Tag Archives: Palin

Is Sarah Palin Coming to Your Neighborhood? (California, Here She Comes!)

palin.terminator1.If I’m correct that Sarah Palin resigned as Alaska governor in order to lead a right wing movement that is ostensibly independent of the major political parties, then the next question is: where will she establish her new home and base of operations?

The Northeast is too liberal, the South is too connected to racial politics (and there’s too much competition for conservative leadership and not enough big money), Washington, D.C., is too much of an enemy camp, and the Midwest doesn’t have enough access to the media.

Texas is certainly a possibility, but I don’t think she’ll want to compete for power with the Bush clan.

Florida also is a possibility, but I don’t think she’ll want to compete for conservatives with both Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist.

Utah is solidly Mitt Romney and Mormon territory, and Arizona belongs to former running mate (and now political rival) John McCain.

And while Idaho might have the most ideologically receptive population, it is so far off the media radar that she might as well stay in Alaska.

That leaves California.

Specifically, Southern California.

And more specifically, Orange County.

Orange County is rich, conservative, and close to Los Angeles’ enormous media network.

And California has no nationally known conservative political figure (Arnold doesn’t count) to offer her any real competition.

In fact, the California Republican Party is so fractured because of the budget battle and the hang-them-all ideology of its tea party militants that the Republican establishment wouldn’t be able to offer any real competition to Palin’s brand of radical right-wing conservatism.

It might be very bad news for more moderate Republicans like Meg Whitman and for the statewide chances of the Republican Party, but you can bet that John and Ken would welcome her with open arms (and air waves).

Are you ready for the new Terminator?

California, here she comes!

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Sarah Palin Declares Her Independence

palin.flag.01Sarah Palin is not done causing headaches for the leadership of the Republican Party.

In fact, my guess is that she is going to cause them far more pain in the near future than they or the media could ever have imagined.

At this point, politicians and the press are trying to decipher Palin’s motivation for her stunning announcement yesterday that she is resigning as governor of Alaska.

The standard analysis is that she is resigning in order to concentrate her efforts on securing the Republican nomination for president in 2012.  As Bill Kristol told Fox News after Palin’s speech: “We just saw the opening statement of the 2012 campaign.”

Others — including NBC’s Andrea Mitchell — think Palin is stepping away from politics for good.

And some claim that Palin is resigning because of soon-to-be-announced scandals, including an alleged federal criminal investigation into the rebuilding of Palin’s home.

I think they’ve all missed the forest for the trees.

Sarah Palin isn’t done with politics.

But she might well be done with the Republican Party.

Rather than relying on alleged experts (who are not in Palin’s close circle) or taking the supposed word of unnamed sources, I suggest that the best indication of why Palin resigned – and what she plans to do – comes from Palin herself.

In her speech, she specifically states that she is not stepping away from politics.  On the contrary, she repeatedly emphasized that she going to continue to work to “effect positive change,” although it would be from “outside government at this moment in time.” She was, she said, following in the never-give-up tradition of General Douglas MacArthur.  “We’re not retreating,” she said, “we are advancing in another direction.’” (As the New York Times points out, Palin got the author of the quote wrong; it was not said by MacArthur, but by Maj. Gen. Oliver Prince Smith.)

She also was clear about the kind of “positive change” she planned to effect: she was going to continue to fight against “the heavy hand of federal government [intruding] into our communities with an all-knowing attitude,“ fight against “the obscene national debt that we’re forcing our children to pay because of today’s big government spending,” and “protect states’ rights, as mandated in the 10th Amendment.”

As she did during the 2008 campaign, Palin cast herself as the champion of the people: those  “hardworking, average Americans fighting for what’s right” and those people “who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government and strong national security for our country and support for our troops and energy independence and for those who will protect freedom and equality and life.”

In other words, Palin sounded much same as she did during the presidential campaign – and she certainly didn’t sound like a person getting out of politics.

But there was a difference from her speeches during the presidential campaign.

And the difference involves the political party that she supports.

