Sunday, August 31, 2008

Other reactions to Palin (hint: the press thinks McCain's a Maverick!)

If Meet the Press Sunday morning is any measure - and it normally is - McCain's press and pundit fans are thrilled with the Palin choice. Brokaw and his cohorts were much more happy reciting the McCain campaign's claims for Palin than in talking by the Democratic Convention or Obama's speech Thursday. That all was pretty much so-ooo yesterday. And besides, he talked about all this boring policy crap. They did chat a little about the theatrics, which is about as close as they can manage to talking about substantive issues.

I didn't catch any mention in the broadcast or the transcript about that embarrassing little matter of trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. I guess they were too busy with more urgent news analysis like the following.


I don't want to stress the weather metaphor too far, but we had a thunderstorm of epic proportions last Friday when John McCain unexpectedly announced that Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, would be his running mate. We want to begin with that here this morning, if we can. To borrow a phrase from your profession, the legal profession, let's you and I agree that we can stipulate certain things, OK? She is a conservative and pragmatic politician. She's been tough on corruption in Alaska. She's popular with a winning style and personality. But the fact is that she has been governor less than two years and before that she was a mayor of a town with a population of less than 7,000. Her candidate at the top of the ticket has the bull of a constitution--has the constitution of a bull elephant, but he is a 72-year-old man and a cancer survivor. She will be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Oh, that's why that didn't mention that little scandal thing. Because "journalist" Brokaw and his Republican guest stipulated that Palin has "been tough on corruption in Alaska". Yes, this is what passes for journalism here in the Greatest Country In The World.

More Brokaw:

The conventional wisdom within the Republican Party that I've been reading is that by choosing Sarah Palin, John McCain is going directly after those Hillary voters who are not happy with the way she was treated by Barack Obama.
In the governor's race, she refused to be specific about her views on creationism vs. evolution, but as I understand it, she did say that she thought that the two subjects should be taught side by side in public schools.
Brokaw didn't get around to pointing out that this is the standard current Christianist line of teaching evolution in the public schools. This was my favorite of Brokaw expert journalistic questions:

In the vast scientific community, do you think that creationism has the same weight as evolution, and at a time in American education when we are in a crisis when it comes to science that there ought to be parallel tracks for creationism vs. evolution in the teaching?
It's hard for me to imagine that Brokaw is unaware that there is no scientific evidence for the "creationist" view. And it would be way too much, I suppose, to expect him to point out that the Catholic Church as mainstream Protestant theologians even consider it poor theology.

Kelly O'Donnell pointed out that Hurricane Gustaf and the likely changes in the Republican Convention schedule are - what else? - Good For The Republicans!

Senator McCain and Governor Palin are changing up their schedule today, going to Jackson, Mississippi, to get a briefing at an emergency operations center. And what this really means for the campaign at this point is an opportunity to try to show the kind of leader, the kind of reaction time that John McCain has and the kind of way he would engage in a crisis. And they see that as a potential opportunity here. But of course, what they expected is so different. They had hoped for the kind of roll-out of the running mate and the big convention that would showcase John and Cindy McCain, their family, introduce Governor Palin to the country and they know now they will not get that.

Is there potential positive in this? Well, they're trying to assess that right now. One of the things that I'm hearing is that if the president is not participating, and that's what we expect now, the White House says there might be some way he would be involved in a lesser way, that might actually be a benefit to John McCain because of the Bush 3 label that has been put on this.

Also, no matter what the convention looks like, it's unlikely now that the Democrats and the Republicans will be judged on the same playing field, a side-by-side picture. That may help John McCain. This opportunity to show how he would react to a crisis might be a plus as well ... [my emphasis]
No, the press love for their Great American Maverick of the Many Houses doesn't seem much dinished by anything that occurred at the Democratic Convention last week. And, of course, the female maverick Palin is Good For The Republicans.

Brokaw, reciting Republican press releases:

She's taken on corruption in Alaska, she's taken on her own Republican Party.
Doris Kearns Goodwin:

I understand the maverick part, he wanted to be running against the Republican Party. She's a maverick, she's Teddy Roosevelt, he's Teddy Roosevelt. They like hunting and fishing, and that's his hero. [my emphasis]
Andrea Mitchell (Mrs. Alan Greenspan):

Well, they, they think now that they have a story. They have a story of a working mom, she is a colorful character, an Annie Oakley, you know, Annie get your gun. They love her story. But when she tried to talk about Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, in western Pennsylvania yesterday at a rally with conservative Republican voters, Hillary Clinton was booed. So she can use the Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro analogy if she wants to in interviews. She cannot use that at Republican rallies. She is not appealing to the same women who were really voting or supporting Hillary Clinton on ideological issues, but they think that they can peel off some of these working class women, not college-educated, who--the blue collar women who were voting for Hillary Clinton and may be more conservative on social causes.

