Jim Bennett’s comments on Gov. Palin

Jim has been quiet lately, and his insights have been missed.

His analysis is too good to be left buried in the comments:

The McCain-Palin campaign needs to address the experience question head-on, and they need to do so by working from Palin’s strengths, not by sweeping objections under the rug. This should be done by announcing several areas in which she would take the lead within the administration, areas where her existing strengths give her plausibility. Three areas suggest themselves immediately.
1. North American energy and trade policy. The most important substantive accomplishment of her administration has been the natural-gas pipeline deal with Canada, that she was a key figure in brokering and pushing. The Financial Times gave her credit for this accomplishment weeks ago, when nobody thought she had a chance for the VP slot. Have her make a speech as soon as possible before a major energy or trade meeting in Canada, where she will give a preview of the McCain-Palin policy for energy cooperation with Canada. Cite her pipeline experience frequently. Get in digs at Obama for playing the anti-NAFTA card in the primaries, and against Biden for having voted against the pipeline when it was first an issue decades ago. Play up her experience as an Arctic governor and show sympathy for Canada’s Arctic issues, including the undersea resource claims we and Canada will soon be disputing with Putin. Maybe follow that with a trip to Iqaluit, being sure to bring her husband. Up there, talk about America and Canada’s common Arctic and Inuit/Eskimo heritage.
Obama has done nothing as important or complex, or as international, as the pipeline deal. Not to mention Biden.
2. Middle-class/blue-collar issues. The Republicans need to hone their “Sam’s Club” agenda. She’s the person to do it. Adopt the Romney proposal for a realistic (at least 10K per kid) child credit, and be sure it’s deductible against parroll tax. And pledge to revisit and reform Joe Biden’s (D-MNBA) bankruptcy bill, making sure to repeat ten zillion times that it was Biden’s baby. She can take credit for convincing McCain to revisit his previous position and decide it needs reforming.
3. Native community issues. Not only are her husband (and kids) part-Eskimo, Palin had to deal costantly with the powerful “native corporations” as governor. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and its programs are an ongoing national disgrace. Let Palin head up a task force to entirely revamp [programs for native communities. This might sway enough votes in New Mexico to swing the state their way, and would count in several other Western states that are leaners.
So here are three “mules” for Sister Sarah to ride – – to office.

Jim also added this:

Here’s a story on Bloomberg from Aug. 1 about the pipeline deal, before the media got the talking points from the Obama campaign to pretend that Palin has accomplished nothing significant:

“Let the media do the dirty work.”

Mark Brown, a liberal columnist in the Sun Times, had this to say about Gov. Palin.

Leave her alone. Let it go. Don’t even think about going there. It’s a setup. It’s a trap.
I wanted to shout that advice to the Barack Obama campaign Friday, but somebody on the television was telling me it was already too late: Obama’s people had reacted initially to the news of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s candidacy for vice president by belittling her credentials.
For Pete’s sake, there’s no reason to do that. Let it happen on its own. Let the media do the dirty work.

Once in a while the mask slips and people blurt out the truth. Here we see Mr. Brown admitting what every rational person knows already. The news media is Obama’s ally, it is partisan, it is in effect an arm of the Democratic Party, engaged in this election on behalf of Sen. Obama. This goes far beyond “liberal bias”, which is also obvious to anyone paying attention. The mainstream media are Obama’s protectors and cheering section. The press area at the Denver convention was full of people with press passes, cheering and chanting along. They are on the team.

The news media is not interested in reporting news about Gov. Palin, or being fair or objective. It is interested in “…belittling her credentials”, it is interested in doing “the dirty work” on behalf of Sen. Obama, to help him win. Brown, who ought to know, since he works at the Sun Times, is telling us that his industry will run interference all the way for Sen. Obama, until he is in the White House, allowing him and his campaign to take the high road.

Thank God these people no longer have a monopoly on news.

Thank God they are part of a dying industry which will not be missed.

BTW, lets all start referring to Sarah Palin as governor. She is the only executive out of the four people at the top of the two tickets. Gov. Palin deserves to be referred to by her office.

UPDATE: Jim Bennett sent this great photo of Gov. Palin with a caribou which is headed for the stew pot. Here’s hoping Sen. Biden is in similar shape, metaphorically of course, after their debate.

