A little Video for T-Day, Thanks to Sarah Palin

I haven’t gone away!  My comentary will begin again soon, just taking a break from some intense posting over the election.  I am also looking for ways to improve the page.  Keep checking back for updates.

So, this might make you not want to eat turkey.  But leave it to Sarah Palin and her staff to pick a great place for an interview.


Final Smear: Obama to Bankrupt Coal

Please PLEASE PLEASE get this out to folks.  I know I have some Pennsylvania readers  -this latest attack from Palin and the GOP may affect the results of Pennsylvania.

Just this morning Sarah Palin cited a San Francisco Chronicle article from earlier in the year that she claims demonstrates Obama’s commitment to bankrupting the coal industry:

He said that, sure, if the industry wants to build coal-fired power plants, then they can go ahead and try, he says, but they can do it only in a way that will bankrupt the coal industry, and he’s comfortable letting that happen,” Palin said. “And you got to listen to the tape.

The audio tape can be found here.

But in actuality the truth is somewhat different.  Yes, Obama did say,

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can,” Obama said. “It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

But it’s the context and rest of the interview that tells the story.  The Obama answer was in response to a charge that Obama actually supports the coal industry.  Earlier in Obama’s response to what was quote above, Obama claimed “This notion of no coal is an illusion.” He affirms that coal will continue to be part of the future.  His bankruptcy comment didn’t simply apply to coal, but all industries who continue to create carbon emissions and have a negative envrionmental footprint.  He supports policies that will ‘fine’ industries and companies who don’t find better ways of capturing their emissions.  He advocates, as his website points out:

Create Millions of New Green Jobs

• Ensure 10 percent of Our Electricity Comes from Renewable Sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
• Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source – Energy Efficiency.
• Weatherize One Million Homes Annually.
Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.

 This was a charge that was coordinated at Drudge, the GOP, and Newsbusters.com.  It is false and one last smear to try and affect the vote in coal producing states like Pennsylvania, West Virgina, and Colorado.

McCain/Palin Campaign is Sooo Amateurish

When it was first announced that Sarah Palin was going to throw out the hockey puck at a Flyers game, many thought she’d get booed – which would not be good.  But ego of Palin or dumbness of the campaign persisted to do it anyway.

Let’s roll the video:


Dangerous Undertones Forming within the McCain/Palin Campaign

A tremendously insightful, if not down right scary article was published today in the The Huffington Post: Obama Hatred At McCain-Palin Rallies: “Terrorist!” “Kill Him!” (VIDEO)

The gist of the article is there is some blatant hate projecting it’s self out of the McCain/Palin campaign.  The concern right now isn’t whether McCain is consciously endorsing the behaviour of his audience.   Rather, it’s the responsibility he has for allowing the racism, prejudice, and hatred to develop and if he’s willing to absolutely denounce the developing rhetoric.  This is a very dangerous situation developing and one that may imperil this nation beyond the economic issues that are front and center at the moment.  The mood of this country is sour and persuasion that these issues are caused by others is an outlet some may enjoy progressing.  I’m sorry but I do not believe I am over the line in stating that the undertones running within the McCain campaign.  The current distress of our economy is providing a 1930’s Nazi Germany platform for blaming others and cultivating a condition of hatred and finger pointing to boost popularity.  The similarities are even more striking if you think about how controlled the media coverage is by the McCain/Palin campaign.  Another article article from a blogger at Tampa Bay.com is discussing that they even controlling the press access to supporters at the rallies.  Seriously, the underpinnings of fascism can be observed.

Americans are frustrated.  There are two ways to deal with that frustration, as a campaign.  Your choice is either to explain the issues, develop a solution, and bring the country together to overcome the problems or divide the country and point fingers.  It’s obvious that McCain is not trying to unite the country.  You can debate whether or not he is intentionally creating this dangerous social environment that is developing, but regardless he owns personal responsibility.  Obama continues to try an focus on the issues and figure out a way to unite the country.  Unfortunately, hate and blame is a much easier sell than hope, unity and personal responsibility.

Palin is demonstrating that she is the absolute epitome of the extreme right-wing conservative hate mongerer that many believed she would be.  She is vindictive, tunnel visioned, incapable of rallying behind issues rather than hate rhetoric, and a religious fanatic.  You hear it in the tone of her voice and the words she uses.  I’ve written previously how she is an uncontrolled maverick within the McCain campaign.  She is down right dangerous.  It is her rhetoric that is primarily responsible for the tone of hatred being espoused by the campaign.

McCain owes it to the country he has fought so hard for and defended so vigorously to denounce these epitaphs of hatred.  His response to his supporters calling Obama a terrorist or that he be killed should be a vehement railing against those ideas.  In his heart, McCain doesn’t believe Obama is a terrorist.  The question left is whether there is enough moral judgement within McCain’s character to understand how he and Palin are responsible and be able to tone down the anger.  Our country is in an economic crisis right now, I call on Senator McCain to ensure we don’t slip into a social crisis too.

