I Told You So

November 18, 2008

By Stephen Noriega

I posted the blog on September 15th, 2008. It was right after the GOP convention, when everyone loved her. I said this was the worst pick for the John McCain campaign. Now I get to say, “I told you so” with pride, annoying volume and belligerent indignation.

sarahpalin21

Photo by The National Inquirer, distributed 2008

It came to pass quickly, Senator McCain, that your only path to winning an election was doing things that may damage you further than this campaign. Governor Palin took John McCain places that he will regret. In the heat of this contest, with veneers of anger shrouding the obvious, McCain fell into the Palin trap of off-message rants and poisonous speeches designed to illicit fear and xenophobia, not optimism or hope©.

Governor Palin made it quite clear that she wished to be an active, policy-making Vice President. This is simply a continuation of a modern trend. Starting with Richard Nixon and his ambassadorial skills, the Vice President has slowly become more important. Al Gore was often criticized for taking an excessive role in helping Clinton with policy issues. Dick Cheney took the office to a whole new level, holding secret meetings, being in charge of entire policy realms and showing a true disdain for Congress and even the voters.

Did McCain really want a powerful vice president with whom he could barely get along? Sarah Palin did not answer the third grader’s question incorrectly. She meant that she wanted to have power and influence over the Senate. Perhaps Sarah Palin is not ignorant about constitutional issues, at least compared to most other people. Sarah Palin has been an executive of larger and larger offices and she saw this as a path to even more political clout. She will certainly not be another Thomas R. Marshall (considered the laziest Vice President under Woodrow Wilson). She wanted to be another Dick Cheney. Perhaps she knows painfully little about the Constitution. This is even more frightening than a politician’s ambition. With the clothing scandal, she may end up being another Spiro Agnew, constantly messing with McCain’s authority like Agnew did with Nixon until being pulled asunder by a petty transgression. (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oew-edwards-lichtman5-2008sep05,0,5935217.story)

It is not just Palin’s eye on power that had McCain in a bad way because of her. Palin is a politician, and politicians seek power. That is what they do. But Palin couldn’t even follow the talking points of the campaign. McCain must have developed serious reservations about how she will follow policy talking points once comfortably in Washington, D.C. When the issue of Palin’s clothes emerged as a thorn in the campaign, everyone tried to stifle the nano-scandal and move on. Not Governor Palin. She continued to defend the $150,000.00+ makeover.

Even people in the McCain campaign revolted. Anonymous rats, stinging with bitterness of being in the wrong campaign, started to take shots at the candidate with the anxious ears of the press wide open.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone… She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.” (CNN – 10/2008)

Palin has shown sides of this in the media view. Instead acting humble, especially after some disastrous interviews with infamous soft-ball-throwers like Katie Couric, Palin went on the offense. She spewed venom at rallies that incited the lunatic fringe of her party with never a speck of clarification or apology. When McCain saw the potential destructive nature of this, he voiced his disapproval of the personal hatred campaign, something an honorable person does. Palin apparently never got the memo.

With each bumble, misunderstanding of history, petty scandal and word of aggression, Governor Sarah Palin demonstrated how she was the worst pick the McCain campaign could have made. This is not about gender. This is not about politics or political agendas. This is about a person who did not deserve, because of a lack of competence, any consideration of such an importance office.

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A Terrible Tie

October 31, 2008

By Stephen Noriega

This could possibly happen, so I’m going with it in my election predictions. It would be tantamount to betting that the top three horses in a race will fall but I think the odds are actually better than that. Due to some unusual provisions in our Constitution, this election could result in an Obama / Palin Administration. Don’t batter me with hostile question marks and laughter, yet.

McCain could surge and wins every battleground state except Colorado, Pennsylvania and New Mexico (and he has a great reputation for comebacks). The Bradley Effect could help him in certain states like Virginia, Ohio and Nevada. Voter suppression efforts could help him with North Carolina and Florida. Colorado and New Mexico have filled with liberal migrant voters and are turning blue. Pennsylvania has Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to make it safe for Obama. This would result in a 269 – 269 tie.

http://news.yahoo.com/election/2008/dashboard?name=StephenN1|content=111100000110101011100000111111000111100011111010101

So, per Article II of the Constitution, the choice for President goes to the House of Representatives. Each state has one vote in this procedure, so states with more of one party will vote along those party lines. Currently, there are 27 states with more Democrats in the House of Representatives, 21 states with more Republicans and 2 that are tied. Thus, Obama would win that vote and would become the 44th President.

