287 thoughts on “GOP VP

  1. Feels like a ploy to get disenfranchised Clinton supporters to vote for McCain. I expect them to play up the potential female veep angle for all its worth, and make comments like “the Democrats couldn’t nominate a woman” and suchlike.

    (Ye gods, I hate politics…)

  2. Given Palin’s legal and ethical problems in her home state (which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the GOP), I find this bizarre. That and the fact that McCain’s chief slam on Obama is lack of experience, so he picks someone with demonstrably less experience than Obama?

  3. At first blush it seems like a blatant attempt to recruit disillusioned Hillary supporters. I suppose that like 99+% of Americans, I haven’t really even heard of Sarah Palin before today, so I’ll give the GOP enough credit to suppose that there is a lot more to Ms. Palin than that.

    If nothing else, this selection will immediately change the focus of the media from Obama’s speech to McCain’s VP selection.

  4. Palin has her own legal problems. She’s under investigation for using the power of her office to harass her former brother in law.
    She was very popular in Alaska at the beginning of her term, but has sunk quite a good deal in the polls since the investigations started.
    A Dan Quayle for the new generation.

  5. A brilliant marketing move from the GOP – as usual. I wonder how this plays out after the ‘shock’ wears off.

    It is curious, though, since McCain’s main criticism of Obama is his lack of experience. Palin is much less experienced than Obama. Less than two years as Gov. of Alaska, which is a beautiful, amazing state full of great, interesting people… but it is awfully far from the rest of the country. I wonder if that will matter.

    In the end, we will either have a non-white president or a non-male vice-president – AND – they each hail from the 49th and 50th states! Go Alaska and Hawai’i!

  6. Makes sense, ’cause it woos those still hurting over Hillary’s defeat.

    Is there really someone who doesn’t understand that the significant part of Republican woman is REPUBLICAN and not woman?

  7. Sarah “Baracuda” Palin placed second in the 1984 Miss Alaska beauty pageant and is a lifetime member of the NRA.

    If McCain is elected she will easily be the best looking VP in our history.

    Go Sarah!

  8. Yeah, I’m sure Hillary supporters will be wooed by the message “We know you broads will just mindlessly vote for a woman, so we picked one.”

  9. It’s an interesting choice. I’m not up on the roster of female GOP leaders, so I don’t know who’d be better, but there are some key points here:

    * Her voting record shows she’s not in the pocket of big oil. May pull in some Dems for that.
    * She’s strongly anti-abortion. Won’t win any Hillary fans. (curiously, this is also in opposition to McCain’s track record, although not his current rhetoric)
    * She’s strongly anti-same-sex marriages. Again, limits democrat migration, but could pick up some centrists.

    Definitely makes it an interesting election season.

  10. According to the NYT and Wikipedia she:

    * is a conservative Christian
    * opposes abortion rights
    * opposes same-sex marriages
    * supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve

    How could someone who supported Hillary Clinton vote for her just because she’s a woman?

  11. Well, looks like we’ll be seeing plenty of Hillary for the next fifty odd days, acting as attack dog for the Dems – lord knows this is one of the most cynical moves I’ve seen in politics, and that’s saying something.

  12. It will help pull all the ‘disaffected Clinton supporters’ who were republicans the day before they voted for her in the primary and were republicans the day after they voted for her in the primary. I know it’s anecdotal, but I personally know of several people (men and women) who did that here in Texas.

  13. She’s young, seems clever, strong conservative credentials without any notable big-business hockery, budget-cutting, photogenic as all-get-out, vibrant, and unlike everyone else in this race has executive experience run something larger than a Senate committee. The idea that nominating her is an attempt to woo Hillary supporters is nonsense, but she will increase the excitement level among Reps and Rep-leaning independents, which has be lagging. Moreover, she’s glamorous, which could do a lot to defuse Obama’s glamour, if carefully positioned.

    If it happens, I won’t be sad that America will be represented at foreign funerals by a hot woman whose idea of a good time is hunting moose.

  14. Here’s why the pick is interesting: John McCain is never again allowed to complain about a lack of experience. The Vice President’s main job, in my opinion, is remaining vigilant so that if god forbid anything happens to the President, they can step in immediately. Palin’s experience is as follows:
    City Council in Small Town.
    Mayor of Small Town.
    Alaska Oil Conservation Commission.
    2 Years as Governor.

    You’ll notice a distinct lack of foreign policy experience.

  15. I decided yesterday he was going to choose a woman in an attempt to win over Hillary supporters.

    I see 2 problems with Palin (I don’t know much about her, so I’m staying on the shallow level).

    1. McCain looks like a bleached raisin standing next to her.

    2. I have no objection to a 72-year-old president, my one requirement is that he have a good VP because of his higher than average risk of not completing his term. Is McCain going to argue that Obama is unqualified because of his youth and inexperience, but Palin is qualified despite being younger and even less experienced?

  16. Great choice. I like what I read about her, I think she’ll make conservatives like me happy to think that she’ll have some influence on McCain.

  17. I see Palin as more experience because she’s a governor. She’s had hands-on executive experience. As only a legislator, Obama has not.

  18. Palin can’t hurt as a McCain pick. She’s conservative enough for the Limbaugh crowd, and if there’s anybody looking solely to vote for a woman, well, she’s qualified.

    I think Biden’s going to eat her lunch in the debate, and the “experience” argument will be difficult to sell.

  19. Cassie (and Watchman):

    Are you thereby also making the argument that Palin has more experience than John McCain, who, like Obama, has not had executive experience? Because that would be a really interesting argument to make.

  20. If this is a play for Hillary supporters, it seems like a pretty poor one. Especially if the Dems sic Hillary herself on Palin.

    Plus, as others have pointed out, it seems to negate the whole experience thing that McCain’s been playing up so far. Not to mention how uncomfortable some voters may be with having someone with just two years as a Governor being next in line after the man who would be the oldest ever to ascend to the Presidency.

    All of that without even bringing up how non-moderate many of her views are.

  21. A staunchly conservative friend of mine called this pick weeks ago. He thought it would an absolute slam-dunk for McCain, for the reasons already elucidated here: she’s a hard-line conservative and a stone fox.

    No, folks, she won’t be winning over any Hillary backers. At all. Don’t kid yourselves.

  22. As the VP of a 72 year old candidate, she has to be taken seriously as commandar in cheif. How does this support the McCain argument that Obama is not ready to be c.i.c.? It is a terrible choice. As someone already pointed out above, the Hillary dead enders have lost their steam – that was a pre-convention issue. Now its all about McCain arguing that Obama is not qualified. This is not going to help.

  23. I think it’s a transparent ploy, and I think that there are a very small number of people that actually will fall for it because they’re more concerned with what people have stashed in their undies as opposed to what they actually stand for. But I think most Hilary supporters are way to savvy to fall for something like this, because it is that transparent and pathetic. Even more so, considering that if we get Obama elected, I bet we’ll still get to see Hilary deeply involved in the government.

    Of course, we are all just really waiting to hear what Paris Hilton has to say about this, because she’s still way, way hotter. Maybe something along the lines of “Is this the best you can do?” ;-)

  24. Cassie @20: I see Palin as more experience because she’s a governor. She’s had hands-on executive experience.

    You kidding? She’s been for TWO years governor of ALASKA. Alaska has less inhabitants than my province. And they want to abolish Italian provinces because they’re too small.

  25. Additionally, I will note that she will play very well in the mountain west, where Obama was hoping for some pick-ups. To the extent that VP picks ever matter outside their home state, she’s made CO and NM harder for Obama to put in play.

  26. Regarding McCain’s “higher than average risk of not completing his term”: He is already older than both his father and his paternal grandfather were when they died. Granted, his mother is still alive, but I figure that he only has about a 50/50 chance of having inherited his mother’s longevity, and the stresses of being president are almost certain to cancel that out. I personally think that a vote for McCain, is a vote for his vice president to be president by no later than 2010.

    I will grant that, ignoring all other implications, it would be a great thing to rub into the faces of the pundits if McCain got elected, died either before or immediately after inauguration, and we ended up with a president who *wasn’t even one of the candidates* last summer.

    Of course, I’m already looking forward to about 2 years from now (!) when the next presidential election starts to ramp up. When people start predicting who will be nominated, I will get to say “Hey, last time it was supposed to be Giuliani vs. Clinton, and we saw how *that* worked out. Why should I listen to you *now*?”

  27. This year, more than any other election year, the choice of each candidate of their veep is HUGE.

    We have a 73 year old man running for president—for his first term. I’m not sure of the statistical likeliness of McCain living out the next four years, but I do think his veep is more likely that usual to be called on to either complete his term or fill in during a health emergency.

    As for Obama–well, it pains me to point this out, because I am a big Obama supporter, but if we have our first African-American president, I am afraid that he will be more likely than most presidents to be assassinated. I wish this wasn’t true, but I believe it is.

    So, we need to look VERY CAREFULLY at all four on the major tickets, because four years from now, any of them could be our sitting president.

  28. It does seem like a ploy to get angry Hillary supporters.

    Also, I was surprised to see it was her, because the only time I had ever heard of her other than this is on wonkette.com where she was pronounced the MILFiest Governor in America.

  29. This is a great choice for McCain. It fires up the base as McCain has not and cannot. Is she particularly qualified to be President, no – not really – but by any traditional measure only McCain and Biden are. (N.B.: I think Obama is, but by that standard so is Palin) But she’s a great face for pro-life voters, she’s got a great reform record (minus the brother in law thing) in Alaska, and sounds like she’ll be a good fit for McCain. Her record on guns will, likewise, make the base happy. Of course, the first 4 hours of the Quayle nomination looked great, too.

    Do I think it will make a difference in the end? No, I still think Obama wins, but it’s going to be a lot closer than anyone probably expect.

  30. I have been thinking for a while that a female GOP VP would be a brilliant move for the party, but it just didn’t seem like McCain was going to do it. The last I heard was almost everyone thought it would be Pawlenty. I suspect that after the Democratic convention, they felt that they had to do something really exciting to catch up.

    Palin is an interesting choice though. She has less than two years as governor, and she’s already had some scandals brewing under her watch. She referred to Stevens’ indictment as “very dismaying” and a “distraction”.

  31. Whoever it was that interviewed Ralph Reed for the NY Times article about Palin’s selection nailed this — it’s about finding somebody, anybody, that can rally the Christian conservatives around McCain for any motivation other than pure expedience.

  32. Least bad option.

    The media will love her because she looks good on-camera, and because they can dredge up all twelve women who are switching their allegiance from Clinton to McCain. Judging from Wikipedia, her most distinguishing feature as a politician was ethics reform, which is also McCain’s primary claim to fame as a “maverick”, so that helps McCain cast himself as someone who is running against the estabishment. And if Biden attacks her then the Republicans will complain about sexism.

    I’ve seen some folks compare her to Dan Quayle, but, well, Quayle won.

  33. While I’m happy McCain picked a woman (because powerful ladies are much needed) but I am definitely not happy he picked this one. Being pro-life is a major deal-breaker for me and IF he does get elected, I’m afraid of what will happen to my right to choose in the next four years. This puts the final nail in the coffin of the minor possibility of me voting for McCain.

  34. I’d like to see more discussion of it on their end, because so far it plays very much as though he chose a woman, specifically and solely, to appease/court Hillary supporters, especially given that, from what I’ve seen, nearly everything about her is in direct opposition to McCain and his recent rhetoric.

    Which strikes me as somewhat of a blow to the feminist front. If his tactic is to choose a woman simply because she’s a woman and not because she’s actually the best person for the position (and let’s be honest: surely there are more qualified Republicans/Independents he could have chosen), isn’t that kind of chauvinistic or misogynist? Or something? At the very least, it doesn’t sound very empowering.

  35. I agree with a few posters that “You wanted a woman? Here’s a woman!” is too obvious to work. It’s also very condescending, as if Hillary’s female supporters don’t know anything about politics and will vote only on gender.

    It’s not quite as condescending as what Bush Sr. did. He thought he could close the “gender gap” by picking someone cute, thus showing why he had a gender gap.

  36. I’ve been trying to find a non-echo-chamber locale in which to get a read, and this is an improvement… but I’m still called upon to game it out.

    I just wish that I could do that here without hijacking the entire thread.

  37. Best population numbers I could get:

    Alaska: 670,053
    New York City: 8,274,527
    Brooklyn alone: 2,486,235
    Los Angeles: 9,948,081

    That means that not only is being mayor of NYC or Los Angeles a bigger job than being governor of Alaska, so is being Borough President of Brooklyn.

    She has NO national experience, and no foreign policy experience.

    She’s a laughable candidate, until you consider that she may have to run the country when McCain is incapacitated. Then she’s scary.

  38. The word “desperate” comes to mind. I think the McCain campaign has seriously miscalculated the inherent Waspy sexism of their own party. The path to the White House for McCain is, sadly, through race-baiting and dog whistle politics. Forcing conservatives to choose between their racism and their sexism will just make a bunch of them stay home and whine.

    Matthew at 25:
    “Stone fox”? I know grade-flation has hit our colleges, but now we’re ogling on a curve?

    But this also points to the problem of sexism in the GOP. Talk of Palin’s hotness undermines her role as one heartbeat from the most powerful position in the world – especially to the sexist legions of Republicans in the world. Conservatives do not want a woman in charge of the country.

  39. Since I have not been following Alaska politics, I am not qualified to give an opinion yet. I will wait and see what information comes out in the near future. But I will espouse neither the knee-jerk republican response that she is a perfect choice nor the knee-jerk democratic response that she is totally incapable.

    However, I totally reject as bigoted and unreasonable the attitude that only people from the largest cities and states are intellegent or decent tnough to hold national office.

  40. The Brooklyn borough president is basically the borough’s head cheerleader. Or head weight-loser (you might have to be a Brooklynite to remember that one). So the borough president is less qualified than governor of Alaska.

  41. Now at work. Should be toiling for The Man.

    But dammit, another enticing political thread…

    OK, Palin for veep?

    Brilliant, if true.

    Why?

    Republicans know McCain will have to win-from-behind. They also know that this election has been thoroughly dominated by identity politics. Ergo, women for the woman, blacks for the black, mormons for the mormon, etc, etc.

    Women who were primarily for Hillary because she is a woman, now find themselves in a quandry. Vote for a ticket with a female veep, even if the politics aren’t OK? Or vote for Obama, who “stole” the Dem ticket from Hillary? Which will matter more to enough voters? The politics, or the identity?

    McCain clearly intends to peel off every last woman voter he can get from the Dems. He is banking on the disaffected Hillary voters who were in it for the gender.

  42. I work for an Alaskan utility and admire her anti-corruption stance. Before being elected governor, she lost a senior state government job because of her whistle-blower stand. She won’t even talk to the big business or big oil lobbies, won’t let them call her, wine and dine her, schmooze her. My company’s execs whine about that – but I think it’s excellent. Her goal is to do the research and make decisions on the merits of the issues.

    On the corruption investigation – I’d recommend taking what the news media reports with a grain of salt. Alaska news is notoriously anti- whatever party is in power.

    The investigation is being driven by her former opponent, a sour-grapes trust-fund baby who lost and is now doing nothing but sitting around stirring up anti-Palin muck as a full-time job. His job just got bigger.

    I’m actually not a political conservative, so her views and mine don’t align very closely, but I do admire Palin’s achievements in her political career to date.

  43. This is an energizing choice for the Republicans. It shores up McCain’s weakness on the right, mostly. Somebody out there is going to think she’s too moderate on gay rights.

    I do not think it’s about going after disgruntled Hillary supporters – Palin’s far too anti-abortion for that to be a useful thing. She’s raising a baby with Downs Syndrome, which she could have aborted and didn’t.

    She opposes same-sex marriage, but used her first veto to make sure same-sex couple benefits were extended to state employees, which I guess makes her a moderate by GOP standards.

    She’s the most pro-gun of any of the four – avid hunter, NRA life member.

    Eldest son being deployed to Iraq soon can’t hurt either.

    She has something of the Alaska accent, which could make her sound stupid in a debate, but might also sound like home to a big chunk of America.

    re: legal and ethical problems: She fired an at-will appointee who had the power to fire her former brother-in-law, but didn’t. This is not much of a scandal. Also, Palin’s whistleblowing within the Alaska GOP is what got her to prominence, so it’s pretty hard to tar her as part of the Party Machine.

  44. More thoughts.

    For the Obama ticket to attack Palin on experience…. That’s laughable. Especially when it comes to foreign affairs. Obama and Palin are both in the same place on that one. Ergo, neither has any experience with foreign policy. Likewise, they’re both very young.

    Damn, this election cycle just got a lot more interesting, from a spectator POV. I still don’t know who I want to vote for, but McCain threw a knuckleball when most expected him to bring a heater.

  45. Yeah. Your main argument against your opponent is that he’s too young, and too inexperienced. You pick someone who is younger and less experienced as your VP. You just lost your argument. To yourself.

  46. Beyond anti-abortion-rights she is also anti-birth control. She also believes that creationism should be taught in schools

  47. wsuilmo @ 55: Beyond anti-abortion-rights she is also anti-birth control. She also believes that creationism should be taught in schools.

    I really hope that’s not true. It sickens me to think that someone so willfully ignorant could be sitting in our White House in a position of power.

    I’m going to look that up now…

  48. Whatever else Palin is she isn’t Mitt Romney. As much as the current GOP insiders apparently wanted Mitt on the ticket they seemed totally clueless to the reality that man would have been the kiss of death. Too many evangelicals would have not bothered to vote rather than vote for a Mormon. Not to mention that McCain is said to loath the man; perhaps this is the so-called maverick trying to get his mojo back.

    Now we’ll see if Madame Palin can chew gum and walk in a straight line

  49. Sarah Palin? Geeze, was I on the short list?

    Bush Sr. and Jr. had a real talent for picking VPs who made you pray for the good health of the president. Seems as though McCain has stumbled on the same trick.

  50. I think Palin is a great choice. Listening to the half dozen secretaries and one female attorney in the office talk it over (they are too close to my door), they seem excited by it. Though if a political label is needed I would describe most of them as conservative leaning independents.

    And she does a lot for McCain. Nomintaing her: advances his campaign for women voters (Obama has been significantly under-performing Kerry in that demographic which accounts for the close polls); shores him up his support among religious conservatives, the NRA and the talk radio crowd; and, reinforces his reformer credentials.

    And having heard her speak, I think she’ll do fine against Biden. She’ll come off as direct, forthright and to the point, and Biden (at least to my biased ears) will sound like an overwrought windbag.

    John at 23:

    McCain commanded the largest squadron in the Navy and obtained the rank of Captain (the equivalent of an Army or Marine colonel). That should count toward executive experience.

  51. The pick I think does two important things from McCain’s POV.

    1) It gives the Republican base someone on the ticket that speaks to them. For either candidate to win they have to get their base AND the middle, McCain can grab the middle as he always had, but he’s been hemorrhaging conservative support, and he had to go far right for a VP just to stop the bleeding.

    2) It counters the “historic nomination” factor somewhat, making the identity politics less of an issue. I don’t think it’s a direct play for Hillary Voters, but a recognition that picking some of the others on the short list (I was pulling for Liberman) would have made it too easy for them to be cast as the old white guy ticket.

    #1 is probably more important than #2, but I think that was the rationale behind the pick.

  52. Obama has been significantly under-performing Kerry in that demographic which accounts for the close polls

    No, he hasn’t. In fact, he’s doing better among women than either Kerry or Gore at this point in the election.

    Next GOP talking point?

  53. I found the quote, and although initially it sounds like she wanted creationism on the syllabus, she clarified it later and said, “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    That makes me feel a lot better. I also didn’t find ANYTHING that said she was against birth control, although she does have five kids (it’s not a clown car, lady). She just gave birth to a son with Down’s Syndrome, which makes sense considering her strong anti-abortion stance.

