Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sarah Palin, Thomas Muthee and witchcraft

Sarah Palin can't even handle Katie Couric

Are Americans really going to buy that CBS News' Katie Couric is part of some non-existent evil media conspiracy against GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin?

In an interview Monday, Palin, out of her campaign cocoon, was pressed on a very legitimate point -- whether she differed with the head of her ticket, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on how to handle Pakistan. Instead of answering the question the McCain camp attacked Couric.

Here is The Baltimore Sun:

With McCain and Palin sitting side by side, the first flareup came when Couric asked Palin about a statement the candidate made over the weekend that the U.S. should launch attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to "stop the terrorists from coming any further in."

In that comment, Palin seemed to voicing the same position McCain had attacked his opponent, Barack Obama, for stating in their debate on Friday.

"So, Gov. Palin, are you two (she and McCain) on the same page?" Couric asked.

"...We will do what we have to do to secure the United Sates and her allies," Palin said.

"Is that something you shouldn't say out loud, Sen. McCain?" Couric asked.

"Of course not," McCain snapped. "But look, I understand this day and age gotcha journalism... Grab a phrase. Gov. Palin and I agree that you don't announce that you're going to attack another country."

"Are you sorry you said it?" Couric asked returning to Palin.

"Wait a minute," McCain said interrupting. "Before you say is she sorry she said it, this was a gotcha sound bite that...

"It wasn't a gotcha," Couric insisted. "She was talking to a voter."

"No," McCain insisted back, "she was in a conversation with a group of people talking back and forth, and I'll let Gov. Palin speak for herself."

When Couric asked Palin what she learned "from that experience," the candidate replied, "That this is all about gotcha journalism...."

The best of Sarah Palin on YouTube

The Toronto Star has compiled some links to some of the best YouTube videos on GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Bar owner/artist's naked Palin painting drawing crowds

So not only are world leaders hitting on her but now GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is dealing with this.

This from Fox News:

A Chicago artist is drawing crowds to his bar after painting a portrait of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the buff.

Bruce Elliott unveiled the 4-foot-tall portrait at the Old Town Ale House on Chicago's North Side last Thursday, the Windy Citizen reports. The governor is wearing her trademark hairdo, holding an automatic rifle and standing naked on a polar-bear skin rug.

"I don't see how she could be offended by this," Elliott told the Windy Citizen. "I made her into a sex figure."

The bar is well known locally for its portraits of bar regulars and Chicagoans, the Windy Citizen said. But the naked Palin portrait has been "very successful" for the bar owner, who admits to the Citizen that he's a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama.

Sarah Palin trading card

The Upper Deck company as created this trading card of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Romney: Let Sarah Palin loose

Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney says it is high time that the McCain camp let Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin out of her cocoon.

Here is Romney in the Christian Science Monitor:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was on McCain’s running mate shortlist, faults the campaign for limiting her availability to the media. “Holding Sarah Palin to just three interviews and microscopically focusing on each interview I think has been a mistake,” Mr. Romney said Monday on MSNBC. “I think they’d be a lot wiser to let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin. Let her talk to the media, let her talk to people.”

Romney still believes she brings positives to the ticket, calling her a “maverick” like McCain. “She’s a person identified with people in homes across America…,” he said. “She’s an executive and a governor, and that brings a lot to John McCain’s ticket.”

Palin now faces the political challenge of her career, going up against a seasoned Washington politician – Senator Biden – in front of millions of viewers on national television Thursday. On Monday, she and her family flew to Sedona, Ariz., for three days of debate pre
paration at McCain’s ranch with a team of veteran campaign aides and policy experts.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

"I can see Russia from my house."

'Palin is much closer to Bush'

Palin is running like a candidate's wife -- from the 50s

This is getting ridiculous.

Sarah Palin is running not as a vice presidential candidate but as the wife of a 1950s political candidate. She is seen but not heard. No questions?

Palin is the candidate of the photo opp -- and if she were not a she, this would never fly. If the American public allows Palin to get away with this under the rouse that the media is a giant liberal monolith, the nation is in trouble as power will be even more bunkered away from us than it already is. We'll see more $700 billion Wall Street bailouts popping out of nowhere.

Here is Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic:

The press is beginning to resist the incredibly sexist handling of Palin by the McCain campaign. There is a simple point here: any candidate for president should be as available to press inquiries as humanly possible. Barring a press conference for three weeks, preventing any questions apart from two television interviews, one by manic partisan Sean Hannity, devising less onerous debate rules for a female candidate, and then trying to turn the press into an infomercial for the GOP is beyond disgraceful.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hollywood and Sarah Palin

The Melbourne, Australia newspaper -- the Herald Sun -- has a thorough piece on how Hollywood is lining up to bash GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Here is the Herald Sun:

Governor Palin may have the look of a mum in one of those cheesy US sitcoms, but everyone who's anyone in Tinseltown is barracking for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sarah's secrets

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin reads a good script from a teleprompter about openness in government but her staff in Alaska looked into using private email accounts so they could go about business in secret.

This is the sort of revelation that should be highly concerning as the nation has just had to endure fallout from 8 yesrs of cronyism.

Where are Palin's tax returns?