However, it is not the House of Representatives that decides who is Vice President. It is the Senate. Per the Twelfth Amendment, each member of the Senate gets one vote to decide the V.P. Currently there are 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans in the Senate. One person, Bernie Williams, would vote for Biden. One Independent, Joe Lieberman, may vote for Palin as he has campaigned for the Republican ticket all along. This would result in a tie in the Senate. Guess who breaks ties in the Senate? That’s right, Vice President Dick Cheney would break the tie and Sarah Palin would be the choice.

I know there are variables even within this probability nightmare. Chuck Hagel, an occasional Democrat sympathizer could swing the vote I the other direction. Joe Lieberman might decide to abandon his love of Republicans once his friend McCain is no longer the winner.

Naturally, this scenario is remote from its inception. However, it sure is wild to even see it as a possibility. Remember, the last time there was a tie in our obsolete Electoral College, a similar coupling resulted and our first Treasury Secretary was shot to death by said Vice President (Aaron Burr) over it! Duels are illegal now but what a sitcom to have Barack Obama and Sarah Palin trying to run a country together.


Markey vs. Musgrave: How Women Would Change Politics – Not

October 23, 2008

By Stephen Noriega

I have asked many women, from third wave feminists to conservative traditionalists about how gender would affect politics. Most women have told me that if women had more influence at the spigots of power, the environment would be less hostile and more collaborative. Disagreements, although longer in duration because congresswomen have never physically assaulted another lawmaker, at least here in the United States, would be settled through understanding and consensus. According to feminism, the patriarchy, the constant need to be the Alpha Male and the following aggression, especially in campaigns, creates a lot of the negative framing we see today. I agree with this assessment. Politics is a shadow cast by the object of our real institutions. We are trained to act this way and to observe the male-centered ways of how we select our leaders. The traditional way to present our candidates is in an adversarial format. We pit them against each other, focusing on strength of character, willingness to confront the other, physical attractiveness and their control of their wives (the only first ladies to draw controversy were the more assertive ones like Hilary Clinton or Teresa Heinz Kerry). All three waves of feminism have grappled with this issue. I will not speak to the history of this struggle but the current system is not what most third wave feminists want.

http://feminism.suite101.com/article.cfm/third_wave_feminism

So to make a long story longer…

One would think that Betsy Markey would take a cue from her own feminist roots and look for ways to shift the paradigm so as to not recreate the patriarchal election tradition but to compete without spears and missiles, mostly in the form of negative ads. Elizabeth Helen (AKA Betsy) Markey has attributes that could appeal to both sides of the aisle, again, giving her an opportunity to change her own small universe of politics. Markey has a rich academic background, receiving a Masters degree of Public Administration from American University. In business, Markey made a modest fortune co-founding Syscom Services (http://www.syscom.com/software.htm). She also established Huckleberry’s in Fort Collins and sold it for a profit. Markey also worked with and served as an officer with the Food Bank of Larimer County. Markey has also worked on many issues relating to communities, families and women’s issues. Betsy Markey, even though coming from a Catholic family, elected to keep her original name when she got married, something very feminist to do these days and hooray for her! I am quite aware of the patriarch name argument as my wife chose to keep her name and it is the logical thing to do. My wife then honors her family through time as well and keeps her professional brand consistent. Following is a photo of Betsy Markey, not my wife.

Courtesy of Betsy Markey for Congress

So what problem could I have with this person? My issue is that Betsy Markey is falling into the same old crap that white men have been practicing since they seized power a long time ago. The fight for the 4th Congressional District has become a bitter, slicing contest, snowing under many concerns. Quoting 9News about the October 9th debate they held, “Both Republican incumbent Marilyn Musgrave and Democratic challenger Betsy Markey were emotional when asked about misconceptions voters might have about them from the heavy negative advertising in the race.” http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=101504

This is not to say that Marilyn Musgrave has run a thoughtful, sporting campaign. Musgrave has linked Markey’s business with corruption and has inferred that she is a liar, a manipulator and (gasp) a liberal.