  54. “What is it that the VP does?”

    Scroll to about 2:05 in that video of Sarah Palin and watch her ask that.

    She’s not remotely qualified to be VP. She’s certainly not qualified to be President.

  55. What a weird pick. I really don’t get it. Nobody’s heard of her. The Obama camp will make hay for days out of her lack of experience and any hint of ethical problems.

    It doesn’t matter if the ethical problems aren’t true. If your first introduction to the country is accompanied by “ethics violations”, that’s what people will remember.

    And it blows McCain’s “Obama is too inexperienced” tactic out of the water.

    Also, anybody who thinks Hillary supporters will vote for McCain because is an idiot. A sexist idiot. “My woman candidate lost to a man! Must…vote…for…woman..at… any…cost…to…values…” I mean, really.

  56. John,

    I’m happy to make the case that she has more practical experience than Mccain or Obama combined. There is a reason that few if any senators ever reach the oval office and this is a much needed correction on what is an historical abberation. She has a proven skill set that the other three lack.

    Secondly, if you want to compare her experience to Obama then you should talk about actual accomplishments. Obama has none. Palin just pushed through a huge pipeline deal that had been stalled for decades. She fought against her party machine and stomped on it. She pushed through ethics reforms and cut taxes. She vetoed a bill that would have denied state benefits to domestic partners. The list is very impressive, more so because of the short time in which she accomplished it. (Her five kids and blue collar “eskimo” husband only add to her appeal).

    Finally, I would note that the republicans have their “inexperienced” player on the bottom of the ticket while the democrats have theirs at the top.

    This pick was not made to woo Hilary voters, it was clearly made to energize the evangelical base. In that regard it is a huge home run.

  57. rickg @ 64: You’re taking that way out of context. She’s asking (tongue somewhat in cheek) what the VP would do EVERY DAY in a McCain administration, not what the job entails overall, or what the Constitution says about it.

  58. If the point of Palin’s nod is “look at us, WE can nominate a woman to the VP slot”, may I point out twenty-four years ago?

    Without getting into the debate on the value judgment of the choice, I fear that if this works out as a loss for the McCain campaign, it will make it harder for women to get nominated. Still, one can dream for a future where neither gender nor race nor religion becomes a flashpoint for one set of voters over another. We ain’t there yet.

    Dr. Phil

  59. There is a reason that few if any senators ever reach the oval office

    Presidents Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, William Harrison, Tyler, Pierce, Buchanan. Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Harrison, Harding, Truman, Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Nixon, former Senators all, would like a word with you.

    She has a proven skill set that the other three lack.

    Which is? If you want to “make the case” you have to, you know, actually make the case…

    what the VP would do EVERY DAY in a McCain administration

    Check his pulse?

  60. It’s a long bomb by McCain… but it might just work. It puts Obama’s people in a bit of a catch-22. If they attack her inexperience, they undercut Obama’s lack of experience. They can’t really attack her for being too rich, like some GOP fat cat *cough* Romney *cough*. If Biden really starts going after her she could get sympathy votes. The age thing is a wash since she’s only two years younger than Obama, and he wants the #1 spot.
    I think this was more of a decision by McCain’s people to solidify the Republican base, pull the evangelical vote back into the fold, and start making inroads into the mass of voters who keep responding to “undecided” in all the polls. They may pick up some ex-Hillary supporters, but I think their primary target was the “undecided” crowd.

  61. As for those of you who want to talk about her “ethical” problems you should know a few facts. The ex-husband in the case admits to using his state issued taser on his 11 year old son but claims the boy asked him to. He also does not dispute threatening to kill his father-in-law ( Palin’s dad). He was only able to hang on to his state troopers job because of aggressive intervention by his union. There is no indication that Palin tried to have him fired. The guy she did fire was an appointee who was a hold over from the previous administration and apparently didn’t like what she was doing so she replaced him with someone who did.

    There is nothing in that scenario that does anything but help her with the conservative base.

    She can only hope that the democrats and the media make a huge issue out of this.

  62. McCain apparently decided the “experience” issue isn’t important anymore. He scoured the country for the best qualified candidate to be a heartbeat away from the presidency, and he picked someone who has been governor for a year and a half, and who before that was part-time mayor of a town of 8,000. It’s a surprise choice, but I don’t see it as a good one for McCain. I’m looking forward to her debate with Biden.

  63. Oh, mur-DER.

    A backwater woman from a backwater state. Two years in a political position of any significance, and she’s McCain’s chosen second? Biden is going to eat her for lunch in the VP debate by standing there. And she is NOT hot. That updo she favors makes her look like she’s using it to cheat a plastic surgeon out of her first face lift as long as possible. Those eyes make me think of a squirrel on amphetamines.

    Congratulations, Sen. McCain. You picked the weakest VP candidate in history.

    BTW, to those who want to claim his time in charge of a squadron counts as executive experience, he did nothing more than maintain the status quo that had been established before he got there. No changes, no innovations. A monkey with a good aide de camp would’ve done as well.

  64. Her resume:

    Wasilla City Council, 4 years
    Mayor of Wasilla, 6 years
    Governor of Alaska, 1.5 years

    Wasilla, according to the 2000 Census, had a population of 5,470.

    How much government does a town of that size need? What major decisions were made?

    Not only is she woefully inexperienced, she’s also a supporter of teaching creationism in the schools. I think that says it all.

  65. Jeff (55): “She’s raising a baby with Downs Syndrome, which she could have aborted and didn’t.”

    Can’t we say this about the mother of every person on the planet? “She could have had an abortion but didn’t?”

    Keri (63): “She just gave birth to a son with Down’s Syndrome, which makes sense considering her strong anti-abortion stance.”

    Do her beliefs have something to do with her son’s having Down’s syndrome?

  66. Last week McCain ran a strident ad proclaiming (and I quote): “Obama, why oh why didn’t you pick Hillary; have you no respect for the woman?” I thought this meant that McCain was honor-bound to pick Hillary as his running mate. Perhaps that was just a hint that McCain was leaning towards a woman, or waiting on the reaction to that ad before committing to a woman.

    Obligatory Science Fiction Television References: Palin vaguely resembles President Laura Roslyn. Consider the circumstances that put her in office, and the job she’s done since swearing in. This might gather the same nerd votes that kept General Wesley Clark from the 2004 nomination, seeing how terrible President William Morgan Clark was.

  67. Keri@56: It sickens me to think that someone so willfully ignorant [anti-abortion, anti-birth-control, pro-creationism-in-schools, which Palin may or may not be] could be sitting in our White House in a position of power.

    Isn’t that pretty much what we have right now, though? Or is the presidency not a position of power in this administration?

    I think Andrew@61 has hit the nail on the head.

  68. There goes my theory that the event was in Dayton for proximity to the VP candidate….

    Scalzi for office anyone?

  69. Great choice. Helps McCain with the right wing of the party, us gun rights people, hunters, women, and others. She’s held real blue color jobs – commercial fisherman? Everyone who loves “Deadlist Catch” is going to vote for her. :-)

    Some possible problems with energy policy (we’ll see how that plays out) and lack of experience. Although the experience she does have is executive and I am not sure Obama really wants to play that card.

    She has a son in the army heading for Iraq. So much for the “would you send your son there” issue.

    Stupid Clinton supporters may go for her to show they are upset. Smart ones (if any) are already on Obama’s team.

  70. I do not think it’s about going after disgruntled Hillary supporters – Palin’s far too anti-abortion for that to be a useful thing. She’s raising a baby with Downs Syndrome, which she could have aborted and didn’t.

    Wait, what? Are you really implying that the choice to raise a handicapped child is somehow indicative of an extreme anti-abortion position? Or that a pro-choice woman wouldn’t/couldn’t make the same choice? I thought the operative word in pro-choice was “choice.”

    If one is pro-choice, then it makes sense to oppose her on the basis of the policies she supports, but the bit about raising a child with Down Syndrome makes me admire her, regardless of her position on the legality of abortion.

  71. I think the decision not to abort a Down’s Syndrome fetus could be made by a pro-Choice woman. For an anti-Choice woman like Palin, it’s a decision between being consistent and being elitist (in the usual sense of “what’s OK for me is not OK for the masses”).

    That her decision was consistent with her political values is at the very least not a negative. She has many faults, and in my view they mean she should not be VP, but this goes to her credit, if anything. Dissing her on that will not win anyone any votes, or any friends.

  72. Read her acceptance speech when it becomes available. I heard it while at lunch, and think she pretty much nailed what the undecideds (myself among them) are looking for. In fact, after hearing her and looking at what little material was available online, as a snap judgment I think she’s the best candidate, period (with Biden second, actually). And I absolutely would not have recognized her name or had any idea who she was before this morning.

    Yes, her lack of experience is troubling; so is Obama’s. But look at what she’s accomplished, in a short period; she’s walked the walk. And her life story, not just her political story, is one of those “only in America” things.

    This pick will energize the Republican base (after they recover from the shock) and will make this election incredibly close. I just hope that she doesn’t try the traditional VP candidate role of attack dog. I would love to hear one of the candidates quoting Terry Pratchett; can’t remember the exact quote and don’t have time to look it up now, but it’s along the lines of “we’re on the same boat, and while me may disagree on who the captain is on occassion, all of us agree that it’s an important voyage”. Call me a hopeless idealist, I can live with that.

  73. Presumably she has only one home, yes? That and her gender (and of course her ideology) seem to be the merits he was looking for.

    I think the ol’ “I’ll have my staff get back to you” on the homes front put Mittens in the cycle bin… and probably Meg couldn’t bend far enough to the right to satisfy the base.

  74. Will Entrekin @76: Keri (63): Do her beliefs have something to do with her son’s having Down’s syndrome?

    Heh, no that’s not where I was headed with that statement. She’s anti-abortion, so it makes sense that she chose to keep her son, when she probably (not definitely) knew he was DS while he was still in the womb. She probably had the opportunity to abort him, and chose not to because she’s pro-life. Hopefully that’s clearer and doesn’t make me look like a mouth breather.

  75. Ian M. @ 46:

    “Stone fox”? I know grade-flation has hit our colleges, but now we’re ogling on a curve?

    What’s this “we” crap? I’m only telling you what a conservative friend of mine said. (OK, I might have added the “stone” bit. But “fox” was definitely his term, not mine. Before today, I had never laid eyes on Gov. Palin.)

    Talk of Palin’s hotness undermines her role as one heartbeat from the most powerful position in the world – especially to the sexist legions of Republicans in the world.

    Talk of Palin’s hotness is, for my money, utterly irrelevant. Or at least, it would be, in a perfect world. But somebody out there seems to think it’s important.

    Conservatives do not want a woman in charge of the country.

    Wow. That’s a mighty broad brush yer paintin’ with, pard.

  76. A window dressing pick: young, female, conservative, maverick

    I have to admit it suddenly makes McCain’s campaign exciting. This should get really interesting.

  77. I agree with a few posters that “You wanted a woman? Here’s a woman!” is too obvious to work.

    The political innocence of some commenters here despite their obvious interest in politics is always good humor. Palin is going to take away a noticeable chunk of the Hillary vote because a large portion of the Hillary vote was solely predicated on Hillary’s sex, not her positions.

    One must understand that it’s the swing voters who don’t have an ideology that decide US elections. Most of them are women and they respond in Pavlovian manner to things that serious observers find trivial, usually whichever party manages to scare them about the other party most. An attractive mother would go over very well with this crowd even if she weren’t a sitting governor.

    Your main argument against your opponent is that he’s too young, and too inexperienced. You pick someone who is younger and less experienced as your VP.

    That’s not McCain’s main argument, his main argument is that Obama is a liberal, elitist lightweight. Which he is. Sarah Palin has more experience than Obama, is more accomplished, and is a bit of a hick. She also nicely offsets the “historic” aspect, which is why I was one of the few bloggers who correctly predicted McCain would pick her when Right Wing News did its survey earlier this week.

    Belittling Alaska isn’t exactly a winning strategy for someone who was already struggling due to his celeb-candidacy in places like outstate Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The big cities are owned by Democrats and the media doesn’t get a vote, so it’s the aforementioned independents, most of whom live in of thousands of unimportant cities and towns, that will decide this election. The point isn’t whether “major decisions were made”, but that she had to make those decisions. Obama never has. Democrats would have to be insane to try to go after her on the experience issue.

    Now, I am no Republican. I will not vote for McCain, and I would rather see Obama win simply because I think it would be both amusing and informative. But it’s absurd to try and pretend that Palin was not an excellent choice for a running mate; she was a much better choice than Biden.

  78. to Fiona @ 50:

    In general, it seems that being pro-life means being anti-abortion and PRO capital punishment. A puzzling mindset, to be sure. Then again, most vegetarians & vegans I know are anti-meat and pro-choice, which is just as puzzling to me. People are weird.

  79. will @76 — Many people _do_ abort a pregnancy when testing shows Downs, but not her.

    Nick @83 — I’m not saying her choice is indicative of anything. She is anti-abortion (and proud to say so), and behaved in a way consistent with that position in a situation that some people would not have.

  80. As someone who was faced with the same horrible choice as Palin only a few months ago, I find the talk of her choice regarding her child to be distasteful at best, voyeuristic and judgemental at worst.

    You DO NOT KNOW what your decision might be unless you have been there, and I sincerely wish that no one had to make that decision. You cannot know what it is like–to have to make the decision or live with the consequences.

  81. My late father, a socially liberal, fiscally Conservative Republican, probably would approve of Palin.

    Although deeply influenced by her devout Christianity, she is consistent and sincere on that. Against gay marriage (an issue on which I strongly disagree), she is at least genuinely pro-conventional marriage. NRA member (as was my Dad). PTA activist (my mom was twice PTA President). Anti-abortion (an issue on which I strongly disagree) she at least sticks to principle of having her 5th child, even after pre-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Child of elementary school principle and another school Union employee. Sports participant and coach. Married to oil worker and sports participant. “Hockey Mom.” First child enlisted, is in Iraq.

    She looks a little like the most recent filmic Lois Lane. One can imagine someone in a film saying: “Why, with your glasses off… you’re beautiful.”

    Favorite meal: Moose Stew.

    I agree that she is no Hillary Clinton. But she has a personal story as compelling as McCain’s or Biden’s. If this election is based on narrative rather than curriculum vitae, she is a good choice.

    In picking a Veep, First Do No Harm. She is not Dan Quayle.

    Now, who will Bob Barr pick as Libertarian VP candidate? Paris Hilton is still available.

  82. And her life story, not just her political story, is one of those “only in America” things.

    And Obama’s isn’t?

    but it’s along the lines of “we’re on the same boat, and while me may disagree on who the captain is on occassion, all of us agree that it’s an important voyage”

    You didn’t watch Obama’s acceptance speech, did you?

  83. People who see this as an appeal to Hillary supporters are simply wrong. McCain’s strategy here isn’t “women will vote for a woman”.

    Here’s what he gets with his choice:

    1. A governor who has very little experience–but has done a lot during that time. She can show how she’s done more in 1.5 years as governor than he has in the Senate. She’ll be a Maverick, an outsider, who can do good things in a corrupt environment.

    2. A reputation for integrity. She’s pissed off her corrupt Republican colleagues in Alaska and closed down projects that never should have gone through in the first place (e.g., the Bridge to Nowhere). People are already overreaching on the “corruption scandal” involving her brother-in-law–she’s cooperating fully and they haven’t even needed subpoenas. It’s unlikely anything serious will come of that.

    3. She’s staunchly conservative, fiscally and socially. McCain floated pro-choice Tom Ridge and got beat up–she’s an ardent pro-lifer. He got the message: be more conservative. Just as people at (say) HuffPo have said that Obama shouldn’t run to the center, McCain knows that he shouldn’t run to the center, either. Many Republicans _already_ think he’s too far left. This VP choice brings him much closer to the Republican base.

    This choice isn’t meant to capture Hillary supporters (except the stupid ones). It’s about capturing Huckabee supporters, having a better hammer to pound Barack with about his experience, and doing both while getting another maverick on the ticket. It’s so crazy it just might work, and it will certainly work better than Tom Ridge.

  84. Who?

    Oh, they’ve got a black guy, so we need a woman. That’ll blind the voters to the horrors of the last eight years and the promise of four more under even worse conditions.

    This is calculated political maneuvering and it reeks of it too. It won’t fool anyone but those willing to be fooled, by which I mean Republicans who want to believe.

  85. Blue Raven @ #73,

    From where I sit, Palin is a very savvy move.

    People underestimate how many centrist women voters were Hillary supporters BECAUSE HILLARY IS A FEMALE AND THEY WANT FEMALES IN HIGH OFFICE.

    Many, my own wife included, were quite cool to Obama once it become clear Hillary was losing her mojo. Choosing Biden was the move that sent many of these voters over the edge.

    Picking up Palin will now make McCain/Palin the clear choice for centrist women who demand that women crack the executive class ceiling. Her looks and mommy cred will actually help her a ton in this regard. She reflects back to centrists women a prouder, bolder picture of themselves.

    Brilliant move for the McCain campaign. Brilliant.

  86. Alfred @ #82: She has a son in the army heading for Iraq. So much for the “would you send your son there” issue.

    So does Biden. (See here, last line.)

    Jeff @ #92: Many people _do_ abort a pregnancy when testing shows Downs, but not her.

    Do you have some statistical evidence to point us to, or would you prefer to go on anecdotal “evidence”? Besides which, while her commitment to her family and children is obviously wonderful, she is not the only woman (regardless of views on abortion) to carry her child to term and raise/love a child with a disability.

  87. Giacomo@42: Another “proper” name for it would be “pro–fetus rights.” That would actually reflect the motivation of the person who holds those views. Oh, maybe there are some pro-life people who want to deny people the right to an abortion in order to punish them for their sins or something like that, but I think most are anti-abortion out of a desire to protect unborn children rather than an active desire to deny an adult’s rights.

    I understand that each side wants to define the terminology to make their own side look as good as possible, but no one term is undeniably “proper.”

  88. She hunts, fishes, knows how to work for a living, is fiscally conservative. She’s been the mayor of a small town, which isn’t as easy a job as it might be. People in Alaska really like her – her poll numbers there are in the 90s.

    I wish she’d be pro gay marriage, but it sounds like she’s taken that stance for sound personal reasons, not just out of a desire to irritate people or because it polls well.

    So, you know. We could have worse people as the President. We’ve had worse people in that office, for that matter.

    I do not believe this is a move to grab the grumpy Clinton voters. For one – the lady is pro-life. For two, she’s socially conservative. This is not the kind of lady a grumpy feminist is going to swoon over.

    It’s a crazy idea, but perhaps McCain chose her because she really would be the best person to fill in if he buys the farm while on the job.

  89. Are you thereby also making the argument that Palin has more experience than John McCain, who, like Obama, has not had executive experience?

    John – the “executive experience” must be straight off a GOP talking-points memo, because I have heard the exact same argument at least twice this morning before reading the comments on your blog. (I fully expect to see a talking points montage on The Daily Show on this.)

    What it boils down to is that the Republicans have been attacking Obama on age and a lack of experience; now they have a young VP nominee with a lack of experience. To reconcile this, they’ve resorted in essence to saying “That’s different!”

    SubOdeon – you really don’t seem to understand why many women supported Hillary so strongly. It wasn’t because she pees sitting down. It’s because they identified with her very strongly: a Baby Boomer who fought discrimination, belitting sexism and the glass ceiling and succeeded in her own right. The ‘executive’ women to whom you refer have been there, done that, gotten the kick in the ass and the bump on the head.

    You seem to follow the GOP thinking that Hillary supporters are so stupid that they’ll worship any female nominee with a job. You also don’t seem to get that, not being stupid, Hillary supporters are very clear on the fact that Palin was nominated to be VICE PRESIDENT. Woo hoo, an old white guy picks a female to be second banana. Maybe McCain won’t call her a trollop and suggest she bare her tits at a monster truck rally, if she’s very good.

