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Archive for October 2008

Whether Obama/Biden wins or McCain gets in, there will be new blood in the Senate

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Originally published on on Fri, 10/31/2008 – 9:44am

We profiled a number of Senate races last week. Minnesota, New Hampshire, Georgia, Oregon are among the states with tight Senate races. But there are three Senate races, not on the ballot, of importance, but the existence of those races depends on what happens on November 4.

Illinois, Delaware, and Arizona have “unofficial Senate races” in progress. In Illinois and Delaware, the governor has sole discretion on whom to pick to replace Barack Obama and Joe Biden, respectively, should the Democratic Party ticket win on Tuesday.

In Arizona, the governor, Democrat Janet Napolitano, has to pick someone from the same party, should John McCain win on November 4.

Though caretakers can be placed in the two-year interim period, usually a party likes to pick someone who will want to run again.

If you are looking to see how appointed Senators did afterwards, here is an official list. Roger Wicker (R-MS) was appointed to the Senate to replace Trent Lott, and Wicker is running for election in 2008. John Barrasso (R-WY) was appointed to the Senate to replace the late Craig Thomas. After saying he wouldn’t run to finish out Thomas’ term (2013), Barrasso changed his mind and is running.

Rod Blagojevich, former U.S. House rep and now in his second term as Illinois governor, has several quality candidates to choose from. There are those, myself included, who thinks Blagojevich will pick himself to replace Obama. But for the possibility that someone else will get the honor – let’s examine some of the other candidates.

The two Washington-based people who likely have a shot are Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Jesse Jackson, Jr. Schakowsky’s district covers the very north side of Chicago along with several near north suburbs. Jackson’s district covers the southeast side of Chicago along with near southern suburbs.

If Blagojevich feels pressure to replace an African-American with an African-American, Jackson, along with retiring Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr. and close Obama friend and top adviser Valerie Jarrett, would be considered.

But if selecting a woman becomes crucial, Schakowsky, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who narrowly lost a bid for the U.S. House, would be up for consideration.

Madigan is also the stepdaughter of Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House and Blagojevich’s main political rival. The governor’s chair would be a logical next step for Lisa Madigan, not so much the U.S. Senate.

Democrats dominate the landscape in Illinois. You could literally list 20 people who are well-qualified for the post. But realistically, it will come down to Blagojevich, Schakowsky, and Jackson. And if Blagojevich doesn’t pick himself (and I still think he will pick himself), I think he’ll lean toward Schakowsky.

Illinois actually has had two elected African-American U.S. Senators and only one female U.S. Senator (Carol Moseley Braun fills out the remainder of both categories). The year 2010 climaxes as the end of the interim Senate period for the successor (Obama’s term would come up in 2010 anyway), and the end of Blagojevich’s term as governor.

If Blagojevich chooses to run again for governor, there will be several candidates to line up against him, and given that he is at 13% popularity (for a number of reasons), he has no guarantee that he will even get out of the Democratic Party gubernatorial primary alive. Lisa Madigan might get offered the Senate seat and turn it down, knowing that the prize she wants is two years away.

Delaware’s situation is not as exciting, but full of some intrigue. Governor Ruth Ann Minner is finishing up her second term and can’t run for re-election. Her logical pick to replace Joe Biden would have been Beau Biden, current Delaware Attorney General. However, Biden is currently serving in Iraq.

Another good candidate is current Lt. Gov. John Carney. In the Democratic Party primary for Governor, Carney lost to State Treasurer Jack Markell. So Carney would be available. Theoretically, Minner could also fill the post as a temporary move, allowing Beau Biden to run in 2010. The dynamic in Delaware is slightly different since Biden would be winning a 6-year term on Tuesday, the term would only be two years before having running to finish out the term.

Arizona’s situation differs strongly from Illinois and Delaware. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, would have to appoint a Republican to finish out John McCain’s term until 2010. Napolitano’s term as governor expires in 2010 and she can’t run for re-election. Besides Napolitano, on the Democratic side, we could see former Arizona Democratic Party chairman Jim Pederson, who lost to Sen. Jon Kyl in 2006.

