The Dim-Post

November 6, 2008

Nailin’ Palin

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 4:53 pm

palinwave_1Of course I’m happy enough about Obama’s presidency, but only in an distant and abstract way. I’m essentially a malicious, petty, spiteful person and for that reason I’m much more gleeful about the republican defeat than the democratic victory.

And the best part about that is going to be the McCain campaign takedown of their Vice Presidential candidate, the poisonous hillbilly bimbo Sarah Palin. Gossip about a meltdown between the McCain-Palin campaign staff had been circulating for the last weeks of the campaign; political reporters were blogging about off the record conversations they’d had with McCain’s senior advisers who were aghast at what an abhorrent, witless little airhead Palin turned out to be.

Now its all over and the stories are coming out. First there’s this from NewsWeek:

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin’s shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain’s top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent “tens of thousands” more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast,” and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

McCain himself rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign, and aides kept him in the dark about the details of her spending on clothes because they were sure he would be offended.

And they’ve also been spilling their guts to the FOX news campaign reporters, revealing (for starters) that Palin ‘thought Africa was a country not a continent’:

I know it makes me a bad person but I can’t wait to hear the rest. And I’m amused but not optimistic about the enthusiasm for her candidacy in 2012; exit poll data suggests that while she enjoys strong support in the conservative base the rest of the country considers her a joke. Obama should be so lucky.

October 4, 2008

Bye bye Sarah

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 6:26 am

The polls of undecided voters handed the victory to Biden last night, although the internals were actually pretty good news for Joan of Alaska. From Nate Silver:

The internals, however, weren’t nearly as bad for Palin as the topline results. She got a jump in preparedness in the CBS poll, and the CNN found that a large majority of voters concluded that she had beaten their expectations.

The net effect of last nights debate was that McCain08 campaign staff can now read their email and watch the news without swallowing a fistfull of painkillers first. That’s got to count for something.

I’m guessing that’s pretty much the last we’ll see of Mrs Palin for the rest of the campaign. She’ll do right-wing radio and campaign appearances but no more ‘liberal’ media interviews and certainly no press conferences.

It’s all been a bit unfair for Sarah Palin; she is obviously a phenomenon and a raising star of the Republican Party. If she’d campaigned for GOP presidential nominee in 2012 or 2016 and gone through the long, gruelling ordeal of the primarys she could have been a political superstar. I suspect the democrats are rather relieved things played out the way they did.

October 3, 2008

US VP Debate Prediction

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:59 am
Tags: ,
David and Goliath by Caravaggio

David and Goliath by Caravaggio

I’m guessing that Sarah Palin will go on the offensive and try and repeat as many pithy attack-lines, zingers and one liners as the McCain campaign speechwriters can get her to memorise. If she succeeds at this then she can be said to have ‘exceeded her expectations’ – which are incredibly low – and done well in the debate. Mrs Palin’s fans will be rapt and declare that it was a return of ‘the real Sarah Palin of the GOP convention’ (repeating lines written by someone else = real).

I really don’t know what Joe Biden’s strategy will be, apart from to try and not seem like a pompous windbag. It’s possible he will try and dent Palin’s confidence early in the debate but this might make him seem mean and alienate undecided female voters.

In the previous debate the McCain campaign focused on attacking their opponent, scoring points and pleasing their base; the Obama campaign focused on winning over undecided voters (they figure their base is going to vote for them anyway). If they both continue with that strategy today then I wouldn’t be surprised to see both sides ‘win’.

September 11, 2008

Palin tidy-up

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , , ,

A couple of days ago I wrote this post about DPFs views on Sarah Palin. He responded in the comments, and I’ll get to that in a minute: First of all, here’s Jeffrey Goldberg interviewing Michael Chabon about Palin and her great state:

JG: Alaska. Crazy place, or what?

MC: It’s crazy beautiful, that’s for sure. I found it a dark place, and not just because it was literally dark much of time, during my second visit, in late winter. Also, I found it (the place, not the people) hostile, and not just in the sense that wilderness is generally said to be hostile. I kept thinking of that bit from Twin Peaks, where the sheriff says, “There is something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you want, a darkness, a presence.” Almost everything humans have built there is unbelievably ugly. That might have something to do with the air of resentment given off by the underlying terrain.