  90. Tumbleweed @91:

    In general, it seems that being pro-life means being anti-abortion and PRO capital punishment.

    That’s a little too general, I think. The Catholic Church, for example, is both anti-abortion and anti-capital punishment. Catholicism, last I checked, is still the largest single sect of Christianity.

    Just sayin’.

  91. She chose to have her Down syndrome child, which is the same choice I (a pro-choice female voter) would make in that situation. The point to me is that she doesn’t want to allow other women the right to make that choice for themselves, but believes they should be forced by law into having no choice in the matter.

  92. K @ 93: As someone who was faced with the same horrible choice as Palin only a few months ago, I find the talk of her choice regarding her child to be distasteful at best, voyeuristic and judgemental at worst.

    You DO NOT KNOW what your decision might be unless you have been there, and I sincerely wish that no one had to make that decision. You cannot know what it is like–to have to make the decision or live with the consequences.

    It must have been a shock to read my and others’ posts regarding this topic, and I’m sorry you had to given your unfortunate experience. I have to disagree with you that the discussion was distasteful, judgemental, or voyeuristic.

  93. As far as Hillary’s supporters go, I’m picking up about a 10:1 ratio of outrage versus interest in Palin, based on everyone I’ve talked to so far.

    Out of Touch for $200, Alex.

  94. They also know that this election has been thoroughly dominated by identity politics. Ergo, women for the woman, blacks for the black, mormons for the mormon, etc, etc.

    Funny, when white guys support a white guy, that’s just natural because he’s the best person for the job. If white women support a white woman, or black people support a black person, why, that’s identity politics.

    It’s like that dogwhistle about “class warfare”. It’s nothing more than a bullshit, power-elite way of telling uppity folks to STFU and no tagbacks.

  95. As an Alaskan and as a person who has met Sarah Palin I can honestly say that she knows her stuff. She led the town of Wasilla as mayor from little more than a sleepy rural town to one of the fastest growing areas in Alaska, and by percentage of growth, in the US.

    She also has guts, serious guts.

    The woman was appointed by former governer Frank Murkowski as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Shortly after reporting for duty in Juneau she discovered some serious corruption that led all the way to her boss…she exposed it and got fired. Two years years later deposed Murkowski in the Republican primaries and snatched his job from him.

    If you don’t think politics in Alaska is tough enough to qualify her consider this. In 1992 we elected a governor from the Alaskan Independence Party, yeah…for real…a seccesionist group (don’t worry, Sarah has nothing to do with them). In the middle of the campaign season, the head of the party disappeared. His bullet riddled body was found a couple years later wrapped in a blue tarp by hunters out on the middle of nowhere.

    She’d be the kind of VP that McCain could count on. And if the chips fell bad for him, she’d be a good president in my opinion. She can hack it.

    Downside – she’s too real-American mom, and way too pretty for a politician (Miss Alaska 1984)…therefore she’s gonna get hammered by the dirt flingers to no end. Thus starts the grist mill of politics.

  96. mythago @101: What it boils down to is that the Republicans have been attacking Obama on age and a lack of experience; now they have a young VP nominee with a lack of experience. To reconcile this, they’ve resorted in essence to saying “That’s different!”

    The choice can’t have been an accident, so I think they’re going to point out that this governor, with only a year and a half in office, has done more than Obama did in two years in the Senate.

    They haven’t eliminated the “what about experience?” question: they’ve heightened it. And their answer, in practical terms, is better.

    This gets back to a comment made by Drew way back at #66. He needs clarifying — many Senators have become Presidents — but he’s right that it’s rare to have someone with no executive experience (VP, Governor, etc.) become President. In that light, David’s counterexamples @69 become less relevant: Nixon, Johnson, and Truman were all VPs before being President, for example.

    I’ve heard it said that this is because “executives are seeing as doing stuff, and senators are seen as debating stuff.” Whether that’s true or not is open for debate, but I think in this case it may work in the Republicans’ favor.

  97. I’ve heard it said that this is because “executives are seeing as doing stuff, and senators are seen as debating stuff.” Whether that’s true or not is open for debate, but I think in this case it may work in the Republicans’ favor.

    I’d have to agree, this may be the step to the White House proper for her.

  98. As an Alaska Republican, I will now be voting for Obama. While she makes a great first impression, the 60+ days of the campaign will reveal her shallowness. While I’m no fan of Biden, the VP debate will be very interesting; during unscripted events, the Governor has been aptly described as “vacuous.” It should make for a very interesting campaign.

  99. I would defy anyone to present evidence that a given VP nomination has changed the result of a presidential election in the era of modern campaigns (the beginning of which is disputable, but let’s say, oh, the Kennedy-Nixon race). Look at the history: if Dan Quayle didn’t lose it for Bush in 1988, does it really seem likely that any of the plausible choices McCain could have made would hurt? People don’t vote for the VP. The best that a VP can do is to follow the political hypocractic oath: do no harm. If the VP can bring in a swing state, then so much the better, but (a) Alaska doesn’t fall in that camp, and (b) it is hens’-teeth rare for an election to come down to the votes of a single state. Mondale did it for Carter in 1980, but that election in particular demonstrates the relatively trivial role of the VP candidate.

    Besides, there’s little suggesting that a VP candidate will necessarily be able to win his (or her!) home state. Ferraro didn’t do it for Mondale in 1984 (not that it would have mattered, but still). Edwards didn’t help out Kerry in 2004.

    The “home state” allure of a VP candidate seems particularly weak given that unsuccessful presidential candidates have sometimes even been unable to carry their own state (see George McGovern in 1972 and, more dishearteningly, Al Gore in 2000 — where that would have been enough to seal the deal).

    All in all, McCain’s pick fills the same role as Obama’s: it gives the media a subject to chew on for a while, gives us all a new slab of fresh meat to tear into, and then recedes into the periphery of the presidential campaign, where the loser awaits his or her place in the dustbin of history.

  100. KSB – You’re smart. Keeping the focus real, and not losing track of the real target, that being the P’s not the VP’s. I like that…you get an extra cookie at recess. ;-)

  101. Scalzi @ 23

    Are you thereby also making the argument that Palin has more experience than John McCain, who, like Obama, has not had executive experience?

    It’s not an argument, it just the facts. She has more executive experience that any of the other candidates. In fact, it now turns out that Obama is the least experienced out of all of them, but not the youngest.

    Or the prettiest. (Though he is pretty)

    And I’ll bet she’s better with a gun….

    Giacomo @ 28

    You kidding? She’s been for TWO years governor of ALASKA. Alaska has less inhabitants than my province.

    Yeah, but it borders two countries one of which is increasingly hostile.

    Jenne @ 39

    Being pro-life is a major deal-breaker for me and IF he does get elected, I’m afraid of what will happen to my right to choose in the next four years.

    But, you know, there are many pro-life Democrats. I know it’s hard to imagine, but there it is.

    Plus, she is pro-gun. And the Democratic is very anti-gun with Biden boasting during the primaries that he authored the assault-weapons ban (he didn’t) and said he wished it hadn’t expired.

    Them’s fighting words to very many people, Republicans and Democrats

    Which strikes me as somewhat of a blow to the feminist front. If his tactic is to choose a woman simply because she’s a woman and not because she’s actually the best person for the position

    She has a track record of going up against the Republican establishment and winning. I’m thinking that makes her the best person for the position in McCain’s book.

    Jemaleddin @58

    Am I the only one who sees this as McCain declaring his support for Obama?

    Probably not. Democrats have a large contingent of delusional individuals.

    Keri @63

    That makes me feel a lot better. I also didn’t find ANYTHING that said she was against birth control

    Nice job. Democrats will be throwing around lots of stuff like this to blunt the impact of the selection. As long as people keep doing their own research, it won’t matter much.

    milieu @75

    Her resume:

    Wasilla City Council, 4 years
    Mayor of Wasilla, 6 years
    Governor of Alaska, 1.5 years

    Wasilla, according to the 2000 Census, had a population of 5,470.

    There’s a good tactic. Keep attacking small town America. I’m sure those gun-clutching, bible-clinging citizens will appreciate it.

    Dan Bailey

    Man, I can’t wait to see the VP debates. Biden is going to make her look like the Conclave fleet at Roanoke.

    How could you possibly know that? (see Basil Sands @108)

    Sub-Oden @98

    Picking up Palin will now make McCain/Palin the clear choice for centrist women who demand that women crack the executive class ceiling.

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that in addition to pro-life Republicans, there are centrist women in the Democratic Party. And a lot of Hillary’s support came from centrist and right-of center Democrats. And they weren’t all of the female gender.

    mthago @ 101

    John – the “executive experience” must be straight off a GOP talking-points memo, because I have heard the exact same argument at least twice this morning before reading the comments on your blog. (I fully expect to see a talking points montage on The Daily Show on this.)

    What it boils down to is that the Republicans have been attacking Obama on age and a lack of experience; now they have a young VP nominee with a lack of experience.

    Substituting one talking point for another? Good work!

  102. I would defy anyone to present evidence that a given VP nomination has changed the result of a presidential election in the era of modern campaigns

    I take your point, but George McGovern called and he wants 1972 back.

  103. Hmmmm. My Caltech co-alumnus Steinn Sigurdson, in his ScienceBlog, reports: “Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state’s public classrooms.”

    Dang. She lost me there. You’ve got to draw a line somewhere. As a published evolutionary biologist and long-time teacher, and President of the Humanists Association at Cal State L.A., I am passionate in stating my conviction that there’s no place for Intelligent Design fraud in the White House. I wonder what species of Creationist she is. Good question in her debate with Biden would be: “How old is the planet Earth?”

  104. Frank: Nice job. Democrats will be throwing around lots of stuff like this to blunt the impact of the selection. As long as people keep doing their own research, it won’t matter much.

    Don’t go praising me yet. Ever since the media decided they didn’t need to fact-check Bush’s WMD claims, I’ve felt the need to do my own research instead of letting them do it for me. I’m a Democrat, to boot, and have been resolutely looking up every Republican jab against Obama. None of their claims really stick, I’m happy to say. But you know, there ARE people out there think that because the word “Obama” is so very close to “Osama” then they shouldn’t vote for Barack HUSSEIN Obama. ZOMG he’s a closet islamofascist!

  105. I believe her appeal is to the base and center right independents. I’m sure they’ll gladly take any Hillary supporter who switches solely for reasons of gender, but given Palin’s pro-life credentials, I doubt the McCain camp kids itself that this type of person actually exists in any number.

  106. Jonathan Vos Poston @ 119: Hmmmm. My Caltech co-alumnus Steinn Sigurdson, in his ScienceBlog, reports: “Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state’s public classrooms.”

    Dang. She lost me there. You’ve got to draw a line somewhere. As a published evolutionary biologist and long-time teacher, and President of the Humanists Association at Cal State L.A., I am passionate in stating my conviction that there’s no place for Intelligent Design fraud in the White House. I wonder what species of Creationist she is. Good question in her debate with Biden would be: “How old is the planet Earth?”

    See, I actually looked this up on Google, and while her initial statements indicate she wants to teach creationism, she very quickly clarified and said, “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    I was about to get my panties in a wad at that too, but it’s really a non-story. (I’m a Democrat, BTW, so don’t think I’m just towing the party line.)

  107. Keri

    Don’t go praising me yet.

    Why not? Jonathan Vos Post @119 bought it without checking so that puts you up on him, and most people I suspect.

    I’m a Democrat, to boot, and have been resolutely looking up every Republican jab against Obama.

    As you should. They very nature of political advertising and campaigns lends itself to, um, sensationalizing your point. Which means things get exaggerated and nuances get lost. So it’s best to check up on the things that strike you.

    But you know, there ARE people out there think that because the word “Obama” is so very close to “Osama” then they shouldn’t vote for Barack HUSSEIN Obama. ZOMG he’s a closet islamofascist!

    Yeah, well, you can thank the Clinton’s for that.

    But the best “slip” was made by former Texas Democratic Representative Charlie Wilson (yea that Charlie Wilson) when he said:

    “We should be led by Osama bin Laden,” he said, then quickly corrected himself. “I mean Obama and Biden.”

    I wonder if the alliterative nature of their last names will prove to be a further vexation….

  108. Keri @122: See, I actually looked this up on Google, and while her initial statements indicate she wants to teach creationism, she very quickly clarified and said, “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    You know, this is a perfect example of how deranged is the public discourse in the USA. In a sane country that statement would have been enough to put her in the nutjobs field. Just like someone proposing the “discussion” of witchcraft or astrology during science lessons.

  109. Yeah, well, you can thank the Clinton’s for that.

    Please. You can thank the GOP and the vast echo chamber of Fox News for that.

  110. Being a “gun totin’ meateater” will play well in the west, and south, especially here in Texas!

  111. Giancomo @125

    Just like someone proposing the “discussion” of witchcraft or astrology during science lessons.

    So in Giancomo’s Science class if a kid asks a question about “Creationism” you tell him to shut up and send him to the office?

    David @127

    Please. You can thank the GOP and the vast echo chamber of Fox News for that.

    Is that what you heard? I’m not surprised. But it’s not true.

  112. Right when you think the republicans have no sense of humor, they go and do something like this. If by some chance McCain were elected president and something happened to him then she would be president. Uh, me no like. Should be fun to see her debate Biden.

  113. Frank @129: A politician isn’t a child.

    And no one here teaches “creationism,” even at catechism the teachers make clear that the Genesis isn’t literal trutch.

  114. David at 2:01.

    No, I read it this morning, before my post. Close, but followed by an immediate attack on McCain which kind of diluted the message. And I agree that Obama’s story is compelling as well, my point was that Palin was being dismissed, immediately and out of hand, as some kind of pandering to the disappointed Clintonites. I disagree, review her background, personal and political story and the question becomes, as somebody already put it, not why she was a surprise but why she’s wasn’t.

    I thought is was going to be a close election before, with Obama winning. Now I think it will be closer, with Obama still winning, but I also think we’ve just met the Republican nominee in 2012. She’ll have a lot of time to be around the national political scene, and I expect will step into an Alaskan senatorial seat at some point. We’ll see how she holds up as a candidate.

  115. Actually it is a poor choice. It is not that Palin is a bad person or bad governor…by most accounts she has been an effective governor, likable person, and a fairly principled and popular leader up in Alaska. However, it detracts from the strongest advantage that McCain had and that is experience. State politics certainly ain’t Federal politics and ultimately, once the shine wears off, I think the McCain campaign is hurt by this choice.

  116. Of course there are things one may not like about Biden as Biden (uber-drug warrior, strong foreign interventionist, that plagiarism thing), when compared to a young, sexy Female govenor from Alaska who inhaled he looks like a tired old party hack.
    That Palin supports “intelligent design” won’t matter much to those who end up voting for McCain.

  117. Frank:There’s a good tactic. Keep attacking small town America. I’m sure those gun-clutching, bible-clinging citizens will appreciate it.

    Tactic? I stated a fact, and made the assertion that running an administration for 5000 people does not qualify you to manage an administration for 300 million people.

    You, on the other hand, resorted right back to the GOP talking points of pretending that Obama was being condescending towards small town America (debunked, he was not saying anything of the sort), and then claimed I was “attacking” small town America.

    Who is using a tactic here?

    But keep trying it. Hell, you guys gave us Bush and pretended his gubernatorial experience in Texas prepared him for the white house, and boy, that turned out great!

  118. I think it’s a risky gamble, but McCain is in the place where a risky gamble might pay off and pay off big, and there are no prizes in coming in a safe & solid second place, which is where the current odds seem to have him headed.

    It’s his attempt to shake things up and make his campaign a bit more vibrant. It gives his campaign some youthful enthusiasm, and cuts back on the historic-moment-ism of the Obama campaign a little, because a female VP would also be a first.

    Also, while she’s inexperienced, and reduces the ability of McCain to criticize Obama’s inexperience, she’s a doer, not just a talker – she has an executive job, after all. He can still paint Obama as a talker, full of big ideas and grandiose plans without any ability to implement them.

    She also has social conservative cred without being extreme enough to scare the average voter, and plenty of shooting, fishing and hunting stuff for the guys in the sticks.

    Also, frankly, I suspect McCain sees in her a maverick like he sees in himself, true or false, and probably likes her.

  119. She supports teaching “Intelligent Design” in schools.

    Need I say anything else?

    You that’s funny? Some folks actually think that everything made itself out of thin air, and tadpoles can turn into people! Hehe….

    I mean how silly is that? ;-)

  120. Honestly, why does a person’s belief in Creation vs. Evolution have anything to do with their presidency. If a person’s an athiest and believes the universe to be self-existent and religion to have to material meaning, then it’s kind of a moot point to even argue it…we’re all just animals out to devour everyone weaker than us so we can enjoy the priviledges of survival of the fittest.

    Personally I like the idea of a leader who feels answerable to God, they’re probably going to think twice before reacting.

    On the other hand look at the wondrous leaps society made with other secular humanist governments…Nazism, Soviet Socialism, Chinese Communism etc.

    Anyway, I think Sarah’s a good choice.

  121. She makes Dan Quayle look qualified. Hell, she makes Harriett Myers look qualified.

    Someone made the point that Dan Quayle won in 1988. Not really. George HW Bush won on the heels of a very popular president, even with the most laughable veep candidate in history (until today). John McCain is trying to win in spite of the disdain for W of most Americans. This pick won’t help.

  122. David at 62:

    My apologies. I incorrectly recalled an article I had read. Here’s the article: http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/8/5/232536/9117

    If accurate, Obama is lagging with white women, not all women. Palin could appeal to these voters and increase McCain’s percentages in this demographic, limited of course to those women leaning conservative or independent.

    Another Palin plus is that she apparently takes on corruption, even if found in her own party. This should fire up the small government types who want Washington cleaned up and feel (correctly) that both Bushs let them down.

  123. Basil@141: Godwin.

    The problem is not with her beliefs. It is her attempts to force those beliefs where they don’t belong. Science classes should not be teaching creationism any more than Sunday schools should be teaching evolution as “part of the debate”.

  124. Honestly, why does a person’s belief in Creation vs. Evolution have anything to do with their presidency.

    Because having a President who is only loosely in touch with the reality-based world has not worked out well, recently.

  125. 144#milieu –

    We could get into a whole quasi-scientific dissertation of the qualities of one belief system over another but this is obviously not the correct forum for it. To base the decision of who is to lead the upon that person’s acceptance or rejection of any unproven theory (proof meaning truly scientifically and repeatedly reproducible) is just plain silly. It’s like saying I won’t vote for you because you think we should ahve the option to serve pistachio pudding and not just tapioca in the lunch line at schools.

    Unless a person is focused on forcing the atheist religion on everyone and drowning the other voices…then it makes perfect sense.

  126. Giacomo,

    Question: should we have a list of questions and discussions it’s not OK to ask or to have in the public classroom?

    Who controls that list, and gets to say what topics are put onto it, and who enforces it?

  127. Because having a President who is only loosely in touch with the reality-based world has not worked out well, recently.

    Prove your version of reality is any more real, and I’ll accept your statement. Otherwise, accept that evolution is a theory among others and move on to pressing matters, like how to lower the price of oil and stop the terrorists from killing innocent people.

  128. Speaking as an Alaskan:

    It’s a good thing for John McCain, and if he wins it’ll be a dammed good thing for the United States.

    For Alaska, it’s a disaster.

    Apologies, not trying to self pimp, but my full response is too long for the comments section on your blog, John.

  129. 146-Basil: You completely ignored what I said, which I will repeat in case it was an honest mistake: “The problem is not with her beliefs.”

    I don’t care what she believes in. I care when she tries force them into a public school curriculum.

    So quit trying to frame this around her being rejected for her beliefs, and focus on the issue, which is her behavior in imposing those beliefs on others.

