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Poor Joe Biden:

The only other impression I'm really left with after the Republican National Convention is that watching Sarah Palin's speech, all I could think was "Poor Joe Biden--he has to debate her on national television in a month." I think he is going to have his hands full, to say the least.

I actually like Joe Biden. When I testified on the bankruptcy reform legislation, he treated me respectfully and professionally, which is not something I can say for all of his colleagues. And he ended up being a staunch supporter of the legislation and voted for it, which drew 74 votes and bipartisan support (and similar levels of support in the House).

But watching Palin I all of a sudden had a memory of when I was a kid and I recall watching with sadness Muhammad Ali's fight against a younger, stronger, sharper Larry Holmes. Ali's time was past and Holmes just ran rings around him and everyone just ended up feeling sorry for Ali and hoping he wouldn't get hurt too much (which apparently he unfortunately did). I think that Palin's debate with Biden in October could end up being a rout (although Gwen Ifill won't be authorized to stop it as a TKO). And I'm not saying this to be partisan--the debates between Bill Clinton versus Bob Dole was pretty close to a TKO in 1996 from what I recall, but I think that Palin-Biden may be even more lopsided.

One of the things that is going on here, I think, is that many in the media and elsewhere have simply made a mistake in how they think about "experience." Over the past few days, we've heard a lot of people talk about Palin's "executive experience"--especially former executives, such as Giuliani, Romney, Lingle, etc. Over the past several years, I have done a lot of work with Congress (House and Senate), Governors, the White House, and of course, I served in senior management at the FTC. And based on my experiences, the job of being a Governor or executive branch official is simply different in kind from being in the Senate. Unless you've seen it up close, I don't think you really do appreciate what it means to be, say, a Governor. Governors really do take responsibility for everything that comes across their desk and every decision that gets made. They really do have to make tough decisions. The problem with the so-called "elite media" is that they don't pay attention to what governors do, so they don't really understand what this is all about.

One thing that I have noticed, for instance, is how much more knowledgeable Governors and executive branch officials are about details of legislation and regulaiton than legislators. I recently was advising a Governor of a state on some legislation to increase the state's personal property exemptions--not thought of as a big issue. But this guy (and his staff) really wanted to delve into the details of the legislation and its likely effects, the empirical work on the topic, etc. They take responsibility for what they sign and the effects of laws and regulations that are enacted.

Based on my observations, I'd say as a rule of thumb two years as a Governor certainly exceeds four years as Senator in terms of useful experience. Senators do not have to take personal responsibility for the decisions the body makes. They don't have make tough decisions, they cut deals. This is valuable experience, but it really isn't the same sort of experience as being an executive. Governors have to show up for work every day ready to make decisions.

To put it more bluntly--the Senate is, frankly, a silly place. The people in the Senate are silly and what they do most of the time is silly. To the extent that a Senator commends himself as a serious person, as I think John McCain does if nothing else, it really is despite his time in the Senate, rather than because of it. There are a handful of other Senators who seem to remain serious despite serving in the Senate (if I had to guess, I'd predict that many of those who resist Senator-itis had significant business, military, or executive branch experience before going to the Senate). It seems like McCain has managed to serve in the Senate for a long time without losing his desire for accountability and responsibilitiy. One of the best things that Barack Obama has going for him at this point is that he doesn't yet seem like a silly Senator but a real person (I note in passing that this is a disease that Hillary Clinton will have to guard against, especially if she has to wait eight more years). Compare him to the other Senators that he ran against in the primaries--Chris Dodd, Biden. I suspect that Bob Dole and John Kerry were real, serious people at one time, but by the time they ran for President, they just seemed like (for want of a better word) "goofballs." They had been changed into Senators and that seemed transparent. Presumably Bob Dole didn't always refer to himself in the third person, did he?

As for Obama's pre-Senate experience, this is an achilles heel for him, I think, in terms of conveying this seriousness. Chris Matthews had a great line the other day where he observed, "Some people say that if the guys in Scranton knew what Barack Obama did as a community organizer they'd like him for it." Matthews continued, "No they wouldn't. What is a 'community organizer? Do the guys in Scranton think that is a real job? Do they know anyone who is a 'community organizer?'" And I think that's the problem--it isn't really a serious job and it tends to reinforce the perception of Obama as a legislator and Senator rather than someone who can take responsibility and make decisions.

One of the more amusing interviews I saw when Palin was announced was with Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado. I vaguely knew that he existed, but there's no way I could name anything he's ever done. Anyway, Salazar says, "Who is Sarah Palin. I'd never even heard of her until they announced her as VP." Now, what is so strange to me is that he thought that was a putdown of Palin, whereas it seemed to me that Salazar was actually putting down himself considering he didn't even know the name of a governor. But his world view is defined by his own importance. Of course, this isn't unique to Democrats--I remember someone writing last week (I can't recall who) that he sat with Senator Hatch at a dinner in New Hampshire when Hatch was running for President in 2000 and Hatch was both stunned and dismayed to learn how few people actually knew who he was.

So to bring this back to poor Joe Biden. When Joe Biden and Sarah Palin debate, I think that he runs a real risk of coming off as a "Senator"--which is not a good thing. He hasn't had a real job in 35 years. And he seems like a man who hasn't had a real job with real responsibilities in 35 years. His long-windedness and apparent self-importance basically emobies "Senator-itis." Palin seems smart (presumably Biden is smart too), bur more importantly she is sharp and tested and on her game as a sitting Governor. She is game-tested.

I submit that based on my personal observations, those who think she "lacks experience" to be President because she is a first-term Governor really just don't know what they are talking about. And I think her ability to "step up" and give her rocking speech at the Convention is consistent with this. Nobody really has the experience to be President--the job is sui generis. What you have to have is someone who has the intelligence and character to be able to be President. Being a Governor tests for those criteria; being a Senator does not.

So note, this is not intended as an endorsement of either ticket. It is just to say don't be surprised if the supposedly inexperienced Sarah Palin mops the floor with Joe Biden when thier debate comes in October. At this point I suspect that the only way Joe Biden is going to come out of this looking ok will be to not be Joe Biden and it seems a bit late for that.

Let's also say how relieved I am that we don't have at least one non-Senator around for this election.

Update:

I meant to say "one non-Senator" in the original post and have now fixed that.

J. Aldridge:
Poor OBiden was on Fox &Friends and denied he said he was going to pursue Bush &Co. for criminal activities in a West Palm Beach speech the other day. He also said "I don't meet with lobbyists!" But in a December interview he talks about how he does meet with lobbyists:


You go out, Lynn, and bundle $250,000 for me, all legal, and then you call me after I'm elected say, "Joe, I'd like to come and talk to you about something." You didn't buy me, but it's human nature. You helped me. I'm going to say, "Sure, let him come on in." Just like, by the way, if I turn around and I'm elected president of the United States of America, and you call me and say, "Joe, I want to come and see you," I'm going to see you. You helped me.
9.5.2008 12:59pm
Quarterly Prophet (mail):
I think you're filling the gap of off the cuff and real time question and answers with a prepared speech. It's easier to get that down home attitude just right when you can practice lines over and over again. You can bring up her gubernatorial debates if you want to bolster that argument, but you didn't. Biden has a long history of speaking on the fly (I need a better term for this. Improvisation doesn't really work either), and while he has made gaffes, with how much he talks (and he does), they're relatively rare.

Palin could wipe the floor with Biden in October, but if she does, it will be a surprise, not anticipated.
9.5.2008 1:01pm
huskerfan:
Nothing like law-school professors criticizing people for not having "real" jobs.
9.5.2008 1:01pm
Matt Austin:
I'm not really sure how to address the issue of Senatorial Silliness, so let me ask this. For the last 36 hours or so, I've heard and seen conservatives commentators trip over one another to try and be the first to claim Palin as the next Reagan, or "star of the next generation" as I believe someone at NRO called her.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we've seen two, maybe three speeches from her. The big one was in front of an audience that could not have been better suited for her. She may have helped with, but certainly didn't write that speech, and still we have very little to go on as to her positions on a myriad of issues.

I'm not saying she did poorly, and I'm not saying that having a speechwriter undermines your credibilitiy, but how is it that the cautios, conservative party seems to be so easily convinced - in less than a week! - that she's the new messiah?
9.5.2008 1:03pm
r.friedman (mail):
Of course, "bloviate" was created for Senators, including Biden. But he knows the nooks and crannies of government, he knows what's been tried and how it turned out, he knows who administered well and who screwed the pooch. For every generalization she can make, he can run specifics around it.
9.5.2008 1:04pm
Curious Passerby (mail):
Reading the Internet it sounds like all of the MSM is attacking Palin, but there is a web site that has newspaper front pages from the whole country (and world) and after her speech, just about all of them put her on the front page in a positive way. That should help. The site is www.newseum.org
9.5.2008 1:05pm
fullerene:
Governors and Senators are drawn from essentially the same pool of people. There is a lot of back and forth movement, because, again, both are among the most prominent political jobs a person can have within a state. Furthermore, senators may often have experience working for governors in state government. Witness Ken Salazar, who was at various times Attorney General of Colorado and a member of the Governor of Colorado's cabinet.

Unless this "executive experience" dramatically alters a person, it really is of no benefit. My humble guess is that people often learn very little from their executive experience. The usefulness of it mostly accrues to the voters, who get an idea of what the candidate would be like as a President.
9.5.2008 1:07pm
LawMan 5000:
It is not experience in the strict sense of the word that make Palin unqualified---it is that we know absolutely nothing about her. The Volokh bloggers have seemed to project all of their wildest hopes and dreams on her: she is a libertarian, she believes in small government, she is a reformer. WSJ has compared her to Thatcher. She is the future of the republican party. You are all guessing. Her and her state's use of Federal funds seems to belie some of these claims.

The problem is, she hasn't had one serious interview. Is she a neo-con or more of a foreign policy realist? How does she feel about international institutions or multilateralism? Is she a deficit hawk, or would she cut taxes even without spending cuts?

Thatcher has a vision for a complete reform of UK's political economy. Who is Sarah Palin? Are you serious when you say her speech tells us anything? What does reading an Agnew-like speech, albeit well, from a teleprompter tell us about her?
9.5.2008 1:09pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I guess you'll be writing in either Martin Sheen or Jed Bartlett for President; they gave great speech. Whether Palin knows her head from her cute whatever on anything other than energy policy has yet to be seen. She given a press conference yet? Hit a Sunday interview show?
9.5.2008 1:13pm
nicestrategy (mail):
Expectations matter. Politics are only so much affected by actual policy chops. Thus, Biden could "lose" a debate that he provides more substance to, of course he could. Let's hope that the country can laugh at the one-liners but evaluate the candidates on the basis of their policies, abilities, and leadership qualities. I'm not getting my hopes up. My expectation is that the punditocracy will declare Palin the winner unless she is obviously terrible, simply because the expectations for her performance are low, a la Bush 2000, in which Bush was declared the winner because America didn't want a smartypants. We didn't get one. We got what we deserved.
9.5.2008 1:16pm
Philosopher:
I imagine that Senators find know-it-all law professors to be "silly" too. Fortunately the Framers didn't share your sense of humor.
9.5.2008 1:17pm
Daniel M. Roche (mail):

It is not experience in the strict sense of the word that make Palin unqualified---it is that we know absolutely nothing about her. The Volokh bloggers have seemed to project all of their wildest hopes and dreams on her


The same things can be said of Obama. He does not have enough of a record that we actually know what direction he will take on all of the issues. As for projecting "hopes and dreams" on a candidate, you must not be paying attention to the Obama campaign. ROFL.

Hope Change Hope Change Hope Change Hope Change . . .
9.5.2008 1:17pm
Big E:
I had the chance to meet and speak with Joe Biden once, if he's still as sharp now as he was then, he'll mop the floor with her.


Assuming of course the moderators ask substantial questions.
9.5.2008 1:20pm
alkali (mail):
@Quarterly Prophet: Biden has a long history of speaking on the fly (I need a better term for this. Improvisation doesn't really work either) ...

I think the term you are looking for is "speaking extemporaneously."

Biden participated in 14 of the Democratic primary debates, which experience ought to be some help to him here.
9.5.2008 1:22pm
Adam J:
Lawman 5000- You pointed to the main reason I'm not particularly scared by her. She has a good (but short) record, and seems relatively charismatic (still early to say though), but for gods sake, it's Alaska. Alaska might be a red state, but it has an poor history with misuse of federal money and gives plenty of "government handouts" thanks to overtaxation of oil companies. Living in Alaska might mean you can "dress down a moose", but it certainly doesn't put you in a position to criticize government social welfare without coming off as a tremendous hypocrite.
9.5.2008 1:25pm
Mark Field (mail):
I'm inclined to think that the post is right in its conclusion, but for a very different reason. What little I've seen of Gov. Palin (her introduction and her speech) demonstrate that she's very willing to lie outright in order to make populist claims. Democrats have had problems dealing with this tactic for 30 years, and I expect Biden will also.
9.5.2008 1:26pm
Fat Man (mail) (www):
"When I testified on the bankruptcy reform legislation, he treated me respectfully and professionally, which is not something I can say for all of his colleagues."

Why don't you ask Clarence Thomas how he feels about Joe.

Biden is well known as bought and paid for shill of the Delaware credit card companies. You were on the same side as he. Of course he was nice to you.
9.5.2008 1:26pm
titus32:
Fortunately the Framers didn't share your sense of humor.

Because the Senate today embodies the Framers' vision of the Senate? Right.
9.5.2008 1:27pm
Big E:
Fat Man, if it weren't for Biden, Thomas wouldn't be on the SCOTUS today.
9.5.2008 1:28pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

a 'community organizer?'" And I think that's the problem--it isn't really a serious job

I think the problem with being a community organizer is that it is not a command and control job. It is really about helping others help themselves, not figuring out what's best for them and ordering them to do it. Same with Obama's other jobs: Lawyering has a large component of advising people what they should do -- they can do it or not, ultimately they decide for themselves. Teaching also is facilitative instead of directive.

In contrast, McCain's military career is the ultimate command and control background: officers give orders and their subordinates obey. Palin has exercised power in her past three jobs, not always judiciously, as demonstrated by her attempt to fire the town librarian for not removing certain books from the library, and her obtaining the personnel files of her ex-brother-in-law.

In my experience, those who have mastered the persuasive skills can handle exercising authority, while authoritarian types are often at sea when they have to persuade others in order to accomplish their goals.
9.5.2008 1:29pm
karl newman:
Community organizer was Obama's job out of college. I washed windows out of college. So what? To discount how well Obama has run his campaign compared to Hillary or McCain is misguided - he is more qualified based on that alone. Plus, to suggest that Obama with his life experience isn't ready compared to McCain-Palin is also a misguided. He can make a decision. The whole experience issue suggests that only CEOs can be CEOs - this is simply not true. Would a Dean of a Law School (CEO-like) make a good president? What if the law school was in debt and raised tuition - poorly managed? The question should be how well they did in their positions. As far as Palin as Gov. Alaska - the jury is still out - just look at the Bridge to Nowhere - she was for it then against it, then kept the money.
9.5.2008 1:30pm
Arkady:

Now, what is so strange to me is that he thought that was a putdown of Palin, whereas it seemed to me that Salazar was actually putting down himself considering he didn't even know the name of a governor.


Do you have any evidence you can share with us that shows Sen. McCain can name all 50 governors and their respective states?
9.5.2008 1:31pm
Ben P (mail):
Why don't you ask Clarence Thomas how he feels about Joe.


From most accounts Biden actually did Thomas a considerable favor in the nomination proceedings by cutting off further evidence and sending it to the floor. He very easily could have turned the proceedings into even more of a circus than they were.
9.5.2008 1:31pm
PC:
The same things can be said of Obama. He does not have enough of a record that we actually know what direction he will take on all of the issues.


I'm not sure what position he will take on all issues, but it's pretty easy to look up his positions on his campaign website. afaik, Gov. Palin does not any similar position page(s). Of course if the media was allowed to interview her...
9.5.2008 1:32pm
The Cabbage (mail):
It really should be Governor Obama and Senator Blagojevich.
9.5.2008 1:32pm
DNL (mail):
I think you can, and correctly did, sum up Biden in two words: A Senator.

To the vast majority of Americans, he'll come off as indistinguishable from about 250 other people who can (or could have) been accurately described as such, including failed Presidential candidates like Chris Dodd, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Bob Dole, Orrin Hatch, Bob Kerrey, Paul Tsongas, Tom Harkin, Phil Gramm, Dick Lugar, etc. Stick and R or a D next to their names and beyond that, who cares.

Which is why I think he's inconsequential to this election. He's not a positive but he's not a negative. He's a perfectly known commodity even though we know little about him, as all that ignorance is rational ignorance.

Palin won't really be debating Biden. She'll be debating the specter of the inconsequential Senator McCain could have easily picked.
9.5.2008 1:34pm
Sarcastro (www):
I don't think we should let someone as inexperienced as karl newman post onthis blog anymore. I mean a window washer?! What?
9.5.2008 1:35pm
Apodaca:
I've heard and seen conservatives commentators trip over one another to try and be the first to claim Palin as the next Reagan, or "star of the next generation"

A celebrity, perhaps?
9.5.2008 1:37pm
Z Jones (mail):
No need to feel sorry for Biden just yet. I'm curious to see how well-versed Palin is on national issues (which, by the way, are quite different from the issues she faces as Governor of a National Park Alaska).
9.5.2008 1:40pm
JimF (mail):
Here is an interesting site. It attempts to put Senator Obama's career in resume form.

http://obamasresume.org/
9.5.2008 1:40pm
PC:
a 'community organizer?'" And I think that's the problem--it isn't really a serious job


I think some people need to be careful talking up this line of attack (this isn't a concern troll). There are historically famous community organziers like Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. (no, I'm not comparing Obama to either of those), but there are hundreds of thousands of community organizer all across the country right now. The vast majority of them work from churches.

If the GOP continues to denigrate the important work that churches do in helping people in the community I predict a significant backlash. And yes, sneering at the job of a community organizer and saying it isn't a real job is denigrating. I fully expect Obama's campaign to hit back on this by mentioning that he worked with Catholic churches to help people in the community.

It really is a petty and disgusting line of attack.
9.5.2008 1:40pm
MartyH (mail):
PC-

Where are Biden's policy pages on his web site? afaik, he does not-nor she he. Palin and Biden are running for VP-their jobs will be to break ties in the Senate, step in if the President is incapacitated, and perform other tasks-big or small-that the President requests.
9.5.2008 1:41pm
PC:
As to Biden v. Palin, if Biden debates Palin he loses. If he debates McCain and Bush he wins.
9.5.2008 1:42pm
PC:
Where are Biden's policy pages on his web site?


Here.
9.5.2008 1:44pm
Nunzio:
Sen. Bayh of Indiana had been a two-term governor of Indiana before heading to Washington. I might be wrong, but I think he's the only former governor in the Senate (most of them seem to come from the House).

It would be interesting to get his take on the Gov. v. Senator experience, assuming he could be unbiased given the campaign season.
9.5.2008 1:44pm
karl newman:
Sarcastro - Agreed. My lunch is done and I have patients waiting. Good thing NIH won't fund hospital-acquired infection research - more MRSA is job security for infectious disease docs. (sarcasm)
9.5.2008 1:45pm
Matt Austin:

Which is why I think he's inconsequential to this election. He's not a positive but he's not a negative. He's a perfectly known commodity even though we know little about him, as all that ignorance is rational ignorance.


I mmostly agree, but I think his effect on the race is that he makes up for a lot of the experience issue. People that pay even a little attention to politics have heard Joe Biden's name mentioned here and there for many years. They won't recall any particul scandal associated with his name and it provides a sense of security to what otherwise could be a very risky pick.

Thus, I think it's a (small) positive for Obama.
9.5.2008 1:45pm
Bill Twist:
Adam J.:
Living in Alaska might mean you can "dress down a moose"

The phrase you are looking for is "field dress a moose", unless you meant that she can denigrate one verbally.

But the fact that you didn't know that underscores that you don't understand what makes her attractive as a candidate to vast numbers of people. You don't understand it because you aren't part of that culture, and she is. As silly as it might seem intellectually, people tend to vote for people like them. In the year 2000 (last year I could find numbers for), there were 29.6 million fishing licenses sold, and 15 million hunting licenses. You dismiss that many people (many of whom are voters) at your peril.
9.5.2008 1:50pm
MartyA:
Poor Joe is right. He should sue C-SPAN for broadcasting his arrogant, stupid questioning of any nominee (but especially those nominated by W) before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And, Biden was such a strange and unfortunate choice for Hussein. Hussein's whole fantasy is "built" on his glib "hope and change." But, stand back and evaluate; which ticket is most likely to deliver hope and change (for Americans, that is)? There is no comparison.
Obama would have a greater claim on his promise had HE picked a Sarah Palin. Think if Hussein had selected George Clooney, Charles Barkley or Gloria Steinham. At least he'd be able to say "change" with a straight face.
But, Hussein is nothing more than a cheap Chicago political hack and race hustler positioned by his masters to run for the presidency. Biden is cut from the same cloth and, at least, is profiting mightily from the parade of new clients through his son's office, trying to purchase Biden's influence. WHERE'S THE CHANGE?
9.5.2008 1:51pm
Ooh, Palin, we're so scared! (mail):
But what in the world does Palin know about any issues of national importance? She's a complete neophyte on this level. She even said a couple of months ago that she doesn't really even think about the Iraq war (other than to know that it's God's war). She may "take responsibility" for things as an executive and have "a real job," but how is she going to be prepared to talk about issues on a national, federal level -- education, health care, Iraq, Afghanistan, foreign relations, national security, the economy -- that she simply doesn't have to deal with in Alaska.

Governing Alaska is about as difficult as presiding over a Gulf oil kingdom; the money just rolls in, and the governor need only debate how large the yearly check to the citizenry should be. That's not a real job, sorry, and she has no knowledge about any of the important issues in this campaign.