Other candidates release them so what is Sarah Palin hiding?

From ABC News

As election day comes ever nearer, Democrats and open-government advocates are pressing for the GOP vice presidential candidate to release her tax filings, a campaign tradition that extends at least to the post-Watergate era.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Excessive decisiveness reveals weakness

The New York Times's David Brooks make a good point about Sarah Palin having a strikingly similar style to President George W. Bush.

Here is Brooks:

Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.

The idea that “the people” will take on and destroy “the establishment” is a utopian fantasy that corrupted the left before it corrupted the right. Surely the response to the current crisis of authority is not to throw away standards of experience and prudence, but to select leaders who have those qualities but not the smug condescension that has so marked the reaction to the Palin nomination in the first place.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Does Palin want women Jailed, executed for abortions?

(Editor's Note: This first appeared at Iowa Independent.com.)

Iowa Independent.com

If Gov. Sarah Palin’s now well-known views prevail and abortion is made illegal, what should the penalty be for a woman who has an abortion and a doctor who provides one?

Should they be fined — like we do with speeders on our highways — or should they be strapped into an electric chair?

Misdemeanor or felony?

It’s a question the GOP vice presidential candidate needs to answer — with the specifics that have so far escaped her American Idol-style debut. She is on record as saying in 2006 that the government should force her daughter to have a baby in the event she were raped.

Americans deserve to know: Would the Alaska governor have her own daughter jailed or executed for having an abortion after being raped (if that ever happened)?

Pro-lifers may say, “let the penalty fit the crime,” but on abortion they won’t say what the penalty should be.

All pro-life candidates believe abortion is wrong. Many believe abortion is “murder.”

And several of these candidates also believe in the death penalty for first-degree murder.

That considered, it would be logical for them to call for the executions of women who have abortions or their doctors, wouldn’t it? Palin is a darling with the anti-abortion movement for having a baby with Down syndrome. Would she pardon her own daughter in the aforementioned rape-abortion scenario, or let her get the needle to further galvanize the base?

This is a fair question.

If a candidate wilts in the face of it then he or she simply doesn’t have the stuff to be a bona fide abortion opponent.

If a candidate says he wants to cut taxes, we ask what programs will be slashed.

And if a candidate says he wants to lock up more drug dealers with mandatory minimums, we ask “For how long?”

But when candidates say abortion should be criminalized, they are seldom pressed on what that really means for violators in a world where abortion would be illegal.

Their answers are vital to a debate that, without honest responses, is intellectually incomplete.

People who say they are opposed to abortion might get a little skittish when politicians start talking about prison time and even raising the specter of the death penalty for the women and their providers.

This is a question to test stomachs and resolve. We need to start asking it.

Why ABC interview may have showed Palin to be unqualified

Over at the Atlantic Monthly James Fallows takes a look at why GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's interview yesterday on ABC may have shown her to be far from ready to do the job.

It is embarrassing to have to spell this out, but for the record let me explain why Gov. Palin's answer to the "Bush Doctrine" question -- the only part of the recent interview I have yet seen over here in China -- implies a disqualifying lack of preparation for the job.

Not the mundane job of vice president, of course, which many people could handle. Rather the job of potential Commander in Chief and most powerful individual on earth.

The spelling-out is lengthy, but I've hidden most of it below the jump.

Each of us has areas we care about, and areas we don't. If we are interested in a topic, we follow its development over the years. And because we have followed its development, we're able to talk and think about it in a "rounded" way. We can say: Most people think X, but I really think Y. Or: most people used to think P, but now they think Q. Or: the point most people miss is Z. Or: the question I'd really like to hear answered is A.

Here's the most obvious example in daily life: Sports Talk radio.

Mention a name or theme -- Brett Favre, the Patriots under Belichick, Lance Armstrong's comeback, Venus and Serena -- and anyone who cares about sports can have a very sophisticated discussion about the ins and outs and myth and realities and arguments and rebuttals.

People who don't like sports can't do that. It's not so much that they can't identify the names -- they've heard of Armstrong -- but they've never bothered to follow the flow of debate. I like sports -- and politics and tech and other topics -- so I like joining these debates. On a wide range of other topics -- fashion, antique furniture, the world of restaurants and fine dining, or (blush) opera -- I have not been interested enough to learn anything I can add to the discussion. So I embarrass myself if I have to express a view.

What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues. Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the "Bush Doctrine" exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin says U.S. may have to go to war with Russia

Maybe GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin did pick up some insight in Alaska about Russia. She thinks the U.S. may have to go to war with that nation if Russia were to invade Georgia again, ABC News reports.

Here is ABC:

When asked by (Charles) Gibson if under the NATO treaty, the U.S. would have to go to war if Russia again invaded Georgia, Palin responded: "Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help.

"And we've got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable," she told ABC News' Charles Gibson in an exclusive interview.

Palin helps in Pennsylvania but Obama pulls away in Ohio

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin apparently is attracting white women likely voters to Arizona Sen. John McCain, helping him pull away from Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in Florida and narrow the gap with the Democrat in Pennsylvania, even as he is slipping slightly in Ohio, according to simultaneous Quinnipiac University Swing State polls released today.