  130. David @134

    The story you link to is from January 2008. The slander was started by Insight magazine (owned by the Washington Times) back in January 2007

    Right and they claimed it came from the Clinton Camapign:

    Insight Magazine, which is owned by the same company as The Washington Times, reported on its Web site last week that associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, had unearthed information the Illinois Democrat and likely presidential candidate attended a Muslim religious school known for teaching the most fundamentalist form of Islam

    And then we find Clinton staffers and surrogates spreading that rumor.

    This week, former Sen. Bob Kerrey endorsed Clinton but praised Obama’s Muslim roots in a way that raised eyebrows because that detail has been part of an Internet smear campaign that falsely suggests Obama is a Muslim who wants to bring jihad to the United States.

    It’s pretty clear to me that Clinton started the “rumor” and leaked it to the “right wing” press.

    Milieu @138

    I stated a fact, and made the assertion that running an administration for 5000 people does not qualify you to manage an administration for 300 million people.

    Well then I suppose a Senator who didn’t run any administration at all is even less qualified.

    Besides, she is no longer a mayor but a Governor. Of a whole State. One that borders two foreign countries.

    And my point simply was that I don’t think this will be a successful line of attack.

    Sub-Odeon @147

    Question: should we have a list of questions and discussions it’s not OK to ask or to have in the public classroom?

    Please. Don’t. This type of Democrat would have a whole laundry list of things that should not be discussed in schools.

    There’s a type of Republican that would have just as long a list, but it would contain a different set of subjects.

  131. He should have picked Michael Palin. At least people have heard of him…

    Hmmm…yes the dead bird skit I believe…and Brazil … now that was a movie :-)

  132. Basil @150 Well, as I noted elsewhere – while what you say is all well and good, and while I’d be the first one given my background to promote duty over self interest – I think there’s an aspect of this nomination that’s strictly self-serving on the part of both Big Business here in Alaska and the GOP in particular.

    And speaking as someone who has met Governor Palin on more than one occasion and has watched her closely for some time now (she was the mayor of Wasilla, about 8 miles from where I live), and as someone who is rabidly opposed to many of the core Neocon planks – I have yet to see Sarah Palin attempt to push her ideals down anybody else’s throat. She has done a credible and sincere job of representing all of us here, both those who voted for her, and those who did not. I don’t agree with everything she does, but if the rest of the GOP was like her, I’d still be a Republican.

  133. Jim @ 155 –

    I too am Alaskan by the way, originally from Salcha (the blank spot on the map halfway between Fairbanks and Delta Junction for those unnaquainted) I have also met Mrs Palin and am very impressed. I think she’d be a great VP, and probably a great P as well.

    But you are right…moving her out of Alaska would be a great move for the Big Business thugs…With the “Barracuda” out of the way there’s no one to stop them from stealing back our state and putting an end to modernization.

    For those who haven’t I really recommend you read Jim’s blog post linked in message 155…you’ll learn a lot about our state.

  134. Palin was profiled on 60 minutes a couple of months ago and came across extremely positively.

    She’s very normal people, not coming across politician-y at all.

    She’s stomped all over corruption and cronyism, most of it by fellow republicans in Alaska.

    I suggest finding that on the CBS website or YouTube before you think that she won’t do well in debates or larger circles – she won’t seem politiciany, but she could well make Biden look slimy politiciany in comparison.

  135. re: Palin on contraception – in an
    Anchorage Daily News
    article written in 2006 (during the Alaska governor’s race), Palin is said to be pro-contraception and a member of a “pro-woman but anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life.”

  136. #148: “… evolution is a theory…” repeats the deepest and most profound conflation of the word in Science and the word in common use. If you were interested in the truth, Basil Sands (and I am not assuming that you are not), then there are many sources that could explain the difference. And why that difference matters very much.

    I am not attacking religion in general, nor any specific religion. However, any attempt to put Creationism on the same level of support as Science is an absolute assault on civilization itself.

    I do not say this as a matter of any party affiliation. I deeply believe that a White House hostile to Science and Truth, or even indifferent to Science and Truth, puts the future of the human race unacceptably at risk. Period.

  137. I deeply believe that a White House hostile to Science and Truth, or even indifferent to Science and Truth, puts the future of the human race unacceptably at risk. Period.

    Interesting answer…are you a biologist who can verify the “Science and Truth” you claim? If willing to look at things with an open mind and not afraid to have your beliefs questioned look into some of the Institute for Creation Research (www.icr.org) and similar sites. If you prefer to not prove your theory against equally weighty options, then don’t worry about.

    However, any attempt to put Creationism on the same level of support as Science is an absolute assault on civilization itself.

    Um…”Science” is a general term meaning the pursuit of knowledge. To claim to have a corner of science indicates you know everything there is to know…bad assumption to make.

  138. Creation v. Evolution…

    I’m signing off this topic on this thread because it’s becoming a debate on theory rather than a discussion of our future Vice President. Back to the Palin talk… ;-)

  139. accept that evolution is a theory among others

    The fact that you say that with a straight face reveals a staggering ignorance of how science works. I assume that you’ve given up on antibiotics and gravity as well?

    Right and they claimed it came from the Clinton Camapign

    Gee whillikers, Frank, the Republicans said that they heard it from Clinton? Wow, that convinces me right there! No reason for the Republicans to lie about that, after all…

  140. I care when she tries force them into a public school curriculum.

    Has she tried to force this into the public schools? Id ID taught in Alaska. I think she should be questioned on this, but I also think that it is a bit of a stretch to assume that some kind of anti-science policy is going to be foisted on us by the VP. Since when does the VP formulate national education policy?

    I also don’t get this notion that this pick was designed to shore up votes for McCain among evangelicals. His support among evangelicals is rock solid. This is a groups that he has consistently trashed Obama in. He could have picked a lesbian, abortion providing, Odin worshiper and evangelicals still would have voted for McCain over Obama.

  141. milieu @ 138

    “Tactic? I stated a fact, and made the assertion that running an administration for 5000 people does not qualify you to manage an administration for 300 million people.”

    Running an administration for 5,000 people certainly gets you closer to the skill levels necessary to scale to 300 million people than not even having that experience. If McCain/Palin won the election and McCain had a heart attack before being sworn in, Palin would still start with more combined experience than Obama. No matter how much you downplay her experience, she still has more than Obama does — and she’s the GOP VP pick, not the presidential nominee.

    milieu @ 152

    “So quit trying to frame this around her being rejected for her beliefs, and focus on the issue, which is her behavior in imposing those beliefs on others.”

    Already debunked in @ 122.

  142. #163 & #138

    She’s actually been running a state with over 600,000 and one of the largest budgets per capita in the nation. She’s also been face to face in real battles with big business thugs…not just cross the aisle shouting between senators followed by congenial drinks and dinner among same.

  143. #162: “Since when does the VP formulate national education policy?”

    Related issue: since Vice President LBJ was de facto in charge of NASA for JFK, and used it for the reindustrialization of the South, the VP is de facto in charge of the Space Program. That has a National Security component, a Science component, a treaty obligation component, and (in the revised NASA charter) an Educational Outreach component.

    Bad enough that NASA scientists were muzzled and censored by anti-Science political appointees, to suppress data on Global Warming. What other damage to Truth is possible if the organization that gathers cosmological data was under the thumb of an ideologue who believes in the literal truth Of Genesis, rather than the Genesis science mission? Extrapolate as needed.

    I shall not take the time here to distinguish at length between 5 non-overlapping “magesteria” each of which has a different notion of “truth” and of “proof”:

    (1) Axiomatic (i.e. Euclid’s geometry or peano’s Arithmetic);
    (2) Empirical (i.e. Scientific Method);
    (3) Politico-Legal;
    (4) Aesthetic;
    (5) Revealed/Religious.

    I think than any confusion between any two of these causes damage. Creationists confuse (2) and (5). Put them in political power, and they claim a mandate via (3). Hence confusion based on ignorance which may for all I know be the case for Palin and Basil Sandson, or by malicious fraudulent intent (i.e. lying “leaders” of the Intelligent Design movement) is especially dangerous in high office, and VP is second to the Presient (who is legally coequal to the Speaker of the House, and to the Chief Justice of the United States). And the next VP will advise the President on the U.S. Supreme Court assignments. The same Supreme Court which is now made of a majority of the same religion.

  144. “Besides, she is no longer a mayor but a Governor. Of a whole State. One that borders two foreign countries.”

    Two? I thought it only bordered Canada, on the east, and a lot of water on the west. The whole thing about its having the largest coastline of any state, and such.

    Jeff @ 92: “Many people _do_ abort a pregnancy when testing shows Downs, but not her.”

    Well, okay, but many people abort a pregnancy when testing shows pregnancy, too. It just struck me that, though I know it’s considered a genetic/chromosomal defect, many people with Down’s syndrome lead very healthy, very happy lives (like the guy who played Corky in that 80s show. And my aunt’s sister, for two). If one is anti-abortion rights, testing doesn’t enter into the equation. I’d say that the fact that she has five children shows her consistency moreso than does her bringing a child with Down’s syndrome to term.

    As for the evolution v. creation thing, I think creationism/intelligent design should be taught in classrooms. Putting creationism alongside evolution is disingenuous. Putting it alongside the Native American story of the birth of the world on the back of a turtle is far more appropriate. So I say let her put it on curricula, and let it be taught in classrooms, so long as it is taught as the myth it is.

  145. Basil @ 165

    I wasn’t commenting on Palin’s actual experience. If milieu was serious about taking his own characterization of Palin seriously, I’m merely pointing out that slamming the GOP’s Vice-Presidential candidate for only “running an administration for 5000 people” still doesn’t provide a good comparison for the Democratic Presidential candidate *on that issue*.

  146. Frank,

    My comment was rhetorical.

    In truth, we already have lists of things it’s not OK to talk about in school. These lists are called “hate codes” or otherwise masquerade under the rubric of providing “a safe learning environment” for children.

    I imagine Giacomo would be fine with seeing ID fall under the domain of “hate codes”, though I could be wrong.

  147. You kidding? Creationism is not that serious. Its place is with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. That is, out of schools.

  148. See, I actually looked this up on Google, and while her initial statements indicate she wants to teach creationism, she very quickly clarified and said, “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    Except that’s a bit disingenuous, given the reality of how schools operate at high school level. That statement can be the official policy, but the unofficial reality has been documented as being considerably less friendly to science. Large segments of the country simply don’t teach evolution.

    And don’t think it’s unimportant. Evolution is THE organizing principle of biology. And biology is going to be important to the national economy (um, where do people think biotechnology and pharmacueticals are based on?) Letting ideology bend science is merely another form of Lysenkoism–which the Communists embraced wholeheartedly.

  149. I am thrilled to see a woman on a major party (much as I am to see an african american)! I wanted to point out that the sex issue was going to be there no matter who McCain chose. Likewise, it’s a big deal with Obama. There was a lot of talk about that. I know it was a long time ago, like days and days, when everyone was mad at Obama for *not* choosing a woman. For the time being, it looks like Palin is a slam dunk for McCain, and not only because she’s a woman, but because she’s a great match for him personality-wise (with her whole ethics reform thing) and because she makes the conservative base happy while still being attractive in many ways to the center.

    Also, anyone who thinks that governing Alaska is an inconsequential responsibility obviously has not been there. Population isn’t the only (or primary) complication. Alaska is like a nation unto itself, and it’s pretty obvious that Palin has been holding her own against some pretty serious political adversaries. Should be an interesting campaign. I’m actually looking forward to hearing from all of the candidates.

    (I agree that Palin needs to convince us she’s ready to take the office of President. Dan Quayle will NOT work this time around.)

    I’ve been concerned about the lack of experience, but then it occurred to me, duh, that if you want younger candidates, that’s kind of part of the package.

  150. I tried to post this earlier at work but it wouldn’t go through. It’s not that I’m late to the debate.

    Giacomo@42: Another “proper” name for it would be “pro–fetus rights.” That would actually reflect the motivation of the person who holds those views. Oh, maybe there are some pro-life people who want to deny people the right to an abortion in order to punish them for their sins or something like that, but I think most are anti-abortion out of a desire to “protect unborn children” rather than an active desire to deny an adult’s rights.

    I understand that each side wants to define the terminology to make their own side look as good as possible, but no one term is undeniably “proper.”

  151. I’ve been concerned about the lack of experience, but then it occurred to me, duh, that if you want younger candidates, that’s kind of part of the package.

    Well, yeah, there is that….

  152. After Thursday night, if McCain had continued down the same old path that he was already on, he was toast. He needed to do something different and this was it. While I think this was a weak choice, this was the way he went.

    If she was considered “presidential timber” by the Repubs, she would have been a factor in the primary phase. Since this was not the case, it is obvious that even her own party does not consider her able to successfully succeed McCain should the 60+% chance of his medical incapacitation come to pass. This noted, I see that even her own party views her as a weak choice.

    I also note that (just to chose one point of several) her invocation of Steven’s “bridge to nowhere” is, per the usual Repug spin, revisionist history. Same old stuff. This woman is on record as saying she welcomed the brige funding and hoped they could pull a lot more pork in to the state while they had the congressional seniority.
    Now she is claiming that she opposed it. Riiight. Don’t these people realize electronic records persist? I mean, McCain has an excuse: he’s got borderline Altzheimers and is an old clueless fart to start with. She doesn’t even have that excuse.

  153. Good news on Palin: veto of “bridge to nowhere.”
    Bad news on Palin: Creationism is “bridge to no one.”
    Worse news on Palin: Intelligent Design is “some one created that bridge, but because of court decision we can’t say it was God, so we’ll pretend that it might be extraterrestrials or unspecified. But trust us. It’s safe to cross the bridge, because it is not ‘merely a theory’.”

  154. While I can’t speak for Alaska, as a high school teacher in Texas, allow me to reassure you all that yes, evolution is taught clearly at the high school level. It’s a significant part of the biology curriculum. (Unfortunately, biology is not taken as often as it should be.)

    But guess what? Students ask questions when you teach them things contradictory to what they’ve been told their entire lives by parents or church leaders, and when the teacher’s only response is “Sorry, can’t talk about that, just accept that I’m right!”, it’s instant alienation. (Even worse is the sort of sneering scorn on display here.)

    In short, I can absolutely see where Palin is coming from in this regard. Far from being disengenuous, debate and discussion in the classroom is very much healthy, assuming the teacher can handle and direct it productively. Either way, it’s out of the hands of anyone at the state level once they set curriculum. “The unofficial reality” is strongly influenced by local school districts; the governer has practically zero influence on that.

    Moving on to Palin herself, I see someone chock full of integrity, commitment to clean government, and the sort of old fashioned civic values that we need leading our res publica in Washington. She lacks experience, but during her short tenure as gov. she’s rocked the boat, and in a good way. She’s the anti-Romney, the anti-Pawlenty. And that’s a good thing. Maybe her lack of career politician chops will come back and bite her during the campaign, but I couldn’t be happier with McCain’s choice overall.

  155. Belatedly, John, yes I would make the argument that Palin is more experienced than McCain in executive offices.

  156. “Two? I thought it only bordered Canada, on the east, and a lot of water on the west. The whole thing about its having the largest coastline of any state, and such.”

    Will: And there’s no boundary in the water for fishing rights, energy exploration, or shipping lanes? Besides, there can’t be that much water to the west, seeing as how American Indians walked over from Russia.

  157. While I can’t speak for Alaska, as a high school teacher in Texas, allow me to reassure you all that yes, evolution is taught clearly at the high school level. It’s a significant part of the biology curriculum. (Unfortunately, biology is not taken as often as it should be.)

    But guess what? Students ask questions when you teach them things contradictory to what they’ve been told their entire lives by parents or church leaders, and when the teacher’s only response is “Sorry, can’t talk about that, just accept that I’m right!”, it’s instant alienation. (Even worse is the sort of sneering scorn on display here.)

    Given the experience in Minnesota, Kansas and Pennsylvania, I don’t think the problem is with students asking questions. The problem is more with the parents of those students (even people who don’t have children in schools) putting pressure on teachers not to teach evolution. And the response has NEVER been “Sorry, we can’t teach about [creationism, whatever].” That, of course, is a bad teaching response, and I doubt that many teachers take that response.

    I just find that politically speaking, whenever efforts are made to “teach the controversy” or “make a place”, particularly at a state level, the desired results tend to be a replacement of science with religious doctrine.

  158. In short, I can absolutely see where Palin is coming from in this regard.

    And if I actually thought that Palin simply meant that “students should have a right to ask questions and discuss the answers” I wouldn’t have a problem with it either. But there’s a real good chance that what she means is “Let’s have both presented in class by the teacher as equally valid theories” which is entirely different and seriously bad.

  159. Gwangung,

    You’re right – many educational decisions are made at a local level by school boards, schools, and even individual teachers. I completely fail to see the relevance to the subject at hand, however, which is Palin’s position on the teaching of evolution in high school biology classrooms. Perhaps we can dig up the minutes of some of the PTA meetings she attended?

    David,

    I looked for the Alaska state curriculum, but it is either not available online or I fail at Google. Lacking that information, I’m inclined to take Gov. Palin at her word rather than baselessly assuming she has a hidden agenda. Why don’t you?

    There are plenty of valid criticisms to make of her candidacy, but I don’t think that this is one of them. We’ve seen zero evidence that she has changed or wants to change the Alaska state curriculum to one that teaches Creationism or ID side-by-side with evolution.

  160. The fun part for me was that the lead photo in the initial Reuters feed on Yahoo about this pick showed a picture of McCain’s and Palin’s FEET: He has the usual black-polished oxford stuff, while she was wearing something that looked suspiciously like 2″ heeled Ruby Slippers. The photographer must’ve had a really bad angle. In her get-up today, she bears an eerie resemblance to Katharine Harris of Florida. Their politics seem very similar, too. Strangely, the Alaskan has a better tan than Harris ever did.

    Experience-wise, even if you count the governership as executive experience that none of the senators have, I can’t count it for much. Not only is Alaska small in population and budget, but thanks to the oil revenues they typically never have to wrestle with taxation issues. In fact, the state government ends up paying cash to residents. This doesn’t exactly give realistic management experience for the budget issues faced by the federal government, let alone foreign policy.

    The Veep contest could still be interesting. Biden does have a tendency to make verbal gaffes that border on the “macaca” level. In fact didn’t he say earlier in the primary season that Obama was the first “clean”, “intelligent” black candidate for President? Looks like flattery works well on Obama.

    On the other hand, Palin is untested and seems to have some local political scandals already brewing. So she isn’t going to be immune to attack either.

    It’s a pick designed to solidify McCain’s position with his Republican base, just as Biden was to solidify Obama’s with the blue-collar democrats. It may persuade some Independent women that originally went for Hillary, but I think there are very few hard-core women’s movement people who will sacrifice the gains in so many other areas just to break this glass ceiling.

    Between Palin’s politics and McCain’s temperament, I don’t see any reason to change my vote from Obama.

  161. Would McCain have even considered someone with Palin’s extremely light resume if she were a man?

    What does that say about his judgment?

  162. But weren’t they saying just a few days ago that picking Biden undermines Obama’s “McCain’s just a senile old man” attack plan?

  163. Would the American people have even considered someone with such an extremely light resume for President if Obama were a white man? You don’t have to answer that.

    Here’s a proposal: Rather than comparing years and debating legislative vs. executive experience, let’s look at what Obama and Palin have each accomplished during their short political careers.

  164. “Executive experience” certainly does make a sound-bite of a talking point. I guess it rings better than “that’s different.”

    But if it were true, then all that means is that the GOP nominated the wrong person for President. If <2 years as Governor trumps all, then the GOP has nominated a completely UNqualified person as President and relegated the one competent person in the race to the VP slot. Can anyone please explain why this is sound policy? Or why Palin was overlooked the first time around; did nobody notice that a competent Republican with EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE might make a good Presidential nominee?