Betsy Markey could have risen above this but she chose not to.

It is not to say that scurrilous attacks should go undefended. Some of the accusations that Musgrave’s campaign brought up were absurd and vicious. These can be addressed while not launching equally serrated sorties. In fact, in this particular election, the less one must attack, the better. This is the election to begin realizing that political cockfighting is not the only way to campaign. Betsy Markey can be a transformational character because of what she has accomplished so far and how she continues her political success. Watching the national elections is indicating that perhaps the general public is finally getting tired of the negative attacks and perhaps wants more discussion. Less patriarch warfare and more presentation of comparable values might be the cure of the day. Betsy Markey has held a slight advantage over Musgrave since August and no negative campaigning on either side has helped. It is perhaps an election where we seek the challenge of working on solutions rather than the comfort and tradition of fighting over them.


My Friends, My Friends, My Friends

October 8, 2008

By Alicia Long

There were high hopes for last night’s debate between Senator Obama and Senator McCain.  With Obama widening his lead in the polls (his current lead is around 4-9 points nationally), McCain really needed this debate to help him turn the trend back into his favor.

The high hopes that McCain fans had for this second debate were justified.  Late last year, McCain had all been counted out in the race for the Republican ticket.  Some blogs even had reader polls as to when McCain would drop out (The Right’s Field had the longest running poll on this topic).  But McCain fought his way back using town hall-style meetings with thousands of New Hampshire residents all across the Granite State, and ultimately winning the January primary and rocketing his way to the Republican nomination.

Town hall meetings are McCain’s favorite way of communicating with voters, and he typically does very well in this format.  Many politicos felt that since the second presidential debate was a town hall, McCain had a good opportunity to reignite his campaign.  Unfortunately, he did not succeed.

I’m not saying McCain didn’t do well.  In fact, both Obama and McCain did well in this debate.  The popular opinion amongst the talking heads was that McCain needed this debate to be a game changer –  he needed to make a strong, new attack against Obama, or Obama needed to make a big gaffe – neither of which happened.  Both candidates stuck to their tried and true tactics and nothing really happened that made the performance of either candidate stick out.

This is not good for McCain.  This debate retained the status quo for voters, so one could argue that Obama “won” the debate.  Not because he did anything special or made better points than McCain, but simply because he came out of this debate the same way he came in… ahead in the polls.

CNN analysts thoroughly picked apart the debate last night.  This group is informative because it is compromised of Democratic and Republican analysts, as well as non-partisan journalists.  Overall, they rated Obama with a “B” and McCain with a “C.”  You can read more about their individual grades and opinions HERE (you can also give your personal grades through CNN’s online poll).

Just to mix things up a bit, I created tag clouds of Obama and McCain during the debate.  These tag clouds visually represent the 40 most frequently used words, with the biggest words being used the most frequently.

OBAMA TOWN HALL TAG CLOUD:

Visually, Obama definitely kept to the issues that are strong for him.  Health care, energy, and change were among the topics he kept bringing up.  Amusingly, the word he used most was “going.”

McCAIN TOWN HALL TAG CLOUD:

One thing I am not surprised to see in McCain’s cloud is the word “friends.”  I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say “my friends” so many times in 90 minutes.  This is something he says frequently in his town halls, and last night was no different.  However this came off as less of a personable remark and just became annoying after the first half hour.

Thanks for reading my post, my friends.


Anatomy of the Bailout: Senate’s Conservative End-Run Pre-empts Pelosi’s Progressives

October 2, 2008

Begin By Understanding the Southernization of the GOP

An anatomy of the House GOP revolt on the Bailout Bill begins by going back to 1984—that’s when GOP House members from the South and West began to equal and surpass the number of GOP House members from the Northeast and Midwest. This was a momentous change that would only accelerate in future elections—a change driving the GOP to the right, empowering the rise of the conservative Republican Study Committee in the House, and ultimately explaining why so many House Republicans voted against the Bailout.

