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 Tuesday, September 30, 2008

John McCain's Judgment Questioned: Palin is Bad News for the Country's Security

  Read here article by Leonard Doyle

John McCain was engaged in a desperate effort to rehabilitate his vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin last night after much pilloried prime-time interviews left her open to accusations that she is now a liability for the Republican White House campaign.

The McCain fightback began with a first joint interview for the candidates with the CBS News anchorwoman, Katie Couric. Mr McCain, who was in Ohio yesterday to resume his own stalled campaign, was hoping that his forceful presence alongside his inexperienced running-mate will blot out the memory of a TV interview Mrs Palin did with Couric last week when she offered excruciatingly poor answers on foreign policy and her understanding of the $700bn (£380bn) economic rescue plan.

Mrs Palin exacerbated the situation at the weekend by indicating that she supported unilateral strikes against terror suspects on Pakistani territory, an issue on which Mr McCain and Barack Obama had clashed during last Friday's presidential debate in Mississippi.

But the worst may be yet to come for Mrs Palin who faces the Democrat vice-presidential candidate, Joe Biden, in a debate on Thursday in St Louis.

CBS is reported to have two more un-aired responses on tape from her interview last week that are just as embarrassing.

One of Mr McCain's problems is that high-profile right-wing commentators are now attacking him for choosing an inexperienced running-mate who has not grown into the job.

The best that columnists like The New York Times's David Brooks could offer is that the Alaska governor brings something "fresh and telegenic" to the ticket.

Brooks has defended her as "smart" and said that if she improves in the most important event of her vice-presidential campaign – her debate with Mr Biden – she might rise to the level of "mediocre".

There was more damning commentary from The Washington Post's Carl Bernstein, who wrote: "

No presidential nominee of either party in the last century has seemed so willing to endanger the country's security as McCain in his reckless choice of a running-mate."
To try to rescue the situation, the McCain campaign has already enlisted top officials to coach the Alaska governor for the debate.

Last night she was travelling to Mr McCain's Arizona ranch to prepare for her showdown in St Louis. Her shaky on-air performances to date have even prompted queries from her husband, Todd Palin, according to party officials.

Mr McCain's gamble last Thursday, of suspending his campaign until Congress agreed a solution to the financial crisis, was meant to demonstrate his leadership qualities, but it does NOT appear to have impressed voters.

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California Newspaper Endorses Democrat President candidate First Time in 72 Years

  Read here

Endorsing a Democrat for president for the FIRST TIME in 72 years, the Stockton Record in California praised Obama as an inspirational leader.

The endorsement for Barack Obama is as much a critique of John McCain, particularly his judgment in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate.

"He has demonstrated time and again he can think on his feet. More importantly, he has demonstrated he will think things through, seek advice, and actually listen to it," the newspaper said in its Sunday editorial. "Obama is a gifted speaker. But in addition to his smarts and energy, possibly his greatest gift is his ability to inspire."

Of McCain, the editorial compared him unfavorably to President Bush, saying "He tends to shoot from the hip and go on gut instinct. The nation cannot go through four more years of literally and figuratively shooting now and asking questions later."

It also questioned the Republican for his surprise choice of Palin, who struggled in her interview last week with Katie Couric of CBS.

The editorial said,

"We worry he won't have four years . If elected, at 72, he would be the oldest incoming president in U.S. history.

He's in good health now, we're told, although he has withheld most of his medical records. That means Gov. Sarah Palin could very well become president.

And that brings us to McCain's most troubling trait: his Ijudgment.

While praiseworthy for putting the first woman on a major-party presidential ticket since Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, his selection of Palin as a running mate was appalling.

The first-term governor is clearly NOT experienced enough to serve as vice president or president if required."

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 Monday, September 29, 2008

Dissing Barack Obama made old John McCain look mean


Peter Gelzinis

Read here

If John McCain couldn’t bring himself to look at Barack Obama once during their 90-minute debate Friday night, how do you suppose he’d act as president when a foreign leader got under his skin?

It’s a scary thought.

To say his demeanor at the podium was brittle is an understatement. Like that embittered old captain in “The Caine Mutiny,” John McCain’s stilted effort to look everywhere but at Obama bordered on Queeg-like.

I couldn’t help but wonder if McCain’s mean mien had something to do with the fact that he probably didn’t want to be in Mississippi at all.

Was he pissed at Obama for not immediately rolling over when he pulled the grandstand move of announcing “I will suspend my campaign” to go and solve the fiscal meltdown?

Turns out his fellow Republicans in Washington weren’t holding their breath waiting for the old soldier to come in off the campaign trail.

In the end, McCain had no choice but to do yet another about-face (about the third in the last 10 days) and go to Ole Miss.

Friday night’s encounter did not contain any “Gotcha” moments or clever rejoinders that would last beyond the weekend. More important, it didn’t leave us with the glaring impression that one man was somehow less “presidential” than the other.

Debating foreign policy was supposed to showcase John McCain’s years of experience as a senator and statesman, to say nothing of blowing Obama off the stage. That didn’t happen.

If anything, Barack Obama seemed a lot more comfortable in his own skin and with his own views about our role in the world than his more seasoned colleague.

Like an old man snuggling into his favorite rocking chair, McCain returned time and time again to “The Surge” along with those pork-barrel spending projects better known as “earmarks.”

John McCain leaned on “The Surge” as if it were some miracle detergent that has managed lift all the bloodshed and IEDs out of Iraq.

Obama called it for it was: a fourth-down pass designed to offset the strategic blunders and thousands of lives lost during the first three years of that misguided effort.

He went on to add that the $10 billion per month we are pouring into Iraq has only managed to suck the oxygen out of our primary quest to hunt down the 9/11 terrorists in Afghanistan.

It is both sad and comical to hear John McCain rail against those “Washington fat cats and good ol’ boys with their earmarks,” when all those pork-barrel projects taken together add up to less than .2 percent of the potential $11 trillion debt that now engulfs us.

Interestingly enough, it was the younger, more callow U.S. senator, the challenger of mixed race with the funny name, who dared to look his more experienced opponent straight in the eye with a respectful smile on his face.

Had he chosen to, Obama could have played it cute and reminded McCain that his running mate with the $400 designer eyeglasses could certainly enlighten him on the subject of grabbing more than her share of pork-barrel projects for Alaska. But he did not do that. After all, it was all Sarah could do to keep from folding under questioning from Katie Couric.

It might be useful for one of those lobbyists running John McCain’s campaign to remind him that Barack Obama is his opponent, not his jailer.

Refusing to extend the simple courtesy of eye contact only makes this 72-year-old man look than much older . . . and angrier.

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 Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Palin Apostate: McCain's Judgment on Palin For Vice President is a Worry for the Country

  by Erik K.
(Writer for NeoConstant)

Read here

For some time now–and increasingly over the past week or two–my discomfort with Palin has been increasing.

I know that by writing this, some conservatives will think me treacherous, but I have to say it. I was wrong :

Palin is NOT ready to be Vice President, let alone President, and the McCain camp was WRONG to pick her.

From my very light vetting of her, I came away with the belief that:
  • She was an extremely savvy politician–must have been, given her meteoric rise in Alaska.

  • I liked her reformist image. I liked that she’d given her own party hell in Alaska.

  • I liked her because she seemed smart, witty, charming, and she was (let’s face it) an attractive candidate in more ways than one. Her portfolio was greatly assisted by her beauty.

  • The GOP, it seemed, needed someone like Palin.
On that front, I was right. The GOP did need someone like Palin. Just not Palin.

Not someone this naive about global affairs.

