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Why Is There Still So Much Interest in Gov. Palin? November 12, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in Sarah Palin.
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FROM CNN’s Jack Cafferty:

When’s the last time a losing vice presidential candidate was still in the news a week after the election? Nobody seems interested in interviewing Joe Biden, or for that matter, John McCain. But we just don’t seem to be able to get enough of Sarah Palin.

The news media are scrambling to get her thoughts on everything…the campaign, the charges from within the McCain camp that she is a “whack job” and a “rogue,” the $150,000 wardrobe, the travel expenses for her family that were charged to taxpayers of the state of Alaska. It’s obviously something besides her keen and subtle grasp of the complexities of being president of the United States.

Watch: Cafferty: Interest in Palin?

In fact, her apparent total lack of knowledge of the aforementioned proved to be a handicap to McCain’s campaign in the closing stages. A majority of Americans felt Palin was hurting McCain’s chances rather than helping them. And yet speculation persists that the Republican Party may decide to hitch its wagon to this hockey mom from Alaska when the 2012 presidential race rolls around.

Here’s my question to you: Why is there still so much interest in Governor Sarah Palin?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Tim from Hot Springs, Arkansas writes:
Because the Republican operatives, on the condition of anonymity, are throwing her under the bus. They built her up as a means of reviving the campaign, only to tear her down upon their defeat. The operatives will be around again in four years if they aren’t blamed as the fall guys for the Republicans’ failures. She won’t be. At this point, she’s expendable.

Bamidele from Almaty, Kazakhstan writes:
I think it has something to do with the 57 million and counting, who voted for this ticket. That’s scary!

Mark from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma writes:
She is beautiful, articulate and a great people person regardless of what Matt Lauer tries to do to her on the Today Show.

Elizabeth writes:
National “rubbernecking.” It is like driving by an accident. You don’t want to look, but somehow you just can’t help it.

Diane from Barneveld, New York writes:
She’s Bush in skirts.

Andrew writes:
There are two reasons: 1) She’s attractive. For better or for worse, people listen when pretty girls talk, no matter what nonsense may come out of their mouths. 2) Incompetence, by itself, is not entertaining. However, when the incompetent are supremely self-confident, full of certitude, and absent of insight, it’s absolutely compelling.

Tom from Fort Lauderdale, Florida writes:
Jack, they should leave this woman alone. Nobody cares how many countries there are in Ohio.

Joan Moriarity   November 11th, 2008 12:48 pm ET
You would think she won the election! I am sick of her and her propaganda. It’s every body’s fault but hers. i wish the media would stop giving her so much attention. We have our new President. Send her back to ALASKA!!!!
Faith from Milford, Massachusetts   November 11th, 2008 12:57 pm ET
She’s like a car crash – no one really wants to look, but you can’t help yourself!
Nuria in Miami   November 11th, 2008 12:58 pm ET
Sadly because the media won’t stop interviewing her. Stop asking her questions and maybe she’ll just go away.
Sherrol in Canada   November 11th, 2008 12:59 pm ET
She’s not going away Jack!! More’s the pity………..
C in Belen, New Mexico   November 11th, 2008 1:00 pm ET
Interest by whom ???? The bigest interest is by the media, not the public. The media seems to be replaying the Paris/ Brittany “thing” using Palin this time around………
tammie   November 11th, 2008 1:03 pm ET
Only the media is interested in her. she is another Anna Nichole Smith.

Tammie, MI

ANGIE IN PA   November 11th, 2008 1:03 pm ET
I Dont Know Jack, But I am really tired of seeing her on TV and hearing her Scratchy voice, Maybe if the Media leaves her alone she will go away. But then again maybe the Media gets a kick out of her Interviews and how stupid she is and Reminds the voters everyday they made the right choice in Electing Obama!
Lois, Ont., Canada   November 11th, 2008 1:04 pm ET
I wish she would just ’shut-up’ She is blaming everyone except herself for losing the election. The media should put a ‘lid on her’ She is old news.
Domenic from Montreal, Canada   November 11th, 2008 1:04 pm ET
I don’t know Jack. Maybe it because she made a laughing stock of herself and comedians need more material.

She makes Bush look intelligent.