In her resignation speech, Palin said: “I’ll work hard for and I’ll campaign for those who are proud to be American and who are inspired by our ideals and they won’t deride them. I will support others who seek to serve in or out of office, and I don’t care what party they’re in or no party at all, inside Alaska or outside of Alaska.”

Repeatedly referring to her course of action as “unconventional,” “a new direction” and “no more politics as usual”  — and comparing her actions to those of William H. Seward, (Lincoln’s Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of Alaska  — ”Seward’s Folly”), who took the “the uncomfortable, unconventional but right path to secure Alaska, so that Alaska could help secure the United States” — Palin dropped clue after clue that, like Seward, she too was going to take an “uncomfortable, unconventional but right path” to “help secure the United States.”

I think Sarah Palin told us what she is planning to do.

Yes, she is running for President.

But not necessarily as a Republican.

Sarah Palin has declared herself the leader of a movement, not merely a political party.

It was not a coincidence that Palin gave her speech on the weekend of Independence Day.

She just declared her independence from the Republican Party.

Palin As President (interactive) — with Post-Election Update!

Looking for some election eve tension release?

Check out the brilliant interactive website palinaspresident.us.

palinaspresident

Although there is no creative attribution on the website, I discovered that it is the work of photographer and art director Sean Ohlenkamp of the M&C Saatchi advertising agency.

Be sure to click on things more than once – they change.

UPDATE:

The website is now reconfigured as BarackasPresident.com— with a bucket of champagne and a “Yes We Can” flyer on the desk.  Click on it with the sound turned up.

You can still see the old Palin as President website here at palinaspresident/never.

I expect the site to keep changing, so we ought to keep visiting.

Don’t Blame Bush

The blame is already being dished as John McCain’s presidential campaign sputters toward a crushing election defeat and the Democrats are poised to take control of the White House and both houses of Congress.

mccain-and-bush

Most of the pointing fingers are aimed at the universally loathed George W. Bush, who has become the public face of both economic catastrophe and battlefield disaster.

Other leading candidates for the role of principal victim in the Republican blame game are John McCain – he didn’t run a tough enough campaign or didn’t appeal enough to the party’s evangelical or populist base – and Sarah Palin – she wasn’t ready to be president or didn’t broaden her appeal beyond the party’s evangelical or populist base.

But George W. Bush is not the cause of the Republican Party’s looming election debacle, and neither John McCain nor Sarah Palin is the reason for their party’s 2008 collapse. 

Americans like to personalize politics, preferring to embrace or repudiate personalities rather than policies.  When we evaluate our politicians, we talk about their personal qualities – such as leadership, competence, integrity, consistency, and authenticity.  We like to say that we vote for the candidate not the party.

For this reason, our public debate on the causes of the Republican has focused on questions of Bush’s incompetence, McCain’s temperament, and Palin’s ignorance.

But blaming any or all of them for the coming massive Republican defeat misses the real culprit and lets too many others off the hook.

The cause of the Republican’s imminent electoral disaster is not the personal qualities of their elected officials and candidates, but the fundamental beliefs and policy assumptions of the Republican Party. 

It is these fundamental beliefs and policy assumptions that have caused the nation’s economic meltdown, which has in turned caused the meltdown of the Republican Party.

And every single Republican office holder, from the president to the lowest down-ticket county official, regardless of their personal qualities, shares in the blame.

The modern Republican Party, and every Republican, has embraced these two basic beliefs:

  • No to government regulation of markets and the economy.  A fundamental belief of every Republican is that the economy works best – that is, it is more productive and creates more wealth – when unconstrained by regulation.
  •  No to taxes.  Every Republican believes that taxes, especially on the wealthiest Americans, should be always lower and eliminated whenever possible.  Under no circumstances should there be a tax increase, even in order to fund necessary government program. 