I suspect your prediction will look pretty foolish. The great intellectual Barracuda bounced around between like 6 colleges after all -- quite the committed scholar.
9.5.2008 1:53pm
Matt Austin:
Bill,


In the year 2000 (last year I could find numbers for), there were 29.6 million fishing licenses sold, and 15 million hunting licenses. You dismiss that many people (many of whom are voters) at your peril.


Can I ask what you suggest be done? Do John McCain and Barack Obama need to go hunting together to prove their bona fides?
9.5.2008 1:54pm
Spitzer:
Todd,

I'm not sure than Senators are "silly", or at least that they are any sillier than the rest of the politico-pundit-lobbyist-wonk circles in DC. I'm also not sure that Palin and Biden will actually have a real "debate" (US election-style "debating" consists largely of questioning by preening journalists followed by 30 or 60 second soliloquies by the various candidates, so it might be more accurate to call them joint press conferences).

Nevertheless, I agree with your general impression of Gov. Palin. She has a fair amount of "debating" experience in her short career - I believe they held more than 20 debates in the 2006 gubernatorial race, and I don't doubt but that she had quite a few more during the primary, so she cannot be called a neophyte. The principal differences between the two, as I see it, are that Gov. Palin is more charismatic and quick on her feet, while Sen. Biden is longwinded and prone to off-color remarks. His strength will become apparent if the press decides to turn the debate into a triva contest (i.e. "what's the second-largest export of Vanuatu?" or "what is the pruchase-price-parity domestic GDP of Albania, as measured in 1970 real dollars?"). If either candidate can guess best at those answers, it may be Biden.

In any case, it will be an interesting 2 months. The press is going to play a long game of "gotcha" with Gov. Palin, as portraying her as Dan Quayle is now in their clear self-interest ("see, we were right all along - she doesn't know the name of the the Education Minister of Djibouti, and so she is just like Dan Quayle!").
9.5.2008 1:54pm
Ooh, Palin, we're so scared! (mail):
Oh, MartyA, you do your party a credit. What a noxious goon you are: Hussein this, Hussein that. At least you're transparent about your hate though. Oh, and Westmoreland has now claimed it's A-OK to use the word "uppity," claiming (as a Georgian, hahahaha) he was completely unaware of any racial aspect to the term. Hilarious.
9.5.2008 1:55pm
PC:
Oh, and Westmoreland has now claimed it's A-OK to use the word "uppity," claiming (as a Georgian, hahahaha) he was completely unaware of any racial aspect to the term.


How dare you attack Gov. Palin's family!
9.5.2008 1:56pm
Helen2 (mail):
Does anyone know who paid Barack Obama's salary when he worked as a "community organizer?"
9.5.2008 1:57pm
Big E:
Yeah they've abandoned the elite code word and gone straight back to old fashioned racism.
9.5.2008 1:58pm
Ooh, Palin, we're so scared! (mail):
Yes, indeed, all this attention on Bristol is totally unwarranted and intrusive. I mean, it's not like McCain made a major event out of welcoming them to the convention &greeted them prominently on the tarmac or anything. Clearly McCain is doing everything in his power to divert attention from this sensitive, personal, family issue for the Palins.

Also, please see the great Daily Show clip from the other day. Billy-O pleads with America to reserve judgment here: this is a personal, family matter (so long as the state won't be required to support anybody). Then a great clip of Billy-O calling the Spears parents "pinheads" after 16 year-old Jamie Lynn got pregnant. Hahahaha

You people are so pathetic.
9.5.2008 1:59pm
Federal Dog:
"It is not experience in the strict sense of the word that make Palin unqualified---it is that we know absolutely nothing about her."


This is illogical. The public can be completely ignorant about someone's qualifications, but that ignorance doesn't make those qualifications magically disappear. It just means people are uninformed.
9.5.2008 1:59pm
Ooh, Palin, we're so scared! (mail):
Hey Helen: Jesus was a community organizer, and Pilate was a governor.

Think about that one, will ya.
9.5.2008 1:59pm
Bill Twist:
JimF:

Here is an interesting site. It attempts to put Senator Obama's career in resume form.

http://obamasresume.org/


I see that it doesn't point out that out of 573 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed or voted "Present" on 230 of them, or roughly 40%. I'd get fired if I averaged only 3 days at work per week.

Maybe his resume should say "United States Senate 2004-Present (part time)".
9.5.2008 1:59pm
Sarcastro (www):
Helen2 a group of churches in Chicago, according to noted leftist Bill Kristol.
9.5.2008 2:00pm
Noops (mail):

But the fact that you didn't know that underscores that you don't understand what makes her attractive as a candidate to vast numbers of people. You don't understand it because you aren't part of that culture, and she is. As silly as it might seem intellectually, people tend to vote for people like them. In the year 2000 (last year I could find numbers for), there were 29.6 million fishing licenses sold, and 15 million hunting licenses. You dismiss that many people (many of whom are voters) at your peril.


I'm tired of this line. I'm from Oregon. I own guns. I know plenty about shooting and hungting. I know this culture. I have vast respect for these people.

People voted for GW Bush because he was "one of the guys." How'd that work out for us again?

I'm not saying Obama is better, but I want some seriously smart dude in the office with experience, education, and knowledge. I couldn't care less if they could handle my rifle without shooting they're foot off. And, boy are a lot of these people pretty seriously dissatisfied with Bush. Especially on the environmental issues. These people you mention, many of them Republicans and independents have a closer knowledge of real environmentalism than any screaming ELF hippies, and I'm pretty sure they want good, not good looking.
9.5.2008 2:01pm
The General:
Oh please. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't a "community organizer" in the same sense that Obama was. MLK was a clergyman. That was his job. MLK, through his leadership, rallied millions of people to his cause against segregation and racism. He wasn't paid to cause trouble.

Obama's paid job was to get people all worked up over imperceptible slights. Obama worked for a Marxist organization that ran around demanding handouts from businesses and local governments. He wasn't very effective at it, either.

MLK was a religious man who rose to the occasion under the circumstances of the day. Obama was a paid rabblerouser. They're hardly the same thing.
9.5.2008 2:03pm
Dan Weber (www):
For the last 36 hours or so, I've heard and seen conservatives commentators trip over one another to try and be the first to claim Palin as the next Reagan, or "star of the next generation" as I believe someone at NRO called her.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we've seen two, maybe three speeches from her. The big one was in front of an audience that could not have been better suited for her
Four years ago it was the exact same situation with Obama.

Will she follow that path? I haven't the slightest idea. It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future.
9.5.2008 2:04pm
Mad Max:
Plus, to suggest that Obama with his life experience isn't ready compared to McCain-Palin is also a misguided. He can make a decision.

Uh, name one? Other than, "I should run for President!"?

what in the world does Palin know about any issues of national importance?

what in the world does Palin Obama know about any issues of national importance?

There, fixed it.

Is being governor of Alaska harder than being a Senator? Yup. So much for the "that's not so hard" argument.
9.5.2008 2:04pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

see that it doesn't point out that out of 573 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed or voted "Present" on 230 of them, or roughly 40%.

Maybe his resume should say "United States Senate 2004-Present (part time)".

It's not possible to vote "Present" in the United States Senate. Regroup and repost.
9.5.2008 2:08pm
Matt Austin:
The General,


Obama's paid job was to get people all worked up over imperceptible slights. Obama worked for a Marxist organization that ran around demanding handouts from businesses and local governments. He wasn't very effective at it, either.


Two things: Do you have any evidence of this?

And you said this would be how he differs from MLK, yet MLK was attacked as a communist during his life and (by some) ever since. "The General", I like that.
9.5.2008 2:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
how is it that the cautios, conservative party seems to be so easily convinced - in less than a week! - that she's the new messiah?


They do so by paying very little attention to her actual record.
==============================
She has a good (but short) record


It's "good" only when examined very superficially.
==============================
In contrast, McCain's military career is the ultimate command and control background: officers give orders and their subordinates obey.


I wonder what part of his "military career" you're thinking of. McCain has exactly 13 months of executive experience. This job is completely omitted from his official campaign bio. I find that curious.

Palin has exercised power in her past three jobs


Not as much as you think:

During her mayoral administration, most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings, which had given rise to a recall campaign.

==============================
Community organizer was Obama's job out of college. I washed windows out of college.


Good point. And what did Palin do out of college? Sportscaster? And why did she go to about five different colleges?
==============================
As silly as it might seem intellectually, people tend to vote for people like them.


I agree. I also think that most American moms wouldn't be caught dead presenting their 3-day old special-needs infant to press photographers. No matter how ambitious they are.

This is one of many things the voters have not yet learned about her. She has nowhere to go but down.

there were 29.6 million fishing licenses sold, and 15 million hunting licenses


Does that mean that Palin is more likely to shoot her friend in the face, or less likely? I'm not sure which way this cuts.
==============================
please see the great Daily Show clip from the other day. Billy-O pleads with America to reserve judgment here: this is a personal, family matter (so long as the state won't be required to support anybody). Then a great clip of Billy-O calling the Spears parents "pinheads" after 16 year-old Jamie Lynn got pregnant. Hahahaha


It's incredibly funny. A must-see. It's here.
==============================
I see that it doesn't point out that out of 573 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed or voted "Present" on 230 of them, or roughly 40%.


I see that you didn't point out that McCain's attendance is much worse.
9.5.2008 2:09pm
Obvious (mail):
"see, we were right all along - she doesn't know the name of the the Education Minister of Djibouti, and so she is just like Dan Quayle!"

Ironically, the name of the Education Minister of Djibouti is Potatoe. Look it up...
9.5.2008 2:10pm
Spitzer:
Honest question (about the law and politics):

Today, the rock band Heart apparently forbade the GOP from using their song "Barracuda". This is akin to Jackson Browne's threatened action in Ohio.

Does copyright law really allow the copyright holder to place restrictions on use (specifically, on who may use it)? I would have thought, much like a radio station, that a simple financial kickback to the copyright holder would have removed all legal objections to use. Otherwise, if a copyright holder could place restrictions on who can use it, then wouldn't it follow that, say, a racist or sexist copyright holder could lawfully prohibit members of a given group from using copyrighted material? Can an author of an embarrassing book place restrictions on the right of a group (i.e. journalists) from using it when the author later runs for office?

Just a question from a non-copyright attorney. Thanks.
9.5.2008 2:11pm
Floridan:
Let's see, two of Florida's best governors in recent years (recent being relative to my age) were Bob Graham and Lawton Chiles. Both served in the Sentate, as well; Graham after and Chiles before being governor. Neither seemed silly, in either of their elected offices.

I would suspect that the real difference is that most governors are term-limited; senators are not. Any time someone is ensconced in one office for a lengthy period of time their niche becomes much too comfortable and there is a temptation to believe they are indespensible.

I would guess this goes anyone who works in what is essentially an artificial world; whether they be law professors or senators.
9.5.2008 2:13pm
Mad Max:
I want some seriously smart dude in the office with experience, education, and knowledge.

And the track record of so-called "smart" Presidents like Wilson, Carter, and Clinton? Hmmmm, not so good.