And I’m not alone. Kathleen Parker writes:
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League. Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there…
And there are more. The Palin choice that so wowed and wooed the Conservative base is starting to meet with some doubt, regret, and flat out animosity.

James Fallows writes:
She is not as smart or disciplined as Barack Obama. If she were, she would sound better than she does at this point. And the McCain team has done absolutely nothing to defuse these problems — nor, to be honest, has Palin herself apparently learned the first thing about successfully finessing questions she is not ready to handle.
Conservative columnist Rod Dreher has this to say:

Palin is mediocre, again, regurgitating talking points mechanically, not thinking. Palin’s just babbling. She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero….

…I am well andtruly embarrassed for her. I think she’s a good woman who might well be a great governor of Alaska. But good grief, just watch this train wreck.

David Brooks chimes in:

Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.
And there are more.

George Will, and David Frum, who writes
“So this is the future of the Republican party you are looking at: a future in which national security has bumped down the list of priorities behind abortion politics, gender politics, and energy politics.”
Which is where I come in.

This is NOT the vision of the Republican Party I care to see.

I am not a social issues voter. I am more annoyed than anything that we have to have this abortion debate every four years.

Gay marriage should be State politics, not national politics.

Can we talk economics and security please? These, to me, are relevant issues and especially for this race. I want to know who the best candidate for the economy will be–and after these past few weeks, the financial meltdown, and so forth, I’m rather inclined to not trust either party, and to not subscribe wholly to the idea of free market at all costs with no real oversight, no true fiscal conservatism, nothing.

McCain will no doubt operate more like a Democrat than a Republican in many of his economic policies, except he will be somewhat watered down by his Party and advisers, giving us a half-baked economic policy at best.

And Palin?

As far as I can tell her grasp of the economy is no better. She’s really a populist, who used higher taxes on oil companies to give payouts to Alaskans (no wonder her popularity there was high!) Not really the most conservative of moves, though…

Then there is national security.

McCain is as strong as they come in this arena, and it was his strength here that made me like him as much as I did. He’s very savvy on foreign policy issues, and was quite on the mark with his support of the surge. He would make a good commander in chief.

But he could kick the bucket in a year, leaving us with commander in chief Sarah Palin.

I shudder at the thought.

Even more than at the thought of Obama as head of the military, amazingly. I think Obama will follow a very Clintonian foreign policy, and I’m not against that. Clinton was every bit a liberal neocon with his interventionist policy in the Balkans, in Somalia, and in Iraq (sort of).

So I was wrong. I was just plain wrong about Palin. And so was McCain, though he can’t admit it now.

Kathleen Parker said it best:
Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

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Can McCain fix his Palin problem?


Raphael J. Sonenshein

Read here in The Jewish Journal


Ever since the quick burst of celebrity that accompanied her surprise selection for the vice president numination, it’s been all downhill for Palin.

Her public approval has been dropping steadily in recent weeks, and perhaps even more damaging has been the general sense in the political world that she is not remotely up for the job. Her two television interviews, with Charles Gibson and then with Katie Couric, were beyond awful. They were close to unwatchable.

And she’s become a light-night TV comedy staple.

The problem is that McCain gave almost no thought to his vice presidential selection.

Like many of things he has done in this campaign, it seems to have been done on impulse with the goal of shaking things up.

Now that the bloom has come off the rose, what does he do next? He has until Thursday’s vice presidential debate to think of something, or to hope for a crisis that can require her to avoid the debate. (Perhaps Alaska has to go on alert in case Russian President Putin flies over. See what I mean about comedy?)

In the meantime, I can see where this is heading.

After the first presidential debate, Obama’s vice presidential choice Joe Biden was all over the news talking about the event. Palin was nowhere to be seen. She turned down interview requests.

My sense is that the short term strategy will be to keep Palin in hiding as much as possible, and turn the functional role of vice presidential candidate over to Romney. That way, the Republican base that loves Palin (although not as much as originally) won’t be mad and McCain can seem like he has a real running mate.

If the Thursday debate is actually held, and if it is a catastrophe for Palin. And if she does well, McCain can’t really hide her for the rest of the campaign.

There’s a lot at stake for Palin on Thursday, but expectations are so low that she might manage to get through it in better fashion than we think.

Another alternative that I think is at least possible is Palin’s exit from the ticket. Easy come, easy go. A non-vetted selection, no investment by the candidate.

The latest one, the attempt to get out of the first debate, was a dud. But I could see him thinking that if Palin leaves (on her own accord, of course, to deal with a family issue) then the media will be fascinated by who takes her place.

The replacement can’t be a pro choice moderate because the base will go nuts and might even spawn a third-party writein campaign. It has to be somebody that the base will accept, and that is probably Romney. This move can’t be made unless Romney agrees in advance to join the ticket. He might even challenge Biden to a do-over of the vice presidential debate, or if it happens before Thursday, who knows?

There would have to be a lot of talk on the Republican right about this, comparable to the discussions that alerted McCain that he had better not choose a pro-choice running mate.

Don’t ask me if any of this makes sense, because trying to predict what McCain will do next is not only baffling to me, but probably to his own staff as well.

But I do think it’s a reasonable possibility that if Palin continues to head downhill that McCain will do something dramatic to get out of that situation.

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Why Obama Looks BETTER in This Financial Crisis


Clive Crook


A new poll this morning seems to say, according to The Washington Post:

"Turmoil in the financial industry and growing pessimism about the economy have altered the shape of the presidential race, giving Democratic nominee Barack Obama the first clear lead of the general-election campaign over Republican John McCain, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll.

Just 9 per cent of those surveyed rated the economy as good or excellent, the first time that number has been in single digits since the days just before the 1992 election. Just 14 per cent said the country is heading in the right direction, equalling the record low on that question in polls dating back to 1973.

More voters trust Obama to deal with the economy, and he currently has a big edge as the candidate who is more in tune with the economic problems Americans now face. He also has a double-digit advantage on handling the current problems on Wall Street, and as a result, there has been a rise in his overall support.

The poll found that, among likely voters, Obama now leads McCain by 52 per cent to 43 per cent. Two weeks ago, in the days immediately following the Republican National Convention, the race was essentially even, with McCain at 49 per cent and Obama at 47 per cent."

It is just one poll, but still.

I do think Mr Obama is handling the crisis much better than Mr McCain - not because he is suggesting better remedies (he continues to say little), but because his instinct to reflect BEFORE opening his mouth and his impeccable taste in advisers are both working to his advantage.

These factors, I think, are much more important than the supposed popularity of standard Democratic positions on economic management.

Unlike Mr McCain, Mr Obama offers no instant bold responses needing to be qualified or withdrawn or forgotten soon after. As ever, Obama looks calm, methodical and unruffled - and has his picture taken in conference with Paul Volcker, Bob Rubin and Larry Summers, who command wide respect.

His response may be thin, so far, on content, but it is an altogether more reassuring posture than his rival's tendency to hasty and exaggerated certainty.

This difference of intellectual temperament has often been seen as one of Obama's biggest drawbacks, including by many of his own supporters. But the complexities of the crisis are putting those traits in a much better light.


Hispanics overwhelmingly for Obama in US 'swing states'

Read here:in AFP

A great majority of Hispanic voters in US swing states favor Democratic Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in the race for the White House, a Newslink poll said Friday.

Of the 684 adults surveyed by telephone in seven swing states from September 11-18, 63 percent said they would vote for the Illinois senator on November 4, against only 26 percent for the Arizona senator.

Swing voters are called as such for their unpredictable votes in an election.

