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The Debate:

Joe Malchow sums it up early on in the evening:

I was just about to write that this is the single most depressing political event I have ever witnessed—that these two men are as fools, aping their caricatures with absurd tested phrases and crude, insulting psychological links (like Obama's "tax cuts for oil companies").

Joe's depression lifted a bit later in the evening. But this seemed just right to me. Football coach Bill Walsh was famous for scripting his first 20 plays of the game--that's what the first 20 minutes of the debate seemed like to me. Just reading off a script to throw out all the pre-programmed buzzwords--check, check, check.

And just one other observation as it relates to foreign policy (the subject of this debate). For those of you who think that Barack Obama is qualified to be President more than Sarah Palin is to be Vice-President because of foreign policy issues, I'm sorry, but watching tonight's debate that is simply an absurd position. Maybe they are both qualified (my view, although it is much easier to argue that Obama is qualified to be Vice-President as Obama's lack of executive experience in making decisions and general aridity do worry me in seeing him as President in a world of Putins), or maybe they are both unqualified (although both seem obviously qualfied to be Vice-President). But the idea that Obama is qualified to be President and Palin unqualified to be Vice-President has never struck me as a particularly plausible position--and after last night, even less so.

Simon (391563) (mail) (www):
So by implication, the person who has the foreign policy expertise to be president is the one who comes up with lines like "I looked in his eyes and saw three letters -- K.G.B." God help us all.

We've had eight years of foreign policy made from the gut. That turned out so well, maybe its time for some "general aridity."
9.27.2008 8:58am
noname (mail):

the idea that Obama is qualified to be President and Palin unqualified to be Vice-President has never struck me as a particularly plausible position


That's because you're a partisan hack.
9.27.2008 8:58am
HipposGoBerserk (mail):
"the idea that Obama is qualified to be President and Palin unqualified to be Vice-President has never struck me as a particularly plausible position"


it's because you're looking at the jobs they've had, rather than listening to what they say about things. I was open to Palin, but she seems completely vapid or unable to tell her handlers they're making her sound that way. I'm not sure which of those is worse, but either demonstrates she's not ready to be president.

hgb
9.27.2008 9:04am
Angus:
Shorter Zywicki:
I disagree with Obama and agree with McCain on policy, therefore Palin gets extra bonus qualification points (as long as I pretend her interviews don't exist).
9.27.2008 9:13am
arg11 (mail):
You on the right really need to get off your appeasement schtick. Negotiation didn't work with Hitler, in part because Hitler was dead set on conquering Europe, in part because the allies gave him everything that he wanted (which is completely different than "talks without preconditions"). However, given the last eight years, we see that negotiation works far more often than it doesn't. The existence of a Hitler or a Napoleon once a century doesn't change the effectiveness of negotiation. I guarantee you Ahmadinejad is not the modern-day Hitler, and Iran does not stand a chance in behaving like a Germany. So come off it. You imagine anyone who talks is a Chamberlain, without having any clue what that really means.
9.27.2008 9:15am
anon4642 (mail):
You have to be kidding. You simply have to be kidding. Did you not listen to what these candidates actually said? Disagree - fine. But unqualified? That's just a bizarre thing to write.

And in any event, the important question is whether Palin is qualified to do the job that she is more than 10% likely to assume if McCain wins - president. Frankly, from all I've seen, I think it's an open question whether she's competent to be governor.
9.27.2008 9:31am
arg11 (mail):
Oh, and I wouldn't worry about the Palin thing. Ten to one, she's off the ticket before the debate.
9.27.2008 9:34am
Loophole1998 (mail):
Oh yeah, Palin's obviously qualified.

Come on?! Have you seen her interviews? She cannot speak coherently. The rose-colored glasses around here are thick.
9.27.2008 9:34am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Oh, so “arg11” “guarantees” it for us, huh? How reassuring.
9.27.2008 9:34am
Ilya Non-Somin:
I fail to see what is it exactly that Obama said (or that is flawed in his strategic vision) that would make him unqualified to be President any more than McCain. McCain supported, and continues to support, an absolutely idiotic military endeavor that jeopardized our national security and our economy; Obama did not. I wish Todd, being a law professor, would educate me.
9.27.2008 9:37am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
But at least “arg” provides us with a point of comparison: “Ten to one, she's off the ticket before the debate.” Thus we get an almost instant check on his (whoever he is) predictive powers. Good work! (I predict he'll come back with another moniker when she's still on the ticket.)
9.27.2008 9:39am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Oh, and I wouldn't worry about the Palin thing. Ten to one, she's off the ticket before the debate.
You're delusional. (As evidenced by the fact that you're talking about "appeasement" when nobody else is.)


As to whether Palin is qualified, perhaps not. As to whether Obama is qualified, clearly not. He is utterly devoid of substance on every point, and even his cliches are stupid. ("Energy independence," "scalpel not a hatchet.")
9.27.2008 9:40am
Steve Lubet (mail):
Toward the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln met with Confederate leaders (including Confederate Vice President Stephens) at the Hampton Roads Conference. They met without preconditions. In fact, it was well understood that there positions were far apart.

Nonetheless, Lincoln gave it a try. He demanded "unconditional submission," but he was willing to negotiate generous pardons and perhaps even compensation for slaveowners. The Confederates insisted on recognition for their "independent country," which of course Lincoln would never accept.

They did not reach any agreements and the war continued to its inevitable conclusion, but I think history had judged Lincoln well for attempting a diplomatic resolution even at that late date.
9.27.2008 9:42am
Angus:
BTW, that Malchow guy TZ linked to in the original post is an idiot. Georgia sent tanks and troops pouring into South Ossetia, Russia sent tanks and troops pouring into South Ossetia. There is nothing "vile" about asking both sides to cease fire at that point. When Russia entered Georgia proper, Obama then sharpened his criticism of Russia. He was 100% right and McCain was wrong.

One point I was hoping Obama would make but knew he wouldn't: the strategy of ignoring a country and refusing to engage does not work in producing change. Cuba is the #1 example. The American "embargo and ignore" policy has been in place since 1962, and all it has done is strengthen Castro in Cuba and in Latin America. But saying that might lose Florida because of the Cuban exiles.
9.27.2008 9:45am
rarango (mail):
That any thinking person gives credence to political theater, the presidential candidate "debates," I find amazing. All the debate did was to reaffirm partisan positions and nothing more; cf this thread. The only metric that will count following this debate is which direction the 15-18 percent of the undecided electorate, to whom this this debate, will move.
9.27.2008 9:50am
rarango (mail):
in my last line above: to whom this debate was directed...
9.27.2008 9:51am
Ilya Non-Somin:
Further to the first part of Angus's point: as a result of the conflict, Russia suffered massive withdrawals of foreign investment, and as Obama pointed out to Bill O'Reilly, Russian billionaires can't be happy about that.

We share common interests with Russia both on the military and the economic front - let's at least acknowledge that before hurling empty invective at its deeply popular leaders.
9.27.2008 9:54am
taney71:
Agreed. I never understood those who argued that Palin was unqualified for VP but then said they supported Obama for president. Very strange argument to have.
9.27.2008 9:55am
Bad (mail) (www):
"But the idea that Obama is qualified to be President and Palin unqualified to be Vice-President has never struck me as a particularly plausible position--and after last night, even less so."

God grief. He can speak coherently on these issues, because like his politics or not, he's thought about them, held and defended positions, written about them, and debated them endlessly. You can claim it's all talking points and buzzwords, but at least Obama's talking-points are actual thought out ways of selling his plans, and linked together by coherent sentences rather than rattled off in what were, unbelievably, actual disjointed fragments.

Ditto on Malchow being even more out of his depth than Obama on Georgia. Sorry fella, but there's this little thing we like to call reality that you have to make contact with from time to time when dealing with foreign policy.
9.27.2008 9:58am
Eric Muller (www):
If you believe that having a quick and astute mind is a component of a person's capacity to direct American foreign policy, then Obama and Palin cannot be equally qualified.

Only if you entirely divorce native intellect from the idea of "qualification" can you suggest that they are foreign policy equals.

Of course, Palin does live next to Russia, so I suppose she's all over Obama in that category.
9.27.2008 10:01am
Richard Riley (mail):
It's interesting that Todd Zywicki's response - a pox on both their houses but on Obama's more - is very close to that of Instapundit. (Though I see Glenn Reynolds is a little mellower this morning than he was last night during the debate). For smart McCain supporters like Zywicki and Reynolds, it may be easier to say to hell with them both than to think harder about why a man they REALLY don't respect (Obama) seems to be winning the race.
9.27.2008 10:02am
rarango (mail):
Bad: perhaps you point me to some scholarly articles Senator Obama has written about US-Russian relations that would affirm that he, and not, say Zbigniew Brezenski or any of his campaign foreign policy advisors have ghost written. All I see is campaign material.
9.27.2008 10:02am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
The Obamabots so want this election to be Obama vs. Palin, or Obama vs. Bush. Well, it's not.
9.27.2008 10:04am
Justin (mail):
I think it suffices to say that TZ's thoughts are in a very small minority of people who all were voting for McCain anyway. Nothing to lose sleep over.
9.27.2008 10:15am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

you're talking about "appeasement" when nobody else is


Really?

THE WAGES OF APPEASEMENT

THE PATH TO APPEASEMENT

THE FRUITS OF APPEASEMENT

APPEASEMENT THEN AND NOW

what makes Obama stand out even in a party hell-bent on appeasement

Brzezinski keeps busy by advocating the appeasement of Iran

Appeasement and Its Discontents

Obama’s appeasement

Biden is the poster boy for Iran appeasement

There's a lot more where those came from.

even his cliches are stupid. ("Energy independence,"


That phrase appears on McCain's web site about 500 times. It appears at whitehouse.gov over 200 times. I think we're sort of stuck with it. But maybe you can start a crusade for stupid-cliche independence.
9.27.2008 10:19am
hawkins:

Only if you entirely divorce native intellect from the idea of "qualification" can you suggest that they are foreign policy equals.


For the life of me, I cannot understand how intelligent people miss this point.

From what I saw of the debate, I was not particularly impressed with either candidate. Foreign policy wise, neither seemed entirely qualified to be President.
9.27.2008 10:21am
loki13 (mail):
wuzzagrunt,

The Obamabots (wow, way to have yourself taken seriously) are responding to the post, supra, comparing Obama to Palin. I can only give my own following (admittedly personal) anecodotes:

1. I thought the debate was a draw, or, at best, a slight advantage to Obama. However, in the overall strategy (as opposed to tactics) of the campaign, that equals a win. Why? This was the foreign policy debate (McCain's strongest debate, and the reason he wanted it first), and Obama appeared presidential and on even footing, which increases voters' comfort with him.

2. The reactions of the women that I was watching was decidedly different. They really picked up McCain's sarcasm and belittling attitude and overall body language and had a much more negative view than I did. YMMV, but the polls today seem to bear out my anecdotal observation- his debating tactics were more effective with men than women.

3. As for the OP and Palin. C'mon. Seriously? She is a running punch line. The Gibson interview was bad. The Couric interview was pathetic. When you're a running punch line on late night, you have some problems. Moreover, for all that she's added in fundraising and base enthusiasm, she ha taken away the following:
a. McCain's credibility in advancing any kind of experience argument against Obama.
b. McCain's campaign resources (where is Sarah Palin)?
c. McCain's little remaining credibility with the press (the amount of heat he has taken for not having her available).

He won't dump her from the ticket- he can't. He went all in. Expect to see her continued to be hidden from sight until the VP debate, with the hope that with the lowered expectations she will not appear like a deer in headlights and squeak out a decent performance (aka hoping that the last card in the river turns your hand into a straight flush). However, in the final analysis, this VP pick will go done either as the worst since Quayle (in terms of campaign distraction that still results in a win) or the worst ever.

Somewhere, you know Pawlenty is laughing. Not to mention any number of successful businessmen (Romney) who could address the economic crisis (y'know, I came into Salt Lake when they were facing a crisis and . . .)
9.27.2008 10:22am
loki13 (mail):
correction-

the reaction of the women I was watching with was decidedly different . . .

I was watching with the women; I was not watching the women. Um, well, at least I take the 5th.
9.27.2008 10:24am
Suzy (mail):
Well, I'll give you credit for backing up the earlier pro-Palin commentary on this blog with further support, despite the fact that she is no longer defensible as a serious candidate. Her comments about proximity to Russia were not simply a slip of the tongue the first time; instead, she makes an outright defense of the idea that mere geographical proximity to a places provides foreign policy insights. You can disagree with Obama on everything and consider him naive, but Palin is so ignorant that she doesn't even grasp why someone might question her claims to gain expertise through osmosis. If any of the bloggers here want to defend that performance and compare it to Obama's disagreements with McCain on policy, it will be a true "jumping of the shark" of this blog. You're professors who prize the reason and evidence, remember?

Also, compare the detailed concerns about the financial crisis being presented in several current posts on this blog with Palin's commentary on the same. You may not disagree with the points Obama outlined last night, but at least he appeared to be talking about the relevant issues. Palin wouldn't even begin to know what those are, and you think she's as qualified as he is:

"But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the--it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that."
9.27.2008 10:25am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rarango:

All the debate did was to reaffirm partisan positions and nothing more


Not everyone has already taken a partisan position:

among undecided voters, it appears that Obama was seen as the winner of tonight’s debate
9.27.2008 10:27am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Angus said:
“Georgia sent tanks and troops pouring into South Ossetia Georgia, Russia sent tanks and troops pouring into South Ossetia Georgia.”

Fixed it for you. Yep, perfect symmetry there — not!

Indeed, it's frankly militarily impossible for the Russian forces to have “responded” to a supposed Georgian “provocation” (as the Russian propaganda engine would have us believe) via thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks in a matter of only a few hours unless their invasion — already long planned, practiced in a military exercise just a few weeks before, troops and equipment in position, detailed orders in hand — was actually already underway.
9.27.2008 10:29am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
it's frankly militarily impossible for the Russian forces


Putin was definitely ready to jump when Georgia pulled the trigger. But it was Georgia who pulled the trigger. Too bad for Georgia. They got caught between two bullies: Putin and Bush. And they bet on the wrong one.
9.27.2008 10:36am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
… it may be easier to say to hell with them both than to think harder about why a man they REALLY don't respect (Obama) seems to be winning the race.

Obama is ahead at the moment and likely will win the election because a historic financial meltdown occurred during the past two weeks.
9.27.2008 10:38am
arg11 (mail):
David:

1) Appeasement was a subtext (and it was the entire substance of the disagreement between McCain and Obama on foreign policy). The discussion of foreign policy hinged on three items: terrorism (al-Qaeda), appeasement (Iran), and appeasement (Russia). If you were watching the debates, you would have seen that Obama schooled McCain on Iran, while McCain beat Obama on the Russia issue. It shows where their separate interests lie.

2) Energy independence is empty rhetoric?! You've got to be f***ing kidding! Obama has the most significant energy plan of any president, ever. With full development of alternative energies, including subsidies for a soon-to-be-vibrant wind and solar industry. The conservative myth that wind and solar can't replace coal is totally fraudulent. Furthermore, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has come out and said that global warming is a security threat. McCain wants nuclear: unsafe (despite claims to the contrary; and Obama should have come after him on that) and inefficient. Get your head out of the sand.

3) If Sarah Palin shows up at the debates on Thursday, I will come back to this thread and admit I was wrong. If she doesn't debate but is still on the ticket, then I'm not going to concede defeat just yet.
9.27.2008 10:39am
John P. Lawyer (mail):
It's hard to know what to make of your post since you offered no examples from last night's debate to support your assertions that: 1) Obama is unqualified to be president; 2) Obama is as unqualified ("equally unqualified")as Palin to be president; and 3) Obama is not ready to be President in a "world of Putins." Perhaps you can be kind of enough to put your lawyering skills to work and actually support these claims beyond the naked position of "because I hold these positions, they must be true."
9.27.2008 10:44am
Angus:

Indeed, it's frankly militarily impossible for the Russian Georgian forces to have “responded” to a supposed Georgian “provocation” (as the Russian propaganda engine would have us believe) launched a major offensive in South Ossetia via thousands of Russian Georgian troops and hundreds of tanks in a matter of only a few hours unless their invasion — already long planned, practiced in a military exercise just a few weeks before, troops and equipment in position, detailed orders in hand — was actually already underway.



Fixed in return
9.27.2008 10:49am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I guarantee you Ahmadinejad is not the modern-day Hitler, and Iran does not stand a chance in behaving like a Germany. So come off it."

