Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Oh my.

That is about the only family friendly way to respond to John McCain’s VP selection. I realize I am a bit late to the party here, so I probably don’t have much to say that hasn’t been already said by those who can say it better. Nevertheless, I can’t let it pass without comment.

First, I hope all Democrats have the good sense Obama had in regards to the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter. Obama’s official comment was:

"Let me be as clear as possible," said Obama, "I think people's families are off-limits and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor, or her potential performance as a vice president."
Good for Obama, and I hope others fall in line. It is patently ridiculous, however, for conservatives to complain that questions are being asked about birth control in this situation when they weren't in the case of John Edwards and whoever else. Well, John Edwards isn't an advocate of abstinence only education and Sarah Palin is.

Enough about that. There are two far more important issues to look at here.

The first is that Palin was once a member of a party whose founder said,

"I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."
That is the founder of the Alaskan Independence Party, whose name befits its platform quite well. If you think that would be a big deal if it were in the past of a Democrat you would be correct. After all, Obama's preacher took criticism for inflammatory comments but not membership in a secessionist party. And it was Obama's minister, not his VP pick.

So this seems like a big deal. Also of note are the facts that Palin raked in an impressive amount of pork for her city before deciding to denounce such practices, has been hiring more lawyers in anticipation of action over the "Troopergate" inquiry, and her executive record has some bruises.

But easily the most disturbing aspect of this whole episode is what it says about John McCain. Apparently, McCain didn't really want Palin but decided his preferred choices risked running afoul of social conservatives. So McCain picked Palin having met her exactly twice before and vetting her with the following stellar research:

According to this Republican, who would discuss internal campaign strategizing only on condition of anonymity, the McCain team used little more than a Google Internet search as part of a rushed effort to review Palin's potential pitfalls. Just over a week ago, Palin was not on McCain's short list of potential running mates, the Republican said.
Pretty thorough sure, but just to be safe they are looking into her a little further now that they have already named her the VP candidate.

Aides to Mr. McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Ms. Palin’s background.
You might say that John McCain is flying by the seat of his pants on this one. I hope, however, you wouldn't be that generous. You should probably say that John McCain is displaying just how little interest he has in effectively running the country. Don't take my word for it though. Former Bush speechwriter, and NRO contributor, David Frum says it best:

But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?
And that would have been a great place to leave things, but a friend of mine sent me a link to a blogger friend of his who wrote this great take that I feel obliged to pass on:

Sarah Palin does not meet the experience test and she was not vetted by election, she was appointed. I'm sure she is a great person. People testify to her plain-spokenness and her maverick style. She's a member of the NRA for gosh sakes. I'm sure she's a hoot. A spitfire. A veritable ring-tailed tooter. She's a pistol, for sure. Unfortunately, we're not auditioning for Annie Get Your Gun. This is the real deal. And it's important, damn it.


Brian Rules the World said...

It's just typical GOP hypocrisy. If Biden had a knocked-up unwed teenage daughter, you can be sure the conservative pundits would be all over it, talking about a "lack of parenting" and "low morals",not to mention the lack of experience on a national level. But of course, since she's a republican, it's not a big deal. Kudos to Obama for taking the high road though...

JOCOeveryman said...

I love Sarah Palin. She is real and refreshing and I think we need someone with real world problems and sensibilities.

I've never been one, either with Obama or Palin, to say you need experience (read: years in washington) to be a good president or vp. The founders talked about character and integrity as qualifications necessary for the job.

If you are a parent you know you can only do so much about what your kids do and she is no different, especially a 17 year old.

Sarah Palin is good with me.

Kess said...

I think it's a bad pick. McCain was denied his first (and possibly second) choice and stubbornly went with the "buck the system" pick rather than find the best candidate. It's a thinly veiled attempt to woo disenfranchised Clinton voters and give people a chance to "vote for history" without voting for Obama.

Palin has a great story and seems like a dynamic individual, but she's got issues, like an ongoing ethics investigation and pretty severe position changes on ear marks and the "Bridge To Nowhere." Now there are things coming out about her church and past political affiliations.

If this is McCain's first executive decision, what does that say about how he'll pick future cabinet advisers, judges, etc.? Will he do his homework on them, or just try to shake things up?

And I'm just going to throw this out there: Does it seem like the GOP is politicizing the pregnancy without seeming like they're politicizing the pregnancy? Isn't that just a bit slimy?

I can understand parading the family on stage after Palin's speech last night - that's pretty standard-issue stuff. But to have the fiancee there, too? Just seemed a bit over the top.


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