Mike, Cleveland, Ohio   November 11th, 2008 1:05 pm ET
Jack, misery loves company…
Jean from Belgium   November 11th, 2008 1:06 pm ET
She has smell the attention and now she is addicted to it.
Talks too easy and doesn’t caculate the quonsequenses and the affects which will taunted her and her family the rest of her life.
The need some common sense!
JoLynn in Illinois   November 11th, 2008 1:07 pm ET
I think we all want to know what she is going to do next! It’s better than watching “The West Wing”!! People like her persona regardless of what she says and does. No one should underestimate her. She is going to be around for the next election unless a new star is born before she can get her act together.
Jane (Minnesota)   November 11th, 2008 1:08 pm ET
I wish I knew – I certainly don’t get it! But then again I don’t understand how Michelle Bachmann was re-elected to Congress again after she publically questioned the patriotism of members of Congress. Some questions just do not have any logical answers to them – this is certainly one of them!
Sam   November 11th, 2008 1:08 pm ET
Truly, I think she is so disastrous that people simply cannot help themselves. She sticks out amongst the small sub-population of running mates in Presidential history.
Personally, I’m still stunned about her comments regarding her own insights into foreign policy simply due to Alaska being straddled by foreign countries, Canada and Russia. It boggles the mind, really.
James, New York   November 11th, 2008 1:09 pm ET
That’s a fantastic question, Jack. Some are obviously still upset with the Republican defeat. Believe it or not, some Americans were in love with her, and some of them simply hated Barrack Obama. The election was very intense, and it seems some people can’t accept reality. People love her because she’s a great personality, and simultaneously hate the fact of a black man as President. Old feelings die hard, I guess!
Anna – New Mexico   November 11th, 2008 1:11 pm ET
same reason media obsessed with the likes of Paris Hilton, the Olson twins, Lindsay, etc. Quite frankly, if the media didn’t write about them, nobody would miss them except the media themselves.
Tom, Bradenton   November 11th, 2008 1:13 pm ET
i have no idea why, maybe people like idiots like her and just wait for the next stupid comment of her. Her most recent one was that with gods help she will get into the White House 2012. She forgets again that she needs the voters for that.
Doug – Dallas   November 11th, 2008 1:13 pm ET
It’s like the country’s addiction to Hollywood; at the moment she’s the flavor of the month. If the news media would leave her alone, she would fade away.
Linda Morris   November 11th, 2008 1:14 pm ET
Sarah Palin looks like she is here to stay! The media covers everything that she does or says and seems not to be able to get enough of her and her family. I’ve had enough of her. It’s still hard for me to believe that she was ever a candidate for the second highest office in this country. A shock that I would like to get over but the news media won’t let that happen. Even this question puts her right back out there again. I guess she’ll be around until she runs for the number one spot. Maybe she reminds people of “Barbie” and she’s not going away either.
Sherre   November 11th, 2008 1:15 pm ET
The same reason Paris Hilton is a celebrity. We enojoy watching pretty air heads who have accomplished very little make fools of themselves. It is quite entertaining.
Ismael (Visalia, CA)   November 11th, 2008 1:16 pm ET
Because she is just chillin in Alaska, its to cold to go out!
Lisa, Ashford, Alabama   November 11th, 2008 1:16 pm ET
Sarah Palin is interesting and editorial cartoonists around the world are thrilled to have a replacement for George W. Bush.
Kim – Blair, NE   November 11th, 2008 1:16 pm ET
Kinda like the old ‘freak show’ at the circus, I guess.
Cori from Colorado   November 11th, 2008 1:17 pm ET
Palin is a joke, and I think people are curious to see why she continues to pursue a national career in politics at all. She is a moron, another Paris Hilton.
Gene from Bloomington, MN   November 11th, 2008 1:18 pm ET
Liz in Towson, MD   November 11th, 2008 1:18 pm ET
Perhaps it’s because we’re too intrigued by her clothes and too sexist to leave her alone.
Jackie in Dallas   November 11th, 2008 1:18 pm ET
Exposure to power, and exposure to media attention is addicting, Jack. And the media keep playing right into her cravings. If the media would just drop her, she could go back home, find all those clothes she needs to return, take care of her kids and her real job, and leave the rest of us in peace.

I must say something, however. Reading her inteviews since the handlers went away, she comes across moderately more intelligent than she did. I must think that the confusing messages she was given to talk about, and her general unpreparedness for the election process made her sound dumber than she might be.

