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Sarah Palin

October 4, 2008 - 7:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barack Obama, john mccain, nation and world, Sarah Palin.

How desperate is the McCain campaign getting? They're getting silly with attacks on Obama because of tenuous ties to a former 1960s radical once accused of being involved in anti-Vietnam bomb attacks.

Palin made the chargers today.

(CNN) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Saturday slammed Sen. Barack Obama's political relationship with a former anti-war radical, accusing him of associating "with terrorists who targeted their own country."

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin lashed out at Sen. Barack Obama's  ties to controversial figure William Ayers.

Palin's attack delivered on the McCain campaign's announcement that it would step up attacks on the Democratic presidential candidate with just a month left before the November general election.

"This is not a man who sees America as you and I do: as the greatest force for good in the world," Palin said at a fundraising event in Colorado, according to a statement released by the McCain-Palin campaign. "This is someone who sees American as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country."

The Washington Post fact checked these chargers when Hillary Clinton raised them during the primary (so not only is McCain/Palin sliming, they're sliming with old news).

The only hard facts that have come out so far are the $200 contribution by Ayers to the Obama re-election fund, and their joint membership of the eight-person Woods Fund Board. Ayers did not respond to e-mails and telephone calls requesting clarification of the relationship. Obama spokesman Bill Burton noted in a statement that Ayers was a professor of education at the University of Illinois and a former aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley, and continued:

Senator Obama strongly condemns the violent actions of the Weathermen group, as he does all acts of violence. But he was an eight-year-old child when Ayers and the Weathermen were active, and any attempt to connect Obama with events of almost forty years ago is ridiculous.


But the Obama-Ayers link is a tenuous one. As Newsday pointed out,

Obama's ties to Ayers are no more meaningful than McCain's ties to Ho Chi Minh. They are the kind of ties that two people who share some overlap in political belief and live in the same neighborhood, caring about the same local issues, are likely to form. The only thing you can fault Obama for is planting the early stages of is political career in Chicago.

The politics of attack and destruction are bad for America. Clearly, Palin was hired to be the attack dog. That decision does not reflect well on McCain.

September 28, 2008 - 8:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in john mccain, nation and world, Sarah Palin.

Sarah PalinAnybody of any ambition has probably found themselves in an awkward moment, dealing with something he or she isn't simply prepared to handle.

Conservative writer Rod Dreher reminds us what that is like, and why we might have sympathy for Sarah Palin, we're talking about somebody who would be Vice President of the United States.

I remember the morning I woke up in my college dorm room and went in to take my final exam in my Formal Logic class. I knew I was unready. Massively unready. And now I was going to be put to the ultimate test. I sat down in Dr. Sarkar's class and resolved to wing it. Of course I failed the exam and failed the class, because I had no idea what I was talking about. I wasn't a bad kid, or even a stupid kid. I was just badly unprepared, and in way over my head. Seeing the Palin interview on CBS, I thought of myself in Dr. Sarkar's exam. But see, I was a college undergraduate who had the chance to take the class again, which I did, and passed (barely). I wasn't running for vice president of the United States.

I came to this quote through Ta-Nehisi Coates, who writes:

In election season, there is a price for being turned into a symbol. When actual journalists, with a rep to protect, show up, they are going to do their job. Which brings me to the sexism of John McCain. He knew full well what Sarah Palin was going to face if he nominated her. He knew that reporters would go through her past, that they'd quizz her on the present, that she would need to be ready, and he shunted concern aside, and tossed her to the wolves. Think on that for a mement. For one last run at the White House, he risked a future star of the party he claims to call home. How do you do that? I don't meant to rob Palin of agency, certainly she is also a victim of her own calculations and ambitions. But where I am from the elders protect you, and pull you back when you've gone too far, when your head has gotten too big.

McCain has a temper. It's one of the most distinguishing marks of his career. The American people haven't really seen it yet, not on a big stage. McCain is most vulnerable when attacked for what he has some glimmer of recognition is his own personal failings. If Obama really wanted to show America the real McCain, in the next debate, he would repeatedly question McCain's judgment in selected Sarah Palin as the veep nominee.  McCain would come unhinged. He blew it. Surely, he's losing sleep over it.

UPDATE: And this from Fareed Zakaria:

Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start. The next administration is going to face a set of challenges unlike any in recent memory. There is an ongoing military operation in Iraq that still costs $10 billion a month, a war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is not going well and is not easily fixed. Iran, Russia and Venezuela present tough strategic challenges.

September 24, 2008 - 7:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in john mccain, nation and world, Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin is on the fast track in foreign policy education. Tuesday, she meet with heads of state at the U.N. and was briefed by non-other than Henry Kissenger.

Yet, she continues to duck reporters.

The candidate's staff carefully choreographed her debut onto the international stage, starting each meeting with a brief photo opportunity and allowing no questions. Unscripted moments were kept to a minimum.

At first, the campaign wanted to keep reporters out altogether. But after the five major television networks threatened to boycott coverage of the Palin meetings, a pool that included a print journalist eventually was allowed in.

Palin's press shyness is odd, because John McCain's entire career has been built on candor and openness with the press.  He is popular with reporters because he's never been afraid to hang out at the back of the plane, or the back of the bus and tell war stories and answer questions.  He's been known as one of the most accessible senators.

Yet, Palin hides. Why?  Or, what is it that John McCain has to hide?

There's only one reason you don't answer questions: You're afraid.

Los Angeles Times blogger Elizabeth Snead calls it "the cone of silence" around Palin.

McCain's camp has put a force field around the Alaska governor in recent weeks, and some in the media speculate that this is to keep her from dealing with unscripted questions from voters and reporters.

And it was even worse during these diplomacy sessions. Reporters were actually banned from the start of the meetings to stop them from asking questions of Palin.

Before Palin's first meeting with Karzai, campaign aides told the pool reporters that followed her they could not go into meetings but that photographers and a video camera crew would be let in for pictures.

President Bush and members of Congress routinely allow reporters to attend photo ops, and the reporters often ask questions at the beginning of private meetings before they're ushered out.

Not this time. Two or more news organizations, including the Associated Press, objected to their reporters' exclusion and were told that the decision was not subject to discussion. When aides backed down, campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said the reporter ban was a "miscommunication."

Finally, one reporter was let in.

Is this any way to run a campaign in a democracy?

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