Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Press Anti-Hillary/Pro-Obama Bias Exposed Again

Remember how Sen. Hillary Clinton was called a liar for saying she landed under sniper fire in Bosnia? It fueled a number of news cycle headlines. CBS ran a two minute prime time news story about it.

Referring to the CBS News video, Clinton aides said Monday, it "was not quite as dramatic as Clinton put it."

"She meant that there was fire on the hillside around the area when we landed, which was the case," said Clinton campaign aide Lissa Muscatine.

Mike Allen of Politico.com said: "Who knows if she misremembered, misspoke, exaggerated, whatever. It makes the case for Sen. Obama that all this experience that she's been talking about is at least partly in her imagination."

Hundreds of thousands have viewed the video online in just the past few days.

Compare that with the media's (and CBS's) non-headline treatment earlier this month of Sen. Joe Biden's excited, dramatic account of being in a helicopter forced down in the midst of Al Qaeda’s Afghanistan.

"If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me," Biden said. "Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are."

It turns out that Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the helicopter being forced down and was nowhere in view. The culprit was snow, and none of the helicopter occupants were in danger.

No one was injured, and the Associated Press reported at the time that "the senators and their delegation returned to Bagram Air Base in a motor convoy, and left for Turkey.

"The weather closed in on us," Kerry told the AP at the time in a phone interview from Turkey. "It went pretty blind, pretty fast and we were around some pretty dangerous ridges. So the pilot exercised his judgment that we were better off putting down there, and we all agreed...We sat up there and traded stories."

Kerry joked, "We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn't have to do it…Other than getting a little cold, it was fine."

But, no one in the media is suggesting that this "makes the case" that Sen. Biden’s claim of experience "is at least partly in [his] imagination.”

Monday, September 29, 2008

McCain and Palin with Couric

Gibson/Couric Incompetence

The questions not asked show as much as the questions asked.

Has anyone else noticed that neither Katie Couric nor Charlie Gibson has any curiosity about a major political figure who has an 80% approval rating? But, that's the approval rating Gov. Sarah Palin has.

Sort of like a sports reporter never thinking to ask how a major league pitcher racked up 5 no hitters in one season.

There's not even common sense among major journalists. These people don't know their business. Mark Steyn is absolutely right that Gibson has damaged his brand (as has Couric).

D[ean]B[arnett]: Actually, now it’s old news, but since you bring up the sniffers at Sarah Palin, have you ever seen anything like that Charlie Gibson interview, who was seemingly channeling a metrosexual schoolmarm the way he was looking over his glasses with such fury at Sarah Palin?

M[ark]S[teyn]: Yeah, I know, and I don’t, I just don’t get it. I mean, I don’t understand why he thinks he’s, that’s in his interest. You know, you and I make our living from talking and giving opinions, and very often, as in this whole sub-prime business, Lehman Brothers, on stuff we know nothing about. Let’s face it, that’s what we do. If it wasn’t Lehman Brothers in the news, and there was instead a coup in Azerbaijan, as professional commentators, we would be within three minutes instant experts on Azerbaijan and the coup situation. That’s what pundits do. They chatter about stuff all day long. And I think it behooves us to have a respect for people who actually run things and do things like the Governor of Alaska. And why Charlie Gibson thinks he would come out, some worthless twit who reads a teleprompter for a living, would come off looking good being condescending to a woman who runs a state, I’ve no idea.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Conservative Hysterics

I continue to be amazed at how easily some conservative commentators fall into hysterics and crisis mode.

Rich Lowery wailed on The Corner about Katie Couric's interview with Gov. Palin:

I thought Palin was dreadful. She obviously didn't have the reaction to the Charlie Gibson interview that I had hoped. She had better be better prepared for next week or she risks damaging her political brand forevermore.

First of all, forevermore is a long time.

Second, Gov. Palin is a bright, extremely competent governor. You don't get 80% approval rating in political office for being stupid. And you don't rise without political pull and family/machine connections unless you have amazing ability. Palin also connects with regular folks and excites them (which, no offense, Rich Lowery, George Will and a number of other conservative thinkers don't).

Third, I thought Katie Couric's follow up question on Rick Davis was lame. It's like she didn't understand what "recuse" means. Palin was using the Margaret Thatcher approach of giving the same answer until the reporter understood it. Thatcher is one of Palin's heroes. But, British authoritative reserve is not Palin's strong point.

Palin probably should have explained, "Katie, when you recuse yourself, you separate yourself from the operations and oversight of a company. So, Rick Davis is no more responsible for what happens in the company than you and I are responsible for General Electric's actions because we hold stock through mutual funds in General Electric."

Today on Fox News Sunday Brit Hume, Mara Liasson and Bill Kristol all agreed that Palin will do fine in the upcoming VP debate if she is allowed to be herself--a balanced assessment that escaped Lowery.

Sen. Biden's gaffes have not damaged his brand or his ticket. Sen. Obama's poor performance at Saddleback (and in tons of q & a sessions where every other word seems to be "a" and "um") did not damage his brand. Conservatives play into gotcha politics and MSM values when they blow small mistakes out of proportion.

Then we have George Will who goes ballistic all too often. This time because John McCain wanted SEC chairman Chris Cox fired.

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked The Wall Street Journal to editorialize that "McCain untethered" -- disconnected from knowledge and principle -- had made a "false and deeply unfair" attack on Cox that was "unpresidential" and demonstrated that McCain "doesn't understand what's happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does."

As one of the taxpayers who is going to help bankroll hundreds of billions of dollars for the bailout, I would like to see a number of heads roll--congressional, executive and regulatory. Maybe Cox doesn't deserve to be fired, but the onus is on him to prove he was competent. (And I don't feel bad in thinking the Wall Street Journal has some explaining to do about not beating the drum hard and long about the imminence of the second greatest financial crisis in a century. WSJ's protest sounds a little too close to excusing their own lack of competence along with Cox's. But, I'm open to hear their defense as well.)

If it was right to fire FEMA chief Michael Brown for Katrina failures (even though the state and local officials were more at fault), I don't see anything undue about firing top economic officials for a non-"act of God" crisis they should have been warning about.

It's not only the Queen of Hearts who dispensed with people, Abraham Lincoln had to fire various top generals in order to get to a competent one. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of soldiers Union and Confederate died before the war got the right general. Leadership is about demanding accountability not patting your friends on the back irrespective of performance. And the economic team (congressional, executive and regulatory) has turned in an abysmal performance.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sen. Biden on Supporting the War

Barack Obama: Dittohead?

Others (like Byron York) have pointed out how often Barack Obama echoed John McCain's positions in last night's debate. But, one instance stood out to me because it mirrored Obama's response to Hillary Clinton's superior expertise in their February 27, 2008 debate.

In the debate last night Jim Lehrer asked each candidate about his position on Russia. Sen. McCain answered first with a detailed analysis.* Lehrer than asked Sen. Obama if he had any differences with McCain's position.

LEHRER: You see any -- do you have a major difference with what he [Sen. McCain] just said?*

OBAMA: No, actually, I think Senator McCain and I agree for the most part on these issues. Obviously, I disagree with this notion that somehow we did not forcefully object to Russians going into Georgia.

This was what Sen. Obama did in his debates with Sen. Clinton as well. Remember Tim Russert asking Sen. Clinton about Medvedev? After she gave a clear summary* of his impact on Russian politics and US relations with Russia, Sen. Obama said "ditto" to her comments.

RUSSERT: Senator Obama, do you know anything about him?