Chadd   November 11th, 2008 1:20 pm ET
Americans seem to be obsessed with the idea of sitting down and having a beer with our leaders. The idea is that leaders who dress, sound and drink like us are somehow more qualified or trustworthy. Palin, who incessantly referred to Americans as Joe six-packs and Suzie soccer-moms, is no exception. We only have to look at the last eight years of failed leadership to see where this “beer logic” has gotten us. When will America wake up and realize we need to pick leaders that are something that we apparently aren’t: intellegent.

Cleveland, TN

Debby   November 11th, 2008 1:21 pm ET
I don’t know why there is still so much interest in Sarah Palin, I saw her recent interviews. Hey Jack I’m wondering what she’s going to do about Senator Stevens? I think Sarah Palin needs to find another choice as Senator or will she take it herself? Why is it when any member of Congress or a Senator is found guilty of a felony, they get to slink away quietly taking their huge expensive pensions with them???Are they not still ripping off the American people? If it were Tom,Dave,Julie or Ann normal citizen they’d have to pay with jail time, fines, community service plus it’s on their record when applying for a job. Sounds like we aren’t all equal after all. Makes ya wonder……
RonniefromAbileneTexas   November 11th, 2008 1:22 pm ET
Because, in these difficult times, we all need a good laugh!
robert sulzer   November 11th, 2008 1:24 pm ET
She’s like looking at an accident, you know it’s there, you don’t want to look, but you look anyway. Never under-estimate the power of stupid people, even in small numbers!
Pamela in L.A.   November 11th, 2008 1:25 pm ET
I truely think the only ones interested in Sarah Palin is Sarah Palin and the media outlets.. The media craves a catastrophe, and she’s a walking & talking one I can see why you all like her so much. You all feed her the attention she craves now that she’s not on the campaign trail. I personally wish she’d have gone quietly back to Alaska and be left there.
Jim/NC   November 11th, 2008 1:26 pm ET
She appears to be honest and straight forward. Unlike corrupted Washington politicians.
Christine, Upstate NY   November 11th, 2008 1:29 pm ET
Mattel’s Barbie doll hit the scene in 1959, and we’re still fascinated with it. The RNC didn’t issue their version of it until August 29, 2008. At least give us a chance to see if we really like it.
M Dixon Cedar Rapids, Iowa   November 11th, 2008 1:29 pm ET
Because it’s funny to hear from someone who doesn’t realize that we are laughing at them and not with them, besides it’s not politically correct to laugh at someone with an obvious mental disability, so we can laugh at her with out feeling like bad people, don’tchya know (wink).

M. Dixon
Cedar Rapids, IA

Diff from Maryland   November 11th, 2008 1:30 pm ET
Jack – This may sound absurd but I think she is interesting and unfortunately for America now a historical figure. This was a historical election. Although she is the target of much humiliation, frankly, it was John McCain who will go down in history as candidate solely lacking judgement and evidently, brains, because of the sheer stupidity of the pick.

Ironically, look at how many people now love Hillary Clinton. She earned respect over time and I would predict that if Sarah Palin stays in politics, she will to. Just look at her lessons learned. She is certainly still more interesting than John McCain and a hell of a lot nicer to look at.

Dan, Chantilly VA   November 11th, 2008 1:31 pm ET
The two things Americans love most are train wrecks and eye candy. Just turn on E! for five minutes and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Carroll   November 11th, 2008 1:32 pm ET
I have no interest in Gov. Palin! It’s the so-called TV news shows. I’m tired of having her shoved down our throats. Every time she is on, I tune out and off. It’s time for a new. I don’t like liars like her. Who is dumb…. Move on!
Anj in CA   November 11th, 2008 1:32 pm ET
Two words, Jack. Train wreck.

Questions on the Heels of an Historic Victory November 11, 2008

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What if the first Afro-American President of the United States were Colin Powell?  Would we celebrate as we have for Obama?  How about Condoleezza Rice???


What if Palin had become the first woman Vice-President of the United States?  Would there have been cause to celebrate?


What significance that, according to exit polls, the vote amongst American Whites was 54%-45% in favor of McCain/Palin?  Did the quality of their campaign merit such support?


Is the will of the American voting public with respect to terminating the U.S. occupation of Iraq going to be frustrated this time around as it was in 2006?