UPDATE 2: Lisa Schiffren has an excellent piece about Gov. Palin, and why she has excited the GOP base. It had a nice, big impact on McCain fundraising, which is an objective demonstration of new support. The news media has been mostly wrong about the rationale for this pick. It is much more about mobilizing the party base, and getting the many, many unhappy, reluctant GOP voters excited and willing to work, contribute and vote. The idea that lots of Hillary voters would come over is not plausible. Democrats are good soldiers and will vote for their party on election day. It is much more about taking away the “look-at-the-two-boring-white-guys” theme than about, “I-am-woman-hear-me-roar.” Gov. Palin’s femaleness, in other words, checks one of Sen. Obama’s offensive plays, while her substantive positions mobilize the base.

Tom Smith on Palin

This is very good:

The professed worries about Palin’s inexperience reveal so many layers of irony and hypocrisy one hardly knows where to begin. (Though granted, reasonable people may have such worries in good faith. I just think a lot of them aren’t.) To begin with the obvious, Obama has practically no relevant experience for being CEO of one of the largest and most dysfunctional organizations on earth, and he’s vying for the number 1 slot. He is running on the mind-numbingly repeated slogan of “Change” and yet his career has been one of almost preternatural conformity, first to Hyde Park progressivism, then to the leftish-liberalism of the urban wing of the Democratic party. His record of actually changing anything, a club, a law, an institution, or his mind, is as far as I can tell, perfectly void of content, a vacuum rarely found in nature. His agenda for change is apparently just to take the entrance ramp back onto the superhighway to serfdom, and make the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush years just a prolonged rest stop. That slowing down wasn’t history ending, but just going into reverse.
Obama’s inexperience, his apparent unwillingness to risk his career for anything, and what seem to me the hallmarks of an utterly opportunistic character, are to me his best points. They suggest he wont be willing to stand up to determined opposition and may tack to the center to govern. You can call this “pragmatism” if you like. They seem to turn out pragmatists from Chicago at an alarming rate. But that sort of pragmatism is not how reform happens.
Palin is a very different story. Her career may be brief, but she has spent it running head on into some very powerful interests, the oily Alaskan GOP, and winning. She has doubtless had opportunities to be bought off, and hasn’t sold. I worked one summer for one of Anchorage’s established law firms that represented oil and gas interests, big Native corporations and the like. It may not be a big arena, but it is one where the play is rough. Saying Palin’s 20 months as governor in Alaska is not much experience in government is like saying 20 months as marshal in Dodge City is not much experience in law enforcement. It’s long enough for some things, like finding out if you are made of the right stuff or not. Obama also spent time as a public servant in a jurisdiction, Chicago, notorious for its corruption, but all I know he accomplished there was getting himself a really nice house at a great price, and moving on to a higher office. It’s that pragmatism again.

Read the whole thing. See also the link at the bottom of his post to a blog post from one of Palin’s Alaska neighbors.

Dr. Helen on Her Hopes

I think Palin would focus on helping Americans achieve their dreams by staying out of their way.

Why Palin is a Fantastic Choice

Speeches give us glimmers; campaigns tell us more.  I suspect most of us want to learn more, but Palin is attractive in more ways than one and she clearly offers a choice.  Dr. Helen sums up the difference between the speech Thursday and the one Friday in this comment.  And I suspect Palin doesn’t believe we are in the middle of a great depression – the picture rather grimly painted at the Democratic Convention.  Is my corner of the world that different from the rest of America?  What do these people do if unemployment goes up to the levels of most European countries?  How do they explain the 17 million new homeowners in the last eight years? 

‘Post Mortem’

There’s at least one blog for everything, and it turns out that the Washinton Post actually has an obituary blog, called ‘Post Mortem‘.

Some interesting ones:

Is God Dead?:

In 1966, Time magazine ran a provocative cover with the bold question, “Is God Dead?” The story led to sharp backlash from social conservatives and sparked a public debate about philosophy and religion. The editor responsible for that story, Otto Fuerbringer, has died at 97, and his obituary is in today’s (Friday’s) Post.