If you're talking about the Messiah, OK, his experience is minimal, his education is excellent, and his knowledge of things that matter to a President is negligible so far as we can tell. He just doesn't fare all that well by your own criteria!
9.5.2008 2:14pm
Matt Austin:
Dan,


Four years ago it was the exact same situation with Obama.

Will she follow that path? I haven't the slightest idea. It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future.


Yes, similar things were said about Obama four years ago. But he wasn't running for President or VP four years ago, and any meltdown on his part would have occured as a candidate for the US Senate. Shouldn't these folks be more cautious about the expectations they load on to Palin just five and six days after her introduction the nation?
9.5.2008 2:14pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

MLK rallied millions of people to his cause against segregation and racism. He wasn't paid to cause trouble.

Now I know what people mean when they describe something as comedy gold. MLK upset the status quo as few others have ever done in this country. He was indeed paid to cause trouble -- for racists.

Obama's paid job was to get people all worked up over imperceptible slights. Obama worked for a Marxist organization that ran around demanding handouts from businesses and local governments.

I have a very hard time believing this. Marx described religion as the opiate of the people. Eight Catholic parishes got together to form the Developing Communities Project that Obama led. It is still sponsored by local churches. Perhaps you meant "anti-Marxist" organization?
9.5.2008 2:16pm
Hoosier:
But he wasn't running for President or VP four years ago

Heh.
9.5.2008 2:16pm
Arkady:
@ Bill Twist


I see that it doesn't point out that out of 573 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed or voted "Present" on 230 of them, or roughly 40%. I'd get fired if I averaged only 3 days at work per week.



John McCain has missed 407 votes (63.8%) during the current Congress.


Source
9.5.2008 2:17pm
RPT (mail):
Notes from the "real world" of law practice:

Prof. Zywicki: Based on this post, I certainly wouldn't hire you for a due diligence investigation, or even the law firm hiring committee. One talk and you're sold; no need to do anything further it investigate the reality or the documentary record. In addition, I would be curious how much O'Melveny &Myers (A.B. Culvahouse is their newly relected chairman) charged for their "investigation". Pretty thorough, but they had to meet that Friday deadline!
9.5.2008 2:18pm
Hoosier:
Tony Tutins

Although I agree with you on the overall point of your post, using the participation of Cathlolic clergy as evidence that something isn't communist won't work. Liberation Theology and all that. If I read that the Maryknoll order is doing somehting somewhere in the Third World, I just naturally assume a Marxist ideology overlays the project. Not because I despise the order or anything. Just an empirical matter.
9.5.2008 2:20pm
Lawyer (mail):

Gov. Palin [is]willing to lie outright in order to make populist claims. Democrats have had problems dealing with this tactic for 30 years, and I expect Biden will also.


Well, Biden could just lie and say he's the first in his family to go to college. Or, he could rip-off a law review article and pass it as his own. Or, he could steal the speech of a British politician.

Sounds like a great way to respond to populist "lying" to me. Palin won't know what hit her (maybe because the punch will have come from someone else).
9.5.2008 2:20pm
PC:
MLK upset the status quo as few others have ever done in this country. He was indeed paid to cause trouble -- for racists.


That's because he was uppity. At least back in the 60s people were honest enough not to use arrogant and elitist as code words for how they really felt.
9.5.2008 2:22pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
A copyright is a bundle of rights, including the exclusive right to distribute, sell, duplicate, publicly perform, and create derivative works from the work.
The McCain campaign cannot use the song "Barracuda" unless authorized by the copyright holder. No standard blanket license would apply -- McCain is not a radio station, he is not a restaurant, he is not YouTube, etc.
9.5.2008 2:23pm
Big E:
I still say Palin won't appear on the ballot come November. Now her alleged former lover is trying to seal his divorce records.
9.5.2008 2:24pm
PC:
Palin won't know what hit her (maybe because the punch will have come from someone else).


Sometimes the rejoinder is too obvious...
9.5.2008 2:25pm
titus32:
Hey Helen: Jesus was a community organizer, and Pilate was a governor.

Think about that one, will ya.


So Obama really is the Messiah.
9.5.2008 2:26pm
Hoosier:
Tony--I should have added: Rev. King was "paid" only to be the pastor of his church, right? He would have been paid his salary even if he had not been risking his life to combat injustice. (I'm wrong is he was paid by SCLC, but I've never come across reference to this. "Casuing trouble for racists" was certainly his job there.)

I know your words were meant as praise for him. But I wouldn't say that he was "paid" for Birmingham any more than I'd say Blessed Teresa was "paid" for Calcutta. Both were paid in justice and love. If I can be maudlin for a moment.

(OK. Back to my misanthropic personality. You s***heads.)
9.5.2008 2:26pm
Hoosier:
Hey Helen: Jesus was a community organizer, and Pilate was a governor.

Think about that one, will ya.

So Obama really is the Messiah.


Let's get our history straight: Paul of Tarsus was the "community organizer." Not Jesus.
9.5.2008 2:27pm
Angus:
It's not possible to vote "Present" in the United States Senate. Regroup and repost.
Well, in all fairness you can't expect extreme partisans to actually understand any of their talking points.
9.5.2008 2:28pm
Dan Weber (www):
It's not possible to vote "Present" in the United States Senate. Regroup and repost.

It is in the Illinois Senate, which may (or may not) be what our poster meant.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/us/politics/20obama.html
9.5.2008 2:29pm
Hoosier:
That's because he was uppity. At least back in the 60s people were honest enough not to use arrogant and elitist as code words for how they really felt.

So Dukakis, Dean, and Kerry were also . . . black?

How odd that I never noticed! But then again, it does show that I don't have a racist bone in my body, doesn't it now?
9.5.2008 2:29pm
tsotha:
Palin is certainly a good deal more charismatic than Biden. But debates aren't as extemporaneous as one would hope. They always seem to follow the same pattern:

Moderator: What hard choices would you make to cut the budget?

Candidate: Well, that's an important question. But let me say my opponent's continuing efforts to take food from the mouth's of poor people are disgraceful [ 5 minutes of prepared remarks ]


It would be impossible to be impartial, but what debates need is someone in a "judge" role to cut the candidate off and force them to actually address the question.
9.5.2008 2:30pm
Kazinski:
Those who critisize Palin's experience as Governor of Alaska miss the mark, the thing she has the most experience at is cleaning up crony capitalism. That is the kind of experience that is most needed in Washington right now.

Getting rid of the Stevens and Youngs and the Murthas and Mollhollens of both parties is the most important thing that could be done by either party. I'd be ready to be convinced by Democrats on that issue. But as far as I can tell, the three most active figures in Washington trying to end the earmarks and pork are Coburn, DeMint, and McCain. I can't think of a single Democrat that has demonstrated that they are serious about earmark reform.
9.5.2008 2:31pm
Big E:
So Dukakis, Dean, and Kerry were also . . . black?

How odd that I never noticed! But then again, it does show that I don't have a racist bone in my body, doesn't it now?


I know you understand what context is, if you don't well there's not much I can do for you.
9.5.2008 2:33pm
Mac (mail):
Jim F,

Thanks for the link. I'm not saying it isn't valuable, but the list of sources for this report are a tad suspect, no? It would be a bit like using the American Spectator as a source for Palin. Do you have anything that would be a bit more unbiased? Thanks.

: Barack Obama -- The New York Times
Professor Obama was a listener, students say -- Chicago Sun-Times
An Obama Moment -- Geoffrey R. Stone at The Huffington Post
Detailed research into Obama and Clinton's bills that they have authored
Oxy Remembers "Barry" Obama '83
Andrew Sullivan lists major legislative accomplishments, and links to several other articles discussing Obama's record
http://www.pickensdemocrats.org/info/TheAgitator_070319.htm
http://www.opencongress.org/people/show/400629_barack_obama
9.5.2008 2:33pm
PC:
I'd be ready to be convinced by Democrats on that issue. But as far as I can tell, the three most active figures in Washington trying to end the earmarks and pork are Coburn, DeMint, and McCain. I can't think of a single Democrat that has demonstrated that they are serious about earmark reform.


Well, sorta. No one is going to actually get rid of earmarks, so transparency is at least something.
9.5.2008 2:36pm
Virginian:
BO's three main "qualifications" are a joke.

1. He was President of Harvard Law Review. I am guessing that >90% of the non-lawyer population has no idea what law review is (I didn't before I went to law school, and I was 38 years old when I started law school) and are not impressed by this.

2. He was a community organizer. I am guessing that >70% of the population hear this and think "WTF?". I have lived in (conservatively counting) six different communities. Never lived in one that had or needed an organizer.

3. He has run for president for the past 1.5 years. I love this one. This is resume-padding to the extreme.
9.5.2008 2:36pm
Kazinski:
Big E:

I still say Palin won't appear on the ballot come November. Now her alleged former lover is trying to seal his divorce records.

Because no one would ever have any other reasons for not wanting their divorce records printed in all the tabloids in all the supermarkets in America.
9.5.2008 2:37pm
PC:
2. He was a community organizer. I am guessing that >70% of the population hear this and think "WTF?". I have lived in (conservatively counting) six different communities. Never lived in one that had or needed an organizer.


I'm going to retract my earlier comment about not following this line of attack. Please continue attacking people and organizations that work to help people in their communities. Talk about how it's not a real job, talk about how it means nothing, get down and dirty and rip it apart.
9.5.2008 2:44pm
Bill Twist:
Arkady:

@ Bill Twist


I see that it doesn't point out that out of 573 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed or voted "Present" on 230 of them, or roughly 40%. I'd get fired if I averaged only 3 days at work per week.




John McCain has missed 407 votes (63.8%) during the current Congress.





Would you like your pwnage over easy, or fried hard?

John McCain has a record in the Senate stretching back for two decades. Obama doesn't.

In fact, in the 109th Congress, McCain only missed 9% of votes.

Here are his other percentages:
108th Congress: 1.8%
107th Congress: 5.7%
106th Congress: 29.5%
105th Congress: 3.3%
104th Congress: 3.4%
103rd Congress 4.8%
102nd Congress: 2%

Obama doesn't have that kind of record.
9.5.2008 2:44pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Obama's three years as community organizer speaks to his character, not his experience. It fills the same space in Obama's narrative that McCain's POW experience does in his, or Palin's PTA experience does in hers.
9.5.2008 2:47pm
one of many:

I can't think of a single Democrat that has demonstrated that they are serious about earmark reform.


(sarcasm, just too easy to resist and I do realize it is snark but it is too easy.) Another lie, Nancy Pelosi has made enormous strides in reforming earmarks, she's completely revolutionized the process. (/sarcasm)
9.5.2008 2:51pm
Mac (mail):
Hoosier wrote:



Although I agree with you on the overall point of your post, using the participation of Cathlolic clergy as evidence that something isn't communist won't work. Liberation Theology and all that.



Thanks. You saved me the trouble. You don't have to go so far as missionaries, though. I just go to church on Sunday and hear plenty of Marxist ideology.
9.5.2008 2:51pm
Matt Austin:

Would you like your pwnage over easy, or fried hard?


I've always preferred over easy:


John McCain has a record in the Senate stretching back for two decades. Obama doesn't.

In fact, in the 109th Congress, McCain only missed 9% of votes.
...
Obama doesn't have that kind of record.