The Southernization of the Republican Party is real and has profound political implications. The power of the Southern/Western/conservative wing of the Republican party has lodged itself in the institutional vehicle called the House Republican Study Committee (RSC). It was the RSC that led the way to defeating the bailout, and seems to be leading the way to growing public distaste at Republican values and leadership in Congress—Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 and are poised to lose more seats in 2008. Though the RSC captured the center of gravity of the GOP with the “No” vote on the bailout, its leaders are marching their party ever deeper into the box canyon known as the conservative South, and thereby preparing the party for coming political oblivion in the 2008 election. In this, the Southernized RSC members are “the congressional equivalent of those Japanese soldiers hunkered down on remote islands, unaware that the war had ended years before and that their side lost” (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect).

2006 Elections Accelerate the GOP’s Southern Drift

Though the long drift of the Republican party, especially House Republicans, towards southern dominance is a chronic condition of American politics, things were acutely accelerated following the 2006 elections. For a detailed regional analysis of the 2006 elections, see here.

  • Of all House seats lost by the GOP in 2006, 85% were outside of Dixie—strengthening the dominance of the Dixie wing of the House Republican delegation. 27 of the Democrats 30 House pickups came from outside the South.


  • Following 2006, Republicans controlled only 1 of the 22 House seats from New England (Shays-CT), punctuating the fact of the GOP increasingly irrelevance in the Northeast and across the West Coast.


  • Massachusetts switched Governors from Republican to Democrat (after 16 years)


  • Rhode Island voters tossed their traditional Senator Chaffee, a Republican


  • Connecticut Democrats gained a veto-proof majority for the first time in 25 years


  • New Hampshire voters tossed two Republican House members—and for first time since 1874, Democrats control both New Hampshire State Houses.


  • The GOP also collapsed in the Midwest in 2006: Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana all experienced strong GOP losses.

For a visual picture of the Southernization of the GOP, check out these maps.

Democratic versus Republican Control of House Delegations

Democratic versus Republican Control of House Delegations

The House Republican Study Committee and Conservative Ideology

In the South, and in the South alone, the GOP remains strong in its conservative redoubt. And the Southern branch of the GOP is the most conservative: the most committed to reducing taxes, deregulating businesses, rolling back government, and regulating social morals. It is this branch of the Republican party that repudiated the Bailout bill in the House, throwing a massive monkey wrench into the emerging elite consensus on passing the bill.

These conservative Republicans have actually been ascendant (see 09/26/2008 post here) following the 2006 drubbing of the Republicans in the 2006 elections. The 2006 election sent the GOP into the House minority – and also sent several key moderates down to defeat. Since then, the remaining House conservatives have asserted their authority in setting the House GOP agenda, through their institutional vehicle, the House Republican Study Committee (The RSC).

The RSC was founded as a small group of committed conservatives in 1973 by the very conservative Paul Weyrich, with a mission to keep an eye on and pressure House Republican leaders, who the RSC saw as too moderate. Through the years, the RSC has carried the “free market” conservative torch, standing always for fewer business regulations, cutting taxes, rolling back government, and privatizing large institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Today, of the 199 current House Republicans, roughly 100 are members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, and the The RSC is a stepping-stone to larger leadership positions in the House and Nation (e.g., Vice President Richard Cheney, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay). (see 09/26/2008 post here)

It was the RSC that led the charge as 65% of House Republicans voted “NO” on the bailout bill. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) of Texas, chair of Republican Study Group: “I fear that under this plan ultimately the federal government will become the guarantor of last resort, and that does put us on the slippery slope to socialism.” (see “credit crisis” blog post)

The House RSC Alternative Solution

Instead, the RSC offered an alternative solution to the economic crisis, including familiar bromides such as tax cuts and privatization. Elements of the RSC plan included:

Suspend Capital Gains Taxes for Two Years

Offer tax credits to private companies that buy bad debt from financial institutions

Fully privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Offer tax-payer subsidized insurance plan to investors in bad debt, keeping those investments fully private with no taxpayer “equity share.”

End SEC Mark to Marketing Accounting regulations, which require banks to value their assets at current market values, which means that their balance sheets in a declining market show declining capital and result in less ability to lend (since banks must hold 6% of their capital in reserve). The RSC would like banks to be more free to value their assets at predicted future values, thus resulting in better balance sheets and more current capital to lend.

Enamored with these pro-market solutions that would privilege private investment and tax cuts over government investment and regulation, Southernized RSC members voted NO on the Bailout, and the plan went down in the House.

Here’s how RSC Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) described the principles behind the Republican “No” vote.


Pelosi’s Progressive Alternative

In the immediate hours after the NO vote, House Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to further isolate the conservative RSC by crafting a more progressive bill (including more relief for average taxpayers and increased taxes on Wall Street) that could attract more Democratic support and pass the bill without any Republicans at all. We will create a bill that Democrats can deliver a “conscience-vote” in favor of, Pelosi argued.

Pelosi’s Democrats began to bat around ideas for a new Bailout bill including such ideas as:

An extension of unemployment pay and a $1,000 tax credit for less affluent homeowners.

An new government agency authorized to take over or take major equity positions in failing banks.

Public payoff or refinancing of middle-class mortgages.

A new transfer tax on Wall Street trades to help pay for it all

The Senate End-Run around Pelosi Progressives

It is reflective of the continuing power of conservative supply-side thinking in America in general (and the power of the conservative Southern wing of American politics in specific) that before more Pelosi big-government liberalism could creep into the final solution, the Senate acted to steal the liberal thunder. When the Senate passed it’s “Rescue of the Rescue” Bill on Wednesday, October 1st, it had several components meant to please pro-investor, anti-tax RSC members, as opposed to appealing to the more liberal wing of the Democratic party.

The Senate principles include:

  • Increasing the FDIC insurance limit from $100,000 to $250,000 deposits, thus insuring the wealth of larger investors.
  • $100-plus billion in tax-cut “sweeteners,” including: Relief from Alternative Minimum Tax, increasing tax credits for alternative energy, enhancing the Child Tax Credit, Disaster Relief tax credits and a host of business tax credits for everything from race tracks, to offshore rum production, to wool research
  • Suspending the SEC to Eliminate “Mark to Market” accounting rules. Essentially, this de-regulation of bank accounting frees banks to lend more money, under the assumption that the market will soon rebound and asset values will inevitably grow

This deal will be more attractive to the tax-cutting, de-regulating wing of the Republican party, and it can be expected that the RSC will deliver enough “Yes” votes to pass the Bailout when the House re-votes on the bill in the days to come. House Democrats could theoretically amend the bill to more palatable to the liberals in their party, but i liberal revisions in the House are not likely to advance given the Senate decision, which has established the new “center” in Bailout Bill politics. The Senate moderates and the RSC Republicans have completed an end-run around House progressives, and the final Bailout bill will reflect more concessions to the ever-powerful Conservative and Southern wing of American politics than to the liberal Californians like Pelosi.


Palin Is Your Worst Pick

September 15, 2008

By Stephen Noriega

I have given myself pause after the convention, after the initial excitement and after the first interview to give my humble opinion on the Sarah Palin pick for Vice President. I must admit that when I first heard of the pick, I thought to myself, “What in the heck we’re you thinking?” After long deliberation and after looking at all the possible future permutations of your campaign, Senator McCain, I have just one thing to say.

What in the heck we’re you thinking?

This piece is not a hatchet job on Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is a politician that has risen to a high office and deserves the respect of that accomplishment. This obviously will not be a worship piece on her either. Once the ether wears off and people begin to study her, they will rally to her less. Becoming the governor of Alaska is no small task. For this, Palin should be commended. As a flash of interest and short-term strategy, Governor Palin was a brilliant pick by the Republicans. However, the time of her brilliance and her reality had better be more than fifty-some days if the Republicans don’t want to be embarrassed this November.

It is silly to attack Governor Palin for being a mother and future grandmother. I couldn’t care less about that stuff. If I ever cared about anyone’s family obligations and their ability to serve, I would advocate for candidates to only have one child (in college or older) before they could run for a higher office. That just doesn’t compute. Nancy Pelosi has five children and seven grandchildren. She does just fine. This may sound harsh but I could care less (except for historical curiosity) that she is female. We have been taught that men and women should have equal chances in all avenues of life. Thus, I have no reason to like or dislike the pick based solely on gender.

There are three reasons why Palin is a horrible choice.

First, she will only solidify part the base in the end.