Clearly, on the abortion issue, this is a woman who not only believe in fighting abortion, she made a personal choice which she's willing to talk about. She had a baby after being told that the baby would be developmentally challenged, her infant child. So she is a portrait of that.

The interesting thing is that John McCain has--as Mike has said--has returned to the original John McCain, the maverick. We are told that he wanted to pick Joe Lieberman. They tested it. He wanted to throw that long ball, and having tried that and having been shot down by the conservative base, he still wanted to fight Washington, to choose someone who took on Ted Stevens, and to take on the public corruption issue, and to say, Washington is broken. They decided they've reached a ceiling. The experienced argument was not working. They had to adapt and take the change argument, which was working somewhat for the Democrats, and by taking it, saying Washington is broken, this woman will help me fit it--fix it. It doesn't get to how is he going to govern. It gets to how me makes decisions. It's a fascinating portrait of John McCain. [my emphasis]
Yep, he's a Maverick! At least in the minds of the press corps.

Maria Bartiromo:

Yeah, I think so, Tom, and I think that this is a very, very important point, because while yes, we spoke about anti-corruption and about Hillary and her charisma, I think the biggest value she brings to the ticket is her expertise in energy. This is her comfort zone. She made a very compelling case to me that the area that we're talking about that is being debated about whether or not to drill, ANWR as you mentioned, is 2,000 acres in a 20 million acre plain. This is her comfort zone, this is really what she's overseeing.

Alaska is one of the few oil-rich areas we have in this country alone. She is going to really campaign on that--on that platform, not only as energy and oil relates to the economy. We know that oil is one of the biggest issues we face when it comes to the economy. It's certainly crippled the economy over the last year, watching oil prices reach record highs. But also, as energy relates to national security. So this is a very, very important piece of the picture, and I think she brings great value there, making that point that it is a small swath of land, and it really will not impact the wildlife, as of course is the concern, because we've got caribou and bears and moose there, and the upset or the worry is that it's going to impact the breeding of the wildlife. She feels very strongly that that is not the case, and I think that that knowledge of energy is going to be very important for the McCain ticket. [my emphasis]
She's a willing toady for the oil companies - and that's Good For The Republicans!

Bartiromo again:

Well, she felt, actually, that the Republican Party has a--has a advantage when it comes to the credit card issue, when it comes to credit. She felt that Joe Biden dropped the ball on that. She talked to me a little about that in the interview. She also talked about healthcare. She had real opinions in terms of what should be done with regard to economic growth overall. And the truth is, Tom, is that energy is a big party of that. I mean, that really is one of the, one of the biggest issues we face.

On the, on the banking sector upset, he's going to need more credibility, obviously, McCain, on that issue. I don't think that she's necessarily well-versed in, in, in the liquidity crunch, but, but I think that, that she came across so strong with regard to economic matters as they relate to energy and as they relate to overall economic growth that I think it was a very savvy pick, actually. She's very accessible, very personable, as, as you've said. You know, when I was walking around, we went to the highest point in Anchorage and we walked around a field so she could show me really where the main areas were for, for drilling and you had to see her with some of the people on the ground. She, she went over to people. I mean, clearly a reporter is, is there with her, so she has an agenda there, but she was very comfortable going and, and, and welcomed by the people and, and even the people on the ground, when I was traveling there throughout Alaska. You know, one person said to me, I said, "So how's the governor doing?" to the driver of the, of the car and people on the plane and in the airport. And they said, "You know, we, we really, we love her. The first thing that she did when she got in office is she gave up the plane, the private plane, and she gave up the chefs." And she said, "Look, I don't need any of this. I want to focus on economics. I want to focus on what Alaska can do for the rest of the country."

And remember, if we were to see drilling, not only in that ANWR area, but on the coast in the North Slope, that's also a lot of job creation because there are ripple effects to drilling and she talked a lot about that as well, how we could see tremendous job creation as a result of activity in that part of the country. So clearly that is her sweet spot and that's what she is going to be focused on. I think you make a good point about the liquidity crunch, but I also have to be impressed with her knowledge on this issue of energy, one of the biggest that we face.

David, we've been talking about the, about the importance of the Rocky Mountain West in this election. Obviously this is a woman who will have some appeal there. We'd just like to share some of her sayings and some of the sayings of her family as well. "When [Alaska's gubernatorial] candidates were asked their favorite meal ... Palin nailed it best," according to Vogue magazine. "`Moose stew,' she said, 'after a day of snowmachining.'" And then when Vogue went to her parents' home, "Buoys of all colors hung from the house and outer buildings. On the back of [Palin's parents'] 4x4 a bumper sticker read, Vegetarian--Old Indian Word For `Bad Hunter.'" ...