JG: Are any of your children named Bristol, Willow or Track?

MC: I was kind of excited when I thought Willow was a Buffy shout-out. Like, how cool, she named her kid after a Jewish lesbian witch! It was part of this weird, innocent spasm of credit-extending that I experienced on first seeing the Governor in action last Friday. But the moment was very short-lived, alas. I bet she doesn’t even watch Buffy.

Secondly, MATT DAMON isn’t impressed with Mrs Palin. I tend to agree with his sentiments, but Team America made it really hard to take Mr Damon seriously.

Now, in response to my original post DPF wrote this:

* Fiscal Conservative. Bush’s fiscal deficit is arguably a worst legacy than Iraq.
* Anti pork barrel. No she is not pure, but she and McCain are closer to the angels than the demons on this one.
* Anti-corruption. She did not just talk the talk but actually risked her own career battling corruption in her own party
* I admire her being a mum of five and a successful Governor, and find it pretty inspiring.
* Despite disagreeing with her on moral issues, I like the fact she is pretty genuine about her beliefs, and again walks the walk such as choosing to keep Trig.
* I also find that her stance on moral issues is relatively benign for a Republican. She is not advocating no sex ed, adding ID to the curriculum. She is very hardline on abortion but at worst in four or eight years she’ll appoint some conservative Judges, much the same ones as another Republican would appoint.
* I do find her more genuine that most US Pres/VP candidates. In politics I respect someone more for saying what they think, even if I disagree with them, than saying what they think you want to hear. Now not saying she is more pure than snow, but she, like McCain, are on the better side of the ledger.

Some of this I agree with, others not – but its useful to have an articulation of how people can genuinely consider this to be not a really stupid idea. We will see.

Finally, Steven Franks – the National Candidate for Wellington Central wrote in the comments:

She’s more experienced than Elizabeth 1 at her accession. In the US system she will surrounded by more skilled and experienced courtiers than any Emperor in history, so if she has the judgment to pick people well and to back them that is more than adequate.

I have a big problem with the Elisabeth I argument, in that you can substitute her name with that of Loius XVI, or Nicolas II, or Charles I or any one of hundreds of unqualified monarchs who turned out to be utter disasters as head of state.

And her advisers will mostly have been appointed by John McCain. Maybe he’ll make Bristol Chairman of the Joint Chiefs: she might not be qualified but what the hell, the people will love her.

September 10, 2008

And then she starts dancing with this dwarf who talks backwards . . .

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 3:52 pm

People are dreaming about Sarah Palin.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias is One Of Them:

she was driving a piece of farm equipment back and forth on the football field of the high school catty-corner to my house, laughing maniacally and I was trying desperately to install some kind of codec on my laptop so they could capture it on video

September 9, 2008

DPF on Palin

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 9:18 am
Tags: ,

I like to think I can see both sides of a political argument, even if I have a strong bias towards one view or another, but I have to admit that in the case of the Palin nomination I’m lost. I simply cannot see the case that she is qualified for her office as anything other than absurd.

So I was interested to see DPF, who is a well known right-wing lunatic but also a smart-guy who’s opinion I respect posting pro-Palin material on his site. Genuinely curious, I asked him:

all the stupid rumours and spin aside, do you REALLY think picking Palin to be the Vice Presidential candidate is a Good Idea?

His reply in full was:

[DPF: Yes I actually do. I like most of what she did in Alaska. I don’t get too upset that she is anti abortion etc as almost everyone in the GOP is. I have stated I do think she would be inexperienced to take over should McCain die on Inauguration Day, However I don’t think that is likely and think she has the ability to pick up the necessary experience in a relatively short time.

She may bomb out, if she is shown to be woefully ignorant on issues should should know about. But I think she also has the ability to connect with middle class America in a way none of Obama, Biden or McCain can]

I’ve emphasised the point I think is important, and I gotta say, I still don’t get it. Here’s why:

DPF’s argument is that if McCain dies early in his term she’s not experienced enough to run the country, but the chances of this happening are small. But since McCain will be the oldest president in the history of the Republic they’re not THAT small – so why take the risk? Why not get a candidate that will be experienced enough to run the country if that eventuality comes to pass?