OBAMA: Well, I think Senator Clinton speaks accurately about him. He is somebody who was hand-picked by Putin. Putin has been very clear that he will continue to have the strongest hand in Russia in terms of running the government.

Sen. Obama dittoes too often for comfort.


*September 26 debate:
LEHRER: Two minutes on Russia, Senator McCain.

MCCAIN: Well, I was interested in Senator Obama's reaction to the Russian aggression against Georgia. His first statement was, "Both sides ought to show restraint."

Again, a little bit of naivete there. He doesn't understand that Russia committed serious aggression against Georgia. And Russia has now become a nation fueled by petro-dollars that is basically a KGB apparatchik-run government.

I looked into Mr. Putin's eyes, and I saw three letters, a "K," a "G," and a "B." And their aggression in Georgia is not acceptable behavior.

I don't believe we're going to go back to the Cold War. I am sure that that will not happen. But I do believe that we need to bolster our friends and allies. And that wasn't just about a problem between Georgia and Russia. It had everything to do with energy.

There's a pipeline that runs from the Caspian through Georgia through Turkey. And, of course, we know that the Russians control other sources of energy into Europe, which they have used from time to time.

It's not accidental that the presidents of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine flew to Georgia, flew to Tbilisi, where I have spent significant amount of time with a great young president, Misha Saakashvili.

MCCAIN: And they showed solidarity with them, but, also, they are very concerned about the Russian threats to regain their status of the old Russian to regain their status of the old Russian empire.

Now, I think the Russians ought to understand that we will support -- we, the United States -- will support the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine in the natural process, inclusion into NATO.

We also ought to make it very clear that the Russians are in violation of their cease-fire agreement. They have stationed additional troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

By the way, I went there once, and we went inside and drove in, and there was a huge poster. And this is -- this is Georgian territory. And there was a huge poster of Vladimir Putin, and it said, "Vladimir Putin, our president."

It was very clear, the Russian intentions towards Georgia. They were just waiting to seize the opportunity.

So, this is a very difficult situation. We want to work with the Russians. But we also have every right to expect the Russians to behave in a fashion and keeping with a -- with a -- with a country who respects international boundaries and the norms of international behavior.

And watch Ukraine. This whole thing has got a lot to do with Ukraine, Crimea, the base of the Russian fleet in Sevastopol. And the breakdown of the political process in Ukraine between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko is a very serious problem.

So watch Ukraine, and let's make sure that we -- that the Ukrainians understand that we are their friend and ally.

**February 27 debate:
CLINTON: Well, I can tell you that he's a hand-picked successor, that he is someone who is obviously being installed by Putin, who Putin can control, who has very little independence, the best we know. You know, there's a lot of information still to be acquired. That the so-called opposition was basically run out of the political opportunity to wage a campaign against Putin's hand-picked successor, and the so-called leading opposition figure spends most of his time praising Putin. So this is a clever but transparent way for Putin to hold on to power, and it raises serious issues about how we're going to deal with Russia going forward.

I have been very critical of the Bush administration for what I believe to have been an incoherent policy toward Russia. And with the reassertion of Russia's role in Europe, with some of the mischief that they seem to be causing in supporting Iran's nuclear ambitions, for example, it's imperative that we begin to have a more realistic and effective strategy toward Russia. But I have no doubt, as president, even though technically the meetings may be with the man who is labeled as president, the decisions will be made by Putin.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Palin Explains Key Factors in the Economic Crisis

Though it's not hard to beat a somewhat bumbling Sen. Joe Biden as a knowledgeable VP candidate (with his claim that FDR spoke on television after the 1929 stock market crash), Gov. Palin shows real insight in this short answer format on the current economic crisis. Only a part of this was shown on the portion CBS aired tonight.

Watch CBS Videos Online

The VP debate should be fun.

Obama Suspends Campaigning for Debate Prep But Not for Crisis

Sen. Obama says he's good at multitasking and doesn't need to give full attention to the nation's economic crisis. Why then is he taking three days off of campaigning to prepare for a mere debate? Three days that Sen. McCain didn't need for his preparation.

Democrat Barack Obama studied and practiced privately with aides in a Florida hotel Tuesday in the first of three days of intense preparations for his upcoming foreign policy debate with GOP rival John McCain.
. . .
McCain is showing more confidence with a full schedule this week that leaves less time for preparations. His advisers said they saw no reason to clear his calendar to prepare, given the Arizona Republican's decades-long experience on foreign affairs issues and his years of debating colleagues in the Senate.

McCain plans to work with advisers on the debate between campaign events this week in Ohio and Michigan, meetings with world leaders in New York for the United Nations General Assembly and briefings on the Wall Street crisis. He also plans to meet with Bono, the rock star and humanitarian, and appear on the "Late Show" with David Letterman.

It looks like Sen. McCain multitasks better than Sen. Obama.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Most Entertaining Campaign

This is the most entertaining presidential campaign I have ever witnessed. The stakes are as serious as they have been in the past (well, maybe not so serious as during the cold war when the threat of nuclear destruction was always on the table). But, the twists and turns of events and accepted wisdom leave me an amused observer.

1. Who would have thought that the Democratic primary process would reveal the bias of the mainstream press–which acclaimed Barack Obama and knifed Hillary Clinton whenever possible. The old saying that the favor of the press is worth 10 to 15 percent in votes proved true. Even so, Clinton lost by a small margin. But, it was a bit of a Pyrrhic victory for the press because opinion polls show:

a. 69% believe that the press helps the candidate they want to win
b. 50% believe the press is helping Barack Obama
c. 42% believe that the press will hide information they think will harm the candidate they favor
d. 46% trust friends and family for presidential campaign information over only 32% who trust the press more (!!!)

Reporters, while showing journalistic incompetence and bias, have shown superb ability to damage their brand in a short a period of time.

2. The paradigm du jour that political greatness is shown by large crowds already took a hit in the viewership of the Democratic and Republican conventions where Gov. Palin almost outdrew Obama (without the Spanish language networks) and McCain did outdraw him. Now, it is in real danger of being scrapped. The One is being replaced! Palin-McCain are bringing in even larger crowds than Sen. Obama.

In Florida Palin had 20,000 to 60,000 people on a blisteringly hot day. (Question: how competent can reporters be who can’t tell the difference between 20,000 and 60,000?)

The latest worrisome news is that McCain-Palin attracted a crowd 66% larger (10,000) than Obama (6,000) in the same stadium in Greenbay, Wisconsin. McCain-Palin were there the week before Obama.

This is headline news only because the press has hyped Obama as the greatest political figure of our age. The proof was not in his positions or accomplishments but how many crowded together to hear him speak. But, a new political star is eclipsing that drawing power. So, the argument of greatness = crowd power will have to fall since McCain-Palin are proving more popular.

3. It’s the Republicans, not the Democrats, who back public funding to keep elections “clean.”

4. Bill Clinton has been labeled a racist and McCarthyite (Joe) by fellow Democrats.

5. It’s Democrats who are up against the wall for corruption (Rangel, Rezko) and sex scandal (Edwards, Spitzer)–though these do not fuel multiple, screeching news cycles as Mark Foley did two years ago.

6. It’s Republicans, rather than Democrats, who feel the plight of the poor and middle class at the pump and the rising cost of living which expensive oil pushes. Republicans want immediate action: drill. Democrats, satisfied with long term solutions, have taken a bite the bullet strategy.

All in all a most entertaining presidential campaign.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarah Palin, Abraham Lincoln, and Sam Harris

In a Newsweek opinion piece, Sam Harris berates Gov. Sarah Palin for not being among the elite in educational and life experiences.