What backs up your guarantee?
9.27.2008 10:51am
Angus:
And frankly does anyone think that, given McCain's statements about Russia and Putin, a McCain administration could build any reasonable type of relationship with Russia?
9.27.2008 10:51am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
jukeboxgrad said:
“it's frankly militarily impossible for the Russian forces”

Putin was definitely ready to jump when Georgia pulled the trigger. But it was Georgia who pulled the trigger. Too bad for Georgia. They got caught between two bullies: Putin and Bush. And they bet on the wrong one.


Yeah, you're right — the Georgians obviously should have simply surrendered their sovereignty back to the Russians and been done with it.
9.27.2008 10:54am
Randy R. (mail):
McCain refused to wear the American flag pin on his lapel. Obama did. Why does McCain hate America? Wear the pin, John!
9.27.2008 10:59am
loki13 (mail):
I think it is a symbol of how uninspiring McCain performed
in the debate that McNeil is stuck with trying to defend his reckless statements about Russia and Georgia.

Doesn't matter who was right or wrong; after some quiet diplomacy and a little pressure, the status quo has returned (with Georgia bloodied); McCain's intemperate comments as CiC might very well have gotten us involved in another land war in Asia, and this one would not have worked out so well for us (not that the other two we are engaged have gone swimmingly).
9.27.2008 11:02am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Angus said
“And frankly does anyone think that, given McCain's Reagan's statements (“Evil Empire” and all that) about Russia the Soviet Union and Putin Brezhnev, a McCain Reagan administration could build any reasonable type of relationship with Russia the USSR?

Fixed it for you. And remember: Jimmy Carter assured us that Ronald Reagan was going to start a nuclear war.
9.27.2008 11:03am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
loki13:
wuzzagrunt,

The Obamabots (wow, way to have yourself taken seriously) are responding to the post, supra, comparing Obama to Palin.

Gee, thanks for clearing that up. I was speaking generally, and making note of the all-out-of-proportion enthusiasm that Obama engenders in the 'bots. McCain does not benefit from that sentiment, because he does not justify it. But there's NOTHING about Obama to support such fervor. Unless you consider "isn't Bush" to be enough to generate hysteria.

I'm not Bush, either. Vote for me.
9.27.2008 11:06am
Toby:
The 97% of the evenly divided country that has already made up their minds is sharply divided on teh outcome of the debate. Yawn. What matters is what the remaining 3% felt.

I think HipposGoBerserk has won the thread with his observation that Palin, as of now, looks more overcoached than anything else. She has been stuffed so fuull of talking points and one liners that she is unable to think - and I blame McCain's handlers. They need to let Paslin be Palin. If it works, they may win. If it melts down, they will probably lose.

If they try to program her as they have been programming her, they will certainly lose.
9.27.2008 11:12am
Angus:

Michael Edward McNeil

McNeil,
Reagan criticized the Soviet Union's foreign policies, not its leaders personally. It's the very personal nature of the attacks that make a relationship highly unlikely.
9.27.2008 11:16am
p. rich (mail) (www):
Two relevant situations should be obvious:

1. Obama is not running against McCain. He is running against Bush, with snide references to Palin, because his base responds emotionally to that tactic and because he suffers by direct comparison to his opponent.

2. Palin, as Republican candidate for VP, has to be sensitive to the campaign situation and careful not to contradict McCain. Hers is now a support role in a national campaign, and that's very different from functioning as Governor. She will become more comfortable on this stage, but right now her behavior is being compared to another pol with 30+ years of Washington posturing (Biden) and one who has been running for two years with a huge support staff and the best coaching money can buy (Obama). Not exactly apples to apples.
9.27.2008 11:19am
subpatre (mail):
And uhhh, I got a bracelet too! And his name is uhh.... uhh. Well he's got a name. A bracelet. Uhh. Me too.

And like, his name is uhh. Me. Uhh. Too. His name is uhh Sergeant. Uhh yeah. His mother uhh asked me. His name uhh. Well, she asked me... Bracelet uhh Sergeant is his name...

It was a great facade until that point, and then you realized it was nothing but a facade, devoid of substance. It wasn't a stumble, gaffe, or mistake, it was a look behind the pretty scenery.


Two people who died for out nation were supposedly represented by those bracelets. McCain wore one to remember a serviceman who mother asked McCain to carry out remember her son's wishes, that he not have died in vain.

Obama is now wearing a bracelet representing the wishes of a mother whose son had died; and we have no clue about that serviceman's wishes.

Both circumstances are sorrowful, but there is a vast gulf between them that Obama cannot fathom. Some viewers cannot either, but those who do abandoned Obama. That was a fundamental mistake for Obama to make.
9.27.2008 11:24am
Samir Chopra (mail) (www):
The funniest part of the debate was watching McCain admonishing Obama for not knowing the difference between tactics and strategy and then confusing the two himself.
9.27.2008 11:25am
Anderson (mail):
I can't respond to TZ's post.

I literally do not know what to say to someone who thinks Obama's debate performance is on par with Palin's CBS interview.
9.27.2008 11:28am
Ben P (mail):
I'm a bit confused by the Palin focus here, perhaps I wasn't but I don't recall her coming up but maybe once, and that was McCain's reference.

I also find the take that Obama showed he's unprepared to be president to be somewhat amusing. Nearly everyone elses reaction to it seems to be that it was roughly a draw.
9.27.2008 11:32am
Angus:

It was a great facade until that point, and then you realized it was nothing but a facade, devoid of substance. It wasn't a stumble, gaffe, or mistake, it was a look behind the pretty scenery.
Well, unlike McCain, Obama apparently had not planned in advance on using the dead soldier as a prop in the debate.
9.27.2008 11:33am
rarango (mail):
Jukeboxgrad--thank you for making my point. The debate was aimed at the undecideds. I will be voting against both candidates and voting libertarian. So if you have I am assumed I am an Obama or McCain clone, you would be wrong. As for the focus groups, one thing to keep in mind: Focus groups are interesting things primarily because they are not random samples; in fact, just the opposite. They normally self select and are remunerated for their participation. I would not hang my hat on a focus group as a random sample. YMMV of course. We will all know the outcome on November 5; all the rest is atmospherics.
9.27.2008 11:35am
Roger Schlafly (www):
[Muller] If you believe that having a quick and astute mind is a component of a person's capacity to direct American foreign policy, then Obama and Palin cannot be equally qualified.
You are right, they cannot be equally qualified. Obama has a track of being wrong about foreign policy positions. The only firm stand he ever took on the Iraq War was that the surge would be a failure. Palin does not have a record of such errors.
9.27.2008 11:35am
We were obviously watching a very...:
...different debate, TZ. This post makes you sound like a total partisan tool. While I don't think that Obama "won," he certainly didn't lose. He was mostly coherent, and wasn't prone to the stammering "uhs and ahs" that many of the detractors have accused him of in the past.

But, even if there were some valid comparison between Obama and Palin, Palin has revealed herself to be vapid and unprepared in the only real interviews she's given so far.
9.27.2008 11:36am
subpatre (mail):
Angus said:"Well, unlike McCain, Obama apparently had not planned in advance on using the dead soldier as a prop in the debate."

That's the point, Obama proved he was using it solely as a prop: 'Look I have a bracelet too. Uhh, from some dead guy and uhh... his mother gave it to me'.

As an Obamabot, you'll never understand the difference and I didn't expect you to. Some McCain supporters won't see the difference either.

But there are many service (and former service ) members and their families who see the "vast gulf" between those two. For those undecideds, Obama's mistake was a tipping point.
9.27.2008 11:46am
Cornellian (mail):
"the idea that Obama is qualified to be President and Palin unqualified to be Vice-President has never struck me as a particularly plausible position"

The idea that anyone could watch the Couric interview and think Palin is qualified for any job that requires speaking in complete sentences does not strike me as a particularly plausible position.
9.27.2008 11:52am
Ben P (mail):

That's the point, Obama proved he was using it solely as a prop: 'Look I have a bracelet too. Uhh, from some dead guy and uhh... his mother gave it to me'.

As an Obamabot, you'll never understand the difference and I didn't expect you to. Some McCain supporters won't see the difference either.

But there are many service (and former service ) members and their families who see the "vast gulf" between those two. For those undecideds, Obama's mistake was a tipping point.


McCain wasn't using a dead soldier as a prop when he said a dead soldier's mother gave it to him and told him to make sure the sacrifice wasn't wasted.

Obama *was* using a dead soldier as a prop when he said the dead soldiers mother (and he DID say the name despite assertions to the contrary) gave him the bracelet and said I want you to make sure no other mother has to go through what I went through.

I think you're injecting way to much of yourself into interpreting these statements.
9.27.2008 11:53am
Cornellian (mail):
"I guarantee you Ahmadinejad is not the modern-day Hitler, and Iran does not stand a chance in behaving like a Germany. So come off it."

What backs up your guarantee?


Oh, I don't know, how about the fact that Iran's "blitzkrieg" couldn't get anywhere against Iraq in a decade of trying while we rolled over the Iraqi military in a few days?
9.27.2008 11:55am
Angus:

McCain wasn't using a dead soldier as a prop when he said a dead soldier's mother gave it to him and told him to make sure the sacrifice wasn't wasted.
Of course he was. It was one of his planned talking points in the debate, and was using it for political advantage. That was the only reason for bringing it up in the debate.
9.27.2008 11:56am
Cornellian (mail):
I was just about to write that this is the single most depressing political event I have ever witnessed—that these two men are as fools, aping their caricatures with absurd tested phrases and crude, insulting psychological links

If that's the most depressing political event he's ever witnessed, then he must have to pop Prozac like popcorn just to watch the news every day.
9.27.2008 11:56am
John from Dallas:
TZ=Partisan Tool. Here is the analysis:

1. The country thinks Obama did as well if not better than McCain during a debate focusing on McCain's only area of substantive policy expertise.

2. Palin did not participate and was not a subject of the debate.

Somehow, this leads to "Obama and Palin are equally qualified."

How do you reach this result? It is complete nonsense. The post contained no analysis or reasoning and was akin to what you would see from the hacks who line up to give interviews to the talking heads on cable news networks.
9.27.2008 12:03pm
Ben P (mail):

Of course he was. It was one of his planned talking points in the debate, and was using it for political advantage. That was the only reason for bringing it up in the debate.


My mistake, there was supposed to be a "So" in front of that post, indicating I was saying what I believe someone else to be arguing.
9.27.2008 12:03pm
loki13 (mail):
BTW,

Just to further add to the nonsense that is the OP, for those of us who watched the NBC feed- did you notice that Joe Biden was on to counter the McCain campaign spin? And for the McCain campaign? Rudy (a noun, a verb, and 911) Giuliani. Apparently the McCain campaign declined the chance to have Palin on. And, of course, Palin will not be campaigning today. Again.

Where's Sarah?

That's a lot of marbles to put into the VP debate.
9.27.2008 12:09pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
McCain's only area of substantive policy expertise.
Obama's only area of expertise is law, and he has almost nothing to say on the subject!

This is a legal blog, and I would expect some commentary on Obama's legal views.
9.27.2008 12:12pm
fullerene:

How do you reach this result? It is complete nonsense. The post contained no analysis or reasoning and was akin to what you would see from the hacks who line up to give interviews to the talking heads on cable news networks.


From McCain's perspective (and those of his supporters), the debate was largely a failure. McCain seems to have lost in the one area where he was strongest. So instead attempting to prop up some nonsense about how great McCain is on foreign policy, TZ reaches into his bag of props for Palin. Seems as though he forgot the memo about how Palin is holding McCain down now.

The depression he feels is not about the debate. As best I can tell, this debate was one of the better ones in recent memory. Free of gimmicks, substantive, and broad. The candidates were not constantly chided for going over time, because they each had a lot of time to speak. They could address each other if they wanted, but were not forced to do so my the moderator.

TZ is depressed because he sees his side losing. It has run out of arguments and is now hoping for divine intervention. Believe me, I have been there. I know the symptoms.
9.27.2008 12:14pm
byomtov (mail):
It seems as if the GOP does not even consider Palin qualified to cheerlead for McCain after the debate.
9.27.2008 12:15pm
Randy R. (mail):
The part that I enjoyed the most was when McCain said that we must not ever to do Afganistan what we did to them after the Soviets invaded them, and that was to leave them after the Soviets withdrew. Which happened during the Reagan Administration.

But then later McCain lauded Reagan as someone who did everything right.

Another part that I enjoyed was when McCain came very close to saying stating that the financial debacle that we are now experiencing is all our fault, and Americans have to take responsibility for it our reckless ways.
9.27.2008 12:16pm
Randy R. (mail):
Roger: "Palin does not have a record of such errors."

Agreed. She has no record whatsoever.
9.27.2008 12:19pm
talking points:
Apparently neither candidate has anything to say, because they sure didn't say anything last night.


"Senator Obama...you keep talking about how you voted against the war in 2003. That's just not true. I think it's worth reminding you and the voters that you actually were not even a Senator 5 years ago in 2003 when the Senate had to take that vote. We that were in the Senate had the solemn responsibility to act protect the American people in the aftermath of the devastating terrorist attack on American soil. We had to take a vote that had real consequences, not just political consequences. We had to act based upon the imperfect information that we had. Some of that information later turned out to be incorrect, but when we took that vote, everyone beleived it was the case that Saddam Hussein was accumlating weapons of mass destruction. I believed it, your now-colleagues on the democratic side of the Senate believed it. Former President Clinton understood it. We did not have the luxury of sitting back and acting like politicians. We had the responsibility to protect the American people. So we took a vote that had consequences. And yes, just like 90 other Senators, including Senator Clinton and your running mate, Senator Biden, I voted for what I beleived was necessary to keep Americans safe in a very dangerous world.

I think its sad and shameful how this war has been made a political football since, and like a football fan questioning the play of their team on Monday morning, many like you without any real responsibility now suggest that we try to wind the clock back and do something different. But let's be clear, Mr. Obama.....you didn't vote against the war in Iraq in 2003 because you didn't have a vote."
9.27.2008 12:22pm
John from Dallas:
"This is a legal blog..."

Really, I hadn't noticed. I thought I stumbled into Carl Rove's personal diary when I read the OP.
9.27.2008 12:24pm
Randy R. (mail):
One question for McCain -- does he think that his posturing to cancel the debate helped or hurt him? I think he was trying to show America how 'presidential' he is, but of course it was a just a lie. He never actaully suspended his campaign. Some campaign HQs didn't even hear that they were supposed to stop campaigning!

Frankly, if you can't multi-task, such as sitting next to the current president without a thought to add during a financial crisis AND prepare for a debate for which you already know what you are going to say, then I wonder if you can handle the job.
9.27.2008 12:24pm
Wayne Jarvis:
"Obama's only area of expertise is law, and he has almost nothing to say on the subject!"

He lets his hack lawyers do his speaking. I look forward to hearing the Obamapoligists defend the indefensible. Can you imaging if McCain or heaven forbid---George Bush---tried to use law enforcement to silence their critics.

http://www.kmov.com/video/index.html?nvid=285793&shu=1
9.27.2008 12:28pm
Sagar (mail):
TZ expresses his opinion about the foreign policy expertise of Obama and wonders how some people are comfortable with his lack of it, while (the same people) they are making a big issue of Palin's lack of credentials (particularly since she is a VP candidate and he is the Prez) ...

all of you who disagree with his opinion start calling him a hack, tool, partisan! what are you, if not hacks and tools for the other side? freaking angels?

the guy who is giving out 10 to 1 odds that Palin will drop out from the ticket, how do I take you up on your offer?
9.27.2008 12:29pm
Foo Bar (mail):
And yes, just like 90 other Senators

77 Senators voted for the Iraq AUMF.
9.27.2008 12:38pm
Tugh (mail):
What an intellectually dishonest post. Todd should be really ashamed of himself.
9.27.2008 12:39pm
Sagar (mail):
Richard Riley,

"For smart McCain supporters like Zywicki and Reynolds, it may be easier to say to hell with them both than to think harder about why a man they REALLY don't respect (Obama) seems to be winning the race."

It is not hard at all ... a generic, no-name democrat beats any Republican by over 10 points, even before the financial meltdown (which, reagardless of the causes, will be blamed mostly on the current administration). So, it should be interesting how you will explain the fact that Obama is still not able to close the deal?
9.27.2008 12:39pm
fullerene:

TZ expresses his opinion about the foreign policy expertise of Obama and wonders how some people are comfortable with his lack of it, while (the same people) they are making a big issue of Palin's lack of credentials (particularly since she is a VP candidate and he is the Prez) ...