DPF also argues that Palin might learn on the job and, in a few years time, be someone who can run the country if she needs to. But once again, this is a gamble – nobody has any idea if she’ll be able to do this or not, so once again, why didn’t he just pick someone else? They have literally hundreds of Governors, Senators and Congressional Representitives to chose from, all of whom are a lot more experienced than Sarah Palin is.

There’s also a straw-man argument in the notion that McCain is unlikely to die on Inauguration Day, so why bother talking about it? This is true to some extent: Senator McCain seems healthy, as President he will have the best medical care of anyone alive, ect. But he is in his seventies and has had cancer four times: he might not die but he will certainly get ill and require treatment, his cancer will probably resurface; he will very probably spend at least part of his term incapacitated by ill-health. Palin will be de-facto head of state during that time.

DPF’s other argument is that she’s likable and will be able to connect with voters – but this is an excuse for having her in the campaign, not a reason for people to elect her to government. You wouldn’t want an Attorney General who worked as a typist in a law firm for a few years, or a Surgeon General who taught high-school biology, even if they were REALLY nice people who got on well with the voters; so why on earth would you want the head of the federal government and commander in chief of the armed forces who is manifestly unprepared for the job?

September 5, 2008

Hey! Now that you mention it . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:31 am
Tags: , ,

Personally I think Palin is more Tracey Flick than Laura Roslin, but Cindy McCain does look kind of like Colonel Tigh’s sneaky Cylon-collaborating wife Ellen. Has anyone checked out her birth certificate? Could be something there.

September 4, 2008

The weird turn pro

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:55 am
Tags: , , ,

Pleased t' meetchya Levi. Did you know that I was a POW?

The McCain-Palin campaign is looking less like a run for political office and more like some bizarre reality show hybrid  of Jerry Springer and The Apprentice. Today McCain went out to the airport in St Paul to meet 18 year old Levi Johnston, the self-proclaimed redneck and father of Bristol Palin’s unborn child.

While the Palin pick has gone over deliriously well with right-wing Christian voters (and since there are around 30 million of them this is no small thing) the polls suggest that female voters, undecideds and conservative republicans are appalled (Peggy ‘points of light’ Noonan described McCain’s campaign as ‘over’).

Some of this might change tonight. Governor Palin will deliver her speech: the democrats and the media have set the expectations for Mrs Palin’s public appearances awfully low and as a former broadcaster and a Governor with 80% popularity she is more than likely to deliver the goods. (The flip side is that if she somehow fails to do so the McCain campaign really is over.)

The Economist points out that Palin’s opening speech is less important than her first press conference:

Sarah Palin’s introduction to the world should be thirty minutes answering questions of national and international importance from the press corps. I’d like it to happen soon, to know she hasn’t been put through a crash-course in talking points. The press should not consider her properly introduced until that happens. And if she performs well, the press should consider themselves required to take her seriously.

I think the problem with the Palin nomination (at this point its probably safe to call it a disaster) is not the candidate or even the McCain campaigns failure to properly vet her but the decision to name a surprise candidate in order to steal the media cycle from the Obama speech. Palin seems like a train wreck because all of the scandals that have emerged in the media (one or two of which are serious while the rest are unbelievably petty and trivial) emerged over a 72 hour period.

Imagine if we were back in 2004 and out of nowhere John Kerry announced Barack Obama as his Vice Presidential nominee: in a couple of days the public would hear about Ayers, Rezko, Michelle’s thesis, Reverend Wright and the whole stealth Muslim, birth certificate idiocy. The Illinois Senator would seem like an insanely reckless choice, just as Mrs Palin does now.

If the McCain campaign had spent a couple of weeks carefully leaking the possibility of a Palin candidate then they might not have won the twelve hour Obama speech media cycle but they wouldn’t have had to spend the last three days being torn apart by the national media. For many years Senator McCain has been the most media friendly politician in Washington and enjoyed consistently glowing coverage from his friends in the press so its likely he didn’t know what being in the centre of a hostile media firestorm was like. Now was not a good time to find out.

Meanwhile, evangelical voters are bewildered about all the controversy. Who cares about her experience? Just look at her stand on abortion! After being played for chumps by the Bush Administration two terms in a row the christian right is overjoyed at the prospect of a vice-president who represents their values and will actually, finally do something about the abortion issue. The McCain campaign raised $10 million in two days after nominating Palin – almost all of it from religious organisations.