No one has been elected President since 1960 without taking two of these three largest swing states in the Electoral College. Results from the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University polls show:

* Florida: McCain leads 50 - 43 percent, compared to 47 - 43 percent August 26;
* Ohio: Obama is up 49 - 44 percent, compared to 44 - 43 percent last time;
* Pennsylvania: Obama leads 48 - 45 percent, compared to 49 - 42 percent.

Voters in all three states say Sen. McCain's selection of Gov. Palin is a good choice: 60 - 26 percent in Florida, 57 - 30 percent in Ohio and 55 - 33 percent in Pennsylvania.

Since August 26, McCain's support among white women is up four percentage points in Ohio and five points in Pennsylvania, and dropped two points in Florida, where it was high to start.

"White women, a key demographic group in any national election, appear to be in play, with some movement towards Sen. McCain in Pennsylvania and Ohio," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Obviously Gov. Sarah Palin is having the impact that Sen. McCain hoped when he selected her."

"The size of Sen. McCain's margin with white voters overall tells the tale. In Florida, where McCain leads among whites by 24 points, that is a large enough cushion for him to survive Obama's almost total control of the black vote, and strong support among Hispanics."

"But in Pennsylvania and Ohio, where McCain leads by just six or seven points among whites, he's behind in the total count."

"Overall, even among many Democrats, Palin gets good grades. By almost a two-to-one margin, voters see McCain's choice of her as a good one, roughly the same who feel that way about Sen. Joe Biden."

President George W. Bush's approval ratings are:

* 33 - 63 percent in Florida;
* 30 - 65 percent in Ohio;
* 26 - 70 percent in Pennsylvania. Florida

Florida men likely voters back McCain 54 - 41 percent, while women go 47 percent for McCain and 45 percent for Obama, the first time he has trailed among women. White voters back McCain 59 - 35 percent. Obama leads 55 - 37 percent with voters 18 to 34 years old; McCain leads 52 - 41 percent among voters 35 to 54, and 54 - 39 percent with voters over 55.

Independent voters back McCain 50 - 43 percent, compared to 47 - 39 percent August 26 and 24 percent of those who backed Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary now support McCain, up from 14 percent August 26.

By a 58 - 29 percent margin, Florida voters have a favorable opinion of McCain, compared to 49 - 35 percent for Obama. Palin gets a 47 - 23 percent favorability, with 38 - 28 percent for Biden.

The economy is the most important issue in the election, 49 percent of Florida voters say, as 12 percent cite the war in Iraq; 11 percent list terrorism; 9 percent say health care and 8 percent say energy policy.

Florida likely voters say 58 - 38 percent that the vice presidential candidates picked by McCain and Obama will have little impact on which candidate they will pick on Election Day.

"Sen. McCain has opened up a sizable lead over Sen. Obama in Florida on his ability to capture most demographic groups," said Brown. "He wins voters over age 35 overwhelmingly; takes independents and keeps a larger share of Republicans than Obama captures of Democrats."


Obama leads 52 - 42 percent among Ohio women, compared to 51 - 37 percent August 26. Men split 47 - 47 percent. Obama leads 64 - 33 percent among voters 18 to 34, while voters 35 to 54 split with 48 percent for McCain and 46 percent for Obama. Voters over 55 back McCain 48 - 44 percent.

Independent voters back McCain 47 - 43 percent, compared to a 42 - 38 percent Obama lead August 26, and 28 percent of former Clinton supporters now back McCain, compared to 23 percent last time.

McCain gets a 53 - 34 percent favorability in Ohio, identical to Obama's 53 - 33 percent. Palin's favorability is 41 - 22 percent, compared to 36 - 22 percent for Biden.

For 52 percent of Ohio voters, the economy is the biggest issue, while 11 percent cite health care; 10 percent say the war in Iraq; 9 percent list energy policy and 8 percent say terrorism.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Palin boost with women voters

Polling data show that GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin may be having the effect McCain intended with female voters.

Here is The Toronto Globe and Mail:

A new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News found the Republican candidate has garnered a large increase in support among white women since announcing Sarah Palin as his running mate, putting him ahead of Democratic rival Barack Obama among that demographic for the first time.

But it's unclear whether voters are simply reacting to the novelty of Ms. Palin's personal story and the historic nature of her selection with a fleeting expression of support or whether her choice as vice-presidential nominee has led women to see Mr. McCain in a new light.

Before the Democratic National Convention in late August, Mr. Obama held an 8 percentage point lead among white women voters - 50 per cent to 42 per cent - but after the Republican convention earlier this month, Mr. McCain was ahead by 12 points among white women, 53 per cent to 41 per cent, the poll found.

"Yes, it's about Sarah Palin, but not just putting her on the ticket," said Susan Carroll, a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. "It's about what the choice of Sarah Palin did for McCain's image. It led women to take a second look at this candidate and this campaign and made it look more palatable."

Is anyone allowed to ask Palin a question?

For nearly two years I've covered numerous Barack Obama and Joe Biden events. They've been accessible to the media and voters -- and in Iowa answered hundreds if not thousands of questions in open formats in which questions on Iraq and the economy were common. But they also had to be quick on their feet as I heard members of the audiences ask about Net neutrality and past drug use issues.