Many of the House Republicans from Arizona would have their eye on the seat, but the one to watch would be Rep. Jeff Flake, known as one of the more libertarian Republicans in the House. Though Flake could probably have his choice of governor or Senator, Flake would likely go for the Senate.

It’s more difficult to speculate on specifically whom Napolitano would pick since she likely would pick someone who might not want to run in 2010, making the field more wide-open.


Written by democracysoup

October 31, 2008 at 9:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Barack Obama shows us we could trade 30-second ads for 30-minute infomercials

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Originally published on on Thu, 10/30/2008 – 9:51am

So did you see all of the prime-time and late-night Barack Obama TV appearances? The only ones who were on TV more last night were the Philadelphia Phillies, winners of the World Series.

There was the 30-minute infomercial. The “Daily Show” appearance that happened via satellite. And there was the late-night dessert, Obama and President Bill Clinton live in Florida.

The infomercial did its job. Here’s a sample family, and here is how Obama can help. Very smooth.

The demographics felt a bit selected to fit logical political scenarios. An elderly couple from Ohio, a large family from Missouri came from key swing states. The single mother from New Mexico and the couple from Louisville, Kentucky were nicer surprises. The Kentucky couple had the nice subplot of a third-generation Ford worker.

Those of us who live in states that aren’t up for dispute sometimes feel left out in the cold. I really liked that one of the stories came from Kentucky, a state where I have relatives and a place Obama probably won’t win.

I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night a lot lately. The political race, financial accounts disaster, and other problems lead me into the world of infomercials these days. I will spare you what they were selling, but I do feel like I am in a rhythm of how infomercials should go. And by that standard, the Obama “show” was quite good.

The problem in a 30-minute time slot, given our attention span, is that we can lose focus quickly. Especially at 3 a.m., you need to have short, interesting segments to keep the viewer going. Placing a note at the bottom of the screen noting a live segment was coming up was a nice, well thought out gesture to keep us tuned in.

It’s easy to make fun of the infomercial concept. But the marketing of the president, or presidential candidates, is part of the process in our modern era. I was fascinating, and horrified at the same time when I learned that Ronald Reagan was actually very weak after the 1981 assassination attempt. The move by all parties was to portray Reagan as being strong, even after being shot. This perception helped give Reagan the benefit of the doubt later when he didn’t deserve it.

Obama also had a nice sense of closing, not just by ending with the live segment surrounded by thunderous applause, but also his closure before the live segment. For someone who writes and says beautiful words, this was perhaps the most beautiful verse he has said to date.

“I’m reminded every single day that I am not a perfect man. I will not be a perfect president. But I can promise you this. I will always tell you what I think, and where I stand. I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you when we disagree. And most importantly, I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again.”

There isn’t a year of my life so far that those words wouldn’t have meant something deep. But after eight years of George W. Bush and his callous approach to citizens for whom he disagreed, Obama’s words were like a canteen of water to someone in the desert.

John McCain wasn’t completely out of the picture last night. McCain was on “Larry King Live” on CNN. King is a good interviewer for McCain, since in a sea of old white men on television, King is older than most of them (75 on November 19), and of course, even older than McCain.

But by contrast to Obama’s well, presidential approach, we saw McCain at a press conference addressing the ever so slight delay of the remainder of Game 5 of the World Series. “No one will delay the World Series game with an infomercial when I’m president,” John McCain said.

Well, Obama isn’t president. And if there was an issue of crisis, I would expect the president, whomever that might be, to delay anything, even the World Series.

Like most of McCain’s attempts at humor, he comes across more as being bitter than funny. When even FOX tells us there was no delay in the start of the game, you know you’re on the wrong side of the argument. And if anything, FOX took the high road by sacrificing its pre-game show for the sake of the presidential race. (Did I just say FOX took the high road? Well, they did.)

McCain might want to watch the Obama interview with Jon Stewart. When you are dealing with a comedian, you want to be funny but not too funny. Stewart asked him about being biracial and not sure which way his “white side” should vote. Obama ran with the joke, grabbing his own arm as if to show an inner struggle. Obama even joked that we went to therapy over it.

Given the expense of buying $150,000 in clothes, hair, and makeup for a “hockey mom” and the fact that the campaign is paying for robocalls — in McCain’s home state of Arizona, perhaps McCain should have bought the prime time segments as well.

