Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin, eh?

From Jack:
"Some early observations: McCain is desperate to win the same votes that Sen. Clinton won in the primaries, so he tries to find the "Republican Hillary." And by "Republican Hillary," McCain means a woman. There is no "Republican Hillary."

From Daily Kos:

Sarah Palin was had political experience only as a small town mayor until less than two years ago. What we don't know about her could fill a book. Here are a few things we're learning about Palin.

Sarah Palin left the finances of her town Wasilla in tatters when she moved on in 2002 (h/t xgz). She wanted a legacy as mayor, it seems, and pushed hard for the town to build a hyper-expensive sports complex. But Palin screwed the process up badly. Instead of buying the land for the complex when it was offered, her administration allowed a developer named Gary Lundgren to snap it up. Then Wasilla tried to seize the land from Lundgren through eminent domain. In the end, what with court costs Wasilla paid at least $ 1.7 million for land it could have bought for less than one tenth that sum - if the purchase had been handled properly. For this incompetence, Wasilla is still paying a steep price: higher taxes and cutbacks in services. In other words Palin is about as efficient as Michael Brown, onetime head of FEMA.

Diarist loyalson, a resident of Wasilla, has more to say about the damage Palin did to his town while she was mayor.

On the single most debated issue of our times, the Iraq war, Sarah Palin similarly was out to lunch until as recently as last spring. Shortly after becoming governor, she was asked her views on the surge (h/t LizzyPop):

(More...)

An excerpt of a letter i received from Moveon.org today:

"Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.

Huh?

Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7"
Some of my own opinions:
Like Jack, my first impression is that McCain has selected a "Republican Hillary" --- a shallow choice that is further evidence of the common criticism that he is "out of touch." i view his selection as an insult to women nation-wide, laden with the underlying assumption that Hillary supporters chose her as a viable candidate, not because of her policies and experience, but because of her gender. The "we'll replace the kids dead pet with one that looks just like it and they'll never know" ideology is a slap in the face to female voters. My criticism is more of McCain than Palin, really. Though, of course, Palin did accept the job. It's difficult to imagine past Hillary supporters voting for an anti-abortion rights, creationist, gun-toting member of the NRA. i guess we'll just have to wait and see.

McCain is also surely trying to strip away the "historical precedence" card from Obama, a potentially wise move that could swing votes. Many who are planning on voting for Obama solely on the historical nature of his candidacy will now reconsider. Like Will says over at Hopolis, McCain now has a "change" ticket like his Democrat counterparts. Perhaps i'm a bit biased, but the Palin story is a lot harder to sell than the Obama story. Some experience looks shinier when placed next to no experience. So it goes.

7 comments:

Will said...

Thanks for the reference Torben. I'm not so sure she's a Republican Hillary beyond her gender. Real Hillary supporters would have to be seriously pissed to vote for someone so far to the right.

I really think she is a Republican Obama. When McCain publicly has complained (repeatedly) about how much attention Obama gets, I think he's revealed his psychology. She's new, exciting, not a white dude, etc. She's sensational, in the media sense.

I agree with you, though, that her story and qualifications just don't stack up to Obama's.

I'm interested in what her being on the ticket will do to the place of women in conservative thinking - especially in LDS thinking. I'll probably post my thoughts on that one some time soon.

Jack (h2oetry) said...

The dead pet ideology is on point. This may closely resemble the 1984 election, when the Geraldine Ferraro excitement didn't last long enough to affect the election, which of course, they were blown out of the water by Reagan/Bush.

I have many relatives telling me they are extremely excited for her - and they are giving the same reasoning for their excitement that they used to criticize me about my Obama excitement. Interesting. So it goes.

nell :: said...

Again people ...
BUT SHE HAS A VAGINA!
... so do I.
I see the correlation, why don't you?

Mike Bartlett said...

I feel that this is a pretty fair assessment of the situation thusfar. Even though i am a man, I think McCains selection of Palin is insulting to women. Palin also cited Hilary's reference to making 18 million cracks in "that highest, hardest glass ceiling," and then said that we will still have a chance to break it this year. Though I have never been a big Hillary supporter, I feel that she is a pioneer who has put in a lot of work for her causes. For Palin to try to mooch off of Hilary's hard work, rather than truly build off of it, seemed very bold and innapropriate.

Torben B said...

Will -

i think you are right on about McCain hoping on Palin symbolizing the same need for change and reform in Washington as Obama (at least, in terms of media coverage), though i still think that McCain plans on picking up a slew of disenchanted Hillary supporters and registered independent female voters. For now, at least, i stand by the dead pet analogy.

Palin is not running for President. Now THAT would be an interesting ticket with potential promises of reform and change (though riddled with other obvious problems). But, the truth remains, as much as an Obama/Biden ticket is more alluring than a Biden/Obama ticket, a McCain/Palin ticket doesn't represent any real substantive change. Of course, i say all of this with the understanding that ANY candidate has little hope for affecting any substantial change in the lobbyist-ridden, corporate driven, Washington :)

Also, the Obama campaign, in many ways, defines change as "different than what has been going on in the last eight years." Palin seems to more or less be complimentary to the Bush administration politics. She campaigned for Buchanan. She aligns with their economic ideas and views of oil (though she voiced her support of Obama's energy plan on her website up until two days before the VP announcement when the message was scrubbed). And, unfortunately, she hasn't really voiced opinions on foreign affairs, dismissing foreign politics as irrelevant to her role as a stateswoman.

i'll be interested in reading your LDS women post.

Torben B said...

"I have many relatives telling me they are extremely excited for her - and they are giving the same reasoning for their excitement that they used to criticize me about my Obama excitement. Interesting. So it goes."

Jack,
So it goes, indeed. Perhaps this is further proof that, at the end of the day, most of politics is just appealing to people's already culturally-ingrained values and ideological assumptions. Obama is a democrat. Case closed.

Nell,
Thanks for putting me in my place. How silly i've been! Now that you point out the obvious similarities, i can't help but see how their anatomical likeness trumps any frivolous things like ideologies, policies, experience, etc. ;)

Mike,
i'm glad to see you visit my blog! i couldn't agree more. Thanks for the comments and insight.

Dave & Shandie said...

I have that exact magazine. i bought it because i wanted to "home in on halibut". that damn flatfish is elusive.