These two fundamental tenets of Republican policy have created the economic crisis the nation is now suffering, and nearly every other crisis that the nation is now facing can be traced to Republican adherence to these principles – including our soaring national debt, our crumbling infrastructure, our failing schools, our ecological vandalism, our oil dependency, our exploding prison population, our shameful veterans hospitals, and our inequitable and dysfunctional heath care system.

Every other Republican talking point – from abortion to immigration to support for continuing the war in Iraq – is contingent and conditional.  There are Republicans who disagree with the party leadership on these issues.

But there are no Republicans who have not sworn eternal hostility to taxes and economic regulation.  One simply cannot be a Republican without embracing these two fundamental policies that have brought near catastrophe to the world economy, to the operations of federal, state and local government, and, finally, and deservedly, to the Republican Party itself.

What has brought America to the brink of disaster and the Republican Party to the brink of an election defeat of historic proportions?

It’s not just Bush.

It’s not just McCain and Palin.

It’s Republicans.

Each and every one of them.

Don’t let Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Chris Shays, or your local Republican senator or schoolboard member put the blame on someone else.

As another famous Republican once said, they’re all bad.

Obama and the Jews

In a previous post — The Great Schlep: Why Do Jews Demean Jews? — I argued that Sarah Silverman’s video The Great Schlep both demeaned Jews and falsely assumed that older Jews are more conservative than their grandchildren or less likely to support Barack Obama.

abolishchildlaborNow a recent Gallup poll proves that I was right about older Jews’ support for Obama.

From Gallup.com:

“Obama Winning Over Jewish Vote”

“PRINCETON, NJ — Jewish voters nationwide have grown increasingly comfortable with voting for Barack Obama for president since the Illinois senator secured the Democratic nomination in June. They now favor Obama over John McCain by more than 3 to 1, 74% to 22%.”

“Support for Obama among all registered voters was fairly stable from June through September, but then rose sharply in October — in apparent reaction to the U.S. economic crisis. By contrast, support for Obama among Jewish voters has expanded more gradually, from the low 60% range in June and July to 66% in August, 69% in September, and 74% today.”

obamajews1

“The current proportion of U.S. Jews backing Obama is identical to the level of support the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards received in the 2004 presidential election (74%). It is only slightly lower than what Al Gore and Joe Lieberman received in 2000 (80%) — when the first Jewish American appeared on the presidential ticket of a major party.”

“Recent support for Obama is a bit higher among older Jews than among Jews younger than 55. According to combined Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from Sept. 1 through Oct. 21, an average of 74% of Jews aged 55 and older supported Obama for president across this period, compared with about two-thirds of younger Jews.”

“The Obama/Biden ticket is poised to perform about on par with other recent Democratic presidential tickets when it comes to support from American Jewish voters.”

So much for the false idea behind The Great Schlep — that older Jews are conservative and that Sarah Silverman and her army of youngsters are needed to teach their grandparents progessive politics.

How You Could (Literally) Cost McCain the Election

I few weeks ago I read somewhere that the McCain campaign was spending far more on pay-per-click online advertising (where you pay only when someone clicks on your ad) than on banner ads (where you pay a set amount for a certain number of impressions).

pay-per-clickI thought at the time that if Obama supporters clicked on every McCain ad they saw online, it would cost the McCain campaign a lot of money.

But I didn’t post anything about this idea because:

  • It seemed to me to be too nefarious, and
  • I thought it might be illegal.

Recently, I noticed that someone at the Daily Kos posted the following:

“I was going to make McCain pay for every Google Ad he made me look at.  I simply clicked on the ad and waited for the page to load reviewed it to gain information. Once I reviewed the page that loaded I closed the page. I’m up to 8 clicks today alone just from looking at CNN and YouTube.”

“Now from what I’ve been able to research it cost McCain about $2.00 for my 8 clicks today.  And while that doesn’t seem like much if you multiply that by say 20,000 and by say 24 days until November 4th the costs could be substantial.  I mean 2 x 20,000 = $40,000 p/day, $40,000 x 24 = $960,000.  This is money that can’t be spent in other areas like TV, Radio or malers.”