To be fair, its not that Christian voters don’t value experience in their politicians, but the reality for these folk is that legalised abortion is the modern equivalent of the holocaust. When you put it like that – which is more important, executive experience or stopping the holocaust? – then their emphasis on the abortion issue makes a lot more sense.

The problem for the GOP is that while abortion is a VERY big deal for their religious base the majority of US voters want it to remain legal. The Obama campaign is now running pro-choice ads in swing states across the country attacking McCain and Palin on this issue.

That’s the real problem for the Republicans – for the past month of the campaign they’ve been waging brutal and largely effective attacks against Barack Obama, and now all of a sudden they’re on defense and haemoraghing support in the polls. Instead of fighting back and beating his opponent like a red-headed step child Senator McCain is out at the airport meeting Levi.

September 3, 2008

The Mat-Su Valley

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 11:22 am
Tags: , ,

Reason magazine has an intriguing interview with an Alaskan democrat who sings the praises of Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Here’s a highlight:

Q: I was just talking to someone who claimed to have knowledge of Alaska to some degree, and they say where Sarah Palin comes from it’s the equivalent of Humboldt or Chico in California, like, of course, you know, she’d have a Girls Gone Wild phase, and smoking pot. Is this just wishcasting, or what can you tell us about her geographical background?

A: So the Mat-Su Valley, you know, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, otherwise known as Upper Wingnuttia, is full of right-wing libertarian militia fundamendalist Christian gun-toting, pot-growing dope-heads.

Q: Awesome.

A: Yeah. If Jerry Falwell rolled his own, you would have the Mat-Su Valley.

Sounds like the Alaskan version of the Tuhoe Nation.

August 31, 2008

Palin Significance

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 1:06 pm
Tags: ,
Female trouble

Female trouble

I think the Obama campaign has made a big mistake going negative on Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin so quickly. Firstly its obvious to everyone why the Palin nomination might pan out to be a Really Dumb Idea – we don’t need the Democrats to spell it out to us. Secondly we saw during the democratic primary that large numbers of the US political press (Exhibit A: Chris ‘Tweety Bird’ Matthews pictured here) are openly hostile towards the notion of a female executive: they’ll be watching Palin like hawks and as soon as she makes her inevitable mistakes they’ll swoop: the Obama campaign wants to be a LONG way away from the mysogenistic rat-fucking that will then ensue.

If Palin turns out to be a formidible campaigner then the Dems can always sic Hilary on her to rend her limb from limb; this is a pretty unlikely scenario though – chances are Palin will manage to hurt her campaign a lot more than the Dems ever could and it’ll look better for them if they’re seen to be nurturing this delicate flower of caucasian womanhood, not trampling all over her.

UPDATE: Well that didn’t take long. Left-wing blogs in the US are ‘swiftboating’ Mrs Palin already.

Palin and her husband recently had their fifth child; they knew early in the pregnancy that it had Down syndrome (three copies of the 21st chromosome or fragments thereof) but she carried the child to term anyway. This makes her enormously attractive to pro-life religious voters and in Karl Rove’s America the trick is to attack your opponent where they are percieved to be strong. Democratic supporters have started a whispering campaign suggesting that the child was actually born to Palins teenage daughter and that Mr and Mrs Palin adopted the child and engaged in a cover-up.

Of course, none of this is anybody’s business except the Palin family – its the exact same tactic that right-wing opponents of Barack Obama have tried to do to the democratic nominee with their absurd ‘stealth muslim’ birth certificate conspiracy theories.

Interestingly enough this is similar to the smear tactics used against John McCain in the Republican primary back in 2000. McCain and his wife adopted a young girl from Bangladesh. The Bush campaign published pictures of McCain with the child and suggested that he had fathered a black daughter out of wedlock. McCain was winning prior to the smear but shortly afterwards lost the nomiation to George W Bush.

Everybody openly deplores these kind of tactics but they are the most consistently successful way to win elections. People pretend not to be influenced by negative campaigning but all the research shows that it is the single most effective technique in the modern political toolbox, so expect to see a lot more of this kind of dirt flung around, both in New Zealand and in the US.

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