But that would require McCain being able to fill 30 minutes of reasons why he should be president. We all agree he could fill 30 minutes with allegations against Obama – could probably do 3 hours. But not even the most ardent McCain supporters think he could literally fill 30 minutes of positives about where he wants to take this country.

Perhaps we have reached a new standard in running for president – can you take a 30-minute segment and tell us why we, the voters, should vote for you to be president of the United States? Stop the insanity of the 30-second spot full of negative distorted attacks, where nothing of any substance can be explained.

For those who live in areas where they have been bombarded by ads, ask yourself whether you would trade a few 30-minute infomercials for sharply reducing the 30-second ads. Just about anyone with a normal level of sanity would make that trade in a heartbeat. We would learn more about a candidate other than quick, negative jabs. And watching TV during political season might be more fun again.

Written by democracysoup

October 30, 2008 at 9:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Barbara West’s Marxism quest leaves out hubby’s GOP connection to win Media Putz

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Originally published on on October 30, 2008

Barbara West

The satellite TV interview: national politicians have to do a lot of them in running for office. You sit there in a room and conduct one satellite interview after another after another, often answering the same questions over and over. And because TV journalists in smaller markets tend to approach these interviews in a distinctly different manner than a national journalist, satellite interviews don’t draw much attention.

But Barbara West of WFTV, Orlando wanted to make sure her interview with Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden was something completely different. Unfortunately, integrity and ethics were left out of the equation.

WEST: You may recognize this famous quote: “From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.” That’s from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?

BIDEN: Are you joking? Is this a joke?


BIDEN: Or is that a real question?

WEST: That’s a question.

BIDEN: He is not spreading the wealth around. He’s talking about giving the middle class an opportunity to get back the tax breaks they used to have.

WEST: What do you say to the people who are concerned that Barack Obama will want to turn America into a Socialist country much like Sweden?

BIDEN: I don’t know anybody who thinks that, except the far right-wing of the Republican Party.

Though Biden had no idea such a question was coming, he responded beautifully. Satellite interviews are tricky since you aren’t in the same room or even the same state. You likely have never met this person, and she asks such a question.

West is listed as a health reporter and anchor for the ABC affiliate in Orlando. According to her bio, she has covered political stories over the years. But also during most of that time, her husband, Wade West, has been a Republican media consultant.

From Daily Kos:

“Wade has long standing relationships with many Republicans. His connections date back at least to Governor George W. Bush in Texas, inculdes (sic) his protests for Bush during the 2000 election, and extends to his employment by over 85 congressional Republicans plus Bush cabinet members.”

So how bad was the West-Biden interview?

Frank James of the Chicago Tribune:

If journalism schools ever needed a perfect example to show their students of how an interview should never be conducted, it would be the recent encounter between Sen. Joe Biden and Barbara West, an anchor for WFTV in Orlando, Fla.

Embarrassing and painful are two words that quickly come to mind to describe West’s interrogation of Biden last week. It may be the worst interview of a major political figure by a “professional” broadcast journalist I’ve ever witnessed. It was like something out of the old Soviet Union where propaganda masqueraded as news.

Every question West asked revealed a bias against Sen. Barack Obama that reached the point of outright hostility.

Mike Thomas of the hometown Orlando Sentinel weighs in:

“This is the most embarrassing interview I’ve ever seen on local television. This has nothing to do with whether you are for Obama or McCain. It’s about being professional. Quoting Karl Marx?

Even Sean Hannity wouldn’t be so ham-handed. Making matters worse, it looks like Barbara is just dumbly reading questions someone just handed her, then staring blankly at the screen. Biden made her look like a complete dimwit. Not that this was hard.

How could WFTV allow this to happen?”

While West’s interview with Biden was the stuff of media stories for days to come, one key point often ignored was the softness of her interview with Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Sean Hannity must have been impressed.

The “toughest” question McCain received wasn’t even about him, but was replaying the talking points about ACORN. If West thinks she was as tough on McCain as she was on Biden, she needs to see the tape.

West claims that she wasn’t trying to move up the media ladder with this move. But she did take the opportunity to go on Bill O’Reilly’s TV show.