“Now this is all theoretical and McCain could simply take down these ads.  Even if he does though we win. These ads are on popular pages all over the web that all of us go to.  They attack Obama’s character by placement in prime real estate on webpages with no fact checks.  I say if McCain wants to put up these ads we make him pay.  No free rides for low road politics.”

“So everyone tell your friends as crazy as it sounds to click on McCain/Palin sponsored Google Ads.  Each click takes $.25 cents away from McCain campaign fund that can’t be used on other things.”

I think the Daily Kos has seriously underestimated the amount of money that each click costs the McCain campaign. My guess is that each click costs the McCain campaign a few dollars, not a few cents.

I also think that the Daily Kos poster underestimated the impact that Obama supporters could have on the McCain campaign by failing to note that every pay-per-click Google ad campaign has a daily budget.  Once that limit is reached, the ads stop showing.  In other words, Obama supporters clicking on McCain ads could not only cost the McCain campaign money, it could also stop the McCain ads from running.

But I still think it’s nefarious, and I sill think it might be illegal (if anyone knows, please comment).

That’s why I am NOT recommending that if you’re an Obama supporter, you should click on every online McCain ad you see.

It might (literally) cost McCain the election.

No Laughing Matter: The Palin Doctrine of Presidential Power

burning-constitution2Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s recent statement that she looks forward to being elected vice president so she can be “in charge of the senate” has mostly generated laughter rather than outrage.

 Palin was asked by Colorado third-grader Brandon Garcia “What does the vice president do?”

She responded: “A vice president has a really great job because not only are they there to support the president’s agenda, they’re there like the team member, the teammate to the president. But also, they’re in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it’s a great job and I look forward to having that job.”

I first saw a clip of Palin’s answer on Keith Olbermann’s show on MSNBC, where his take on Palin’s view of the vice presidential power was to assume that she is ignorant of the far more limited legislative role of the vice president, as defined in Article I of the U.S. Constitution: “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.” 

constitution_quill_pen

Olbermann said “So the vice president is not in charge of jack, Governor, let alone in charge of the senate, and you are not as smart as a third-grader.”

I don’t think that ignorance explains Palin’s answer.

Instead, I think that there is quite a bit of method to Palin’s madness.

This is the second time that Palin has referenced the Dick Cheney-John Yoo conception of expansive executive power.

As I noted in a blog post on Palin’s stunning articulation of expansive executive power in the vice presidential debate with Joe Biden – where she said that the Constitution provides “flexibility” in vice president’s role, including the power “not only to preside over the Senate” but also to exercise “more authority . . . if [the] vice president so chose to exert it” — Palin’s interpretation of the powers of the vice president is not the laughable  product of ignorance of the Constitution. 

Rather, Palin demonstrated that she has consciously and very specifically adopted the Dick Cheney-John Yoo theory of an Imperial Executive with absolute power outside the Constitutional system of checks and balances. 

As I said in my earlier post, Gwen Ifill’s question regarding the power of the vice president was “one of the very few questions that Palin has answered where one could come to the conclusion that she has thought about this before.”

Much as we love to laugh at Sarah Palin, this is no laughing matter.

constitution

Clearly, Palin is not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to the intellectual rationales behind public policy and political theory.

How is it, then, that the often painfully ignorant Sarah Palin is so conversant with a very particular, and relatively obscure, interpretation of the Constitution’s framework regarding the nature of executive power?

I do not know the answer to that question, but I am coming to believe that it might well explain why John McCain ended up picking Palin to be his running mate.

Is it possible that, far from being a completely off-the-wall choice, Palin was picked precisely because she is an adherent to the Cheney-Yoo view of expansive and unchecked executive power, and is willing to implement this view when in office?

Given McCain’s age and health, one could spin a conspiracy theory that it is Sarah Palin, rather than John McCain, who the McCain campaign believes will actually be the president if their ticket wins, and that their plan is to exercise unlimited and illimitable executive power.

Not funny.

Not funny at all.