. In spite of the black squirrels.

#362 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:35 AM:

one seldom thinks of it as a place where fantasy could happen. Yes, that sums up Ottawa exactly.

#363 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:06 AM:

ABC News reported last night that McCain's election staff was sending a dozen or so members to Alaska this week to pore through old documents, news clippings, etc, on Palin so there wouldn't be any more surprises from her past.

Even George Stephanopolis was shaking his head over that, basically saying "didn't they do all that BEFORE McCain chose her for VP"?

Apparently not; now McCain's office is claiming the FBI vetted her before he made his selection, but the FBI is saying "uhhh, no we didn't".

I think I see a trainwreck approaching...

#364 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:06 AM:

Joel Polowin #310: It's ugly -- both in what it is and how it's being done. Of course, the first time there was a major-party female VP candidate, similarly demeaning bumper stickers were all too fashionable: "Mondale/Ferraro: Vote for Wally and the Beav" At least that one had the virtue of a degree of clever, however nasty.

#365 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:41 AM:

Raphael @350:
"No, I think you got something mixed up there. Looks like the Alaska Permanent Fund is financed by the profits from exploiting Alaskan natural resources."

Yes. Alaskan natural resources which reside overwhlmingly on federal public lands-- which lands the AIP would "repatriate" to the people and state of Alaska.

#366 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:46 AM:

John L @363: "ABC News reported last night that McCain's election staff was sending a dozen or so members to Alaska this week to pore through old documents, news clippings, etc, on Palin so there wouldn't be any more surprises from her past."

Where you wrote "pore through", I'm pretty sure you meant to type, "shred."

#367 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Re Vice Presidents: The Pres doesn't have to appoint one. T. Roosevelt didn't.

The Majority leader acts as Pro-tempore in the Senate, and the Speaker of the House moves to the White House if the President dies.

Foreign funerals go unattended.

Caroline: The only way in which I see Bristol's pregnancy being relevant is where it shows the personal hypocrisy of the candidate.

According to Palin, her daughter ought not have the option to make a choice. That's politics, and relevant politics, because she is praising her daughter's choice in a way which implies the act of choosing was legitimate.

It's one of the painful grey areas Palin is using to bootstrap her way to appearing to be a reasonable candidate for the job.

How that dichotomy is addressed matters, but I don't like her being able to use her daughter as a free pass to make anti-choice digs, in the guise of supporting her daughter's choice.

#368 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:59 AM:

The smearing's going on--Republican appartchiks favored of the media cartels claiming "liberal" or "left wing" blogs' smeared Palin rumormongering that Palin might be trying to pass off a grandchild as her child, and that Palin's implied honorable response was to reveal that her daughter was pregnant currently out of wedlock... the spin is quite impressive, posing this as a Noble Morally Correct situation, hauving a daughter with a DOUBLE failure of responsibility --

1) the daughter obviously failing the Chastity Screed Family Values of her loudmouth crusading religiosity mother demanding abstinence, and
2) failing to use effective pregnancy prevention measures, engaging in sexual activity,

#1 proves that Mrs Palin can't even persuade her OWN Pwecious Familee members to comply with what she wants legally mandated on the entire USA regardless of creed and religion and to HER religion's beliefs--it shows that the mother's values did not manifest as values which she succeeded in persuading her children to uphold and comply with.

#2 shows that the family values placed the apparent public appearance of Virginity over pragmatic use of effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. It's the screed of "condoms and other forms of birth control are EVIL!!! because they encourage people to Have Sex for any reason except reproduction within Holy Matrimony!"

It's the hypcrisy and viciousness of engendering and birthing babies without a thought for the well-being and raising of the child, as opposed to the immediate pleasures/pressures of engaging in Unsafe Sex.

One of the possible contributors to crime rate drops, was the drop in unplanned/unwanted pregnancies carried fullterm (both a drop from the use of effective birth control, and a drop from termination of emotionally threatening pregnancies) back in the mid-1970s and in the 1980s, resulting in a much smaller percentage of the population growing up as unwanted/ignored/abused children growing up socially dysfunctional.

On second thought, it's a quadruple failure--

Failure #3 is a failure to be concerned for the well-being of the potential child. Shotgun marriages have LOUSY records as regards emotional and physical health of everyone in a shotgun-wedded family, lousy records for economic stability and well-being, lousy records for earning ability and educational attainment, lousy records for longitudinal health and longevity and happiness of the offspring and THEIR relationships, and lousy SOCIAL consequences... which leads to failure #4:

#4 -- it's socially irresponsible, dumping Personal Problems onto the rest of the society to be stuck with paying the bills for.

Bottom line--Momma did a lousy job of leadership in her family--there's Momma, Governor of Alaska, demanding national compliance to Abstinence!!! --and she can't even exercise competent enough leadership for her own daughter to avoid public embarrassment of not following Momma's dictates...

#369 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Let's just see if Palin lasts as long as Eagleton did.

#370 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:18 PM:

James, I don't see how Palin withdraws without it being disastrous for the McCain campaign. Unless he replaces her with Huckabee, or maybe Bobby Jindal, the right wing base will have a fit. But if he wanted Huckabee -- and we know he didn't -- he could have picked him from the beginning, and will Huckabee want to be picked as a replacement for Sarah Palin? If he goes with Pawlenty or Romney or God help us, Giuliani, they all look like fools, and confidence in McCain's decision-making ability drops even lower than it already has.

One wonders: is he trying to lose?

#371 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:19 PM:

#338 ::: heresiarch

Re HuffPo, it looks at least as though Levi Johnson, baby daddy, is being forced into marriage. His MySpace page says he doesn't want kids.

Poor Bristol. This is what her mom's ambition has done to her. The story of this pregnancy, and perhaps a previous one, is playing in the major media today, even the NY Times, which is so slanted gop, for so long, in its political coverage.

Love, C.

#372 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:28 PM:

Reading some of the comments about Palin and her daughter in Christianity Today is an interesting experience. You can see the whole range of reactions, from both non-Christians and Christians, from the love-based side and the hate-based.

I noticed this one in particular: "Some people define themselves by what they love, and others define themselves by what they love to hate."

#373 ::: Janet ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Terry at 367: The 25th amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1967, now does require the President to nominate a replacement Vice President (to be confirmed by the Senate). Lyndon Johnson was the last president to serve without a VP.

#374 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Meanwhile, messages are critical.

The messages that needs the mindshare:

1) Mrs Palin lacks any reasonable qualifications of relevant experience and wisdom and impartiality for the position of Vice President of the United States of America. Less than two years governing a state that has a built-in surplus (as opposed to the financial squeezes that 95% of the states are in--Alaska gets all that oil industry income...) and a small population, and doesn't have decades of deferred maintenance on century old pipes and old roads and infrastructure.... is far from training to deal with the issues of a country of 300 million people with highly inhomogenous religions, national origins, climates, state boundary issues, international relations with countries in hot climates, the FBI and CIA, etc.

2. Mrs Palin got picked for her appeal to a very narrow MINORITY of the populace of the United States of America. I find her religiosity anathema. I object to her mandating her religion's morality on me, I do not subscribe to her religion, I do not practice her religion, and my religious background demands that I NOT do so, actually... I object to her demands I be subjected to HER religion.

Shooting moose in Alaska is one thing; shooting at a moose in Boston is quite another, and the twice a decade or so moose hunt in Boston, involved a large group of wildlife officials and law enforcement personnel, spreading out through wet usually swampy parts of Boston, looking for the moose to shoot it with a sleep dart and remove it before it becomes an actual as opposite to potential public menace.

3. Mrs Palin' lifestyle is representative of a tiny minority of people in the USA only--the number of moose hunters is low, and the percentage of female moose hunters in the USA is miniscule. There are a lot more members of PETA... and PETA tends to be the whacko extremist end of people with animal well-being concern.

Most of the US population is urban or suburban or that quaint term NECTA which is a New England characteristic of densely populated areas which are small cities and large towns, of dense population. There is a deer overpopulation problem in the region in part because there isn;t enough free-of-people-space where deer hunting's allowed, to shoot deer and thin out the deer overpopulation without the problem of hitting people or pets or farm animals while trying to shoot a deer!

#4) Picking Mrs Palin spites the majority of women in the USA, actually--she was picked to appeal to a) anti-cosmopolitan bigots, to put it bluntly, b) people whose anger at Democrats who failed to promote Hillary Clinton has blinded them to anything besides the fact that Sens Obama and Biden were born with dangly bits and not vaginas, c) the media cartel mouthpieces sure of the mandate handed them by the oligarchs to promote the oligarchy and its Republican catspaws.

Regarding the "appeal" of Mrs Palin because she has a vagina and ovaries rather than a penis and testicles, the term my mother used was, "cutting off your nose to spite your face."

#5 Picking Mrs Palin was not in the best interests of the People of the United States of America.

#6 The judgment of those who picked Mrs Palin is flawed, incompetent, bigoted, biased, and violating of the spirits of all of the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. It denies liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion, etc., to and and all Americans whose lifestyles fail to comply with Mrs Palin's religiosity.

#7 The choosers of Mrs Palin disrespect the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the People of the United States of America whose race/creed/color/national/origin/gender/etc. do not comply with the choosers' values of what the USA should look like and be.

#375 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 12:51 PM:

#367 Terry Karney: Re Vice Presidents: The Pres doesn't have to appoint one. T. Roosevelt didn't.

I don't think there was a mechanism in place back then. The office remained vacant. The 25th Amendment, which sets up the current succession mechanism, only dates from 1967.

#376 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 01:44 PM:

Ethics, morals, and judgment:

1. Sen McCain et al apparently saw little to nothing objectionable about making an unwed pregnant 17 year old the object of national scrutiny.

2. Sen McCain picked a hypocrite with no apparent legislative experience whose political experience consists of local PTA partcipation and of being the elected head of a low population Alaskan jurisdiction, and under 24 months as governor of a low population state, as running mate. The bases for choice appear to have included a litmus test of anti-birth control and and anti-abortion campaigning, being a recreational hunter, being married with biological children, being female, and being from west of the Mississippi in a non-urban-non-suburban place. She isn't what she she advertises herself as... she isn't from a state where the infrastructure's crumbling from deferred maintenance and lack of revenue to replace the bridges and roads because the tax income not enough to cover the costs. She isn't on the lower two-thirds of the population as as regards family income and assets. She isn';t dependent on supermarkets which have been raising prices, for all her food (most US citizens don't have the wherewithal and access and tools and training to get fresh moosemeat that they shoot themselves.)

3. Mrs Palin in family leadership, the abstinence she demands be imposed nationally, she couldn't even make stick in her own American Nuclear Family.

4. Mrs Palin seems to be imposing a shotgun marriage on her daughter the and minor who allegedly impregnated her daughter--that is a moral thing to do?!

5. Mrs Palin has questionable ethics, using her power as Governor to fire the head of the state police on the basis of refusing to arbitrarily fire her ex-brother-in-law rather than go forward with the specified review process ordinarily used to determine if there were due cause to fire someone and firing them if and only if there were legal due cause. Mrs Palin also has previously fired people on the arbitrary and capricious bases which had nothing to do with actual job performance, but everything to do with her own personal perspective. Mrs Palin claims she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere--but that only happened after it became politically expedient to oppose it, before that she supported defrauding the US taxpayers with the project.


It's about ethics and morals and values and judgment, it's about hypocrisy, lying, weaseling, ambition, and treating one's children as political pawns. McCain and Palin, they're both vile and despicable.

#377 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:12 PM:

And so it turns out that the nation's political paper of record, the National Enquirer, was on the case and says that it was about to run The Story and that's why the McCain campaign contacted Reuters to release The News.

I have to admit... The Spray Lady, bless her splash and burn heart, is starting to remind me of those crusading rags that drove much of the political discourse in the early days of our nation.

For better or worse.

#378 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:22 PM:

Palin's librarian-firing may have involved refusal to ban books:,8599,1837918,00.html

#379 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 02:43 PM:

Paula, I've killed at least two and maybe more responses to this thread, in large part because what with all the anger being slung around here, and all the malice directed at Palin, I didn't want the emotional investment. But when you say that she was picked to appeal to "anti-cosmopolitan bigots", you've really put your foot in it. You nestled that slap in the middle of a great deal of belittling, so that many a reasonable person who came along and read it might have cause to wonder about your own provincialism. I have my own concerns about the slightness of her (political) stature, but the way you put it is distressingly condescending.

And as far as your comments about her family: I hope you have better luck with your children, then.

#380 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:00 PM:

Mr. Wingate, let me say that as a member of the stump farmer, meat hunter, backwoods bozo social class, I find the choice of Sarah Palin as a potential Vice President and the defenses presented by the RNC for her familial chaos much more insulting on that vector than I do on the vector of my equally strong self-identification as a feminist.

Yes, it is occassionally the case that my neighbors fall into bad luck with their children. Having known and observed them over the long run I can see where decisions they've made make that bad luck more probable. Those decissions do not fill me with confidence in their competence to make critical decissions for society at large. And I have had "better luck" with my own college age offspring, thank you very much. I put my whole energy over the past 22+ years into making the best decissions I could, given my own limitations.

I suspect Gov. Palin mostly of being intellectually lazy and selfishly ambitious, since those are the qualities I have observed most often in the parents who have ended up surprised by the self-destructive behavior of their teenagers.

#381 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:22 PM:

As someone else pointed out, the choice Bristol gets to make isn't between birth/abortion, it's between keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption. So Palin would be perfectly happy for any woman in America to enjoy that same freedom of "choice".

And, ruling out a literal shotgun marriage, how would they be "forcing" the guy to marry her? (Ok, knowing the wee bit I do about Palin, maybe I shouldn't rule out the literal interpretation, but I'll give them the benefit of doubt.) The kids involved are making their own dumb decisions, or not.

But I'm not anti young marriage, or anti young mom. So I just can't get that worked up about it. I feel bad for her, if the guy really doesn't want the baby, and I'm sorry they didn't use reliable contraception, but I'm not going to say she's a bad person, or that there was anything her mom could have done to stop her. (Because there wasn't. Seriously. What was she gonna do, keep her daughter in a closet for 18 years? If you're a teen who wants to have sex, you do.)

Theoretically, I'm with Obama on the "family's off limits" bit. On the other hand, I find it difficult to resist the dirt I do run across. On the other other hand, hey, people aren't talking about Palin's inexperience now, are they? McCain wins another news cycle!

#382 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Re: Flying while pregnant--I flew on business through both of my pregnancies, up until week 37--including a trip from the Midwest to Vancouver in week 37 of the first pregnancy. Not *quite* Alaska, but close.

It was uncomfortable and inconvenient, but my doctor assured me it wasn't dangerous in the least.

Risk-assessment and decision-making is a complicated thing.

#383 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:33 PM:

Coming late to the party:

Michael, #303: When you are preggers, your Delicate Condition is surely going to come out one way or another.

But she is five months pregnant, and there are only two months until the election. While I think that it's increasingly likely that the GOP party apparatus just didn't know, they may very well just have been foolishly optimistic.

#384 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Is Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter's extramarital pregnancy a legitimate topic for a political scandal? Does it raise serious questions about Palin's leadership and judgement?

How about Bill Clinton's multiple affairs and bimbo eruptions? Were those also a legitimate topic for political scandal? Did those raise serious questions about Clinton's leadership and judgement?

What's the relationship between these two? (Would anyone even be raising the issue about the extramarital pregnancy of a daughter of a male politician?)

#385 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Deux poids, deux mesures.
(Two weights, two measurements.)

#386 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:46 PM:

albatross, Bristol Palin's pregnancy is more relevant to her mother's political aspirations than Bill Clinton's bimbo eruptions were to his only because of Sarah Palin's support for abstinence-only education and opposition to abortion. At least, that's the way I see it, and I wish that were the main focus of the public discussion.

Bill Clinton wasn't promoting laws and national policies trying to keep people from having affairs.

#387 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Warning: this post contains random geekage mostly unrelated to the rest of this discussion.

ethan @230: What exactly does [exorcism equipment] consist of in the case of a devolping?

Actually, that's a good question; I wasn't sure offhand at the time, but the pertinent books in my stash indicate several different exorcism methods, depending on the circumstances-- and these are just for Japanese fox-spirits; fox-spirits from elsewhere may require completely different protocols (e.g., the genital-shrinking fox spirits in Southeast China can be exorcized by applying an ointment made of seal penis and sundry deer parts).

In Japan, sometimes the fox-spirit is independently pursuing its own agenda, and sometimes it's obeying a human master. If the former, first you find out what it wants-- if it has a specific desire for something (a tasty snack of fried bean curd[*] or sweet red beans? dedication of a small Shinto shrine?), you promise to give it what it wants; if it's revenge (for anything from an interrupted nap to a murdered mate or cub), then you apologize a lot and try to make amends, often via the usual list of desires.

[*: which is why fried bean curd stuffed with rice is called "inari-zushi"; Inari is the Japanese harvest deity strongly associated with foxes[**], and -zushi is just the lenited form of sushi.]

[**: the most popular conception of Inari is that (s)he *is* a fox, although some purists insist that this is a misconception similar to saying that the Christian Holy Spirit *is* a dove, and that foxes are simply Inari's companions and messengers.]

If the Japanese fox-spirit is obeying a human master, then you can try to bribe it away from its duty (again, often with the usual snacks or votive offerings). But if that doesn't work, then it's not clear to me whether you can dislodge the fox-spirit by cajoling or threatening its master(s), esp. in the cases where those are entire families of hereditary fox-sorcerers established in the village; it seems the only thing you can do is avoid those families in the first place. (Carmen Blacker usefully identifies those as having been founded by nouveau riche merchants/landlords several centuries ago.) However, some enterprising fox-sorcerers are said to make a living by acting like virtuous exorcists when in fact they'd covertly sent their associated fox-spirit in beforehand and then just call it back out once they're paid.

So back to the topic of in-flight devolping, I suppose one could attempt to bring proactive supplies of fried bean-curd, but even a smallish kamidana (household shrine) would fill up most of a piece of carry-on luggage; furthermore, TSA might decide to categorize sweet red beans as a liquid or gel and definitely wouldn't be keen on letting you bring more than three ounces of sacramental sake, or something to light the incense or candles.

#388 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:50 PM:

Cat @381:
the choice Bristol gets to make isn't between birth/abortion, it's between keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption

I'm not sure. It's not consistent with the text of the announcement: "We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby".

Surely that would have been keep her baby, were the alternative adoption?

#389 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:53 PM:

I absolutely agree with Obama's response, and believe that Sarah Palin's daughter should be left alone.

However, that doesn't get Sarah Palin off the hook.

If you are a politician who supports abstinence-only education, and you have a teen pregnancy in your own family, and this doesn't make you reconsider the efficacy of this as a strategy, I have a serious problem with your judgment.

Second, while I respect the right of Bristol Palin to make her own decision about this child, I find it tremendously difficult to believe that she is making the decision that is best for herself, given what is at stake. However, not being privy to her family, we have no way of knowing the basis for Bristol's decision, and it may truly be her own. Of course, if it changes after November 4th, that may be revealing.

Cat Meadors, #381: I think 'forced,' in this case, may mean simply saying, "Don't you love her? Don't you want be a man? Do you really want it to be national news that you didn't step up to your responsibilities?" You're right, no one is holding a shotgun to his head, but it's hardly what I would describe as a free decision.

#390 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 03:53 PM:

McCain Manager: 'This Election is Not About Issues'

Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain's presidential bid, insisted that the presidential race will be decided more over personalities than issues during an interview with Post editors this morning.

"This election is not about issues," said Davis. "This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates."

Mr. Davis?

Can I call you Rick?

Rick, you're a f*cktard. You are what is wrong with politics in this country. You are why a incompetent dry-drunk fratboy got elected (sort of) in 2000 and re(?)elected in 2004.

I am deeply ashamed to live in a country where this sort of thing works, but in the spirit of patriotism I would hope you would use your marketing prowess in less harmful ways.

#391 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:09 PM:

#379 C. Wingate

1) I emphatically do not regard all Christians as bigots.
2) There have to be lots of Christians who find Mrs Palin at least as repulsive a candidate for Vice President as I do, particularly because her attitudes and actions besmirch the public perceptions of Christians who believe in tolerance, with her intolerance, hypcrisy, lack of credentials compared to e.g. Condelisa Rice or Olympia Snow etc., and ambitions.
3) I have never reproduced and it being highly improbable of that changing, any slurs or comments slung my way about me bearing and raising children, come close to being delusional. I deliberately did not have children. I felt I lacked all of emotional, social, and financial support/resources commensurate for responsible parenthood, that single parenthood would have been highly irresponsible on my part, and that it would be completely unfair to and not in the best interests of a child, for me to get pregnant and bear a child. I did not have the resources for what I considered, again, for appropriate, nurturing, attentive child-rearing.... Had I been independently wealthy and able to afford a high-priced-due-to-high-quality full-time trained child-minder, perhaps I would have reproduced. But since I did't, and I did't have a partner to be a nurturer for children, etc., I didn't.

And since I was so considerate as to not dump children onto society from a chaotic and inadequate home environment, I don't have much of a charitable view towards the likes of Mrs Palin, who bleats Model Family Values lines but whose actual family life contradicts her words.

Her family doesn't practice what Mrs Palin preaches.
The same fingerpointing done with Phyllis Shlaffley and Elaine Donnelly and Beverly LaHaye applies to Mrs Palin--stop telling/demanding that other people comply with rules you and your immediate family aren't living by. Either shut up and get out of politics, or change your words and actions to ones which match how you actually live--and allow others the grace to make our OWN choices and live by our codes, not the one you demand everyone but you and your exempt-from-the-rules families and associates live by.

#392 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:35 PM:

Yes, I consider Gov Palin vile and despicable, flaunting the Family Card in my face and using every the hot buttons thathave been torch-points for me from before the age of ten.

By my metrics she's an anti-feminist Queen Bee, out for herself and kicking other women in the face to achieve her goals, a icon of spite and bigotry and intolerance.

I see her as symbol of all sorts of things I've found loathsome for nearly my entire life--self-promotion based on the credential of Motherhood in areas that Motherhood is mostly irrelevant to *, someone who goes out "sporting" by the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel and claiming that as "fishing," someone who regards others' religions and moral codes as reuiring superceding and replacement with her religion and its prescripts, someone who abuses power to throw other people out of jobs because they may have preferred a different candidate to her or because they refused to throw people her relatives had grudged against out of work**... she's a token female, too, on the ticket, chosen not for achievement in fixing hard problems (Sen Stevens remains in office, Alaska doesn;t have the budgetary crises the rest of the stats in the country has, etc.) and experience, but as a token....

My sister called me up a few days ago and said, "The Republicans picked a bimbo! I said, "Don't call her a bimbo."

Note that I have NOT called her a bimbo--a Queen Bee, a bigot... but not a bimbo. She had the ability to get elected and get noticed... I have negative appreciation for her judgment and much of her value systems... but she's not a bimbo. She's icon of quite a number of things I find loathsome, despicable, threatening, and LITERALLY have been physically beaten up for for failing to comply with, and received larges heapings of verbal abuse for over much longer period of time.

I want a woman in the White House or as Vice President, who earned the position in achievement in making the world a better place, as opposed to restricting the lives of other people, nd getting picked to appeal to a segment of the population who block opportunity based on gender and creed and allow others to neither make their own decisions about morality, ethics, and values, not to live according to their own values.

#393 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:40 PM:

What her mother could have done is teach her kid something beyond abstinence. Whether you approve of sex without marriage or not, kids NEED sex education, and access to contraception.

This is yet another daughter who behaved as young girls in these situation so often do: have sex while pretending that they are not having sex. So thus there is no abstinence, just as there is no contraception. There is simply no other way that is as surefire of getting pregnant than that.

Ask anyone who works with kids this age.

Love, C.

#394 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:48 PM:


Constance, has there been any report that Palin's daughter didn't use contraception? She may have used it and had it fail. Or she may have, indeed, just been wishin' and hopin' not to get pregnant.

I don't know. And while I agree with you entirely about the horrors of abstinence only education, until I do know (and frankly, I hope I never know, because it sure as hell isn't my business how she got pregnant), I'm disinclined to lay blame.

#395 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:55 PM:

It doesn't seem anybody is attacking Bristol Palin personally. It's her mother, the 'cain, the xtian righwing that vetted and chose her, the RNC, etc., that people are attacking. And they area attacking them partly on behalf of what THEIR personal desires and actions have done to Bristol and her personal life.

Then there's the boy who assisted Bristol's pregnancy .... What if he really doesn't want to be married and have kids at age 17, and be trapped in the family run by the VPOTUS?

What is the rate of divorce and domestic violence in Alaska again?

Love, C.

#396 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 04:55 PM:

I've read enough stuff about Palin today to utterly disqualify her in my mind from higher office that has nothing to do with Bristol.

Banning books? Husband a member of a secessionist party? Racked up big debt in the town she mayored? Religous zealotry? Thinks the Iraq war is a divine mission.

No. No thank you.

#397 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:06 PM:

Geraldine Ferraro had years of experience as a federal legislator. Gov Palin has no federal legislative experience.


"...The Washington Post revealed that Palin once ran a 527 group for Republican Senator Ted Stevens designed to raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. ... Palin served as a director of Stevens’ 527 from 2003 and 2005...Both McCain and Palin have opposed funding sexual education programs in schools. In 2006, McCain voted against a Senate Democratic proposal [for] $100 million [for] teen-pregnancy prevention programs that would have included sex education about contraceptives."

#398 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:09 PM:

albatross, #384: My incredibly cynical answer is as follows: for myself, and for anyone on my side, no -- this is not a legitimate topic. But the Republicans have made this kind of topic their business for the last 20 years or more (not just Bill Clinton either, but Chelsea, and McCain's adopted child, and the various Kennedy peccadillos, and who-knows-what-all-else that I don't recall right at the moment), so why should this particular one be any different?

The only people we can control about this are ourselves. We should not add to the foofaraw; let it come, as it will certainly come whether we want it to or not, entirely from their own people.

Would anyone even be raising the issue about the extramarital pregnancy of a daughter of a male politician?

Of a male candidate for any major political office? You'd better believe they would... especially if he was a Democrat.

debcha, #389: Yes -- not physical force, but verbal coercion and emotional blackmail. And it only works because he is basically a nice guy; he could go off to college somewhere in the Lower 48 and disappear if he wanted to, and in a couple of years no one would remember or care, and he'd have his life back to make a fresh start.

#399 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:14 PM:

Palin's daughter's boyfriend had a MySpace page (now taken down) where he described himself as a "f*cking redneck" and did not want children. Photos of both him and Palin's daughter (she also had a MySpace page) showed both of them with plenty of partially empty alcohol bottles. He's a senior in her class and a hockey player with apparently a history of partying and drinking.

No idea if he thinks this marriage is a great idea or not, though.

#400 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:15 PM:

Further to my point about how we are not judging Bristol's situation, but we are judging her mother's policies, there's an excellent article in Slate today that gathers the stats on teen pregnancy:

We are hearing a good deal of talk about how we must not be judgmental about young Palin's choice. But that shouldn't preclude us from talking about what the world might look like when the only choice teenage girls have is to bear and beget a child. The prospects of a 17-year-old mother in America are not too "private" to warrant scrutiny, especially when John McCain and Sarah Palin would fight for a world in which there are more of them.

#401 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:20 PM:

Cat 381: But I'm not anti young marriage, or anti young mom.

I am. I think the idea that a 17-year-old could be capable of making a responsible decision to marry is absurd, if one takes the commitment at all seriously. Adolescents just don't have the ability to make judgements at the level required.

Still less do they have the ability to be parents. I think legal guardianship of a child should never be held by anyone under 18, even if they're the parent of that child. I'd like to make the minimum age older than that, but 18 is the age of majority in this country, and it would be discriminatory to set it higher.

#402 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:31 PM:

John Stanning, 351,
David Goldfarb #343,

For the same reason, some countries don't have their capitals in their largest cities, e.g. Canada, Brazil, Australia, Nigeria.

The tale goes as follows in Nebraska:
And how did the Nebraska capitol end up in Lincoln? It is similar to the story of how Oklahoma's capitol moved from Guthrie to Oklahoma City.

According to Nebraska legend, Thomas Kennard, secretary of state, took his buggy to Omaha on a Sunday in 1868. He went into the capitol, stole the state seal and successfully returned to Lincoln with it.

On Monday, he appeared before the governor, who put the seal's impression upon the proclamation declaring Lincoln to be the state capitol. The proclamation became effective immediately.

#403 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:37 PM:

The assertion that McCain et al knew about the daughter's pregnancy all along (or that the elder Palins knew) falls apart on the face of it. If they'd known even a week ago, Palin & family could have made a dignified announcement back in Alaska that would have excited some local commentary (and put scotch to the rumors about Trig's parentage) and maybe a small item in the national papers.

THEN, when the VPship became public knowledge it would have been more human interest, and spun plainly to McCain's and Palin's advantage -- "Look, he's not judging her on this basis, how noble of him" and "Look, she's known real hardship and family travails" (much like the Down's syndrome baby).

Instead, you've had this parade of embarrassing revelations which VERY MUCH calls into question McCain's judgment on this and much other policy, and should rightly make Palin very embarrassed.

#404 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:37 PM:

According to a diary on DailyKos, McCain has canceled an interview scheduled for this evening with CNN, because a CNN reporter last night (in a now widely viewed video) kept asking Tucker Bounds, a McCain campaign spokesman, questions about Palin's foreign policy experience which made it clear that Sarah Palin has no, zero, zip, zed, no foreign policy experience of any kind. McCain's stated reason is that CNN's behavior last night was "out of bounds."

The Republicans are not used to having the press treat them with anything except deference; adulation, even. McCain does not want to be asked the same questions, because clearly, he has no other answers.

#405 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:39 PM:

Eye on the prize.... what about the judgment of those who picked Gov Palin as candidate for VP?!

Palin worked for Sen Ted Stevens' campaigns, he of the long-time reputation for corruption who is finally being formally investigated for it.

Palin's qualifications for VPOTUS seem to consist, again, of appeal to some very narrow and tunnel-visioned groups--those disaffected by snubs to Sen Clinton (and I keep wondering....there are people who detest the Clintons, and are rabid about it--David Weber apparently has a gratutitous slur in one of his books. The anti-Clinton forces would never vote for Clinton, and I suspect they outnumber the number of people who left without media fanning of "Sen Clinton's loss was misogyny and conspiracy!" flames, would be supporting, however reluctantly, Sen Obama rather than being on the "I'm gonna or am thinking of voting for McCain in protest!" bandwagon--a bandwagon that Gov Palin apparently got put on the front seat of, to increase the momentum.

Hmm, what's that line from Dune about politics and religion on the same vehicle?!

However, the conglomerate media is promoting anti-Obama pro-McCain support.

The selection of Palin has the media somewhat puzzled, but promoting her none the less.

Going for those responsible for her selection, as more of the same sort of bad judgment and lack of wisdom and willful blindness and arrogance that sent US troops to Iraq, failed to properly evacuate New Orleans, promoted extreme corruption and incompetence rebuilding New Orleans, has had corruption scandal after corruption scandal after corruption scandal in the Cabinet and the Executive Branch of the US Government generally the past 7 2/3 years, and discrediting the Republican Party as regards competence, honesty, concern for the American people, as regards fairness, as regards equal access to opporturnity... seems to be to be bottom line issues and necessarity.

These is a group which one can't trust, other than its recent history of covering up fraud, abrogating the Constitution and Bill of Rights, promoting torture, incarcerating innocents while succoring murders from James Bulger (Bush doing one of his i/m/p/e/r/i/a/l d/e/c/r/e/e/s Presidential Orders blocking Congressional investigation into FBI files about Bulger, eary-on in his r/e/i/g/n regime) to whomever was was the top of the Abu Ghraib abuses to foreign heads of state who colluded about the secret prisons where alleged enemy combatants were whisked away to, exposing covert CIA operations for pure policital vindictiveness in contravention of US laws and with that being a capital crime, gagordering federal scientists, rewriting studies aand "massaging" data to match political views....

They are dishonest.
They have and are lying to the US public.
Fraud, deceit, and corruption are endemic.
Abramoff, that ex-Congressman from California, Cabinet members, Mike Brown, Alberto Gonzales, political litmus tests for appointments including requirements to be anti-abortion for judgships, cutting off of funds to any healthcare program with the temerity to not outright ban abortions, terminating collection of data regarding salaries and promotion rates of women in the workforce, turning DACOWITS in a military dependents watching board (yes, it's not unresonable to have one, but NOT by dumping tracking of the status of women IN the military!), funding evangelizing with federal funds, sectarianizing the military academies and promoting Christianity and pushing non-Christian military cadets, dumping generals with the temerity to give honest military assessments and replacing them with brownnosing bootlicking bigots...

#406 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:41 PM:

Paula, either you've got me confused with someone else, or you're reading stuff in what I wrote that simply isn't there. I do think there is a class issue in Palin's particular brand of Christianity, but as I hadn't mentioned it until now, I don't see why you should be commenting on it.

I cannot fault you for your personal decisions, but it also seems to me that four thousand years of human storytelling should have taught us by now that people as a group aren't very good in managing these things. Virtues do not lose virtue in proportion to our failure to practice them, after all.

Phyllis Schlafly always came off as something of a prig to me, but right now, it seems to me that you're sounding too much like her. I agree that she comes across as underqualified, but you (and many others) protest way too much. The vituperation and condescension and ridicule directed at her are bound to create sympathy for her, especially to the degree that she appears to be being attacked for not fitting in the mold of the Proper Liberal Female.

#407 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:49 PM:

Xopher, #402: Yes and no. The age at which one is capable of making adult-level decisions is driven almost entirely by the customs of the culture in which one lives. As recently as 70 years ago, it wasn't uncommon for 17-year-old boys to be earning their living, or for 17-year-old girls to be married and having their first child.* In large parts of the world even today, matters are similar. In current American culture, most 17-year-olds are little more mature than children, but it doesn't have to be that way. And even in our culture, there are exceptions.

* What you didn't see much of was those 17-year-olds marrying each other. The meme was that a man shouldn't marry until he had a good enough income to support a wife and children, and the average age difference between husbands and wives was 7-10 years.

#408 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:50 PM:

Wingate @ 407... Just shove it up your you-know-what.

#409 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 05:55 PM:

#400 John L

Palin's daughter's boyfriend had a MySpace page (now taken down) where he described himself as a "f*cking redneck" and did not want children. Photos of both him and Palin's daughter (she also had a MySpace page) showed both of them with plenty of partially empty alcohol bottles. He's a senior in her class and a hockey player with apparently a history of partying and drinking.

Oh, wow, and more "Gov and Mr Palin are not model parents!" data

a) Why have Gov and Mr Palin not monitored their minor daughter's use of the Internet, that she appears with booze bottles pictured with her?
b) What's this about minors drinking, or are Gov & Mr Palin proponents of responsible drinking and introducing children to drinking wine and beer in limited quantities and not using it Adulthood Rite? (I don;t know that Gov & Mr Palin have that attituded towards alcohol, HOWEVER, it is highly unusual for people who are in the sector they are in as regards anti-abortion, abstinence-promulgating, anti-birth control, etc., values, to regard alcohol as an acceptable in any type of beverage for anyone under at a minimum teh age of 21, if any age...
c) Why were Gov & Mr Palin not monitoring the reputation of whom their daughter was spending time with?
d) This does not speak well to parent-child relationship and communications and mutual respect and understanding.

Rebellious teenagers are one thing, but MySpace profiles of minor children....

It also bemuses me, thinking about it, that the "The Internet must be sanitized for the CHILDREN!!" Republicans, didn't do any any investigation in MySpace pages looing for things--they certainly have dug into OTHER people's electronic accounts affairs...

No idea if he thinks this marriage is a great idea or not, though.

It seems unlikely to me... I doubt if "choice" entered the discussion.

#410 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:07 PM:

Julie L. #387: The other problem with bringing inari onto a plane is that I would probably eat the hell out of it long before it was time for the devolping.

More on-topic, debcha #389: If you are a politician who supports abstinence-only education, and you have a teen pregnancy in your own family, and this doesn't make you reconsider the efficacy of this as a strategy, I have a serious problem with your judgment.

I agree with this sentence if you remove everything between the first and last commas. I still don't see Bristol's pregnancy as anything we should be talking about, and I can guarantee you that if Biden had a teenage daughter in the same situation, the blogosphere would be outraged about media coverage (and right-wing blog discussion) of it.

#411 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:13 PM:

There is no reason to believe that Palin herself thought that McCain would announce that she was going to be the VP candidate before he called her on the phone sometime last Thursday afternoon.

At which time she lacked the experience/strength/judgment to say, "John, I'm honored, but I can't because ...."

#412 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:16 PM:

Will we be seeing those MySpace pages on The Daily Show?

#410: It seems unlikely to me... I doubt if "choice" entered the discussion.

As a lifelong NRA member, she'd know exactly what shells to choose to cure his cold feet.

#413 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:16 PM:

Jane Swift has better credentials for being VP than Gov Palin... She was acting Governor of Massachusetts, when whoever the Repubican Governor at the time was, took a federal political patronage job.

Jane Swift remakes herself, juggles her passions

By Stephanie Ebbert, Globe Staff | October 7, 2007

"...The notion of a Jane Swift resurrection campaign might prompt a collective groan from Boston political observers and working mothers across the country who watched as the Swift's decisions were constantly and publicly second-guessed....

"Swift advertised her first pregnancy during her campaign for lieutenant governor and was dogged by maternal crises in office - using a State Police helicopter to avoid Thanksgiving traffic to get home to her daughter with pneumonia, tapping State House aides as baby sitters. Swift, seeming defiant and defensive, never recovered. She was pregnant with twins when she took over as acting governor, viewed as an inexperienced successor to a third-string Republican team...."

#414 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:27 PM:

It has been announced that Mr Johnston will be at the CON tomorrow, joining his in-laws to be. "They always planned to get married, even before Bristol got pregnant."

It's a surprise though that his MySpace is still up. The operatives have managed to disappear a lot of info already, especially from Sarah's wiki.

Have any of you watched the Hookers and Blow video of the CON's white richies partying like it's 1999 while Gustav blew? I posted that last night on my LJ. It's on YouTube. Wow. These folks have lobbyists with money to spend. And corporations too. You may find watching them pretend to dance to "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" even more astonishing.

Love, C.

#415 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 06:49 PM:

I wonder if the maskirova speciaist apparachiks also revised any friended comments made on other MySpace pages...

"They always planned to get married, even before Bristol got pregnant."

30% confidence level...

Forty years ago in the USA it was possible to get a job out of high school that could support a family... it might still be today, for someone graduating high school with a trade school diploma who studied auto repair or construction or plumbing etc.

I have no clue what happened with those high school classmates whose weddings occurred around or immediately after graduation and whose becoming parents occurred before the end of the year... they weren't in the same classes I was in; one of the people who was in the same classes I was in and I sat counting the obviously pregnant getting diplomas at graduation. I wonder how many of the marriages lasted....

In this culture, having children tends to deter further formal education. Some people succeed in getting college degrees or advanced degrees when pregnant/with small children, but it tends to make it a lot harder. And putting the kids first... those who don't put the well-being of the children ahead of their own short-term pleasures, are not necessarily all that wonderful as parents. There are people who take jobs they otherwise wouldn't be in, for the sake of steady income and health benefits, and stay in them... and that becomes even more necessary if there are children involved. If people aren't prepared to put the well-being on the children ahead of their own other dreams, they should have gotten a cat or a pet rock or something, and taken the responsibility to avoid reproducing.

Irresponsible recreation chemical use, however, tends to cause other irresponsible behavior through suspension of critical judgment. (That is, apparently a lot of teen pregnancy ties into irresponsible ethanol intake.)

#416 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 07:21 PM:

I wouldn't assume that Sarah Palin knew that her daughter was pregnant before saying yes to McCain. I can easily imagine a 17-year-old not telling her parents that she's pregnant until there's no other choice (when she's clearly starting to show, for example), especially if she knows her parents' views on the topic of pre-marital sex and abortion.

I think I read somewhere that Palin's children weren't told about the VP announcement until shortly beforehand, so the "um, Mom..." moment may not have happened until just before it, or even right after.

Don't get me wrong: I think Palin's an awful choice, but I also can't help thinking that there's a possibility she didn't know about the pregnancy until the wheels were already in motion.

#417 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 07:24 PM:

I don't recall where I saw this simile first used, but it fits:

Watching the McCain campaign over the last day is like watching a piano fall out of a plane, catch on fire, and fall on a puppy farm.

#418 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 07:39 PM:

As Billmon said, they're trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

#419 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 08:42 PM:

"Then there's the boy who assisted Bristol's pregnancy .... What if he really doesn't want to be married and have kids at age 17, and be trapped in the family run by the VPOTUS?"

Maybe I'm just in a curmudgeonly mood tonight, but my first thought on reading this was "Then he should have thought a bit more before having sex with her." Okay, he couldn't have reasonably anticipated that his girlfriend's mom would become a vice presidential nominee, but, on a personal level, that's relatively minor compared to the more obvious and ordinary possibility and consequences of unintended teen pregnancy. That doesn't necessarily mean marriage, but it can still require shared responsibility for raising a baby to adulthood, if your girlfriend carries it to term and nobody else adopts it.

Unlike Palin, I'm not a fan of abstinence-only sex education, because I don't believe in withholding information from people that they might need, especially when the harm of withholding this information has been demonstrated. But I would hope that *any* sex education program would make it clear that if you're not yet ready (i.e. mature enough) to take on the responsibilities of parenthood if necessary (whether or not you decide to be a parent), you're not ready to be having sex (or at least, the kind of sex that can lead to parenthood).

This needs to be made especially clear to the males in the program, who might otherwise be under the impression that any possible pregnancies can be considered Somebody Else's Problem. (Indeed, I've seen depressingly many comments around the Net that assume implicitly or explicitly that Sarah Palin, and/or her daughter, are solely responsible for having or raising their respective children, despite the existence of fathers of those same children.)

#420 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 10:35 PM:

Paula, #416: The article that I linked to in #401 addresses the issues of divorce rates, probability of getting a college education, etc. after a teenage pregnancy.

Ethan, #411: I included the parenthetical phrases because Palin's family is, presumably, a best-case scenario - white, middle-class, Christian, and with reasonably involved parenting (by all accounts). If the abstinence-only strategy didn't work there, it's hard to imagine it working in households without that set of advantages. Palin can no longer see the broader failure of abstinence-only education as something abstract, that only happens to other families. I would like my politicians to actually learn from the collision of their policies with the real world (as Biden did with drug legislation).

#421 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:17 PM:

don delny @296:
Oh look, another Republican double standard: your footnote describes the standard Republican argument against quotas, but arguably Ms Paliin was chosen to fill a "quota" of sorts.

John Stanning @355:
The response that occurs to me is that the action/adventure movie is one I'd be more likely to rent, but I'd be a lot happier if the White House weren't an action/adventure movie.

Paula Lieberman @374:
With respect to deer hunting: there's also having the local game control folks plan a deer hunt because the overpopulation is fostering epidemics, and then being forced to call it off by idiots who can't conceive of the idea that too many deer is bad.

#422 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:22 PM:

A question for ya'll -- I have seen multiple claims that Palin wanted to ban some books from the Wasilla library; when the librarian said no, Palin tried to fire her. What I haven't seen are any indications of the titles of the books in question.

Has anyone seen anything specific? While any book banning is anathema to me, it does make a "shades of grey" difference if it was Playboy Magazines she was trying to ban vs., say, To Kill a Mockingbird.

#423 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:32 PM:

Leva Cygnet: No, it isn't a shades of grey issue if she was trying to ban Playboy, Hustler, et. alia.

If the community wants to limit who can access them, fine (the library in my town when I was 10ish had Playboy, Penthouse and Cosmo. The magazines were behind the counter. One had to be eighteen, and ask for them).

But the Librarian makes the call on what to subscribe/accept subscritions to. Not the mayor.

#424 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2008, 11:53 PM:

Oh, I'd be the first to defend the librarian -- I'm not saying there was any excuse, regardless of the material. However, what she was wanting banned tells us how far right of mainstream she is.

Your typical American soccer mom may well demand that the library remove Ye Awful Porn Magazine ... which is not something I would ever agree with, and which I find scary in a vice presidential candidate on its own.

However, if the titles in question were, say, Johnny Has Two Mommies, books on evolution, books on sex ed, books (*gasp*) with references to witchcraft ... it shows different reasons for her actions, and perhaps worse reasons than just, "Eww, sex!"

I guess I'm curious about the reasons BEHIND why she wanted the titles banned. "Eww, nudies!" doesn't scare me quite as bad (though it DOES bother me on a very serious level) as a reaction along the lines of, "OMG, it's a book about children going to a magical school, we must kill it with fire now before our children grow up to become satanists!"

#425 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:03 AM:

After reading Christian Science and Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences I used to wish that Mark Twain would be reincarnated with a barrel of ink for his fountain pen and a copy of Dianetics to read through. Now I have a different wish.

Since Friday I've been wishing that Mort Sahl was on tour so I could buy a plane ticket to whatever city he was in and watch him walk onstage with a newspaper that had decent coverage of Palin to work from. His politics may have wandered around some (liberal, then assassination conspiracist, then conservative, then reactionary) but he's never lost the ability to spot the horseshit in a story and point it out in the funniest way possible. Carlin was a close second, but he was less likely to go for the jugular. Unfortunately, Sahl only tours every five years or so...

#426 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:31 AM:

Regarding the library, here's what Library Journal has up on the subject. Not much, but it's not rumor mongering.

If you really want to be disturbed...
NY Times - Palin's Start in Alaska - Not Politics As Usual

#427 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 01:19 AM:

Leyva Cygnet: Ok, I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions of exculpation. Yes, in that regard what she wanted banned is important.

#428 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:11 AM:

Serge@356: I have to admit that I don't know the history there. I can vaguely recall reading about the legislature meeting in San José and being driven out by (atypical for the city!) heavy rainfall. The phrase "The Legislature of a Thousand Drinks" was involved. But I don't know the politics behind it or how Sacramento ended up in the position it has.

#429 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:38 AM:

Something more than halfway down the webpage is a posting of correspondence from Anne Kilkenny of Wasilla, detailing a picture of Sarah Palin which shows a charismatic, cunning, hardworking, spendthrift, vituperative backstabber of great ambition, and a surpassing lack of administrative clue and competence competence.... "she tried to fire [the] City Librarian ecause the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted to remove.... needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000... Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage...."

#430 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:16 AM:

Constance @415:

Levi's (Bristol's boyfriend) MySpace page went private soon after its location was made public; by that time, of course, the incriminating photos were out there for all to see.

Paula @410:

The photos didn't show casual beer drinking either; we're talking half empty whiskey bottles (good stuff, I think; no expert on that) and glasses of alcohol in what appeared to be someone's home (Palin's?).

#431 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:37 AM:


This is a heated issue at a heated time. Can we please put a little more effort into writing carefully and listening generously?

  1. When addressing a specific person, please only address the actual arguments that they have used (quoting the argument is a nice way to ensure you are doing this).

  2. When a group of people in which you have a membership is discussed, please give the commenter the benefit of the doubt before assuming they meant you. If the characterization is unfair or over-general, address that before you assume the comment was directed at you personally.

  3. When a member of the community with minority views (in this context) posts, extend to them the extra measure of courtesy and generosity that is due to people of courage. If you're in the majority, others have got your back. If not, it's a lonely, discouraging thing to watch your entire online community come down like a ton of bricks on your real life one. Sticking a head over the parapet to say, "wait a minute" is an act of great bravery. Squash that at your Very Great Peril.

In all things, be as generous, charitable and fair as you would like others* to be to you.

* For values of others that include me, because although I have been busy lately, I'm watching.

#432 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:17 AM:

Tonight, when Palin makes her VP candidacy speech, her staff has informed the media that at the end of the speech she'll be trotting out her entire family.

Plus the new father-to-be, Levi.

#433 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:28 AM:

Rep Barney Frank has said that the family situation of Gov Palin's pregnant unwed teenager should be on the table for discussion, because Palin is "made an issue of her family...They have said that it's liberalism and liberals who have undermined families...."

And the Palin supporters are claiming that there is leftwinger and liberal blogger calumnification going on? The spite against Barney Frank at the URL above is poisonous!

Chelsea Clinton's parents did not going around demanding the USA legislate abstinence on teenagers and ban birth control. Chelsea Clinton was not a teenager showing several months of "baby bump." Chelsea Clinton did not make a mockery of her parents' prescription for everyone -else-....

The press attacked Chelsea Clinton for not being photogenic/a beauty. The current attacks are primarily on Palin, not against the daughter other than implicitly attacking the daughter's judgment--but the daughter is still a minor and the parents legally responsible for her.... The parents are hypocrites, villifying unwed pregnant teenagers and their families, but not seeing themselves as Bad Parents and hypocrites.

#434 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:30 AM:

I think Sarah Palin's treatment of her daughter, and her newly engaged finacée is going to be worse--may already have been worse--than anything we can possibly do. I don't know how much of the public will see it that way--probably no-one if no-one speaks up. And I do think that cruelty in a Presidential candidate is a failing that is best underscored by the opposition. Isn't that one of W. Bush's chief faults, after all, and one that has led to some of the administration's lowest moment?

#435 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:30 AM:

Xopher @ 402 I think the idea that a 17-year-old could be capable of making a responsible decision to marry is absurd, if one takes the commitment at all seriously. Adolescents just don't have the ability to make judgements at the level required.

Well, in theory, I'd agree with you. But here in the real world, I know way too many teen loves turned happy marriages to agree. Including, um, mine. (And two that started in middle school.) We're all in our mid 30s now, and all have friends who've had two or three marriages in the time we've each had one. So if I don't want to be a wide-stance hypocrite, I have to say: young marriage isn't necessarily a bad thing. You can cite statistics to talk about general trends, sure, but once you're talking about a specific couple, all bets are off.

Which is, I think, where I draw the line with the Palin thing. Do I think Bristol's marriage will fail? Or that her kid will be irredeemably screwed up? I don't really think it's my business to speculate. Do I think this can bring up some discussion on abstinence-only education, or how we support teen parents when that type of "education" fails? Sure, that's always a great idea.

(But it won't make a difference to the people who believe in it; they're all saying "well, she should have waited until her wedding night, but since she's getting married anyway, it's not so bad" (as though she'd met the love of her life, started planning the wedding, had a moment of prenuptial weakness and, well, we're all human) and/or "isn't it great that she came to her mother when she found herself in trouble instead of having a secret abortion?" (I love that phrase - oops, a fetus! Where on earth could that have come from? Well, now that I've found myself in trouble, I guess I'll get some help.))

Re: Actual VP-hopeful's actual attractiveness to the potential voters she's supposed to be courting - I have heard at least one RTC saying she needs to be home with her special-needs baby, which is heartening. But I've heard way more on the side of "yay, a working mother who isn't one of those damn feminists! Let's go raise her some money!"

(Of course, what I really can't get over is the idea that this is a "we own all the voting machines anyway, why does it matter who we pick for the ticket?" thing.)

#436 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:38 AM:

Caroline @ 328: I've been typing and retyping responses all day, and then deleting them. I think I'll take the hint from my subconscious and leave it at this: while how the only-slightly-less-sexist Democrats are going after Bristol leaves me nauseous, reproductive rights is not a battle that can be fought in the absence of the women that it is being fought over. For better or worse, Bristol Palin has become a very public representative of those women, and to refuse to make our arguments isn't leaving her undisturbed--it's simply letting social conservatives define what she represents uncontested.