Obama only missed 1.7% in the 109th congress...so McCain missed five-times as many votes. (I'd link to it, but it's the same link you gave.)

Nonetheless, douch-e-ness of "pwned" response was spectacular.
9.5.2008 2:52pm
PC:
I just go to church on Sunday and hear plenty of Marxist ideology.


I'm just waiting for some intrepid pastor to reduce tithing. It's been 10% for, like, centuries. That's change I can believe in.
9.5.2008 2:54pm
Virginian:


2. He was a community organizer. I am guessing that >70% of the population hear this and think "WTF?". I have lived in (conservatively counting) six different communities. Never lived in one that had or needed an organizer.




I'm going to retract my earlier comment about not following this line of attack. Please continue attacking people and organizations that work to help people in their communities. Talk about how it's not a real job, talk about how it means nothing, get down and dirty and rip it apart.


Wow, you liberals are the thinnest skinned people I have ever encountered. Or is that only when one dares question the Obamessiah?

I stated that the vast majority of the public has absolutely no idea what a community organizer is or does. And that is getting down and dirty and ripping it apart? Oh, and you forgot to cry that I was questioning his patriotism.

Grow up and start acting like a big boy/girl!
9.5.2008 2:55pm
wfjag:

It is just to say don't be surprised if the supposedly inexperienced Sarah Palin mops the floor with Joe Biden when thier debate comes in October. At this point I suspect that the only way Joe Biden is going to come out of this looking ok will be to not be Joe Biden and it seems a bit late for that.

Prof.: I think that the closest analogy is likely to be the Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960. If you go back and read the transcripts, Nixon clearly won. He knew the facts and provided detailed answers and more strongly supported his arguments. People who listened to the debates on radio concluded that Nixon won, and was the better candidate. People who watched it on TV, however, concluded that Kennedy won. He looked better -- Nixon looked sick and tired. He gave quick, overview type answers that TV viewers could quickly comprehend.

Palin doesn't have to "win" the debate -- she only has to show that Biden is what he is -- an old-style Washington insider liberal whose been there so long that he doesn't have much understanding about what happens in "fly-over country."

Biden's support of legislation favoring credit card companies (coupled with the campaign contributions he's received from MBNA and others, and the lobbying work of R. Hunter Biden's firm for credit card companies) can sink him -- and Obama. All Palin has to say is something like "Everytime you look at all the charges and fees and the interest rates charged by a credit card company -- thank Joe Biden. Everytime you try to figure out the small print on the bill that allows a credit card company to do whatever it wants to you -- thank Joe Biden. Thank Joe Biden -- He's in your wallet."
9.5.2008 2:59pm
Noops (mail):

He was a community organizer. I am guessing that >70% of the population hear this and think "WTF?". I have lived in (conservatively counting) six different communities. Never lived in one that had or needed an organizer.


Good good man, where do you live? I'm moving there. I live in one of the five or six most educated cities in America (by degrees), which is generally considered one of the wealthiest and educated enclaves in the pacific northwest. We still need community organizers for various things. Everything from helping the poor to organizing our rather spectacular Science and Arts fair.

It's nice to see you have such a strong sense of community. And I'll bet that unless you lived in towns with populations of about 12, you DID have community organizers.
9.5.2008 3:00pm
SeaDrive:
Biden will do fine if he limits himself to demonstrating how far to the right Palin is.
9.5.2008 3:06pm
Bill Twist:
Tony Tutins:



see that it doesn't point out that out of 573 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed or voted "Present" on 230 of them, or roughly 40%.

Maybe his resume should say "United States Senate 2004-Present (part time)".


It's not possible to vote "Present" in the United States Senate. Regroup and repost.



Fair enough, and with corrected figures:

"it doesn't point out that out of 638 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed 290 of them, or roughly 45.5%."

My last sentence still stands.
9.5.2008 3:08pm
SG:
Reps are definitely overselling her. She's the equivalent of a Double A prospect getting called up to the big league club in September because the big league club is struggling. She has talent, and she got a good hit on a 98-mph fast ball down the middle. But we haven't seen her even take a curve ball, she how she does in the field, is she durable, etc. And she skipped a AAA-ball, so we can't even look to that for evidence.

She may prove to be great, but there's little basis on which to simply assume it at this point.
9.5.2008 3:10pm
Virginian:

Good good man, where do you live? I'm moving there. I live in one of the five or six most educated cities in America (by degrees), which is generally considered one of the wealthiest and educated enclaves in the pacific northwest. We still need community organizers for various things. Everything from helping the poor to organizing our rather spectacular Science and Arts fair.

It's nice to see you have such a strong sense of community. And I'll bet that unless you lived in towns with populations of about 12, you DID have community organizers.


Where I have lived, you just described the VOLUNTEER efforts of many dedicated citizens who help out in their communities. In one of my prior communities, I actually used to help run the regional science fair IN MY SPARE TIME AFTER MY REAL JOB. Never was a full time job, and never heard any of these volunteers call themselves "community organizer." Just "citizen."

If you say you are head of the local PTA, most people would nod their heads and say "good for you." If you say you are a community organizer, most people would scratch their heads and say "What is that? You get paid for that?"
9.5.2008 3:10pm
Arkady:
Bill Quick:


John McCain has missed 407 votes (63.8%) during the current [110th] Congress.


I got my data from the same source you got your's; see my link: Source. Of course Obama doesn't have that kind of record -- he hasn't been in the Senate for as many years as McCain. I thought we were comparing (roughly) comparable time frames, no?


Barack Obama has missed 290 votes (45.5%) during the current [110th] Congress. Source


In the 109th Congress, Obama missed 11 votes missed (1.7%), 634 votes cast. Source.

That's better than McCain's record in 109th.
9.5.2008 3:12pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Biden does not anyone's help tanking or looking sick on televison. All he has to do is show up and be himself.
9.5.2008 3:13pm
Mac (mail):
POc wrote:


I'm going to retract my earlier comment about not following this line of attack. Please continue attacking people and organizations that work to help people in their communities.



Base on the "resume" provided above, it seems his greatest accomplishments as a community organizer, if not only, were as follows;


1985-1988 Director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland on Chicago's South Side. While director grew the DCP staff from 1 to 13 and their budget from $70,000 to $400,000.

Well, it appears he can grow government and budgets. A dubious accolade, it seems to me.


1992 Led Chicago's Project Vote! push. This effort resulted in a record number of voter registrations, over 600,000 in Chicago.

600,000? In one year? One wonders how many of those were alive. And, this has certainly done a lot of good for Chicago, eh? I guess you have to abide by the notion that the more "voters" there are to vote Democrat, the greater the common good. It's so obvious in South Chicago, Detroit, South Central LA. Such a difference they have made in people's lives.
9.5.2008 3:13pm
PC:
Wow, you liberals are the thinnest skinned people I have ever encountered. Or is that only when one dares question the Obamessiah?


This is one thing I love about the internets. If you go back and look at what I wrote you would see I'm defending community organizers. The GOP openly mocked community organizers and their surrogates are still doing it.

While the Southern Baptist church I grew up in didn't use the exact term "community organizer," it was trivial to listen to a description of the job and know exactly what it meant.
9.5.2008 3:13pm
The Ace (mail):
McCain had a bigger audience than Obama:


Presidential candidate John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention drew more television viewers than his rival Barack Obama attracted at the Democratic party's event last week, according to preliminary ratings from Nielsen Media Research.

Across all broadcast networks Thursday, Sen. McCain's speech ended the night with a 4.8 rating/7 share, compared to Sen. Obama's 4.3/7 average, according to overnight numbers from metered households in 55 U.S. markets measured by Nielsen.


Who is Ken Salazar anyway?
9.5.2008 3:19pm
Virginian:

This is one thing I love about the internets. If you go back and look at what I wrote you would see I'm defending community organizers. The GOP openly mocked community organizers and their surrogates are still doing it.



My bad for assuming that, by quoting me and responding to what I said, you were responding to me and what I said.
9.5.2008 3:19pm
Matt Austin:
Bill:


"it doesn't point out that out of 638 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed 290 of them, or roughly 45.5%."

My last sentence still stands.


Actually, no it doesn't. That was in one congress, not "during his tenure" as you claimed.

Since you're having such trouble with this, let me make the argument for you:

In the 110th Congress, Obama missed 45.5% of his votes.
In the 109th Congress, Obama missed 1.7% of his votes.

During his tenure, he has missed 23.4% of his votes.

And one counter argument:
During the same amount of time (109th and 110th), McCain has missed 36.2%



Ultimately, what this shows is Senators running for President miss a lot of votes. Frickin BRILLIANT I am!
9.5.2008 3:21pm
The Ace (mail):
Anyway, Salazar says, "Who is Sarah Palin. I'd never even heard of her until they announced her as VP."

She is the most popular politician in America.

As always, you can't parody the left anymore.
9.5.2008 3:23pm
zippypinhead:
Hold on a minute. The opening post confounds two largely unrelated topics: (a) the measurement and relevance of "legislative experience" versus "executive experience;" and (b) one's ability to perform as a debater, especially in a massively stage-managed event like a Vice Presidential debate. They're not necessarily related, and in fact I wouldn't be surprised in there's an inverse correlation. Senators talk [bloviate?] for a living, after all.

A single televised national election debate is a crummy way to tease out executive experience. Such a debate tests only three things -- (1) one's ability to remember and parrot back all the lines your handlers have had you practicing for weeks; (2) one's ability to think on one's feet when things don't go according to script; and (3) one's ability to, in essence, be a theatrical actor assigned to play a "Presidential" role (meaning don't sigh, roll your eyes, look at your watch too much, fidget, do the deer-in-headlights thingie, etc.).

Biden has had a lot more recent debating practice than Palin. May not be dispositive to the outcome of their debate, but it is at least relevant.

As for staying on-script and thinking on one's feet, Biden has done some memorable full-gainers into the manure pile over the years when he started freelancing. But it's hard to score who will win, because I don't have enough data points on the Palin side.

As for looking the part, well, that's straying uncomfortably close to the "VPILF" arena, as Hoosier phrased it on another thread. Since my wife occasionally reads VC, I'm not even going to try to score that. Not gonna do it, wouldn't be prudent...

In closing: Remember, the most [only?] memorable line in a VP debate in the last half-century -- delivered by a Silly Senator to a Silly Senator, was "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." Which, allegedly, was actually worked out in advance, to be used in case Quayle regurgitated one of his favorite stump speech lines.
9.5.2008 3:23pm
The Ace (mail):
The GOP openly mocked community organizers

No, the GOP mocked Obama as a "community organizer"

And people with brains understand this and can distinguish between an attack on community organizing, and an attack on Obama's community organizing.
9.5.2008 3:24pm
PC:
Where I have lived, you just described the VOLUNTEER efforts of many dedicated citizens who help out in their communities. In one of my prior communities, I actually used to help run the regional science fair IN MY SPARE TIME AFTER MY REAL JOB. Never was a full time job, and never heard any of these volunteers call themselves "community organizer." Just "citizen."