Read more

The Gut: Tribalism’s Home and Not Always a Bad Thing

Thanks, Shannon for your blogging, which has provided a smorgasbord. 


In the comments to his “Identity-Politics Insanity” post, Helen’s observation reminds us of a truth about American politics but more importantly about human nature.  For instance, a balanced ticket is attractive, because we assume more ideas are in play and more people feel an identity with their leaders.  On the other hand, Shannon is right:   identity politics encourages a tribalism whose restraint has been the great triumph of western civilization and a prerequisite for a diverse nation ruled by predictable, equitable laws.  We rightly fear identities that trump law & duty, but we also fear ideologies which encourage children to betray their parents and wives their husbands.  We ignore such passions – natural to our species – at our own peril: unacknowledged they threaten chaos; diminished, we lack a glue that holds communities and even identities together.


Read more

Identity-Politics Insanity

Much as I am grateful for any phenomenon that might keep the U.S. Presidency out of the hands of extreme leftists, I can’t help but think that these women have gone completely identity-politics insane. 

A presidential election should turn on issues of character and policy. These women know next to nothing about Palin except her sex. One cannot imagine substantial policy overlap between her and Clinton. Yet, it looks like potentially significant numbers of Clinton supporters might jump ship just so they can support a woman! 

Read more

Sarah Palin in 2012

McCain is 70 72. He’ll be 74 76 by the time the next elections rolls around. If he wins this time around he most likely will not run in 2012. That makes Palin the Republican presumptive nominee for 2012. 

Course, if McCain wins that means Obama loses and then we might have Hillary versus Palin. 

I’d pay to see that. 

The “Staring Down” Meme

So, Sarah Palin has was only selected by McCain to run as VP a few hours ago. In reading just a few web pages I saw several repetitions of variations of “Can you/I can’t imagine her staring down Putin.” A quick google search showed dozens of instances, many of them in comments. Either this represents some coordinated message or the internet spreads things even quicker than I thought. 

I find the choice of the phrase “staring down” very interesting. “Staring down” describes an unsubtle test of will. You don’t have to be smart, sophisticated and cunning to stare someone down. You just need emotional strength and determination. You can be dumb as a fence post and stare someone down as long as you don’t loss your nerve. If they thought her to be unintelligent or unsophisticated they would have used a phrase such as “can you imagine her outmaneuvering Putin?” By choosing to use the phrase “stare down”, Palin critics reveal that they believe her emotionally weak and easily dominated. 

What is it about her being a governor, a mayor and a hunter that makes these assumedly-spontaneous critics think Palin possess no emotional strength? It’s doubly strange given that the Left never stereotypes Republicans as lacking resolve in foreign affairs. Indeed, they usually make the opposite criticism that Republicans hold their ground when they could relent and compromise. So why do so many leftists look at Palin and see someone who will crumble under pressure? 

I think it can only be because she is a mother. Leftists associate mothers with doormats. They believe a woman who rejects the narcissistic, me, me, me vision of capital “F” feminism must be a wimp and a chump. For the leftist, the fact that Palin chose to have a large family automatically means she doesn’t have the willpower to stand up for herself. Since she cannot stand up for herself, she cannot therefore stand up to Putin. 

It’s bigoted and silly and like a lot things leftists say, this tells us more about the Left than it does about Palin. 

(Addendum: Of course, it almost goes without saying, that a lot of people cannot imagine Obama staring anyone down. Given that his in his five-sentence statement on the Russian invasion of Georgia he couldn’t stop himself from making a dig at unrelated American policy. I think Obama’s response to Putin will be to grovel and beg for forgiveness.)

Do We Want a President Who Makes Ayers happy?

In the summer of 1995, a group of influential leftists gathered in the home of unrepentant Maoist-terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn in order to hear Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer introduce her hand-picked successor Barack Obama. Imagine that scene. Palmer looks at Ayers, then looks at Obama and in her mind perceives no politically significant contradiction or conflict between the two people. Neither did anyone else at the gathering. No one looked around and thought, “man, those two don’t belong in the same room,” or “there’s no way that the people who accept and respect Ayers will accept and respect Obama.” 

This meeting tells us something important about Obama. It tells us what kind of president these leftists think Obama will be. 