Does expertise mean experience? I just could not understand what TZ was talking about. Was his post supposed to be about experience? If so, what did watching the debate have to do with experience? You cannot watch experience happen before your eyes. So it must have been about Obama's actual positions on foreign policy. Ok, that sounds good. But why then did he bring up Palin. What does Palin have to do with Obama's positions on foreign policy.

The post is an incoherent attempt to conflate Obama's position on foreign policy with the "experience debate between Obama and Palin."
9.27.2008 12:40pm
js5 (mail):
Really Todd?

Because Bush's 'Preconditions' have absolutely worked.

Honestly, on foreign policy, they both sounded like McCain and Romney at the GOP Debates arguing tit-for-tat. I don't think thier foreign policy will be drastically different than what we've seen over the last 8 years. I do know, however, that Kissinger DID says we need to set a time and place for talking when it's to America's advantage (quote, strangetly, from an interview with Katie Couric, ..and of course Henry is flipping on what he said now), and, that Obama seems to see the more complex issues involved, versus McCain's "Win/Lose" dichotomy.
9.27.2008 12:41pm
MadHatChemist:
I'd say that the debate was at best a draw. And a draw at the debate means an Obama win.

Why? Because it means he comes across as ready enough. THAT is what is keeping him so low in the polls. But if he can convince people that he's good enough, the election will break towards him big time.

Obama has a silvered forked tongue and he spoke well and directly tot he camera (i.e. to the audience). McCain also didn't distance himself from Bush...and painting himself as the true alternative to Bush is the ONLY way McCain can win.

There are still two more debates, so it is important to point out to him and his handlers where he was difficient so that he can do better next time.
9.27.2008 12:45pm
David Warner:
Wow, the Obamjaweed is out in force on this one. I'm willing to admit that my sample size in judging Palin's utter awesomeness may have been too small due to wishful thinking*, but the limb your going out on in proclaiming her obviously and completely sucktastic is a frail one indeed.

I'd say we'd both benefit from some waiting and seeing.


* - Bloodsucking dominionist heteronormative warmongering baby-eater that I am
9.27.2008 12:46pm
Jiffy:
Like Randy, I'd also be interested to know the public's view of McCain's pre-debate antics. My main impression of McCain's response to the financial (or in his words "fiscal") crisis of the last couple of weeks is one of panicky lurching from position to position with the primary goal of saying anything that will keep him in the news. The posturing over the debate, especially given his eventual decision to attend at almost the last minute, reinforced this impression. I'm very surprised that Obama didn't use that more by saying something about how a leader faced with a crisis like this needs to avoid panic.
9.27.2008 12:47pm
Jiffy:

It is not hard at all ... a generic, no-name democrat beats any Republican by over 10 points, even before the financial meltdown (which, reagardless of the causes, will be blamed mostly on the current administration). So, it should be interesting how you will explain the fact that Obama is still not able to close the deal?


Obama is black
9.27.2008 12:50pm
subpatre (mail):
Ben P illustrates a fundamental comprehension problem by saying:"McCain wasn't using a dead soldier as a prop when he said a dead soldier's mother gave it to him and told him to make sure the sacrifice wasn't wasted."

That's not what Matthew's mother said. It's a fine parsing of words, but everyone in --or closely connected with-- the service is acutely aware of the difference. As I posted earlier, Obamabots don't comprehend this and your post shows this.

Ben P continues: "Obama *was* using a dead soldier as a prop when he said the dead soldiers mother (and he DID say the name despite assertions to the contrary) gave him the bracelet and said I want you to make sure no other mother has to go through what I went through."

Watch the video. Obama did not 'say the name', he had to look down and read off the bracelet.

Of course the bracelets are used as 'props', to make a point. You can argue all you want and you might even 'win' but you cannot win back the votes Obama lost with that stunt.
9.27.2008 12:52pm
David Warner:
TZ,

It doesn't help the Palin-haters that McCain is often as vapid in his answers as she has been, suggesting the problem is likely the campaign more than the candidates. If they had anyone reading the intelligent blogs, McPalin would have a wealth of pithy comebacks to and pointed questions for the Obamedia on the key issues.

Later in the debate, McCain finally started to show a few, or maybe he decided to leave behind the weak talking points provided by his campaign team and speak directly. I'd like to see Palin follow suit, but she's currently inside her own OODA loop.
9.27.2008 12:53pm
Daisy's Walker:
My wife watched the entire debate and I caught pieces of it. I thought McCain looked shakey early on but was way more comfortable by the 1/2-way point. I used to be active in Toastmasters, if they were running an "Ah" jar, Obama would have raised most of the money being requested to bail out Wall Street by the end - made me wince every time I heard one.

Re: Iran, I thought McCain's statements about the threat to Israel were genuine and Obama's were "uh, well, me too" and very difficult to decide if he means it or he's pandering to win the Jewish vote in NY (which he already has anyway). If I were an undecided single-issue voter on this subject, I'd have made my mind up RIGHT THEN. Although I fully expect McCain's pronunciation of the Iranian president's name is going to be part of tonight's SNL skit.

Corenllian - An Iranian blitzkreig of Israel won't need to go thru Iraq - it will go OVER via ballistic missile, or around it via shipping containers and nukes in a truck. Israel is a tiny country - a couple of weapons get thru and you've inflicted catastrophic damage and the nearest even remotely potentially friendly help is days away while the enemies are living next door. Iranian leaders have publicly stated their country has many times Israel's population and they'd trade casualty for casualty to eliminate it. While the Iranian president (I can't pronounce or spell his name either and I'm too lazy right now to google it) gets taken to the woodshed periodically by his mullahs on their economy and his statements, they're in full agreement on the goal, maybe just not how much to rant about it beforehand.

Overall, my wife and I think McCain did better and either "won" or made it at worst a draw, and that it doesn't matter, especially after looking over the mainstream news coverage this morning.
9.27.2008 12:53pm
David Warner:
Jiffy,

"Obama is black"

Nice one-drop rule. Obama is whiter than Tiger Woods. He's the AlJolson Candidate.
9.27.2008 12:55pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):

both seem obviously qualified to be Vice-President


I don't know TZ. Is it possible he is just trying to be provocative, and really believes the opposite of what he said?

How can one be qualified for Vice-President and not for President since within days of election one may have to serve as President(1840, 1944)?

I understand the concept of executive "experience". The expression "foreign policy experience" is surely a misnomer for anyone, even McCain- he hasn't actually had to make the decisions. What it is is knowledge and thought about foreign policy issues and foreign countries. McCain obviously has been thinking about these issues for a longer time than Obama (query whether his judgment about them is better than Obama's).

But Palin and the Couric interview: How could she possibly still think that geographic proximity to Russia, the fact that Russian planes fly close by, that US Air Force monitors these flights gives her any foreign policy experience. This suggests such a lack of intellectual coherence, that I would be scared having her make any decision, or hiring anybody to make a decision.
9.27.2008 1:01pm
deepthought:
Since the converstation has really deteriorated, I thought I would point out that how can we trust the un-American McCain--where was his American flag pin? (snark)
9.27.2008 1:04pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
I listened to the debate on the radio, while driving to work. As I was honestly attempting to listen as someone who doesn't know much about either candidate, I have to say that Obama acquitted himself reasonably well (not great), and that McCain didn't exactly shine but didn't come off badly. Neither candidate has me eagerly anticipating the next 4 years. Seriously not.

However, Obama is still standing by his fixed timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. That right there disqualifies him from the Presidency. Look, I wasn't a supporter of invading Iraq, but once the nation (and that includes nearly all Democrats) committed to it, we had follow through with it and fix what we broke. Cutting and running when things turn to crap would be a calamity. Announcing the timetable is just retarded.

Democrats are totally pissed that we haven't lost in Iraq. But cheer up; there's still time to pull a military defeat out of the hat.
9.27.2008 1:07pm
fullerene:

Wow, the Obamjaweed is out in force on this one. I'm willing to admit that my sample size in judging Palin's utter awesomeness may have been too small due to wishful thinking*, but the limb your going out on in proclaiming her obviously and completely sucktastic is a frail one indeed.


Assuming someone knows nothing is the same as proclaiming someone the next coming with no evidence? How does that work? Most people know nothing. Few people are the Messiah. By just running the numbers, we can all see that one assumption is likely to be wrong while the other is likely to be correct.

While it is true that we don't know a lot about Palin, that really is not from lack of trying. She has been hiding. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, who needs to talk to the MSM. All of 'em are in the tank for Obama. But who does Palin talk to? Why do we still know almost nothing? Somehow, I don't think the McCain campaign is even trying to get past the "media filter." They want us in the dark. The question is why. Is it because she is awesome?
9.27.2008 1:10pm
josh:
Unbelievable

I don't think I've seen a post on the VC that relies more on conclusory assertions with nothing to back them up. OK, TZ believes last night demonstrated that Obama is not qualified to be Prez, and certainly is no more qualified than Palin is to be VP. The notion that Obama might be more qualified is "an absurd position" ..... [crickets chirping ... chirping]

I'd hate to see some of TZ's students' papers ...
9.27.2008 1:14pm
Ben P (mail):

That's not what Matthew's mother said. It's a fine parsing of words, but everyone in --or closely connected with-- the service is acutely aware of the difference. As I posted earlier, Obamabots don't comprehend this and your post shows this.


Except for the mother of the soldier that gave the bracelet to Obama?

Or was she not sufficiently connected to the military? or did he "lose" her vote too?
9.27.2008 1:14pm
Doubting Thomas:
I thought both Obama and McCain did fine. They're both professional politicians and handled their questions well.

Regarding Palin, I think her problem is not that she's stupid, but that she's not very good at being a politician. She was obviously nervous during the Couric interview and tried to respond to any question using a pre-given response. Hence, you got random mentions to “trade” and “job creation” to questions having nothing to do with either. The McCain people really should have told her to drop the “proximity to Russia” argument. That response is just really dumb. I was surprised she doubled down and mentioned Canada too.

I think the issue of experience is overblown. We’ve had lots of presidents who didn’t have much experience who seemed to do a find job handling foreign affairs. We’ve had others who had a lot who did a poor job. I don’t think having a lot of experience is the key. It’s not like these presidents are going to be setting foreign policy based on what they personally know at any given moment. They’re going to be advised by experts and then they’re going to need good judgment to make the right decisions. (Indeed, to some extent, having a lot of experience might be a detriment because the person might rely too much on what they know and ignore experts who have spent their entire lives studying a particular area.)
9.27.2008 1:16pm
Brett Bellmore:
Can we stop all the "fixing", and actually respond to what each other are saying?
9.27.2008 1:17pm
fullerene:

Or was she not sufficiently connected to the military? or did he "lose" her vote too?


I guess you haven't seen the latest bracelet poll.
9.27.2008 1:17pm
Ed Scott (mail):
Arg11:
Here is one of your, literally, vibrant wind turbines. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty-vH42H_7k. Imagine T. Boone's turbines located in Tornado Alley.
9.27.2008 1:24pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Doubting Thomas:

The McCain people really should have told her to drop the “proximity to Russia” argument. That response is just really dumb. I was surprised she doubled down and mentioned Canada too.

Not only has it not been dropped, she expanded on it greatly (and somewhat incoherently). As if the McCain camp had given her additional talking points on it. Shouldn't she be smart enough to see how stupid the proximity argument is, and not use it?
9.27.2008 1:31pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Arg11:

Energy independence ... Obama has the most significant energy plan of any president, ever. With full development of alternative energies, including subsidies for a soon-to-be-vibrant wind and solar industry. The conservative myth that wind and solar can't replace coal is totally fraudulent.

Sorry but Obama's energy plan is naive and economically unworkable. If you want to go through it item by item we can. You statement about wind energy reveals that you haven't studied it carefully. I refer you to my previous posts on the VC as to why wind energy is not practical on a large scale. I worked for the Department of Energy and went through all of this 30 years ago. BHO offers nothing new, only warmed over 1970s platitudes about energy independence we got from Nixon and Carter.

Of course McCain doesn't offer us anything much either.
9.27.2008 1:32pm
Roger Moore:
Just to add to the chorus-

The Professor only confirms what political hackery he is capable of with such a conclusory argument. That argument would receive a F by any objective law professor. Does anyone believe he would make the same statement were the R and D to be reversed. This is quite depressing coming from someone with such intellectual gifts. Using such a position (as he has earned) to become a conservative version of Michael Moore is sad.
9.27.2008 1:34pm
PC:
Can you imaging if McCain or heaven forbid---George Bush---tried to use law enforcement to silence their critics.


Don Siegelman would like to have a word with you.
9.27.2008 1:40pm
Jimo (mail):
"But the idea that Obama is qualified to be President and Palin unqualified to be Vice-President has never struck me as a particularly plausible position."

Some ideas are so dumb that only a law professor could believe them.

Either that, or the professor thinks the typical reader of the blog to be so dumb as to influenced by such unsupported and obviously incorrect "spin".

I wouldn't want to guess the hours of non-stop discussion Obama could provide on virtually any public policy topic with nuanced answers laying out the advantages and disadvantages of each twist and turn of policy. Nor would I want to guess how many minutes of regurgitated buzz words Palin could provide until firmly putting her proverbial foot in her mouth (or telling yet another bald-faced lie).
9.27.2008 1:44pm
Melancton Smith:
Steve Lubet wrote:

Toward the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln met with Confederate leaders (including Confederate Vice President Stephens) at the Hampton Roads Conference. They met without preconditions. In fact, it was well understood that there positions were far apart.

Nonetheless, Lincoln gave it a try. He demanded "unconditional submission," but he was willing to negotiate generous pardons and perhaps even compensation for slaveowners. The Confederates insisted on recognition for their "independent country," which of course Lincoln would never accept.

They did not reach any agreements and the war continued to its inevitable conclusion, but I think history had judged Lincoln well for attempting a diplomatic resolution even at that late date.


This is utterly ridiculous. You can't compare a dispute between brothers with us and Iran. Wrong as they were, the Confederacy was led by former US statesmen and military heroes.

CSA General Breckenridge was a former US Vice-President, for instance. The CSA army was almost universally led by the cream of the crop of the US Army...graduates of West Point.
9.27.2008 1:46pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Jimo:Nor would I want to guess how many minutes of regurgitated buzz words Palin could provide until firmly putting her proverbial foot in her mouth (or telling yet another bald-faced lie).

3 minutes, tops
9.27.2008 1:54pm
David Warner:
Fullerene,

"Assuming someone knows nothing is the same as proclaiming someone the next coming with no evidence?"

It does not follow from the fact that one is too ideologically blinkered to see and/or acknowledge the evidence that said evidence does not exist. Google is your friend.

The assumption that the governor of a state and candidate on a major party ticket "knows nothing" - your words - is about as tenable as 2+2=5. Try again.
9.27.2008 1:57pm
David Warner:
Brett,

"Can we stop all the "fixing", and actually respond to what each other are saying?"

Regrettably, this game is being contested on astroturf, where actual responses are too slow for the heightened pace of play.
9.27.2008 2:01pm
Festooned with Christmas tree ornaments:
Has McCain ever stated what the preconditions are that Iran must meet before he would meet with them?

What are the claimed negative consequences of meeting with Iran's leaders without these (or other) preconditions?
9.27.2008 2:02pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
David Warner:
can you explain the "proximity to Russia" as part of Palin's foreign policy experience? And what saying it more than once says about her logical capaciites?
9.27.2008 2:07pm
fullerene:

What are the claimed negative consequences of meeting with Iran's leaders without these (or other) preconditions?


McCain said that Obama would give the President of Iran legitimacy. He said this a thousand times over last night. Not sure what it means, really. The guy already is the President of Iran. Pretending he isn't doesn't make him less so.
9.27.2008 2:07pm
Unreg:
the europeans seem to have enjoyed the debate... so i've read on innit24.eu
9.27.2008 2:11pm
David Warner:
Canuck,

"How could she possibly still think that geographic proximity to Russia, the fact that Russian planes fly close by, that US Air Force monitors these flights gives her any foreign policy experience. This suggests such a lack of intellectual coherence, that I would be scared having her make any decision, or hiring anybody to make a decision."