In large churches, like the one I was raised in, there is a large funding base and coordinating those funds to provide services for the community requires...a full time job. Unpaid volunteers are great and are vital for churches to help out communities. Usually unpaid volunteers do not have the time to handle the finances and other day to day tasks that have to be done in large organizations.

But you know, it's not a REAL JOB.

I seriously can not believe the absolute disdain that some people have for community organizations, including churches. Do you honestly think these things run themselves and no one gets paid? That charity work is done on a strictly voluntary basis and there are no staff positions?
9.5.2008 3:24pm
Hoosier:
Biden has had a lot more recent debating practice than Palin. May not be dispositive to the outcome of their debate, but it is at least relevant.

Has he been any good?

From the debates I watched, I didn't think so. (As I've said before, the "winner" of the debates that I watched was Dodd, IMHO. Biden wasn't close.)
9.5.2008 3:26pm
PC:
My bad for assuming that, by quoting me and responding to what I said, you were responding to me and what I said.
I think I understood exactly what you meant.
In one of my prior communities, I actually used to help run the regional science fair IN MY SPARE TIME AFTER MY REAL JOB.
9.5.2008 3:28pm
holdfast (mail):

He also said "I don't meet with lobbyists!"


Is he saying that he is estranged from his own son? I seriously do not believe that there is a single person in Washington above the rank of bathroom attendant who can say this. The whole system of government has gotten so massive and invasive that any business owner, union or other group would be criminally negligent not to use lobbyists, and no politician can avoid them, since they tend to be the representatives of almost all constituencies good and bad.

On the other hand, McCain eschews all earmarks, while Obama procures them for Biden's son.
9.5.2008 3:28pm
Hoosier:
PC--Where did his paycheck come from? Was it from a church organization? I've never seen reference to this, though I assume it has been addressed in the media. I just haven't read an article that states "the employer of record was . . .". Thanks.

I seriously can not believe the absolute disdain that some people have for community organizations, including churches. Do you honestly think these things run themselves and no one gets paid? That charity work is done on a strictly voluntary basis and there are no staff positions?

Again, this is a misstatement of what the GOPers are saying, which is that Obama in the job is what's at issue.
9.5.2008 3:30pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Prof.: I think that the closest analogy is likely to be the Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960. If you go back and read the transcripts, Nixon clearly won. He knew the facts and provided detailed answers and more strongly supported his arguments. People who listened to the debates on radio concluded that Nixon won, and was the better candidate. People who watched it on TV, however, concluded that Kennedy won. He looked better -- Nixon looked sick and tired. He gave quick, overview type answers that TV viewers could quickly comprehend.
That's a myth. (Well, it's not a myth that radio listeners thought Nixon won and television viewers thought Kennedy won. What's a myth is that it was based on how they looked.) The mistake is in thinking these are random samplings; they're not. The demographics of the radio and television audiences for the debate were quite different.
9.5.2008 3:32pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Good good man, where do you live? I'm moving there. I live in one of the five or six most educated cities in America (by degrees), which is generally considered one of the wealthiest and educated enclaves in the pacific northwest. We still need community organizers for various things. Everything from helping the poor to organizing our rather spectacular Science and Arts fair.

It's nice to see you have such a strong sense of community. And I'll bet that unless you lived in towns with populations of about 12, you DID have community organizers.
Uh, in most of the world we call people who do those sorts of things "volunteers," and it's something people do in their spare time, not as a "job."


Oh, and for the people saying that Obama was paid by churches, go look at where the money originated. Thanks, LBJ!
9.5.2008 3:34pm
Mac (mail):
PC wrote:


I seriously can not believe the absolute disdain that some people have for community organizations, including churches


I am not disdaining churches. I do wonder where the Church came up with the additional $400,000 dollars to pay for the additional staff Obama got. I doubt, somehow, that it was donations. Was it Federal or State funds?

I also have no clue, based on Obama's very favorable and probably biased resume what he or those other 13 people did with all that money and who they helped and how. I would like to know.

Volunteerism, be it through Churches or not, is the backbone of social services in this country. I am one and admire all. However, when you get paid, it is fair to ask what you are doing with the money and who did you help? Voter registration, as a community good, is a rather amusing accomplishment, in Chicago, at least.
9.5.2008 3:40pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):
About the whole community organizer thing,

I know people who fulfill this type of job in my community. They are good, dedicated people. They work hard and are important to the people they are helping.

That said, I would guess over 60% of the general public is unaware of how many people in their communities work in these types of jobs.

Its one that this only seems important to the people being helped or the ones that took the job to provide that help.

That isn't a slam, it is just reality.

Like someone else said, doing this type of job for several years is more of a sign of Obama's character than anything. It is okay to mention it in reference to the type of person you are.

It is not the type of job you can compare to being a Mayor or a Governor and have people take you seriously. You can argue about city adminstrators or population and the average person will tune you out.

His stint as a Director of a non-profit is a better example of a job with executive experiance.

Community organizer straight out of college? I hear that and think it is probably equivalent in responsibility to Assistant Manager for a Retail Store.
9.5.2008 3:40pm
Virginian:

However, when you get paid, it is fair to ask what you are doing with the money and who did you help?


If only there existed businesses whose mission it was to have a staff of investigators who could go to Chicago and ask some of these questions and report back to us what they found.
9.5.2008 3:44pm
PC:
Where did his paycheck come from? Was it from a church organization? I've never seen reference to this, though I assume it has been addressed in the media.

I haven't seen reference to it either, so I'm curious as well. Usually paid "community organizers" are paid through the charity organization they work for. Normally that's a church or a community group, according to the Mrs.
Again, this is a misstatement of what the GOPers are saying, which is that Obama in the job is what's at issue.

I'd go back and watch the tape of Gov. Palin's speech:
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.

The OP said being a community organizer "isn't really a serious job" and Virginian talked about a "REAL JOB" after a bit of prodding.

I've heard similar comments from talking heads.
9.5.2008 3:46pm
Smokey:
Thanks for posting the link to Obama's voting record.

What a politically brave guy! He can really take a stand...

...not.
9.5.2008 3:50pm
Just a Thought (mail):
Umm, when you testified on the bankruptcy "reform" legislation, I'm sure the reason he was so polite to you and ultimately on your side had nothing to do with the fact that Biden's son was on MBNA's payroll at the time pushing the bankruptcy bill you supported.

http://www.washingtonpost.com /wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/25/AR2008082501991.html

Indeed, it was surely Senator Biden's deep character and your poignant arguments which swayed him to your side of the debate. He would never sell out for mere money.
9.5.2008 3:52pm
PC:
Mac, those are all valid questions.

Don Miller, all good points. It speaks to character more than executive experience, but I don't know that Obama ever compared his time spent as a community organizer against Palin's time spent as mayor or governor.
9.5.2008 3:53pm
Smokey:
Matt Austin:
I'm not saying she he did poorly, and I'm not saying that having a speechwriter undermines your credibilitiy, but how is it that the cautios, conservative party of Liberals seems to be so easily convinced - in less than a week! - that she's he's the new messiah?
There. Fixed it for you.

Now you won't need a program to know who your "messiah" is.
9.5.2008 3:56pm
Virginian:

Thanks for posting the link to Obama's voting record.

What a politically brave guy! He can really take a stand...

...not.


That's not entirely fair. He took a strong stand in favor of a woman's right to have her mistakenly-born-alive-after-a-failed-abortion baby shoved in a broom closet until it died.
9.5.2008 3:56pm
rarango (mail):
Judging from some of the comments I have seen on this and other threads, this site is going look the love child of a Kos and Free Republic liaison.
9.5.2008 3:58pm
Sam Draper (mail):
It was Mark Steyn who was writing about Hatch:

The Hostest with the Moosest
9.5.2008 4:01pm
The Ace (mail):
I seriously can not believe the absolute disdain that some people have for community organizations, including churches

Whoops!


And so, Obama told Kellman, he had decided to leave community organizing and go to law school. Kellman, who was already thinking of leaving organizing himself, found no reason to argue with him. "Organizing," Kellman tells me, as we sit in a Chicago restaurant down the street from the Catholic church where he now works as a lay minister, "is always a lost cause." Obama, circa late 1987, might or might not have put it quite that strongly. But he had clearly developed serious doubts about the career he was pursuing.

Yet, two decades later, to hear Obama the presidential candidate tell it, those years in Chicago as a community organizer shaped the person--and the politician--he has become. Campaigning in Iowa last year, he declared that community organizing was "the best education I ever had, better than anything I got at Harvard Law School." In a video this spring, Obama stated that community organizing is "something I carry with me when I think about politics today--obviously at a different level and in a different place, but the same principles still apply." "Barack is not a politician first and foremost," Michelle Obama has said. "He's a community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change."



That is very interesting to read.
9.5.2008 4:03pm
Hoosier:
Ann Richards:

"Poor Joe Biden. He cain't help himself. He was born with silver plugs in his scalp."

(Can't find a citation, but I'm sure I remember her saying this.)
9.5.2008 4:04pm
Mac (mail):

Mac, those are all valid questions



PC, thanks.

I do wonder why we don't know. After all, growing you staff and budget is something any bureaucrat can do while asleep.



but I don't know that Obama ever compared his time spent as a community organizer against Palin's time spent as mayor or governor.


I think he and his campaign have put both her time as mayor and governor down. However, would need to find it and don't have time at the moment. Got to go. Perhaps, you can find it?
9.5.2008 4:04pm
JimF (mail):
Marc:

I was more interested in that "resume" as a new way of looking at the information, not so much for verification.

I'm still puzzled as to why everyone is concentrating on that one item. Senator Obama mentions it because it was his first job out of college and it had a big impact on his view of the world, most first jobs do. I enlisted out of high school and that had a profound impact on my view of the world; but that isn't all I have done. Just like community organizer isn't all or even the greatest part of what he's done.
9.5.2008 4:05pm
Matt Austin:
Smokey:

That was really neat how you used the strikethrough to change what I wrote into something about Obama instead of Palin! And what you said would be so true (!) if only it wasn't false. The differences:

1) Obama wrote his 2004 convention speech and then won a Senate seat.
2) He has been on the national scene for four years and given a lot more than one speech
3) He beat the (initially) best funded, best known Democratic candidate in recent times to become the candidate and enjoyed record turnout at primaries and caucuses throughout the country as he did it.

I'm sorry if my post isn't as cute as yours. I haven't mastered the strikethrough stuff.
9.5.2008 4:06pm
cirby (mail):

If only there existed businesses whose mission it was to have a staff of investigators who could go to Chicago and ask some of these questions and report back to us what they found.


It's interesting you should mention that, since almost all of the current news organizations that have written stories about Obama's time as a community organizer basically just cribbed from this autobiographies, and added a few quotes from supporters of his from the time.

Something that is either completely missed or glossed over is the fact that Obama's stint as a CO was in the Saul Alinsky model - and that's not exactly a good thing for his resume (according to most folks who know the story).
9.5.2008 4:07pm
Hoosier:
I'd go back and watch the tape of Gov. Palin's speech:

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.


And you don't think this was a reference to Obama?