Will Obama’s commitment to escalate the war in Afghanistan have the same result as it had for the Russians?


Barack Obama was born a year after Dwight David Eisenhower warned us about the “Military Industrial Complex.”  Do you think President-elect Obama is aware of the concept (not to mention the reality)?


Will the $700 Billion still go to the banks, other financial institutions and corporations, or will some of it trickle down to people in need of homes and jobs?

Palin Changes the Subject November 2, 2008

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Julie, Bosman, New York Times Political Blog, Oct. 30, 2008

ERIE, Pa. – Gov. Sarah Palin tried to change the subject from the economy to national security on Thursday, warning an audience of 7,000 not to vote based on economic concerns alone.

“In times of economic worry and hardship, the crisis that we’re in right now, sometimes it’s tempting to put those concerns aside on Election Day, national security issue, but we don’t have that luxury,” Ms. Palin said, adding that Senator Barack Obama intends to “soften the focus” in the closing days before the election.

“He’s hoping your mind won’t wander to the real challenges – national security – challenges that he is incapable of meeting. But in a time of choosing, we have to decide which man has proven that he can protect us from Osama bin Laden and from Al Qaeda.”

Ms. Palin spent the day burnishing her own national security credentials, meeting with a group of national security advisers that included former Gov. Tom Ridge; James Woolsey, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency; Rear Admiral Marsha Evans; Lieutenant General Carol Mutter; John Lehman, the 17th Secretary of the Navy; and Ambassador Rich Williamson, the special envoy to Sudan.

The meeting was closed to the press, but Ms. Palin spoke to a small group of students, alumni and reporters afterward, flanked by the advisers and four large American flags.

“It may be hard to spend much time worrying about great troubles in far-off places when you fear for your own job and the possible life insurance threats that we have, maybe losing that life insurance plan, health benefits, by losing a job, those things that you perhaps are worried about today,” she said. “It may be hard to spare much thought even for the most urgent matters of national security.”

Mr. Ridge, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, appeared to dutifully be back on message after saying last week that Senator John McCain might have been on the verge of winning Pennsylvania if he had chosen Mr. Ridge – not Ms. Palin – as his running mate.

This time, he noted his “three decades long” friendship with Mr. McCain and introduced Ms. Palin by asking the crowd to give a “very warm, northwest Pennsylvania welcome to the next vice president of the United States!”

It was the third time in a week that Ms. Palin has strayed from her standard stump speech and focused on a single policy issue. Last Friday, she spoke about special-needs children, and on Wednesday, she delivered a speech on energy security.

And Yet Another Republican October 29, 2008

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McConnell Fundraising E-Mail: Vote for Me to Fight Obama Presidency

Sam Stein, Huffington Post, October 29, 2008

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has sent out a new fundraising email that, at its crux, plays off the assumption of a Barack Obama victory in the presidential election.

Citing media reports that show “an Obama win [as] a real possibility,” the Kentucky Republican positions himself as the one man capable of standing up to the Obama/Pelosi/Reid machine” that “will steamroll a host of new taxes and left-wing social policy across the Senate Floor.”

It is not uncommon for politicians to use presidents or presidential candidates as a boogeyman to curry votes. But McConnell’s fundraising appeal seems to go a step beyond, painting, at times, Obama’s election as a fait accompli that voters in Kentucky must consider.

“[L]ocal and national newspapers are already saying that if my opponent were to win this race, he would be a reliable vote for Obama and Chuck Schumer,” he writes of Democratic challenger, Bruce Lunsford.

Hinting at the possibility of complete Democratic control of government – again a statement predicated on an Obama win — McConnell writes: “national liberals want this Senate seat so badly” because “they are making this race a power play for domination of the public debate. They have made no secret that they are fighting for total unfettered domination of the government and its agenda.”

This is the second time in as many days that a Republican official has sent out a fundraising letter for the Kentucky Senate race that forecasts a future Obama White House. On Tuesday, Mitt Romney blasted out an email on McConnell’s behalf, warning that Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford “was handpicked by Chuck Schumer and will be a reliable vote for the Democrats. And as we face the very real possibility of an Obama presidency, that’s the last thing we need.”

The Kentucky Senate race has become ground zero of sorts for Democratic efforts to secure 60 seats in the Senate. And as the election has approached, McConnell’s once strong standing has diminished.