West tells O’Reilly she was as tough on McCain as she was on Biden. But when asked what was the toughest question she asked McCain:

“Actually, I think the toughest question that I asked him was asking him about his own campaign and his management of his own campaign. Obama’s campaign is so organized and so well put together and such a well-oiled machine. And yet even now this late in the campaign, Senator McCain’s campaign still seems to not have it together.”

So asking an outrageous irrelevant misleading question about Karl Marx is equal to a question of management of a campaign?

She didn’t ask one question about McCain’s policies. Some of the questions involved “Why haven’t you gone after him” on ACORN, “Are you going to cut and run (in Florida) or fight harder?” and “Do you feel the Democrats are trying to paint you into a box?”

When you conduct an interview that could make FOX “News” on-air staff cringe, you are doing something right in the right-wing bizarro world. For the rest of us who expect some semblance of ethical journalism, even on a TV satellite interview, Barbara West fails the smell test along the lines of a room filled with burning sulphur, a pack of angry skunks, and a year’s worth of dirty diapers. For the most disturbing local TV interview we’ve seen in some time, we eagerly award Barbara West as our Media Putz of the week.

Written by democracysoup

October 30, 2008 at 6:00 am

Posted in media criticism, MSM

Will Alaska voters vote for the convicted Ted Stevens on November 4?

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Originally published on on Mon, 10/27/2008 – 2:41pm

UPDATE: A small clarification to Alaska’s senator replacement. If Stevens gets elected, and he can’t fulfill the term (in jail, etc.), since there would be more than 30 calendar months after the date of the vacancy, a special election has to be called. Gov. Palin could still run in that seat, and only give up her governor’s chair if she wins.

Okay, Alaska voters. It’s up to you. Do you vote for a sitting U.S. Senator, your Senator since Christmas Eve 1968, even though he’s been convicted on all 7 counts of falsifying disclosure forms?

Ted Stevens’ fate, on one level, was decided in a courtroom earlier this afternoon. But the voters still get a say. Stevens is on the ballot, and will remain in a race against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich on Tuesday.

In most situations, a conviction would be good enough reason to not vote for a candidate. And the consensus from Alaska is that Begich now has a big advantage due to the conviction.

But this is Alaska, where anything can happen. After all, Stevens got 63 percent of the primary vote, even though he was under indictment.

And to be fair, there is precedent for Alaska voters to vote for Stevens. If we go back to 2000, when Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, who was running for the U.S. Senate, was killed in a plane crash on October 17. And in 2002, Paul Wellstone, running for re-election in the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, was killed in a plane crash on October 25.

Missouri voters in 2000 knew they were really voting for Jean Carnahan, Mel’s widow. In Minnesota, Wellstone was replaced on the ballot by former Vice President and U.S. Senator Walter Mondale. But voters were voting for the spirit of the recently deceased men.

Stevens, 84, is very much alive, even if he is facing jail time. But Alaska voters could vote for the spirit of Stevens, with the understanding that Sarah Palin would likely control the destiny of Stevens’ Senate seat.

Palin, or Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell if Palin is elected vice president, would have the sole discretion to select a replacement. Like Jean Carnahan, that replacement would serve for two years until another election to fill out the term.

The question is whether Gov. Palin will tip her hat and say who might be the replacement for Stevens. Then again, with appeals, who knows when (or if) Stevens would go to jail. Palin is in a difficult situation, also running for vice president, is letting on that she might pick herself.

All of this becomes irrelevant if Alaska voters vote for Mark Begich on Tuesday. But with 8 days until the election, voters will have to decide which direction they want from the U.S. Senate. And we may be up late on November 4 trying to find that out.

Written by democracysoup

October 27, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Are we headed for another 200+ vote swing in the Electoral College?

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Originally published on on Fri, 10/24/2008 – 10:10am

Here are the five most recent Electoral College vote spikes. The 1976 spike came after Watergate; the 1992 spike came after the horrible recession.