In just minutes Obama and Biden would move from talking about what books they are reading to an assessment of Syria in the Middle East mix.

Why can't Palin do the same thing? Why does she need a spring-training or honeymoon before she deals with these questions?

Here is The Associated Press:

An aide told the journalists on board (Monday) that all Palin flights would be off the record unless the media were told otherwise. At least one reporter objected. Two people on the flight said the Palins greeted the media and they chatted about who had been to Alaska, but little else was said.

By comparison, her Democratic counterpart, Joe Biden, has been campaigning on his own, at times taking questions from audiences. He split off to campaign separately from Barack Obama the day after Obama announced his selection. They reunited at their party's convention and spent the following weekend campaigning together.

Biden's appearances have touched on a range of issues — in Florida he talked about U.S. support for Israel, in Pennsylvania it was economics and tax policy. He was interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fannie Who? Freddie What?

Oh come on now, what's the business of asking real question about things like, you know, the economy. As long as GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin appears with her family, maybe has another kid, and gets off one-liners with the aplomb of a former down-market TV station, who the hell cares that she doesn't understand Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Here is Talking Points Memo:

Just more evidence. Over the weekend Gov. Palin said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had "gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers."

Only they're not even taxpayer funded. It's only the government takeover, which Sen. McCain supports, that could change that.

I understand that the TV networks and the big papers feel like they're not allowed to criticize Gov. Palin. But we're in the middle of a housing and credit crisis and she doesn't even know what Fannie and Freddie are. It's an embarrassing level of ignorance that would sink a candidate for house or senate.

Under Palin, Alaska city wanted rape victims to pay for investigations

So ladies, you think Sarah is your gal, a fighter for women? That may be true -- if you have the money to pay for your own rape kit, something the city of Wasilla, Alaska, wanted women to do while she was mayor there.

This from The Minnesota Independent:

In 2000, Wasilla police chief Charlie Fallon, whom Sarah Palin hired, opposed then-governor Tony Knowles signing of a bill that would make it illegal for charging rape victims for gathering evidence of a sexual assault. “We would never bill the victim of a burglary for fingerprinting and photographing the crime scene, or for the cost of gathering other evidence,” Knowles told the Alaska Paper, The Frontiersman, in 2000.

Yet Fannon, Palin’s hire, opposed the legislation, saying it required the city and communities to come up the funds for the forensic exams.The total cost to the city? Approximately $5,000 to $14,000, according to the paper. “In the past, we’ve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible,” he said. “I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer.”

Sarah Palin, who is supposedly gathering momentum with women voters, has gone on record saying hiring Fannon was “the best decision [she] ever made.”

Palin beats Biden in new poll

If the presidential race were decided by the second-slot candidates, Sarah Palin would carry the day for the GOP, according to a new poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of 1,022 adults taken September 5-7 found that if voters were allowed to vote just for president in November, the result would be a statistical tie between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, at 49 and 48 percent respectively. The poll's margin of error was three percent.

In a hypothetical separate vote just for vice president, Alaska Governor Palin beat Senator Biden, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, by 53 percent to 44 percent, the survey showed.

Palin is misleading on 'Bridge To Nowhere'

Sarah Palin's claims that she had some kind of a Jimmy Stewart good-government moment with the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" is just flat false.

But it fits with the McCain campaign narrative so they aren't backing away.

Here is The Wall Street Journal:

Palin's claim comes with a serious caveat. She endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in 2006. And while she did take part in stopping the project after it became a national scandal, she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it elsewhere.

"We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge," Gov. Palin said in August 2006, according to the local newspaper, "and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that's so negative." The bridge would have linked Ketchikan to the airport on Gravina Island. Travelers from Ketchikan (pop. 7,500) now rely on ferries.

A year ago, the governor issued a press release that the money for the project was being "redirected."

"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer," she said. "Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island. Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bush praises Palin pick

This from The Washington Post:

Count President Bush as yet another Republican who thinks John McCain made a great vice presidential pick with Sarah Palin. "I find her to be a very dynamic, capable, smart women who, you know, it really says that John McCain made an inspired pick, to me," Bush said in an interview to be aired Tuesday morning on "FOX & Friends."

"She's had executive experience, and that's what it takes to be a capable person here in Washington, D.C. in the executive branch," Bush said in excerpts released by Fox.

ABC gets first Palin interview

This from The Associated Press:

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has agreed to sit down with ABC's Charles Gibson later this week for her first television interview since John McCain chose her as his running mate more than a week ago.

Palin will sit down for multiple interviews with Gibson in Alaska over two days, most likely Thursday and Friday, said McCain adviser Mark Salter.


