Monday, September 29, 2008

I was seduced by Sarah Palin.

While I have followed events closely this political season, I was late developing any excitement for the upcoming election. For one thing, I have had a sense of defeat. With Bush’s low popularity and an unpopular war and bad economic news, I thought no matter whom the nominee was; this is going to be a Democratic year. It would almost take a miracle for any Republican to win, I reasoned.

Also, I was simply disgruntled. I felt that the Republican Party had gone off track in many areas. I was disappointed about Bush leading us into an unnecessary avoidable war, was disappointed that Republicans had become the party of reckless spending, and was disgusted by the Jack Abramoff scandal. I have also been disappointed that many rank and file Republicans are still skeptical of global warming and have displayed a downright mean spiritedness regarding the immigration issue. I felt estranged from the Republican Party. I felt like the party was in a four way tug of war between the isolationist Paleo-conservatives, the Ron Paul Libertarians, the Neo-conservatives and the Holy Rollers and I did not feel at home in any camp. Nevertheless, I was still a Republican and did not see myself becoming a Democrat, but I could not get excited.

Initially, I supported Fred Thompson for President, but he did not seem to have any fire in the belly and he did not generate a lot of excitement in me. I did send him a campaign contribution and put his ad on this website but could not get real excited about his candidacy. Following Thompson’s withdrawal, I supported McCain. There was not even a close second choice. I liked McCain’s support for immigration reform and his environmental record, two issues where I think the base of the party has simply got it wrong. I admired his integrity, his mainstream pragmatic conservatism, and his service to our country. Still, I could not get very excited.

The Republican convention fired me up. I was anxious about how the Party could ignore a sitting President. I am so disappointed by the Presidency of George Bush that I was not in the mood to see thousands of cheering Bush fans. Thank God for Gustav! Watching the convention you may have not even known this was the convention of the Party of Bush and Cheney.

The nomination of Sarah Palin excited me. Many pundits say Sarah excited the Party because she appealed to the social conservatives. I am pro-life and I oppose gay marriage so I guess that makes me a social conservative, but I do not feel comfortable with many on the religious right. The way I see it, these are the kind of people, who if elected locally, would want to keep wine out of the grocery stores and close all the strip clubs. They often come across as puritanical, self-righteousness, and intolerant and that makes me uncomfortable. Sarah Palin’s appeal to me was not because I was a dissatisfied social conservative. One reason Palin excited me was because she was “none of the above”. I liked her because she was not Lieberman, or Romney or Huckabee.

Palin also has a compelling story and I liked the reform, maverick image. I also liked her due to some social class connection I felt. Even though she is not southern, I felt the same connection I would feel with a southerner. When some journalist contemptuously said she would get the redneck vote, it made me like her that much more. I often get the feeling that the people in New York and Los Angeles look down on the rest of the nation. I felt like she was one of “us.”

Now, it is confession time: I am a sucker for an attractive woman. If you want to get me to support your cause or buy your product, send a pretty woman to talk to me. A pretty woman does not even have to be all that bright. Where I might challenge a man who says something that lacks logic, I let a pretty woman get by with it. I will let a pretty women waste my time, where I might cut a man off. A woman may talk rubbish but if she is pretty and a little flirty, I enjoy it. Call me sexist because I have different standards for men and women, but I’m a guy. I can be charmed and Sarah Palin is charming. I was seduced by Sarah Palin.

Like a lot of relationships build on superficial attraction, after a time you began to see the flaws in the other person. I still like Sarah, but I am not as enamored. The more I have seen of her, the more I have come to doubt that she is that qualified to be President.

I think she was mistreated by Charlie Gibson in the interview where he asked her the question about the Bush doctrine without clarifying his question. I felt that that was a trick “gotcha” question. (I hate to see a pretty little women mistreated.) In addition to the Gibson interview, I was outraged to see the mocking tone many used when speaking about her. I was angered by the long list of lies circulated about her such as the book banning charge. The claim that she wanted evolution taught in school was even repeated by a so-called responsible journalist. I defended her.

Since the Gibson interview there have been other interviews where she did not perform that well. Unfortunately, Sarah Palin does not seem that knowledgeable about economics or foreign policy. Look at the videos at the bottom of this page. This is not terrible but she looks like someone who is in over her head. I keep watching, hoping she doen't say something stupid. She cannot make a coherent argument. She seems unsure of her reasoning. No doubt she will get better over time. And, if McCain is elected, hopefully he will remain in good health long enough for Sarah to get some on-the-job training.

I know, some will think this is a sexist remark, but I think it is reality: If you have been busy having and raising five kids, you probably have not had a lot of time to read important books, read good newspapers, do Internet research or watch C-Span. With kids to go to Hockey practice and needing help with the homework and needing fed and changed and comforted when they skin a knee, Palin may not have had the time to sit at her computer and educate herself about the crisis in Darfur. She may not have had time to reflect on the issues of the day. True, I would not make the same assumptions about a male politician with five kids, but fathering is different than mothering.

In addition to her apparent lack of knowledge and inability to answer a question coherently, the unanswered questions about whether or not she used undue influence to settle a family feud with her brother-in-law and her acceptance of over $25,000 in gift from those seeking state favors during her 20 months as governor have tarnished her image.