Winning Party Year Improved Margin New total-previous total
Republican 2000 112 271-159
Democratic 1992 259 370-111
Republican 1980 249 489-240
Democratic 1976 280 297-17
Republican 1968 249 301-52

There are 50 states, but for John McCain, there are only 3 states: Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

In reality, it feels like Pennsylvania will be McCain’s home for the remaining 12 days. The McCain campaign sees the 21 electoral votes as crucial to a possible win. Technically, this is true: A sweep of those major states is the only way McCain can pull it off.

McCain is smart to at least camp out in Pennsylvania: Kerry defeated Bush in the Keystone State by 128,869 votes out of 5.5 million in 2004. Though Al Gore won by 4 points in 2000, and Bill Clinton downed Bob Dole by 9 points in 1996. Not counting the last two disputed elections, the last time Pennsylvania didn’t vote for the winner was 1968.

Yes, the election is November 4, so things can change. But the electoral map looks good for Obama, regardless of how many cheesesteak sandwiches McCain eats in Philly or how many “Terrible Towels” he waves in Pittsburgh.

However, Barack Obama and his campaign see the whole country as being at least open to voting for a Democrat, and even in some areas, an African-American Democrat.

George W. Bush got 286 electoral votes in 2004, so McCain has 16 to lose to still be at 270. Gaining Pennsylvania’s 21 votes (42-vote swing) gives McCain a 58-vote margin.

But Colorado, Iowa, and New Mexico make up 21 electoral votes, so a 42-vote swing brings McCain back to being up by 16. And this is if Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia all magically go for McCain. This doesn’t factor in Missouri, West Virginia, Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina, all red states in 2004.

The pundits are playing out scenarios, such as the one above, thinking it will be a close race. And perhaps it will be. But it seems that in difficult and turbulent times, this country makes bold choices.

True, in 2004, we have little if any job growth, two wars, and we were scared sh*tless. But this year feels different — a bold choice is coming. Don’t know whether that is Democratic or Republican, though. This year won’t be close.

Now, the Democrats got at least 251 Electoral College votes in 2004, so a 200+ spike would put in LBJ (486) or FDR (472 in 1932) territory. It’s certainly a possibility for Obama.

But the last spike was only 112 from 1996 to 2000. Adding 112 to 251 gives the Democrats 363 votes, just short of Bill Clinton in 1992 (370) and 1996 (379).

But what do you think? Do you feel a strong wind coming across the country? Will this race be close or is the MSM fooling us? Let us know what you think.

Written by democracysoup

October 24, 2008 at 10:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Voters can’t relate to clothing allowances bigger than 4 years salary: the Palin Purse

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Originally published on on Thu, 10/23/2008 – 2:21pm

Imagine that the typical Sarah Palin fan has a household income of $37,500. I’d be willing to bet a lot of them who show up at rallies make under that amount. But let’s pretend that is the average amount.

By that measure, the Sarah Palin clan has received in clothes, hair, and makeup FOUR YEARS worth in salary in September alone.

I suppose in the spirit of wanting your president and vice president to know more than you do, you should want them to spend more on clothes than you do. And it’s fair to say everyone who ran for president, including Barack Obama and Joe Biden, spend more on clothes than I do. Even Dennis Kucinich spends more than me.

It can be seen as more hypocritical because she is running as a “hockey mom.” And there are legitimate cries that men undervalue what women spend to look beautiful, and women are subject to harsher criticism on their appearance.

But $150,000?? There was a picture of young Piper, in the second grade, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag, just like all the other 7-year-olds on the playground in Alaska. Trig got a $92 jumper out of the deal.

And Todd got $4,902.08 worth of clothes in the deal. Why? Why did the children get clothes? Sarah Palin is the candidate, not them.

The Republican National Committee spent $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

There was a TV show before my time called “Queen for a Day.” The idea behind the show was that four ordinary housewives (this was the 1950s) told sob stories, and the best (or worst) won lovely prizes.

Palin has been “Queen for Two Months” and has received much more than a refrigerator or a washer/dryer set (regardless of whether the clothes are “donated” to charity).

But “Queen for a Day” was set up for people who were struggling, where they had to sacrifice dignity for a major household appliance. And these were people making a lot less than the 1956 equivalent of $37,500.