If you go back to the unexpurgated Gibson transcript (before ABC axed 3/4 of her argument) you'll see she's advancing a Friedmanesque "World is Flat" worldview where she's always mindful of being closer to two "foreign" countries than any other United State. Hence, the pipeline deal she hammered out was with TransCanada, resisting the bullying of the domestic oil companies, and Russia's temperature needs to be taken regularly, as she'd be a first responder to any trouble, unlike a governor of, say, Arkansas.

Typical political weak sauce? Sure. Evidence of incompetence? You wish.
9.27.2008 2:12pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Melancton Smith: But surely it is an interesting example.. during war, OK to negotiate. There is no current war with Iran. Americans seem to think it shouldn't bother Iran to have 200,000 American troops in an adjacent country. I would have thought one would want to talk to them as much as possible to come their not illogical fears that they should arm themselves before US irrationally attack them (as US attacked Iraq.
9.27.2008 2:12pm
MLS:
How nice it would be to listen to a debate between candidates who discussed their views on how they would exercise their enumerated powers under Article 2 instead of how they would exercise their non-enumerated powers under Article 1.

It seems to me that each waxes poetic on issues that are the responsibility of Congress. I want to hear about the role of the President as CIC, foreign relations and treaties, appointments, and, most important of all, what suits, ties, lapel pins, etc. they will wear at their State of the Union presentations.
9.27.2008 2:18pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
David Warner:
I know nothing of the details of the deal with TransCanada, but thought her approach appeared cleverly responsive and evidenced that she had thought about energy, at least with respect to her responsibilities in Alaska. (Subject to what knowledge of the actual deal might reveal ) Points for executive experience and negotiating style.

but not foreign policy experience . It was her Couric interview that is the basis for my comments. Have you watched it?
9.27.2008 2:19pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Frankly, if you can't multi-task, such as sitting next to the current president without a thought to add during a financial crisis AND prepare for a debate for which you already know what you are going to say, then I wonder if you can handle the job."

Multitasking is BS. It's a computer term that has been improperly applied to people who want us to think they are busy. We do one thing at a time. Then we do another. We may alternate from one to another.

However, everyone prioritizes their activities, depending on the relative importance of the tasks.
9.27.2008 2:39pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mcneil:

Obama is ahead at the moment and likely will win the election because a historic financial meltdown occurred during the past two weeks.


The Palin meltdown was well-underway before the Wall St meltdown hit. Look back at what was happening with her favorability ratings.

Reagan's statements


Speaking of things that were well-underway. The collapse of the USSR was well-underway before Reagan showed up at the right moment to take credit for it. The reality of the "surge" is similar.

Yeah, you're right — the Georgians obviously should have simply surrendered their sovereignty back to the Russians and been done with it.


Nice job trying to change the subject. What the Georgians should have done is a fairly complicated question. But you were simply incorrect to suggest that Putin fired the first shot.
9.27.2008 2:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rarango:

So if you have I am assumed I am an Obama or McCain clone, you would be wrong.


What you assumed I assumed about you is an incorrect assumption.

thank you for making my point


First you said this:

All the debate did was to reaffirm partisan positions and nothing more


Then you said this:

The debate was aimed at the undecideds.


So all I can detect about your "point" is that it's all over the map.
9.27.2008 2:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
wayne:

Can you imaging if McCain or heaven forbid---George Bush---tried to use law enforcement to silence their critics.


You mean like sending the Secret Service to talk to some kids who sang the wrong folk song?
9.27.2008 2:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
sagar:

she is a VP candidate and he is the Prez


It's quite relevant to make a direct comparison between Obama and Palin, because of McCain's age and medical condition. His medical records are still mostly a secret. A video on this subject has been viewed almost 400,000 times.

how you will explain the fact that Obama is still not able to close the deal?


To expand on what jiffy said: a black man with a foreign name who no one ever heard of a few years ago is running against a bona fide war hero who has been a popular figure with independents and Democrats for many years.

McCain's support is particularly strong in parts of the country that practiced racial segregation well into the 1960s. His support is also particularly strong among people who are old enough to remember that time.

The following is a complete list of the states where McCain's current polling is stronger than Bush's performance in 2004:

Arizona
Alabama
Tennessee
Arkansas
Lousiana
9.27.2008 2:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
johnny:

Shouldn't she be smart enough to see how stupid the proximity argument is, and not use it?


Yes. But I think we should consider the possibility that she and her handlers are smart enough to know it's a stupid argument, but are choosing to present the argument anyway because they're trying to appeal to voters who they think aren't very smart.
9.27.2008 2:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Here is one of your, literally, vibrant wind turbines


The first few generations of airplanes didn't work that well. Likewise for cars, phones, computers, etc. But we kept at it, even though there were always lots of skeptics like you.
9.27.2008 2:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
david:

The assumption that the governor of a state and candidate on a major party ticket "knows nothing" - your words - is about as tenable as 2+2=5.


Do you really not see the circularity of your argument? You're basically saying 'the fact that McCain picked her is sufficient to prove that she can't possibly be as dumb as she sounds.' Uh, no.

This is the same logic that shows up when a politician tells an outrageously transparent lie, and then someone says 'it couldn't possibly be a lie, because no one would ever try to get away with telling a lie that's so outrageously transparent.'

this game is being contested on astroturf


That reminds me. What ever happened to McCain's effort to get people to spread his talking points on blogs?

the pipeline deal she hammered out was with TransCanada


Did she ever explain why she thought it was a good idea to send money and jobs to another country?

she'd be a first responder to any trouble


Among those who are concerned that Putin plans to attack the US, is it their belief that he is most likely to do it by land, via Alaska?
9.27.2008 2:46pm
Elliot123 (mail):
In considering Palin's dealing on Alaska oil and gas, people might keep in mind that when Alaska was admitted to the union it negotiated a deal where the state kept all the mineral royalties. So, all the North Slope royalty oil that has been flowing for about thiry yeara has been filling the Alaska state coffers, and the feds have been getting squat.

The feds had a serious case of buyer's remorse after oil was found at Prudhoe, and have tried to change the agreement. Alaska won't budge. ANWR has become a bargaining chip in the battle.

Another thing to keep in mind is that oil wells produce oil, gas, and water. The North Slope oil is sent down the pipelins, but all the gas has been reinjected back into the resevoir. Nobody needs to go exploring for the gas; it's all there. It has already been brought to the surface once.
9.27.2008 2:51pm
Ariel:
I thought it was very interesting how, on one topic after another, Obama sounded like he wanted to continue George Bush's policies. Like on Iran - we need to talk like them, just like George Bush has been. I kept waiting for McCain to pounce on one of the many instances and ask the audience, so which one of us is more of the same?
9.27.2008 2:56pm
David Warner:
Canuck,

"It was her Couric interview that is the basis for my comments. Have you watched it?"

Sure. Schmidt's inside her OODA loop currently. Where she's really inexperienced is in playing second-fiddle to anyone.

I consider it on par with Clinton's '84 keynote in the category of "politicians I'm excited about making me wince".
9.27.2008 2:56pm
Random Commenter:

the idea that Obama is qualified to be President and Palin unqualified to be Vice-President has never struck me as a particularly plausible position


Given TZ was explicitly discussing the experience of the candidates, it's amazing how much obnoxious, ad hominem bile has been poured into this thread in response to a pretty reasonable statement. Sorry, folks: you may be able to convince undecideds that Obama is better-qualified by extolling his charisma and intellect(which are considerable), but arguing he's better prepared than Palin by actual experience is a non-starter.
9.27.2008 2:57pm
Suzy (mail):
I can make neither hide nor hair of Palin's claim about Putin rearing up. I assume she means that air response ("those"?) might be dispatched out of Alaska? Or that missiles might fly through the air above the state? In what imaginable way could her statement serve to defend the idea that she has foreign policy expertise that arises from proximity to Russia?

As Canuck is pointing out, the fact that she made and continues to make such a claim, rather than trying to explain it away and then clarify with better arguments, suggests that she is mentally incompetent. Not just unqualified, but incompetent.
9.27.2008 3:01pm
Suzy (mail):
Random Commenter, even if he did mean qualified in terms of experience, the point is that we can no longer consider this "qualification" issue without observing the obvious: Palin is incompetent. Comparing the relative qualifications and experience of the candidates, which is one reason among others to choose between them, cannot even begin if they are so clearly lacking the basic capacity to do the job. She does not have it.
9.27.2008 3:05pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
David warner:

Schmidt's inside her OODA loop currently

Please elaborate: is she just temporarily disoriented? will emerge remade, coherent, and logical? If so, how long will the process take?
Is the geographic proximity concept contributed by Schmidt, or part of the old Palin that hasn't been properly eliminated?
9.27.2008 3:16pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Nothing that I heard Obama say suggested appeasement. He said he would meet with people like Ahmedinejad without preconditions. Even if it leads nowhere, meeting with your enemies may give some insight into how they think and what they are really like. For all we know, the result of Obama meeting with Ahmedinejad might well be a decision to follow up with a cruise missile.
9.27.2008 3:16pm
Bandon:
If TZ's comments were accompanied by an honest admission that he supports McCain and Palin, his post would make sense. Given that he pretends that he is providing an even-handed analysis of the debate, his post is illogical.

It's sad to see the extent to which political leanings interfere with rational thought, even in smart people.
9.27.2008 3:16pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

McCain said that Obama would give the President of Iran legitimacy. He said this a thousand times over last night. Not sure what it means, really. The guy already is the President of Iran. Pretending he isn't doesn't make him less so.


Furthermore, if McCain were actually serious about denying Ahmedinejad's legitimacy, the appropriate thing would be for him to state that if he becomes President he will withdraw recognition of the government of Iran. He hasn't made any such proposal.
9.27.2008 3:23pm
PC:
Prof. Zywicki, what did you think about Gov. Palin's response to the debate?
9.27.2008 3:24pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

Shouldn't she be smart enough to see how stupid the proximity argument is, and not use it?
Yes. But I think we should consider the possibility that she and her handlers are smart enough to know it's a stupid argument, but are choosing to present the argument anyway because they're trying to appeal to voters who they think aren't very smart.

So was the problem that Couric sabotaged her canned response by interrupting with the question about trade?
Or do you think that the presentation was OK for the target audience?

I thought Couric was helping her by leading to trade delegations, allowing her to discuss her involvement, but she feared onto national security air defence.
9.27.2008 3:24pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

If TZ's comments were accompanied by an honest admission that he supports McCain and Palin, his post would make sense. Given that he pretends that he is providing an even-handed analysis of the debate, his post is illogical.

It's sad to see the extent to which political leanings interfere with rational thought, even in smart people.


see also, for example, all the comments below the original post.
9.27.2008 3:29pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
"Speaking of things that were well-underway. The collapse of the USSR was well-underway before Reagan showed up at the right moment to take credit for it."


The downfall of the USSR began sometime around 1918. Lucky for Reagan that he came along just when he did.
9.27.2008 3:32pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
suzy:

I can make neither hide nor hair of Palin's claim about Putin rearing up. I assume she means that air response ("those"?) might be dispatched out of Alaska? Or that missiles might fly through the air above the state? In what imaginable way could her statement serve to defend the idea that she has foreign policy expertise that arises from proximity to Russia?


During the Cold War Russian bombers would fly close to US air space, activating radar, and US interceptors to "escort" them.

Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said the bomber patrols are part of a broader pattern of Russia flexing its military muscle since February 2007, when President Vladimir Putin gave a speech in Munich, Germany, signaling a more aggressive posture toward the West.

Putin followed the speech by announcing in August that Russia would resume long-range bomber patrols that were suspended in 1992.


More and more American and Canadian fighter jets are scrambling and intercepting Russian bombers flying off the Alaskan coast, exacerbating tensions between the former Cold War foes.

April 8, 2008 AirForce Times

I'm sure that's what she's talking about.
Problem remains why that is relevant.
9.27.2008 3:32pm
Cobra (mail) (www):
David Warner writes:


Nice one-drop rule. Obama is whiter than Tiger Woods. He's the AlJolson Candidate.




The one-drop rule was created by..hold for it--White People, Dave.

It was most notably enforced by an all-White SCOTUS in Plessy v. Ferguson.

>>>"In 1890, the State of Louisiana had passed a law that required separate accommodations for blacks and whites on railroads, including separate railway cars. Concerned, several black and white citizens in New Orleans formed an association dedicated to the repeal of that law. They persuaded Homer Plessy, who was one-eighth black (an octoroon), to test it. In 1892, Plessy purchased a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railway from New Orleans. Once he had boarded the train, Plessy informed the train conductor of his actual racial lineage, and after Plessy had taken a seat in the whites section he was asked to vacate it and sit instead in the "blacks only" section. Plessy refused and was immediately arrested."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plessy_v._Ferguson

Second, if Barack Obama is "whiter than Tiger Woods", how do you explain the fact that his mother (white) and father (black) would've have been committing a FELONY in many Southern States due to anti-miscegenation laws prior to Loving v. Virgina in 1969?

IMHO, America's history in regards to race is a sloth-paced attrocity that has begun to improve during my lifetime. That Senator Barack Obama is in this position, given that history, is simply awe-inspiring.

--Cobra
9.27.2008 3:33pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
wuzzagrunt:

"Speaking of things that were well-underway. The collapse of the USSR was well-underway before Reagan showed up at the right moment to take credit for it."

The downfall of the USSR began sometime around 1918. Lucky for Reagan that he came along just when he did.


The downfall of the USSR might well have occurred in the 70's but that the increase in the price of oil provided funding for the system and delayed its collapse.

Reagan happened to be around at the right time. He wasn't the causative factor. The USSR went through 3 senile or incapacitated leaders. finally they got one awake enough to see the "emperor had no clothes". Gorbachev did it, not Reagan.
9.27.2008 3:41pm
js5 (mail):
Palin also has banking experience because she lives near a bank. In fact, she's actually been to one, and talked with a teller.

I know this to be true.
9.27.2008 3:54pm
Anyone (mail):
Hey, arg11, if I put up $1,000, will you give me 10 to 1 odds that Palin is off the ticket before the VP debates? Will you also guarantee that you are putting that money up yourself and not asking your friends to help you cover the bet?
9.27.2008 3:56pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

The first few generations of airplanes didn't work that well. Likewise for cars, phones, computers, etc. But we kept at it, even though there were always lots of skeptics like you.

You implication that wind turbines are in an early stage of development is false. Wind turbines are now an essentially mature technology like automobile engines.

Let's look at the all important energy efficiency parameter. Turbines are limited by Betz Law (from the theory of flow machines). Even an ideal wind turbine cannot convert more than 59% of the available wind energy into mechanical energy. This limitation is similar to the maximum efficiency of a Carnot cycle heat engine. Like automobile internal combustion engines, current wind turbine design is already so close (45-50%) to the theoretical maximum, that further development will yield extremely marginal returns. In order words, what we have is close to what we can hope to get without a breakthrough in materials that would allow much larger blade areas.

The early skeptics about aviation did not understand fluid mechanics well enough to make informed predictions about that technology. Now we do and we can say a lot about the limitations of certain technologies.
9.27.2008 3:56pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
I don't think Palin will be off the GOP ticket because that would be too politically embarrassing absent a very creative excuse. Unlike Obama, Palin lacks ability to conceal her ignorance, and it really shows during her interviews. Moreover the MSM is out to get her, and she lacks the competence to deflect their blows. Obama has a glass jaw, but his MSM interviewers don't know where to hit even if they wanted to. If McCain wasn't so old, it wouldn't matter because the VP doesn't have much to do.
9.27.2008 4:03pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The downfall of the USSR began sometime around 1918. Lucky for Reagan that he came along just when he did.


The shit didn't really start hitting the fan for them until around his time, when their overemphasis on military spending started to catch up with them. Sound familiar?
9.27.2008 4:13pm
Bad (mail) (www):
"David Warner: If you go back to the unexpurgated Gibson transcript (before ABC axed 3/4 of her argument) you'll see she's advancing a Friedmanesque "World is Flat" worldview where she's always mindful of being closer to two "foreign" countries than any other United State. Hence, the pipeline deal she hammered out was with TransCanada, resisting the bullying of the domestic oil companies, and Russia's temperature needs to be taken regularly, as she'd be a first responder to any trouble, unlike a governor of, say, Arkansas."

So what temperature readings on Russia did she get? Is there a chart of its temperature over time?

And I thought she was all about using domestically produced oil here first. Of course, our major oil export trade partners, who supply us with more oil than we supply them with, might not be so happy about that. But at least we wouldn't be examining molecules, right?