    Frank, as a gunfonding, meat-eating Republican, I’ll thank you not to pretend you speak for all of us.

  165. As someone from the Uk can I just say that I think you are all missing the point here. This election has just become the most talked about, most interesting election in decades if not ever. It has got all you guys debating and may even get people out to vote who usually just can’t be bothered – a good thing no?

    From a personal perspective, I think she looks like the worst type of high school cheerleader on speed I’ve ever seen and I’d definately avoid her at parties – she looks like she’d corner you and talk and talk and talk.

    Here in the UK we had our female political debate almost 30 years ago with Maggie Thatcher (who for some reason cetrtain folks here are trying to have declared a saint). I should also like to point out that this woman, who did much to destroy western civilisation as we know it, came from Grantham constituency, which has a population of 34,000.

  166. I am flabbergasted at the “worry” the Obama campaign and his supporters are claiming they have about Palin’s experience.

    First, Obama has similarly thin experience, but that doesn’t matter to the Democrats, as shown by their choice to nominate him for the Presidency. Therefore, the Democrats are okay with a President with little to no experience. If McCain wins the election and then dies or becomes incapacitated, we are back at the experience level the Democrats have already shown they are comfortable with.

    Second, the Republicans can still hammer Obama on the experience issue since he is on the top of the ticket. Their response to the Democrat claim of Palin having a similar experience lack is she is running for the less important position and will have the chance to learn on the job with McCain as her mentor. If they want to get snarky they may start talking about how Obama needed a keeper to make sure he wouldn’t screw things up (ie Biden’s foreign policy experience).

  167. My first reaction was: “Who?” (Admittedly, I’m an European who follows US politics as a spectator sport, but still… she’s an almost total unknown.)

    My next reaction was: “Oh, so that’s what desperation smells like!” At least here this has come off as a frantic attempt at trying to grab female votes after Hillary Clinton put a stake into the heart of the whole PUMA nonsense with her speech.

    And like others in this thread, her pushing for Creationism ought to disqualify her from holding any position of importance (Does the VP count, though?); it shows that she’s either woefully ignorant, or completely dishonest.

  168. And like others in this thread, her pushing for Creationism ought to disqualify her from holding any position of importance

    This is a wildly stupid position. Everyone is ignorant of something – as the Congress and the Executive Branch demonstrate almost every day – and the USA is not a technocratic oligarchy, it is a quasi-democratic republic. Whether you like it or not, the vast majority of Americans don’t give a damn about science and would rightly rather kill every single scientist in the country rather than hand their government over to them.

    To claim that a man or a woman should be disqualified from political participation for failing to genuflect before the current state of science – an intrinsically moving target – is anti-democratic, fascistic, and historically ignorant.

    Science is a two-edged sword. It has made many people’s lives better and it has caused many people’s deaths. It is not a legitimate arbiter for political leadership; would one agree that everyone who believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming is similarly unsuited for political office now that actual science is showing that the AGW theory is little more than bad data combined with poor computer modeling?

    The New York Times says that 65 percent of all Americans favor teaching creationism and evolution in schools. Palin’s perspective is far more democratically legitimate than those who think her views should somehow disqualify her. Anyhow, if we’re going to disqualify politicians for their ignorance, it would be much more effective to disqualify those who can’t seem to understand the supply-demand curve or marginal utility.

  169. ‘…let’s look at what Obama and Palin have each accomplished during their short political careers.’

    Obama – giving a nationally televised convention speech in 2004 that had many people convinced that he would become a viable presidential candidate in the future. As turned out to be the case, actually. In case nobody has noticed, the essence of becoming president is to be a candidate for president, then win the election. Traditionally in the Electoral College, though occasionally, the Supreme Court helps out the loser.

    Palin – ??? Considering that I had never even heard of the woman, making me an extremely typical American, I’m not even sure ‘political career’ makes any sense in this context.

    So, we have one candidate whose appearance on the national political stage at a party convention was considered one of those easy inside track picks in the future. The other person is seemingly very well known to 600,000 Alaskans.

  170. I just don’t get it. How can the American people give any credibility to the issue of Evolution vs. Creationism? Much to Europe’s credit, we don’t buy crap like Creationism, Scientology, and God knows what other dreadful things. For years, US has been sinking into an insane public speech and becoming totally out of touch with the rest of the world (I agree with Giacomo from Italy).

    Not all the United States, I grant you, but that people would actually debate seriously the possibility of creationism taught at schools! You people need to travel more often, I don’t know, get more in touch with Europeans. It won’t hurt you. Not that Europeans are any much better, but we at least have learned painfully the cost of taking wrong turns in History (and Ideology).

    Palin is scary, but I don’t think she would be any scarier than George W. Bush. They both are very much alike, no? (except the moose thing). Palin doesn’t look like a monkey, though, she’s prettier.

  171. The creationism-or-not discussion makes me wonder — again — why we have a federal Department of Education in the first place. Where in the Constitution did the Founding Fathers enumerate the power to make it?

    The President’s and VP’s educational beliefs wouldn’t matter at all if we managed education at the state level. Different states would have different views, some “teaching the controversy” and some teaching evolution alone. A few might even teach creationism or ID alone.

    Before long, we’d see what kinds of schools most benefited its students. Parents would want their children to have those kinds of schools, and eventually the method that worked best would propagate to other states.

    It’s called survival of the fittest. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. :)

    (For the record, I don’t believe in seven-day creationism, and I believe that ID is a metaphysical question, not a scientific one at all. ID should be taught, but in philosophy courses. Since most high schools don’t even teach philosophy, most people wouldn’t even see it in a curriculum until college; and either way it wouldn’t affect biology classes.)

    We’ve mishandled many things by federalizing them. And I dislike Democrats at the federal level because they always want to address problems with Yet Another Federal Program. They like the power when they have it (though their opponents think it’s awful), but think it’s awful when their opponents have it. Which shows that we’d all be better off if we’d simply keep power in the hands of the state — simply follow the Constitution! — so that people like George Bush and Nancy Pelosi alike would have less power.

    And then Palin’s beliefs about what gets taught in schools wouldn’t matter two bits.

  172. ‘And then Palin’s beliefs about what gets taught in schools wouldn’t matter two bits.’

    Except that currently, she is the governor of a state, and both in the current system, and your vision of one, that makes a difference.

    Personally, I think her hypothetical question about censoring library books much more in tune with George Bush’s America, but then, we still don’t know what she thinks of torture – bad when used on McCain, good when used against opponents of the U.S. as designated by the president?

    Her answering that line of inquiry would be fun to watch.

  173. @195: Let me painfully spell it out: it wouldn’t matter to her selection as Vice President of the United States. I thought that’s what we were talking about here.

  174. Palin is NOT more experienced than Obama.

    Palin’s Education: Degree in Journalism at Idaho State University

    Obama’s Education: degree in International Relations from Columbia, graduated magna cum laude, voted Editor of the Harvard Law Review by his peers(and graduated magna cum laude there too) Professor Laurence Tribe, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on Constitutional law, declared Obama the greatest student he ever taught.

    Palin managed: A group of small fisheries.
    Obama managed: The Developing Communities Project, Project Vote(registered 150,000 new voters and won Illinois for Clinton in 1992)

    Palin, Early Career: 4 years city council member of Wasilla, population 5,600, 4 years mayor of Wasilla, population 5,600. I’m sure she did numerous important things for the people of Wasilla. All 5,600 of them.

    Obama, Early Career: Lecturer and then law professor at the #7 ranked University of Chicago Law School(the UofC confirmed that title). Spent 8 years in the Illinois State Senate representing a district of roughly 200,000 people. Wrote and passed the first ethics reform bill in Illinois in 25 years. Passed a death penalty reform bill that, among other things, forced all police interogations to be taped, the first law of its kind in the country. Passed a middle class tax cut. Gave healthcare to 150,000 Illinoisans.

    Palin 2003-6: Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, her first even remotely important job. She tried to be a reformer and quit the commision over complaints of corruption. I’ll give her a handful of EXP, because this job actually does have a broader effect than mayor of Wasilla. She then showed laudable guts to go up against Governor Frank Murkowski. (Obama didn’t have nearly as much of a challenge in the clearly insane Alan Keyes)

    Obama in the Senate: Obama was in the minority of his first two years, but that did not stop him from getting things done. He worked with Republican Tom Coburn to pass the Obama-Coburn Transparency Bill which sets up an online searchable database where every dollar of federal spending can be tracked and accounted for. Obama worked with Republican Dick Lugar on locking down loose nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union. Once the Democrats retook the Senate, Obama passed the Obama-Feingold Ethics Bill which bars members of Congress from recieving gifts, meals, and corporate jet rides from lobbyists, and requires members of congress to disclose their lobbyist bundlers. Obama’s least known peace of legislation passed was his work with Sam Brownback to send millions of dollars in aid to war-torn Congo. As a member of the VA committee, Obama garnered more funding to VA hospitals around the country including Walter Reed. He helped pass the new GI bill. He visited Kenya and took an AIDs test before thousands.

    Governor Palin: She hasn’t actually done much. She passed the largest budget in the history of Alaska(some fiscal conservative. . .) and had to clean out all the last-minute scumbag appointees put in place by her primary opponent. She passed a bill building a new oil pipeline. She made herself the enemy of wolves and polar bears.

    She was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it. When it became an object of ridicule, she cancelled building the bridge but didn’t give back the federal government’s money. Hmm. . . so much for that bit of dishonest retelling. . .

    Conclusion: Nope, sorry, it’s not close.

  175. “To claim that a man or a woman should be disqualified from political participation for failing to genuflect before the current state of science – an intrinsically moving target – is anti-democratic, fascistic, and historically ignorant.”

    The fact is, creationists are a century and a half behind the current state of science. Espousing Creationism in this day and age is the equivalent of espousing a Flat Earth in geography, or phlogiston in chemistry. And I do not think it’s “fascistic and historically ignorant” to say that no-one believing in either of those ought to become, or have the chance of becoming, the President of the United States.

    As for the “anti-democratic” thing, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. And that’s exactly what the YECs and IDers are trying to do: inventing their own facts, denying the actual reality, and pretending that they aren’t motivated by religious concerns first, last and foremost.

    Finally: would you be the Vox in Vox Day?

  176. You see, for Palin’s supporters, this seems to be a characterological question. She’s a good mom. She has five children. One of them has a disability.

    For me, its a threshold question. Like, “Can you lay out a coherent policy statement on a pressing issue facing our nation like Iraq?” The couple times she has been heard talking about it, this woman seemed like a completely ignorant, uninformed, buffoon. Somebody who understands Alaskan issues. And little beyond that.

    When would Palin ever have had to learn about urban issues? Never. Rural issues? Not much farmland in Alaska. What would she do if the U.S. friendly government of nuclear-armed Pakistan were deposed by a hostile regime? What would be her thought process? Could she be trusted not to “lose it” in the midst of an international crisis? Does she know anything about negotiating with Putin’s government to lock down loose nuclear weapons? Has she ever studied healthcare policy, or education policy, or economic policy? Does she understand economics?

    This is exactly the then-false but now-true objection conservatives had about Obama: No paper trail, no way to know the path of governance or even if there is one. We could be flailing around for four years with no plan and a incompetent president subject to the whims of warring advisors. John McCain isn’t a genius for this pick. He’s an idiot. He wants America to accept as its commander-and-chief a person with no history of policy statements or writing or SOMETHING, anything that would indicate that this person has a single damn clue what she’d be doing.

    John McCain picked a dangerously uninformed person to be a heartbeat away. For me, that makes me think less of him.

  177. ‘Let me painfully spell it out: it wouldn’t matter to her selection as Vice President of the United States. I thought that’s what we were talking about here.’

    What, creationists in state capitals don’t bother you? They do me, at least if they are in my state.

    Luckily, at least till now, the spirit of Jefferson has protected the commonwealth from having such a situation.

    But then it was also Virginia where Wilder became the first African American to be elected as governor of a U.S. state, and the second to serve as governor. Which means that Wilder would have been a better pick on executive experience than Palin, except for the fact that Wilder is not the sort of maverick that McCain is likely comfortable with – Wilder’s concerns were alway oriented in a direction that modern Republicans (not the Lincoln variety, however) find deeply discomfiting.

  178. Nargel @175

    Now she is claiming that she opposed it. Riiight. Don’t these people realize electronic records persist?

    Yes they do persist. As in this report from September 2007

    “We will continue to look for options for Ketchikan to allow better access to the island,” the Republican governor said. “The concentration is not going to be on a $400 million bridge.”

    Palin directed state transportation officials to find the most “fiscally responsible” alternative for access to the airport. She said the best option would be to upgrade the ferry system.

    And she pissed off many politicos as show in this AP report from January:

    [Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor Joe] Williams said he has tried to get an audience with Palin since she pulled the plug on a proposed bridge from Ketchikan to its airport on Gravina Island last fall — the much abused “bridge to nowhere.” The multimillion dollar bridge project, backed by a federal earmark, become a national symbol of pork barrel spending and was cited as an example of Alaska being a freeloader state.

    David @181

    But there’s a real good chance that what she means is “Let’s have both presented in class by the teacher as equally valid theories” which is entirely different and seriously bad.

    Pure speculation. Facts not in evidence. This is simply a partisan attack.

    Mythago @ 187

    If <2 years as Governor trumps all, then the GOP has nominated a completely UNqualified person as President and relegated the one competent person in the race to the VP slot.

    It doesn’t “trump all”. It just trumps Obama. The fact remains that of the four, Obama is the least experienced. And when Obama and Biden campaign together, people will wonder who’s at the top of the ticket. Which is why they won’t do too much of this.

  179. Pure speculation. Facts not in evidence. This is simply a partisan attack

    It’s a partisan attack in the sense that the Republicans have a tendency to push creationism and the Democrats don’t.

  180. @203: I don’t think so. Harriet Miers was de-nominated because she was a liberal. Her nomination proved what many conservatives had been saying for years — that George Bush is a fiscal and social liberal, not a conservative at all — and his reaction was to try to avoid making conservatives angrier. Palin is a conservative, through and through, and her only apparent weakness is one that Obama also has (or can be spun to have, if you prefer).

    My initial attitude to the nomination was “it’s so crazy that it just might work.” The more I see and hear, the more I think that it’s already working.

  181. Janus @193

    I just don’t get it. How can the American people give any credibility to the issue of Evolution vs. Creationism? Much to Europe’s credit, we don’t buy crap like Creationism, Scientology, and God knows what other dreadful things.

    God I love to contradict the arrogant.

    A disturbing article from the latest issue of Nature (subscriber link) documents the audible noises that creationist groups in Europe have been starting to make, to try to force creationism into science curricula. The trend is most evident in Turkey, and Italy also is in the throes of a similar debate. While the movement is still not large-scale, there are isolated pockets which have no remorse in flinging creationism at students as an ‘alternative theory’ to evolution.

    With regards to Scientology, clearly there is enough of a “constituency” that more than one European country feels they have to ban it.

    From the BBC

    France might consider banning the Church of Scientology, which it regards as a sect rather than a religion.

    The Justice Minister, Elisabeth Guigou, made it clear that the future of the organisation in France was under close scrutiny.

    From Deutsche Welle

    Ursula Caberta expressed her opinion loud and clear: “Scientology is a dangerous, extremist organization which has declared war on Europe.” As Commissioner for Scientology issues for Hamburg, Caberta is considered an expert on the subject.

    She has been observing the movement since 1992 and just presented her new book “Schwarzbuch Scientology” (The Black Book of Scientology) this week.

    Along with Udo Nagel, Hamburg State Interior Minister, Caberta is also demanding a ban on the organization.

    So don’t be knocking America: our first reaction is not to ban religions…

  182. Though Germany’s continuing efforts to stop Scientology remain personally disturbing to me as an American (Chick Corea being banned from performing in public buildings in the mid 1990s is one of the more concrete examples), you need to have a good understanding of the German word ‘menschenverachtend.’ It explains why a society that brought forth one of the worst examples of that word remains hypervigilant against organizations that share the main feature of such systems – for example, Scientology’s extremely well documented contempt for the rule of law, or its profound interest in money, regardless of the well being of its followers.

    Let me put it this way – Matthew Hale’s World Church Of the Creator would be as vigorously attacked and as quickly banned by the elected German government as is the CoS. In German eyes, the claim of ‘religion’ is merely a dodge being used by people interested in other goals than participating in a democratic society.

    Keep in mind, Germany doesn’t require a slippery slope argument – they already reached the bottom, and don’t want to repeat the experience. Whether you agree is not really all that important – after all, the blood of millions of innocent victims is not something you grew up being aware of, is it?

  183. I like the pick tactically (in other words, without regard to the actual beliefs/values of any of the candidates involved). In picking Palin, McCain has neatly reversed his ticket from Obama’s (experience at the top, energy & youth as the VP). Palin has a track record of splitting with her party over issues of conscience, so she appeals to the maverick McCain Clan. She’s conservative, so she appeals to the base. She’s female, so she appeals to many disenfranchised female Clinton supporters. It’s difficult at best for Obama and Biden to attack her over inexperience without making Obama look bad (he’s only got 2 years more experience in major political offices).

    McCain is clearly counting on splitting Clinton voters away from Obama in order to bolster his own weak numbers. This is just another ploy in that plan. What’s interesting is that many of the ladies I work with and my wife’s friends are already fans of the McCain/Palin ticket because: a) she’s a woman; b) she’s pretty; c) she’s got 5 kids and a job (and the fact that one of them is disabled is a big deal too); and d) she’s in our age-bracket. Note – no one has been talking about her beliefs or political life, just about who/what she it! It’s going to be interesting to see how this works out.

  184. Frank @207: There’s no debate about creationism/evolution here in Italy. There was an attempt to remove evolution from the Ministerial guidelines for the primary schools (6-11 years), but the minister quickly backed off because no one in the whole country supported her decision.

    In truth, the real problem was the right-wing approach to education, that is “schools must create a low qualified workforce for the low tech manufacture industry, we don’t need no strange things in the proletarians’ minds”. In the same occasion they tried to remove from the official curriculum the study of ancient history and to reduce the foreign languages, geography and biology lessons.

  185. Abe, thanks for that thorough comparison of Obama and Palin. One nit; you said, “Obama didn’t have nearly as much of a challenge in the clearly insane Alan Keyes.” When Obama declared his candidacy, he was running against Jack Ryan. Ryan dropped out after details of his messy divorce with Jeri Ryan, who played Seven of Nine in ST:TNG.

    Frank, the link you supplied says that Palin pulled the project after it failed to get additional funding. That was 2007. The federal bill funding it was passed in 2005. She was in favor of it then, from what I read. I have seen this mentioned, sorry I don’t have a link yet.

  186. This has tickled me since I recognized it a few minutes after the announcement:

    A relatively young and inexperienced politician from a multiracial family chooses a white-haired, seasoned statesman with loads of foreign policy experience who hails from the First and 49th largest State, while a white-haired, seasoned statesman with loads of foreign policy experience chooses a relatively young and inexperienced politician from a multiracial family who hails from the Forty-Ninth and 1st largest State.

    Both are historic matchups on the tickets for their respective parties and both Veeps reside in States where I have resided.

    Very cool.

    JJB

  187. Abe,

    Don’t look now, but… your bias is showing.

    I applaud the effort it took to put that together. However, you consistently downplay Palin’s accomplishments and magnify those of Obama.

    Could Palin be trusted not to “lose it” during an international crisis? I don’t know – could Obama? Do either of them have any sort of foreign policy experience? And don’t tell me about Obama’s committee chairmanship – he never even bothered to show up for meetings.