This says it better than I have, and this is also worth reading.

#437 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:52 AM:

Stefan Jones 2 396 -
I've read enough stuff about Palin today to utterly disqualify her in my mind from higher office that has nothing to do with Bristol.

Banning books? Husband a member of a secessionist party? Racked up big debt in the town she mayored? Religous zealotry? Thinks the Iraq war is a divine mission.


I don't need to know - and don't fucking give a good goddamn about - who the babydaddy is, who Trig's real mommy is, whether someone's seat cushions (which are also inflation devices) were wet or not, or any other damn bit of bread and circuses. It's all distraction and hometown busybodying, it is worth, in the end, nothing (except, possibly, as an example of character, in the case that Trig is actually not her kid), and spending a lot of time running round and round in circles, getting angrier and angrier, and digging ourselves further and further into the mud and the grime isn't, in the end, going to do us any good at all.

Damnitall, we're better than this. We are - or claim to be - the good guys. We should act like it.

No. No thank you.

Exactly. There are plenty of issues of substance, matters of real import, on which Palin - and by proxy, McCain, since he picked her - can be criticized on. We don't need to resort to mudslinging about this, it isn't tactically or strategically wise, and it is very possible to backfire.

Let's stick to issues that don't make us look like our enemies?

#438 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:09 AM:

A footnote I meant to put in a post and forgot to put in, is that vile allegations in divorce and child custody cases, are often simply that--vile allegations which are untruthful. The nastier the lawyers and the cases, the viler and more despicable the accusations flying get.

Sometimes there is truth to them. Much of the time they're ploys. Determining the truth.... it can get lost in the vicious vituperative acrimony of two people who over time turned from married partners to hating one another's guts, and demanding possession of objects, pets, and children sometimes for the purpose of simply spiting the ex (that happened to a friend who said his parents fought over him for custody not because they wanted custody, but because they wanted to deny custody to the other parent....)

Bottom line--Gov Palin actions were that of a vituperative relative against the sister's ex-husband, and she took her continuing mad-on out against the fellow who refused to without legal grounds fire the governor's former brother in law. It's the same sort of vindictiveness involved in outing Valerie Plame and her covert operations and operatives that the Executive Branch of US Goverment did to spite Ambassador Wilson's public attempt to debunk the Yellowcake fable.

Has Sen McCain ever done that sort of thing, I wonder? And what did he say about the outing of Valeria Plame?

#439 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:14 AM:

abi @ 437... Words of wisdom, all of them.

#440 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:52 AM:

Speaking of sounding like our enemies, though, here's Karl Rove (on Face the Nation) talking about Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, back when Kaine was being discussed as a possible running mate for Obama:

"With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it’s smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It’s not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, 'You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?' "

#441 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:01 AM:

456: sounds extremely sensible to me...

#442 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:57 AM:

I've known several long-lasting and happy marriages which began with shotgun weddings (including one where the girl was fourteen, but that one was in 1943); I've known more that ended in divorce, or went on in life-long abject and very public misery. The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet.

#443 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:21 PM:

This is why the topic will not and cannot be kept out of the current politicial discussions:

From today's Washington Post:

By Paul Kane

ST. PAUL -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

"After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million.

Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers."

Christian Conservatives claim they care about the unborn and unwed mothers, until the chips are down, their own kids are knocked up and rushed into a shotgun wedding, while cutting any care at all for other women and children.

Most shotgun wedding I've been witness to are miserable marriages. One or the other cheats and they stay together for the kids. They hate each other. among these are some close relatives. The wives insists they are gloriously happy. They are (now) anti-choice and no longer believe contraceptives should be sold, and abstinence only Christian sex education, they are against divorce because it breaks up the holy family. The hatred of their husbands is so palpable it frightens me to be in the same room with them sometimes.

Ancedotal means nothing, of course, because there are other testimonials that prove exactly otherwise. But I'm just sayin'. My relatives have no qualms either, about telling me that I cannot be happy in my marriage without children, and that, in fact, we have no marriage at all, because we, by choice, don't, and in fact, I'm not even a 'real' woman, because I have no children.

Love, C.

#444 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Josh 398: I love that one! Let's spread it as "a ridiculous conspiracy theory," so we can deny it while propagating it. Hey, learn from your enemies, right?

Lee 408: Well, of course I was speaking of our culture, but also, the fact that other cultures do or have done something doesn't make that thing a good idea.

From what I've read on adolescent brain development (and I freely admit I'm no expert), the brain changes from its child form to its adult form old (back) brain first, and working forward from there. That means that adult balance and dexterity develop early on, but adult judgement and prediction of consequences etc. wait until the very end of the process to occur. Then, of course, there's the period from 18-25 when disused synapses are discarded; this is a process of specialization, and in my personal experience can lead to personality changes as well (some good, some bad).

You've met me. Would you recognize me from these adjectives, all of which would have described me at 17: sullen, resentful, hostile, suspicious, unfriendly, touch-phobic, often gratuitously cruel? Now I had some nasty shit to work through, but I also needed to mature into the glowing paragon relatively OK person you know today!

Part of what I'm saying about marriage is that it's a commitment only an adult can legitimately make. Adolescents don't know who they'll be at 25, and in my view have no right to bind that person to any lifelong agreement. That's overstating the case a bit, but at 17 both people can anticipate changing quite a bit over the next 8 years or so, and while some of that growth can be parallel, it's just luck if enough of it is.

As for 70 years ago, first, the nature of marriage was quite different then, culturally and economically. Girls often didn't decide for themselves whom to marry, or had extremely limited choices. And as for raising children, the age gap that was typical between husband and wife at least put an adult in charge of the house!

The marriage contract between two 17-year-olds today, especially on a shotgun basis, especially if they're hard drinkers already...well, to quote Catullus, it should be written on the wind and flowing water.

Serge 409: I don't think there's any need for that.

Carol 417: Good point. I also wouldn't assume that the daughter wasn't deliberately (or perhaps unconsciously) undermining her mother, frankly.

Marilee 422: And if you'd been wearing a seatbelt, you'd have died, right? I'm not saying it can never occur, just that it's not the way to bet. No doubt there are 14-year-olds who are quite ready to have sex with multiple partners as part of a Master/Slave relationship, but I think the law ought not to allow it. (I know someone who did that, but he wasn't ready and is still messed up by the consequences.)

Besides, that standard is too high: your posts here have made it clear that you're an extraordinary person, and extraordinary people do extraordinary things. Little Wolfie Mozart wrote a concerto at age 4, too. I'm sure there were parents saying "why can't you sit still and write music like him," but they were NOT being reasonable!

Still...perhaps I need to amend my "proposed" "law" to include '...or emancipated minor of demonstrated maturity and ability.'

John Mark 420: It should also be made clear to the males in the program that once a pregnancy occurs, they will have no further choice in the matter. While forced pregnancy is anathema to liberals, including me, no one at all (aside from me and a few other wackos) seems to have any problem with forced fatherhood. Don't tell me the choice is made when you have sex; women make that same choice at the same time (assuming the sex is consensual). But women alone make the decision whether to continue the pregnancy or terminate it. While I agree that the father should not have a veto over the decision to terminate (it's her body it's growing in, not his), I'm less certain he shouldn't have a veto (or at least some kind of legal influence) over the decision to continue it. Equal responsibility should mean equal rights, shouldn't it? His life will be as messed up as hers after the birth.

Cat 450: But those marriages didn't start in middle school. The love did, and they married later. Even if you married at 17 and it has worked out, congratulations on your luck (and probably hard work). Again, happens, but not the way to bet.

I just realized something. A lot of my stridency on this is due to being told that there's NO WAY my current "relationship" (even I am dubious that it counts as such at this point) could POSSIBLY work out, because of a large age difference between me and the other guy (whom I love deeply, desperately, and increasingly despairingly). Such a relationship could not possibly work out, even though I can cite counterexamples. No, it's not the way to bet (and at this point I'd say the probable and actual are becoming one, partly because of social and familial pressure based on...the unlikelihood of it working out), but who has the right to say you can't TRY a relationship that's unlikely to work out?

But I would be VERY cautious about persuing marriage in such a circumstance, even if New Jersey gets equal marriage and we're happy as two clams. I favor a LONG engagement, with living together.

#445 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:34 PM:

And of course JESR and Constance covered some of that same ground. JESR and Constance, I agree with you.

#446 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:43 PM:

Xopher @ 464... So I've heard.

#447 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 12:45 PM:

Serge: quite. Sorry.

#448 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 01:05 PM:

Xopher --

The guy doesn't get a say because the guy isn't at risk of death, primus, and secundus, it's biology; biology isn't fair. Tertius, the guy does get a decision about being a father; you can (at least hereabouts) refuse to acknowledge the child. This does not prevent the child or the child's guardians from suing you for child support, and I don't particularly think it ought so to do.

In general, I think the whole moral dimension to all of this -- the whole Palin thing -- is unfortunate and unproductive. One can make the point that a refusal to act in a way informed by facts leads to bad results, but that ought not to be news. Nor will it change anybody's mind.

I don't think recognizing that the presidency and vice-presidency are being treated as social prizes will change anybody's mind, either, however much it ought to.

#449 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 01:41 PM:

Xopher @ 467... That's ok. It was indeed an inappropriate comment.

#450 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 01:51 PM:

Graydon 468: I disagree with you in some particulars, but discussing my reasons will lead to a broader discussion of brtn (all flee screaming).

Michael 470: I'm not Jesus, but I like you anyway. Seriously, I'm not in a position to help, but I do see your point. OTOH maybe the people who are figure they can handle the trollery. I don't know.

Serge 471: Yes, but I wrote that as I went through, saw that abi had addressed the point, and meant but forgot to delete my redundant and belated comment. I didn't intend to pile on, hence my apology.

#451 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:00 PM:

For some information directly from Alaska, try this blogger: Mudflats. I discovered this blog while wandering through friends' flists, and got sucked into reading the posts.

#452 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Xopher @ 472... Two hardly are a pileon. On the other hand a two-er can be a pylon.

#453 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:11 PM:


Ah, but if you're heaping Ossa on Pelion...

(Sorry. It was irresistible.)

#454 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:11 PM:

I have a letter here that says:

That which the bearer has done has been done under my hand and seal for the good of Making Light.

I am unpublishing a number of posts. Perhaps I will re-publish them after the elections.

#455 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Hmm. Xopher, when it comes to the injustice of biology, I don't think the father should have a veto on the child's being carried to term any more than he should have a veto on the abortion. I mean, how would that in all practicality work out? Abortion isn't an easy process to go through; do you really think the father of the fetus should have the right to force the mother to undergo one?

I'm sorry that you've been told such depressing things about your relationship. I wish you two the absolute best of luck--and, without meaning to diminish my good wishes and sympathies in the slightest, I'm afraid I must also wish you the forbearance to refrain from telling other people the sort of depressing things you would wish not to be told. I think it comes down to this: humans are complex, and one human at 14 may be more mature than another human at 30. Marriage and relationships differ case by case, and this is reflected in different cultures' differing ideas of when people become adults and may get married. Hell, even here in the U.S. the minimum age for entering a marriage contract without parental consent varies wildly as you go from state to state. We rely too much on age as a maturity marker; but I do wish, like you, that life-long contracts were subject to some sort of maturity test regardless of the ages of those entering those contracts. I wish we had some useful way to test/demonstrate maturity.

Personally, I'm fairly certain that neither my husband nor myself are mature enough to be parents--and we're in our early 30s. We agree on this and as such have agreed not to have children at this time. (And, yes, we have had to suffer such friendly advice as "Oh, you'll change how you feel about that once you have one!" and "What do you mean, at this time? You don't have much more time!") But when we met in high school we knew we were meant for each other; the only relevant experience that intervened between then and the day we moved in with each other was my stupidity in chasing some other guy in college. Maybe I learned from that, or maybe I could have been spared a bad experience if we'd followed our hearts as soon as the law allowed. I don't know. We are never told what would have been.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is - these are personal decisions that persons make. The law should not be applied to it more stringently than it already is, because its broad brush hurts more than it helps. And it makes me uneasy to see people who usually argue for freedom of personal, individual choice in most matters to do with sex and reproduction, arguing against it in matters of love.

Maybe it would be less of an issue if we didn't have this societal implication that Marriage Is For Life? (Maybe I can has pony with wings?)

#456 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:14 PM:

Xopher: I disagree. That's a wedge to blackmailed abortion, and it, pretty much mandates that she becomes responsible for making sure there is adequate birth control.

He can fuck to a fare-thee-well, and walk away. No need to worry about BC, because he's got an out... He gets, if he can walk away; even a little bit, the ability to avoid responsilities.

Child support isn't about the custodial parent, it's about the child.

Graydon: Hereabouts (Calif.) the mother gets the option to declare the father (in the case of non-married parents). If she puts a name to the father on the Birth Certificate, hello daddy. The State will come after the named parent for support. A test will, of course, clear him, if he disputes it as soon as he finds out. If he claims parentage at birth... the law sees him as the father (there have been a few cases where this was disputed. The courts held that having acted as the father, and claimed to be the father, until they broke up, he was; in a strange sort of way, the common law father, and owed support).