McCain/Palin '08 "We Won't Examine, Like, Molecules of Oil"
9.27.2008 4:13pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
random:

arguing he's better prepared than Palin by actual experience is a non-starter


Since it's the president's job to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," it might be a good idea for the president to have some experience with the Law. Such as studying it successfully at a prestigious institution, and teaching it successfully at another prestigious institution. Another helpful experience would be to sponsor 800 bills while representing a district with roughly the same population as the entire state of Alaska.

This is aside from Obama's experience with the law in the US Senate, where he was one of two senators representing a population roughly twenty times greater than the population of Alaska.

Unless you think "the Laws [can] be faithfully executed" by someone who doesn't know much about law, then Obama's "actual experience" with law is relevant. On the other hand, he doesn't know how to field-dress a moose, he's never posed in a swimsuit at a beauty pageant (video), and he's never been a sportscaster (video).

Then again, the GOP attitude seems to be that POTUS doesn't have to pay much attention to the law, which would explain why Obama's "actual experience" with law is dismissed.
9.27.2008 4:13pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
johnny:

do you think that the presentation was OK for the target audience?


I don't know. Maybe. I'm just saying that Palin might realize she sounds dumb, but is hoping that some people are too dumb to notice. I think a basic tenet of Rovism is to often rely on dumb arguments that are intended to appeal to dumb people.

I'm sure that's what she's talking about.


Is she trying to claim that she commands the Air Force fighters that patrol Alaskan airspace? Because I don't think she does.
9.27.2008 4:13pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Palin also has banking experience because she lives near a bank.


Did you know that I'm an expert in astronomy? I can see the moon and stars from my porch.
9.27.2008 4:14pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
zarkov:

Wind turbines are now an essentially mature technology


Every technology is assumed to be "an essentially mature technology" until someone comes along and proves there's a better way to do it. Which tends to happen when the economic incentives are in place.

If McCain wasn't so old, it wouldn't matter because the VP doesn't have much to do.


Exactly. Palin's appallingly obvious flaws would be much easier to overlook if McCain wasn't 72 and a cancer survivor. Although Roberta is doing great at 96, McCain's father died at age 70. His paternal grandfather died at age 61.
9.27.2008 4:14pm
Dave N (mail):
Furthermore, if McCain were actually serious about denying Ahmedinejad's legitimacy, the appropriate thing would be for him to state that if he becomes President he will withdraw recognition of the government of Iran. He hasn't made any such proposal.
Um, according to the State Department's website, we haven't had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980.
9.27.2008 4:16pm
Chimaxx (mail):
I'm just glad I'm not taking a course from Professor Zywicki if this post is indicative of his ability to understand and illuminte events in the real world.
9.27.2008 4:41pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

Is she trying to claim that she commands the Air Force fighters that patrol Alaskan airspace? Because I don't think she does.


I'm sure she doesn't. But, come to think of it, this was part of the Tucker Bounds gambit when he got laughed at on CNN (that she had relevant experience as a result of being Commander of Alaskan National Guard).

Doesn't the packaging have to be "slick' to get the Rovian effect? The more incoherent the presentation, the less likely the message will get through??
9.27.2008 4:59pm
Careless:

Another helpful experience would be to sponsor 800 bills while representing a district with roughly the same population as the entire state of Alaska.

I'm not sure why WaPo thinks that there are 19 Senate districts in Illinois each with 653,647 people, but there aren't. The actual number is 59 and the population is proportionally smaller.

Anyway, I can still accept the general argument as they're less than an order of magnitude apart. I'd been wondering where this "same population" thing had come from for a couple of weeks now, is this the source of the error?
9.27.2008 5:03pm
Careless:
Figured it out: jukebox linked to the federal Congress race page. A House member from Illinois represents about as many people as the governor of Alaska.
9.27.2008 5:11pm
KWC (mail):
Todd:

As you can tell by many of the comments here, your post is neither intellectually honest nor insightful. A frightful proposition in a law professor. I won't belabor the obvious here.
9.27.2008 5:15pm
Obvious (mail):
Regarding Palin and her Russia comment:

1. It is not a strong argument.
2. She doesn't defend it well.

Having said that, is it a completely ridiculous argument? I'm not sure it is.

First, Alaska is the only US state completely bordered by foreign countries. As such, ignoring its large size, it is similar in this way to countries in Europe. Do you not think that citizens, to say nothing of politicians, of European countries know more about what is happening in neighboring countries than most Americans do? Is this not likely because their proximity leads to increased interactions? Perhaps Alaskans (at least in parts of the state) pick up Russian TV or radio channels, just as people in Spain pick up French and Portuguese stations.

Does this make the Alaska governor an expert in foreign policy? Likely not. Does it make her more likely to have some knowledge of foreign policy, or at least pertinent foreign countries, than, say, the governors of Arkansas or Texas or Georgia or even California? Probably so.

Again, it is NOT a strong argument. But I am surprised that with all her handlers Palin has not been able to make a more credible case for it.
9.27.2008 5:18pm
js5 (mail):

KWC....it's pale in comparison to this:

"This Administration deserves to be trusted because it has kept us safe from terrorist attack since 9/11, has fought and won two wars, has presided over eight years of economic growth, has appointed two stellar justices to the Supreme Court, and has even learned how to do Louisiana’s job of protecting that state from hurricanes. The day will come, and not before long, when Americans will wish that George Bush was still president," - Steven Calabresi, professor of law at the Northwestern University Law School.

of course, i guess there is an obvious distinction between the two comments.
9.27.2008 5:22pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

"Every technology is assumed to be "an essentially mature technology" until someone comes along and proves there's a better way to do it. Which tends to happen when the economic incentives are in place."

Not all all. Inertial confinement fusion is certainly not a mature technology, and we are still waiting for laboratory scientific break even (more energy out than in). The problem is we don't know if we understand all the physics of the light-target interaction and what new instabilities might arise. But other technologies are based on well understood physics such as heat engines and wind turbines.

Are you asserting that the laws of thermodynamics are not valid? Otherwise you are engaging in magical thinking.
9.27.2008 5:25pm
loki13 (mail):
Obvious,

There are a few problems with your analysis.

1. The area of Russia that Alaska 'borders' (don't forget, y'know, the water) is barren wasteland. They aren't picking up the Russian TV.

2. The majority of Alaskan population is concentrated in the SE part of the state, far away from the Russkies. Wasilla is 1130 km from the closest (barren wasteland) part of Russia. For comparison, Bangor to Greenland (Denmark) is 1400 km, which makes the Governor of Maine an expert in European affairs. And don't get me started on Florida or any US state and our neighbors to the south.

3. This "likely more experience"? Nice to assume. Given how much heat she has taken, you'd think they'd be desperate to come up with a shred of evidence. A trade mission? Anything?
9.27.2008 5:28pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Obvious:

Having said that, is it a completely ridiculous argument? I'm not sure it is.
First, Alaska is the only US state completely bordered by foreign countries. As such, ignoring its large size, it is similar in this way to countries in Europe. Do you not think that citizens, to say nothing of politicians, of European countries know more about what is happening in neighboring countries than most Americans do? Is this not likely because their proximity leads to increased interactions? Perhaps Alaskans (at least in parts of the state) pick up Russian TV or radio channels, just as people in Spain pick up French and Portuguese stations.


If Palin had any knowledge of Russian, i could see the parallel. Moreover, the part of Russian we are talking about is Siberia, a parallel to Alaska. If she spoke Russian and was close to Moscow, St Petersburg, I can see the possibility.

Similarly, the part of Canada Alaska borders is pretty remote and atypical of Canada.

But a nice try.
9.27.2008 5:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Does this make the Alaska governor an expert in foreign policy? Likely not. Does it make her more likely to have some knowledge of foreign policy, or at least pertinent foreign countries, than, say, the governors of Arkansas or Texas or Georgia or even California? Probably so. "

Sorry, but that would mean that the governors of all the states that border Mexico or Canada would be qualified to be President.

Look, I grew up in Buffalo, NY, a border city with Canada. Buffalonians regularaly go to Toronto, and Upper Canadians regularly shop in Buffalo. We even have friends across the border. Heck, your average illegal immigrant would have more foriegn policy expertise than Palin!

So to make an argument that because she sits between two different countries makes her anything more than an armchair tourist is just too bizarre for words.
9.27.2008 6:05pm
LM (mail):
Tugh:

What an intellectually dishonest post. Todd should be really ashamed of himself.

I think TZ's post is 100% wrong on the merits, but this sort of criticism, and there are many like it on the thread, is uncalled for. What evidence is there he's not arguing (erroneously) in good faith? Obama moved a step closer to being POTUS last night. I'd argue that this is the time to reinforce that positively with an eye toward helping erstwhile opponents who suspect the inevitable find a place for themselves in the conversation after November 4. Continuing these food fights just fuels a post-election embittered opposition.* If you expect to win, as we should, that's not smart.

-------------------

*No, I'm not naive enough to think there isn't a bitter opposition so entrenched it will consume its own flesh rather than stop running for lack of fuel. But like the election campaign itself, those aren't the people you're trying to persuade.
9.27.2008 6:07pm
Rebecca (mail):
Obvious

I'd like to add to your comments about Palin's remarks concerning the proximity of Alaska to Russia.

Even without the benefit of the statements that she made that were edited out, the point she was making seemed clear to me. I live in a metropolitan area that borders Canada, and I believe that gives me a stronger sense of the importance of US/Canada relations. After 9/11, border crossing was made difficult by added security requirements. Many Canadians who worked here were unable to get to their jobs, a great many who were nurses and doctors, and there was much concern about the impact this would have on local health care.

More personally, my husband works for a Canadian company, and his paychecks are deposited into a Canadian bank. US/Canadian relations are vitally important to us in a way that most Americans wouldn't even think about.

While Alaskans wouldn't have the same concerns about Russia, I have no doubt that their proximity to that country, and the attractiveness of the oil drilling industry as a potential target, makes their concerns about US/Russian relations much more personal and immediate.

Since I've been following Governor Palin's political career for some time, my expectations of her, and her intellect, are quite high. When she failed to explain this to Couric, my take was that she didn't realize that to Couric, and her audience, this wasn't so obvious that it needed explaining. When Palin laughed at the question and didn't explain it further, I thought that she was assuming that Couric knew that the characterization of Palin's statement had been unfair, and that she agreed that the meaning was obvious. Palin is accustomed to being taken seriously and regarded as intelligent. She doesn't see her own statements through the "Palin is stupid" lens, and she doesn't (yet) expect that spin from her opponents.

Obama has made similar statements, citing his youth in other countries as foreign policy chops, and his supporters jump through hoops to give his claims validity, because they see him as a smart guy. If an interviewer asked him about those statements, he'd probably assume (and probably be right) that the interviewer was laughing, with him, at the idiots that were too provincial to see the wisdom in them.

In other words, the press and the public have been conditioned to see Obama as intelligent, and interpret his statements in that view, and they see Palin as stupid. Her only mistake has been in trusting the public to see through the propaganda.
9.27.2008 6:09pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
when Randy R. speaks of Upper Canadians, this is not the elite (although some residents think so) but an historic term
the Province of Ontario was previously known as Upper Canada;
the Province of Quebec as Lower Canada.

One vestage- the regulatory body for lawyers in Ontario is the Law Society of Upper Canada


trivia about your northern neighbour (except for those in Alaska).
9.27.2008 6:14pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Rebecca:
I am sure that your interaction with Canadians and access to Canadian mass media would give greater sensitivity to things foreign, and in the case of Canadians, our slightly different take on some topics - eg health care.

Similarly, to have lived in another country as Obama did as a child can't but help.

This was not what Palin seemed to be saying. She spoke of mere geographic proximity to Russia- does she speak Russian?

She was asked about trade delegations, but turned her answer to military flights, which didn't make a lot of sense even if she had expressed hereself with greater coherence.

You speak of the "attractiveness of the oil drilling industry as a potential target". Could you explain further.Thanks
9.27.2008 6:25pm
Asher (mail):
Is there a post somewhere in this thread where someone explains what Zywicki meant, or better yet, Zywicki himself explains what Zywicki meant? If so, please point me to it, as I thought Obama acquitted himself very well.
9.27.2008 6:35pm
LN (mail):
She spoke of mere geographic proximity to Russia

Worse, Russia is a huge country and Alaska is nowhere near Moscow.
9.27.2008 6:39pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Asher: sorry, i don't think so. I wondered whether he was just trying to be provocative.
9.27.2008 6:42pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
I thought Obama and McCain both did okay in the debate, with a slight edge to Obama on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a bit more in demeanor. McCain kept up with the "you don't understand" meme, which is silly because Obama does understand and disagrees with McCain.

It was nice to see a presidential debate where both candidates speak fluent English.
9.27.2008 6:42pm
talking points:
News flash:

Missouri governor challenges Obama's anti-Blasphemy law.

link
9.27.2008 7:34pm
Smokey:
So arg11 still believes that global warming is happening, and that wind and solar can completely replace fossil fuels. heh.

Isn't he cute?
9.27.2008 7:46pm
Smokey:
Obama is a guy who's afraid to take any position at all. Just for verification, can we have him drop his drawers so we can see if it's true that he's got no huevos?
9.27.2008 7:53pm
MQuinn:
IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS:

(1) Press Ctrl+F (the Find feature) in your web browser;

(2) Type "Obama can't talk without a teleprompter"; and

(3) Press the Enter key.

RESULT: nothing
9.27.2008 8:01pm
Ghost Rider (mail):
Simon says

"So by implication, the person who has the foreign policy expertise to be president is the one who comes up with lines like "I looked in his eyes and saw three letters — K.G.B." God help us all.

We've had eight years of foreign policy made from the gut.
"


McCain's line line about Putin should be understood as a direct dig at GWB (‘I looked in his eyes and saw his soul.’) And it's a refreshing clarity of vision as well.
9.27.2008 8:10pm
Asher (mail):


McCain's line line about Putin should be understood as a direct dig at GWB (‘I looked in his eyes and saw his soul.’) And it's a refreshing clarity of vision as well.


Obviously. But demonizing the leaders of other countries isn't any better than talking about their good souls. Both are totally unproductive.
9.27.2008 8:22pm
deepthought:
VP candidate or Valley Girl?--You Decide! As for her tour of world leaders (such as the Mayor of Kabul, President of Afghanistan), like David Letterman said, it looked like Take Your Daughter to Work Day.


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

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

Couric: Mocked?

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

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

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

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

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


In addition, she has never told the Alaskan National Gaurd to do anything significant (the ANG troops involved missile defense and deployed overseas are under federal jurisdiction) and its aviation units are the most understaffed in the nation.
9.27.2008 8:51pm
Smokey:
Obama can't talk without a teleprompter.
9.27.2008 9:03pm
first history:
It appears that some conservatives aren't liking what they see in Palin:


Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, a former Palin supporter, says the vice presidential nominee should step aside. Kathryn Jean Lopez, writing for the conservative National Review, says “that’s not a crazy suggestion” and that “something’s gotta change.”

Tony Fabrizio, a GOP strategist, says Palin’s recent CBS appearance isn’t disqualifying but is certainly alarming. “You can’t continue to have interviews like that and not take on water.”

“I have not been blown away by the interviews from her, but at the same time, I haven’t come away from them thinking she doesn’t know s—t,” said Chris Lacivita, a GOP strategist. “But she ain’t Dick Cheney, nor Joe Biden and definitely not Hillary Clinton.”

. . . .

"Asked about Palin's performance in the CBS interview, a McCain official briefing reporters on condition of anonymity said: "She did fine. She's a tremendous asset and a fantastic candidate."

Yeah, I wouldn't want my name attached to that endorsement either. Of course if she does "leave" (pushed?) it would be disaster for McCain, since Obama has made judgement his key argument against experience.

It won't happen, but we can dream.
9.27.2008 9:12pm
Smokey:
Governor Palin has put four legislators of both Parties behind bars. Six more are under indictment. Plenty more are shaking in their boots.

THAT is what we need more of in this country! And there's not another politician on the horizon who has lifted a finger to actually stop official corruption: to put a crimp in graft and corruption you need to jail a few of the top dogs.

Look at Rep. John Conyers, who took the 50+ Thanksgiving turkeys home instead of giving them out to the poor in his District, for which they were explicitly donated. He and his corrupt staff friggin' stole them. Look at Rep. William Jefferson, who was caught red handed with $90,000 in marked FBI bills in his freezer. He's still walking free years later. And there are dozens of others.

Name one other elected person who has made jailing corrupt politicians a priority. As a voter, I'm all for that.
9.27.2008 9:16pm
Asher (mail):
Obama can't talk without a teleprompter.

Oh yes he can. Not that I needed to link to that - didn't you see the debate?
9.27.2008 9:19pm
Smokey:
Kathleen Parker, eh?

What about the liberal/left Progressive?

Even they see Obama as a "vacuous opportunist".
9.27.2008 9:20pm
Another Cornellian:
Jukebox said:
The following is a complete list of the states where McCain's current polling is stronger than Bush's performance in 2004:

Arizona
Alabama
Tennessee
Arkansas
Lousiana


What about these states from the same source:
Maine
New York
Washington
Minnesota
Massachusetts

Real racist strongholds those five...
9.27.2008 9:20pm
Smokey:
Oh, no he can't.
9.27.2008 9:21pm
first history:
Smokey:

McCain freestyle on the economy without a teleprompter. Palin freestyle on Russia: see above. Everyone speaks better from text.

I would hardly compare the National Review, the bible of the conservative movement, with the Progressive. NR, founded by St. William F. Buckley, has been the source docuemnt for the modern conservative movement. Of course the Progressive doesn't like Obama, he's too mainstream for them—they are part of the Naderite/McKinney crowd.
9.27.2008 9:38pm
Rebecca (mail):
Johnny Canuck:

Agreed. If Palin were offering her experience as governor of a state that's geographically close to Russia (and has a missile defense system aimed that way) as actual foreign policy experience, it wouldn't mean any more to me than Obama's childhood travels.

I don't think she was saying what people seem to think she was saying. She's been asked whether she would be ready to act as president should McCain have an unfortunate meeting with a bus. Normally vice presidential candidates aren't called on to be "Ready on day one.". The question is, what experience does she have that shows that she can, given her new role, be prepared. She cites experience that demonstrates her abilities to lead, listing her accomplishments as governor, and cites factors that show the foundation that she will build onto. The proximity line was one out of several paragraphs, intended to show that she grasps the seriousness of maintaining good relationships with powerful nations. The Couric interview has her responding to a specific question about one line, but the original interview involved more than that line. She didn't talk about the other points she had made, because that wasn't what she was asked about, and now people are acting as though that one line was the sum total of her case.

No, as a governor she has no foreign policy experience. She's been doing her job, which is to serve the people of Alaska, and they seem quite happy with her performance. I can't understand why this one woman has become the focal point for so much anger and criticism, while her counterpart runs around the country spouting psychobabble. I'll tell you this much, as much as I dislike the idea of the inexperienced and unaccomplished Obama being the president, if he wins, I'll be praying for his protection every day, rather than have Biden spreading the crazy from the oval office.
9.27.2008 9:44pm
byomtov (mail):
If Palin were offering her experience as governor of a state that's geographically close to Russia (and has a missile defense system aimed that way) as actual foreign policy experience,

That's exactly what she's doing. And what the GOP is touting as her qualification to deal with foreign policy.

Admit it. It's a moronic argument.
9.27.2008 9:55pm
Asher (mail):
So Obama says um and eh a lot. When you strike those out, you're still left with a perfectly coherent thought - whereas Palin's barely capable of expressing one, and the coherent thoughts she does manage to express are stupid thoughts (find efficiencies, the Israelis are the "good guys," etc.).
9.27.2008 9:57pm
David Warner:
Canuck,

"Please elaborate: is she just temporarily disoriented? will emerge remade, coherent, and logical? If so, how long will the process take?
Is the geographic proximity concept contributed by Schmidt, or part of the old Palin that hasn't been properly eliminated?"

Properly eliminated? As far as I can tell, all they've eliminated is the good stuff. Google her governor debates on C-Span. If somehow she becomes President, I'd imagine she'd end up sounding like Bush to those who want her to for hatred purposes. That doesn't mean she'll act like Bush. For starters, she's not a trust-funder.

Currently, I think she's trying to be a team-player, but judging by McCain's own vapidity, she's on a pretty weak team, campaign wise. Trying to restrict your candidates to talking points is bad enough, if understandable - Axelrod is the master there, restricting them to these talking points, when far superior ones are available on any intelligent blog, is pathetic.

Nonetheless, I believe that any of the four candidates this year would do better at governing (as opposed to campaigning - novel concept, that difference) than any of the 2004 candidates, given their records and/or personalities.

Rebecca does better than I on the proximity argument. Given that Palin was likely briefed out the ears on NORAD, et. al. the minute she became governor, I'm not surprised that she overestimates it's obviousness.
9.27.2008 10:01pm
David Warner:
As for why TZ isn't defending his post: he isn't reading these comments. As for why that might be: imagine for a moment that you do not support Obama, if you can without spraining your brain, then read through the above comments. I don't blame him.
9.27.2008 10:04pm
David Warner:
Cobra,

"The one-drop rule was created by..hold for it--White People, Dave."

Who knew? Do you typically assume that people you don't know are completely ignorant of history? Not a winning strategy.

"Second, if Barack Obama is "whiter than Tiger Woods", how do you explain the fact that his mother (white) and father (black) would've have been committing a FELONY in many Southern States due to anti-miscegenation laws prior to Loving v. Virgina in 1969?"

How do you explain the fact that 2+2=4? Telling that you have yet to respond to that one!

"IMHO, America's history in regards to race is a sloth-paced attrocity that has begun to improve during my lifetime. That Senator Barack Obama is in this position, given that history, is simply awe-inspiring."

If he's elected, it would increase the chances that we'll eventually have a black president, I'll grant you that. I look forward to that day.

Until then, my vote for Obama will be for "The Next White President".
9.27.2008 10:11pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
deepthought:

VP candidate or Valley Girl?--You Decide!

So...in the VP debate, it will be Caribou Barbie vs. Krusty the Clown.
9.27.2008 10:24pm
MQuinn:
Asher said:

So Obama says um and eh a lot. When you strike those out, you're still left with a perfectly coherent thought....

I agree 100% with this statement. I would like to add that during last night's debate, his "um" and "eh" usage was limited to the beginning of his responses -- you know, the 3 seconds before he would rattle off a coherent, understandable, and well thought out 2 minute response.

Smokey -- both the significance and the accuracy of your teleprompter critique is doubtful in light of the fact that every poll shows that Obama won the debate!!! Even if you doubt the accuracy of these polls, it still shows that the debate was close, which also undermines your teleprompter argument. Further, let's not forget that Obama won the You Tube debate a few months ago. These are hardly the accomplishments of a stammering nitwit.

Further, Smokey, linking to (admittedly awkward) instances of Obama's "um" and "eh" usage is not as powerful as you would have us think. Instead, one should view Obama's performance in last night's debate in its entirety. Obama was undeniably fighting his most challenging debate to date, and yet he was either (1) every bit as eloquent as his opponent, or (2) almost as eloquent as his opponent. In either case, your suggestion that Obama can't talk w/o a teleprompter is severely damaged.

Finally, Smokey, Obama's "um" and "eh" usage does not equate to inarticulateness. His sentences make sense, and his verbiage reflects his thoughts accurately. Obama is no George W. Bush.
9.27.2008 10:58pm
Bad (mail) (www):
"Rebecca (mail): I live in a metropolitan area that borders Canada, and I believe that gives me a stronger sense of the importance of US/Canada relations."

Congratulations, you are now exactly as qualified as Sarah Palin on foreign relations issues!
9.27.2008 11:08pm
Smokey:
MQuinn:
[Obama's] sentences make sense, and his verbiage reflects his thoughts accurately.
Yes, yes they do.

And for those deranged Sarah Palin haters: hatred will destroy you.
9.27.2008 11:12pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Rebecca &David Warner:

I went back and listened to the first few minutes of the Gibson interview. I had forgotten that Gibson raised proximity saying that McCain had stated it as part of her foreign experience credentials. So I can see David's theory that it is the McCain campaign that originated this idea, and perhaps why she was trying so valiantly (or vacuously) to defend it.

In the Couric interview (my editing)it seems pretty clear that she has bought into the idea that proximity equals foreign policy experience, not just being aware of the existence of or having sensitivity to the perspectives of foreign countries

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

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

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

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

(see at 7:51PM for the full excerpt from the Palin interview)

Her performance is so much worse in the Couric interview than the Gibson one.

The analogy to Bush is scary to me, I'm afraid I saw him as a combination of lack of intellectual curiosity and absolute certainty in his ability to make the right decision from his vast fund of ignorance. I fear the damage that combination of attributes has already done to America, and the world, and would do. sorry, no more Bush, even in a skirt.

Tomorrow, i'll try to listen to her debates as governor.
9.27.2008 11:16pm
Cornellian (mail):
"Second, if Barack Obama is "whiter than Tiger Woods", how do you explain the fact that his mother (white) and father (black) would've have been committing a FELONY in many Southern States due to anti-miscegenation laws prior to Loving v. Virgina in 1969?"

One quibble - Loving was decided in 1967, not 1969.
9.27.2008 11:16pm
Cobra (mail) (www):
David Warner writes:



Who knew? Do you typically assume that people you don't know are completely ignorant of history? Not a winning strategy.




Well, David...far be it from me to accuse anybody of ignorance. In fact, I consider reading and posting on blogs as a "learning experience."

That being said, I wish to "learn" from you. You believe Barack Obama to be White, as well as Tiger Woods to some extent. Your words.

Please give me YOUR definition of race in America today and how you categorize Americans by that definition.

Then we can have a frame of reference to continue our discussion.

Fair enough?

--Cobra
9.27.2008 11:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
Canuck: "when Randy R. speaks of Upper Canadians, this is not the elite (although some residents think so) but an historic term
the Province of Ontario was previously known as Upper Canada;
the Province of Quebec as Lower Canada. "

Right on! I was wondering if anyone would catch the rather obscure reference. I hope I've now established by street cred with Labatt's drinkers!

As for Palin, if it were truly that she isn't connecting with the public, then the answer is simple -- make her more available to said public. But that's not what Palin is doing. Why not?
9.27.2008 11:20pm
Hoosier:
"I hope I've now established by street cred with Labatt's drinkers! "

No: There's no such thing.
9.27.2008 11:39pm
Rebecca (mail):
byomtov:

If Palin were offering her experience as governor of a state that's geographically close to Russia (and has a missile defense system aimed that way) as actual foreign policy experience,

That's exactly what she's doing. And what the GOP is touting as her qualification to deal with foreign policy.

Admit it. It's a moronic argument.


A beautiful illustration of everything that I hate about this election. Oddly, I remember Obama supporters touting him as a unifying candidate. But, of course, why bother to include the morons who are too stupid to see how wonderful he is, or that are stupid enough to find something to admire in a politician that makes their career by fighting corrupt insiders.

Like I said before, I was aware of Palin before the press marked her as public enemy number one. I looked at her many accomplishments and based my opinion on those, not on her answers to disrespectful gotcha questions. She's doing what a vice presidential candidate does. She talks up her running mate, she dishes out his talking points, and she answers questions from the press as politely and completely as is politically correct.

Had she run in the primary as a presidential candidate, I wouldn't have voted for her because of her lack of experience. There is, however, nothing remarkable about choosing her as vp, no matter how many times Obama supporters plaster their talking points across the sphere.

You don't like our vp, then don't vote for her. Getting all exercised, and insulting, just makes the vehemence more suspicious.
9.27.2008 11:41pm
jbvv (mail):
Can you find an extended quote from Obama that is as frightening as this:


COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.
9.27.2008 11:58pm
byomtov (mail):
Rebecca,

I didn't say people who don't admire Obama are morons. I said Palin and her supporters are making a moronic argument.

These things she says are not in response to "gotcha questions." They're her own statements, or those her managers put in her mouth. The press didn't make her tell lies about the bridge, or talk about how being near Russia gave her foreign poicy insight. Those were voluntary statements on her part.

You can't blame them on anyone but her. If the press responded negatively that's because they merit a negative response. You're blaming the messenger.
9.28.2008 12:00am
jbvv (mail):
I suspect that Sarah Palin will decide that she needs to "spend more time with her family" soon.
9.28.2008 12:13am
first history:
wuzzagrunt:

So...in the VP debate, it will be Caribou Barbie vs. Krusty the Clown.


Given that choice I would choose Krusty--at least he served in Congress. What office has Barbie been elected to?

And that should be Moose Barbie.
9.28.2008 12:16am
deepthought:
first history beat me to it.
9.28.2008 12:22am
David Warner:


Johnny,

"So I can see David's theory that it is the McCain campaign that originated this idea, and perhaps why she was trying so valiantly (or vacuously) to defend it."

That's the exact opposite of our (Rebecca's and my) theory. Rebecca states it well upthread.

"The analogy to Bush is scary to me, I'm afraid I saw him as a combination of lack of intellectual curiosity and absolute certainty in his ability to make the right decision from his vast fund of ignorance. I fear the damage that combination of attributes has already done to America, and the world, and would do. sorry, no more Bush, even in a skirt."

I'm very aware of how much Bush scares Obama supporters, and I'd say perhaps you shouldn't let yourselves be so manipulated by fear. Bush was re-elected, and had he not hemorrhaged cash like the trust-funder he is, he would still enjoy respectable approval ratings. As it is, he far outshines the Dem Congress. He is not, in fact, intellectually incurious - if anything, his intellectual curiosity for history has led him to overreach beyond America's current grasp internationally (i.e. war/nation-building in Iraq).

Aside from spending, a lot of the governance problems arose from Cheney's Kos-like contempt for non-conservatives, leading the administration to declare an ill-fated two-front war on Iraq and the very soft-power resources America needed to win in an effective manner.

Palin's spending discipline and willingness to go against party/ideology, and popularity among Dems in Alaska lead me to believe that she would not suffer from these defects. Of course, she may have new ones.

Disclosure: My main motivation is the yawning gap between the approval ratings/power of our elected representatives and, on the one hand, the military and police, on the other, non-elected power bases such as government bureaucracies and the corporate media. Therefore, I'm apt to defend our elected representatives and candidates where possible. I suspect that we the people are being divided and conquered.
9.28.2008 12:37am
Smokey:
Canuck:
"The analogy to Bush is scary to me..."
Go suck your thumb and wrap yourself in your blankie. Everything will be OK, foreigner. And butt out of American elections, canuck. You don't belong to the club.

first history:
What office has Barbie Governor Palin been elected to?
Only a clueless fool would ask that question.
9.28.2008 12:39am
David Warner:
jbvv,

"Can you find an extended quote from Obama that is as frightening as this:"

Frightening? What would your ancestors who survived the Depression say about you quaking in your boots about a rambling answer by a politician? Pull yourself together, son.

Heck, good old Joe Biden could have given that answer, and I wouldn't be frightened by that either. The fact that the economy is so integrated, which was, of course, Palin's point, is why the credit crunch is such a big deal that our Congresspeople are burning the midnight oil trying to avert it right now, instead of out on the campaign trail where they would be if they were half as venal as we're supposed to believe they are.
9.28.2008 12:43am
David Warner:
Cobra,

"That being said, I wish to "learn" from you."

Way to quote yourself, there, Cobester. Somehow, I doubt the veracity of that sentence.

"Please give me YOUR definition of race in America today and how you categorize Americans by that definition."

It's a cultural construction popular among those inclined to launch into completely superfluous and transparently agenda-driven history tutorials. The rest of us play around with it while we're waiting for our betters to get back to MLK, jr.

"Fair enough?"

I know better than to seek fairness from you. My original comment was a rebuttal to the theory that Obama trailed the "generic Democrat" because he's black. He trails the "generic Democrat" because the "generic Democrat" doesn't exist. Familiarity breeds contempt, even for white people like Obama.
9.28.2008 12:53am
Random Commenter:
Oy. The amount of mindless hate in this thread is appalling. Excepting a few people who talk sense (LM, Rebecca, maybe a couple others: thank you), there's not much worth reading here. Some of you should be ashamed.

Eugene and the others might want to consider turning off the comments feature on these politics posts until after the election. A number of the commenters in this thread would clearly benefit from getting away from the keyboard and going for a walk.
9.28.2008 12:58am
Syd Henderson (mail):
Smokey:
Obama can't talk without a teleprompter.


He did just fine in the debate without a teleprompter, so you're wrong, and, frankly, an imbecile.
9.28.2008 1:01am
Suzy (mail):
So the argument is that Palin is so intelligent, and so accustomed to being perceived in this way, that she didn't realize that a detailed answer was needed for the unfair, "gotcha" question about why she thinks proximity lends foreign policy experience?
Ah, okay, that must be why she explained herself so much better in later interviews, noting that she had been carefully briefed on national security issues after assuming the Governorship, and discussing the trade missions she had been on or had sent and supervised. Or maybe I missed that, while I was listening to her string together an incoherent staccato of talking points to describe the economic bailout. I assume a more polished response is forthcoming, since that would be an incredibly simple way to silence all the critics who think she is a mental incompetent after watching her interviews.
9.28.2008 1:21am
jbvv (mail):

The fact that the economy is so integrated, which was, of course, Palin's point,

So that's what this means:


But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans.
9.28.2008 1:33am
MQuinn:
Smokey,

In the face of Obama's winning or near-winning performance in a nationally televised presidential debate, you incredibly claim that he can't speak with out a teleprompter. Your argument rings hollow considering last night's strong performance. I challenge you to explain this inconsistency (and BTW -- linking to a cherry-picked stammering moment doesn't explain this inconsistency).

Now, I will quote from my previous post. Why? Because your inability to defeat the following point has caused you to refuse to respond to it... "Both the significance and the accuracy of your teleprompter critique is doubtful in light of the fact that every poll shows that Obama won the debate!!! Even if you doubt the accuracy of these polls, it still shows that the debate was close, which also undermines your teleprompter argument. Further, let's not forget that Obama won the You Tube debate a few months ago. These are hardly the accomplishments of a stammering nitwit."

Smokey, in both this thread and in other threads, you assert points merely by linking to random sites with a vivacious attitude. This tactic does not amount to an argument, and it is analogous to the classically flawed tactic of stringing together a bunch of quotes in lieu of making an argument.

I will demonstrate how your cherry-picking tactic is flawed and unconvincing... No one would claim that McCain can not talk without a teleprompter. Nonetheless, I am able to garner as many examples of McCain gaffes and stammerings as you can for Obama.

Here are my cherry-picked links: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Please know that there are many, many more, but I am bored of making simple Google searches.

This exercise proves that your cherry-picking tactic doesn't cause your bald assertions to logically follow; it is only the tactic of someone that can't marshal a unique substantive argument.
9.28.2008 2:14am
Randy R. (mail):
Suzy: "So the argument is that Palin is so intelligent, and so accustomed to being perceived in this way, that she didn't realize that a detailed answer was needed for the unfair, "gotcha" question about why she thinks proximity lends foreign policy experience? "

Yes, indeed Suzy! And this is exactly why the McCain campaign refuses to allow her give any interviews or press conferences -- because her vast intelligence and experience will blow away the Dems so much that it would be a landslide election for the Republicans, and they like a good fight instead.

Makes perfect sense to me.
9.28.2008 2:50am
Randy R. (mail):
You are right, Zarkov: wind energy can never supply much of our needs. Too bad Spain didn't get the memo, however. From Technology Today:

"In fact, wind supplied 10 percent of all Spanish electricity in 2007. On one record day, March 4, 2008, wind gusts sweeping the country provided 28 percent of the country’s total electricity."

Evidently, Spain doesn't know that 30 years ago, you concluded that wind energy will never solve any of our energy problems.
9.28.2008 3:02am
Doc (mail):
Jukeboxgrad, "Since it's the president's job to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," it might be a good idea for the president to have some experience with the Law. Such as studying it successfully at a prestigious institution, and teaching it successfully at another prestigious institution. Another helpful experience would be to sponsor 800 bills while representing a district with roughly the same population as the entire state of Alaska. "

----Come On! Do you really think that only lawyers from "prestigious institutions" should be eligible for the presidency? That is exactly the kind of arrogant talk which is turning so many people off during this election. And "sponsoring" bills is not experience of any kind, unless you suggest that following the directions of political bosses is good experience. Tell me about one or two bills which Obama actually wrote and got passed, and which did what they were supposed to do, and I might be more convinced! I have not been convinced that he understands the law at all, and many of his positions convince me that he does not understand the Constitution.

"Unless you think "the Laws [can] be faithfully executed" by someone who doesn't know much about law, then Obama's "actual experience" with law is relevant."

---- Yes, that is exactly what many of us do believe. This task is only one of the many tasks of the President, most of which come down to running the Executive Branch of the government. Anyone can hire lawyers for advice on legal issues (even from "prestigious schools" if you want), but being a lawyer is certainly not considered by many people to be advantageous in a candidate. In fact, there seems to be a large segment of the population which considers it detrimental to good leadership.
9.28.2008 3:45am
Cornellian (mail):
I don't think practicing law is a necessary qualification for the Presidency, or even particularly relevant. A law degree is, however, obviously useful for understanding our system of legislation, law enforcement and federalism though even a law degree isn't a necessary qualification for a President. So whether being a lawyer is relevant depends on whether you consider someone with a law degree to be a lawyer, even if they've never practiced law.
9.28.2008 3:58am
Smokey:
MQuinn:
Smokey,

In the face of Obama's winning or near-winning performance in a nationally televised presidential debate, you incredibly claim that he can't speak with out a teleprompter. [Fixed]
A "near-winning" performance between two contestants = a losing performance. The messiah's second place finish was a big disappointment for his worshipers, no?

And despite all the frantic protests, 0bama certainly does have problems when he's not reading from a prepared script.

But I don't hold it against him. He's just an empty suit, completely lacking any executive experience. He can't handle tough situations. That's why he ended up shouting at people [to the extent that meeting participants got up and walked out] during the president's meeting last week, when he saw those taxpayer bailout $billions slipping away from his ACORN cronies.

I don't think this country wants an inept tool for a president.
9.28.2008 7:57am
loki13 (mail):
MQuinn-

When you articulate that Smokey's comments are vivacious, I think you are spotting him a 'va' that his posting record does not support.

I would not recommend engaging that troll. Not too long ago, he was peddling his "Jimmy Carter called Obama a BLACK BOY" argument. When called on it by numerous posters, he did change it.

He started saying that Jimmy Carter had called Obama a COLORED BOY.

He isn't interested in substantive conversation, or backing up his assertions, or interfacing with our shared reality, just angering people. He's The Ace, with longer posts.
9.28.2008 9:26am
loki13 (mail):
Oh, since this is our open political topic, I wanted to add that I watched SNL as an obligation, since they usually shape the narratives of how candidates are viewed. Thoughts of featured candidate:

1. Palin was the opner (with the sketch about the Couric interview) and it was pretty devastating. Unless you believe that all publicity is good publicity, this further cements the growing narrative about Palin- not just in the MSM as y'all like to call it, but in all media. Ouch. Also, very funny. Side note- it's going to take one heck of a debate performance for her to start countering this image. Two problems with this.

A. If she goes in relatively unscripted, she could be blindsided (aka the Bush doctrine) reinforcing the dumb narrative.

B. If she goes in completely scripted and tries to turn each question to her script, she may look even worse- like she's trying to dodge the question and hide her lack of command.

I'd go with A and hope her prep time has paid off, with a mix of B zingers and appropriate policy statements (like a 2 minute answer for the bailout).

2. The debate was fascinating. They've key'd in on two things that surprise me. First, I thought they'd go after McCain for his body language, mannerisms, and generally hostile demeanor. Nope. Instead, they went after his political stunts (see Palin, above). Not sure how damaging that was, but it wwas entertaining. Also the part where he longer cares at the end- shades of being Dole'd. As for Obama, they went in a completely different direction than I thought, tying him into local small-time political corruption in Chicago (tax breaks for the Chi. City Council, bribes, and embezzling). Funny, and surprising.
9.28.2008 9:38am
KenB (mail):
I really don't want Palin to become President.

I really don't want Obama to become President.

What's a guy to do? Maybe I should vote according to who's running for what job, vote accordingly, and hope for the best. To my mind, voting for Obama would be resigning myself to something close to the worst, at the least the worst of what's on the table now.

I don't even like McCain, but again---what's a guy to do? I don't fear a McCain presidency the way I fear an Obama one.
9.28.2008 9:42am
MQuinn:
Smokey,

Wow, I am impressed that your intellect is so far above mine that you are capable of ascertaining that McCain clearly -- clearly -- won the debate!

Don't let facts get in the way of your opinion, Smokey! CNN's poll gave Obama the win by a wide margin. The CBS poll gave Obama the win on the economy, McCain the win on Iraq, and Obama the overall win among undecided voters. The LA Times said the debate was too close to call.

Your entire teleprompter argument as given in your previous post is dependent on the following progression: (1) Obama nearly won, (2) Nearly winning is a loss, and thus (3) Obama can't speak w/o a teleprompter. We have serious reason to doubt the accuracy of (1). The (2) point doesn't follow from the (1), and the (3) point doesn't follow from the (2).

Now, let's examine the substance of your post. Your words are in italics, mine are not...

A "near-winning" performance
Well, most polls seem to thing Obama won

between two contestants = a losing performance.
Nope. You can finish tied with your opponent. Further, a loss in a presidential debate consists of a poor performance that moves voters against you. That didn't happen here.

The messiah's
Inappropriate childish digg.

second place finish
Again, most disagree with you on this. Those pesky facts always get in the way of your opinion!


was a big disappointment
Sigh. Your entire argument is based on your flawed, partisian assumption that Obama lost. See above.

for his worshipers, no?
Childish and resting on unsubstantiated grounds. See above.

And despite all the frantic protests,
"Frantic protests"? You're the one tossing around childish insults.

0bama certainly does have problems when he's not reading from a prepared script.
PLEASE point to an aspect of the debate that shows this! Do I need to repeat my argument from last night, where I showed you sixteen instances where McCain has made similar stammerings? And by the way, you are not making an argument when you repeat the same conclusory statement over and over! "Obama can't talk. He really can't! I promise, he can't! Why won't you believe me?? He can't! You want proof? Look at what I am saying as proof -- he can't! Trust me! Trust me!"

He's just an empty suit,
Irrelevant change of subject

completely lacking any executive experience.
Irrelevant change of subject

He can't handle tough situations.
How about the previous debate? How about his win during the You Tube debate? How about his seeming calmness through the bailout controversy (versus McCain's erratic actions).

That's why he ended up shouting at people [to the extent that meeting participants got up and walked out] during the president's meeting last week,
Breaking new! First reported on the VC! Smokey has inside knowledge of the presidential meeting! Apparently, Obama shouted at people, and these shouts were the reason that the Republicans left!
9.28.2008 9:55am
loki13 (mail):
KenB,

"I don't fear a McCain presidency the way I fear an Obama one."

No offense, but that has become the trouble with the GOP, and why I have been driven away since 2000. All they have left is divisiveness. They can't get anyone to vote based on their platform, their hope, their ideals (a la Reagan at his best) so instead they just attack and hope that voters like you end up too fearful to vote for the other candidate.

Fear an Obama Presidency? Really? I neither fear a McCain or an Obama Presidency. I prefer one. In our current system, the two parties are fairly rigidly constrained on the left-right political axis. I worry about another four years of GOP stewardship of our economy, and I prefer Obama's diplomatic approach to McCain's "Send the Bombers In NOW" approach to foreign policy, but I don't fear victory by either side.
9.28.2008 9:59am
MQuinn:
loki13,

I agree with you 100%. Sincerely, thanks!!
9.28.2008 10:02am
p. rich (mail) (www):
Couric is, and always has been, a nasty interviewer. Not accomplished. Nasty.

We are talking to Iran, have been for a long time. Obama (and his sycophants here) doesn't understand the differences among various levels of diplomacy, or the issues connected with that ignorance. Twice stupid.

No one multi-tasks. We task switch, which isn't the same thing at all. If there are any computer literates here, it's the difference between multi-programming and multi-processing. The former is time sharing a single resource, the other allows parallel activity involving multiple equivalent resources.

Obama is neither nuanced nor diplomatic. He is a weasel-word merchant. As that correlates closely to the behavior of many lawyers, I can see why he is viewed in such a distorted manner by a large number of them. They are looking into a mirror, and they like what they see. Can you spell n-a-r-c-i-s-s-i-s-m?

That is all for now.
9.28.2008 12:37pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Anyone can hire lawyers for advice on legal issues (even from "prestigious schools" if you want), but being a lawyer is certainly not considered by many people to be advantageous in a candidate. In fact, there seems to be a large segment of the population which considers it detrimental to good leadership."

Perhaps anyone can indeed hire lawyers for advice on legal issues, but W. certainly didn't very good legal on advice on a whole range of issues, from torture to confinement of non combantants to wiretapping Americans and so on.

If there is a large segment of the population which considers a legal education to be detrimental to good leadership, then why does this segment keep electing so many lawyers to Congress?

p rich: "Couric is, and always has been, a nasty interviewer. Not accomplished. Nasty."

Indeed. And it makes one wonder why Palin would agree to be interviewed by such a nasty interviewer. Perhaps there is a fifth column within the McCain campaign. Or perhaps you are wrong, but I'm not betting on any intelligent comments from someone who thinks Katie Couric is the Cruella de Vil of tv news.
9.28.2008 1:18pm
deepthought:
MQuinn at 9.28.2008 1:14am:

Loved your post. You saved me the time looking up all the McCain gaffes, much more serious than anything Biden has said so far.
9.28.2008 1:47pm
deepthought:
MQuinn at 9.28.2008 1:14am:

Loved your post. You saved me the time looking up all the McCain gaffes, much more serious than anything Biden has said so far.
9.28.2008 1:47pm
first history:
Smokey sez:

I don't think this country wants an inept tool for a president.

Then why has elected GWB twice?
9.28.2008 2:02pm
Rebecca (mail):
Why has McCain "shielded" Palin from the press?
If she's so smart, how come she answered X question so stupidly?

I think a better question might be, considering the massive efforts by the press, and an online army than makes Ron Paul supporters green with envy, why hasn't Palin been placed in an institution for the mentally disabled by now?

Back in my wild and wicked youth, I was known for dyeing my hair a variety of... unnatural colors. It was blue, purple, bright red, bleached white, etc., with a an occasional return to my original dishwater blond. When I entered the grown up world of professional employment, I continued to dye my hair, but restricted myself to mainstream colors.

I learned a lot from the reactions that each color elicited. I expected that most people would react negatively to my purple hair, though I was surprised by the level of hostility aimed my way. I was horrified by the kind of male attention it garnered, as I'd never dreamed that purple hair would signal Freaky Ho That Will Do Anything With Anyone, Even Your Sorry Ass. I loved the color, but was forced to retire it early.

The most amazing thing I found was the way that people treated me when my hair was a more traditional color. I'm not someone that normally comes off as stupid, or shallow, and I'd never had people react to me that way, until I went bleached blond. Even people who already knew me changed their tone when they saw me as a blond. My usual sarcasm was taken literally, as evidence that I was too dim to get the point, and the offhand remarks you make when you're being polite, but not all that interested, were further proof of my mental inferiority. Even when the reaction was more subtle, it stood out to me because I was accustomed to being treated differently. No one has ever been as patronizing toward me, before or since.

When people assume you're an idiot, they speak to you differently. Any way that you respond just feeds into their impression, and there isn't any good way to prove otherwise. I'm sure that most people have heard a lot of references to Kosinski's Being There this election, comparing Obama to the character Chance, who is elevated by other people's expectations of genius. I maintain that Palin is the victim of the same self fulfillment of expectation, in reverse.

Palin has been asked questions that I've never seen asked of a serious politician. The interviewers have been belligerent, despite her pleasant demeanor, demanded that she defend her position as a candidate - in 30 second sound bytes, no less - and they've been dishonest in the questions themselves (Gibson's "exact words"). They make it plain up front that they're hostile, and can't be pleased, edit her in an unflattering way, and insult her with the nature of the questions.

It isn't possible that someone as stupid and ignorant as she has been portrayed could be the same person that has racked up the list of achievements that she has. If I were in her position, being treated with such dripping condescension by the press, I would refuse to answer questions too, at least until they've recovered their sanity. You simply cannot convince people that you're intelligent if they've already decided that you're a fool. Believe me, I know.
9.28.2008 2:06pm
David Warner:
Loki13,

"No offense, but that has become the trouble with the GOP, and why I have been driven away since 2000. All they have left is divisiveness. They can't get anyone to vote based on their platform, their hope, their ideals (a la Reagan at his best) so instead they just attack and hope that voters like you end up too fearful to vote for the other candidate."

Who's been doing all the fearmongering on this thread? Who's whole strategy involves tying their opponent to Bush, whom they've already spent eight years destroying?