Glad to hear that you also don't know who signed the paychecks. I was hoping I wasn't making a glaring admission of ignorance to something that everyone already knows. (But that will come. Give it time.)
9.5.2008 4:07pm
PC:
Mac, this is probably the attack you are thinking of.
9.5.2008 4:08pm
Loren (mail):
Senators often claim that they belong to one of the most exclusive clubs in America, with 100 members. They forget that the Governor's club is even more exclusive, with only 50 members.
9.5.2008 4:09pm
zippypinhead:
rarango:
Judging from some of the comments I have seen on this and other threads, this site is going look the love child of a Kos and Free Republic liaison.
Rarango wins this thread. Game over! Although, frankly, trying to visualize this sort of coupling is really disturbing...
9.5.2008 4:13pm
JimF (mail):
woops got your name wrong Mac, sorry.
9.5.2008 4:14pm
SG:
Judging from some of the comments I have seen on this and other threads, this site is going look the love child of a Kos and Free Republic liaison.

Ahh, but the real question is: Should there be an abortion?
9.5.2008 4:17pm
PC:
And you don't think this was a reference to Obama?


Yes, but it was done with a broad brush. The phrasing and delivery came across like a mac truck against community organizers, not just Obama. Later that evening Giuliani was doing a follow up interview and he was openly mocking the job. Not just Obama, not Obama as a community organizer, but the entire idea that there is something like a community organizer.

I know of one 60+, female, life-long Republican, Community Affairs Director (someone that works with community organizers in a corporate capacity) that was personally offended by Giuliani and Palin's barb. At this point she is sitting out this race. She certainly isn't working for the McCain/Palin campaign, like she has for every other Republican ticket for 30 years or more.
9.5.2008 4:22pm
SG:
And you don't think this was a reference to Obama?

Yes. In fact it was a reference to this quote from Obama:


"Well, my understanding is that Governor Palin's town of Wasilla has I think 50 employees. We've got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. So I think that our ability to manage large systems and to execute I think has been made clear over the last couple of years." (CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees," 9/1/08)


See, Obama chose to cherry picked her resume (Isn't the relevant point of comparison her gubernatorial experience?) to find some part to compare himself against. She responded in kind.

I'm curious, which (if either) comment do you believe crossed the line?
9.5.2008 4:25pm
Mac (mail):
PC,

Thanks.

However, I think I heard Obama speak disparagingly himself about her mayoral experience and completely ignore her experience as governor.

JimF

No, I think they have used this experience as "proof" he is ready to be POTUS. The fact that they have way overblown the value of the experience is the fault of the Obama campaign and the MSM. Thus, the criticism.

cirby,

Thanks for the link. That was a fascinating discussion of Obama's past even if the source is quite liberal and put it in the best possible light.
9.5.2008 4:27pm
zippypinhead:
Judging from some of the comments I have seen on this and other threads, this site is going look the love child of a Kos and Free Republic liaison.

Ahh, but the real question is: Should there be an abortion?
Get your terminology right. Per the official DNC political phrasebook, if that was the intended result, VC would only have been referred to as a "love fetus!"

Although killing some of the comments in recent VC threads could easily be characterized as infanticide...
9.5.2008 4:28pm
Mad Max:
I know of one 60+, female, life-long Republican, Community Affairs Director (someone that works with community organizers in a corporate capacity) that was personally offended by Giuliani and Palin's barb. At this point she is sitting out this race. She certainly isn't working for the McCain/Palin campaign, like she has for every other Republican ticket for 30 years or more.

Just when the Republicans think they have the stupid vote locked up, another stupid person defects! Maybe Palin and Giuliani needed to have some sort of "interpreter for the intelligence-impaired" in the top corner of the screen to explain the speech as they went along ("Now she's attacking Obama's ludicrous resume again, you see...")
9.5.2008 4:31pm
Mac (mail):
SG,

Thanks.

PC wrote:
The phrasing and delivery came across like a mac truck against community organizers

Hey, watch it, Bub! I'm not anywhere near the size of a mac truck!
9.5.2008 4:31pm
Loren (mail):
SG,

Your quote matches what I remember hearing, except Obama did not call the town Wasilla, he called it Wasilly.
9.5.2008 4:36pm
wfjag:
David:

What part of my statement -- as written -- is "a myth"?

TV audiences concluded that Kennedy won. Radio audiences concluded that Nixon won. Kennedy was rested and tan, and looked healthy. Nixon had an infection and fever -- and with even at the best of times, the old Dick Nixon 5 o'clock shadow appeared at 10 AM, and looked even worse on the old grainy Black and White TVs of the time than it looked in color. I didn't attribute the difference to perceived outcomes (the "who won" issue) solely to looks. But, in a race that close, everything that helped a candidate was important.

I agree that the demographics are different today. Also, a lot fewer people today read as much, and radio audiences that aren't listening to music are listening to talk radio. Visuals are more important.

Palin doesn't have to "win" the debate, any more than Kennedy had to. Rather, she has to convince people that she's one of them, and either convince them that Biden isn't, or, more likely, let Biden do that by being himself. Kennedy mainly had to convince people that being a Roman Catholic didn't conflict with being an American (1960 is closer to the defeat of Al Smith than it is to today). He did that quite well -- he was "Jack" Kennedy -- not John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He was a good looking young man, the kind you'd probably meet at any Rotary Club. Nixon looked like a mechanic at a used car lot at the end of a hard day. It wasn't just Kennedy's looks (vs. Nixon's), but his looks helped. So did the way he answered. He played to the TV audience. Nixon answered like he was being judged in a college debate match.

In his 13 or so Dem primary debates, Biden was able to garner about 1% of the voters. He's been in the Senate since 1973 (Hell, next to Joe Biden, Chris Dodd begins to look like a fresh face). All his Senate experience - including his foreign relations experience -- didn't cut it. He didn't sell himself -- since what he was selling -- himself -- people didn't want to buy. He looks, sounds and acts like what he is -- an old, Washington liberal insider.

She's young and hot. He's combing over a growing bald spot. She runs marathons and hunts moose. He's got an application to join AARP. She was a union member and her husband is a union member. He's got an application to join AARP. His sons are attorneys -- one's a politician and one's a lobbyist ("I don't meet with lobbyists!" -- I guess that explains why Hunter Biden wasn't on stage at the Dem convention with the rest of the Biden family). Her son is deploying to Iraq as a Grunt. His son is deploying as a REMF. And, the more questions the media raises about her family, the more it is setting up a line like "Maybe my family isn't perfect, but I've never lied about it. How about you Joe?"

Kennedy was very good with zinger one-liners. Nixon couldn't go on Laugh-In and say "Sock It To Me" and not bungle the delivery. When the teleprompter messed up, Palin filled some of the time with homey one-liners "What's the difference between a Pit Bull and a Hockey Mom? A Hockey Mom wears lip stick."

Huey P. Long, who was a great politican, used to say "I don't care what they write about me, because in 6 months no one will remember what they said. I only care that they spell my name right, because that's what people will remember."

So, ask yourself David -- besides the Hockey Mom quip, can you remember anything else Palin said? And, can you remember anything Biden said in his acceptance speech?

That's the real standard. Based on it, who "won" the opening round between the VP candidates?
9.5.2008 5:04pm
Bill Twist:
Matt Austin:

Bill:


"it doesn't point out that out of 638 votes in the Senate during his tenure, he missed 290 of them, or roughly 45.5%."

My last sentence still stands.



Actually, no it doesn't. That was in one congress, not "during his tenure" as you claimed.

Since you're having such trouble with this, let me make the argument for you:

In the 110th Congress, Obama missed 45.5% of his votes.
In the 109th Congress, Obama missed 1.7% of his votes.

During his tenure, he has missed 23.4% of his votes.

And one counter argument:
During the same amount of time (109th and 110th), McCain has missed 36.2%



Ultimately, what this shows is Senators running for President miss a lot of votes. Frickin BRILLIANT I am!



You are correct, of course, but McCain has enough of a record that even with running for president twice and having been treated for cancer, his overall missed votes percentage for his entire Senate career is only around 14%, a bit more than half of Obama's record.

My point being that if you have a ton of actual accomplishments at the national level, no one will begrudge that you miss a bunch of votes because you are running for president.

If you've only been in the Senate for 4 years, and have spent half of that time running for president, of course your national record is going to be thin.

/Now go ahead and compare the top of one ticket to the bottom of the other.
9.5.2008 5:19pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

TV audiences concluded that Kennedy won. Radio audiences concluded that Nixon won.

Think back to how people used the radio back then. People still getting their primetime entertainment* from the radio in 1960 were probably older and poorer -- and more conservative in general -- than those who watched TV. Compare the cellphone vs landline people today -- landline only people are less affluent, less trendy, and older. Pollsters can't even reach cellphone-only people, who tend to be the youngest of all.

*Hard to imagine that people listened to the debates while driving because of their length. Also hard to imagine peope listened to the debates while performing household chores, because they required attentive listening.
9.5.2008 5:21pm
VPILF:
TV audiences concluded that Kennedy won. Radio audiences concluded that Nixon won. Kennedy was rested and tan, and looked healthy. Nixon had an infection and fever -- and with even at the best of times, the old Dick Nixon 5 o'clock shadow appeared at 10 AM, and looked even worse on the old grainy Black and White TVs of the time than it looked in color.

And to make it slightly worse, when Nixon heard Kennedy was skipping the heavy pancake makeup they used for TV appearances in those days, he decided to do so too.

The Pit Bull wears lipstick. And frankly even without it, to the extent being photogenic matters -- well, no contest. The only time anybody ever called Biden "hot" it was immediately followed by the words "under the collar".

Biden v. Palin in a televised debate may be just a more extreme variant of the truism that since 1960, the candidate with the best hair always wins the popular vote.
9.5.2008 5:23pm
wfjag:

"Well, my understanding is that Governor Palin's town of Wasilla has I think 50 employees. We've got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. So I think that our ability to manage large systems and to execute I think has been made clear over the last couple of years." (CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees," 9/1/08)

***

I'm curious, which (if either) comment do you believe crossed the line?


No SG, I don't see any lines crossed. I do see an interesting non-comparison: "we have a budget" and "I think that our ability to manage".

Obama was trying to leave the impression that he's gotten executive decision making experience as a candidate for US President.

However, he wasn't really saying that. He's the candidate. The Campaign Manager and others make the executive management decisions. If Anderson Cooper was in the same league as someone like Tim Russert, there would have been follow-up questions about "Yes, but what have you done? What has been your executive decision making role during this time?" But, I guess that's the difference between a journalist, and a "personality" (And, maybe that's why Russert hosted "Meet the Press" whereas Cooper stars in "Anderson Cooper 360").
9.5.2008 5:26pm
Smokey:
Loren:
SG,

Your quote matches what I remember hearing, except Obama did not call the town Wasilla, he called it Wasilly.
You have to remember, Loren, that only Democrats are allowed to be mocking. If a Republican mocks the community organizer, it's a no-no.