I know that she has induced a spike in likely female voters. This looks promising but I believe that women voters are the most educated, issue-aware segment of the voting population. When some of her stances on choice, education and health care become evident, that spike will disappear. Palin has energized the far-right base right now. However, even fellow conservative have knocked the choice. David Frum said about Palin’s experience, “Ms. Palin’s experience in government makes Barack Obama look like George C. Marshall.” Of course, Frum’s statements, the first time Obama has been compared with the author of the Marshall Plan, could be dismissed as conservative chauvinism. Not this one. Dr. Laura Schlessinger sharply criticized the Palin pick from a conservative viewpoint of female roles and the family. I could not disagree more with her position but I think it might erode at some conservative voters when they really start thinking about Palin’s situation. McCain might think he can strip away some PUMA voters. This group is like any typical protest voting block. Andrew Dice Clay could be McCain’s pick and the PUMA’s would still vote for him because of how Obama treated Hillary. Thus, Palin does not do much to pick up votes there.

Some of Governor Palin’s conservative credentials will simply not pan out. She claims to be an enemy of earmarks, rebuking the Bridge to Nowhere and bragging about Alaskans building things for themselves. The truth, well-known now, is that Palin initially supported the Bridge to Nowhere.

News.Spreadit.org, 9/2008

The truth about earmarks and Alaska is simple. Alaska receives more earmark dollars per capita than any other state in the union. According to Mark Murray of MSNBC, Palin as Governor requested hundreds of millions in earmarks every year. Fiscal conservatives would not be happy to know this. Social conservatives may not be super happy to know that she smoked marijuana when it was legal in Alaska (Anchorage Daily News, 8/6/2006 – http://dwb.adn.com/news/politics/elections/governor06/story/8049298p-7942233c.html). Of course she said she didn’t really like it and certainly does not currently use it because it would be a bad influence on her kids. Religious conservatives might be in love with Palin now. However, when some of her church stuff gets out there, some might hesitate. Some clips from the Assemblies of God Church in Wasilla seem to imply that Alaska has a special role to play in evangelizing the world. The evangelists in Missouri that believe the rapture will begin in Jefferson City might have a real problem with that! But seriously, she might be put in a position to renounce something her church says and then the Right might start to peel away from her. Some of Palin’s political stances will totally line up with the far-right of the Republican Party. However, the Political Middle and the GDI (God Dang (another word) Independents) will not eventually be comfortable with her stances. She has an absolute stance on abortion. She believes it should not be legal in cases of incest or rape. Governor Palin also believes that intelligent design should be taught along side evolution in schools. According to On The Issues (http://www.ontheissues.org/Sarah_Palin.htm ), Governor Palin strongly favors teacher-led prayer in school. I’m sure that is under the assumption that the teacher will lead the students in a Christian prayer! The independents will become less and less likely to follow her. America is often characterized as center-right. The center will not subscribe to these beliefs in the end.

The second reason Governor Palin is a poor choice is her inexperience. I concede that experience is not the main characteristic necessary for getting elected and even being a successful president or vice president. However, sometimes inexperience has a dreadful outcome. For every John F. Kennedy there is a Jimmy Carter. As far as inexperienced Vice Presidential candidates, for every Harry S. Truman there is a James Stockdale.

Dan Quayle was questioned on his apparent inexperience even tough he had been elected twice to the U.S. House and twice to the U.S. Senate. Dan Quayle ended up serving as a perfect Vice President, at least for Saturday Night Live and the pototo(e) industry. Barack Obama is getting shelled constantly on the experience question. This is a valid argument. It is an argument of strength for McCain. However, he turns around and selects an inexperienced running mate. The campaign hid this inexperience through rehearsed speeches and catch-phrases. However, in her first, edited, fairly easy interview, Palin showed her inexperience through rote answers and she showed her ignorance by simply not knowing what the Bush Doctrine was. The legitimate press will tear at her experience like the tabloids will feast on her daughter’s pregnancy. She will either have to avoid shows like Hardball, Meet the Press and Face the Nation or hope that she is an incredibly fast study on matters she has never had to worry about.

There were other, more experienced women from whom to pick. Senators Olympia Snowe and Kay Bailey Hutchinson are respected Republicans. I know, I know, John McCain needs a non-senator. How about Elaine Chao, the Secretary of Labor? She has great experience and has helped with overtime reform. Perhaps McCain feels he needs a true executive. How about Governor Jodi Rell from Connecticut or Governor Linda Lingle from Hawaii? Lingle is a Republican Governor in an extremely Democratic state, with an approval rating of 71%! All of these women have more experience than Palin.