#457 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Sarah S @ 456... Shame on you. If I try to walk, my gait will show Olymp.

#458 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:38 PM:


Thanks for the second opinion. You missed three, which I have now unpublished.


The numbering of all comments from 422 until this point is now inaccurate. Double-check back references by reference to writer and context if in doubt.

And watch the manners. That was not, toward the end, what it should have been.

#459 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Apparently McCain's camp is throwing a temper tantrum over way we citizens are investigating , and suggesting that Obama and Biden be investigated the same way.

"The McCain campaign will have no further comment about our long and thorough process. This nonsense is over. .The American people get to do the vetting now on Election Day - November 4th."

(Typo is CNN's.)

Am I the only one who finds this a wee bit ironic?

Though I also find it ominous. I would be wholly unsurprised if they started legally harassing critics. I mean, we're engaging in a "faux media scandal" per the McCain camp.

#460 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:44 PM:

#454 James D. Macdonald: I am unpublishing a number of posts. Perhaps I will re-publish them after the elections.

Thank you!

#461 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:53 PM:

A quibble: the California law you cite only works that way if the mother is unmarried. Under CA law, if the mother is married at the time she gives birth, the husband is the legal father, period. Even if testing shows that he is not the biological father, it is irrelevant. I think the way they've worked that out makes a relatively good law because it limits certain forms of shitty behavior towards children, even in the case where the mother admittedly conceived the child with someone other than her husband.

(The only reason I know about this is that my foster daughter is/was in that situation; her biological dad who she grew up with until his death was not her legal father, because her mother hadn't yet divorced at the time she was born in CA. While she was a ward of Hawaii, the state here had to go through a certain number of notifications to her legal father of record and record that he was ignoring their notices before his rights could legally be terminated.)

#462 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 02:55 PM:

James @457: That which the bearer has done has been done under my hand and seal for the good of Making Light.

I've got you under my seal
I've got you under my pinniped
Not a walrus or sea lion, a seal's what I said
I've got you under my seal

Some say otters have more appeal
And some prefer orcas or manatees
But give me Phocidae or Otariidae, please
I've got you under my seal

#463 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:03 PM:

Any time Karl Rove is involved in anything one should avoid knocking down the low-hanging fruit of scandal. It is doubtless poisoned.

But back to Mr. Rove. Let me slightly rewrite his Face the Nation remarks. Since they were originally spoken about a male, I hope we can agree that they are not sexist.

"With all due respect again to Governor Palin, she’s been a governor for under two years, she’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that she’s done. She was mayor of a small town. And again, with all due respect to Wasilla, Alaska, it’s smaller than Alta Sierra, California; Delta, Colorado; Buckeye or Show Low, Arizona; Winnemucca or Laughlin , Nevada. It’s not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Palin, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, 'You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?' "
#464 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:03 PM:

Here's Sarah Palin, in her own words, saying things that would have had Obama resigning his candidacy after the media crucified him for them:

#465 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:08 PM:

Clifton: A small quibble. I said that.

Hereabouts (Calif.) the mother gets the option to declare the father (in the case of non-married parents).

#466 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:11 PM:

Xopher: Sorry. If you're male, the choice is made when you have sex because that is the last time your (lawful) actions have any influence over whether or not there is going to be a child.

And once there is a child, nobody's feelings are going to make any difference at all to the continued existence and needs of said child.

I had a pregnancy terminated, back in the mists of time. Result: there was no baby. There is now no twenty-one-year old. No human being requiring care and concern ever happened, and no person now living has any undischarged obligation.

If I had gone ahead with the pregnancy, there would have been a child, who would have required support until just recently.

How would you propose to make a difference in said child's legal entitlement to paternal support based on the father's feelings about the situation?

For that matter, stipulating for the moment that you can come up with a moderately just and decent way of doing this, at what point in the proceedings do you want to fix the father's feelings in legal form?

What do you do when the panicked young man of 19 comes back at 24, wanting to be a father? Or when the happy father of 26 separates from the mother at 29 and wants to walk away from the whole business? Does he get to say "well, I never wanted the kids anyway?"

#467 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:12 PM:

*eyes her post # 459 above*

Well, one typo is CNN's. The other I bear full responsibility for.

#468 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:14 PM:


Re the Mudflats blog, thanks. I just heard Ed Shultz talking about that Alaska Town Hall (which was scheduled before the SP announcement -- his show had scheduled townhalls all across the country for this week of the ReCON).

Reports via Rachel Maddow: The Indiana delegations wears buttons screaming "Sarah the Hottest Chick!"

Has anyone been reading about her church and pastor?

The thing about choice, is that she and / or her daughter made a choice, a choice that works well with their economic situation. As well, by all accounts Bristol and her dad's stepmom have done most of the raising of the younger kids anyway, once Dad decided that being a stay-at-home dad was not for him. So Bristol has lots of child-rearing experience it seems, making her, probably a more qualified mom right now than her mom is qualified in foreign affairs, or even knowing the geography of the "south" as Alaskans refer to us. Palin didn't have time to deal with her children as mayor and especially as governor, so child-rearing fell to these surrogates of hers. Which is one reason, evidently her husband's stepmom didn't want her to be governor and really thinks she shouldn't be in D.C. She's supposed to be taking care of the kids!

Such tangles when we decide what others should do, right? But Palin has ignored her own family's wishes and done as she wanted, but she doesn't want us to.

She's got the economic and structural resources to make the decision realistically to raise a Down's Syndrome child. But she makes the same decision for a woman who may be poor, homeless, deserted by her husband and / or family or anyone else. Decisions need and are made in these areas according to what our circumstances are, but she wants to tell everyone to do what she did no matter what.

Again this is why her family situations are part of this campaign, and no matter how much the RNC orders us and the media to stop doing that, it won't stop. This is the woman they are grooming to be president, whether because 'cain falls over at 73, or later when she runs on her own. She will appoint Supreme Justices.

We as women who believe in choice, who see choice as the basis of our personhood in the larger world, cannot afford to keep this out of the current campaign.

She doesn't believe in contraception either, never forget that. It's really hard not to get pregnant without contraception. (Unless you choose a life of celibacy, and then you can get raped -- it's happened, particularly in times of war. History is full of tales of this.)

It's not a coincidence that women's fuller rights as full citizens and partipants in the nation's and work world's business arrived with access to contraception, knowledge of birth control and, yes, abortion. Abortion is indeed, as the antis say, a form of contraception, though one would far prefer any other method, if one is sane. But it is a part of the kit of contraception and it must remain available and safe for all women.

Love, c.

#469 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:18 PM:

Clinton, Terry: works that way in Ontario and Quebec as well.

And it's too late to file for divorce once you're pregnant: they ask you on the forms, and if you're pregnant you can't have a divorce until you have either a) settled custody and support to the satisfaction of the court or b) gone through the process to get a surrender of parental rights into your hot little hand, which isn't terribly easy, especially if you happen to be on lousy terms with your ex.

#470 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:20 PM:

Clifton: I didn't make as clear as I might that the converse, married = father, but yes, I am aware of it, and assumed the implication that the right to declare fatherhood wasn't an option if the parents were married.

#471 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:23 PM:

SP's pastor preaches, among other things, that the ANWR must be drilled for oil, because it is god's will. And when the imminent Rapture comes Alaska will be the refuge for the thousands and thousands of godless coming to Alaska for her oil so we need to get it out now. Or something equally crazy as that. I think you might find a YouTube of this. I heard it played on the radio.

I confess it's really hard reading this garbage, but they are scrubbing some of the most controversial sermons already.

Here's a site for a list of them.

Love, C.

#472 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:25 PM:

Clifton: Sorry. Misread your name. Got it now.

#473 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:41 PM:

Constance: I'm confused. It took me a couple of passages to figure out (I think) that the woman you were talking about is Palin's mother in law.

I have to wonder/ask why you chose the locution of, "her husband's stepmom".

#474 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Constance @471:

I put the YouTube link to Palin saying the Iraq war was "God's will" and that her church needed to "pray for the pipeline", etc, in post #464.

She's truly a Christian fundie; no whitewash or spin can cover up all the evidence no matter how hard they try.

I hope that Obama takes parts of that video and plays them over and over and over again in his campaign ads to let people know the kind of VP Palin truly would be.

#475 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:08 PM:

From the LA Times:

"Three times in recent years, McCain's catalogs of "objectionable" spending have included earmarks for this small Alaska town, requested by its mayor at the time -- Sarah Palin."


"In 2001, McCain's list of spending that had been approved without the normal budget scrutiny included a $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project in Wasilla. The Arizona senator targeted $1 million in a 2002 spending bill for an emergency communications center in town -- one that local law enforcement has said is redundant and creates confusion.

McCain also criticized $450,000 set aside for an agricultural processing facility in Wasilla that was requested during Palin's tenure as mayor and cleared Congress soon after she left office in 2002. The funding was provided to help direct locally grown produce to schools, prisons and other government institutions, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

Wasilla received $11.9 million in earmarks from 2000 to 2003. The results of this spending are very apparent today. (The town also benefited from $15 million in federal funds to promote regional rail transportation.)"


When Palin spoke after McCain introduced her as his running mate at a rally in Ohio last week, she made fun of earmarking. She said she had rejected $223 million in federal funds for a bridge linking Ketchikan to an island with an airport and 50 residents, referring to it by its derogatory label: the "bridge to nowhere."

"When Palin spoke after McCain introduced her as his running mate at a rally in Ohio last week, she made fun of earmarking. She said she had rejected $223 million in federal funds for a bridge linking Ketchikan to an island with an airport and 50 residents, referring to it by its derogatory label: the "bridge to nowhere."

However, as a candidate for governor in 2006, Palin had backed funding for the bridge. After her election, she killed the much-ridiculed project when it became clear the state had other priorities."

Sarah Palin; just another moneygrubbing Republican candidate. So much for "Candidate for Change".

#476 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:17 PM:

abi & James: thank you. My brain was hurting.

#477 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:20 PM:

John L @ 475: It's important to also note that the funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere" got sent to other projects; in other words, although the Bridge went nowhere, the money got used. This is not exactly anti-government spending, nor is it "rejecting federal funds".

#478 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Ginger @477,

Palin diverting the money from the "bridge to nowhere" is not as big a deal for me; I work for a state DOT and am well aware that if one project gets cancelled, the money NEVER gets sent back to the FHWA. It gets used to build some other project, which may or may not be needed, although I hope it was of course. I'm sure Palin would say it was needed, but she said the same about the first project.

#479 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:19 PM:

#473 ::: Terry Karney

Constance: I'm confused. It took me a couple of passages to figure out (I think) that the woman you were talking about is Palin's mother in law.

I have to wonder/ask why you chose the locution of, "her husband's stepmom".

Because the first accounts of this I read by family friends and family used "Todd's stepmom," they didn't use "mother-in-law." I followed their lead. There was no agenda, promise.

Love, C.

#481 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Here's a fabulous clip, I'm still laughing.

Technical glitches have a well known liberal bias and we got the chance to hear Mike Murphy, Chuck Todd and Peggy Noonan speak their mind on Palin as a VP pick after they think they're off the air.

youtube clip

#482 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:34 PM:

#481 Sica: Here's a fabulous clip, I'm still laughing.

G*d Damn! You beat me to it!

Oh, it's absolutely priceless...

#483 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:45 PM:

That clip is perfection itself.

Just ... don't read the comments. Oh my God.

#484 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:48 PM:

*speaks to the air, without looking at anyone*

I will make no further comments on this thread concerning the rights of fathers, lest it lead to another unproductive brtn debate. I don't think forced brtn is morally any better than forced pregnancy, and I don't actually have a position to advocate, since I'm still struggling with the issue myself.

I'm sorry I brought up the topic. I'm leaving some comments on it unanswered, in hopes that the force of the Last Word will now be in favor of dropping it entirely.

#485 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 05:49 PM:

Well, you can see it at Huffington Post if you want to avoid the comments at YouTube.

#486 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:01 PM:

Xopher, #444: Re adolescents and adulthood, the point I was trying to make was that until fairly recently in our culture, 17-year-olds were routinely expected to take on the attributes and responsibilities of adults -- and, by and large, they did so successfully and without major trauma. I think the issue of brain development is at least partly a red herring, given that our current societal expectations are set to exacerbate the problems said to stem from it; and that in the absence of said social encouragement, those problems would become much less noticeable.

Of course, to get there from here would require massive cultural changes in the way we look at young people -- and not just adolescents either; attitudes about children from about age 6 up would have to change as well. So I'm not arguing with your points per se, but I am arguing against those points being seen as universal, biologically-determined, and unchangeable.

(Aside: You may notice, over the course of our various discussions here, that I am a very strong believer in cultural influence over human behavior. There are a LOT of things that some people seem determined to call biologically-determined which I remain convinced are primarily culturally-driven. Some, but not by any means all, have to do with gender roles.)