Combat Vets Say Palin's, Others' Lives Put At Risk

WASHINGTON - Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan of VoteVets.org today wrote to top Defense Department officials, calling for an investigation into leaks of classified details regarding the deployment of Track Palin, the son of Vice Presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin. Numerous outlets have reported the date and location of Palin's deployment, which compromises operational security. The source of the leaks would be acting in violation of the law, putting troops at unneccessary risk, and could be prosecuted.
The text of the letter is below:

September 8, 2008

Secretary Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington DC 20301-1400
Gordon S. Heddell
Acting Inspector General,
Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

Daniel J. Dell'Orto
Acting General Counsel,
Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400


As veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, we are alarmed with recent leaks that have led to a multitude of stories in the media divulging details regarding the deployment and future movements of Track Palin, the son of Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin. We are attaching such examples of these details appearing in the media.
As you know, leaking such details is a clear violation of Operational Security (OPSEC), as defined in DOD Directive (DODD) 5205.02, and Army Regulation 530-1.
After speaking with a number of Public Affairs Officers, we are confident that the Department of Defense has not leaked these details. However, as it is simply impossible for any reporter to figure out these details on their own if all they know is the name of a soldier and where he is based, someone has compromised security, not only for the son of a potential Vice President of the United States, but all those who serve with him.
It is simply unacceptable for any member of the military, or civilian, to discuss these kinds of classified details – especially with members of the media. We urge you to conduct an immediate investigation to find the source of these leaks, and prosecute, if necessary.
We are certain you are as disturbed with these developments as we are, and hope you find any compromising of security and safety of our troops to be of paramount concern.
Jon Soltz
Veteran, OIF
Chairman, VoteVets.org

Brandon Friedman
Veteran, OIF, OEF
Vice Chairman, VoteVets.org
Peter Granato
Veteran, OIF
Vice Chairman, VoteVets.org
Brian McGough
Veteran, OIF, OEF
Senior Advisor, VoteVets.org

Obama's 'renewal' speech shows thinking Christian

Carroll (Iowa) Daily Times Herald

U.S. Sen. and presidential aspirant Barack Obama in the summer of 2006 delivered one of the more groundbreaking, even magisterial speeches, you'll hear, a "Call to Renewal" address in which he frankly discusses his own religious beliefs.

Unlike the messianic proclamations from some on the right, and in the White House now, or the roll-your-eyes pandering of secular Democrats clumsily trying to go Chautauqua, Obama's stem-winder that day rings true with many conservatives and liberals at the same time because it is so eloquently honest.

It is an inspiring speech, one I didn't think a contemporary American politician could deliver.

"Faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts," Obama said in that June 28 speech to religious progressives in Washington, D.C. "You need to come to church in the first place precisely because you are first of this world, not apart from it. You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away - because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey."

Obama is a believable Christian because of his thoughtful journey with faith, one that involved those doubts. He writes his own books and speeches and stuffs them with religious imagery. It's not something that can be faked.

Unlike Bush, who runs the equivalent of old San Francisco 49er short slant routes with theological discussion, Obama can go deep.

For Obama, the God card isn't the way to beat Jack Daniels and Al Gore and John Kerry - and then find a "higher power" than daddy.

The themes in the "Call to Renewal" speech are echoed in Obama's best-selling book, "The Audacity of Hope," and in other speeches. His remarks have drawn standing ovations not only from liberals, but thousands of conservatives at venues like "The Purpose Driven Life" author Rick Warren's megachurch.

It's not because Obama's speaking out of both sides of his mouth. It's because he truly is speaking to us.

"The discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms," Obama said. "Some of the problem here is rhetorical - if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice."

Obama goes on to say: "After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect 10-point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness - in the imperfections of man."

In the speech Obama makes a remarkable admission: that he wasn't raised in a particularly religious home and that his mother, a skeptic of organized religion, raised one.

But as he worked with church leaders in community organizing, Obama said, he found something missing in his life.

"It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith," Obama said. "It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church. The questions I had didn't magically disappear."

Obama, like Ronald Reagan, a fitting comparison in many ways, believes in using one's personal faith to promote public good, rather than the more common practice of using public faith to satiate private ambitions.

One can be both devout and a protector of the wall between church and state as well.

"Whose christianity would we teach in the schools?" Obama said. "Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles. Folks haven't been reading their Bibles."

(Editor's Note: This first appeared in the Daily Times Herald.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Joe Biden on fire

Friday, September 5, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin Biography

Former Iowa governors view Palin as winning spark

Former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray Thursday said GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has jolted the party from something of a political slumber.

The Alaska governor’s star-is-born speech at the Republican National Convention gives Republicans a winning spark, Ray said.

“I hope you realize that this campaign has turned a corner,” Ray said. “The Republicans are going to do far better than we thought a week ago.”

Ray, who served as governor for 14 years, joined another former Republican governor, Terry Branstad, who served 16 years, at a local fund-raiser for State Rep. Rod Roberts, R-Carroll.

“I think a lot of people that weren’t too enthusiastic about McCain are a lot more enthusiastic now with her on the ticket, so I think Governor Palin was a good choice,” Branstad said.

Roberts is seeking his fifth term in the Legislature. About 200 people, including Democrats and independents, attended the event at the Swan Lake State Park Conservation and Education Center. Roberts is running unopposed.

Billed as “30 Years of Wisdom” — based on the combined service of Ray and Branstad — the event functioned as a retrospective on the two leaders’ years at Terrace Hill.
But both Ray and Branstad, in remarks to the audience and in interviews with the Daily Times Herald, were quick to laud the top of their party’s ticket, presidential candidate John McCain and Palin.