Is a Maverick Running Wild in the Maverick’s Campaign?

Beyond the questions about Sarah Palin’s political, social, economic, and foreign policy intelligence, Sarah Palin looks like a maverick within the maverick campaign.  It’s startling to see how Palin seems to be running wild without much of a leash from the McCain campaign. Examples: 

  • McCain announces he is pulling out of Michigan on Thursday.   On Friday (through the paper no less), Palin finds out and starts ranting about wanting to go back in.
  • McCain made it clear this spring that he did not find it acceptable to go after Obama with regard to the Reverend Wright controversy.  In fact, he didn’t believe the views of Wright were Obama’s views.  Yesterday and today Palin has come out and attacked Obama hard on that relationship.  She believes him sitting in the pews for 20 years reflects on his views.
  • McCain believes Global Warming is attributed to man.  Sarah Palin will not make that claim and goes out of her way to avoid that point.  As a representative of John McCain, she should be supporting his platform.
  • McCain has articulated that, at least publicly, he would not support raids into Pakistan to flush out terrorists without the support of the Pakistani government.  Palin has disagreed and stated that she would support attacks in to Pakistan.
  • McCain and the GOP do not believe in a full set of rights for life partners.  During the debate, Palin made it known she would support rights for life partners (though, I am sure she simply didn’t understand the question).
  • Mccain and Palin disagree on ANWR oil drilling.
There are so many different problems with maverick Palin and this apparent discourse with the McCain campaign.  First, it’s obvious that the debate has emboldened Palin.  She believes everything the media was saying about her performance.  This coupled with her handlers letting her loose, has unleashed a monster.  The discussion about pulling out of Michigan, particularly shows a woman who is reckless.  To go before the voters and state her displeasure with the McCain campaign is undermining.  She actually believes she is a maverick and she is giving you an idea of what type of vice president she would be.  In many ways, this shows she would take the Cheney mold one step further.  Can you imagine this woman in the Executive Building spouting off her policies beliefs at the same time a President McCain would be in the Oval Office dealing with a crisis?   What makes you think what we’ve seen wouldn’t be reflection of her in office?  Another example would be the Reverend Wright issue.  This is another example of her vocally articulating her displeasure for the campaign not going after Obama.  I wouldn’t doubt on both Michigan and Wright she is getting prompting from others within the campaign who disagree with McCain’s strategy.  If that is the case, then it demonstrates that McCain cannot control his organization.  If he can’t do that in a campaign, do you expect he can do it in the White House?
In addition, all of these points show a candidate who is not disciplined or does not understand the campaign’s stances, OR doesn’t understand the issue well enough and simply says what she thinks is right.  This goes to the core of her knowledge and also her ability to build consensus.  One of the jobs of the vice president is to work on behalf of the president to build consensus when needed.  This goes for heading up to Capitol Hill on a tough vote or working with senior delegates of foreign governments to work out a negotiation.  If she doesn’t support the policy stance of the President, she will not create consensus, but discourse.  Again, it’s a team of two right now – McCain and Palin.  If she can’t stay aligned with him now, there is no evidence they could in the future.
Palin’s demonstrated maverick attitude also shows a campaign that is lacking on communication and coordination.  When one candidate is talking one way and the other in a different way, regardless of the reason, the campaign looks dysfunctional.  Why did Palin, as she has claimed, only learn about pulling of Michigan a day later through the newspaper?  How does she not know that McCain has clearly stated not to go after Wright (and if McCain has changed his mind, he should at least note it somewhere, otherwise it looks as if they are not talking from the same sheet of paper).  How can she continue to not admit that Global Warming is caused by man when both candidates in this election agree on that point?  That seems like a basic coaching point during her prep sessions.  As for her other policy differences, they may be legitimate or simply a lack of knowledge.  Again, it makes it very clear that communication is not flowing well in both directions.
Many pundits feel that Palin is already gearing up for 2012.  If so, she may want to ensure that she is not ensnared in McCain’s policies.  This is a platform for her to demonstrate leadership and standing on issues.  She may be looking at the lack of direction within the campaign as a opportunity for her.  Regardless, none of it reflects well on McCain and I do not know how an argument can be made that if they aren’t in sync now, they will be in sync if they win.
These aren’t small points.  Think about it this way.  If you were to use the campaigns as an example of how the White House would be run, who would you choose?  Obama’s campaign has been extremely coordinated, communication flows very well, everybody is disciplined, and (for the most part) Obama and Biden are on the same page – gaffes notwithstanding.  You get the sense that their core message will be consistently delivered up by Biden or Obama.  A characteristic of a administration that would be effective.  There were no surprises in what Biden said at the debate – it fully agreed with Obama.  But, not with Palin.  Even looking back at the previous elections, no Karl Rove campaign would be run so poorly and with such bad communication.  If they can’t get it right now – how can you expect them to get it right if they win?