    The fact that we’re even having this debate says something. Who’s more experienced – the Democratic Presidential nominee, or the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee? Palin is unlikely to have to worry about it; there’s no reason to think McCain is going to croak anytime soon. You say the criticisms of Obama “then-false but now-true”? Only of Palin? You seriously think Obama’s couple of trips to a war zone make him qualified to lead this country in wartime?

    You downplay character, and yet Obama and the Democrats just spent their entire convention hammering home that *judgement* and not *experience* is what matters in foreign policy. And no, a BA in International Relations does not impress me.

  188. OriGuy @211

    The federal bill funding it was passed in 2005. She was in favor of it then, from what I read.

    Sarah Palin did not become Governor until 2006.

    But you are right, according to my research, she did initially support the project, but then canceled it over the protestations of the Alaskan Congressional delegation and Alaskan Republican leaders. Clearly she bucked her party and powerful political figures within her State when she did this.

    She definitely pissed people off when she canceled it

    “For somebody who touts process and transparency in getting projects done, I’m disappointed and taken aback,” said state Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan. “We worked 30 years to get funding for this priority project.”

  189. StevieB @209: It’s difficult at best for Obama and Biden to attack her over inexperience without making Obama look bad (he’s only got 2 years more experience in major political offices).

    The real point, as I see it, is that it is now equally difficult, after picking Palin, for the McCain camp to hammer Obama over the experience issue, something they’ve been doing all month, as was actually gaining traction until the Palin pick. Now, it seems like McCain has thrown his strongest argument against Obama out the window.

  190. Wow…I come back 24 hours later and so many are still ranting about Palin’s ideas of Creationism? Evolutionist folks must really be insecure about their theory to spend so much time trying to prohibit a differing viewpoint from being aired from high office.

    It’s almost as if the atheists are trying to continuously repeat their beliefs to themselves in a non-stop chanted self-convincing mantra…

    “There is no God! There is no God! There is no God! There is no God!”

    Quick, tap your heals Dorothy and it’ll all just go away!

    Prove evolution by replicating any kind of cross species change and maybe you’ll have fewer doubts.

    In the meantime, here in reality were benign theories matter little and action counts….Palin rocks!

    ;-)

  191. David,

    The GOP platform does not necessarily equal the candidate’s platform.

    McCain in 2008 demonstrates that quite well.

    As for Palin, even if she did support the 2006 Alaska platform on the topic, she clearly either does not care about it enough to make it a priority, or doesn’t agree with it.

  192. I just contradicted myself with those last five words. I think I’ll go get some coffee. Y’all know what I’m trying to say :)

  193. The GOP platform does not necessarily equal the candidate’s platform.

    You really want to be making the argument that “Hey, we may be saying this, but don’t really believe it because we actually want to do other stuff?”

    Cause where I’m from, that’s called “lying.”

  194. “… ranting about Palin’s ideas of Creationism?” Nope. I challenge rant with rational discourse. Although I reserve the right to rant, I have a reputation to protect as someone with nearly 3,000 publications, presentations, and broadcasts to my credit, with roughly 100 coauthors, vastly exceeding 1,000,000 words, who just received another annual renewal of my California 30-day Emergency Teaching Certificate (i.e. I’m allowed no more than 30 successive school days in any given classroom, then have to do a day in some other classroom, then can do 30 more in the first one). Spring 2009 I’ll have my Full Time California Teaching Credential, so that I can continue the big pay cut I took on leaving 20 years in aerospace and several years as an adjunct Professor in Astronomy and in Math, to teach inner city teenagers.

    Now that I’ve seen 3 places in this morning’s L.A. times that Sarah Palin is a Creationist supporting Intelligent Design, I’ve emailed a Republican Physicist friend whose home I visited last night, asking if he’s willing
    to admit that he was wrong (as I said I’d do if today’s papers said otherwise). Specifically, he yelled at me that: “you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about!”

    Which seems to be Basil Sands’ position. I am not interested in denying God. Indeed, I won a big public debate some months ago against an evangelical ex-minister who had an anti-conversion and founded the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I demolished his arguments (which he’d won with on international tours) that he could prove that God did not exist. There is no such valid proof. I won, as an Agnostic. But that is not the flaw in Creationism. It is that there is no DATA and no testable THEORY there. Unlike in Evolution, which so terrifies Basil Sands and others in his ignorant or fraudulent group (again, I don’t know which he’s in).

    “atheists” — sorry. As a minister, I have performed several legal marriages. I am published (albeit only a few times) as a Theologian.

    This is not about your Bible. This is about Science as a core value of education, and civilization itself.

    True, my information at the time that my friend yelled at me came from a Caltech Physics post-doc whom I’d met personally 3 or 4 years ago, and have been dialoguing with on his blog for 2 years, rather than from a citation acceptable in a scholarly paper. But it seems that I was right.

    Betrayed by a daughter of a Science Teacher! A walrus-tusk knife in the heart of Science itself (ID advocates having offered mutated definitions of the word “science” itself in curricula).

    Not that I dispute my friend’s joy that McCain made a from-the-gut extremely clever strategic choice of a personally very attractive woman. I represented as many people or more, by the way, as elected Town Councilman in Amherst, MA; and as Town Councilman in Altadena, CA, as she did as City Councilman, then Mayor, in Wasilla.

    Her BA in Journalism is not up to parity with Obama’s Law School Professorship. But she does have Executive experience that Obama, McCain, and Biden lack. Albeit from a small set of fisheries before her Governship 22 months ago.

    He husband is part Inuit. She likes Mooseburgers. Did God or an extraterrestrial create the species of Moose that she eats? I think not, and this is because of a body of millions of biomedical publications on trillions of bytes of data collected by hundreds of thousands of researchers over more than a century.

    Information? Plenty! But there is no “information” in Creationism. None. Nor is there any “debate” within Science itself about Evolution by Natural Selection. None. There is within History of Science, Philosophy of Science, or Sociology of Science, or Science Public Policy. But that is not the core curriculum in public schools.

    She is a wonderful choice, if shutting up Talking Heads for a few hours is the goal. She is an extremist (when I said that she was at least consistent in her opposition to abortion, I did not yet know her extreme position against abortion in cases of rape and incest).

    There is a roughly 14% chance that she’ll be President of the USA within 4 years (given a 50% chance that McCain’s elected, times a 35% chance that he dies, given his age). So 14% chance the the USA goes further back in time than Bush drove the country, DEEP into the Dark
    Ages.

    ===

    SARAH PALIN ON TEACHING INTELLIGENT DESIGN IN SCHOOLS.

    Next, Carey asked about teaching alternatives to evolution – such as creationism and intelligent design – in public schools. […]

    Palin: “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information.

    Healthy debate is so important and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.

    And, you know, I say this, too, as the daughter of a science teacher.

    Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject — creationism and evolution.

    It’s been a healthy foundation for me. But don’t be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.”

    ===

    So, Basil Sands, if you take your fingers out of your ears and stop those silly noises, do you believe that kids should debate both sides of the debate between 1+1=2 and 1+1=666? Or the debate as to whether gravity exists or the Earth sucks? Or the debate as to whether the Earth is orbiting the sun or carried by elephants on the back of a great turtle? Or the debate about the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Or the debate about whether there ever was a historical Jesus Christ?

    “But don’t be afraid of information”

  195. hugh57 – On the experience issue, I think Palin still works for the McCain camp in a way. After all, as the VP she’s the understudy, not the lead dog. I bet you’ll see McCain continue to attack Obama over the experience issue. After all, the padawan is supposed to study at the feet of the master, not the other way around! :)

  196. Basil Sands @220

    It’s almost as if the atheists are trying to continuously repeat their beliefs to themselves in a non-stop chanted self-convincing mantra…

    “There is no God! There is no God! There is no God! There is no God!”

    That’s absurd. Evolution and belief in God are not incompatible.

    David @221

    As a followup to my 208, I will note that the GOP platform for Alaska in 2006 (on which Palin ran for governor) calls for “giving Creation Science equal representation with other theories of the origin of life. If evolution is taught, it should be presented as only a theory.”

    From your source material

    In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

    “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

    And I will note that as Governor, she did not, in fact, push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

  197. Don’t be disengenuous, David.

    Candidates don’t always agree with their party on everything. The party platform is a baseline, not dogma. Belonging to a party does not mean you have to hew to party doctrine on everything. Both of our major political parties would have far fewer members if complete doctrinal agreement were required. If you really don’t understand how this works, I’d recommend educating yourself on how U.S. political parties operate.

    You made the point that the Alaska Republican Party favors side-by-side instruction. Fine. It would be fair to assume that she agrees with her party if we didn’t have any other information, but since we do, why not – oh, I don’t know – *take her at her word*?

  198. This is a disasterous pick for McCain. Even if he could plausibly argue that Palin’s credentials match up with Obama’s(a more and more dubious proposition, especially when you consider Obama probably got longer and more relevant executive experience just by running a presidential campaign than Palin got in little more than a year and a half) the burden of this argument is upon John McCain, not Barack Obama. Jnutes, then fifteen, then a short briefing right before taking her on. If Barack Obama is not too inexperienced to be president, then this election should end up being a defeat of epic proportions for John McCain.

    John McCain wants to play change? He’s going to get destroyed in that argument. This is a man who voted with Bush 90% of the time. He has repeatedly touted himself as being a total unwavering supporter of this president. The common thread of all his “mavericky” positions is that he’s flip-flopped on almost all of them. Without the inexperience meme in place, Obama merely needs to run juxtaposition ads of McCain’s own statements and then laugh himself all the way to the White House.

  199. Don’t be disengenuous, David.

    I’m not being disengenuous, August. I’m pointing out that Palin first said she was in support of teaching creationism in the schools, then wiggled back a bit from it, but still ran on a platform that supported it.

  200. Abe @230: John McCain wants to play change? He’s going to get destroyed in that argument. This is a man who voted with Bush 90% of the time.

    McCain is definitely a maverick compared to Obama. CNN pointed out that Obama the Change Agent voted with his party 97% of the time. Obama supporters who repeat your talking point will find few believers who weren’t already Obamanites themselves.

    Which brings us to another thing that’s been dawning on me: Obama represents himself as “Change You Can Believe In”, but his record is standard hard-left Democrat; meanwhile, McCain’s maverick sidekick has opposed her own party’s “good old boys’ club” and brought about real change in Alaska in a short time. Not only will Palin’s presence ratchet up the question of experience, it will undercut Obama’s key theme.

    And it’s early yet, but I haven’t talked to anyone who would have voted for McCain, but is reconsidering because of Palin. Big gain, no loss.

    This is still the realm of political theater, of course, and we’ll have to see how it works out in the voting booths. Personally, I’m not a fan of John McCain, though I will probably hold my nose and vote for him. At one point that wasn’t likely: he’s as liberal as Bush, although he’s showing it less right now, and his past views make me doubt his commitment to remaining pro-life and anti-embryonic stem cell research. But I have to hand it to his team — this was a masterstroke.

  201. Basil Sands: Prove evolution by replicating any kind of cross species change and maybe you’ll have fewer doubts.

    For your information, speciation has been observed in the wild, under domestication and in the laboratory. If observation is insufficient, and you want replication as well, this has also been performed – species have been recreated in the laboratory.

    You might also like to consider that when you imply that evolution is incompatible with the existence of God you are promoting atheism.

  202. “CNN pointed out that Obama the Change Agent voted with his party 97% of the time.”

    Aren’t you assuming that pursuing change and voting with his party are mutually exclusive?

    Because I’d argue they’re not. In fact, I’d argue that right now, voting Democrat is Change We Can Believe In ™. Otherwise it’s four more years of the past eight, ain’t it?

  203. “Aren’t you assuming that pursuing change and voting with his party are mutually exclusive?”

    If that were the change that Obama promised, then your point would be very well-taken. But Obama didn’t just promise that he’d be different from Bush. He promised a new politics. Two examples (there have been many) should suffice to make the point.

    From his candidacy announcement:

    I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change….

    What’s stopped us from meeting [today's] challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans. What’s stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics – the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.

    Note the half-contradiction here: we already have “sound policies and sensible plans”, so he should be able to vote for existing (Democratic) policies; but voting Democrat 97% of the time and having a Presidential platform that hasn’t changed at all from the Democratic platforms of the past 40-or-more years is not “rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.” It’s being partisan. So precisely what change are we supposed to believe in here?

    From the California State Democratic Convention:

    And so the American people are hungry for a different kind of politics – the kind of politics based on the ideals this country was founded upon. The idea that we are all connected as one people. That we all have a stake in one another….

    And so if we do not change our politics – if we do not fundamentally change the way Washington works – then the problems we’ve been talking about for the last generation will be the same ones that haunt us for generations to come.

    We must find a way to come together in this country – to realize that the responsibility we have to one another as Americans is greater than the pursuit of any ideological agenda or corporate bottom line.

    Of course, the contradiction here again is that he does pursue a particular ideological agenda, as shown by his voting record.

    So the promise for “Change We Can Believe In” has never represented merely a change from George W. Bush. If you find it possible to argue now that it is, that’s only because, with his polished contradictions and powerful oratory, it’s difficult to pin him down on what he means by that.

    Whether you personally agree with me or not, there are many people out there who do. So to bring us back to the original point: she will highlight how little change he brings to Democratic politics as usual. She has brought change to Alaska in a short period of time. He has talked about it in the Senate with very few consequences.

  204. yelled at me that: “you don’t know what the f**k you’re talking about!”

    Which seems to be Basil Sands’ position.

    So, Basil Sands, if you take your fingers out of your ears and stop those silly noises,

    Jonathan @225

    While I laud your publication and professional experience, and your current calling as a teacher, I too work with teens, I must say the above personal insults make it difficult to believe your litany to be based on a purely scientific position as opposed to emotion. At no time have I named an individual on this blog and pointed a finger stating “you must believe this” or called their position “silly noises”. I used generalizations because no one person fits perfectly into anothers exact belief system.

    In regards to the “There is no God.” statement, that actually happened to me in a debate on this topic many years ago. The guy interrupted me and rose and said that over what I was saying.

    The Dorothy reference was a bit over the top though…
    ;-|

    That being said, I will apologize for appearing to lump evolutionists and atheists in one exclusive group. I was unaware that I was in the company of so many theistic evolutionists. The vast majority that I have read and contended with are typically atheists, as are the most well known protagonists of the theory (Sagan, Hawking, et al.).

    That’s absurd. Evolution and belief in God are not incompatible.

    Perhaps not, if one is merely a Deist, Agnostic etc. But if one is a Christian or Jew who takes the Bible as truth vs. myth…well that’s another matter.

    For your information, speciation has been observed in the wild, under domestication and in the laboratory. If observation is insufficient, and you want replication as well, this has also been performed – species have been recreated in the laboratory.

    Are you defining speciation as a completely new species evolving from a different species? For instance an amphibian developing wings and feathers and within a few generations leaving the water and taking to the air, or vice versa as evolution teaches. If so I would love to see that work, please cite it.

    Otherwise my understanding is that all changes have happened within species as in white moths turning black or a small hairy monkey creature turning into a big bald monkey creature etc. Just curious

    On Palin:
    He husband is part Inuit.
    Actually I believe he’s part Yu’pik…totally different people group in completely different environments.

    And Sarah still rocks.. ;-)

  205. A number of people have spoken well of Palin for choosing bring her Down’s Syndrome daughter to term. I’d agree with that. But now she’s got a 4 month old special needs infant. Caring for any infant isn’t a part time job, let alone one with Down’s. And from the reports I read, her husband isn’t a stay-at-home dad. According to the Anchorage Daily News he races snowmobiles in the winter. “And every summer he heads west to his birthplace in Dillingham to work the Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery from his property on the Nushagak River.”

    The Vice Presidency (let alone the Presidency!) isn’t a part time job. Who’s going to be taking care of this special needs baby girl? Oh I’m sure they’ll be able to afford childcare on the VP’s salary and budget. But that’s a second-best solution.

    Some people are forced into solutions like that. They’ve got my sympathy. And some choose to put their careers ahead of the well-being of their children. They’ve got my disdain. She sure as hell isn’t going to get my vote by boasting of her “family values.”

  206. Basil Sands (#208):

    Per your request I have proof. (If you find it insufficient, please read this, and explain to me why your ideas should be regarded seriously.)

    From the Talk Origins FAQ Website (http://www.talkorigins.org/):

    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/outline.html#evidence

    Discussion on the ongoing debate from actual scientists and educators who have significant backgrounds in science:

    http://www.pandasthumb.org/

    Echerichia coli evolves a new diet (pertinent to speiciation, as this could very well qualify as a new species, generated artificially in the lab, and is very, very repeatable):

    http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2008/06/02/a_new_step_in_evolution.php

    If you persist in believing that evolution isn’t true, then you have a lot of science to re-examine and explain (such as genetic algorithms and antibacterial resistance, for starters). (You also need to explain to me why creationists never come up with any experiments or evidence to support their claims, and scientists always do.)

    Now, though I admire greatly Jonathan Vos Post’s point about the importance of scientific literacy when it comes to leading a nation that leads the world in science, I think it’s unrealistic to expect this to sway any voter one way or another.

    It’s not that I don’t think it’s noble or desirable, but curriculae are written by school boards, not governors or vice presidents. On that point, then, there really is no danger here. Many posters here do overblow her position (I have seen nowhere where she has admitted to believing ID should be “taught” in schools, only that it ought not be supressed when it comes up in class–something I actually agree with, since this is NOT the same as teaching it in class as though it were valid theory). McCain’s prevarications worry me more–or they would, if they actually mattered.

    (And, for the record, I live in that very “backwater” state–you know, one which supplies an appreciable chunk of the energy many of you who don’t live in “backwater” states need in order to continue living there. Some respect, please.)

    Palin strikes me as valid enough a candidate. Beyond that, I don’t really care.

  207. So, getting back to the V.P. pick…
    It’s not as bad a choice as Lieberman (most of the Republicans distrust him), or Ridge (totally de-mobilize the base)–either of those probably have cost McCain the election, due to their being pro-choice.

    Still, I can’t help feeling like Palin violates the first-do-no-harm rule, particularly when compared with Pawlenty: The Republicans were making headway with the “not enough experience” argument–I don’t agree with it myself, but there was some doubt there in the minds of the public. It’s not so much that the Obama campaign can attack Palin’s experience as that McCain can no longer attack Obama’s. Even conservatives are admitting this (see Ramesh Ponnuru or David Frum @ NR.)

    In addition, her use of the phrase “18 million cracks” and her praise for Sen. Clinton (Republicans applauding a woman they used to demonize–who would’ve thought) indicate that this was, indeed, clearly a play for Clinton supporters; at that it seems to have clearly failed–many Clinton supporters even seem insulted or offended by it. Olympia Snowe or Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Christie Todd Whitman would have really worried me.

    Pluses: Energizes the base, which McCain needed (it’s a more defensive pick than people realize)

    Still, she’s one foreign policy gaffe away from damaging McCain; something one would not have gotten with Romney, or with Pawlenty, who also could have put Minnesota in play for McCain.

    Abe, thanks for the rundown @ 203. Good stuff.

  208. Jeff @51, you’re whistling past the graveyard on troopergate. (Which is another plus Pawlenty had on Palin: He didn’t come with a built-in abuse-of-power scandal.)

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/palin_probe_could_mean_election.php

    The state transportation director, the one who was fired, apparently has a stack of emails he got from Palin he’s going to show to investigators.

    The second link is better:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/211524.php

    Monegan, 57, a respected former chief of the Anchorage Police Department, said in an interview with The Washington Post’s James V. Grimaldi on Friday that the governor repeatedly brought up the topic of her ex-brother-in-law, Michael Wooten, after Monegan became the state’s commissioner of public safety in December 2006. Palin’s husband, Todd, met with Monegan and presented a dossier of information about Wooten, who was going through a bitter custody battle with Palin’s sister, Molly. Monegan also said Sarah Palin sent him e-mails on the subject, but Monegan declined to disclose them, saying he planned to give them to a legislative investigator looking into the matter.