What I do care about are all the other things Palin is guaranteed not to know—or will be glossing only under the frenzied tutelage of John McCain's advisers. What doesn't she know about financial markets, Islam, the history of the Middle East, the cold war, modern weapons systems, medical research, environmental science or emerging technology? Her relative ignorance is guaranteed on these fronts and most others, not because she was put on the spot, or got nervous, or just happened to miss the newspaper on any given morning. Sarah Palin's ignorance is guaranteed because of how she has spent the past 44 years on earth.

Here’s the New York Times in 1859 on Abraham Lincoln’s edging out William H. Seward* as the Republican presidential nominee:

The work of the Convention is ended. The youngster who, with ragged trousers, used barefoot to drive his father’s oxen and spend his days in splitting rails, has risen to high eminence, and ABRAM LINCOLN, of Illinois, is declared its candidate for President by the National Republican Party....Mr. SEWARD’s friends assert indignantly, and with a great deal of feeling, that they were grossly deceived and betrayed.

In light of how hayseed, non-college educated Abraham Lincoln turned out, things look good for Sarah Palin–who, like Honest Abe, is also much more popular with plain folks than the elite.

Fortunately for us, Sam Harris wasn’t the gatekeeper in Lincoln’s nomination and election and won’t be in Palin’s.

*Seward, son of a prosperous doctor and businessman, studied law at Union College and graduated with highest honors.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Associated Press on Palin's E-Mails: Not the Brightest Pumpkins

Ted Bridis includes a strange statement in the Associated Press article on Gov. Palin’s e-mail being hacked.

One of the “facts” he thinks worthy of mention (paragraph 3, no less) is that the AP wouldn't give copies of the e-mails to the Secret Service.

The Secret Service contacted The Associated Press on Wednesday and asked for copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the Internet. The AP did not comply.

What’s funny is the disjunction between “copies of the leaked e-mails, which circulated widely on the Internet” and “The AP did not comply.” The documents were not given to the Associated Press. They were “circulated widely on the Internet.”

AP’s stance is laughable. The Associated Press is apparently unaware that any dolt going to the internet site where the leaked e-mails were published has access to the copies.

One can understand the Secret Service following every possible lead–even asking AP for their copies. But, for the Associated Press to pretend that their copies were something special to give up seems to indicate that they are not the brightest pumpkins in the patch.

Dan Goodin, writing for the UK Register, seems to have found a link to the hacker’s identity in the online documents–something the AP missed. The AP might think about doing a little less preening and a bit more journalistic sleuthing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rick Warren’s Pastoral Gaffe

You have to feel a little sorry for Rick Warren. The success of his Saddleback presidential candidate forum was remarkable. But, it faded in importance with the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin. She turned the race upside down. She’s an evangelical. So, wouldn’t it be great if Pastor Warren could connect with her?

In a radio interview Warren was asked what question he would ask Gov. Palin if he had the chance. Here’s what Andy Barr reports:
On a Los Angeles radio show, co-host Kathryn Milofsky asked Warren what one question he would direct at Palin if he was able to have her sit down for a forum like the one he hosted last month with John McCain and Barack Obama at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

"Well actually she called me yesterday," Warren said. "The question I asked her was 'how can I pray for you?'"

Warren said that Palin then "asked me to send her some bible verses on how do you deal with the unfair, unjust attacks and the mean-spirited criticism that comes in."

Unfortunately, the implication of Pastor Warren’s remarks was that Palin was upset by the criticism she was receiving and, unable to find counsel nearer to home, called Warren (sometimes called "America's pastor") to ask him for advice on how to “deal with the unfair, unjust attacks and the mean-spirited criticism that comes in.”

Well, it turns out that Warren called Palin first, and she was just returning his call. Andy Barr continues:

Palin's camp calls to say that the Alaska Gov. was returning Warren's call. According [to] a Palin spokeswoman, Warren called her on Saturday September 6 and she returned his call on Monday September 8. The Monday phone call is when the above conversation described by Warren took place.

It was a nice pastoral gesture for Warren to call and ask Palin how he could pray for her. But, it was on the edge of pastoral ethics for him to then tell a radio audience what she said in response.

Thumbs up for Gov. Palin on asking a serious spiritual question that relates directly to political life. Thumbs down for Pastor Warren treating it as a publicity garnering opportunity.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Charlie Gibson's Obama and Palin Questions Back to Back

HAT TIP: Nancy Kallitechnis on the Hillary Clinton Forum

As Kallitechnis points out almost all the questions to Sen. Obama are fluff questions--no foreign or domestic questions and no probing of possible difficulties in Obama's positions as compared to his track record. Gibson's questioning is just the reverse for Gov. Palin. Not even one fluff question about potentially breaking her "glass ceiling" or her childrens' reaction to her nomination or her own "joyfulness".

This compares Charlie Gibson's September 11, 2008 questions to Gov. Palin after her nomination as Republican vice-presidential candidate with Gibson's June 4, 2008 questions to Sen. Obama (in italics) after Obama's clinching of the Democratic nomination. I have not included Gibson's questions from his September 12, 2008 interview with Palin, but they are in the same vein as the September 11 questions.

GIBSON to Palin: Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question. Can you look the country in the eye and say "I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?"

GIBSON to Obama: Senator, I'm curious about your feelings last night. It was an historic moment. Has it sunk in yet?

GIBSON to Palin: And you didn't say to yourself, "Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I -- will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?"

GIBSON to Obama: What'd she say?

GIBSON to Palin: Didn't that take some hubris?

GIBSON to Obama: Public moments are not your own. There's a million people pulling you in a million different directions, but when everybody clears out, the staff is gone, you're in your hotel room at night and you're alone -- do you say to yourself: "Son of a gun, I've done this?"

GIBSON to Palin: But this is not just reforming a government. This is also running a government on the huge international stage in a very dangerous world. When I asked John McCain about your national security credentials, he cited the fact that you have commanded the Alaskan National Guard and that Alaska is close to Russia. Are those sufficient credentials?

GIBSON to Obama: (inaudible) when you announced, did you truly, in your gut, think that a black man could win the nomination of a major party to be president of the United States?

GIBSON to Palin: I know. I'm just saying that national security is a whole lot more than energy.

GIBSON to Obama: You don't get much time to enjoy this before people immediately start talking about the vice presidency.


On what criteria and what timetable will you choose a vice president?

GIBSON to Palin: Did you ever travel outside the country prior to your trip to Kuwait and Germany last year?

GIBSON to Obama: But there obviously is one name that looms over all. Hillary Clinton has already, to some extent, expressed her willingness. There are supporters putting out petitions. There is a drumbeat of pressure. There are those 18 million votes.

Is she a special case that you have to deal with before the others, or is she considered just like everybody else? How long can you let the "Hillary Clinton on the ticket" question linger?

GIBSON to Palin: Have you ever met a foreign head of state?

GIBSON to Obama: Does there have to be a yes or no on the issue of Hillary Clinton before you get to the others, or can this issue linger on, because it pervades everything?

You want to move on to the general election. You want to pivot to a campaign against John McCain.

Can you do that while this question hovers over you?

GIBSON to Palin: And all governors deal with trade delegations.

GIBSON to Obama: So, you won't do -- you won't deal with her first, get that out of the way, and then either move on or not?

GIBSON to Palin: Who act at the behest of their governments.

GIBSON to Obama: As long as that question lingers, can you get about the business of unifying the party, or does that have to be taken care of first?