Re "forced fatherhood": On the one hand, I do see where you're coming from. On the other... that entire argument sounds SO much like a desperate attempt to return to the status quo of 50 years ago, when a pregnant woman was stuck with that child for 18 years no matter what, while the man could just walk away. And realistically, it's not as if some men still don't do just that, law or no law. What's changed is that the legal recognition of the male privilege of walking away has been removed, and there are several groups putting up a strong attempt to reclaim it.

Constance, #468: *light bulb goes on*
So THAT'S how they're doing it! If abortion is a form of contraception, then contraception is also a form of abortion, right? And all it takes is enough people who never got any kind of instruction in logic (i.e. enough to understand that subsets don't work that way) to get popular support for that regulation they're pushing for right now. Ew.

#487 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:05 PM:

Xopher -- Oops, sorry, cross-post. I'm willing to let it drop.

#488 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:05 PM:

James Macdonald @ 463, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

I would bet some money that the worse rumors are a Rove job, put out to get Democratic fingerprints on them. It is how he operates.

I have also not yet mentioned how much I dislike Palin and her supporters using her daughter as a symbol of what a pro-life saint Palin is. I'm mentioning it now. Privacy goes both ways.

I certainly see the irony of the situation, but I still think it's not terribly polite to say more than "I hope Bristol has a healthy pregnancy and delivers a healthy baby, and I'm happy her family is supportive of her. But let's talk about the policies Gov. Palin would put in place, and how they would hurt other teenagers all over America."

I'm just hearing echoes of a lot of other things ringing in my ears, things that get used against all women, things that might get used against me. "How can we offer you tenure when you got pregnant in your first year here? Doesn't that show that you have poor judgment, and that you're not really committed to your research?" "You really don't care about your children if you want to take this high-powered job, do you? Can we trust a woman who cares so little about her children?"

Some of what I've heard said about Palin runs along these lines. I don't like that, because it legitimizes those ideas, which hurts a lot of women who don't deserve it.

I also don't like how Palin herself is legitimizing the idea that the most important thing about her is being a wife and mother. She's running hard on those aspects of her life, and by extension implying that women who aren't also "perfect" wives and mothers aren't worth much.

#489 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:32 PM:

Does anyone here know of a transcription of the pundits' talk? I realize now that I do not understand spoken English nearly good enough for most of this.
Thanks a lot.

#490 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:35 PM:

Jörg, take a look at

#491 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 07:54 PM:

There's a new talking point out there: "The Dems are scared of Sarah Palin!"

I'm seeing that same line, nearly word-for-word, from a bunch of brand-new posters on another, more political, board I moderate. These are people who join and ten minutes later post their first and only message, to get across that line: "The Dems are scared!"

I think a whole bunch of people got a fax this afternoon; either that or one guy has been very busy shuffling through his fake user names.

#492 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 08:40 PM:

John L. @478: It's not the diversion of funds, since the funding for the Bridge was apparently designated for "building", so there's nothing illegal about changing what they built with it.

Her phrasing is weaseling, however. She indicates that she "rejected the Bridge" and implies that she rejected the Federal funding for the boondoggle (that she previously supported, blah blah blah). She doesn't come out and say she used those funds for a better purpose, or for any purpose at all. That's lying by omission.

I've worked for a State government and am a Federal employee, so I do know something about how funds are designated, restricted, and used. If she's going to fight for Federal funding -- as she apparently did, multiple times as mayor -- she ought to have been honest about how the funds were ultimately used. I mean, ideally, of course.

#493 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:24 PM:

Caroline, #488: and yet, I don't want to become complicit in her pious hypocrisy, or her fanaticism. We need to say polite things that make it clear we're on to her. I suspect, if we could get her friends and family to speak honestly about her, we'd find she's a terribly cruel and controlling person, and damn if I'll help her out.

#494 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:26 PM:

Noodling suggested by a post I saw elsewhere:

For a long time now, I've been hearing people excoriate Sen. Dianne Feinstein because she votes in favor of gun-control legislation, but carries a gun herself. This can be described as wanting to deny to others something she gets by virtue of her own privileged status.

Doesn't the same analysis apply to Palin? Her daughter doesn't need the kind of help provided by those organizations whose funding she slashed; her privileged position allows her to provide for a family member. But she's perfectly happy to deny that kind of assistance to other teenage single mothers who do need it. I think this is a legitimate point to raise, and one that focuses on the mother instead of the daughter.

#495 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:34 PM:

re 17 year olds.

I've done a lot of reading on these topics, and there are lots of things which make me think the idea that 17-20 year olds were seen as adults isn't really the case. Until recently, full majority was 21. In Elizabethan England apprenticeships (and the lack of full citizenship in town and nation) routinely lasted into the early twenties.

People couldn't enter into contracts, buy property, etc. until they reached their majority.

They tended (by and large) to wait until they were established to marry. So I don't think we, as a culture, have thought people were fully adult at 17, arranged marriages for dynastic reasons to the, quite visible, contrary.

#496 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:34 PM:

Lee, see here for someone making a similar point about the daughter's decision to give birth. It's got multiple links or I'd paste it.

#497 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:34 PM:

#444 Xopher

Last week or so I heard an NPR piece about someone who's in his second May-December long-term same gender relationship, the first one, he was the younger man, the second, he is the older man, with a large difference in age--so it can work out, and I hope that you have a long and happy partnership and that the barriers to that happening dissolve.

#498 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:49 PM:

Terry Karney @495: cross-culturally, even in cases where young women had their first babies as young as 17, they were not considered full adults at that age (the situation is even more complex for young men, and since I'm seriously not into writing an essay right now, let's just say that military rank is closer to "normal human pattern" than most other things). They did not have their own houses, nor full economic and ritual participation in the culture until much older- just how old pretty much depending on a whole lot of cultural and individual variables. The idea of coming to the adult state at a specific age is sort of new and specialized. In general, adulthood has been something to be earned, not bestowed by law.

#499 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 09:53 PM:

Paula 497: Thank you, Paula. That's very kind. From your lips to the gods' ears.

#500 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:01 PM:

abi & Jim, I looked at view-all-by to see what upset you about my post and okay, I can see why you took it down. I'll do better.

#501 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:25 PM:

JESR: Yeah, that fits with my research too.

#502 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 10:25 PM:

Oh, it gets better. The NYT quotes from Palin's speech are all about "change". Whoever wins, it will be progressives who bring them, only who can figure out in what direction this progress is supposed to go? Other than that, there's this "I'm a little small town girl, just like you," which seems to be the woman's version of "I'm someone you'd like to have a beer with." But I'd guess that if you sat down and gossiped with Palin, your reputation would be dirt in the next 24 hours.

#503 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:18 PM:

Randolph, you've got it right. So right.

I was appalled by her snarkiness over due process and constitutional protections for the accused. I was hoping for better from her, if for no other reason than the garbage her family has gone through with her sister's ex (the State Trooper). If anyone should understand the need for due process and why laws should apply evenly across the board, it's someone who's been living with a situation like that.

To those of you on my Twitter feed - thanks for your patience. My usual snark buddy is at work, and I needed to rant somewhere during her speech.

#504 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:20 PM:

I've got to say, watching politics happen live on TV with a 104 degree fever leads to a lot of "Dude... wait, what?" moments. (I'm feeling much better now, thanks). heh.

#505 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:39 PM:

#499 Xopher

Gov Palin and Sen McCain and Karl Rove and the current regime are part of things that are wrong in the world.... how does same gender domestic partnering or marriage, even, harm or pose threats to their marriages and family integrity? Banning same gender marriage hasn't converted Cheney's daughter into heterosexual with an American Nuclear Family... but labeling homosexuality as "evil" and branding homosexuals as socially aberrant and unacceptable unless pretending to heterosexuality, has created appalling spectacles such as Ted Haggerty's extreme hypocrisy and wrecked lives of people taught by society to either live lies or regard themselves as monsters..... Palin and McCain's etc. values and intolerance in the macroscope contributed to Tom Disch's death, that is, the legal limbo and refusal to allow/recognize homosexual domestic partnership as legally protected for inheritance and other rights, rights that Palin and McCain are adamant against acceding any legitimacy or social acceptance for.

I live in Massachusetts. The people I know who are married couples whose marriages Sen McCain and Gov Palin regard as anathema, are law-abiding, caring people, some of them are church elders, even (not, of course, in religious sects such as the one Gov Palin is in which regards homosexuality as immoral and homosexual marriage as vile and despicable!). Massachusetts has not in the years since the first recognized-as-marriages-by-the-Commonwealth marriages occurred here, had any notably appalling natural disasters (there have been some floods, the Merrimack overflowed its banks and poured water into a number of houses--around 50, I think... that;s about the most I can think of as "natural disasters"--no bridges floated away, no earthquake collapsing buildings, no wildfires eating dozens of homes, no tornadoes converting towns into rubble). The economy of the state is in better shape than a number of other states--another recruiter called today... I suddenly realized that some of that is that it's the start of a month, but, I also remember three and four and five and six years ago, when recruiters wouldn't even return my phonecalls, much less make unsolicited contacts from months out of date source material.

Yep, the wrath of the Deity is certainly hitting Massachusetts for the sin of homosexual marriage--NOT.

It seems to me that if one insists on looking for portents of alleged divine wrath and such in visitation of natural disasters, then perhaps one should look at where and when the natural disasters hitting the USA the past eight years have been, and what the politics of those regions are....

#506 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 11:40 PM:

This copy of the Open Mike Hilarity has a transcript:

Airplane. Piano. Flames. Puppy farm.

#507 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:54 AM:

James D. MacDonald @ 463: "Any time Karl Rove is involved in anything one should avoid knocking down the low-hanging fruit of scandal. It is doubtless poisoned."

You really want to enshrine their political guru as a demigod of dirty tricks? No, thank you.

Karl Rove is nothing more than a superficial, bigoted thinker who was unafraid to assume that everyone else was equally shallow. He wins the chess game by poisoning his opponent's water--it is not clever, merely unprecedented in its amorality and viciousness. His victories are by their nature short-lived, his stratagems are by their nature obvious and cruel. If 2006 taught us nothing else, it should have taught us that the legend of Bush's Brain was overblown.

Paula Lieberman @ 505: "It seems to me that if one insists on looking for portents of alleged divine wrath and such in visitation of natural disasters, then perhaps one should look at where and when the natural disasters hitting the USA the past eight years have been, and what the politics of those regions are.... "

No. Just no.

#508 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 04:30 AM:

So this is deeply bizarre: McCain did a photo op with Bristol Palin's fiance? McCain honcho Steve Schmidt is bringing the idea of paternity tests into the media all on his own? I think they're trying to distract us. They can't win on Trooper-gate, Librarian-gate, Bridge to Nowhere, or any other substantive issue, so they're flooding the media with Baby-gate.

Suddenly this thread and the situation in Minneapolis/St. Paul seem strikingly similar.

#509 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:04 AM:

Apropos the unpublishing, I'm relieved that's been done.

For various reasons including the fact it saves me from trying to craft a response to the implication that I was indulging in malice aforethought on the 'one might say X but I couldn't possibly' principle.

That initially made me so angry I could easily have headed down the path towards posts beginning 'with all due respect' and we all know that just can't end well.

So I decided to conclude that reading that particular implication into some of the posts was ascribing malign motives without any real evidence. That's to say, exactly what I felt was being done to me.

Then I logged off and went away to cool off. Just about there now.

#510 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 09:54 AM:

heresiarch #507:

Yep. In fact, a lot of the effectiveness of Rove and company seems to be their willingness to discard all limits on their behavior, to sacrifice anything to win. They've been willing to use the nastiest smears imaginable, to accuse their opponents (including decorated, crippled war heroes) of being traitors, to destroy careers and massively wiretap (almost certainly including wiretapping/spying domestically on journalists and political opponents), etc.

Partly, this is a philosophy, a poisonous and evil one sold by many movies and TV shows and books in American culture. It says that you become a superhero by discarding the normal rules of morality and becoming a monster powerful force for good. That philosophy is reflected in this administration's approach to the war on terror, in the use of torture and warrantless wiretapping, on the propoganda techniques used on the media, on the "let them hate, as long as they fear" attitude toward other countries. This didn't come from the Republicans, or from the Bush administration, or Karl Rove. It came from our culture, it's been here for a long time, and it's like a melanoma of the soul. It's transforming our country, right now, while we sit here, into a f--king police state.

This is also a strategy in the game-theory sense. There's a famous example of a winning strategy for chicken[1]--just as you start driving, visibly throw your steering wheel out of the car, committing yourself to a strategy that forces your opponent to back down. There's something uncomfortably similar about this "win at all costs, nothing is off limits" strategy. Because one day, *both* sides decide to use that strategy at the same time, and then both drivers die horribly. Think about the freedom cages and head-busting goons at the conventions, especially the RNC one[2]. Responses suggest themselves to me, and I don't know much about violence--I hate to think what kind of responses suggest themselves to Terry or Jim or others with serious knowledge of combat. That kind of escalation could end up with things getting very bloody indeed. That's a good reason not to escalate. But it gets damned tiresome to always be the guy wearing boxing gloves and keeping the punches above the belt in a f--king bar fight.