It's not a Republican problem, its an American one.


Suzy and Randy,

Our point was not that difficult to grasp. You can try again, or you can continue to twist our point for what I can only suppose to be partisan purposes.

You don't have to agree with our take - after all you may know all kinds of people who busted the head of their own party for corruption then went on to be elected overwhelmingly for governor, etc, etc (if you cared about the record, I wouldn't need to cite it again) despite having the intelligence of a fencepost; nice theory - but one would expect you to find it plausible enough not to require ridicule.
9.28.2008 2:22pm
David Warner:
Loki,

"Palin was the opner (with the sketch about the Couric interview) and it was pretty devastating"

Congrats on joining Dilan Esper in the politics of personal devastation. I guess mere destruction wasn't enough this go round. Fey is on record as loathing Palin, as opposed to, say, disagreeing with her, having yet to meet her. How exactly is that liberal?
9.28.2008 2:26pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
Rebecca:
Prior to the Couric interview, I would not have said stupid, I would have said ignorant about political issues outside of her field of expertise (being governor of Alaska).
She seemed the clever typical politician - a fresh face who could be for something before they were against it.

The national media were embarassed when McCain picked her- this was not someone they had been talking about- wasn't on their short list So the media went into frantic mode, with the "need" to be first rather than right, and so began publishing whatever rumour, fact or opinion became available.

Other prospective candidates had the opportunity to display themselves to the media as campaign spokesmen. She was not.This was either because McCain didn't think seriously about picking her until the week of the Democratic convention, or because he thought it would be a clever surprise.

He took someone who had been a very successful big fish in a small pond, and threw her into a large lake (keep up the metaphor with the media as pirhanas).

McCain may well have destroyed her public image; maybe she'll bounce back, but it sure doesn't speak well for McCain's judgment or putting country first.
9.28.2008 3:26pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
johnny:

Doesn't the packaging have to be "slick' to get the Rovian effect? The more incoherent the presentation, the less likely the message will get through??


Sure. But "slick" is a word that perfectly describes Palin. Part of "slick" is the ability to lie repeatedly while smiling (video).

And for some people, "incoherent" might be a feature, not a bug. As a smart person recently said, "the people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it." Bush set a new standard for presidential incoherence, but he got reelected anyway.

Anyway, desperate times call for desperate measures. McCain never would have picked Palin to begin with, if he wasn't desperate. Now that Rasmussen shows Obama leading in VA by 5 (in my opinion, one of the most vivid indications of the hole that McCain is in; VA went red by 8% in 2000 and 2004), we'll probably see more desperate moves from McCain.
9.28.2008 3:31pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
careless:

I'm not sure why WaPo thinks that there are 19 Senate districts in Illinois each with 653,647 people, but there aren't. The actual number is 59 and the population is proportionally smaller.

Anyway, I can still accept the general argument as they're less than an order of magnitude apart. I'd been wondering where this "same population" thing had come from for a couple of weeks now, is this the source of the error?


Thanks for the correction. I see no sign that WP made a mistake, but I made a mistake. WP doesn't claim there are "19 Senate districts in Illinois." The page I cited was making reference to House districts, not IL Senate districts. There are 19 of the former and 59 of the latter (as you said). So that means that when he was in the IL Senate, Obama was representing about 217,000 people, not 654,000 people. So I was wrong to claim that his district was as large as the whole state of Alaska. I probably just should have said his district was 36 times larger than Wasilla.
9.28.2008 3:31pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
obvious:

Alaska is the only US state completely bordered by foreign countries


I think it's a stretch to say that Alaska is "bordered" by Russia. This is roughly as logical as saying that Florida is "bordered" by Cuba. I think that would normally be considered an odd statement.

Is this not likely because their proximity leads to increased interactions?


I think the problem is that the part of Alaska that is close to Russia is extremely remote and unpopulated (as others have said). Likewise for the part of Russia that's close to Alaska. Very much unlike the Cuba/Florida situation. Key West alone has a population of 25,000. But we still don't usually think of Key West as being "bordered" by Cuba, even though the water distance is comparable to the water distance from Alaska to Russia.
9.28.2008 3:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The day will come, and not before long, when Americans will wish that George Bush was still president


If McCain wins. McCain could make us miss Bush, and Palin could definitely make us miss Cheney.
9.28.2008 3:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

Governor Palin has put four legislators of both Parties behind bars. Six more are under indictment.


Really? You should name those 10 people for us. Are you thinking of Ruedrich and Renkes? They didn't go to jail.
9.28.2008 3:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
another:

What about these states from the same source


You're right; I should have mentioned that I was only looking at states where McCain is ahead (of Obama in current polling). You're looking at states where Obama is beating McCain, but where Obama is weaker than Kerry was in 2004. But when you look at those five states, you don't see anything particularly interesting.

In MA, the gap is 11.4% (between Obama's current polling and Kerry's 2004 performance). But that just seems to be a reflection of the normal home-state advantage. It's similar to the advantage you can currently see with Obama in IL and McCain in AZ. Kerry is very popular in MA.

In NY, the gap is 5.9%. I think this is a reflection of Clinton's popularity in NY.

In ME, the gap is 1.4%. In WA, the gap is 2.2%. In MN, the gap is 1.7%. Those gaps are just too small to mean much. And in every other state where polling is being done, and where Obama leads McCain, Obama is doing better then Kerry did. That's 13 states.

By comparison, McCain's positive gap (his current performance compared to Bush in 2004) in AR is 6.6%. In TN, it's 4.3%. Those are large numbers, and I think it's not an accident that those two states are in the South.

By the way, I'm sure there's a non-trivial number of racist Ds in MA, NY, and elsewhere. I just think this effect is stronger in the GOP. It's a more comfortable place for a racist. This is reflected in the fact that 98.5% of RNC delegates were white.
9.28.2008 3:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
a politician that makes their career by fighting corrupt insiders


Unfortunately, Palin seems to have made her career by replacing one set of corrupt insiders with another set of corrupt insiders (video).
9.28.2008 3:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
david:

he [Bush] far outshines the Dem Congress [in approval ratings]


There's ample reason to believe that congress is getting low ratings because they haven't done enough to stop Bush (here's one indication: Rs currently rate congress higher than Ds). It would be nice if we had a two-party system.

Palin's … popularity among Dems in Alaska


I don't see where you pointed to numbers that showed popularity "among Dems in Alaska." I saw you pointing to numbers that showed popularity. Anyway, her numbers in AK are sinking. Among Dems in Alaska, her approval rating is currently 36%.

By the way, getting high approval is not too hard when you mail big checks to everyone in the state.

then went on to be elected overwhelmingly for governor


She won 48% of the vote, beating the Democrat by less than 8 points. When did that become "overwhelmingly?" In 2004, Bush got 61% of the vote in AK, beating Kerry by 26 points. Only 7 states were redder than that. Palin beat Knowles largely because she's a Republican, and he's not. And she beat Murkowski in the primary because he was in a heap of trouble.

Palin is a good politician, but her rise to governor is not quite as miraculous as some people seem to think. And she's currently in way over her head. Being governor instead of mayor meant that her constituency grew in size by a factor of about 100. Now she's looking to increase her constituency again, but this time by a factor of over 400. Those numbers are shockingly large.
9.28.2008 3:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
doc:

Do you really think that only lawyers from "prestigious institutions" should be eligible for the presidency?


Nice job with the straw man. It's not that I think that "only lawyers from 'prestigious institutions' should be eligible for the presidency." It's that extensive experience with the law is relevant to a position (POTUS) that consists of executing laws. Unlike, say, experience with beauty pageants and sportscasting.

I have not been convinced that he understands the law at all


For some strange reason Obama has managed to impress some people who know a lot about the law:

Barack Obama is smart enough and writes well enough to be a tenured law professor at any law school in the country.


And this person:

Mr. Obama arrived at the law school in 1991 thanks to Michael W. McConnell, a conservative scholar who is now a federal appellate judge. As president of The Harvard Law Review, Mr. Obama had impressed Mr. McConnell with editing suggestions on an article


Then again, you might know more about the law than Lindgren and McConnell. Or maybe you think they're blinded by their pro-Obama bias.

there seems to be a large segment of the population which considers it detrimental to good leadership


There seems to be a large segment of the population which considers education, intelligence, and the ability to speak English fluently detrimental to good leadership. When these people pick our leaders, we end up with very average leaders, which leads to having a very average country.
9.28.2008 3:33pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey:

second place finish


Every poll I can find indicates that Obama won (example). mquinn also showed a bunch of examples. So you should show us your source.
9.28.2008 3:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
Rebecca: "Palin has been asked questions that I've never seen asked of a serious politician. The interviewers have been belligerent, despite her pleasant demeanor, demanded that she defend her position as a candidate - in 30 second sound bytes, no less - and they've been dishonest in the questions themselves (Gibson's "exact words"). They make it plain up front that they're hostile, and can't be pleased, edit her in an unflattering way, and insult her with the nature of the questions.

Really? Even Sean Hannity's interview with her was hostile? And yes, no politician in modern history has ever been asked to defend their positions in 30 second sound bytes.

She how about this: She could hold a press conference and clear up her positions. Or she could issue a policy statement that makes her notions clear. But she hasn't bothered. As a person running for VP, we have a right to know her positions on all sorts of issues. Heck, even after the debate, Joe Biden was all over the place giving his opinions -- where was Palin?

Look, if you want special treatment for Palin, then just say so. If she isn't ready for prime time politics, then she should get back to Alaska. If she can't stand the heat, she should get out of the kitchen. But if she figure out a way to get her views out -- even on Fox News -- then she certainly has no business in the White House.
9.28.2008 4:01pm
David Warner:
Johnny,

I think you're right on up to this:

"it sure doesn't speak well for McCain's judgment or putting country first."

Your unspoken premise is that the media represents the country. Republicans, even McCain, are far more skeptical of that proposition than others. I'll grant that maybe its time to reconsider their strategy for dealing with that media, hostile or otherwise.
9.28.2008 5:38pm
David Warner:
Randy,

"But she hasn't bothered."

Bothered? It's been, what, three weeks? She's given three major interviews with people hanging on her every word ravenously waiting to tear her limb from limb.

The should take more advantage of YouTube and produce their own media.
9.28.2008 5:42pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
It's been, what, three weeks?


Wrong. The Palin choice was announced on 8/29. That was 30 days ago. That's almost 50% of the time between her announcement and the election.

Gibson, Hannity and Couric? No other interviews planned, as far as I know? Not a single real press conference? Not good. As Campbell Brown said, this is sexist (video).
9.28.2008 6:32pm
Johnny Canuck (mail):
David:

I think you're right on up to this:
"it sure doesn't speak well for McCain's judgment or putting country first."
Your unspoken premise is that the media represents the country. Republicans, even McCain, are far more skeptical of that proposition than others. I'll grant that maybe its time to reconsider their strategy for dealing with that media, hostile or otherwise.


I don't follow. I hypothesized either that McCain hadn't picked her until the last week or that he had but kept it as a surprise. Unless your premise is that McCain should have kept her from talking to the media until after election, surely it reflects poorly on his judgment that she wasn't properly vetted for this skill. If yes, then his judgment was bad in turning her loose before election day.
ether way doesn't it reflect badly on his judgment/
9.28.2008 8:51pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Unless your premise is that McCain should have kept her from talking to the media until after election


Someone elsewhere has said that McCain has her in "protective custody." I think they're going to try to keep her there as much as possible. They must realize that it's damaging to hide her, but they probably figure it would be even more damaging to let her speak. Anyway, it will be fun on Thursday to watch Palin do her impression of Tina Fey. Fey does such a good Palin that it's hard to tell them apart.

Here's Fey doing Palin with Couric: link.

Here's Palin doing Palin with Couric: link, link.
9.29.2008 2:06am
deepthought:
Rumors . . .

From Political Wire:


At 4:30 in this video clip of last night's debate you can hear Sen. John McCain mutter "horse s**t" two times while Sen. Barack Obama is talking.

Update: Andrew Sullivan hears it differently, though I'm still not sure. You can decide for yourself.


Also, is the McCain campaign planning an October *wedding* surprise? From the Times of London:


In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”


Shutting down the race for a week? With the polls they way they are, that's fine with me.
9.29.2008 2:36am
David Warner:
Johnny,

"I don't follow. I hypothesized either that McCain hadn't picked her until the last week or that he had but kept it as a surprise. Unless your premise is that McCain should have kept her from talking to the media until after election, surely it reflects poorly on his judgment that she wasn't properly vetted for this skill. If yes, then his judgment was bad in turning her loose before election day.
ether way doesn't it reflect badly on his judgment/"

She was on the short list for at least a month. The non-Soros* blogosphere was buzzing about her, and often advocating for her before that. The only reason the media didn't know about her is that they get their news from HuffPo and Kos and she doesn't fit the left stereotype of a Republican. Perhaps the media's judgment should be questioned?

As for media-skills vetting, there are several interviews she'd done before the pick on YouTube, and her bazillion governor debates, where she did fine. She's a journalism major, for goodness sake, and you saw her at the convention. The Gibson interview was a little disappointing, but understandable, the Couric a bizarre, unforeseen train wreck. But then, this:

A more recent post explains that they've had ex-Bush advisors working with her, which explains everything. She's been McClellanized. Can someone please put a stake through Rove's heart already!?!
9.29.2008 4:18pm
David Warner:
* - cheap shot, I'll admit.

I do wonder, once all the other George's dreams are fulfilled and the evil Rethuglicans are booted from office and marched off to jail and once he then realizes that he still doesn't get to rule the world and that Society is becoming less Open without the evil Rethuglicans not more, whether he will then turn on the Dems or find a new toy to play with.
9.29.2008 4:26pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
david:

She was on the short list for at least a month. The non-Soros* blogosphere was buzzing about her, and often advocating for her before that. The only reason the media didn't know about her is that they get their news from HuffPo and Kos and she doesn't fit the left stereotype of a Republican. Perhaps the media's judgment should be questioned?


Maybe it's your judgment that should be questioned.

On 7/24/08, Power Line wrote about potential running mates for McCain. They mentioned Romney, Huckabee, Ridge, Jindal, Lieberman and Pawlenty. Palin was mentioned this many times: zero.

On 7/29/08, Power Line wrote about potential running mates for McCain. They mentioned Ridge, Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Jindal, Romney, and Crist. Palin was also mentioned. It was pointed out that a Rasmussen survey put her in last place.

On 8/20/08, Power Line wrote about potential running mates for McCain. They mentioned Ridge, Crist and Pawlenty. Palin was mentioned this many times: zero.

On 3/17/08, Fred Barnes wrote about potential running mates for McCain. He mentioned Romney, Guiliani, Thompson, Ridge, Lieberman, Crist, Pawlenty, Sanford, and Barbour. Palin was mentioned this many times: zero.

On 6/13/08, Fred Barnes wrote about potential running mates for McCain. He mentioned Cantor, Portman and Ridge. Palin was mentioned this many times: zero.

On 8/19/08, Byron York wrote about potential running mates for McCain. He mentioned Lieberman, Ridge, Pawlenty, and Romney. Palin was mentioned this many times: zero.

I could show you a lot of other similar examples. Yes, there are folks who knew about Palin and liked the idea of her being picked. But the leading righty commentators were generally not members of that group.
9.29.2008 5:02pm
David Warner:
Jukeboxspam,

"the leading righty commentators"

Ever consider the possibility that there are some of us out here who might like the Republican party to be less right? Crazy, I know. I'm sure you're wholeheartedly against such a move.
9.30.2008 1:27pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Ever consider the possibility that there are some of us out here who might like the Republican party to be less right?


You're being totally incoherent. You're trying to change the subject. You said this:

The only reason the media didn't know about her is that they get their news from HuffPo and Kos and she doesn't fit the left stereotype of a Republican.


I demonstrated she wasn't just being ignored and marginalized by "HuffPo and Kos." She was being ignored and marginalized by people like John Hinderaker, Fred Barnes and Byron York. So she didn't just fail to fit "the left stereotype of a Republican." She failed to fit the "stereotype of a Republican" as defined by Power Line, Weekly Standard, and National Review.

You also said this:

Perhaps the media's judgment should be questioned?


If you said 'perhaps the judgment of Power Line, Weekly Standard and National Review should be questioned,' that could be considered a sensible remark (from the perspective of a Palin fan). But it's not what you said.

You also seem to be saying that Palin was picked because she was "less right" then the rest of the group. Really?
9.30.2008 5:59pm