    There are times when it’s okay to fire an “at-will” employee, and times when it’s not. This may be the latter.

  209. Post with a link got caught in the moderation queue. Re-posting with the ADN link. Google for it yerself.

    A number of people have spoken well of Palin for choosing bring her Down’s Syndrome daughter to term. I’d agree with that. But now she’s got a 4 month old special needs infant. Caring for any infant isn’t a part time job, let alone one with Down’s. And from the reports I read, her husband isn’t a stay-at-home dad. According to the Anchorage Daily News he races snowmobiles in the winter. “And every summer he heads west to his birthplace in Dillingham to work the Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery from his property on the Nushagak River.”

    The Vice Presidency (let alone the Presidency!) isn’t a part time job. Who’s going to be taking care of this special needs baby girl? Oh I’m sure they’ll be able to afford childcare on the VP’s salary and budget. But that’s a second-best solution.

    Some people are forced into solutions like that. They’ve got my sympathy. And some choose to put their careers ahead of the well-being of their children. They’ve got my disdain. She sure as hell isn’t going to get my vote by boasting of her “family values.”

  210. Basil Sands @ 142

    Personally I like the idea of a leader who feels answerable to God, they’re probably going to think twice before reacting.

    -Really? Like George W. Bush?

  211. Basil Sands – “For instance an amphibian developing wings and feathers and within a few generations leaving the water and taking to the air, or vice versa as evolution teaches.”

    Within a few generations? There’s so much wrong with that I don’t even know where to begin. Check your time-frame, please.

    And there are plenty of a) evolutionary theists, and b) Christians who aren’t bibliolatrists – I.e. don’t believe in the inerrancy of the bible.

  212. Everything else has pretty much been said. But honestly how can anyone think its a GOOD idea to elect somebody who wants to teach creationism is schools?

    Really?

    I also think its very insulting to women if McCain thinks that a female VP is enough to woo Hillary supporters. That assumes that women are too stupid to look at the actual issues and will vote for anyone with the right sex organs. Also this is tokenism at its worst. just UGH. I am very scared for the future. Abstinence only sex ed? Yeah that’s a GREAT idea. Overturn Roe- v Wade and then limit education about preventing unwanted pregnancies. Brilliant.

  213. Abe @ 201.

    AMEN! i was so sick of the “Obama’s resume is so thin” argument in these posts. Thank you for your detailed rendering. I was going to at least start with the Journalism undergrad vs. Constitutional Scholar…

    saying a person with no (outwardly discernible) grasp of the most important document in this country is more qualified because she has “executive experience” is ridiculous. that means all the CEOs are qualified to be POTUS too.

    and forget the population of Alaska…what does an “urban/inner city” in Alaska look like?

    she is on the record saying she “hadn’t really thought much about the Iraq war” as recently as last year.

    i digress. the point is, she and obama are not “practically the same” and she is not “more qualified” than he.

    abe, you are my hero. you rock.

  214. ah. now that I am reading more recent comments I see I have not added much to the conversation at this point.

    But I still felt the need to outline her very very anti-woman issues.

    Dark Ages, indeed.

  215. @243 – Why is teaching Creationism so terrifying? We teach Evolution, we teach Greek, Roman, Norse mythology (or we did when I was a wee lad anyway)…make no mistake, those were “religious stories” to the folks who believed them in ancient times. We stock libraries with books full of fantastic fiction that involves paganism, voodoo, and ever flavor of mixed up occult you could imagine. We teach kids to worship at the shrine of High School Football (at least here in Texas). So why is this one unprovable theory/belief so terrifying to those on the left? I assure you, Evolution isn’t terrifying to me, a moderately conservative centrist.

    I guess I think we should all stop worshiping at the Altar of Science, and start teaching Scientific Method again. That seems to be the scariest problem in schools today – both public and private. We don’t teach kids to think anymore. If we did, why would it matter so much if they read the Bible, the Qu’uran, The Book of the Dead, or any other damn book that may exist?

  216. StevieB @ 247
    teaching creationism isn’t terrifying. claiming it belongs in a *science* class is the problem. yes, we learned about greek mythology, but it was clearly *mythology* and not classified as a science. we usually read about it in the context of humanities and the arts.

  217. 242 – Tapetum

    So, if the change from one species to another cannot happen in a few generations, even dozens or scores of generations, how can anyone have observed it? If it hasn’t been observed how can it be proved. If it cannot be proven, it is theory not fact. That is what you are saying right?

    That’s all I am contending…evolution is theoretical until it is observed, just as intelligent design is theory until it is observed.

    Stevie B : You hit it on the head…Oorah!

  218. Teach creationism in an issues in modern religion class all day long -I won’t sqawk in the least. But the only place it belongs in a science class is as part of the scientific methods discourse, pointing out the reasons why it is not science. Because it is not science. I’m not afraid of children getting information. I’m afraid of children (who are already often receiving lousy science education) getting misinformation framed as science.

    Basil Sands – are you aware of how fast bacterial generations are? Or firefly generations? We haven’t had something as visually dramatic as lizard-to-bird, but visual evidence is hardly the only sort there is.

    Also, please stop using the two definitions of theory interchangeably. The theory of evolution is on a par by scientific evidence with the theory of gravity, and bacterial theory. Something doesn’t get to be a scientific theory without a veritable mountain of evidence. Hypotheses and models aspire to be theories when they grow up and get validated.

  219. Re: 236.

    First, I appreciate Basil Sands being polite. His ignorance does not vote him off the island. As a teacher, I pity ignorance, which can be cured by education. But the student must want to be educated.

    “In regards to the “There is no God.” statement, that actually happened to me in a debate on this topic many years ago.” I suggest that he not overgeneralize. Nor should he dismiss the vast number of exceptions to his initial position with: “I was unaware that I was in the company of so many theistic evolutionists.” Admission of being unaware is a good first step. But, next, consider the magnitude of the exceptions.

    Example: Francis Collins, evangelical Catholic, was director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and deeply expert in Evolution.

    Example (excerpt from Wikipedia): Brother Guy J. Consolmagno, SJ, American research astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory. B.A. (1974), M.A. (1975) degrees at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. (1978) at the University of Arizona, all in Planetary Sciences. After postdoctoral research and teaching at Harvard College Observatory and MIT, in 1983 he joined the US Peace Corps to serve in Kenya for two years, teaching astronomy and physics. After his return he took a position as Assistant Professor at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. In 1989 he entered the Jesuit order, and took vows as a brother in 1991. On entry into the order, he was assigned as an astronomer to the Vatican Observatory, where he also serves as curator of the Vatican Meteorite collection, positions he has held since then. In addition to his continuing professional work in planetary science, he has also studied philosophy and theology.

    He believes in the need for science and religion to work alongside one another rather than as competing ideologies. In 2006, he said, “Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism – it’s turning God into a nature god.” Guy Consolmagno was recently the Chair of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, serving from October 2006 to October 2007.
    author of these books which you might want to read:
    * Worlds Apart (with Martha W. Schaefer, Prentice Hall, 1993)
    * Turn Left at Orion (with Dan M. Davis, Cambridge University Press, 1995)
    * The Way to the Dwelling of Light (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998)
    * Brother Astronomer, Adventures of a Vatican Scientist (McGraw Hill, 2000) Review
    * Intelligent Life in the Universe? Catholic belief and the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life (Catholic Truth Society, 2005)
    * God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion (Jossey-Bass, 2007)

    “Are you defining speciation…” No I am not. You have been misinformed for years about an imaginary difference between “microevolution” which your Creationist teachers accept, and “macroevolution” which they mis-define into a straw man, and reject.

    “Otherwise my understanding is that all changes have happened within species as in white moths turning black or a small hairy monkey creature turning into a big bald monkey creature etc.” Wrong. Your misunderstandings are too concatenated for me to know where to start. “Just curious” — if curious enough, there is no shortage of FAQ on Evolution at the SEED ScienceBlogs. Or good, clear mathematics, logic, and Computer Science at “Good Math, Bad Math” whose PhD author often demolishes fraudulent Intelligent Design arguments, and idiocy whether of Christian, Jewish, or Moslem anti-science varieties.

    “On Palin:
    ‘Her husband is part Inuit.”
    Actually I believe he’s part Yu’pik…totally different people group in completely different environments.

    I’m wrong, you’re right, on that point.

    Re: #247: “Why is teaching Creationism so terrifying?”

    It is not terrifying, except:

    (1) a colossal waste of time. My wife, a Physics Professor, was promoted by a committee that cited her meta-analysis of why it’s hard to teach college Physics. The problem is not that people don’t know things. The problem is when they think that they know, but are wrong, due to bad teachers and erroneous textbooks. The poor Creationists in this thread fall into that category — they have been intentionally mi-taught from intentionally wrong textbooks. When they find this out, they will experience righteous wrath against those who tried to brainwash them.
    (2) Political fraud coupled with scientific fraud, as with NASA climatologists being censored by political appointees, idiologically driven mis-education on safe sex and chastity-only (which has statistically been shown to fail).

    #249: “evolution is theoretical until it is observed, just as intelligent design is theory until it is observed.”

    Wrong several times.

    (1) Evolution is MASSIVELY observed. I correctly claim several hundred thousand papers on billions of bytes of evolutionary data, and hundreds of thousands of researchers.

    (2) Evil people intentionally steered you away from that literature, and crippled your ability to make valid inferences.

    (3) Intelligent Design is NOT theory.
    (a) It makes no observable predictions,
    (b) cannot be falsified, and
    (c) is “not even wrong.”

    I merely pity people who believe such nonsense. I despise those who know better but preach such lies, to intentionally delude others. I warn of the consequences of an otherwise lovely woman in the White House who has either had her mind altered by such lies , or plans to spread them under color of authority. Was her science teacher father a double agent, or did someone overwhelm a valid early exposure to science? I don’t know.

    Ignorance can be cured, if you admit that you need the cure, and follow a good teacher.

    “Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.”
    [Friedrich von Schiller, in Maid of Orleans]

  220. Evolution in action? I vaguely recall a change in moths (I believe) from being predominately white to mostly being dark gray/light black and back to mostly white/light gray when England went through a clear air to dark grey on everything to clear again during the pre-coal to coal smoke everywhere to pollution control/use much less coal eras. That counts as observation I believe.

    Palin’s so-called experience as a mayor of a town of less than 6,000 ended in a net involuntary tax-burden increase of over $3,000 per person because she couldn’t even handle getting a WallMart(scumbags) built in her town properly. I’m not talking construction costs here, I’m just looking at ability TO start construction.

  221. Methinks he just picked Palin for the female vote. It’s prolly been said in like the 251 comments before mine, but again: she’s prolly got a better chance than most VP’s to actually hold the office of President, because McCain is old and more likely to die in office.

  222. I just found out that McCain and Palin are on the way to the gulf coast for a photo op. Obama and Bidan are staying in Ohio where they are OUT OF THE WAY.

    I leave it to you to decide which displays better judgement.

  223. 255: Anny Mouse
    I agree…that was my point from the start. But some folks wouldn’t let it go, and sadly I succumbed. :(

    I’ll stop my contribution to the ID vs EV debate that has erupted and let things stay on track. Perhaps I can meet these fine folks elsewhere, and we can resume the discussion.

    I am in the process of setting up a chat room on my website and perhaps we could even take it up there…only if everyone is polite though. ;-)

    That having been said…Palin still rocks!

  224. Abe: You’ve got the wrong university. Sarah Palin graduated from the University of Idaho, not Idaho State University.
    I have no idea about your accuracy on the rest of your statement, but it makes one wonder.

  225. Stop debating evolution in this thread except to the extent it directly relates to the election. Just because I’ve been busy and not monitoring the thread for a day or two doesn’t mean I can’t go back and delete a whole bunch of tangential crap.

  226. OK, to be crude about it, if John McCain wanted a vagina on the ticket that badly why didn’t he approach Senator Olympia Snowe — if my memory serves, she endorsed him early. In 2006, she won her third Senate term by a 54 point margin with 74.99% of the vote. Before that spent 21 years representing Maine in the House and state legislature. Even better, McCain’s actually been in the same room with her more than once.

    Admittedly, the Maine GOP is that rarity where being a moderate isn’t tantamount to coming out as a lesbian Satan-worshipper who relaxes by performing abortions on the kitchen table. But while that is totally unacceptable to the theo-con base and the Ann-droids and Dittoheads, McCain-Snowe might actually have appealed to moderate/swing voters and women rather than cynically patronising them.

    Then again, perhaps Snowe hasn’t lost an election in her thirty-five year political career by being smart enough to not be the only rat who boards a sinking ship. :)

  227. Jon Marcus @242

    The Vice Presidency (let alone the Presidency!) isn’t a part time job. Who’s going to be taking care of this special needs baby girl?

    First, the baby is a boy, Trig Paxson Van Palin.

    Second, what’s wrong with the father taking care of Trig? Why does it have to Gov Palin?

    I’m surprised you didn’t think of that.

    thisisendless @245

    I also think its very insulting to women if McCain thinks that a female VP is enough to woo Hillary supporters. That assumes that women are too stupid to look at the actual issues and will vote for anyone with the right sex organs.

    Actually, Obama has some things to worry about with the Palin pick: Least of which is attacting Hillary Democrats, though she will likely pull some of those.

    No, more concerning to Obama is the fact that she energizes the Conservative base. Prior to this, things were looking like McCain would never light that fire. In fact, the calculus was he was going to sideline the evangelicals and go directly for the Independents.

    And that’s problem number two: Center and right of Center Independents have been voting Republican until 2006 when they got disillusioned with a Republican majority that became as big-spending and corrupt as the Democrats they threw out in 1996.

    Palin, with her take-no-prisoners reformer rep, enhances the Maverick’s street cred in this area. And Obama who has been shifting his position to the center (Leftists be damned) in hopes of capturing those folks, now has a credible threat to his line of attack and the Conservative base to worry about.

    And then there is the gun voters who are Democrat, Republican and Independents. Every month when NRA members get their copy of The Rifleman (or whichever publication they chose) they have been treated to feature articles extolling the threat Obama poses to gun rights.

    I predict the next issue will also feature Biden who recently claimed authorship of the Assault Rifle ban (which of course was bogus) and lamented that Congress allowed it to expire.

    And right next to that will be a picture of Governor Palin shooting an M-16.

    she is on the record saying she “hadn’t really thought much about the Iraq war” as recently as last year.

    Well, Palin is the Commander-in-Chief of Alaska’s National Guard and she has a son who is going to Iraq in September. But then again, she is the governor of a State and likely had other things to worry about that were within the scope of her job (unlike Iraq).

    Nargel @255

    I forgot to point out: Her husband works for British Petroleum. Yah, that’s impartial.

    Yeah, but not in management or an executive of any type. He’s just a grunt in oil field during the season and a fisherman the rest of the time.

  228. I realize that this blog and many visitors lean to the left, but don’t make the mistake of conflating your partisan hopes with political realities. Calling the McCain campaign a “sinking ship” would have more impact if he weren’t running virtually even with Obama in national polling.

    Olympia Snowe would have about the same appeal to most Republicans as a pile of warm dog shit, and as Frank said, McCain needs someone who can simultaneously energize his base and appeal to the center. Snowe has one of those; Palin has both.

    Palin appeals to women, yes. Biden appeals to people from New England and old white men. So? Does this make her selection pandering any more than the Democrats’ selection of Obama is also pandering to black folk? Personally, I’m more inclined to take each candidate as a package deal, rather than focusing on one relatively superficial aspect of who they are. But then, I think identity politics is about as foolish as it gets.

    Maybe that’s why I have a hard time believing that large numbers of left-wing women are going to ignore Palin’s strong conservative values and vote for her simply because she’s got a vagina, as Craig so deftly put it. If they do, they’re idiots who deserve what they get.

  229. I think that we’re all living inside a science fiction novel.
    ===
    The Alaska governor has ascended on good fortune, grit and force of personality.
    By Kim Murphy and Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
    August 31, 2008
    ANCHORAGE — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is as complex as the place she calls home. Plucked from near-political obscurity to become Sen. John McCain’s running mate, Palin either has pitch-perfect political instincts or has benefited from a spectacular run of luck that has landed her in the ultimate right place at the right time.
    ===

    I side with “spectacular run of luck.” This has all the hallmarks of an alternate history novel in particular. Except that it mars the plot that Palin on one side and Obama on the other both had what looks like a “spectacular run of luck” — whether or not their success can also be attributed to intelligence, charisma, drive, “pitch-perfect political instincts,” or whatever. In this genre, one is supposed to change just one thing. I suppose that, by a stretch, one election season is one thing.

    So we should watch for possibilities such as these:
    * Aliens attack, and only those who regularly eat moose meat are immune to their technology.
    * Ruins of ancient city dug out of arctic wilderness while building natural gas pipeline.
    * Buckminster Fuler idea of interconnecting the electric grids of Alaska and Kamchatka is implemented, and the grid becomes self aware.
    * Down syndrome baby in White House has inexplicable insight that prevents war with Iran.

    Note that I have not used the word “creationist.” Because that would be Fantasy.

  230. Palin is a member of a self styled feminist group that’ worked against efforts to provide birth control. Anyone calling her a feminist is a fool, or trying to fool you. Palin is not a feminist. She’s a privileged beneficiary of feminism who then turned around and spat on the movement.

    She’s also probably a loving mother, and possibly a nice and kind person. But that’s not relevant here if we’re talking about how much influence she should ahve on national politics.

    Think about a single mother who discovered that she’s pregnant with a down syndrome baby. Even if hypothetical woman was raped Mrs. Palin would be in favor of forcing her to carry to term.

    Yep. Palin is in favor of forcing rape and rape/incest victims to have that baby. She’s in favor of denying women birth control so that if they were raped, they’d at least be protected.

  231. Frank,

    When you say, “Palin, with her take-no-prisoners reformer rep, enhances the Maverick’s street cred in this area.”, I believe you have been misled…

    Here is a clip from her acceptance speech, “I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that Bridge to Nowhere. ‘If our state wanted a bridge’, I said, ‘we’d build it ourselves’.”

    Hmmm… not true at all!

    From the Ketchikan Daily on 8.9.2006,

    Support from other Americans and Alaskans is needed also to move forward with the proposed bridge between Revillagigedo and Gravina islands, she said. “People across the nation struggle with the idea of building a bridge because theyve been under these misperceptions about the bridge and the purpose,” said Palin, who described the link as the Ketchikan areas potential for expansion and growth. The Ketchikan community now needs to have a strong, unified effort to say whether it wants the bridge or not. “And if you want the thing, there needs to be good justification,” she said. “There needs to be the reasonableness that the rest of Alaska and the rest of the United States wants to see.” She said that reasonableness could include a compromise in design and cost, such as limiting the link to a single span instead of the two-span Revilla-PennockGravina route. “Its pretty grandiose here, what is proposed,” she said. Palin said Alaskas congressional delegation worked hard to obtain funding for the bridge as part of a package deal and that she “would not stand in the way of the progress toward that bridge.”

    or from the same paper on 10.2.2006,

    “We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative,” Palin said.

    or on the Anchorage Daily News from a candidate survey from October 2006,

    When asked, “Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?”

    She answered, “Yes. I would like to see Alaska’s infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now – while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.”

    I guess the only thing she did reform was the arrangement of the firing of Trooper Wooten and then the subsequent firing of the Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan (because he had qualms with firing Trooper Wooten)…

    This may energize the base, but I believe it will be easy pickings once more and more come out about her past, and you know it will because she has been cast into the public spotlight for the first time.