Sooner or later, either we find a way to make those no-holds-barred, do-anything-to-win, "dreadfulness" sort of strategies unprofitable, or both sides (all sides) will be doing them, all the time. One way to make the strategies unprofitable is to refuse to go along, even when the win-at-all-cost folks are on your side.

[1] Two cars drive very fast toward one another, aiming for a head-on collision. The one who turns away first loses. If they crash, then of course both lose.

[2] I've not heard similar stuff from the DNC convention, but then, the mainstream media is not reporting any of this, so for all I know, hundreds of College Republicans got the hell beat out of them for trying to protest the Democrats' convention.

#511 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 10:43 AM:


I'm just hearing echoes of a lot of other things ringing in my ears, things that get used against all women, things that might get used against me. "How can we offer you tenure when you got pregnant in your first year here? Doesn't that show that you have poor judgment, and that you're not really committed to your research?" "You really don't care about your children if you want to take this high-powered job, do you? Can we trust a woman who cares so little about her children?"

so, so, so glad you said that. as a feminist, strongly pro-women's-bodily-integrity, & also hoping to be pregnant & raise children someday.... it was all hitting way too close to potentially-home. i feel it really is not ok to open that door (trying to not get specific, because i really am not trying to talk about the you-know topic), because it leads too easily into all the shit every woman who raises a family (& many who do not) get flung at them. by me, it isn't ok just because she's a republican/a hypocrite/evil.

#512 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Stefan Jones @506, here's an update on Open Mic Night at MSNBC from Peggy Noonan.

#513 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 12:59 PM:

Tania, #503: Palin appears to be someone who grew up with a strong and unrealistic sense of entitlement (it helps to be pretty, too)--rules are for losers. When that's crossed, when she realizes she's being treated like everyone else, she seems to lose it pretty quickly.

I suspect she'll do just fine with the Washington insiders, who are after all another kind of small community, at least until she double-crosses too many of them, and that probably won't happen until after the election. If McCain loses, she's probably going to be scads of trouble for some time after, at least until she goes down in a pile of corruption charges.

Caroline, #488: yes. It strikes me, though, that cruelty to members of ones family (and I don't mean affairs, which are common behavior) is a legitimate criticism of anyone for high office. People who aren't even decent to their children are abusing power by definition.

#514 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 06:53 PM:

#512 Earl

Wow, what a piece of spin! (And I am appalled by the sucking up to Palin that Noonan does in it. Hmm, maybe this whole phase of electioneering really is

Meanwhile, the more that gets dugs up about Gov Palin, the more this whole situation feels like a poorly written paranormal-romance-without-the-romance full of characters turning out to be vampires, ghouls, zombies, and other revenants of various degrees of attractiveness, evil, and glamour.

(McCain's a vampire, Rove's a ghoul, the person from the Oval Office who wasn't physically there is a zombie, and Palin's a ghoul. )

#515 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Earl Cooley III @504:
You don't have to have a high fever to have that reaction to the insanity, trust me on that.

#516 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 08:20 AM:


Front page headline in the Arizona Republic this morning:

So Palin's been charging the state a per diem travel expense ... while she's home.

For 312 nights.

Out of 19 months.


Because her home's in Wasilla and she works in Juneau, she thinks she should have a per diem while she's home to cover her expenses.

#517 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 07:13 PM:

ABC News on Palin and the Librarian.

The story mentions two books that Palin's church was targeting when Palin asked "What is your response if I ask you to remove some books from the collection of the Wasilla Public Library?": "Around the time Palin became mayor the church and other conservative Christians began to focus on certain books available in local stores and in the town library including one called Go Ask Alice and another written by a local pastor, Howard Bess, called Pastor, I Am Gay."

#518 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 11:16 PM:

Waitaminute, she tried to suppress an anti-drug book???

#519 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 02:07 AM:

What's the best source we have on Palin & the book banning? Mentioned it in passing to a journalist friend of mine who demanded to see better sources, saying so far all he's read is that Palin rhetorically asked "what it would take" to have a book removed from the library and that she threatened to fire a librarian for not giving "full support" to the mayor; my friend says all this does not amount to "remove these books or I'll fire you" yet, and I pretty much have to agree. Can't watch videos right now--does the ABC piece on youtube shed any further light on this?

#520 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 08:25 AM:

Waitaminute, she tried to suppress an anti-drug book???

It's about a young person taking drugs. It's irrelevant that it shows the negative consequences; it's planting the idea. Whereas if kids aren't given the idea of taking drugs, they won't do it. Right?

#521 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 02:48 PM:

Having looked at the ABC video I find it devoid of new information. Factoids we know:

1) SP asked librarian about "procedures" for getting a book removed from the library
2) Librarian said DO NOT WANT
3) Librarian subsequently got fired. Nothing solid to say it was because of THAT conversation, even though that's the only logical conclusion I can come to.
4) Librarian got reinstated after public outcry (orly). Quit 2 years later because working under SP wasn't all rainbows and puppies.

Every man and woman with three plus braincells can probably come to a logical conclusion regarding causality in these events, but my journalist friend is still right in saying that none of these actually spell out to the exclusion of everything else that Sarah Palin wanted to get those books banned and fired the librarian for failing to do her bidding.

#522 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 02:55 PM:

Daniel 521: The term "beyond a reasonable doubt" comes to mind.

#523 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 06:25 PM:

#521 Daniel

By "factoid" do you mean the correct employment of the word to denote something that is ersatz as opposed to actually being factual?!

(Journalistic debasements don't occur only in politics....)

#524 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 11:12 AM:

Xopher, absolutely, and I think my friend understands this and agrees as well. The question, which interests me for purely theoretical reasons, is would you say "Sarah Palin has tried to have books removed from a library" in any kind of journalistic context, and I guess the answer still has to be "no".

Paula, errr, can we say that by using "factoid" instead of "fact" I was making a very understated commentary on the likelihood of McCain winning this November and thus on the relevance of Sarah Palin's political past? Otherwise I'd have to own up to the FACT that I didn't know the difference between the two words. Have informed and educated myself now, so thank you very much for that new word meaning. I take it it's being used equivalently to "fact" by some people? (obviously including me up there)

Also, I find the word ersatz amusing to no end. I mean, it's a German word, obviously, and the way it's being used in English is so very very close to the way we'd use it in German, but it is still a slight bit off. I don't think I'd ever use it in English because I'm sure I'd get that slightly different nuance wrong. As you no doubt know, in German "Ersatz" means "replacement", and depending on the context you can give it somewhat of a negative implication. However, you have to phrase your sentence carefully to make it clear that you mean an INFERIOR replacement, not a perfectly adequate one.

#526 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Daniel 524: Try the word 'imitation' for an English synonym of the English (albeit borrowed from German) word 'ersatz'. If you have a wool blanket, and you replace it with another wool blanket, the second one isn't ersatz, not in English. Replace a wool blanket with one made of artificial fibers that look just like wool but aren't nearly as warm, and the new blanket is an "ersatz wool blanket." 'Fake' is another good synonym.

I'm away from my dictionary with the good etymologies, but I think the word came into American English through the experience of American soldiers in German POW camps during WWII. One can see why it would have that special limited meaning in that context, even if one doesn't assume that ANY word borrowed from German at that time would be negatively connoted!

#527 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 11:45 AM:

Xopher: ersatz has that same connotation in German too, which probably helped give it the overtones in English.

#528 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 01:09 PM:

Does anyone have a link to the Palin interview transcripts? I'd like to read them, instead of hear/watch them, if possible. She's had at least two.

Aren't there also some Youtubed debates from the Alaska governor's race?

I'm sure all this is out there somewhere. Can anyone maybe point me to some links?


#529 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 02:20 PM:

Palin's next interview? Sean Hannity.

Mr. Hannity, who co-hosts the Fox program with Alan Colmes and also hosts a popular radio show, is generally sympathetic to Ms. Palin. “She is a rock star, a rising star, a reform governor with more experience than Barack Obama ever dreamed of having,” he said the day she was chosen by John McCain.
#530 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 02:46 PM:

Daniel Klein @524: ersatz

I used it in conversation in a high school art class, where everyone had been standing around talking while working on their projects. It caught the attention of my art teacher, who said she hadn't heard anyone use it since WWII, where it had been in common use to describe a variety of wartime substitutes. I.e., 'ersatz' coffee, which was something like Postum (made from burned cereal grains).

I think I picked it up from one of the 'Dangerous Vision' (or 'Again, Dangerous Visions') stories, which had been titled 'Ersatz'. That had been a story set in wartime, where a soldier sheltering in a bunker is fed a meal with a number of 'ersatz' products (coffee included, IIRC). The punchline of the story is gung ur orpbzrf vagrerfgrq va gur tvey jub vf freivat uvz, ohg 'fur' gheaf bhg gb or na refngm tvey.

#531 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Xopher: does it work like that in all contexts?

Terry: as I said, not quite. An "Ersatzteil" is a perfectly fine replacement part, an "Ersatzreifen" is your spare tyre, and so on. Normally Ersatz is neutral in German, unless you make it non-neutral. I'm trying to put my finger now on HOW to do that. Let's see, off the top of my head: if you get creative and prefix it to words that don't normally have it as a prefix, you tend to give it a negative connotation. This is very glib and probably only works with people you know very well. Uh... that's actually the only thing I can come up with right now. Definitely a slightly different word in German.

#532 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 03:38 PM:

Jen Roth at 529: does Hannity mean that Palin is a celebrity? OH NOES!

#533 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 03:40 PM:

Roger Ebert gives Sarah Palin a big thumbs down.

#534 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 03:46 PM:

Daniel 531: If by "like that" you mean that it means "fake" or "inferior substitute for" then yes, as far as I know.

Someone comes up with a counterexample in 3...2...

#535 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 03:47 PM:

Daniel, just charming, isn't she? Don't ever leave a trail, everything really nasty done in confidence. I think she'll do just fine in the Village.

#536 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 04:15 PM:

Palin was for earmarks before she was against them. She was for the "bridge to nowhere" before she opposed it. She's all for abstinence only teaching in high schools, feels rape victims who become pregnant shouldn't be allowed to abort, left her little town of 6000 over $20 million in debt, used her position as both Mayor and Governor to retaliate against those who she felt didn't go along with her wishes, goes to a Dominionist church and has a husband who's a member of a secessionist group, had no opinion on the Iraq war until a week or so ago, thinks proximity to Russia is proof of foreign policy expertise, and believes we're at war in the Middle East due to "God's Will".

That's a hell of a lot of baggage to try and haul along on the way to Washington.

#537 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 05:14 PM:

#536: John, she knows how to field dress a moose.

That makes up for all the other stuff.

#538 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 05:47 PM:

Given how rough the women on The View treated McCain when he was on their show recently, I'd love to see what they did to Palin:

#539 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2008, 10:38 PM:

I would just like to note that while I don't support "The Bush Doctrine," at least I know what it frigging is. Call me an idealistic fool, but I want a VP at least as well informed as I am.

#540 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2008, 12:08 AM:

I was thinking on my drive home* about that field dressing thing. Suppose -- just suppose -- that's an exaggeration**, and she's never actually field-dressed a moose or any other animal. I'd love to be the one to hand her a big knife and wave my arm in the direction of a fresh cow carcass, and say "Go ahead, demonstrate your "moose-dressing skills" for us."

*From delivering my son and another Scout to the campgrounds, along with the patrol's food for the weekend, so you can see why I would be thinking about mooses and meese.
**I know, I know -- Republicans never exaggerate.

#541 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2008, 12:34 AM:

Ginger -- that should be easy to arrange; just send her out hunting with Dick Cheney. He can take care of the two game wardens and the seven hunters.

#542 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2008, 12:41 AM:

Joel @541: Wouldn't that end up with someone getting a faceful of buckshot? Or is my cynicism showing again?

#543 ::: Zed Lopez ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2008, 03:01 AM:

Both Electoral Vote and FiveThirtyEight are, at the moment, calling McCain winning in November. By 270-268 and 277-261.

One of the things keeping any optimism alive for me was that they've been calling for Obama consistently for months.

#544 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2008, 11:09 AM:

Ginger @ 542: Wouldn't that end up with someone getting a faceful of buckshot?

Something like that, yes.

#545 ::: Alaska Rainbow Lodge ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 02:54 PM:

I won't pretend like your post is without bias, but in your authoritative rhetoric you do make some valid points. There was some minor scandal surrounding her time as governor, but she certainly is a go-getter. Before, during, and since her name was on the ticket, she's been participating in things she believes in. Maybe you think the PTA thing is funny, but (while I don't condone the PTA at all) you don't need to be a professional politician to lead our nation. I'd rather have a good person with little experience as a politician as one of our nation's leaders than a good politician with little experience as a good person.

#546 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2010, 03:11 PM:

ARL @535:
You've read the OP, and reacted to it, so I'll leave your comment, but the age of the thread and the link in your ID makes unclear whether your posting here was commercial or conversational.

So I've removed the URL. Just to clarify that matter.

I'd rather have a good person with little experience as a politician as one of our nation's leaders than a good politician with little experience as a good person.

So would I, but unfortunately, I don't think that Sarah Palin is either, as her behavior toward her former brother in law makes clear.

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