As McCain was just hours from his acceptance speech Thursday during the Roberts event, the former governors focused primarily on Palin’s mercurial emergence as a force in the party.

“I’m very impressed,” Branstad said of Palin. “She’s a very intelligent, gutsy woman. She’s done some exciting things.”

Branstad said Palin deserves accolades for correcting political corruption in Alaska.

“She’s even had the guts to take on the oil companies to build this pipeline for natural gas,” Branstad said. “She’s for drilling, but she also wants the state, not the oil companies, to control the pipeline.”

For his part, Ray centered on her role as a catalyst for the party.

“She brings some experience the other candidates don’t have, and she does it delightfully,” Ray said. “But she does it firmly and she accomplishes what she sets out to do. So I think she’s going to be a real plus.”

(Photo is of former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray)

Is this how the choice was made?

Before clicking to watch it should be noted that the above is obviously satire and contains some profanity. In other words it is Not Safe For Work (NSFW).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Great comeback to Palin

"Mrs. Palin needs to be reminded that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor."
— Comments in The Politico

Thank you Sarah Palin

Palin blog editor gets shout out from Washington Post

The editor of this blog -- Douglas Burns, a Carroll, Iowa, journalist -- was featured in a Washington Post column written by Al Kamen. He noted that Burns was among the first journalists to predict Palin as McCain's running mate. More long-term readers of this blog know that -- and new readers can see the blog posts here date back to June when I predicted the Palin choice in a column devoted entirely to the subject at Iowa Independent.com.

Here is Kamen In The Washington Post:

Is He Clairvoyant, or What?

Speaking of the political pundits, it turns out that Douglas Burns, columnist for the Daily Times Herald of Carroll, Iowa, and IowaIndependent.com, predicted on July 29 that McCain would pick Palin and mentioned Biden as a likely Obama running mate.

Under a headline "Why McCain will pick Sarah Palin as running mate," Burns wrote that Palin, of all the possible picks, "brings the most to McCain" and "is a likely selection." Palin has "five children, a captivating TV-mom look and a brief but weighty background as a reformer governor," he wrote.

Republicans might worry she "would get knocked around in a vice-presidential debate" with Biden, Burns wrote, but the Dems would "have to be careful about bullying her, and she would be a vessel for disaffected Hillaryites, bulging with estrogen, looking for a reason to bolt the party."

The Reviews are in ...

The Boston Herald says that Palin rose above partisanship in her speech to the GOP convention last night.

The Los Angeles Times
sees the speech as giving a major boost to the McCain candidacy.

Writing for CNN,
Democratic stategist Hillary Rosen notes that a star is born in Palin.

Let's reflect. In her acceptance speech, we saw a woman who was compelling, charming and aggressively partisan. She succeeded in demonstrating that she is a regular mom who came to government to make a difference.

And she had that crowd in the convention hall eating out of her hands. Celebrity? It will be hard for the Republicans to attack Sen. Barack Obama for his celebrity now that they have one of their own.

A superstar of the radical right was made Wednesday night. And she may also have made some headway with those who buy her folksiness without knowing the extreme nature of her actual policy views.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

GOP Vetting Emporium

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Christian Right changes view on 'woman's place'

The Christian Science Monitor has some compelling reports on how the views of Christian conservatives about women in the workplace have changed.

Here is The Monitor:

Survey data bear out the shift in attitudes. In 1987, a Pew Research Center survey found that only 25 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of white evangelical Protestants completely disagreed with this statement: “Women should return to their traditional roles in society.”

In 2007, the numbers had shifted to 41 percent and 42 percent. Among Americans overall, the number rose from 29 percent to 51 percent.

James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, an influential Christian conservative organization, has long asserted that mothers should be at home, but even he has embraced the selection of Palin and now says he’ll vote for the GOP ticket.

Would you have taken the job?

In the Detroit Free Press Barb Arrigo asks the following question?

If your 17-year-old daughter was 5 months pregnant and unmarried, would you accept a position that was going to put your family under a relentless national microscope? B

Blue collar vote?

The USA today has a piece about Palin potentially reaching not just blue collar females -- but men as well. This is something Chuck Todd has talked about on MSNBC as well.

Leave it to the British ...

To get off a great one-liner on the Palin pick and ensuing controversy.

Here is Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian:

A race that began as the West Wing now looks alarmingly like Desperate Housewives. Six months ago, you couldn't help but notice the striking similarity between Barack Obama and Matthew Santos, the fictional but charismatic ethnic minority candidate who promised to heal America's divide. Now, you can't help but feel you're watching an especially lurid episode from Wisteria Lane, as the real-life Sarah Palin fends off rumours of a fake pregnancy - and the accusation that her son is actually her grandson - by revealing that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is expecting a baby and will soon marry the father, a young hockey player.

An in-depth look at McCain-Palin on abortion

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Misrepresented Extreme McCain-Palin View On Abortion

September 2, 2008: Scarborough:
"Nobody Associated With John McCain Is Suggesting To Outlaw Abortion." On the September 2, 2008 airing of Morning Joe on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough said, "Nobody associated with John McCain is suggesting to outlaw abortion." The full exchange is below:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Nobody. Nobody associated with John McCain is suggesting to outlaw abortion. That abortion should be outlawed. This is a fundamental misreading of Roe v. Wade.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: That's [Palin's position].