Palin’s Head is about to Explode

Apparently the right wing reviews of her performance last night are going to her head.  First came the news that she disagrees with the McCain campaign decision not to compete in Michigan.  Then comes word that she was ‘irritated’ by Katie Couric.

So, let’s rewind here.  Two days ago everyone was complaining she should step down and she barely could keep it together in her interviews.  90 minutes and a day of the GOP blowing sunshine up her…. and she thinks she is Ronald Reagan.  If I was John McCain, I’d be a little worried – seriously.  A couple of weeks ago she said the Palin-McCain campaign.  At the time, I thought it was just a accidental slip.  But, as Freud would say (a nod to my wife), there are no accidents and perhaps she is already thinking in that vein.  I mean, John McCain is 72 years old.  Are there other examples of her ‘craziness’? Well, yes there are:

1) In an interview she mentioned that her favorite Vice President was Bush Senior, because he went on to be president.  (note Biden mentioned Lyndon Johnson, who also became president – but that’s not why Biden cited him)

2) She wants to expand the power of the Vice Presidency and overstep the principals of checks and balances (as well as the Constitution) and be ‘more involved’ in the legislative process (per the debate)

3) During the debate she had no problem saying she’d change policies if she would take over the presidency if some unfortunate event incapacitated McCain.  This is unlike Biden who said he’d continue the policies of the man elected to the office by the people (something similar to what Lyndon Johnson did in 1963/1964 after the Kennedy assassination).

4) She has been complaining, internally, about her lack of visibility beyond the traditional campaign stops

Not only is she not intelligent, but she is an ego maniac and delusional.  This is starting to go beyond just funny or a little scary – the idea that there is actually a chance of her going to the White House should be considered a horror.

However, during this race, I’m really not that worried if she wants more exposure.  Her ego is built upon a false sense intellectual security that has been cultured and reinforced by her campaign aides and Republican supporters.  She really believes she is the savior of the Republican party and is qualified to become president.  If she wants more visibility and more control – let her!  If she wants to go to Michigan – let her!  If she wants more interviews – let her!  It is obvious to anyone who is not invested or blinded by the Republican party she is clueless.   One Katie Couric interview destroyed her.  Another similar performance or huge blunder, and the McCain campaign will not survive.  If she thinks she knows better than McCain’s campaign strategists who think that Michigan really isn’t necessary for McCain to win, then let her waste time in the state.

addendum: By the way, I think it’s more than a little funny that the way Palin found out that they were pulling out of Michigan was through the newspaper.  So, apparently, she is so sequestered she can’t communicate outside and doesn’t get information inside.

General VP Debate Observations

In general, I think the debate went according to script.  Joe Biden acted as the seasoned debater and Sarah Palin ‘stayed the course’ of her script.  I do think Joe Biden may have done the best debating job I have ever seen.  He was passionate, he treated Palin exactly as he needed to – not condescending, but not accepting of her attacks, and had a detailed response to all questions.

Sarah Palin didn’t flub as many expected (I didn’t).  But her strategy was clear – stick to her talking points, guide all questions back to her areas of knowledge, and simply ignore questions that were too difficult.  I don’t know if she didn’t understand the questions or simply ignored them.  However, on at least three occasions she totally avoided the question.  One question about what her ‘Achilles heel’ was – was totally blown off and she gave her strengths.  Either she doesn’t understand ‘Achilles heel’, didn’t hear the question properly, or chose to ignore it.   I give the McCain campaign some credit, they took a not ready for prime time player and coached her well enough for the big game.  I actually thought the voters would see this debate as a win for her, but the earlier polls disagree.

I thought Gwen Ifill was as bad, if not worse, than I predicted.  On the Conservative sites they are complaining she always let Biden have the last word.  I am not going to disagree, it seemed he did get to close most topics out.  However, my wife and I also noticed he seemed to go first more often.  Maybe we are wrong – but at least one one occasion, towards the end, he definitely got two questions in a row to go first.  If I was a Republican, I wouldn’t complain about that.  I think it’s much tougher to go first.

But Ifill’s main problem wasn’t who went first or second – it was her ability to actually moderate the debate.  I thought her questions were shallow and didn’t seem like they took anytime to prepare – unlike Jim Lehrer who obviously spent a lot of time developing his questions.   They were not the type, for the most part, to get inside the candidates head.  Her flow was also bad.  But the worst was, and this is a matter of opinion, she never followed up to get either candidate to answer the questions.  It was extremely frustrating to watch Sarah skate by not even in the realm of answering the question.  Some disagree that the moderator should follow-up non-answers, but should only sit back and let the candidates go – that’s what Paul Begala was suggesting.

Overall, I don’t think it was a game-changer for the McCain/Palin ticket.  I think it stopped some of their bleeding and gave the right-wing their newly anointed hero again.  Personally, on an intellectual level, I think Joe Biden won this debate by a very large margin – and I really wasn’t so sure coming in, it would work out like that.

(note – below this blog – I have additional thoughts on the debate in a separate posting)