Colorado's Hispanic voters in the poll backed Obama over McCain by a 74-to-14 percent margin, followed by New Mexico with a 68-24 percent margin, Arizona 66-23, Nevada 52-19, Pennsylvania 51-28, and Ohio 33-27.

The two senators came out closest in the poll in Florida, where Obama edged out his rival by 45.8-42.3 percent, with 12 percent undecided.

In June, a Newslink poll put McCain ahead of Obama among Hispanics by 35.8-33.1 percent, with 31 percent undecided.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.75 points.

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Sarah Palin's religious beliefs too extreme for America


Carol Jensen

Read here

Not only should American voters be skeptical about Republican VP-pick Sarah Palin's lack of qualifications to become potentially President of the United States, but just as disturbing should be how deeply her religious beliefs and practices, which are clearly out of the mainstream, could ultimately affect the rest of us.

Her literal interpretation of the Bible leaves little room for the common sense approach that most political candidates in the 21st century factor into their policy decisions.

The idea that someone with such extremist religious views could ascend to such power over the rest of us in this country, is truly a frightening prospect.

Most of us have seen Palin's speech at the Wasilla Assembly of God Church from June of this year, now a You-Tube video, where she describes the war in Iraq as "a task from God" and the proposed gas pipeline in Alaska as "God's will."

On that same tape, her former long-time pastor Ed Kalnin adds to her statements by predicting that at the end of times, before the "Rapture"- Alaska will serve as a "refuge"- and needs to prepare to convert "non-believers."-

Pastor Kalnin has also been credited with telling church members in 2004 that voting for John Kerry would condemn them to Hell.

Recently however, that statement was said to be only a "joke,"- as has been reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. Currently this same church is promoting a conference that will "pray to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals."- I wonder if Sarah Palin will be in attendance for that little gem.

David Brickner, the founder of "Jews for Jesus"- was a guest speaker at the Wasilla Bible Church this August, with Sarah Palin sitting in the pews.

He told the congregation that the terrorist attacks on Israel were "God's judgment"- of Jews who have not embraced Christianity. According to the Chicago Sun-Times the Anti-Defamation League widely criticized these remarks.

Why didn't Palin jump up and condemn such nonsense?

The latest church video of Sarah Palin to make the rounds is one posted by Max Blumenthal on the Huffington Post. The video focuses in on visiting Kenyan pastor, Bishop Thomas Mathee, famous in Pentecostal circles for defeating a local witch (that's right, he is a witch-hunter) named Mama Jane, thus liberating his town from sin and allowing Jesus in.

After ranting for nearly 8 minutes on the video about how important it is for believers like him and those in the congregation to infiltrate every aspect of American society--including, businesses and all levels of government--the pastor then called Sarah Palin up to the front of the church, laid his hands on her and prayed over her while calling on Jesus to put her in the Governor's mansion and then on to higher office.

He called upon Jesus to protect Palin from "the spirit of witchcraft."- This was such an extreme spectacle that it left me totally stunned.

Sarah Palin's long-time pastor, until 2002, Tim McGraw spoke to the Washington Monthly in early September, trying to shed some light on Pentecostal beliefs for those who don't know much about them. He acknowledged that some members "spoke in tongues,"- although he hasn't seen Palin do so.

Some church goers also believe in "faith healing"- rather than in medicine or science. "End times"- is a corner stone of belief in this sect, at which time the second coming of Christ causes a violent end to the earth. Believers look forward to this event as Biblical prophecy while based on current events.

Palin's religious beliefs have caused her to take such a harsh stance on abortion rights that she believes all abortion is murder and that anyone having or performing one, even in the case of rape or incest should be punished by the law. Roe v. Wade must be overturned!

She opposes gay rights and same-sex marriage. Her literal interpretation of the Bible deems homosexuality "an abomination."- And she opposes extending hate crime laws to protect gays. I suppose she believes that they deserve what they get.

She is against stem-cell research and any medical breakthrough based on scientific research that she personally objects to. She has called for the teaching of creationism in public schools, which is particularly disturbing to all who do not share her personal beliefs.

The ultra-right wing religious zealots in this country are overjoyed with Sarah Palin's candidacy and by the prospect of creating a more "Christian Nation"- regardless of the diversity of religious philosophies held by so many different groups in this country.

And they believe that Palin has been "sent"- by God to help achieve this long dreamed of goal. It could be just the Taliban--only Christian.

Now don't get me wrong.

Any individual or private citizen in the United States of America has the right to believe in and practice any religion they choose. But when it seems clear by her actions that Sarah Palin will use government to impose her personal beliefs on the entire country, we should all be speaking out about this.

Maintaining the separation of church and state is the only way our country can avoid being turned into a theocracy by people who think like Sarah Palin.

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Will the answer she gave to Katie Couric about Russia become her defining moment in this campaign?

It's garnering a lot of attention.

If there is an upside, it certainly lowers expectations again for the VP debate.

The New York Times’ Stanley critiques the performance. "While it is quite likely, and perhaps understandable, that Ms. Palin felt nervous and spooked by all the media attention, it wasn’t a reassuring performance. Ms. Palin looked more steady and confident when she took a few questions from reporters after a visit to ground zero in Lower Manhattan, her first, gingerly encounter with campaign reporters since her nomination.”

The CBS interview, shown partly on Wednesday and partly on Thursday, was only a first taste — Ms. Couric is scheduled to go out on the campaign trail with the Palin team early next week. But it may be hard for Mr. McCain’s running mate to recoup. It wasn’t her first interview on national television, but in some ways it was the worst."

As if Palin's bad week needed to get worse, the Washington Post reports that, as governor, Palin accepted over $25,000 in gifts "from industry executives, municipalities and a cultural center whose board includes officials from some of the largest mining interests in the state, a review of state records shows.

About a quarter of the entities bestowing gifts on the governor are represented by one of Alaska's most influential mining lobbyists, who said in an interview that she was not involved in the tributes. The lobbyist, Wendy Chamberlain, has a relationship with the governor's family through the friendship of their teenage daughters.”

On forms disclosing the gifts, Palin, who is the Republican vice presidential nominee, routinely checked no when asked whether she was in a position to ‘take official action that may affect the person who gave me the gift,’ and a spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign said the gifts had no undue influence on her."

Palin did make some other news yesterday when she failed to endorse either Don Young or Ted Stevens for re-election.

NBC News and other news organizations this week obtained numerous personal notes and letters by Palin when she was mayor of Wasilla. In particular, NBC's Jim Popkin reports, several letters further confirm Palin’s close relationship with Sen. Ted Stevens, who was the state’s go-to lawmaker for the congressionally approved pet spending projects called earmarks. Palin wrote to Stevens at least three times in 2002 alone, asking for funding for a $150,000 “floatplane study” for Wasilla, an airport instrument landing system for the city, railroad depot improvements and a “Land Mobile Radio Project” for emergency responders. She got most of it. “Thank you for your continued support,” she writes.

"The McCain-Palin campaign is "moving on many fronts" to stall an investigation into whether , Alaska lawmakers claimed in a court filing Thursday. The filing is in response to a lawsuit by five Republican state legislators seeking to halt the Legislative Council's investigation into whether Palin abused her power when she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan this summer."

The AP: "The woman touted by Republican nominee John McCain as a reformer said late Thursday that she will donate to charity more than $1,000 in campaign contributions from two Alaska politicians implicated in a sprawling federal corruption probe.

Palin is also giving back $1,000 from the wife of one of the men. The move came a few hours after The Associated Press reported that Palin had accepted the money during her successful 2006 run for governor. Two months later, Palin was elected easily after she promised to rid Alaska's capital of dirty politics."