Good government groups, who have long viewed the Minority Leader as a thorn in the side of their agenda, are also seeing a real possibility of flipping the seat. On Wednesday, Campaign Money Watch, a national nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog organization, announced that it will spend another $800,000 on a television ad in Kentucky accusing McConnell of being a puppet of special interests.

There Goes Another Republican October 29, 2008

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Shays concedes McCain defeat

Staff Reporter, Yale Daily News
Published Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — The first ballot has yet to be tallied, but some Republicans are already hammering nails into the McCain-Palin campaign’s coffin.

Locked in a tight congressional race, Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut’s 4th district is the latest in a slew of Republican incumbents, including Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, to concede a near-certain victory to the Obama camp.

“I just don’t see how [McCain] can win,” Shays said in an interview here on Sunday.

Shays, the Connecticut co-chair of McCain’s campaign, said he was disappointed by the standards of McCain’s race, which has increasingly relied on mudslinging.

“He has lost his brand as a maverick; he did not live up to his pledge to fight a clean campaign,” Shays said.

But Shays — who is famous for never running a negative campaign ad, even when behind — said the negativity in the presidential race has nevertheless been flowing both ways. He said that though they have been diluted by positive ads, Sen. Obama’s campaign has empirically run a greater number of negative ones.

“Obama has four times the amount of money McCain has, so for every negative ad he runs he can balance it with an upbeat one,” Shays said. “McCain, on the other hand, has been nearly 100 percent negative.”

Shays laid much of the blame on the far right, which, he said, has “hijacked” the Republican Party, threatening to walk out if its demand are not met — despite being in the minority.

He said this situation is a cautionary tale for the Democratic Party, whose Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and MoveOn.org have imposed their often-radical ideas on the rest of the party.

But Shays also said he was skeptical of Sen. Obama’s promise to rule from the political center.

“It’s what all presidents should do, but [Obama] has never been there,” he said, referring to Obama’s left-of-center congressional record.

McCain’s other Connecticut co-chair, Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67, has not publicly commented on McCain’s chances on Election Day, but he has continued to campaign for him, most recently in Florida on Monday.

Jeff Grappone, New England communications director for the McCain campaign, did not return several requests for comment Monday.

In Case You Weren’t Scared Enough: Palin on “Fruit Fly Research” October 28, 2008

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Todd Palmer and Rod Pringle, Huffington Post, Oct. 27, 2008

Today, we are blogging from Durham, North Carolina, where we are trying to do our humble bit to help elect Barack Obama. On Friday, Sarah Palin gave us yet another reason to feel good about what we’re doing here.

We are far from the first people to comment on this subject — even within the Huffington Post — so we’ll keep it brief. But Palin’s mockery of “fruit fly research” during her October 24th speech on special-needs children was so misconceived, so offensive, so aggressively stupid, and so dangerous that we felt we had to comment.

Here’s the excerpt from the speech:

“Where does a lot of that earmark money end up, anyway? […] You’ve heard about, um, these — some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense, and sometimes these dollars they go to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not!”

It’s hard to know where to begin deconstructing this statement. This was a speech on autism, and Palin’s critics have pounced on the fact that a recent study of Drosophila fruit flies showed that a protein called neurexin is essential for proper neurological function — a discovery with clear implications for autism research.

Awkward! But this critique merely scrapes icing off the cake.

Fruit flies are more than just the occasional vehicles for research relevant to human disabilities. They are literally the foundation of modern genetics, the original model organism that has enabled us to discover so much of what we know about heredity, genome structure, congenital disorders, and (yes) evolution. So for Palin to state that “fruit fly research” has “little or nothing to do with the public good” is not just wrong — it’s mind-boggling.

What else does this blunder say about Palin and her candidacy? Many people have used it as just another opportunity to call her a dummy, since anyone who has stayed awake through even a portion of a high-school-level biology class knows what fruit flies are good for. But leave that aside for a second. Watch the clip. Listen to the tone of her voice as she sneers the words “fruit fly research.” Check out the disdain and incredulity on her face. How would science, basic or applied, fare under President Palin?

We have other questions. Who wrote this speech? Was he or she as ignorant as Palin about the central role that fruit flies have played in the last century of biomedical research? Or was this a calculated slight to science and scientists — a coded way of saying, “We don’t care what you know or what you think”? We find it odd that, of all the examples of dubious expenditures of public funds, the speechwriters alighted on this one.