    Drew

  232. I think that there will be an incredible shake up in the liberal camp much like the effect of the Gore loss. It seems that many people are doing what they can to discredit Palin because of Alaska life style. While many of the comments point towards her supposed “lack of experience” it seems that so many add to their statements the fact that “she eats moose” or “she’s a commercial fisherman”. Some have even derided the fact that her husband is a blue collar worker who rides snow machines.

    I realize that to liberals who prefer white collar jobs and presidents whose career has usually been as lawyers or life time politicians that a person who comes on the scene with calloused hands and five kids is a threat to the “progressive” image they have tried to build for years. But I hope McCain’s opponent sees the threat to the voting base and acts on it faster than Gore did.

    Blue collar, physical grunt, hunting, fishing, snowmachining, outdoorsy, not living in urban coastal states America likes down to earth War Heros and Hockey Moms with an attitude. And they make up the majority of this country.

    Unless the libs prepare a defense / offense that gives the above group of voters a reason to look their way in November, they’re screwed.

  233. A view from across the pond.

    I love the fact that “liberal” is used as an insult, and to describe Democrats, when in fact the Democrats are to the right (imho) of our Tory (right-wing) party.

    You so funny (but why aren’t we all laughing?).

  234. Re: 270 “‘liberal” is used as an insult, and to describe Democrats” — the term Liberal does indeed mean something dramatically different in the USA than in the U.K., and that meaning is shifting, so that “Progressive” has come back in style. There have been many great Liberal Republicans, too. For that matter “Libertarian” means something dramatically different in the USA than in Europe, as here it is historically associated with the Right, while in Europe it is historically associated with the Left.

    For these reasons and others, I think it important to avoid decisionmaking based on such ambiguous and volatile labels. It is better to choose based on the proven record of the candidates. Not what they say, nor how thay say it, but by what they do and have done.

    “Blue collar, physical grunt, hunting, fishing, snowmachining, outdoorsy” — these are all a big plus to me, regardless of the prejudices of poor Basil Sands. I have stated my political affiliation on other threads. In this case, I feel that what matters is that I have tried hard to understand the political diversity of my country, and the world.

    My Liberal Democratic friends assume that I’m a Liberal Democrat (as was my mother). My Conservative Republican friends assume that I’m a Conservative Republican (as was my father). My Libertarian (and libertarian) friends assume that I’m a Libertarian (or libertarian, respectively), and I have voted for such candidates. I’d vote for Greg Benford in a heartbeat. My Socialist friends assume that I’m a Socialist. My Communist friends don’t assume that I’m a Communist, because they have learned the hard way to be paranoid. My L. Ron Hubbard fan friends assume that I’m a L. Ron Hubbard fan, and indeed I did write a press release for his publisher.

    This is the most interesting election in my lifetime. More than the 1952 one which brought the “I Like Ike” animations on TV by the ad agency that represented Proctor & Gamble for soap ads, and I liked that cartoon. More than in 1960, which was decided by dead voters in Chicago and superior close-up tactics in TV debate. More than in 1968, when the Pentagon was levitated in full view of Norman Mailer. This one is weird, and not necessarily in the ichor-drooling eldritch sense.

    I used to be in awe of the conversations that my parents had when watching the conventions on TV — they knew the back story of so many of the delegates. I wondered how I’d ever be able to be a responsible voter. How do you learn all this stuff? Of course, I also wondered how they knew every major fiction, poetry, or play author, until I read 10,000 books the way that thjey had, and became a professional author.

    Besides a subgenre of SF (as I wrote in #266) what novels or plays or movies are any kind of useful guide (to those in the USA or elsewhere) to this election?

  235. Hugh @270 – As Jonathan said, liberal’s means something different here than in the UK. The Liberals in the US are more like Labour in the UK.

    It confused me at first when I started looking at UK politics too.

    And it’s not at all meant as an insult, it’s merely a label. I am a Conservative but not necessarily a Republican.

    Jonathan reminds me very much of my own step-father, a blue collar, hard working, very outspoken Democrat (I realize Jonathan has not stated he is a Democrat and am not saying he is) who has very conservative values that would shame a good number of Republicans.

    That being said:

    Jonathan, it is not out of predjudice or ignorance that I express my point of view rather out of observed characteristics of elections I have watched in my life, which seem to be considerably fewer than you have watched as I was born the year the “Pentagon Levitated” for Norman Mailer.

    And that comes to why I like Palin, she is not strictly Republican anymore than I, but she holds true to her convictions, many of which I share.

    As to you final statement about what novel genres can be a useful guide to politics: I think anything that causes one to think critically and see from a different view point than our own can greatly help us to understand our own position.

    As far as the election outcome goes, I defer to a group of men from across the pond whom I admire greatly for a piece of advice for either party:

    Who Dares, Wins

  236. First August (#265) wrote:
    Olympia Snowe would have about the same appeal to most Republicans as a pile of warm dog shit, and as Frank said, McCain needs someone who can simultaneously energize his base and appeal to the center. Snowe has one of those; Palin has both.

    First, August, I’m no “liberal” – let along a partisan Democrat – or a politician. But, yes, I totally think Palin’s selection was pandering tokenism – and transparently so, at that. Or to put it another way, I can’t see any rationale for her winning veepstakes except as an attempt to jazz up “the base”. Palin’s managed to completely fuck McCain’s credibility when it comes to using “experience” against McCain. And you don’t have to be an Obama operative to wonder who the hell vetted her, and whether she could credibly chair NSA meetings if the President was unavailable or incapacitated.

    I’ll put it this way: Palin would be a great subject for an episode of Oprah. A credible occupant of the Oval Office? Not so sure.

    And it actually says something sad about the Republican base if someone who has 35 years of public service (I thought “experience” mattered?) — and a solidly fiscally conservative, pro-military voting record — is about as appealing as (as you so elegantly put it) “warm dog shit”. But, of course, she isn’t sufficiently on-message about doing down the gays, banning abortion or wiping her arse on the Constitution. Which is all that really matters, right?

  237. And would anyone care to tell me with a straight face that if Palin had been Obama’s veep pick, the usual proxies in the GOP wouldn’t have been attacking her as an inexperienced, ethically wobbly lightweight and a bad wife and mother who abandoned a severely disabled infant (and the rest of her family) to feed her own lust for power? In short: Neither fit, nor ready, to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office in a time of war.

    And I sure think Obama’s judgement — and that of his advisors — would also come into question picking someone he, literally, only sat down with a few days before presenting her to the world as his choice for Vice-President.

  238. Basil, thank you for your reasoned reply (and explanation of “liberal”) – I have to say that from what I have read in the newspapers (Times, Telegraph, etc), Democrats do not strike me as following Labour (especially “Old Labour”) policies, but more those of the Conservative Party, but I can only go on what is reported, and we all know how the “liberal left-wing” press (such as the Times, owned by the same peopls as Fox News) distorts things (j/k).

    btw, it’s “Who Dares Wins” (no comma).

  239. To those of you who believe that she was picked to just get Hilary’s votes: you are wrong. At least, partially.

    Among conservatives, her name was brought up 18 months ago as a solid prospect for national office. That was before Obama became the candidate.

    Regarding her former brother-in-law, while some information has come up in this thread which discussed his misdeeds (drinking on duty, tasering 11 year old step-son) which he was found guilty of and “punished” by a five day suspension of duty, I should also add that the whole process started two years BEFORE she was elected Governor.

    Finally, her ability to energize the base is, I think, understated on this thread (or the first 80 comments of so that I read). She is one of them. She hunts, has had blue collar experience, is attractive and articulate. She has strong evangelical bonafides, which a good deal of Americans relate with. Furthermore, her pick will (I think) peel off many, many Catholic voters from the Democrats. While among Catholics there are varying levels of “pro-choice” beliefs, once the level of Obama’s abortion record is brought before them, I do not believe that they will support him.

  240. I should also add that the whole process started two years BEFORE she was elected Governor.

    Yeah. And when she became governor what did she do? She pushed for new legislation, or for a new ethics code, or for new internal regulations do deal effectively with abusive troopers?
    No, she (ab)used her power to solve HER FAMILY’s problems, and to hell the others.

  241. Frank @ 264
    The fact that her husband isn’t a high level exec is a valid point however a significant portion of her family income is at the mercy of the oil company.

    I could point out the fact that this “hunter” shoots things with a high powered rifle from a helecopter. This is about as much hunting as Cheney’s shooting penned birds is.

    Let us, however, look at real points. Here is a mayor of a high school sized town who was so bad that when she got out of Dodge, she left behind an increased debt burden that had balloned by over $3,000 per person.

    Her “reformer” credit consists of firing the crony appointments of the former governor and publicly taking her ball and going home when the Oil Board didn’t immediately do everything she wanted it to do. I say nothing to what she actually wanted to do, just that burnishing her “reformer” cred seems to trump the thought of actually working on getting it done.

    And now what has she done? Instead of trying to talk sense into McCain and his lobbyists (I mean “campaign staff”), we get a cheerful agreement to go do a photo op in a gulf state instead of keeping the hell out of the way with their secret serviced, media blitzing, protection requiring distraction. Bad judgement all around IMHO.

  242. Ok, speaking as a European (but not really) This choice is interesting at most. But thinking this will entice female voters over is labeling women in the USA as stupid. And quite frankly any candidate that thinks that creationism is real (did the perfect being GOD need that many tries at making stuff?) and that human rights of choice such as birth control and abortion and even same sex rights (I can’t believe that the land of the free is ready to discriminate based on sexual principles! Homosexuals are still humans and even if you’re “repulsed” by their behavior what’s it your business to peek into their bedroom?) is a candidate for the second highest office in your country is…well pretty messed up.

    She’s not credible in regards to foreign matters (look at how seriously we regard Bush jr.) but she is a tad more interesting in regards to big business, lobbying and other corruption. But will those qualities be her main issues?

    McCain is ok, I’d vote for him but comparing him to Obama is like comparing a model ’30 Ford Pickup to a model ’68 Ford Mustang. Which one of them is going to get you towards your destination faster, safer and more reliably?

    And Biden vs. Palin is moot point as neither of them is likely to be president but if it happens they’ll likely inherit the former president’s policy, staff and problems. Their own agendas won’t be noticed until reelection so then you’ll need to consider them seriously.

    My thoughts about Mrs. Palin still stand though.

  243. Ásgeir J. @ 279

    I believe the debate concerning the VP personal stances and beliefs is more due to the 60+% chance that Palin would have to succeed an ailing or dead McCain than any other reason.

    Whatever the (public) Republican platform, which hasn’t been stated yet as their convention hasn’t started yet, the personal stances of Palin could cause a strong change once she became Prez. I simply feel that she has shown a marked lack of ability in what litle governance she has had. As for any CinC-ness that comes from a state’s national guard, I simply point to Bush’s current effect at making it ceremonial at best right now.

  244. Oh well, if Palin doesn’t work out I’ve got a chick McCain’s peeps can start vetting.

    She’s experienced at all levels of government.

    The evangelicals love her.

    She is pro-life and knows how to handle a gun.

    She understands the challenges facing ordinary, hard-working families.

    She is the humble daughter of two schoolteachers, who followed in her parents’ footsteps and through her own hard work had a brilliant career in public service. She miraculously survived breast cancer, and while it has returned she hasn’t missed a beat.

    She is pro-military, and will not compromise when faced with enemies without and within. Torture, rendition and summary execution of collaborators, torture, murder, suicide bombing of enemy targets, and even authorising the use of nuclear and biological weapons against our enemies.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you former Secretary of Education and two-time President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, Laura Roslin.

    Of course, she’s not real. But nobody’s perfect.

  245. Anybody who thinks that Palin was a bad idea for McCain as far as trying to get elected, please get in touch with reality.

    I’m not talking about how well she might do as VP, or as P if it comes to that. I’m just talking about the effect she’ll have on McCain getting elected.

    Lets look at the facts shall we. More than 7 million dollars has come in since she was announced. Volunteerism is up amongst Republicans. That’s called energizing the base. And while there’s certainly a lot of truth to the idea that it’s the centrists/independents who decide elections, the simple fact of the matter is that without your base you’re not even in the game.

    On the Hillary supporters front, will she attract the hardcore Hillary supporters like NOW and so forth? Of course not. But a not insignifigant number of Hillary’s supporters were centrist/independent women (in this context I mean voters who don’t feel any particular loyalty to either party), who wanted to see a woman in office. First they were ticked she didn’t get the nom, then they were doubly ticked she didn’t even get the VP spot. Now they’re only chance to see a woman in office is Palin.

    She won’t lose McCain any signifigant support, but she will bring in more than a few voters who wouldn’t have voted for McCain otherwise.

    Will it be enough for him to win? Only time will tell, but his odds just improved.

  246. I just returned from a BBQ where a few women I would describe as “liberal” were discussing Sarah Palin. Her pro-life credentials were not the matter of discussion or even apparent concern. Apparently, they could cope with that. The issue to them, surprisingly, was whether she could properly raise the kids as VP. When a husband of one of the ladies, also a liberal in my opinion, stated that the father seemed competent, he was treated to looks of disbelief.

    I, being me, was laughing in my beer. This is going to be a very interesting election. And not because of Obama.

  247. Giacomo,

    You might want to read up on what actually happened before making such ridiculous statements. The fact that her ex-brother in law wasn’t actually fired and, in fact, got nothing more than a slap on the wrist appears to be prima facie evidence that Palin did not push for him to be punished. Additionally, she actually *did* accomplish quite a bit in her time as governor other than fire the gentleman in charge of state troopers. Oh, and viva l’Italia.

    Craig,

    What, exactly, is wrong with jazzing up the base? Is that somehow politically unsavory? Unwise? Further, how does that constitute “tokenism”?

    I think you’re vastly overestimating the attention people pay to the Vice President. The top of the ticket is what’s really important, and while choosing Palin will make attacks on Obama’s lack of experience less effective, I disagree with your hyperbolic insistence that they make such attacks worthless. Yes, Palin’s even less experienced than Obama – but Obama will be the one making the decisions if he’s elected. Palin won’t.

    Regarding Snowe, you might want to double check her voting record. She is a firmly moderate Republican, with a record of voting against tax cuts, against free trade, for gun control, and in general doing a whole slew of other things that make conservatives froth at the mouth. Not to mention the issues you’ve already harped on, as if nobody could possibly disagree in good faith on abortion or gay marriage. Neanderthals!

    And since you asked, no, if Obama had picked a Democrat doppelganger-Palin, I wouldn’t be attacking her as being a bad wife. On what grounds?

    I wouldn’t attack her for abandoning her retarded infant, because Trig has the rest of his family to help care for him, as shocking as that concept may seem to some. Do Down’s Syndrome infants require significantly more care than regular infants anyway?

    I definitely wouldn’t accuse her of abandoning her family in general, because politicians all over the U.S. – including Senator Obama – seem to be able to have a family and do their job at the same time. And chew bubble gum while rubbing their tummy. Counterclockwise.

    I wouldn’t accuse her of being ethically wobbly, for the reasons I outlined for Giacomo above. In fact, her CV indicates an ethically spotless career, particularly bolstered by her performance Conservation Commissioner. I definitely wouldn’t accuse her of a “lust for power”, since I would completely lack any insight into her personal motives for seeking political office.

    I would, however, definitely be all over her lack of experience.

  248. Salutations, gentlefolk,

    Some responses to various folk:

    1 – Ed Powellon:

    If this were a thread on, say, the Brett Favre trade, and you
    concluded your responses with “Ye gods, I hate football …”, do
    you think you’d be taken seriously ?

    16 – Jon:

    Calling Wasilla a ‘small town’ is like calling New Rochelle, NY, a
    small town. It’s a suburb of the state’s largest metropolitan
    area, not out in the hinterlands somewhere.

    27 – Katsuoun:

    Mrs. Clinton is still Senator from New York, and is likely to be
    reelected to that post until they carry her out.

    60 – Stevemom:

    Commanding a Navy light bomber squadron is ‘executive experience’.
    But that was over 40 years ago. I’m currently jobhunting, and
    would be laughed at if something that aged were on my resume.

    The promotion to Captain was what they call a ‘tombstone
    promotion’ – a jump up grade upon retiring – not one that means
    ‘he’s ready for a bigger job’.

    90 – Vox:

    It’s very hard to ‘belittle Alaska’ (though I suppose there are
    Texans who still want to try ;-) ).

    It’s a state small in population, though, with unique problems –
    how to give away money, not how to scratch it up.

    91 – Tumbleweed:

    When sorting out party positions, “a page of history is worth a
    volume of logic” (to quote Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.). 50 years
    ago, ’twas the Democrats of Connecticut who were fighting to keep
    anti-contraception legislation, and the Griswolds were
    Republicans, and personal friends of Senator Prescott Bush.

    Walter A. McDougall’s new book _Throes of Democracy: The American
    Civil War Era, 1829-1877_ (Very good book, IMHO) concludes his
    chapter on Andrew Jackson’s era by surveying the positions of
    Democrats and Whigs, and concludes “purge our contemporary notion
    of the political spectrum and try instead to imagine…”. (p.106)

    133 – Chip Cadeon:

    As a friend of mine put it, this is McCain’s move to sweep out the
    ‘generation’ of Republican leaders associated with the Bush II
    administration, and put new faces into the public eye. Sec. of
    State Rice, unfortunately, is probably the biggest loser here.

    142 – Basil Sands

    Unfortunately, you seem to believe that ‘religion’ equals
    ‘believing in one particular creation myth’ equals ‘only way to
    be a moral person’.

    I have known religious and moral people who hold that Genesis is a
    wonderful four-thousand year old parable, but not scientific
    truth, as well as moral atheists.

    I would say that biology is a difficult enough subject already,
    and religion and mythology should not be ‘on the exams’.

    174 – Gwangungon:

    What you said!

    184 – Davidon

    What you said.

    235 – Jake Freivald:

    On the meaning of ‘change’ – Well, from my point of view as a
    Democrat, the main ‘issue’ of the primary campaign was whether the
    Democratic Party should be organized from the ‘top-down’, as it
    was in the Clinton era, or from the ‘bottom-up’, as it’s now going
    to be. Definitely “a different kind of politics”.

    Methinks that the Democratic platforms of the past 40 years _did_
    constitute “a working consensus to tackle big problems” – now it’s
    time to put them into effect.

    265 – Auguston:

    To say that Senator Snowe’s views – which were those of the
    mainstream of the Republican party in my youth, and probably put
    her in the center of the American political spectrum – “would have
    the same appeal to most Republicans as a pile of warm dog #$%@”,
    is a sad commentary on the current state of American politics.

  249. August @ 284

    You said, “Yes, Palin’s even less experienced than Obama – but Obama will be the one making the decisions if he’s elected. Palin won’t.”

    Oh she won’t? Why not go take a look at the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, here, http://tinyurl.com/ye86ad

    With John being 73 as of Friday, it couldn’t hurt to at least ponder the idea of her taking the helm…

    Drew

  250. August @ 284: Yes. Children with Down’s Syndrome (or any cognitive disability) do require significantly more care than typically developing children. In addition to therapy and individualized education and training, there are also tremendous pressures on families with disabled children. Over 85% of marriages fail where a child is diagnosed with a cognitive disability like Down’s, Fragile-X, Autism, Rhett’s Syndrome, etc.

    Sadly, your comment simply echoes the tenor of our times. It’s not intolerance as much as it is ignorance, and impatience. I’m sure you (and folks who spout such things) don’t always mean to cause offense, but for those who care deeply about the issue, or those of us living with it daily, it’s highly offensive. It trivializes the greatest tradedy of our lives, and worse, ignores the tremendous emotional and financial strain we have to deal with.

    Governor Palin’s ability to continue performing her job in the face of what can only be a devastating blow is admirable. I no more fault her for continuing her career than I fault myself for continuing mine. And at the same time I find myself agreeing with August in his point that her lack of experience makes one wonder if she’s ready for this jump. Of course, I have the same concern about Senator Obama too…

Comments are closed.