Read more

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

I am so happy about this.

She is everything McCain is not:

* young
* female
* pro-life (vocally, unlike McCain, who is actually sound on his voting)
* pro-gun (vocally, she recently bagged a moose!)
* pro-oil drilling in ANWR
* has executive experience (not much, but more than Obama and Biden)
* against taxes, government spending, and the culture of boondoggles in Alaska

Also, critically important, she is probably the only person who can reconcile both the traditionalist conservatives and the libertarian conservatives, where both groups do not like McCain. Palin may be able to get them on board.

McCain is behind. He will probably lose. Ignore the polls. Look at Intrade. Look at the British oddsmakers. It is 2/1 for Obama and has been all along. The polls are noise around the signal. If McCain plays it safe, he loses for sure. He has to make high-risk, high-return plays. He has to throw Hail Mary passes. He needs put the board in play. This decision shows he understands that and is willing to act accordingly. You can’t play it safe when you are losing.

Still, I am shocked by this. I wanted it to be Palin. I saw no way he could win if he did not pick Palin. Two white guys in suits against Obama were going to lose, period. But I thought he would still do something “safer”, which would have doomed him. McCain is much bolder and much smarter than I gave him credit for.

In fact, as I think about it, this is the first moment when I have not been absolutely certain McCain would lose.

McCain is also showing, as he has generally, that he is very aggressive and confident, almost cocky. His congratulation message to Obama was classic. It showed class and it showed fearlessness, and a certain condescension to Obama. It reminds me of David Hackett Fischer’s depiction of the Backcountry selection process for leaders: Tanistry. The Border Scots selected a Thane based on age, strength and cunning, not mere seniority. McCain is a backcountryman by ancestry. They are wily and they are fighters. McCain already seems to be inside Obama’s OODA loop. Making this pick the day after the Donk convention, to steal the buzz, is tactically perfect.

Apparently Palin talks like a hick. She calls herself a “momma” unironically, instead of a mom or a mother. This will cause her to be mocked and jeered at in states the GOP is already going to lose. But it cannot hurt with blue collar voters in WV, OH, PA and MI, which are states Obama could lose.

Key moment: The Palin v. Biden debate. She has zero foreign policy experience. She will have a lot of homework to do.

According to Wikipedia “In 1984, Palin was second-place in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant”. I can believe it. The whole schtick of pretty-woman-with-dorky-glasses-and-hair-in-a-bun works for me. I think most adult heterosexual males would agree.

Finally, McCain is doing something very important for the GOP. If he loses, as he still probably will, and if Palin makes a good impression during the election, which she may, then we will be well-positioned to run a woman governor at the top of the ticket in 2112 against President Obama.

Obama’s “Brain”

A brief sojurn into grubby electoral politics:

Recall from years ago, the enormous amount of press received by GOP strategist Karl Rove as George W. Bush’s political “Brain” ? A similar role with Barack Obama is played by Illinois Democratic political consultant David Axelrod, except that Axelrod keeps a far lower profile than Rove did and Axelrod has inifinitely better relationships with the working press, notably with the nominally Republican Chicago Tribune where Axelrod was formerly a political reporter and columnist. Axelrod is also tightly connected to Chicago’s all-powerful Democratic Party boss, Mayor Richard M. Daley, another longtime Axelrod client; and to Exelon/Com. Ed. , the politically powerful Illinois utility that contracts with Axelrod’s public relations firm and whose employees have been among the largest financial donors in Illinois to the Obama campaign.

What kind of campaign can we expect from Axelrod in the general election? Overtly positive themes and public posturing complemented by covertly delievered and mercilessly negative “stiletto” attacks against key people around John McCain that are not directly traceable to Axelrod. The model for this strategy is the previous Obama senatorial campaign in Illinois, where Obama’s two most formidible, centimillionaire, rivals, Democrat Blair Hull and Republican Jack Ryan were personally destroyed in the primaries when salacious details from their sealed divorce records were mysteriously leaked to the media, which then pressured for their full release, notably in the pages of the Chicago Tribune. Thus, ultimately permitting Obama to run against an out-of-state, clown candidate, religious conservative firebrand Alan Keyes, in the general election.

Negative political advertising is reliably effective, something known since the days of Murray Chotiner running Richard Nixon’s California races, but the information age imposes “blowback” costs when it is used too openly by a candidate. Axelrod’s long courtship of the media will permit similar “fingerprint free” attacks against the GOP to work unless McCain’s campaign is smart enough to start doing social network analysis of key media people crossreferenced with Obama Campaign functionaries and Axelrod associates.

It’s also noteworthy of how little escapes Axelrod’s attention. The conservative intellectual and writer, Dr. Stanley Kurtz, has been digging into the UIC archives on Senator Obama’s extensive political relationship with Dr. William Ayers, the 60’s radical and unrepentant ex-Weatherman terrorist, now a professor of Education at UIC where he is a leading advocate of politicizing teacher certification programs along Leftist lines (Ayers is the son of the late, prominent Chicago business leader, Thomas Ayers, former chairman/CEO of Commonwealth Edison and board member at he Chicago Tribune). Kurtz was invited to be a guest last night on Dr. Milt Rosenberg’s highbrow Extension720 WGN-AM radio show and discuss his research and Rosenberg’s switchboard and email system was instantly flooded and essentially shut down by an orchestrated wave of Obama supporters. While something of a local legend, Rosenberg’s radio show is, in the national media scheme of things, a fairly obscure program. Sort of a conservative NPR, except a lot smarter and writ small.

I would expect the ante be upped against Obama critics to include nuisance suits and worse if the fall campaign tightens.


It appears that the Obama-Ayers-Annenberg story, which I expect will soon feature the infamous pic of Ayers trampling a U.S. flag in an alley, is making it on to the MSM radar. Michael Barone does a superb job as political anthropologist here, explaining the ” Chicago Way” to Americans in more normal communities:

Obama Needs to Explain His Ties to William Ayers

….Ayers was one of the original grantees of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a school reform organization in the 1990s, and was cochairman of the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, one the two operational arms of the CAC. Obama, then not yet a state senator, became chairman of the CAC in 1995. Later in that year, the first organizing meeting for Obama’s state Senate campaign was held in Ayers’s apartment. Ayers later wrote a memoir, and an article about him appeared in the New York Times on Sept. 11, 2001. “I don’t regret setting bombs,” Ayers is quoted as saying. “I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Ayers was a terrorist in the late 1960s and 1970s whose radical group set bombs at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.

You might wonder what Obama was doing working with a character like this. And you might wonder how an unrepentant terrorist got a huge grant and cooperation from the Chicago public school system. You might wonder-if you don’t know Chicago. For this is a city with a civic culture in which politicians, in the words of a story often told by former congressman, federal judge, and Clinton White House counsel Abner Mikva, “don’t want nobody nobody sent.” That’s what Mikva remembers being told when he went to a Democratic ward headquarters to volunteer for Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s, and it rings true. And it’s a civic culture in which there’s nobody better to send you than your parents.

Read the rest here.

Fantasy Energy

Megan McArdle [h/t Instapundit] writes:

There’s a lot of optimism on both the center-left and the right that all we really need to do to tackle the problem of global warming/peak oil is throw a hell of a lot of money at the problem, and presto!…Yes, we found petroleum to replace whale oil.  This does not therefore mean, as night follows day, that we will find something to replace petroleum.  We will find something to replace petroleum if there is something that can replace petroleum.  There might not be.

Well, actually, there is always a new source of energy to replace any old energy source. It just might not be the energy source we fantasize about. 

Read more

Quote of the Day (Sort Of)

Peggy Noonan in the WSJ:

…At Republican conventions they express sympathy for this woman, as they do for those who are entrepreneurial, who start businesses and create jobs and build things. Republicans have, that is, sympathy for taxpayers. But they don’t dwell all that much, or show much expressed sympathy for, the sick mother with the uninsured kids, and the soldier with the shot nerves.

Noonan misses the point. Republicans have as much sympathy for people who are sick, poor or troubled as anyone does. Where Republicans and Democrats differ is in their opinions about how best to help such people. Democrats tend to believe in direct government action as a remedy. Republicans tend to believe that government is often part of the problem, and that better remedies are available through private charity and by pursuing government policies that encourage personal responsibility and economic development.