The third reason this is a bad choice is that Palin totally outshines McCain. One of the funnier lines on Saturday Night Live was, “The race is tightening up. McCain now finds himself only six points behind Sarah Palin.” (SNL – 9/13/2008)

Palin is on the cover of TIME, Us Magazine, People, The National Enquirer, etc. She is everywhere. Aliens, foreigners and those who spend most of their lives in caves know Palin but not McCain, the twenty-six year veteran of the Senate. Sarah Palin is a huge media phenomenon right now. Pictures of them together look Palin look even better, and McCain even older.

Newsbusters.com, 2008

However, if her star fades, McCain will have no comparable light to keep the attention on him. If Palin had accomplished something outside Alaska, her brilliance would be less vulnerable to a press that likes watching heroes fall even more than falsely giving rise to them.

Now I know that everyone is currently in love with Sarah Palin. She is looking like the smartest V.P. pick since Thomas Jefferson. I know that the polls have bumped in her and McCain’s favor. Reality and Saturday Night Live will have something to say about Palin and McCain. The reality is that home foreclosures are still destroying the housing market. The Dow Jones just sank 500 points in one day. Hurricane Ike might result in gas going up from the imagined affordable level of four dollars a gallon. Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. All three American auto makers are teetering on the verge of oblivion. Unemployment is at a five year high. Inflation is rising while relative income is shrinking. These are not Democrat talking points. These are economic facts that could become Teflon coated spears for the shiny object – Palin and her older sidekick McCain.

If reality doesn’t work, and it doesn’t always for voters, the LIBERAL MEDIA might. The LIBERAL MEDIA might start asking Governor Palin about things beyond her personal story in an attempt to discover if she is truly qualified to be president just in case a 72 year-old man doesn’t make it through a rigorous presidency. Ever see how fast presidents age? Tina Fey will do her best to satirize Governor Palin. This may seem small but I remember how Chevy Chase ‘framed’ Gerald Ford. People may not listen much to CBS and the New York Times but many do listen to SNL, Colbert and Stewart.

John McCain, you once said about Iraq that you would rather lose an election than see our country lose a war. Are you now ready to lose an election in order to win an election? We’ll see if your pick was insane genius or desperate politics soon enough.


Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

September 9, 2008

In 2000, John McCain was a media darling. He opened up his now-famous “Straight Talk Express” to reporters from all over the country. The media loved every moment of it. This year, McCain again opened up his “Straight Talk Express,” and began what looked like a replay of 2000. Again, the media loved it.

This summer John McCain started getting into trouble. He took on a new chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, who saw the McCain campaign not staying on message, and blamed it primarily on the media’s unfettered access to McCain. Immediately, media were banned from the “Straight Talk Express” and McCain gave few press conferences and interviews. The man who was once the sparkle in the media’s eye quickly became just another presidential candidate.

Since the pick of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate, the tune from the McCain camp has changed even more dramatically. Now, not only are they running against the Obama machine, they are running against the media – the liberal media, that is. And this is not a new stance for republicans to take:

“Ever since Spiro Agnew lambasted the press in 1970 as “nattering nabobs of negativism,” Republicans have reveled in attacking the national media for its so-called “liberal bias.” President George H.W. Bush ran for re-election in 1992 with a bumper sticker that read “Annoy the media: Re-elect Bush.” His son, the current President Bush, trotted before the cameras in 2001 with a copy of Bernard Goldberg’s book on the subject, “Bias,” conspicuously cradled in his hand.” (TIME Online)

What most likely sparked this anti-media sentiment in the McCain camp was his choice of Sarah Palin as his VP. The skepticism about her qualifications and thin resume were written off as attacks by a biased media. McCain hopes to sing the tunes of an elitist media that with reverberate within the American public.

Whether the charges of a “liberal media” are true or not, it has definitely created a new enthusiasm within the GOP base. This is not because Republicans revel in the opportunity to bash the media — it is also because the American public is skeptical of the media in general. According to Gallup, Americans rate Journalists as being less honest than chiropractors – although that is a better score than lawyers. There is a general distaste for journalists, and McCain plans to exploit every ounce of it.