GIBSON to Palin: I'm talking about somebody who's a head of state, who can negotiate for that country. Ever met one?

GIBSON to Obama: Did she squeeze you in any way by making known her interest in the job?

GIBSON to Palin: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

GIBSON to Obama: Should you choose her, how do you handle Bill Clinton?


GIBSON to Palin: Exact words.

GIBSON to Obama: On what three issues will this campaign turn to you?

GIBSON to Palin: I take your point about Lincoln's words, but you went on and said, "There is a plan and it is God's plan."

GIBSON to Obama: Do you worry that it could turn on race, age and class?

GIBSON to Palin: But then are you sending your son on a task that is from God?

GIBSON to Obama: John McCain has issued an invitation to do a series of town meetings (inaudible). Going to do it?

GIBSON to Obama: (inaudible)

GIBSON to Palin: Let me ask you about some specific national security situations.

GIBSON to Obama: Will you go to Iraq?

GIBSON to Palin: Let's start, because we are near Russia, let's start with Russia and Georgia.

The administration has said we've got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the United States should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

GIBSON to Obama: Public financing: Going to take it or going to say no?

GIBSON to Palin: You believe unprovoked.

GIBSON to Obama: But there's a dynamic on your side, as well. You originally said you would take it.

GIBSON to Palin: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

GIBSON to Obama: That was before we saw a...


GIBSON to Obama: If you already see that money coming in, it seems to me you're saying...

GIBSON to Palin: What insight does that give you into what they're doing in Georgia?

GIBSON to Obama: Is the hardest part of all this behind you or ahead of you?


GIBSON to Palin: Would you favor putting Georgia and Ukraine in NATO?

GIBSON to Obama: The picture of you in the paper, this morning, with your wife, watching the Clinton speech. What did you think of the Clinton speech?

She didn't exactly acknowledge your victory.

GIBSON to Palin: Because Putin has said he would not tolerate NATO incursion into the Caucasus.

GIBSON to Obama: And finally your daughters. What did they say to you? Did they take it as a matter of course that Daddy could be nominated to be president? They never knew what older people know in terms of discrimination, although they may still feel some. What did they say about that?

GIBSON to Palin: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

GIBSON to Obama: I watched closely your countenance last night, your mien, as you stood in that hall. You didn't smile much. Has the joyfulness of this hit home yet? Do you take joy from it?

GIBSON to Palin: And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade.

GIBSON to Obama: Senator, thank you.

GIBSON to Palin: Let me turn to Iran. Do you consider a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat to Israel?

GIBSON to Palin: So what should we do about a nuclear Iran? John McCain said the only thing worse than a war with Iran would be a nuclear Iran. John Abizaid said we may have to live with a nuclear Iran. Who's right?

GIBSON to Palin: So what do you do about a nuclear Iran?

GIBSON to Palin: But, Governor, we've threatened greater sanctions against Iran for a long time. It hasn't done any good. It hasn't stemmed their nuclear program.

GIBSON to Palin: What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?

GIBSON to Palin: So if we wouldn't second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that.

GIBSON to Palin: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right.

GIBSON to Palin: We talk on the anniversary of 9/11. Why do you think those hijackers attacked? Why did they want to hurt us?

GIBSON to Palin: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

GIBSON to Palin: The Bush -- well, what do you -- what do you interpret it to be?

GIBSON to Palin: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

GIBSON to Palin: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

GIBSON to Palin: Do we have a right to anticipatory self-defense? Do we have a right to make a preemptive strike again another country if we feel that country might strike us?

GIBSON to Palin: Do we have the right to be making cross-border attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?

GIBSON to Palin: But, Governor, I'm asking you: We have the right, in your mind, to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government.

GIBSON to Palin: And let me finish with this. I got lost in a blizzard of words there. Is that a yes? That you think we have the right to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government, to go after terrorists who are in the Waziristan area?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New York Times lives up to 24% approval rating

Jennifer Rubin does a terrific job of highlighting some of the bizarre moments in the New York Times article on Gov. Palin, but I couldn’t help highlighting some of my own.

An amazing amount of the NYT story is “he said-she said” reporting (rarely verified by real fact digging). This reporting wouldn’t pass Journalism 101 standards. Some examples:
Last summer State Representative John Harris, the Republican speaker of the House, picked up his phone and heard Mr. Palin’s voice. The governor’s husband sounded edgy. He said he was unhappy that Mr. Harris had hired John Bitney as his chief of staff, the speaker recalled. Mr. Bitney was a high school classmate of the Palins and had worked for Ms. Palin. But she fired Mr. Bitney after learning that he had fallen in love with another longtime friend.

No facts given to support the ludicrous assertion (more gossip column than political reporting) that someone was fired for falling in love with a friend. Just makes the assertion, and the NYT goes on.
But careers were turned upside down. The mayor quickly fired the town’s museum director, John Cooper. Later, she sent an aide to the museum to talk to the three remaining employees. “He told us they only wanted two,” recalled Esther West, one of the three, “and we had to pick who was going to be laid off.” The three quit as one.

Ms. Palin cited budget difficulties for the museum cuts. Mr. Cooper thought differently, saying the museum had become a microcosm of class and cultural conflicts in town. “It represented that the town was becoming more progressive, and they didn’t want that,” he said.

Days later, Mr. Cooper recalled, a vocal conservative, Steve Stoll, sidled up to him. Mr. Stoll had supported Ms. Palin and had a long-running feud with Mr. Cooper. “He said: ‘Gotcha, Cooper,’ ” Mr. Cooper said.

Mr. Stoll did not recall that conversation, although he said he supported Ms. Palin’s campaign and was pleased when she fired Mr. Cooper.

It should be easy to find out if the museum was closed because it was too “progressive” or if, in line with the budget cutting claim, employees were hired to replace those who quit and the museum kept going. But, the NYT doesn’t dig even an inch deep. Just makes the assertion, and the NYT goes on.
Ms. Palin ordered city employees not to talk to the press. And she used city money to buy a white Suburban for the mayor’s use — employees sarcastically called it the mayor-mobile.

Is this for real? A scandal for a mayor to have a city-owned vehicle to use? In my city not only the mayor but tons of city employees have city vehicles to use. And, stop the presses!, city money was actually used to pay for not only the mayor’s car, but the vehicles city employees use. Does the mayor of Wasilla have duties that might need a city car? Does the current mayor use a city car? NYT doesn’t say. Just makes the assertion, and the NYT goes on.
Another confidante of Ms. Palin’s is Ms. Frye, 27. She worked as a receptionist for State Senator Lyda Green before she joined Ms. Palin’s campaign for governor. Now Ms. Frye earns $68,664 as a special assistant to the governor. Her frequent interactions with Ms. Palin’s children have prompted some lawmakers to refer to her as “the babysitter,” a title that Ms. Frye disavows.

Frequent interactions? What does that mean? The NYT never says. Just makes the assertion, and the NYT goes on.

Then there are just some funny bits where the NYT reporters twist themselves into pretzels decrying what has in the past lauded or ignored.
When Ms. Palin had to cut her first state budget, she avoided the legion of frustrated legislators and mayors. Instead, she huddled with her budget director and her husband, Todd, an oil field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects.

Hmm. I think I remember another non-governmental employee helping out in White House decisions during the Clinton years. Didn’t now Sen. Clinton (then first lady Clinton), not on the federal payroll, even take on a major legislative project (health care)? In the Clinton years it was called “two for the price of one” and was seen as a benefit to the people to get unpaid, volunteer help at that level. But the Clinton’s were cool.
Laura Chase, the campaign manager during Ms. Palin’s first run for mayor in 1996, recalled the night the two women chatted about her ambitions.