Comment by C.A. Wren: Read here


Given McCains age and health history, she could in deed become Commander in Chief

I am terrified at the prospect of this less than open, inexperienced, undereducated woman might be the President of the United States.

  1. Inexperienced?

    - For a short time she was a sports reporter
    -4 years on a small town city council
    -6 years as the mayor of a small town with less than 7,000 people
    -2.5 Years as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people.
    - On the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

    Palins lack of curiosity about the world and international affairs.
    Ms. Palin first applied for a passport last year.

  2. Undereducated?

    After changing colleges 5 times, she did graduate with a Journalism degree

  3. Less than truthful?

    "Thanks but no thanks" Regarding the bridge to nowhere.

    In 2006, Palin ran for governor on a "build-the-bridge" in her platform. She urged quick work on Alaska's infrastructure projects "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." (Ted Stevens)

    After the bridge received sharp criticism from John McCain and other congressional members she backed down.

    Sarah Palin's transportation department has JUST completed a $25 million gravel road leading to the site of a (The Bridge To Nowhere) bridge that Palin, now boasts that she stopped, so as to save taxpayers money.

    The road was built with federal tax dollars. A ROAD TO NOWHERE

  4. Troopergate. A Democratic Witch Hunt?

    Alaskan Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican is critical of Palin’s recent behavior.

    The Alaska Legislature has yet to decide whether to impose fines or pursue contempt charges that could lead to Todd Palin's arrest.

    The council, which approved the troopergate inquiry, is made up of eight Republicans and four Democrats. The inquiry was initiated, (Before her nomination)and continues, only because Alaska Republicans many of whom have worked with and supported Palin in the past agree with Alaskan Democrats that the question of whether Palin abused her authority must be addressed.

  5. The Trooper-Gate investigation and the link of Sarah Palin to the Right Wing Religious organization Focus On The Family.

    Liberty Legal Institute is the legal arm of the Free Market Foundation, a conservative activist group associated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family.

    They are now involved in the investigation. (A Sign Of Things To Come?)

  6. Book Banning Question

    In Oct 1996 Palin inquired as to whether Emmons (Wasilla town Librarian) would object to library censorship. Emmons resisted. Palin then raised the possibility that people may circle the library in protest, to which Emmons replied that the American Civil Liberties Union would get involved. Palin backed down.

    Palin fired Emmons on 1/ 30/1997. The next day she withdrew the firing after an expression of public support for Emmons

Quite frankly the thought of Ms. Palin sitting across the table from the likes of a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chills me to the bone.

She is NOT qualified to be Vice President let alone President.

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    Palin Is Ready? Please.


    Fareed Zakaria of NewsWeek: Read here
    (Fareed Zakaria was named editor of Newsweek International in October 2000, overseeing all Newsweek editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, and fortnightly in the Washington Post. He also hosts an international affairs program, Fareed Zakaria GPS, which airs Sundays worldwide on CNN. Zakaria was the managing editor of Foreign Affairs, the widely circulated journal of international politics and economics. He is the author of several books, including "The Future of Freedom," which was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages. His new book, "The Post-American World," was published in May 2008 and became an instant best seller.)

    Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony?

    Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, "to spend more time with her family"?

    Having stayed in purdah for weeks, she finally agreed to a third interview.

    CBS's Katie Couric questioned her in her trademark sympathetic style. It didn't help. When asked how living in the state closest to Russia gave her foreign-policy experience, Palin responded thus:

    "It's very important when you consider even national-security issues
    with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United
    States of America. Where—where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the
    border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is
    being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there.
    They are right next to—to our state."
    There is, of course, the sheer absurdity of the premise.

    Two weeks ago I flew to Tokyo, crossing over the North Pole. Does that make me an expert on Santa Claus? (Thanks, Jon Stewart.)

    But even beyond that, read the rest of her response.
    "It is from Alaska that we send out those …"
    What does this mean? This is not an isolated example.

    Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. ("We mustn't blink.")

    But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish.

    Couric asked her a smart question about the proposed $700 billion bailout of the American financial sector. It was designed to see if Palin understood that the problem in this crisis is that credit and liquidity in the financial system has dried up, and that that's why, in the estimation of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, the government needs to step in to buy up Wall Street's most toxic liabilities.Here's the entire exchange:
    COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

    PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

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    Sarah Palin's Advisers are George Bush's War-Mongering Neo-Conservatives Who Instigated Iraq War

      Read here
    By Philip Sherwell in New York

    Sarah Palin is being briefed for her own television debate this week by a team of hard-nosed operatives who helped take George W Bush from the Texas governor's mansion to the White House.
    The Alaska governor picked by Mr McCain as his White House running mate has been assigned a group of senior aides and advisers whose background is at odds with her carefully honed image as a maverick anti-Washington reformer.

    1. Mrs Palin's chief coach for the sole vice-presidential debate against Joe Biden, the veteran senator who is her Democratic counterpart, is Mark Wallace, who was Mr Bush's deputy campaign manger in 2004 and later the US deputy ambassador to the United Nations.

    2. Her chief of staff and permanent companion on the campaign trail is Tucker Eskew, a senior Republican strategist who was at the forefront of Mr Bush's ugly primary battle against Mr McCain in 2000.

    3. Her highly-lauded speech to the Republican convention that launched the wave of "Palinmania" that has gripped the party was written by Matthew Scully, who previously crafted the words of President Bush.

    4. And, to help guide Mrs Palin through the new and treacherous waters of national politics, a slew of other staff are also veterans of the hard-fought operations that secured victories for Mr Bush and Dick Cheney in 2000 and 2004.

    5. They have been drafted into the team as Steve Schmidt, another old Bush-Cheney hand who is now running Mr McCain's team, has instilled a "take-no-prisoners" approach in place of the previously more relaxed, but less disciplined, approach.
    The appointment of Mr Eskew as Mrs Palin's chief handler raised the most eyebrows. For as Mr Bush's top advisor in South Carolina in 2000, he was closely associated with what Mr McCain viewed as a vicious smear campaign that derailed his previous run for his party's nomination.

    "They've unleashed the dogs of war," Mr McCain said at one stage then after emails and fliers circulated claiming he had fathered an illegitimate black daughter. But the Republican candidate has made his political peace with his party foes and their confrontational tactics, even as he seeks to distance himself from their old boss.

    Mark McKinnon, Mr Bush's former advertising guru who advised Mr McCain during the latest primary campaign, rejected criticisms that the new hiring policy was a sell-out.

    "There aren't a lot of experienced, skilled political operatives around who can work at the presidential level," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

    "And of those that are available on the Republican side, almost all of them worked for George Bush. It would be very hard to put together a presidential team on the Republican side without hiring former Bush hands."

    As The Sunday Telegraph has reported previously, prominent neoconservative thinkers are seeking to shape the foreign policy views of Mrs Palin, whom they regarded as largely a "blank page" on international affairs.

    In recent weeks, the main role of the Palin team has often seemed to be to protect her from the unwanted attention of the media as she has drawn huge crowds to campaign rallies but only granted extremely limited press access.

    She has given just three set-piece television interviews and they have caused even some Republican cheerleaders alarm.

    After she stumbled over a series of answers to Katie Couric on CBS on Thursday night, Kathleen Parker in the National Review, a prominent conservative magazine, urged her to quit to spend more time with her newborn, saying Mrs Palin was "clearly out of her league".

    Her aides will now have their work cut out before Thursday when she will face the full glare of publicity in St Louis, Missouri, as she confronts Mr Biden in the only televised debate between the vice-presidential candidates.

    Mr Wallace, a lawyer who played a key role working for the Bush legal team in the decisive Florida recount in 2000 before helping run the 2004 re-election campaign and then being appointed to the UN, is leading the team prepping her for that showdown.

    Mrs Palin is also receiving advice on delivering her message from Mr Wallace's wife Nicolle, a former White House communications director, while Steve Biegun, a long-time member of Mr Bush's National Security Council, has been briefing her on foreign policy.

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    Presidential Debate: McCain Looked Like a Mean, Bitter and Grumpy Old Man of Yesterday

      Commentaries from Alter-Net News: Read here

    AlterNet's Joshua Holland, Don Hazen, Taylor Marsh, Jane Hamsher, John Nichols and Sheryl Crow.

    Joshua Holland:

    In the first head-to-head debate of the 2008 campaign, the financial crisis dragged what the McCain camp had hoped would be fought in the GOP nominee's comfort zone -- foreign policy and national security -- squarely into the realm of domestic policy.

    McCain appeared twitchy and out of touch as the debate began with the banking meltdown and the Bush-Paulson plan to reverse it. He blinked rapidly and avoided eye contact with Obama, Lehrer and the audience as Obama came out swinging against McCain for enabling the "root causes" of the crisis to develop during decades in the Congress, including a long stint on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

    Obama articulately condemned what he called a "philosophy that says that regulation is always bad," and blamed its pervasiveness for the economic mess.

    McCain, moments before saying that we have the "greatest workers in the world" (and that the United States is simultaneously the "greatest importer" and "greatest exporter" in the world), tried to shift blame from Wall Street to Main Street -- from predatory lenders and fast-and-loose brokers to those who find themselves with a home on the bubble today.

    It's a losing strategy.

    Obama, on the other hand, must be extremely confident that this election will be decided on the economy, as he failed to challenge McCain on his belligerent stance toward the rest of the world.

    He conceded that the "surge has worked" -- it has not. He tried to go toe to toe with John "Bomb, Bomb Iran" McCain on the evils of Iran. He called Venezuela a "rogue state." He engaged in a bit of fearmongering himself, saying that while he supports missile defense -- a boondoggle if ever there was one -- the greatest threat we face is from suitcase nukes.

    As Obama agreed with so much of McCain's worldview, McCain's discomfort disappeared, and he landed several good knocks on Obama. He repeatedly called him "naive."

    But, in the final analysis, a day after Washington Mutual went down in flames, I doubt that it'll be enough to get McCain out of the hole in which he finds himself.

    Don Hazen:

    If you were an Obama champion and wanted McCain to fall flat, you were disappointed.

    McCain is a tough, pugnacious debater, and he tried to control the talk time, going on and on. He's knowledgeable, and as we know, he whipped all of the Republicans during the primaries.

    But the big picture is that McCain probably had to do better since he is behind on the momentum and had to beat Obama with his supposed strength -- foreign affairs -- and there is a consensus among the commentators that he didn't do that.

    McCain spent most of his time talking about the past and focused on Iraq -- making sure everyone knew that we had to win. That was the most important point he needed to make.

    But if this election is about change, then McCain reinforced his role as part of the problem. For most of the public, Iraq is past tense. Sixty percent think the economy is the key issue. And in terms of bread and butter, the numbers that people are likely to remember are not the $18 billion earmarks discussion, but rather the fact that 95 percent of the population will get a tax cut with Obama -- everyone who makes under $250,000.

    Meanwhile, the figure associated with McCain is likely to be $300 billion in tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, while we have a huge deficit. Obama had to make kitchen table points stick, and he seemed to achieve that, repeating these points several times.

    The pundits were also speculating that independent voters didn't like McCain's condescension and repeating that Obama "doesn't get it."

    Here McCain could be seen as the cranky older guy, sounding a little insecure, while Obama didn't rise to the bait. In fact, Obama agreed with McCain a number of times, suggesting that Obama was more capable of working across the aisle.

    McCain, by repeating that he wasn't Mr. Congeniality, seemed to undermine his message that he was a conciliator, something the independent voters seem to want more of.

    Jane Hamsher from FireDogLake:

    McCain controlled the debate tonight. He came off as a brittle, grumpy, mean-spirited old coot, but on the economy -- which should have been Obama's strong suit -- McCain managed to divert the conversation to tax cuts and kept Obama off the kitchen table issues, where he excels.
    McCain was allowed to paint himself as a crusader for reform, and no mention was made of the Keating 5 -- though Obama did manage to tie him to voting for all of Bush's budgets. (McCain's only rejoinder was to refer to himself repeatedly as "no Miss Congeniality." Huh?)

    But the biggest problem for me was that McCain had a grab bag of adjectives he consistently used to characterize Obama -- "naive, inexperienced" -- and every time he repeated them, it was like money in the bank. He worked them in at every opportunity, and their cumulative effect wore into Obama as the evening went on. Obama missed the opportunity to do the same and characterize McCain as brittle, rash, impulsive and out of touch. His critiques were all over the place, and his failure to tie them together into a coherent narrative about McCain meant that he never really grazed the old buzzard.

    The good news? Well, McCain sounded bitter and looked hunched over and mean. He wasn't likeable, and most of the Monday morning quarterbacks on my TV seemed to agree.

    Obama can definitely recover in the next debate -- he didn't have any kind of major falter.

    And on the plus side, I've had the feeling that up until now, Obama really didn't dislike the man -- not the way he did Hillary Clinton anyway. But behind Obama's superbly controlled mien tonight you could see that McCain's patronizing tone and open distortions were really pissing him off.

    The anger seemed to focus Obama. His "ums" and "uhs" stopped, and he delivered his points with more conviction. Even if he doesn't give it full expression, being a little hot under the collar suits him.

    The idea that you can run against a Republican for national office and remain above the fray was a nice one, but it isn't realistic.

    Obama needs to stop agreeing with McCain and reinforcing his message. It doesn't make him look statesmanlike; it makes McCain look right.

    McCain really has nowhere to go except to get more obdurate and bellicose. If Obama can get his footing in the next debate and decide on a tactic for getting under McCain's skin, the cranky old hothead won't be hard to pin.

    The Nation's John Nichols:

    A blistering economic crisis may be the all-encompassing issue of the moment.But the war in Iraq still defines the difference between John McCain and Barack Obama.

    McCain remains the true believer in that occupation, the man who really does want to carry it forward until some ill-defined "victory" is obtained -- even if that takes a hundred years.

    Obama remains the doubter who -- as he went out of his way to note in Friday night's first debate between the two men who would be president -- spoke out against launching the war six years ago and remains committed to drawing it down.

    These were the bottom lines of a debate that could have been all about economics but that ultimately ended up being a very serious, and at times very edgy, discourse about war and peace. McCain called Iraq "the central issue of our time." At the very least, it was the central issue of the debate.

    The Republican said his Democratic rival "just doesn't understand" the importance of staying the course in the Middle East.

    Obama argued that McCain lacks "the broader strategic vision" necessary to make the United States a functional player on the global stage -- and at home. And he suggested that the Republican's misread of the Iraq question all the way back in 2002, as well as his ongoing refusal to recognize his error, confirmed McCain's deficiency.

    But rarely in modern years has a presidential debate exposed so many clear distinctions on global concerns – about Iraq, Iran and the value of diplomacy – and this is what made Friday night's clash memorable.

    Recalling his own opposition to the war, Obama rapped McCain for getting everything about the run-up to the war wrong.