SCARBOROUGH: This is a fundamental misreading of Roe v. Wade that has been propagatedby the mainstream media . . .

MATTHEWS: You're propagating something totally wrong here.

[ . . . ]

SCARBOROUGH: What will happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned is states . . . will make the decision . . .

MATTHEWS: But that's not her position, her position is within the state of Alaska, outlaw it in all circumstances.

[MSNBC, Morning Joe, 9/2/08, emphasis added]

McCain: "I do not support Roe v. Wade. I think it should be overturned."

McCain Said Roe v. Wade Should Be Overturned.
McCain said, "I do not support Roe v. Wade. I think it should be overturned." [New York Times, 2/24/07]

McCain Web Site Said Roe v. Wade was "Flawed Decision."
Sen. McCain's 2008 presidential campaign website states that he "believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned." [John McCain for President 2008 campaign website, On the Issues: Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life, accessed 3/24/08]

McCain Derided Roe Decision And Said He Would "Welcome" Its Reversal.
Speaking on the Senate floor in 2006, McCain said, "Decisions such as Roe v. Wade continue to distort the democratic process in ways large and small to this very day." McCain continued, "Those of us who consider ourselves pro-life would welcome the Supreme Court's reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision that found a Constitutional right to an abortion. The result of that reversal would be to return the regulation of abortion to the states, where the values of local communities would be influential." [McCain Senate press release, 6/6/06]

McCain Supported Overturning Roe v. Wade;
Said it Was "Very Likely." Speaking on ABC News, McCain said, "I do believe that it's very likely, or possible, that a Supreme Court should - could overturn Roe v. Wade which would then return these decisions to the states which I support." [ABC News, 11/19/06]

McCain Said He "Never Agreed With Roe v. Wade"
and Claimed it's Reversal "Wouldn't Bother" Him. During an appearance on CBS's The Early Show John McCain, when asked about the possibility of abortion being banned, said, "I don't know the answer to that. I've never agreed with Roe v. Wade, so it wouldn't bother me any." [CBS, Early Show, 1/25/06]

McCain Said He Supports A Constitutional Amendment
Banning "All Abortions."During an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" in 2000, McCain voiced his repeated support for a ban on all abortion. Here is the exchange:

MR. RUSSERT: A constitutional amendment to ban all abortions?

SEN. McCAIN: Yes, sir.

MR. RUSSERT: You're for that?

SEN. McCAIN: Yes, sir.

MR. RUSSERT: If, in fact, all abortions were banned in America...

SEN. McCAIN: I understand.

MR. RUSSERT: ...under President McCain...

SEN. McCAIN: Understand.

MR. RUSSERT: ...let's look at our country. What would happen to a woman who had an abortion?

SEN. McCAIN: Obviously, it would be illegal, but I would not prosecute a woman who did that. I would think that it would be such a terrible trauma that--but I would not make those abortions available or easy as they are today in America. And I think that, again, we're talking about a situation which is very unlikely at this time, and I would like to see us ban partial-birth abortion, pass parental notification, parental consent and move forward in the areas that we can move forward in, including working with pro-life, pro-choice Americans on trying to make adoption easier, which is very difficult in America, trying to improve foster care, trying to move together in areas that we can agree on, rather than polarizing us as both ends of the spectrum have done.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, women across the country would say, "Senator McCain, prior to Roe vs. Wade, hundreds of thousands of women a year went to the back alleys to have abortions."

SEN. McCAIN: I understand that.

MR. RUSSERT: Many died.

SEN. McCAIN: I understand that. [NBC, Meet The Press, 1/30/00]

2007: McCain Supported Federal Abortion Ban.
On the Federal Abortion Ban, Sen. McCain said, "Today's Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary. The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children. It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written, and do not usurp the authority of Congress and state legislatures. As we move forward, it is critically important that our party continues to stand on the side of life." [McCain for President Press Release, 4/18/07]

McCain Has "Unbroken Record Of Opposing Abortion Rights,"
Including In Cases of Rape and Incest. According to the Associated Press, McCain has an "unbroken record of opposing abortion rights for women. McCain has repeatedly voted against federal funding for abortion; he has opposed federal Medicaid funds for abortion even in cases of rape or incest." [Associated Press, 5/6/08]

McCain: "I Pledge to You to be Loyal and Unswerving Friend of the Right to Life Movement. "If I am fortunate enough to be elected as the next President of the United States, I pledge to you to be a loyal and unswerving friend of the right to life movement." [Statement by Sen. McCain read by Sen. Sam Brownback at the March for Life in Washington, DC, 1/22/08]

Washington Times: McCain Record Shows
a "Striking Opposition" To Right To Choose. The Washington Times reported, "Though the Arizona senator and all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee doesn't detail his voting record on the campaign trail, an examination reveals a striking opposition to abortion in most of the major fights such as partial-birth abortion down to the smallest of skirmishes, even when he was in a distinct minority. Those votes include joining just 20 other senators in voting to delete family-planning grants from a spending bill in 1988 and joining 18 others in voting against spending Medicaid funds on abortions in cases of rape and incest." [Washington Times, 2/18/08]