No doubt Sarah Palin made a good small town mayor. She might be a good governor of a sparsely populated state. I would love to sit next to her at a Hockey game. I am not sure she is ready to be President. Given the choices we face, I am still certainly voting for McCain-Palin but the romance with Sarah Palin is almost over.

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  1. My choice in the primaries was Mitt Romney. No one could say he doesn't have economic experience.

    And as a former governor, he knew how to excel in that area.

    Foreign policy is not his strong point, but that is something he could have overcome. Many presidents were not strong on foreign affairs, including Bill Clinton.

    People who would not vote for Romney because he is a Mormon are silly.

    But that's all water under the bridge now.

    Go McCain-Palin (yawn).

  2. So when she becomes VP those five children of hers and... oh yeah, grandchild are going to disappear? If that was a distraction as Mayor and Governor, where she couldn't even read important books because of them and hockey, what happens as a VP? Do we give her the same pass? I mean not to be sexist and all, but it sounds like she should be home rather than on the ticket. This is who you want as a number two to a 73 year old man who has had bouts with cancer? Okay.
    McCain/Palin 08... Hey how about a game of chicken on the highway.

  3. You know, you don't have a choice between McCain/Palin and Perfect/Perfect. You have either McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden and unless you are a moron, you choose McCain/Palin. Obama already has the stupid vote and they are stupidly enthusiastic. So, for crying out loud, stand up and fight just as McCain asked at the convention and don't start picking at McCain or Palin. America cannot afford Obama and Pelosi and Reid and that is what is going to happen unless we can generate some enthusiasm amongst the thinking voters.

  4. I agree, the debate Thursday night will be telling. I hope that the Governor is working hard, but the reality is when you are thrust into this kind of position, HOW can you get up to speed on so many issues so fast?

    Be an expert on what you know, admit what you don't know and what you're working on. The McCain campaign is screwing up the way they should be using her--as a point person on government reform and energy policy. She should admit that's her expertise, and she admit that some areas are relatively new to her and that she is being briefed on all the complexities and will be ready by January when McCain takes the oath of office.

    We need straight talk. Instead of fumbling in interviews, she should engage them.

    She should say: Charlie, I don't know what the Bush Doctrine is unless you're referring to the Alaskan Bush. You know I don't know what the Bush Doctrine is, and I don't care. John McCain represents a departure from the Bush Administration. Whatever the world foreign policy situation is, John McCain and his cabinet and I will make the best decisions about how to handle what situations are thrown are way.

    It's not about any doctrine or lack of doctrine or knowing a political term that matters. What matters is a carefully considered measured response. John McCain has the experience to lead us, Barack Obama does not.

    She should say: Katie, I know Tina Fey is doing a wonderful job of parodying me. But the truth is, I can not see Russia from my house.

    A lot has been said about my experience in foreign policy being related to the proximity of Alaska and Siberia. The truth is there is a lot about foreign policy that I do not know, but in terms of our energy policy, which is all about our international relations with oil-producing nations, I am an expert.

    The biggest issue facing our world right now is energy independence as it pertains to national security. And I don't mean just the US National Security, but all nations are concerned about it. That is why Russia is making a power grab for control of the unexplored north polar region and claiming ownership of territory from Denmark and Canada.

    In the North Polar Region there are five nations: Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway that can make claims to territory and the energy reserves there.

    In Asia and Europe, the war in Georgia and S. Ossetia is not about Russian concern for ethnics in S. Ossetia, but the control of the Trans-Siberian Pipeline where most of Europe receives their oil from.

    In the Middle East, all the fighting and regime changes and war are all about control of oil and the revenue it generates. None of this would be important and the Middle East would be mostly a non-issue if the price and control of the world supply of oil were not dependent on fickle dictators in this region.

    In Mexico and South America, the oil economy and control thereof dictate international tensions.

    This knowledge of energy security is what I bring to the table in terms of foreign policy. Is it enough to be President? No. I am being briefed on many aspects of foreign policy and international diplomacy and I will be ready the day John McCain is sworn in as the next President of the United States.

    You see--the McCain campaign is not being smart. They are not turning Sarah Palin's expertise into their advantage...they're letting her lack of knowledge become a liability and let the press persecute her for it. Give it up. Admit it. Be truthful. Focus on her strengths. Promise readiness in January. It's a scenario the American people can believe rather than the disingenous and outright stupid comments about proximities to foreign countries that are being made right now.

  5. Why is it that Red states are also states that rate lower in education and higher in incidents of incest???

  6. I agree with Mr. Urdan when he says, "They are not turning Sarah Palin's expertise into their advantage..." I've been thinking for some time now that a large part of the reason that she's struggled in those recent interviews was in the way she was handled.

    She gets sequestered, and they are throwing voluminous amounts of information at her without providing context. It's like she's back in school, but you have to answer your test questions orally in front of the teacher, the whole class, and the rest of the school on closed circuit TV.

    Not the way to inspire confidence in a candidate by telling her all day what it is she doesn't know instead of trying to enhance what she does. The end result is something like this, where she indirectly endorses Hamas: