Saturday, August 30, 2008

What's with David Frum and Women?

National Review's David Frum refers to Gov. Sarah Palin as "an untested small-town mayor."

Earth to Frum: She's governor of Alaska. And not only that she has an approval rating above 80%. Not a bad score when Congress is at less than 20%, the President at 30%, and the two presidential candidates in the 50% range.

Back when Frum was going ballistic over the Harriet Myers nomination he called attention to Miers' secretarial skills on punctuation, as though that trumped the fact that she was a successful lawyer and White House counsel.

If you disagree with a pick, fine. But to denigrate Palin with the snide remark about being an untested small-town mayor when she's a successful state governor is the sort of ugly, sexist politics that National Review needs to reject.

UPDATE: NR's Jonah Goldberg has weighed in against the Obama campaign describing Palin as a "former mayor" though not specifically taking David Frum to task for doing the same thing:

The phrase "former mayor of a town of 9,000" was repeated all day long by Obama surrogates and talking heads. The problem is thatwhile yes, she's the former mayor of a small town, she's also currently the governor of Alaska. There's no way the phrase "a former community organizer" or "former state senator" would be allowed to stand as Obama's highest qualification. But that phrase was used or recycled uncritically about Palin all day long.

And it's only fair to note that Mark Steyn, also writing on NR's Corner blog, praises the choice of Palin stressing that his take is quite different than Frum's:

Over in the Frumistan province of the NR caliphate, our pal David is not happy about the Palin pick. I am - for several reasons.

First, Governor Palin is not merely, as Jay describes her, "all-American", but hyper-American. What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew? As an immigrant, I'm not saying I came to the United States purely to meet chicks like that, but it was certainly high on my list of priorities. And for the gun-totin' Miss Wasilla then to go on to become Governor while having five kids makes it an even more uniquely American story. Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of "community organizer" and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy.

Second, it can't be in Senator Obama's interest for the punditocracy to spends its time arguing about whether the Republicans' vice-presidential pick is "even more" inexperienced than the Democrats' presidential one.

Third, real people don't define "experience" as appearing on unwatched Sunday-morning talk shows every week for 35 years and having been around long enough to have got both the War on Terror and the Cold War wrong. (On the first point, at the Gun Owners of New Hampshire dinner in the 2000 campaign, I remember Orrin Hatch telling me sadly that he was stunned to discover how few Granite State voters knew who he was.) Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are more or less the same age, but Governor Palin has run a state and a town and a commercial fishing operation, whereas (to reprise a famous line on the Rev Jackson) Senator Obama ain't run nothin' but his mouth. She's done the stuff he's merely a poseur about. Post-partisan? She took on her own party's corrupt political culture directly while Obama was sucking up to Wright and Ayers and being just another get-along Chicago machine pol (see his campaign's thuggish attempt to throttle Stanley Kurtz and Milt Rosenberg on WGN the other night).

Fourth, Governor Palin has what the British Labour Party politician Denis Healy likes to call a "hinterland" - a life beyond politics. Whenever Senator Obama attempts anything non-political (such as bowling), he comes over like a visiting dignitary to a foreign country getting shanghaied into some impenetrable local folk ritual. Sarah Palin isn't just on the right side of the issues intellectually. She won't need the usual stage-managed "hunting" trip to reassure gun owners: she's lived the Second Amendment all her life. Likewise, on abortion, we're often told it's easy to be against it in principle but what if you were a woman facing a difficult birth or a handicapped child? Been there, done that.

Fifth, she complicates all the laziest Democrat pieties. Energy? Unlike Biden and Obama, she's been to ANWR and, like most Alaskans, supports drilling there.


Sen. Hillary Clinton on Gov. Sarah Palin's nomination as Vice President:

“We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain," Clinton, the first woman to win a presidential primary, said in the statement. "While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.”

Friday, August 29, 2008


Not the same-old, same-old! A woman of accomplishment with an 80% approval rating. Compare that with the disapproval rating of Congress above 70%.

She's a woman who has succeeded in sports, education, ethics review, running a state and political hardball. A woman of courage who is raising a Down Syndrome child and can identify with the "least of these" and the problems the disabled face. A woman who understands the difficulties of those struggling in a society dominated by the good old boy network. A woman who understands the sacrifice of having a son go off to war. And to boot, she's the only one of the four candidates with proven executive experience.

Again, a woman has to work harder and be twice as good as a man to get credit. It will be interesting to see if the glass ceiling can really be broken. After the press bias against Sen. Clinton, one expects even worse for Gov. Palin who has no links to the power networks that Sen. Clinton had.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Afghanistan: Obama's Iraq?

One of the more intriguing positions that Sen. Obama has taken is his firm stance that Afghanistan is the center of the war on terror and that the US needs to ramp up its troop commitment there by 30 to 40 percent (add two to three brigades to the 34,000 US troops already there).

I believe U.S. troop levels need to increase. And I for at least a year now have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three. I think it’s very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities. But military alone is not going to be enough. The Afghan government needs to do more, but we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front on our battle against terrorism. …

I think one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq.

And despite what the Bush administration has argued, I don’t think there’s any doubt that we were distracted from our efforts not only to hunt down Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but also to rebuild this country so that people have confidence that we were here to stay over the long haul, that we were going to rebuild roads, provide electricity, improve the quality of life for people.

And now we have a chance, I think, to correct some of those errors. There’s starting to be a growing consensus that it’s time for us to withdraw some of our combat troops out of Iraq, deploy them here in Afghanistan, and I think we have to seize that opportunity. Now is the time for us to do it.

I think it’s important for us to begin planning for those brigades now. If we wait until the next administration, it could be a year before we get those additional troops on the ground here in Afghanistan, and I think that would be a mistake. I think the situation is getting urgent enough that we have got to start doing something now.
[original transcript] [emphasis mine]

Even more striking, Sen. Obama has threatened to invade Pakistan if necessary in order to capture terrorists.

Standing in front of a Stars and Stripes flag, Mr Obama said: “There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

How ironic if after Pres. Bush's winning surge in Iraq, Pres. Obama would follow that up with a “surge” in Afghanistan sure to heat up that conflict--and at a time when our NATO allies are unwilling to send more troops. Worse yet, spreading the conflict to Pakistan by invading that country. Not to mention the possible reversal of all the good effects of the surge in Iraq by the premature “redeployment” of US troops out of Iraq. Talk about a possible quagmire.