“I said, ‘You know, Sarah, within 10 years you could be governor,’ ” Ms. Chase recalled. “She replied, ‘I want to be president.’ ”

Hmm. Remember the heartwarming story when Barack Obama’s third grade teacher shared that young Barack wanted to be president. Or that a freshman senator from Illinois decided two years ago that aiming for vice-president wasn’t aiming high enough. But, Obama is cool.
As she assembled her cabinet and made other state appointments, those with insider credentials were now on the outs. But a new pattern became clear. She surrounded herself with people she has known since grade school and members of her church.

Weren’t both the Kennedy and Clinton administrations known for choosing long time associates and friends (from Massachusetts and Arkansas) to key administration positions? But the Kennedys and Clintons were cool.
Ms. Palin chose Talis Colberg, a borough assemblyman from the Matanuska valley, as her attorney general, provoking a bewildered question from the legal community: “Who?” Mr. Colberg, who did not return calls, moved from a one-room building in the valley to one of the most powerful offices in the state, supervising some 500 people.

Didn't John F. Kennedy chose his brother Bobby to be the U.S. attorney general? But Jack and Bobby were cool.
Like Mr. Bailey, she ["Ms. Frye", an assistant to the governor] is an effusive cheerleader for her boss.

“YOU ARE SO AWESOME!” Ms. Frye typed in an e-mail message to Ms. Palin in March.

I’m sure no Obama staffer has ever said to him that he is “awesome.” Obama staffers really don't need to. It seems to be the job of the press–like Chris Matthews feeling a tingling in his leg or the NYT’s rhapsody over Sen. Obama’s March Philadelphia speech as being comparable to speeches by Abraham Lincoln. But Chris Matthews and the NYT are cool.
In the middle of the primary, a conservative columnist in the state, Paul Jenkins, unearthed e-mail messages showing that Ms. Palin had conducted campaign business from the mayor’s office. Ms. Palin handled the crisis with a street fighter’s guile.

“I told her it looks like she did the same thing that Randy Ruedrich did,” Mr. Jenkins recalled. “And she said, ‘Yeah, what I did was wrong.’ ”

Mr. Jenkins hung up and decided to forgo writing about it. His phone rang soon after.

Mr. Jenkins said a reporter from Fairbanks, reading from a Palin news release, demanded to know why he was “smearing” her. “Now I look at her and think: ‘Man, you’re slick,’ ” he said.
. . .

Many lawmakers contend that Ms. Palin is overly reliant on a small inner circle that leaves her isolated. Democrats and Republicans alike describe her as often missing in action. Since taking office in 2007, Ms. Palin has spent 312 nights at her Wasilla home, some 600 miles to the north of the governor’s mansion in Juneau, records show.

During the last legislative session, some lawmakers became so frustrated with her absences that they took to wearing “Where’s Sarah?” pins.

Hmm. Palin obviously carried on state business during her 312 nights in Wasilla. That’s why she has an 80% approval rating. But, Sen. Obama has been mostly absent from his duties in the U.S. Senate for almost two of his less than four years in the Senate. And most of that time was spent on his presidential campaign. Didn’t he chair a subcommittee that did almost no work? But Obama is cool.

The New York Times is really living up to its 24% approval rating.

UPDATE: Apparently Jo Becker, Peter S. Goodman and Michael Powell the NYT reporters for this piece, have not developed their Google skills. In the opening lines of the article they claim:
Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.

So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.

A search of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture site clearly says Commissioner Tom Irwin appointed Havemeister, not Palin:
Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin appointed Franci A. Havemeister Director of the State Divsion of Agriculture on August 1, 2007.

HAT TIP: Deanna

New York Times in Glass House Throwing Stones

Last night Mark Hemingway over at National Review Online linked to an article the New York Times has published today claiming that Gov. Palin rewards her friends and punishes her enemies.

Beyond the fact that is what the party system is all about (winners choose mostly people from their own party who agree with them to fill appointive positions), it’s a strange charge coming from the New York Times.

A Rasmussen poll this year found that only 24% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the New York Times and 66% thought it was trying to hurt John McCain with an article about McCain’s supposed ties to lobbyists.

A Rasmussen Reports survey earlier this year found that just 24% of American voters have a favorable opinion of the New York Times. The paper’s ratings divided sharply along partisan and ideological lines, with liberals far more supportive of the paper than conservatives.

At the time of that survey, the paper was being criticized for an article it had run about McCain’s ties to lobbyists. Sixty-six percent (66%) of those who were aware of the story in question believed it was an attempt by the New York Times to hurt the McCain campaign.

Sheesh, you’d think Palin thought she was the NYT or something treating friends differently than enemies.

What’s really strange is that Palin has an 80% approval rating in Alaska. If only 20% are miffed, Sarah must have a huge base of friends to pick from and not too many enemies being cold shouldered.

You can read the NYT article here and Jennifer Rubin’s masterful debunking of it here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

ABC: No Joy in Mudville

ABC's 20/20 came out with fangs bared. The introductory summary of Sarah Palin’s life leading up to the 20/20 Palin interview didn't have one celebratory statement about Gov. Palin in it. There was no joy in this Mudville.

The introductory piece raised all sorts of “gray” issues, and didn’t once sound happy about Sarah Palin–not even for her being the first woman governor of Alaska or the first woman GOP candidate for Vice-President of the United States.

There was no praise for her single-handedly taking on Alaska corrupt politics and forcing powerful government figures to resign. There was mostly grit and grime except for the begruding admission that Palin has more than an 80% approval rating as governor--a job approval rating none of the other presidential and vice-presidential candidates have. But, who cares what the public thinks.

ABC found a group of Palin friends who said she was honest, but one friend wasn't sure she was going to vote for Palin for VP. Given Palin's amazing popularity, what percentage of Alaskans are likely to vote for Palin? Assuredly a sizable percentage above 50% but, apparently ABC couldn't find one of them. They could only find one woman on the fence. That was the tenor of ABC's Palin story.

One of ABC's areas of concern was that Palin went to four colleges to get her college degree. Horrors! It makes one wonder if anyone at ABC ever had to work and pay for their own college education. Working class students don't have silver spoons so they don't always go straight through, and often do change colleges. The piece seemed to sniff in disgust at anyone who doesn’t follow the rosy path of scholarships or parents paying the way.

Obviously, there's a place to ask questions about someone's life. Though one would think that a governor with a more than 80% approval rating, who has taken down key political figures for corruption, and may be the first woman U.S. VP, might get a little praise. Maybe ABC could have taken the time spent on the deep question of Palin attending four colleges to say something really important about Gov. Palin.

Don’t hold your breath to see ABC's equally hard hitting examination of the “gray” areas of Sen. Obama’s life–with only a glancing note of praise and no celebration about how far he has come.

ABC accolades are only for their favorites. For all the rest of us low class types, there’s only sneers and slice and dice if you get in the way.

Charlie Gibson Flunks the Bush Doctrine

Charlie Gibson's Gaffe

By Charles Krauthammer
Saturday, September 13, 2008; A17

"At times visibly nervous . . . Ms. Palin most visibly stumbled when she was asked by Mr. Gibson if she agreed with the Bush doctrine. Ms. Palin did not seem to know what he was talking about. Mr. Gibson, sounding like an impatient teacher, informed her that it meant the right of 'anticipatory self-defense.' "

-- New York Times, Sept. 12

Informed her? Rubbish.

The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.

There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

He asked Palin, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?"

She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, "In what respect, Charlie?"

Sensing his "gotcha" moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."


I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, "The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism," I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.

Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to the joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush declared: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." This "with us or against us" policy regarding terror -- first deployed against Pakistan when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave President Musharraf that seven-point ultimatum to end support for the Taliban and support our attack on Afghanistan -- became the essence of the Bush doctrine.

Until Iraq. A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine.

It's not. It's the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of the Bush approach to foreign policy and the one that most clearly and distinctively defines the Bush years: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. It was most dramatically enunciated in Bush's second inaugural address: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

This declaration of a sweeping, universal American freedom agenda was consciously meant to echo John Kennedy's pledge in his inaugural address that the United States "shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." It draws also from the Truman doctrine of March 1947 and from Wilson's 14 points.

If I were in any public foreign policy debate today, and my adversary were to raise the Bush doctrine, both I and the audience would assume -- unless my interlocutor annotated the reference otherwise -- that he was speaking about the grandly proclaimed (and widely attacked) freedom agenda of the Bush administration.

Not the Gibson doctrine of preemption.

Not the "with us or against us" no-neutrality-is-permitted policy of the immediate post-9/11 days.

Not the unilateralism that characterized the pre-9/11 first year of the Bush administration.

Presidential doctrines are inherently malleable and difficult to define. The only fixed "doctrines" in American history are the Monroe and the Truman doctrines which come out of single presidential statements during administrations where there were few other contradictory or conflicting foreign policy crosscurrents.

Such is not the case with the Bush doctrine.

Yes, Sarah Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.

Palin Interview: Is Gibson Inept?

Charlie Gibson in asking Gov. Palin about the Bridge to Nowhere project ends the segment with what reads like a rhetorical question. Gibson asks Palin if her position is consistent with what a reformer would do. Amazingly the interview excerpt ends with no response from Gov. Palin.

PALIN: Transportation fund dollars still came into Alaska. It was our choice, Charlie, whether we were going to spend it on a bridge or not. And I said, thanks, but no thanks. We're not going to spend it on the bridge.

GIBSON: They appropriated $223 million, I think, for the bridge. Then they -- when the project died, that money was still there. And you kept -- the state of Alaska kept that money. Is that consistent with the image of a reformer?

The excerpts then go on to the next phase of questioning:

Sarah Palin on Congressional Spending:

GIBSON: One of John McCain's central campaign targets, tenets of his campaign, is eliminating earmarks, getting rid of them. Are you with John McCain on that?

PALIN: I certainly am. And of course the poster child for the earmarks was Alaska's, what people in the lower 48 refer to as the bridge to nowhere. First it was a bridge to community with an airport in southeast Alaska. But that was excessive. And an earmark -- an earmark like that, not even supported necessarily by the majority of Alaskans. We killed that earmark. We killed that project.

Now maybe this is a major screw up by ABC in not including Palin's response in the transcript when it is included in the actual broadcast footage. But, this is a lose-lose situation for ABC.

If professional interviewer Charlie Gibson asked a question (and one based almost entirely on his own editorial comment--rather than one aiming at clear information) and didn't give Palin's response, this is both biased and inept. It leaves the reader of the script with the impression that Gov. Palin has no answer.

If the transcript ABC put out does not reflect the interview content, ABC is inept--and on one of the biggest prize interviews it has ever had. If they do such sloppy work on a major interview, imagine their sloppy work on routine or minor interviews.

The mainstream media just keeps digging itself deeper.

UPDATE: Turns out it was sloppy work by ABC. Sarah Palin did have an answer--a good one--to Gibson's assertion.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thomas Anthony Casoria--Hero

[Following is my 2006 post for 9/11. This is my tribute to Tommy Casoria and the other heroes of 9/11 as well as to the heroes of the last seven years who have fought and died to defeat America's enemies.]

Thomas Anthony Casoria was killed by Al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001.

Tommy was only 29. He was a firefighter with the New York Fire Department, Engine Company 22. He lived his life in direct opposition to the values of the terrorists. He died trying to save lives.

Tommy responded to the call for help in Tower One of the World Trade Center. Here's what one of his cousins, Jo-Ann Casoria, wrote:

Tommy absolutely loved his job and he loved sharing stories of his workdays with his older brother, Carlo, also a firefighter.


Tommy radioed in his location twice after Tower Two fell. He and two of his "brothers," Vinny Kane and Mike Elferis, were carrying a paraplegic down the stairwell, when a call came in that another firefighter needed aid. Tommy answered that call, as did many others.

Tommy was engaged to be married. Though he never got the chance to spend those happy honeymoon years with his fiancee, Terri, or raise a family, he left a legacy of love and friendship along with his heroism.

One of Tommy's friends, Richard Vitale, wrote:

Let me tell you about Tommy. This man was the funniest guy I ever worked with. It was always a blast. Tommy could simulate anyone's voice with great detail. I never worked with anyone like him. What a great guy! Tommy knew what was right and what was wrong. He never crackled under peer pressure. Even when he tried to work for me for Thanksgiving. He stood strong. That was some reaction we got from the Truck, wasnt it, Tom. Maguire got red as a tomato. I remember when he told me he was going to get married. He was so happy and in Love. What a big smile he had on his face. I teased him about "dont do it", however, I thought what a lucky man to be in love this much. Tommy was respected and loved by everyone.

To honor other heros and victims go to we will never forget--2996: honoring the 9/11 victims.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obama: Last Guy in the Room to Get a Joke?

I’m not sure Sen. Obama’s current take on his “lipstick on a pig” comment helps much. From looking at the tape, he does seem clueless as to why the crowd is laughing and cheering. He’s sober and they’re happy and whooping it up.

That’s the real problem for Obama. The crowd clearly got the reference. Lipstick on a pig may normally get a few chuckles, but it’s so old that it doesn’t draw a cheering laugh without some sort of extra context.

The trouble for Sen. Obama is that he either has to say that he knew how the line would be taken or to say that he’s the kind of guy who is the last in the room to get a joke. Neither is an attractive option–especially for someone running for president.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Democrat Kirsten Powers' Analysis Shines

I haven't seen better analysis of the current state of the presidential campaign than this by Democrat Kirsten Powers:

YESTERDAY'S Gallup poll had John McCain ahead of Barack Obama by an astonishing 10 points among likely voters. A Washington Post poll had that lead at only two points, but clearly showed a McCain surge - especially among women. This wasn't what Democrats were expecting when they left Denver - yet they have nobody to blame but themselves.

Obama's toughest challenge has always been to connect with working-class swing voters. So attacking the poster child for small-town values, Sarah Palin, was a bad strategy.

No, Obama didn't engage in the mass sneering at Palin - but he did fall into the trap of disrespecting her. When McCain chose her, the Obama campaign's first response was to ridicule the size of her town. Then the candidate himself began referring to her as a "former mayor" when she is in fact a sitting governor.

When she retaliated (justifiably) by mocking his stint as a organizer, the Obama camp was clearly rattled. Obama himself actually began arguing about the importance of community organizing. His supporters amplified this cry - claiming Palin's attack was a racist slur and passing around e-mails titled "Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor."

Meanwhile, the rest of the country was probably wondering what being a community organizer has to do with being president.

Lured by the McCain camp, Obama supporters engaged in an argument about who had more overall experience - the top of the Democratic ticket or the bottom of the GOP ticket. This diminished Obama.

Meanwhile, the media lit up in all their cultural-elite splendor.

Alaska? they sneered. It has the population of Las Vegas! Funny how the coastal elite only sneers at red states with small populations. Howard Dean hailed from a blue state with almost the same population as Alaska and was a national phenomenon and front-runner for the presidency. Joe Biden's Delaware has a similarly small population - but no mocking was forthcoming there.

Evangelicals will never vote for a woman who works! they declared. This from people who've likely never met an evangelical in their lives. They could barely contain themselves when they found out Gov. Palin's daughter was pregnant, so sure were they that evangelicals would hang her from the highest tree. When evangelical leaders expressed support, there was a palpable disappointment that Palin or her daughter wasn't branded with a scarlet letter.

They claimed that the Palin announcement was some desperate pick that came out of nowhere. Had they been doing their jobs, or even perusing The Weekly Standard or right-wing blogs, they'd have known that she was on the list.

Since they didn't know anything about her, they started making things up. Anything that fit the caricature of a right-wing hypocrite was thrown up with, seemingly, no fact-checking.

They said she opposes contraception, when she said in a campaign debate that she is pro-contraception. They said she cut funding for pregnant teens, when she provided a massive funding hike.

They accused her of cutting funding for mentally disabled children, when she raised it 175 percent over the former administration. She was said to have been a member of the wacky Alaska Independence Party; The New York Times had to run a retraction.

Like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Palin has been deemed one of the GOP's rising stars. Since it's national reporters job to cover American politics, their ignorance of about her is distressing.

Most Americans think that the media are cheerleading for Obama, so they'll punish him for the reporters' and editors' sins.

So now he is weighted down with more baggage as he works to convince an important voting bloc that he and his party don't hold them in contempt.

The clock is ticking.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Peggy Noonan: The Press and New Dark Forces

In her September 6, 2008, column Peggy Noonan writes of a possible disturbing degeneration in the press:

We have had these old press fights in the past – they were a source of constant tension when I was a child, when Barry Goldwater came forward as a conservative and the press scorned him as a flake, and later when Ronald Reagan came up and the press dismissed him as Bonzo.

But this latest fight commences on a new and wilder battlefield. The old combatants were old school gentlemen, Eric Sevareid and Walter Cronkite; the new combatants are half-crazy cable anchors, the lower lurkers of the Internet, and the anonymous posters on the comment thread on the radical website.

This new war on new turf is not good, and carries the potential of great harm. Everyone really ought to stop, breathe deep, and think.

I am worried they won't. A friend IM'd the day after Palin's speech, and I told him of an inexplicable sense of foreboding. He surprised me by saying he shared it. "Calling all underworlds reporting for duty!," he wrote. "The bed is about to fly around the room, the puke is about to come out." He meant: this campaign is going to engage unseen powers and forces. He meant: this campaign, this beautiful golden thing with two admirable men at the top and two admirable vice presidential candidates, is going to turn dark.

John McCain has been treated like a joke this campaign. The only reason there is fairly equal coverage now is that the public is wild about Sarah Palin. The press would be beseiged if they didn’t cover McCain-Palin (as poor Oprah Winfrey has found out). Were it not for public fervor, Sen. McCain would still be getting 1 minute of coverage questioning his positions, age and health to every 5 minutes of admiring news and commentary about Sen. Obama.

The treatment of Gov. Palin is just the snarl that has been hiding behind the press smirk.

Maybe Peggy did not notice the condescending treatment of Sen. Clinton. If you buck what the press thinks is the right choice, you’re dead meat. Geraldine Ferraro is maligned for suggesting that Sen. Obama’s race helped him (just as her gender had helped her years earlier); Bill Clinton is a racist; Hillary is a liar; she's utterly selfish for not dropping out before Sen. Obama gained the number of delegate votes needed to win the nomination.

How many months into Sen. Obama's campaign for the presidency did it take for the Associated Press and the New York Times to look into sermon/teaching content at Sen. Obama's church? How many months, er days, before there were AP and NYT stories on Gov. Palin's church? If the butcher can put his thumb on the scales without being noticed, of course he looks like a decent guy. Apparently Peggy hasn't seen the thumb.

Noonan notes the demeaning treatment of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. She completely ignores the hatred that winks through time and again in the treatment of George W. Bush. If that’s not dark, what is?

Is there really a big gap between scorning a candidate as stupid and incompetent (Reagan and Bush) and a liar (Bush) and scorn for being an unfit mother and having a pregnant daughter? I don’t see it.

Unfortunately Noonan doesn’t understand that things turned dark a long time ago. Even longer ago than the 1960's or 1980's. One only need read some of what was said and written about Abraham Lincoln.

The press has never been made up of "old school gentlemen". It has been raucous, mean-spirited, and partisan since the beginning of this great nation.

There are no dark sources in hiding that have not already been let out. Crushing people behind closed doors just looked more civil. It only looks darker now because the new media shines a light on it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

AARP Out of Touch

AARP's answer to senior citizens caught in the gas price squeeze is: walk, ride a bike or take a bus! A bit less than 1/3rd of their respondents cite walking more to avoid high gas prices. What about the other 2/3rds? AARP doesn’t say.

A new poll by AARP finds that while many Americans ages 50+ are trying to move away from car transportation as a result of high gas prices, their attempt to go “green” is challenged by inadequate sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as insufficient public transportation options. “More Americans age 50+ are trying to leave their cars behind but face obstacles as soon as they walk out the door, climb on their bikes or head for the bus,” said Elinor Ginzler, AARP Senior Vice President for Livable Communities.

Almost one of every three people (29%) polled say they are now walking as a way to avoid high gas prices.

I guess AARP does't know that lots of seniors have mobility difficulties. That walking and cycling on slick streets, not to mention waiting out in bad weather or in high or low temperatures until a bus arrives, may not be good for older people.

Maybe AARP doesn't know that grocery shopping on foot, by bike, or by bus means multiple trips and presents significant transport difficulties unless one can live on a half-filled bag of groceries a week. (Not even considering the weight problem, ever try juggling a full bag of groceries or two bags when getting on a bus, walking a couple of miles, or cycling? It ain't pretty.)

What would really be interesting is an AARP survey on how many seniors think walking, taking the bus or cycling are satisfactory answers for grocery shopping, going to the doctor or any of the other activities that are essential to their day to day living and welfare.

Actually AARP has done a survey that sort of says that. When the other 2/3rds of seniors weigh in they say the high price of gas is hurting them:

Almost all respondents are concerned about gas prices. More than two-thirds of respondents (67%) have limited their daily driving and more than six in ten (61%) have cut back on other expenses in order to accommodate high gas prices.

For the vast majority of seniors the answer is not walking, cycling or riding the bus, but lowering fuel prices by more drilling. A Pew Research poll in July found that 62% of Americans age 65 and older support drilling in ANWR.

AARP seems to have ignored what's in the best interest for the majority of seniors and gone on a wild goose chase after "cool" but inadequate alternatives.

"Out of Touch" Seems to Be Disappearing

Remember all the remarks of how out of touch McCain was? Well, since Sarah Palin, we haven't heard much about that.

Maybe because Palin's life is a lot more like yours and mine than either Sen. Obama's or Sen. Biden's. She doesn't just talk about the pain of filling up the tank and high grocery prices. She lives it. $12/gallon gas prices may not scare Sen. Obama, but for anyone on a regular income or a fixed income, they mean disaster. And $4/gallon gas prices mean a real sacrifice.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Palin More Popular than Obama and McCain

If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it;
if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.