Whatever the explanation, it scares us. Everyone who has suffered, either personally or indirectly, from an inherited illness, and anyone whose life has been lengthened or enriched by modern medicine, should channel Palin’s flip comment when they stand in the voting booth on November 4th.


Alaskas Largest Newspaper Endorses Barack Obama October 26, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, John McCain, Sarah Palin, U.S. Election 2008.
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Of course they’re endorsing Obama.  They’ve lived with Palin.  They know her.  They realize McCain’s huge mistake.

October 26, 2008

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage Daily News, Alaska’s largest newspaper, has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president.

The newspaper said Sunday the Democrat “brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand.”

The Daily News said since the economic crisis has emerged, Republican presidential candidate John McCain has “stumbled and fumbled badly” in dealing with it.

“Of the two candidates, Sen. Obama better understands the mortgage meltdown’s root causes and has the judgment and intelligence to shape a solution, as well as the leadership to rally the country behind it,” the paper said.

The Daily News said Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has shown the country why she is a success as governor. But the paper said few would argue that Palin is truly ready to step into the job of being president despite her passion, charisma and strong work ethic.

“Gov. Palin’s nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency — but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation,” the paper said.

“Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time,” the paper concluded.

Palin’s ‘going rogue,’ McCain Aide Says October 25, 2008

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From Dana Bash, Peter Hamby and John King CNN

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) — With 10 days until Election Day, long-brewing tensions between GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin and key aides to Sen. John McCain have become so intense, they are spilling out in public, sources say.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday.

Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin “going rogue.”

A Palin associate, however, said the candidate is simply trying to “bust free” of what she believes was a damaging and mismanaged roll-out.

McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls — recorded messages often used to attack a candidate’s opponent — “irritating” even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign’s decision to pull out of Michigan.

A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said this McCain adviser. “She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

“Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”

A Palin associate defended her, saying that she is “not good at process questions” and that her comments on Michigan and the robocalls were answers to process questions.

But this Palin source acknowledged that Palin is trying to take more control of her message, pointing to last week’s impromptu news conference on a Colorado tarmac.

Tracey Schmitt, Palin’s press secretary, was urgently called over after Palin wandered over to the press and started talking. Schmitt tried several times to end the unscheduled session.

“We acknowledge that perhaps she should have been out there doing more,” a different Palin adviser recently said, arguing that “it’s not fair to judge her off one or two sound bites” from the network interviews.

The Politico reported Saturday on Palin’s frustration, specifically with McCain advisers Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt. They helped decide to limit Palin’s initial press contact to high-profile interviews with Charlie Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, which all McCain sources admit were highly damaging.

In response, Wallace e-mailed CNN the same quote she gave the Politico: “If people want to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most honorable thing to do is to lie there.”

But two sources, one Palin associate and one McCain adviser, defended the decision to keep her press interaction limited after she was picked, both saying flatly that she was not ready and that the missteps could have been a lot worse.

They insisted that she needed time to be briefed on national and international issues and on McCain’s record.

“Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic,” said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.”

Schmitt came to the back of the plane Saturday to deliver a statement to traveling reporters: “Unnamed sources with their own agenda will say what they want, but from Gov. Palin down, we have one agenda, and that’s to win on Election Day.”

Yet another senior McCain adviser lamented the public recriminations.

“This is what happens with a campaign that’s behind; it brings out the worst in people, finger-pointing and scapegoating,” this senior adviser said.

This adviser also decried the double standard, noting that Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama‘s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, has gone off the reservation as well, most recently by telling donors at a fundraiser that America’s enemies will try to “test” Obama.

Tensions like those within the McCain-Palin campaign are not unusual; vice presidential candidates also have a history of butting heads with the top of the ticket.

John Edwards and his inner circle repeatedly questioned Sen. John Kerry’s strategy in 2004, and Kerry loyalists repeatedly aired in public their view that Edwards would not play the traditional attack dog role with relish because he wanted to protect his future political interests.

Even in a winning campaign like Bill Clinton’s, some of Al Gore’s aides in 1992 and again in 1996 questioned how Gore was being scheduled for campaign events.

Jack Kemp’s aides distrusted the Bob Dole camp and vice versa, and Dan Quayle loyalists had a list of gripes remarkably similar to those now being aired by Gov. Palin’s aides.