"Even before McCain picked [Palin], people outside Alaska were beginning to notice the young governor with the bright smile" - the "runnerup in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest--whose good looks spawned a bumper sticker that read: `Coldest State. Hottest Governor.'"
I'm glad he stipulated that Palin was an intrepid corruption-fighter. Otherwise, we couldn't have heard fascinating and imminently newsworthy stories like this from Vogue magazine. And how boring that would have been for the overgrown fratboys and sorority girls of the press corps. Let's give them credit. They did decide they had to spend a few minutes talking about those loser Democrats.

But, since our celebrity press corps stays intimately in touch with the needs and desires of the working class, Bartiromo still had this to share with the audience:

You know, she, she is trying to be a champion, I think, for women, and talk about breaking through the, the glass ceiling, but not coming across too strong, and using words like awesome, really trying to appeal, I think, to, you know, being a regular folk. I think the point David made was, was right on in that she really is attractive to the working class. Her husband works for BP, an oil company, up on the North Slope, and is called a Sloper, you know. And then she referred to him, which I thought was really cute--she referred to him as the first--Alaska's first dude. So she comes out with these references that, that sort of immediately unnerve you and--putting herself in, in with the masses. But no, I wouldn't call her a feminist. [my emphasis]
Yes, picking a corrupt, rightwing zealot who's barely known outside of her state is - wait for it - Good For The Republicans! What would we do without such surprising, penetrating political analysis from our pundits?

And, by gum, anyone who uses the word "dude" is "in with the masses". You would think that a woman who is one of the leading stars of business journalism might be embarrassed to talk such twaddle. But you would be assuming a different set of press standards than those of the world in which we actually live.

But, as Brokaw says, "She, she has that--she has that Alaska candor." Especially if we stipulate at the start we won't talk about how she blatantly lied about her role in that business of her ex-brother-in-law the state trooper.

A different spin from competitor Face the Nation? A little joke there. No, it's all Good For The Republicans over at CBS, too.

Here's a more reality-based reaction from Phil Trounstine in Choice of Sarah Palin is an Insult to Women Voters Huffington Post 08/29/08:

Clearly, Palin was chosen in hopes of attracting women voters. There is virtually no other explanation for picking a right-wing leader of a state with a population of fewer than 680,000 people.

The decision argues that McCain has such a low opinion of women voters that they would overlook education, abortion, foreign policy, civil rights, health care, family leave and more simply to vote for a candidate with two x chromosomes.
California Sen. Barbara Boxer:

The Vice President is a heartbeat away from becoming President, so to choose someone with not one hour's worth of experience on national issues is a dangerous choice.

If John McCain thought that choosing Sarah Palin would attract Hillary Clinton voters, he is badly mistaken.

The only similarity between her and Hillary Clinton is that they are both women. On the issues, they could not be further apart.

Senator McCain had so many other options if he wanted to put a women on his ticket, such as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison or Senator Olympia Snowe - they would have been an appropriate choice compared to this dangerous choice.

In addition, Sarah Palin is under investigation by the Alaska state legislature which makes this more incomprehensible.
Larisa Alexandrovna of at-Largely says, Ah, no, Sarah Palin will not get the Clinton voters... 08/29/08:

Ah well the right wing is nothing if not entirely sexist. Yes, all women look alike, so everyone who was going to vote for Hillary will just substitute one uterus for another. No, most women are more interested in protecting their own uterus from the likes of the Sarah Palin's of this world, whose staunch stance on abortion is just a tad right of George W. Bush.

All in all, I think McCain choice of Palin has pretty much killed his chances at anything. He would have been better off going with a two-timing, charlatan like Lieberman than tapping this unqualified, corrupt, and totally hypocritical woman for her uterus. Surely if he needed a female running mate, there were other woman he could have located who are not a). under investigation for corruption, b). whose husbands are not working for big oil, and c). who appeals more to the middle class than to the end days crowed of the far right?
Billmon in Gettin' some of that "RE-form" 08/29/08.

And of course, the fact that the candidate they chose is a militantly anti-choice, Christian fundamentalist, right-wing nut job, who is neither experienced enough nor competent enough to carry Hillary Clinton's briefcase, won't matter a bit because . . she's a woman!

Which a.) reveals how stupid they are, and b.) how stupid they think Hillary's supporters are.

Point a.) is already well documented. But I have serious doubts about the McCain's camp's belief in point b.). Unlike McCain, Hillary doesn't seem like the type that attracts the stupid vote.
Hesiod in Sara Palin=Dan Quayle II -- Wingnut Boogaloo 08/29/08:

The Obama campaign must be careful when attacking the Palin choice to avoid charges of sexism. Therefore, they must have surrogates such as Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius, Jennifer Granholm, Janet Napolitano, etc to go after Sarah Palin for being a wingnut with little or no experience who abused her power as Governor.

More info at Memeorandum

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