Proverbs 26:27

The Rasmussen Poll has found that Gov. Sarah Palin is viewed favorably by 58% of Americans. Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain get a thumbs up from 57% of Americans.

This would have been impossible without unfair and vicious attacks by the mainstream media and left wing blogs.

Because of the interest those attacks aroused, 40 million people watched what otherwise would have been a rather regular TV viewership. (Only 21.5 million watched the convention the night before.) The public drew their own conclusion about Palin's character and abilities. That positive conclusion doesn't bode well for a spike in public approval of the press.

One has to feel sorry for the many good reporters who continue to have their image besmirched by key figures in the mainstream media.

The pit dug for Palin to fall into has actually elevated her to an incredible national approval level. All this in less than a week after the nation got their first glimpse of the gutsy, reforming governor of Alaska. I don't know of any other political "unknown" running for a top office in the land, rising so high, so fast in public estimation.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Biden on Palin

From The Hill:

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden repeated a Republican line of attack Thursday, slamming reporters for their “outrageous” and “sexist” treatment of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

“I just think some of the stuff said has been over the top, totally unfair, and has been sexist and I think the way the governor has handled it has been admirable,” the Delaware senator said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I think this stuff about how can she be a governor and vice president and raise three kids, c'mon, whoever those folks are don't know any strong women.

“The truth is, some of the stuff that the press has said about Sarah and that others have said about the governor, I think, are outrageous. Look, I think kids are off-limits, flat off-limits.”

. . .

Biden said he was “impressed” by Palin’s speech, adding “I thought she had a great night.”

But while Biden was critical of the media’s coverage of Palin, he too has taken heat for his choice of words to describe the Alaska governor, most notably for joking that one of the differences between him and his GOP rival is that “she’s good-looking.”

Biden did not address the incident during the interview, but felt compelled to say, “No one has to wonder about there being a sexist bone in my body.”

Sen. Biden is a class act. He seems to be modeling the new politics better than Sen. Obama. The role reversal is striking between the traditional vice-presidential candidate who is supposed to be the "attack dog" and the presidential candidate who is supposed to be somewhat above the fray. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The Nuts and the Adults

Jack Bogdansky has gone nuts–and in a slimy way. This is what he posted earlier this week:

When we left the saga of Sarah Palin and her supposed fifth child, Trig, early this morning, only one of two things could have been true: Either Palin was not the boy's mother and was faking the pregnancy, or she recklessly endangered the life of the child by waiting almost a full day between her water breaking and arriving at a hospital -- choosing to fly eight hours or more from Dallas to Anchorage after her water broke.

Today we read that her daughter, Bristol, who some suspected was the actual mother of the child, is now supposedly herself pregnant, with the baby due in December. If that is true, she would have conceived in March, and could not have given birth on April 18. If that is true, scratch the theory that Trig's real mother is Bristol.

Palin has now said the right things about her daughter -- the baby is welcome, both children are loved, etc. -- things that she should have said had Trig been Bristol's child. Her "abstinence only" speeches on the stump will now look pretty stupid, as that particular policy did not work too well in her own home.

If the official story being told today is true, Bristol Palin got pregnant while she was reportedly being held out of school with an alleged severe case of mononucleosis. During part of that time, she seems to have been shipped off from Juneau, the state capital, to the Palins' hometown of Wasilla, according to reports of police records in Wasilla, where she had several traffic violations. It's interesting what she was healthy enough to do while she apparently was claiming she was too sick for school.

There is still the possibility, of course, that Sarah Palin is not Trig's mother. As we discussed here yesterday, several pictures of her before and after the birth do not appear to be those of a woman who carried a fifth child in utero. Here she is 53 days before she supposedly delivered a six-pounds-plus baby boy, her fifth child. Here she was in her first pregnancy. Between that photographic evidence and the crazy story of the delivery, it still doesn't add up.

And if Sarah Palin is Trig's mother, there is still the reality that she recklessly endangered the baby. Will she survive both the unwed pregnant teenage daughter story and the bad judgment she showed around Trig's birth, and stay on the Republican ticket? It remains to be seen.

As a member of the Democratic Party, I hope she soldiers on. She's one of the weakest picks McCain could possibly have made, anyway.

MAX Redline in response posted this in the comments section on the NW Republican blog site:

Has Bojack gone nuts?

Well, in a word, yes. At least for a bit. He tried to ban me today and although I'm not sure why, I think it had something to do with his tirade on "reckless endangerment". My reply went:

Umm, one little problem, Jack - let's not get too hasty with the paintbrush, okay?

I may be right, but I'm not right-wing. Don't much care for the stuff of Bush, for the most part. Don't much care for McCain.

However, I have an abiding sense of fairness, which means that I'm really put off by all of the Palin-bashing that's going on around the 'Net. Folks are tossing around anything they can find, in the hope that something sticks.

They dredge up her husband getting a DUI at 22. Heck, Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge at 37 and left his passenger to drown - but that's okay; he's a good Democrat.

They attacked Palin's "inexperience" before realizing that unlike Obama, she at least has several years of executive experience. When that didn't work, they got really scuzzy.

They claimed that the 5th child was actually her daughter's. Oops, that didn't work out, either.

So they attack her for being an unfit mother because said daughter is pregnant at 17. This would be okay were she not the daughter of a Republican, or if she decided to abort.

Then, of course, we have the attacks regarding Palin's flight after her water broke; endangering her unborn child. Well, the child was born, and was healthy. Down's is a genetic disorder, and has nothing to do with any supposed "endangering".

It's not an uncommon phenomenon; infants can survive without problem for days after the "water breaks".

Look at the recent elephant calf birth at the zoo: after the animal went into labor, some geniuses decided to make everything suddenly different. They closed the public out, and by some reports had as many as two dozen people packed into the barn. And wonder of wonders, the elephant stopped labor.

This is actually highly adaptive; it's bad form to drop a calf when, say, a tiger may be roaming nearby. So, they changed everything while the elephant was in labor, and she quit. For eighteen hours, until they reportedly induced labor. As long as the umbilicus is not compromised, delay is not a major concern.

Talk about reckless endangerment! Here's a calf, stuck inside for 18 hours after the "water broke". And had they not induced labor, it's likely that the calf wouldn't have been born for at least several more hours, until the elephant felt somewhat comfortable with the sudden changes to its surroundings.

You're great on taxes, fees, condos, and many other issues, Jack.

But you don't know much about biology.

Amusingly, earlier in the day he'd commented on my blog that Anyone who keeps a civil tongue in his or her head is welcome on my blog.

No matter; I just came in from a different IP address and circumvented the block. I've got a better tool-kit, and I know how to use them.

Think he's a little thin-skinned?

However, today he's decided to "put on his American hat": I would like to blog more about Sarah Palin's pregnancy and daring delivery this morning, but like President Bush, I am so overwhelmed with concern for the victims of Hurricane Gustav that I am suspending blogging about that until further notice.

Sure enough, something's snapped.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

MSM to Palin: Iron My Shirt

For months the Mainstream Media told Hillary Clinton to shut up and drop out of the presidential race. She showed her character by persevering until the last vote and won millions of votes and millions of hearts.

This week the Media has told Sarah Palin to shut up and live her life as they direct. Tonight Palin told the Media she is not going to iron their shirt.

You go, girl!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Paglia: Palin May Be the First Woman President

From The Times (UK):

“We may be seeing the first woman president. As a Democrat, I am reeling,” said Camille Paglia, the cultural critic. “That was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician. Palin is as tough as nails.”