September 19, 2008
NYC Letter: Horsepower Vs. Pedalpower
Countdown 45 days to go
His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.
self-consternating WaPo columnist
sharing his ginned-up consternation
The Ugly New McCain
September 17, 2008 (WaPo)
John McCain has made a vice presidential pick for political advantage. We, of course, are shocked, shocked that a politician should make a calculated appointment for political advantage. Mr. Cohen is distraught.
But Mr. Cohen is distraught because he has somehow gotten the idea in his head that Mr. McCain is only a frontman for Sarah Palin's presidential run. Mr. Cohen will be pleased to learn it is the experienced Mr. McCain who is heading the Republican ticket, not Mrs. Palin.
But to argue Mrs. Palin's qualifications to be president are thin* forces the question of Mr. Obama's qualifications, which -- by the same standard -- are practically nonexistent. And Mrs. Palin is the Republican undercard. It is Mr. Obama who is the Democrat headliner.
Mr. Cohen is not alone, many Democrats and liberal stringers think the presidential election is a contest between Mrs. Palin and Mr. Obama.
But what if it were?
Mrs. Palin has run a town and now
governs the largest state in the Union.
Mr. Obama is an absentee junior senator
who once helped govern a community project.
THE POWER TO MOVE THE COUNTRY, WHO'S GOT IT?
Two Success Stories, Different Proportions
How can it be that Mrs. Palin is "shockingly unprepared to become president" and somehow Mr. Obama is? Mr. Cohen, like many Palin critics, never squares this argument. Mrs. Palin's "unpreparedness" is simply presented to us as an unexamined exclusionary notion and we are expected to nod along.
We would argue just the opposite, that Mrs. Palin is eminently qualified to step into the presidency (see our footnote), more so than Senator John "Breck Boy" Edwards, Senator Al "Hsi Lai Bagman" Gore, Senator Dan Quayle, Sargent Shriver (who never held elected office), and Senator Tom "1,000% Support" Eagleton, to name but a few less-than-compelling No.2 picks.
Were Mrs. Palin to ascend to the presidency in a McCain-Palin administration, she would do so with more executive experience than James Madison, John Quincy Adams, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy who were elected to the office with none. [Pause.] And more executive experience than the current Democratic ticket combined.
To persist, to fabricate, to wish up Mrs. Palin as inexperienced, to make her a central issue in the campaign is a losing strategy. One Democrat who realizes this is Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco and the longest serving speaker of the California State Assembly, who appreciates Mrs. Palin's formidability:
Palin's speech to the GOP National Convention on Wednesday has set it up so that the Republicans are now on offense and Democrats are on defense. And we don't do well on defense. ... Her timing was exquisite. She didn't linger with applause, but instead launched into line after line of attack, slipping the knives in with every smile and joke. And she delivered it like she was just BS-ing on the street with the meter maid. She didn't have to prove she was "of the people." She really is the people.
... And remember, the Palin bandwagon needs to roll for only two months.
She's a threat to Barack Obama because she's the new person on the scene, she has a terrific personality, and she's a true maverick. She has thrown the Democrats for a loop and they are not yet back on stride. ... It's a mistake to focus on Sarah Palin, their opponent is John McCain. The public loves the idea that Sarah is a mom who took on the 'good old boys' in Alaska.
But sensing this real threat, liberals feel compelled to attack, but they can't find a winning point of thrust. So they spew and sputter. [Pause.] Aside from being uninformed and discomposed (like the distraught Mr. Cohen), many -- most -- of Mrs. Palin's liberal critics are openly hypocritical and flailingly stupid.
Brian York of The National Review has collected several examples in a column for The Hill:
Juan Cole, professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan, wrote that Palin’s values "more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers" and asked: "What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick."
The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen [the same Mr. Cohen, a bit more hysterical] wrote of "[Palin’s] sarcasm, her exaggerations, her smug provincialism, her hypocrisy about family and government, her exploitation of mommyhood …"
Salon’s Cintra Wilson wrote that "Sarah Palin and her virtual burqa have me and my friends retching into our handbags. She’s such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty, it’s easy to write her off and make fun of her. But in reality I feel as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of National Socialism."
Slate editor David Plotz wrote that “night after night, [Palin] appears in my dreams, always as a scolding, ominous figure.” And one of Plotz’s Slate colleagues wrote that in her own dream, "she had urged her young son to kill Palin with a string bean."
Yes, these smart educated people expect you to abandon common sense, common decency, get bug-eyed and make the descent with them into the navel of liberal hysteria. [Pause.] None of this helps Mr. Obama with the voters he needs to win.
Cinnamon Stillwell, in an SFC article worth the full read, nicely sums up:
Some have speculated that Democrats may be experiencing a bout of buyer's remorse over their choice of Obama to head the ticket. Obama's empty rhetoric about "hope" and "change" certainly pales in light of the actual reform implemented by Palin in Alaska and by McCain throughout his career. Meanwhile [Mr. Obama's] brief resume and lack of political savvy and even at times, personal likability (his odd sense of humor comes to mind) have become liabilities.
But Obama's worst enemy is not himself, or even Sarah Palin, but rather, the ranks of his own rabid supporters. If they keep it up, McCain could be laughing all the way to the White House.
* Mrs. Palin "was first elected to a seat on the Wasilla City Council in October of 1992 and was reelected in 1995. In 1996, she ran for and won the Office of Mayor and was reelected in 1999. She concluded her public service as Mayor in 2002 and was unable to run again due to term limits." During her six-year tenure as Mayor, the City of Wassilla budget grew from $2.887M (COWAB FY93, p.A-7) to $13.242M (COWAB FY02, p.206), an 459% increase. Elected by fellow mayors, she served as president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors.
Mrs. Palin currently authorizes the budget of Alaska (FY 2008 $9.8B). She is the chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multi-state government agency, and the chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) Natural Resources Committee.
Mr. Obama was the director of the Developing Communities Project ("DCP"). During his three-year tenure, the DCP's staff grew from 1 to 13 and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, a 571% increase.Posted by Damian at September 19, 2008 01:30 PM