And re wfjag's comment:
Her son is deploying to Iraq as a Grunt. His son is deploying as a REMF.
Unlike John Murtha, some folks reading that haven't served in the military and don't know that REMF means Rear Echelon MF'er. Murtha was a REMF, same as Biden's kid. It's a safe and secure position well away from danger. Sorta like an incumbent senator.
9.5.2008 5:28pm
zippypinhead:
Compare the cellphone vs landline people today -- landline only people are less affluent, less trendy, and older. Pollsters can't even reach cellphone-only people, who tend to be the youngest of all.
Polls aren't terribly reliable at this point in the cycle anyway, but -- to the extent you're making an argument that young Obama supporters are under-counted by pollsters because they use cell phones rather than landlines, how do you explain Obama's repeated underperformance in actual primary votes versus where polls predicted he'd be?
9.5.2008 5:29pm
blabla@blabla.edu:
Can you explain more your contention that the Senate is a "silly" place and that the work they do is "silly"? You give some anecdotal evidence on the knowledge of some elective officials, but why should we accord this evidence any more weight than usually accorded to anecdotal evidence? What is it exactly that you think is so bad about the Senate? Is it that Senators are too egotistical? Governors have egos too. Is it that voting on legislation and holding hearings is inherently less important than managing a bureaucracy? I can't think of any reason why that would always be the case, but I'm open to arguments to that effect.
9.5.2008 5:31pm
David Warner:
"the love child of a Kos and Free Republic liaison"

That would actually be a remarkable accomplishment.

The VC - a uniter, not a divider!
9.5.2008 5:33pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
zippy:

I'm saying that the difference in the media in the 1960 debates is indeed confounded with the difference in the audience for each of those media. And that it makes sense, because even today, we see a difference between those who have adopted the current consumer technology and those who haven't. If I were trying to say something about the Obama campaign I would be explicit.
9.5.2008 5:35pm
zippypinhead:
Tony, roger that. On second look, I was apparently reading too much into your post. Sorry.

Me bad pinhead. Must still be distracted by that whole VC = "love child" concept.
9.5.2008 5:45pm
wfjag:

since 1960, the candidate with the best hair always wins the popular vote.


George H.W. Bush had better hair in 1988?

Actually, the two ads I seem remember from that campaign were Michael D. riding in a tank (wearing a tanker helmet and a suit), and another one of him in a speed boat that was going 30+ knots and his hair was so stiff it looked glued in place.

You have to admit that it took talent to, by comparison, make George H.W. Bush look like "the regular guy" candidate. But, Michael D. managed to.
9.5.2008 5:57pm
big dirigible (mail) (www):

Nixon couldn't go on Laugh-In and say "Sock It To Me" and not bungle the delivery.

I remember that appearance. He delivered his line perfectly.
9.5.2008 6:14pm
Careless:

Shouldn't these folks be more cautious about the expectations they load on to Palin just five and six days after her introduction the nation?

I keep being startled to realize that the Palin pick was just a week ago. It seems so much longer after all this talking
9.5.2008 6:15pm
PC:
If a Republican mocks the community organizer, it's a no-no.


Don't worry Smokey, I already retracted my advice. Feel free to mock away. Mock far and wide.
9.5.2008 6:15pm
Dan M.:
What's amusing is that Palin would likely be in the US Senate right now if Murkowski hadn't decided to just appoint his daughter, instead. Palin was actually still reasonably popular with party officials when he became governor.
9.5.2008 6:18pm
wfjag:

Response
by kos
Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 02:15:35 PM PDT
So apparently Republicans hate community organizers. A reader sends me a pithy response:

Jesus was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.
::




Ooh, Palin, we're so scared!:
Hey Helen: Jesus was a community organizer, and Pilate was a governor.

Think about that one, will ya.
9.5.2008 12:59pm


Dear PWSS: I'm disappointed. I thought you'd come up with a pithy rejoinder, of a kind worthy of VC. Instead, you stand accused of Bidenism.
9.5.2008 6:22pm
MS (mail):
Biden had one of the best debate riffs of all time:


"There's only three things [Giuliani] mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11"
9.5.2008 6:31pm
wfjag:

I remember that appearance. He delivered his line perfectly.


If by "perfectly" you mean he got all 4 words right and in the right order, I agree. But, a rising inflection - the way he said it - is the way a question is asked or the way someone says something when they are totally clueless as to its meaning. Nixon appeared on Laugh In, trying to appear "Hip." I don't think he wanted to look clueless. But, maybe he did -- you never could tell about his motives. Of course, Hubert H. Humphery refused to go on Laugh In on the grounds that it was beneath the dignity of the Presidency, and lost.

Maybe some Poli Sci or History Ph.D. candidate will decide to write a thesis: "Goldie Hawn's 'Sock It To Me' -- 4 words that changed Presidential History".
9.5.2008 6:35pm
nicestrategy (mail):

how do you explain Obama's repeated underperformance in actual primary votes versus where polls predicted he'd be?


That's not exactly what happened. Take NH. Obama's final poll #s and his actual % of the vote were nearly identical. What happened was that the undecided voters broke strongly in 1 direction. There are any number of reasons that happened, but the polls weren't invalid so much as poorly reported on in the first place.

The cell phone effect has not been shown. However, the turnout models are questionable. Bush got a couple points on the polls in 04, and Obama could (if the new registrants show up en masse) add 5 points to his baseline on election day.
9.5.2008 7:13pm
please:
you are high.

working from home today and thus have had the good fortune to see Palin speak in Wisconsin and Michigan. word for word rehashes of her convention speech, sans the boffo delivery.

concededly, they all repeat their speeches and must, given their schedules. but the better ones integrate fresh material, delivery, are responsive to context, etc. so far, Palin doesn't seem able to master even this relatively easy task. i'd be surprised if she can give anything better than a rote, glib performance in the debate -- a replay of her snazzy convention routine.

biden is a blowhard and i certainly don't agree with him on everything, but at least he's smart, knows a lot, and can speak extemporaneously.
9.5.2008 7:31pm
Angus:

how do you explain Obama's repeated underperformance in actual primary votes versus where polls predicted he'd be?
I think you have this backwards. Obama overperformed in actual votes compared to his poll results in the primaries.
9.5.2008 8:00pm
Ignorance is Bliss:
I'm really looking forward to the vice-presidential debate. I don't know who will do better on foreign policy, but I'm pretty sure Palin will clean Biden's clock in the swimsuit competition.
9.5.2008 8:49pm
Ignorance is Bliss:
And anyone who thinks my previous comment was unfair to Palin clearly didn't visualize Biden in a speedo.
9.5.2008 8:51pm
MartyA:
Anyone who beleves that Hussein is "managing" his campaign simply doesn't understand how a campaign runs. Sure, Hussein may make, i.e., eventually determine, the big decisions, the direction the campaign will go, but the day to day decisions are left to others. Hussein commands who will be thrown under the bus today and who of those will be returned to a secret payroll tomorrow, but he has hired commissars who make the administrative decisions that a mayor, governor or a CEO would make. He got a law degree from Harvard, not an MBA.
9.5.2008 9:00pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Sure, Hussein may make, i.e., eventually determine, the big decisions, the direction the campaign will go, but the day to day decisions are left to others.

Good deal: Obama = Reagan II, the sequel.
9.5.2008 9:28pm
Hoosier:
"During his tenure, he has missed 23.4% of his votes.

And one counter argument:
During the same amount of time (109th and 110th), McCain has missed 36.2%



Ultimately, what this shows is Senators running for President miss a lot of votes. Frickin BRILLIANT I am! "

Brilliant! You might use that brilliant formula to go on to prove that Obama served in the Senate *exactly as long* as McCain! (109th and 110th)
9.5.2008 9:42pm
Mac (mail):
please wrote:

[

concededly, they all repeat their speeches and must, given their schedules. but the better ones integrate fresh material, delivery, are responsive to context, etc. so far, Palin doesn't seem able to master even this relatively easy task.



Good grief. She just gave her first speech Thursday night. What? Do have an advance copy of Democratic Talking Points and you got screwed up and released this one early?
9.5.2008 10:23pm
GaryC (mail):
<blockquote>
David Warner:
"the love child of a Kos and Free Republic liaison"

That would actually be a remarkable accomplishment.

The VC - a uniter, not a divider!
</blockquote>
Only if it was consensual!
9.5.2008 11:10pm
GILF:
Actually, the two ads I seem remember from that campaign were Michael D. riding in a tank (wearing a tanker helmet and a suit).... You have to admit that it took talent to, by comparison, make George H.W. Bush look like "the regular guy" candidate. But, Michael D. managed to.
Wasn't GHWB's talent, it was Wilie Horton's benefactor's lack thereof. By comparison, I just saw a pic of Sarah Palin shooting an M-4 during her visit to Kuwait and Iraq, and she looked pretty darn comfortable (leaving aside her probable disappointment in realizing the 5.56 NATO M-4 is a pathetic little mousegun compared with what she usually shoots while hunting moose and caribou). In fact, now that I think about it, Palin would probably look pretty darn buff in the tank cmdr's seat, too...
9.5.2008 11:36pm
big dirigible (mail) (www):

But, a rising inflection - the way he said it - is the way a question is asked or the way someone says something when they are totally clueless as to its meaning.

That's exactly why it was funny.

If it was just the canned line delivered yet again, it could have been delivered by one of the regulars.

It's amazing what people just don't "get." The late '60s were a pretty clueless period, but they were a long time ago. What's the excuse now? Surely we're not all still sniffing glue, are we?
9.6.2008 7:28am
LM (mail):
MartyA:

Anyone who beleves that Hussein is "managing" his campaign simply doesn't understand how a campaign runs. Sure, Hussein may make, i.e., eventually determine, the big decisions, the direction the campaign will go, but the day to day decisions are left to others.

In a corporation, day to day decisions are typically made by the COO. The big decisions are made by the CEO.

In the White House, day to day decisions are typically made by the Chief of Staff. The big decisions are made the the President.

In an election campaign, the day to day decisions are typically made by the campaign manager. The big decisions are made by the candidate.
9.6.2008 5:24pm
Hoosier:
(I thought Hussein was still dead?)
9.7.2008 12:49am
LM (mail):

(I thought Hussein was still dead?)

... and if I agree that he is you say what? That we can afford to stop looking for him?

Nice try.
9.7.2008 3:24am
Floridan:
"The late '60s were a pretty clueless period . . ."

The election of Richard Nixon is proof enough of that.
9.7.2008 2:58pm
Bill McGonigle (www):
Can somebody explain why the 'community organizer' thing is relevant? As I understand it, he had the job between '83 and '86, between college and law school. Besides being twenty years ago nobody really thinks a kid out of college is commanding an army, much less . So, this is a non-win for both sides. Crazy.
9.7.2008 10:26pm
wfjag:

In fact, now that I think about it, Palin would probably look pretty darn buff in the tank cmdr's seat, too...


And, a 120mm Sabot round would produce pre-cooked Moose-Burgers each time.


That's exactly why it was funny.

If it was just the canned line delivered yet again, it could have been delivered by one of the regulars.


I think, Big D, this is the core of our disagreement. You think Nixon was trying to laugh at himself. I think he was trying to appear "Hip." I can't recall another instance of his using self-depreciating humor (and few instances of humor -- or attempts at humor -- at all). I agree that his appearing clueless was why it came across as funny.
9.8.2008 2:19pm