Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain's Machinations: His Palin Problem

Every presidential nominee, including McCain, believes that an essential criterion for picking a VP is that the candidate must be ready, if necessary, to assume the presidency from day one on, thus ruling out on the job training. McCain has also argued that Obama is not ready to be president because of his lack of experience, especially on foreign policy.

But he apparently thinks that Palin is ready, despite her lack of experience, especially in matters of foreign policy, which is essentially zilch, non-existent, zero minus one. What is wrong with this thinking?

As Michael Kinsley said today in Slate, it raises a fundamental question about McCain's honesty, since apparently when he was making such a ruckus over Obama's lack of experience, he did not mean a word of it.

If Palin is qualified on foreign affairs, then Obama must be stupendously overqualified for the job, since he has served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has recently been in Iraq and the Middle East, and has met numerous heads of state and other high-ranking officials.

But protest the defenders, Palin has been involved in small business, mayor of a town of 9,000, and governor of a thinly-populated state for about 20 months.

Recently she said she needs to know "what it is exactly that the VP does every day," has never been to Iraq, or thought much about it, what with being so busy with state government and all, and allegedly does not know what "the plan" is (McCain's, Bush's, anybody's?) to exit from Iraq. In the light of this, defenders conclude that she is more qualified by experience to be president than is Obama.

She herself said that having little experience may be an advantage enabling you to take a fresh look at things. Thus she turns the experience argument upside down and suggests that inexperience is a qualification.

The next move is for Republicans to change the subject in the face of this transparent farce and say that McCain has the experience and thus the Republicans win the experience argument! Heaven help us if this tortured logic and these desperate maneuvers convince anyone to vote for her on the basis that she is qualified by her lack of experience and by McCain's being full of it.

It is becoming more apparent every day that Palin is an extreme right-winger on many subjects.
For Palin's views, see:

Hillary supporters are then invited by Palin to vote for Palin. She apparently thinks as a woman she can be a stand in for other women for Hillary Clinton, tempting Biden to say to her (but I hope he will resist though I wish he could):

"Look, I know Hillary Clinton. She is a friend of mine. and Governor, you are no Hillary Clinton."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Way to Go, Barack!

The great big, bold lead headline in my morning paper said:


The speech was excellent in content and tone, had some fire and brimstone, annihilated the major Republican charges against him, and was full of specific content. He positioned himself for the campaign ahead by setting an agenda and a fighting spirit.

Wow, he must have been reading my blogs.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama and the Common Touch

Bill's Clinton's intellect is no less imposing than Barack Obama's, and his resume is equally impressive -- Yale and Oxford. But Bill has the common touch. He can identify with ordinary people so that his elite intellectual status does not raise a barrier. Now being from Arkansas and named Bill Clinton does not hurt. But his manner and approach and way of speaking help even more. Y'all understand that, don't you?

So far Barack has not been so successful. An exotic name like Barack Hussein Obama is already a question mark. When he is not making a speech but communing with the folks and answering questions, he sounds too much like the professor he was. Carefully chosen words uttered slowly and the inability to simplify things without your getting the idea he is all too aware of the complexities, ambiguities, and nuances give the impression that he is so cool, controlled, and in charge of his thought that he cannot utter the simple simplicities with passion.

He needs a little more of the warm-hearted preacher and less of the deep-thinking professor -- a little more fire and brimstone, outrage, and feeling that convey sincerity without appearing that he is acting and calmly calculating and not speaking from the heart.

Can he do it? I hope he can. It probably is not something Bill can teach him. You sort of have to have it as part of your real self. If he cannot connect with the folks on the streets, in the factories, in the bars, at prayer meetings, those who do the hard work and get sweaty, he may have to sit with Dukakis and Kerry at a sidewalk cafe drinking fine wine and reflect on why the working-class white folks didn't believe that they--these sophisticates -- really felt their pain.

Reflections on Obama, King, the Clintons, and More

1. The symbolism of Obama's acceptance speech on the 45th anniversary of Kings "Dream" speech is inescapable and self-explanatory.

2. For the first time in a good while, I like the Clintons. The actions of Hillary and Bill at the Convention are remarkable, commendatory, and done despite great pain and disappointment. Hillary's nomination would have been an equally great occasion for rejoicing.

3. I am so disgusted at the TV journalists, pundits, commentators, political advisers, and the like I can hardly stand to watch any more, and I keep the remote and the mute handy to shut them off. If the news was 99% joy, peace, harmony, and universal happiness, and 1% was about conflict, controversy, and trouble, what would get headline coverage on the 24 hour news cycle? Except where they have inside information, they have no better insight than any of the rest of us who read at least two good newspapers a day and some serious books and journal. Only a few are worth listening to, are a waste of time, and one of my favorites -- Time Russert -- is not with us.

4. The last few days, like many Democrats, I have felt gloomy doubtful, and scared that Obama would join Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry as defeated disappointments. Obam's magic had deserted him. McCain was making gains, and except for Michelle and Ted Kennedy, the first day of the Convention offered little relief. Since then, Hillary, Bill, Joe Biden, and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer have revived me a bit. Tonight I hope the old magic comes back, and new sense of optimism will return.

5. Most of the time I and everyone else forgets that Obama is half-white. The fact that the Democratic nominee is the product of a black-white marriage, literally an African and an American, is no less remarkable than our noting that he is an African American -- meaning that he is black.