With the presidential race in its final days and polls suggesting that McCain’s chances of pulling out a win are growing slim, Palin may be looking after her own future.

“She’s no longer playing for 2008; she’s playing 2012,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart said. “And the difficulty is, when she went on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ she became a reinforcement of her caricature. She never allowed herself to be vetted, and at the end of the day, voters turned against her both in terms of qualifications and personally.”

Palin Hits New Low in Debate Discourse October 7, 2008

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Flirting her way to victory
Sarah Palin’s farcical debate performance lowered the standards for both female candidates and US political discourse

Michelle Goldberg
Friday October 03 2008 18:30 BST
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Sarah Palin winks during the vice-presidential debate on Thursday in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP

At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.

By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering the queries put to her. “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also,” she said.

And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own pseudo-folksy authenticity.

It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely described as such is that too many American pundits don’t even try to judge the truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric they are paid to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as interpreters of a mythical mass of “average Americans” who they both venerate and despise.

In pronouncing upon a debate, they don’t try and determine whether a candidate’s responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished.

There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic beaming and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her personality managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her answers last night. It’s worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden’s comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush’s policies:

Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I’m glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? … My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here’s a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

Evidently, Palin’s pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of speaking on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to simply disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points or cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick – and dishonesty. Asked what her achilles heel is – a question she either didn’t understand or chose to ignore – she started in on how McCain chose her because of her “connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?”

None of Palin’s children, it should be noted, is heading off to college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described “fuckin’ redneck”. Palin is a woman who can’t even tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn’t show how high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.

A Leftist Defends Palin (sort of) September 29, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in About Repubicans, Sarah Palin.
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Roger Hollander/September 29, 2008


As a lifetime political activist and a former municipal councillor of a major North American city, I may have a unique perspective of the Palin phenomenon.


Of course, I believe her selection by McCain was perhaps one of the most self-serving, idiotic and unpatriotic acts in recent U.S. political history.  As either vice president or president (and that is not just a possibility, but from what I have heard about McCain’s cancer, a likelihood), she would be an unmitigated disaster; and given the past eight years of Bush/Cheney, that is saying a lot.


However, it is not her lack of knowledge or experience, as so aptly demonstrated in the Couric interview, that I find unacceptable.  IT IS HER PAST RECORD AND HER VALUES.  As these are by now well known to the general reader, I need not say more.


For the most part, lawyers and businessmen fill the chambers of our legislative assemblies at all levels of government.  I have no problem whatsoever with a “housewife” as president.  It would be a refreshing change.  It has been my experience that anyone with normal intelligence and the capacity to learn and be diligent and flexible has the capacity to govern, or, rather, to represent a constituency at the government level.  At all levels of government, political appointees and civil servants are in abundant supply to provide information and advice.  It is what an elected official does with such information and advice, and the kind of leadership given to her or his subalterns, that determines the effectiveness of a legislator or executive.


Over the years I have come into contact with literally of thousands of human beings, so-called “ordinary folks,” with whom I would trust legislative or executive authority over those whom the lobbyists have put in place.  Pick any two names at random out of the latest U.S. census and they are likely by far to be less dangerous and more advantageous to the U.S Republic than Messers (uppers) Bush and Cheney.


So find me an “ordinary” citizen with intelligence, compassion, progressive values, an analytic mind, and a capacity to learn quickly and to work hard – and she or he would have my support at any level of government over the majority who currently fill the positions.  A little known and vastly ignored chapter in recent history — the Paris Commune of 1871 — demonstrated the capacity of working people to legislate justly and effectively (the Communards were slaughtered in a bloodthirsty massacre by the French Bourgeoisie).


There is no doubt that Sarah Palin is NOT that person.  Perhaps she has best served her country by demonstrating the utter incapacity for John McCain to make intelligent and patriotic decisions and his cynical opportunism.


From what I have read and seen of Sarah Palin and her family, I cannot say that they are the kind of people for whom I can muster much, if any, sympathy (I believe, for example, that wolves are noble animals that should be protected, not hunted mercilessly in helicopters).  But, I have little doubt that the Palins will come out much the worse for what McCain has put upon them; and they are in a real sense a victim – along with the rest of us – of his patent unscrupulousness.