Sarah Palin: Anti-Choice, Including In The Case Of Rape Or Incest

Palin: "I Am Pro-Life."
During the 2006 Alaskan gubernatorial election, Eagle Forum Alaska sent each candidate a questionnaire. In response to a question on the legality of abortion, Sarah Palin answered: "I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending an innocent's life." [Eagle Forum Alaska, 7/31/06, emphasis added]

Palin Said She Would Want Her Daughter
To Have The Child If She Were Raped. According to the Anchorage Daily News, during the final 2006 gubernatorial debate, "The candidates were pressed on their stances on abortion and were even asked what they would do if their own daughters were raped and became pregnant. Palin said she would supportabortion only if the mother's life was in danger. When it came to her daughter, she said, 'I would choose life.'" [Anchorage Daily News, 11/3/06, emphasis added]

Palin Described Herself As "Pro-Life As Any Candidate Can Be."
As reported by theAnchorage Daily News, "In 2002, when she was running for lieutenant governor, Palin sent an e-mail to the anti-abortion Alaska Right to Life Board saying she was as 'pro-life as any candidate can be' and has 'adamantly supported our cause since I first understood, as a child, the atrocity of abortion.'" [Anchorage Daily News, 8/6/06]

· Palin Opposes Abortion "Even In The Cases Of Rape And Incest."
According to the Los Angeles Times, "What's known about [Palin's] policy positions and public statements has been tremendously reassuring to conservatives, who issued numerous statements Friday praising the 44-year-old governor. But one person's solid conservatism -- opposing abortions, even in the cases of rape and incest; denying human contributions to global warming; supporting the teaching of creationism in public schools -- is another's extremism." [Los Angeles Times, 8/30/08]

Palin A Member Of Feminists For Life.
In a release published on the Feminists for Life website, the group confirmed Sarah Palin's membership and detailed the aims of the organization: "Feminists for Life's policy is that all memberships are confidential. However, since Governor Palin has been public about her membership, we can confirm that Palin became a member in 2006… 'FFL members represent a broad political as well as religious spectrum, and we remain both nonpartisan and nonsectarian. There are many issues outside Feminists for Life's mission. Feminists for Life is dedicated to systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion - primarily lack of practical resources and support - through holistic, woman-centered solutions. We recognize that abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women and that too often women have settled for less. Women deserve better than abortion,' said [FFL President Serrin] Foster." [WomenDeserveBetter.com, accessed 8/31/08, emphasis added]

Trippi says Palin's speech to be key

CBS News analyst and Democratic strategist Joe Trippi says Sarah Palin's speech could be decisive in the election.

Here is a post from Trippi:

Everywhere I go people are asking, if the revelations around Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s selection by John McCain to be his running mate have hurt the Arizona Senator’s chances of winning the Presidency.

The truth, no matter what the polls say today, is that we don’t know yet.

The massive amount of media focus on Palin over the past 48 hours, including her daughter’s out of wedlock pregnancy and the potentially incompetent vetting of her by the McCain campaign, is setting the stage for her speech at the GOP convention here in St. Paul.

McCain defends Palin selection process

Reuters is reporting that McCain today came to his new running mate's defense. Here is Reuters.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain defended picking Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Tuesday as his vice presidential running mate after she admitted that her teenage, unmarried daughter is pregnant.

Palin's disclosure, in addition to the news that she has a private lawyer in an ethics probe in Alaska, led some to raise questions about McCain's judgment and how thoroughly her background was examined in picking the relatively unknown Palin last week as his No. 2.

Iowa Republican women support Palin

Several Republican women are enthusiastically voicing their support for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be the first woman nominated to the Presidential ticket by their party.

Ambassador Mary Kramer is no stranger to history. The former President of the Iowa Senate was the first woman to be elected to that position.

“Governor Palin has always answered the call to serve, and done so for the right reasons,” Kramer said. “She has demonstrated executive leadership in every office she’s held and actually has a record of getting results to back it up.”

State Representative Sandy Greiner of Keota was in Minnesota preparing for next week’s Republican National Convention when she heard the news.

“Women who have been in politics a lot longer than I were fixed to televisions and moved to tears upon seeing that Governor Palin had been chosen to be our Vice Presidential nominee,” Greiner said. “The excitement here is incredible and it is because her selection signifies real change for the Republican Party and for the United States.”

Indeed, the addition of Governor Palin to the McCain ticket has caused a new debate to begin swirling around this election’s buzzword: change. The Alaska governor is a fresh face in the Republican Party and that differs greatly from Barack Obama’s choice of long-time Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.

“Governor Palin is known as a maverick in her own right and is a perfect fit to help lead the real campaign for change in Washington,” said retiring State Representative Carmine Boal. “In her home state of Alaska, she has battled corruption, stood up to lobbyists, even turned away pork spending from Congress. Governor Palin is the best choice to help Senator McCain fight the same old politics that have divided our nation.”