    John McCain debated as the man who wanted this war six years ago and who wants it to continue even now. And the invasion and occupation of Iraq remains the worst of those stumbles in recent American history.

    But the focus on the war in Iraq, a war that most Americans think was a mistake and want to see finished, means that -- while the night saw no knockout blows -- it was Obama who got the debate he wanted and needed.

    Blogger Taylor Marsh:

    From the start of the debate, John McCain wouldn't meet Barack Obama's eye.

    At the end of it that hadn't changed, even as Obama gave McCain his due time and again, which the McCain camp has already turned into a video.

    It was the difference of someone being small, compared to someone revealing his confidence, while showing presidential temperament. On that alone, Obama "won" hands down.

    Hillary Clinton weighs in:

    Tonight Barack Obama displayed beyond a doubt that he understands both the gravity of the financial crisis facing America and the challenges we face in Iraq and around the world.

    Senator McCain offered only more of the same failed policies of the Bush administration. America deserves better.

    I stood next to Barack Obama in 22 debates, and tonight epitomized why millions are joining me in standing with him and working hard to ensure he is the next president of the United States

    Obama's goal tonight was to simply become an equal to the "legendary" foreign policy man McCain. He accomplished that (live blogging here) while showing unending patience with his opponent, who continually displayed the politics of condescension, bordering on petulance that is unbecoming of anyone at this level of political prowess.

    I can't imagine that independents appreciated McCain's sniping, and I bet they also saw that he was about to pop about half of the time.

    McCain needed a win, in my opinion. This was his "issue" night. He didn't get it.

    Obama needed to stay even with the "legendary foreign policy expert." He did that and more, while remaining unruffled throughout.

    McCain didn't get the knockout he needed. Obama held his own and showed the right stuff.

    Plus, McCain looks like yesterday. Obama represents the future.

    Musician Sheryl Crow from the Huffington Post:

    I tried to watch this debate with complete objectivity. However, if I were to grade this debate on clarity, leadership qualities, values and a vast understanding of foreign affairs, I would have to give Obama a far higher grade.

    I think I feel the same as most Americans when I say I am beyond tired of hearing John McCain sell this war and passing it off as great leadership.

    Even on the issue of Russia, McCain tried to paint Obama as being unknowledgeable on foreign issues. It is clear that McCain is well traveled outside of the United States and has a vast understanding of foreign affairs; however, Obama did not give an inch.

    On every question, I felt Obama answered with clarity and thoughtfulness. I felt McCain gave us a lot of his stump quotes when talking about the war and the failing economy -- quotes like "I'm not known as Miss Congeniality," and the two letters Eisenhower wrote illustrating accountability, and his reminding us that he is known as the "Maverick."

    Obama clearly illustrated his in-depth understanding of foreign affairs. While McCain has an immense amount of experience in the military, there was never a moment that I perceived him as a level-headed peacekeeper but instead looked like the same kind of defensive leader we've had for the last eight years.

    While Obama was talking about Afghanistan, McCain was still selling the surge and the idea of "winning the war," a war that no one feels can be won.

    McCain's entire message revolved around Iraq. He seemed to be in complete denial that our country is in a much less secure status than before 9/11, while it is clear that we have thrown a rock into a beehive.

    I never once heard McCain mention our failing educational system. He kept his mantra that Obama does not understand, which I felt only showed that McCain simply doesn't understand.

    McCain tried to wrap up the debate by saying Obama doesn't have the experience that McCain has or what it takes to lead this country. At that point, McCain talked about how we cannot have another leader who is not flexible; he completely disqualified himself. It was a cry of desperation from a man who has been historically linked to the failing policies of George W. Bush.

    I think while both candidates successfully argued their positions on sitting down with leaders of rogue nations, I felt that Obama proved his point that the policies of the past have not served us.

    McCain seemed to promise more of the same, which continued to illustrate his "stubbornness and inflexibility" -- the words he later warned the nation about in choosing Obama as president.

    To me, McCain proved himself as the stubborn one. It felt like he was simply stuck in the past.


    Poll results for first presidential debate (with update of independent voter poll): Obama wins

    By George Harris, Kansas City Star Readers Advisory Panel 2008

    Who won the debate?

    Ignore all commentators' opinions expressed without evidence.

    The winner is determined by the numbers, especially the votes of the undecided. Here are some preliminary answers:

    1. CBS Insta Poll shows Barack Obama won 39% to John McCain's 25% with 36% saying the debate was a draw.

    2. Insider Advantage reports of those polled Obama won 42% to McCain's 41% with Undecided 17%

    3. CNN reports voter opinions that Obama "did better" 51%, McCain "did better" 38% .
      The CNN poll showed men were evenly split, but women gave Obama higher marks 59% to 41% for McCain. The CNN pollster noted a slight Democratic bias in the survey. Well, there just are more Democrats in the country. So more Democrats watched. However, this may also suggest Democratic enthusiasm which will help turn out the vote.

    4. The MSNBC on-line (non-scientific) poll showed Obama winning the debate 52% to 33%. (But this is what one would expect from such a poll at MSNBC because of the nature of its viewers.)

    5. reported Independents favored Obama overall 61% to 38%. (I do not know this organization or know how it conducts polls, so take results with a couple of grains of salt.)
    Some free analysis:

    As I noted on this site during and after the debate, McCain appeared angry and dismissive of Obama and generally impressed as someone who would slap colleagues across the aisle if reaching over to them. He said several times in the debate that he hasn't won the Miss Congeniality contest in the Senate, and he proved why during the debate.

    I suspect that women voters especially would be turned off by McCain's sarcastic tone because women do tend to be the conciliators in our society and saw Obama display those conciliatory qualities very well in the debate.

    Obama looked at McCain, and McCain wouldn't return the eye contact but rather glared or displayed a tight and angry expression.

    I also suspect (but don't have the data to support) that older voters were also turned off by Senator McNasty. I believe older voters will also be reassured that, though McCain has been around longer, Obama has a good grasp of foreign affairs and can learn quickly. He impressed as a statesmen, in marked contrast to McCain's warrior demeanor.

    McCain referred to Obama as naive or as not understanding on many issues when the listener probably saw a mere difference of opinion. McCain's condescenion felt annoying; to the listener who might agree or disagree with Obama, Obama nevertheless was making good points, not naive ones.

    In general, I think the country is tired of negativity, and McCain's performance didn't give anyone the impression that age has mellowed him. In fact, he seemed rather proud of his continuing bellicose manner. The country seems ready for a change from the "fighting as first choice crowd."

    Watch for new polls over the next week. Things can shift for a variety of reasons as people reflect on the debate.

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     Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Sarah Palin has Thin Credentials and a Vindictive Management Style


    Janice Johnson

    Read here

    On the surface, John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his Republican running mate seems to have worked, but underneath there’s the rumble of women growing angrier and angrier.

    To my friends and family, this pick cynically assumes that voters will be impressed with her speeches and the sound bites, her appearance and happy family, and her unusual lifestyle in a state we don’t know much about.

    What I hear from my friends is that when they study her they find a candidate with the thinnest of credentials, modest education, and fiercest of management styles, a pattern of destroying anyone who crosses her path and promoting her unqualified friends.

    My mother brought another problem to my attention. She was upset when she learned that Palin claimed to have cut the chef from her budget for the governor’s mansion but had, in fact, kept her chef. “She said that the kids had to do without the cook,” Mom said, “but they didn’t.” She went on to explain that the chef stayed on but was paid out of a different state budget (not the governor’s mansion).

    You know who’s cooking your meals,” Mom said. “If she’s not telling the truth, then it’s a lie.”

    My mother is still offended by lies.

    When I shared this information with a new friend who just moved here from Colorado, she told me a startling story of her own. She was raped as a young woman and kept the baby. As a single mom she was shunned and disrespected, even by the clergy. When her son turned 18, she finally told him the truth about his father. He had been pressing for details for years. When he heard the truth, he exploded and still hasn’t gotten over it, years later.

    I don’t want that to happen to another child or another woman,” she told me, between sobs. Palin supports no choice, even for a woman who has been raped.

    I wondered if the Palin nomination would motivate my friends to tell me more stories from their deep and hidden pasts.

    “I can’t talk about it. I’m exhausted,” confessed a neighbor who is married to a Republican. Her husband refuses to discuss the issues. She referred me to, where dozens of accomplished women have written out their opposition.

    A friend in Oregon emailed me a letter he found on the Internet from Anne Kilkenny, an Alaskan, who wrote to her friends and relatives about Palin, right after her nomination. That letter ended up on, which has verified that it was written by “Anne of Wasilla.”

    The letter says that when Sarah ran Wasilla the annual expenditures grew by 33 percent and the taxes went up 38 percent. The town had no debt when she took it over and she left the city with $ 22 million in debt. Anne paints the picture of an ambitious but not gifted politician, someone who uses fear, cronyism and lies to further her agenda. You can view the letter at

    Kilkenny has guts because Palin gets even with those who speak against her.

    As a former human resource manager in large corporations, I’ve been disturbed by Palin’s leadership style and by the claim that she has executive experience. She ran a small city and a very small state, population-wise, but those experiences do not prepare her for national politics.

    She should have experience working on the type of complex problems she would encounter in a large state’s legislature or in Congress. If she had gone to a top college or completed a law degree, or even another advanced degree, then she would be more qualified.

    As for leadership, her profile is not of a talented leader but rather of someone who loves to be in the spotlight. There is not one issue that she brags about that is a true accomplishment.

    On the surface Sarah Palin looks good, but looking deeper at her skills and accomplishments can engender anger.

    Do the Republicans believe that voters are so superficial that they will not look beyond Palin’s outer qualities?

    What will happen to the United States if someone who is so unprepared to be president actually has to become president?

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      Read here article by Ezra Klein


    The fact that Palin's responses to questions are becoming increasingly incoherent rather than rapidly more polished is interesting. Rote memorization should have all but eliminated the overlay of nonsense in her answers by now.

    Matt Yglesias offers a decent hypothesis, saying, "It’s possible that all this cramming is causing Palin to become less coherent — instead of just parrying questions she knows she doesn’t have good answers to, she’s trying to remember canned lines but it’s too much all at once to actually get right."

    It fits the facts. increasingly, Palin's worst answers are not on the questions she isn't expecting, but those that she's got to be prepared for. Russia and Alaska, for instance.

    Or this Dadaist trainwreck on why it's better to spend $700 billion on financial bailouts than broad-based economic help.

    The question was simple. The answer came from some dreamscape I've never visited.

    "That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in. Where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.

    Um, helping, oh, it's got to be about job creation, too. Shoring up our economy, and getting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade -- we have got to see trade as opportunity, not as, uh, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today.

    We've got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation."

    Try to parse that. The bailout helps health reformers by bankrupting the government? We need to accompany our tax reductions with reduced taxes, and pair that with tax relief for Americans?

    How does the bailout connect to trade, or to job growth?

    And even the syntax is falling apart: She corrects "help" to "helping," but "helping" doesn't make sense in that paragraph.

    These aren't lies she's telling. It's not misdirection, or deception. It's just nonsense.

    It exists in a realm beyond where truth is a relevant concept, more akin to the utterances of sleeptalkers than to the prevarications of politicians.

    I always figured that Palin's trouble on the trail would come when she was exposed to the obscure questions of governance: Queries on drug policy and Afghani tribes and Medicare reimbursement.

    But instead, she's collapsing on the BIG questions, the issues that she should be able to dispatch with a memorized soundbite.

    What's going on?

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    Shameless and clueless Sarah Palin

      Read here article by David Horsey

    Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric provided further proof that she is a clear and present danger to the nation.

    The only people who can still say with utter sincerity that she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency are those who actually haven't a clue about what a president does.

    Once Palin gets sidetracked from repeating her simplistic talking points about being a maverick and cleaning up Washington and not ever, ever blinking in the face of a foreign threat, she quickly reveals the shocking shallowness in her knowledge of issues a candidate for high office should have contemplated long and hard.

    I don't think she's stupid, I think she is much like George W. Bush -- incurious. She really hasn't thought about this stuff.

    Palin insults the intelligence of the nation when she makes claims about her qualifications that are patently ridiculous. CBS News anchor Couric pressed her about one of those claims:

    COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

    PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--

    COURIC: Mock?

    PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

    COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

    PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--

    COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

    PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.
    How would Republicans be reacting if Gov. Christine Gregoire were the Democratic candidate for vice president and she claimed that, because Washington borders Canada and sends trade missions to Japan and China and Russia, she is, therefore, experienced in foreign policy?

    And what if Gregoire also claimed to be a seasoned commander-in-chief because she is titular head of the Washington National Guard?

    We all know how Republicans would react: they would roar with mocking laughter. And they would be absolutely right to mock such idiotic pretense.

    Too bad more of them are not honest enough to see Sarah the same way.


    I’m sorry — Sarah Palin is a bad joke


    Jay Bookman

    In her interview with Katie Couric to be aired tonight on CBS, Sarah Palin complains that she should not have been mocked for claiming that Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives her insight into foreign policy.

    So Couric gently asks Palin to explain again how proximity enhances her foreign policy credentials.

    Here’s the exchange, verbatim:
    PALIN: “It certainly does, because our next-door neighbors are foreign countries there in the state that I am the executive of….”

    COURIC: “Have you ever been involved in negotiations, for example, with the Russians?”

    PALIN: “We have trade missions back and forth. We do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska, it’s just right over the border. It’s from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right there next to our state.”
    Palin is living, breathing proof that John McCain lies when he claims to put this country first over politics.

    She makes Dan Quayle look like Albert Einstein with a better haircut.

    Here’s the clip. Go horrify yourself. Seeing it is worse than reading it.

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    Palin is NOT Ready to be Vice President

      Read here article, Palin’s Words Raise Red Flags , by BOB HERBERT

    The country is understandably focused on the financial crisis.

    But there is another serious issue in front of us that is not getting nearly enough attention, and that’s whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be vice president — or, if the situation were to arise, president of the United States.

    History has shown again and again that a vice president must be ready to assume command of the ship of state on a moment’s notice.

    But Ms. Palin has given no indication yet that she is capable of handling the monumental responsibilities of the presidency if she were called upon to do so.

    In fact, the opposite is the case. We know that there are some parts of Alaska from which, if the day is clear and your eyesight is good, you can actually see Russia. But the infantile repetition of this bit of trivia as some kind of foreign policy bona fide for a vice presidential candidate should give us pause.

    The McCain campaign has done its bizarre best to shield Ms. Palin from any sustained media examination of her readiness for the highest offices in the land, and no wonder. She has been an embarrassment in interviews.

    But the idea that the voters of the United States might install someone in the vice president’s office who is too unprepared or too intellectually insecure to appear on, say, “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation” is mind-boggling.

    The alarm bells should be clanging and warning lights flashing. You wouldn’t put an unqualified pilot in the cockpit of a jetliner. The potential for catastrophe is far, far greater with an unqualified president.

    The United States has been lucky in terms of the qualifications of the vice presidents who have had to step in over the last several decades for presidents who either died or, in Richard Nixon’s case, were forced to leave office.

    Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson became extraordinary presidents in their own right.

    Gerald Ford successfully guided the nation through the immediate aftermath of one of the most traumatic political crises in its history.

    For those who think Sarah Palin is in that league, there is no problem. But her unscripted public appearances would lead most honest observers to think otherwise.

    When asked again this week about her puerile linkage of foreign policy proficiency and Alaska’s proximity to Russia, this time by Katie Couric of CBS News, here is what Ms. Palin said she meant:

    That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land — boundary that we have with — Canada.”

    She went on, but lost her way midsentence: “It’s funny that a comment like that was kind of made to — cari — I don’t know, you know? Reporters ...”

    Ms. Couric said, “Mocked?”

    Yeah, mocked,” said Ms. Palin. “I guess that’s the word. Yeah.”

    It is not just painful, but frightening to watch someone who could become the vice president of the United States stumbling around like this in an interview.

    Ms. Couric asked Ms. Palin to explain how Alaska’s proximity to Russia “enhances your foreign policy credentials.”

    Well, it certainly does,” Ms. Palin replied, “because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there—”

    Gently interrupting, Ms. Couric asked, “Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?”

    “We have trade missions back and forth,” said Ms. Palin. “We do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to our state.”

    It was surreal, the kind of performance that would generate a hearty laugh if it were part of a Monty Python sketch.

    But this is REAL life, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

    As Ms. Palin was fumbling her way through the Couric interview, the largest bank failure in the history of the United States, the collapse of Washington Mutual, was occurring.

    The press has an obligation to hammer away at Ms. Palin’s qualifications. If it turns out that she has just had a few bad interviews because she was nervous or whatever, additional scrutiny will serve her well.

    If, on the other hand, it becomes clear that her performance, so far, is an accurate reflection of her qualifications, it would behoove John McCain and the Republican Party to put the country first — as Mr. McCain loves to say — and find a replacement for Ms. Palin on the ticket .

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    Can Palin Give a Coherent Answer

      Read here article by David Usborne on the latest television performance by the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin

    The reviews of Sarah Palin's latest television appearance tumbled in yesterday and they were ugly. In only the third major broadcast interview since she was selected by John McCain as his running mate at the end of August, she seemed at times lost for words and not all those she spoke fitted together.

    The financial crisis means less attention will be paid to it than might otherwise have been the case. It could be, meanwhile, that Mrs Palin's unhappy performance will lower expectations ahead of her encounter with Senator Joe Biden at the vice-presidential debate in St Louis next Thursday.

    It remains possible that the CBS interview will be known as the moment when the high gloss that Mrs Palin wore upon her selection before the Republican convention – burnished by her performance in St Paul – began to fade.

    Even as members of the American media strive to avoid appearing snobbish or elitist in their treatment of Mrs Palin, most commentators seemed unable to disguise their sheer consternation at a performance that at times seemed worthy less of a candidate for vice-president than for school president. "Marginally responsive," was the gentle verdict of the Los Angeles Times after watching the interview of Mrs Palin by Katie Couric, the anchor of the CBS Evening News, shown on Wednesday and Thursday. The influential blogger Andrew Sullivan complained that the Governor was skittering not between "talking points" but "babbling points".

    At the debate in St Louis, Mrs Palin will need to be better prepared and more articulate. Especially surprising, perhaps, was her difficulty with a question that they could have seen coming regarding her repeated assertions that the proximity of Alaska to Russia gives her foreign policy experience. What did she mean, Couric asked?

    "That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land boundary that we have with – Canada. We have trade missions back and forth. We – we do – it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America where – where do they go? It's Alaska."

    She did not fare better when asked why the banking bailout package was important. Mrs Palin said it was about healthcare reform. She added: "Um, helping, oh ... it's got to be all about job creation too. Shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track."

    Couric, neither aggressive nor patronising, asked Mrs Palin about Mr McCain's record of supporting deregulation and what examples she could give of the senator supporting oversight of the financial sector. She suggested failed mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but Couric wanted another. "I'll try to find some," the Governor said, "and bring them to you."

    Debate has been raging about the unusual protective handling of Mrs Palin by Mr McCain's team. On Thursday, she took questions from a few reporters at Ground Zero, the first such encounter. The Katie Couric interview came after sessions on ABC and Fox News. Otherwise, she has largely been kept in a box.

    This may have been a disservice to the Governor if it has denied her the chance to get accustomed to press attention. She seems drained of confidence.

    Over Alaska-Russia, Mrs Palin almost came unstuck entirely. She struggled to describe the media reaction to her claims. The word she apparently sought was "caricature", but she couldn't summon it. "It – it's funny that a comment like that was – kind of made to – cari – I don't know, you know? Reporters ... "

    "Mocked?" Couric asked.

    "Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah." The mockery may have only just begun.

    The Couric interview: Who said what

    Couric: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

    Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It's funny that a comment like that was kinda made to ... I don't know, you know ... reporters.

    Couric: Mocked?

    Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

    Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

    Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our next-door neighbours are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of.

    Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time – not to belabour the point. Specific examples in his [McCain's] 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

    Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

    Couric: In preparing for this conversation, a lot of our viewers ... and internet users wanted to know why you did not get a passport until last year. And they wondered if that indicated a lack of interest and curiosity in the world.

    Palin: I'm not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world. No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture.

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    Palin is a Problem to McCain Says Conservative Columnist

      Read here on National Review Online



    Kathleen Parker

    As we’ve seen and heard more from John McCain’s running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.

    Yes, she recently met and turned several heads of state as the United Nations General Assembly convened in New York. She was gracious, charming and disarming. Men swooned. Pakistan’s president wanted to hug her. (Perhaps Osama bin Laden is dying to meet her?)

    And, yes, she has common sense, something we value. And she’s had executive experience as a mayor and a governor, though of relatively small constituencies (about 6,000 and 680,000, respectively).

    Finally, Palin’s narrative is fun, inspiring and all-American in that frontier way we seem to admire. When Palin first emerged as John McCain’s running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood — a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother.

    Palin didn’t make a mess cracking the glass ceiling. She simply glided through it.

    It was fun while it lasted.

    Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

    No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

    Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

    When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

    If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

    If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

    What to do?

    McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

    Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

    Do it for your country.

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    Sarah Palin's Honeymoon with Voters is OVER

      The honeymoon is over for Sarah Palin.

    After a third major TV interview during which her performance was uneven at best, even fellow Republicans are having trouble enthusiastically backing their vice presidential nominee.

    The first-term Alaska governor had been a phenomenon, bringing delegates to their feet with her speech at the Republican National Convention early this month and helping John McCain draw the biggest crowds of his campaign afterward.

    But voters are now apparently having doubts. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released yesterday found that while 47 percent of likely voters believed that Palin had the personality and leadership qualities a president should have, 49 percent said she didn't.

    Compare that with her Democratic counterpart Joe Biden: 55 percent said he had the necessary qualities, while only 39 percent said he did not. Both Barack Obama and John McCain had 62 percent of voters believing they have what it takes to be president.

    And now some conservative commentators are skeptical or disillusioned. Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who had praised McCain's surprise selection of Palin, called yesterday for her to step aside from the ticket.

    "As we've seen and heard more from John McCain's running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn't know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion," Parker wrote yesterday on National Review's website.

    "It was fun while it lasted. Palin's recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate, who Is Clearly Out Of Her League."

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