Noonan is correct, however, that Democrats, particularly national politicians, tend to lack sympathy for entrepreneurs, particularly small-business people who in many areas are victimized by high tax rates and excessive regulation. Government action to reduce such burdens would boost productivity, and therefore wealth, jobs and tax receipts. But Democrats as a group tend to be indifferent or hostile to business people other than those in regulated industries who make large political contributions.


What I’ve heard of the Democratic convention reminds me of some lines from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado:

Sent to hear sermons by mystical Germans
Who preach from ten till four

Unfortunately, the Republican convention will probably come across the same way.

The Real Ayers Problem

Jonah Goldberg,

I am amazed, simply amazed, at the amazement of many liberals that Ayers and Dohrn should matter to anyone.

As I have noted before, the real troubling aspect of the Obama-Ayers relationship is that Obama comes from a political subculture in which Ayers is an accepted and unremarkable individual. Looking at Ayers, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts. 

[h/t Instapundit]

[update(9:59am 8.27.2008): Commenter Jjv says:

I think the bigger problem is what did Ayers see in Obama?

end update]

[update(10:12am 8.27.2008): If you wish to argue that you consider Ayers acceptable and unremarkable please provide an example of what Ayers would have had to do for you to consider him unacceptable.]

[update(12:37pm 8.27.2008): I contacted the Chicago Tribune and ask them about Ayers. They said that they had only published a commentary i.e. basically a letter to the editor. So the idea that Ayers is mainstream because the Tribune published him is dubious.]

[update (2:32pm 8.27.2009): The Tribune editoral page editor, Brian Dold, graciously called me back. He said that the Tribune, as part of its public mission, publishes a wide array of opinion without passing judgement on the character of the authors.]

[update (2:34pm 8.27.2008): Commentator Foo Bar has shown that the Tribune did publish several opinion pieces by Ayers over a period of several years.] 

If the Clintons Are Racist…

…what does that say about the judgment of all those leftists who supported, elected and defended them all these years. 

What does it say about those same people’s judgment of Obama? Nothing good. 

[Update: Notice how the first poster manages to change the subject from the poor judgement of leftist to a discussion of the worst U.S. presidents. He’s good at that technique.]

Quote of the Day

In most online conversations I’ve been involved with, you eventually come to a point where the people interested in an evolving, exploratory dialogue, in learning something new about themselves and others, in thinking aloud, in working through things, find themselves worn out by a kind of rhetorical infection inflicted by bad faith participants who are just there to affirm what they already know and attack everything that doesn’t conform to that knowledge. (Or by the classic “energy creatures” whose only objective is to satisfy their narcissism.) I used to think that was a function of the size of the room, that in a bigger discursive space, richer possibilities would present themselves. Now I don’t know…

Timothy Burke

(via Megan McArdle)

How Free Speech Became a Zone

When we bemoan the creation of free-speech zones around conventions, conferences, summits, etc I think it important to remember whose actions made those zones necessary in order to protect the right of free assembly. 

Prior to 1968, such precautions never occurred to anyone, because the culture of the time abhorred the idea of actually attacking someone engaged in political activity. For the narcissistic lefty boomers, that wasn’t good enough. As individuals gifted with intellects and morals far beyond those of mortal men, they had the inherent right to impose their will on others by force. Ever since then their intellectual progeny have attacked every major political event in the North America. 

Viktor Frankl observed that freedom resulted from the combination of liberty and responsibility. He we see he was correct. People once had the freedom to protest close to conventions and similar gatherings because they behaved responsibly when doing so and protected the rights of others. After leftist extremists developed an utter disdain for the rights of others, they abandoned any concept of responsibility towards others. 

And here we are. This is how freedoms die, not with the loss of liberty but first with the loss of responsibility. 

Return of the Vanquished

Via Instapundit comes a story about the return of a once-vanquished nutritional disease, rickets, due to people not watching their children’s nutrition because they assumed that breast feeding would supply all the nutrients needed. This fits a similar pattern in which health concerns that disappeared in most of the West by the 1960s have begun to reemerge. 

In all these cases, the cause is an exaggerated concern for an unrelated health matter that generates unintended side effects. 

Read more