The federal budget is a lot bigger than the budgets of the voters. But a typical housewife, househusband, or multiple full-time worker setup knows tricks to get everyday needs met for less. Wait for store sales, hit resale shops, garage sales, or estate sales, shop at discount retail places, go to outlet stores (especially before gas prices shot up), and of course, hand-me-downs.

Perhaps the Palin family jumper had worn out by the time Piper wore it, and it needed to be replaced by the RNC.

I would like to see a politician take a “coupon queen” or some equivalent, and use that person to attack the budget. True, presidents don’t have line-item veto power. But perhaps shame can rain down on Congress.

Conservatives and liberals can agree that our deficits and debts are mind-numbingly out of control, and that we don’t spend money well as a country.

Conservatives who love complaining about their taxes (but love paying for wars) should consider that interest on the debt is the THIRD LARGEST chunk of the federal budget. And liberals who want more money spent on domestic programs should scream when that large amount of money goes to interest on the debt.

So, the Republicans can say the expenses are justified, Obama and McCain can justify their suits and shoes, and even Cindy McCain can justify her outlandish outfit expense. But whichever one gets elected needs to take that scalpel to the federal budget. Average Americans already know how to do this.

Americans have to spend money wisely, making decisions on a daily or weekly basis on how to spend their paycheck. A presidential candidate in a $500 pair of shoes or a $1,500 suit, a vice presidential candidate in a $2,500 jacket, or a wife of a presidential candidate in a $300,000 outfit isn’t likely to understand where most Americans come from.

It’s difficult for most politicians to truly put themselves in our Payless shoes bought on a BOGO sale. And $150,000 clothing allowances — a larger sum of money than what 95% of Americans make in a year — really don’t help.

Piper Palin, 7, with a Louis Vuitton bag, value approx. $650, on September 11. Photo: Eric Risberg/AP

Written by democracysoup

October 23, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Sarah Palin is truly a maverick, but not in a good way

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Originally published on on Thu, 10/23/2008 – 9:51am

Sarah Palin is a maverick, a trendsetter extraordinaire. No irony, no “air quotes.” It’s completely true.

But she is a maverick in a way that is not kind to her or John McCain. Palin has broken a trail into the depths of vice-presidential nominees.

The people elect the vice president, yet the voters have no say in the selection. We are at the whims of the presidential candidate, and the judgment that we hope parlays itself into an appropriate pick.

But Palin has set new lows that continue to befuddle the American public.

She’s a maverick in the sense that she doesn’t know what a vice president does (still). She’s a maverick because she said she wouldn’t initially release her medical records (and may never release them ultimately). She’s a maverick because she doesn’t care that she gets things wrong, or doesn’t know stuff.

If Robert Draper’s Sunday Magazine piece in The New York Times is any indication, Palin was seen more as a game-changer without actually finding much about her knowledge.

“Reviewing the tape, it didn’t concern (McCain campaign manager Rick) Davis that Palin seemed out of her depth on health-care issues or that, when asked to name her favorite candidate among the Republican field, she said, ‘I’m undecided.’ “

Even if you accept that Palin was vetted on the Troopergate allegations and Bristol’s “pregnancy,” there wasn’t a vetting process for what she knows about national politics or, as we have found out, “what the vice president does.”

It would be difficult to top Keith Olbermann’s assessment on her latest attempt (wrong every time so far) to tell us what the vice president does.

Palin didn’t know in July in a TV interview with CNBC; footage presumably the McCain campaign was aware of. The campaign staffers probably thought it was refreshing for someone to be totally honest and ask “what the vice president does.”

On that point, they are probably correct. Most Americans probably don’t know what the VP does, and that’s reasonable. I’ve known for a long time (maybe not the 3rd grade, but close to it) what the vice president does, but I was that kind of a kid.

So for Palin, a grown-up politician who certainly thought she might be selected, in the summer of 2008, still didn’t know. As we have seen from the KUSA-TV Denver interview, Palin still doesn’t know, and she is the Republican Party nominee for the position.

It’s not so much that she didn’t know or still doesn’t know, but she doesn’t care to find out. Of course, despite her many failed attempts to tell us, not one reporter who has asked the question has ever corrected her and told her to her face that she was wrong.

Republicans view vice presidents differently than Democrats and even Independents. Ironically, the McCain/Palin parallel stretches back to Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon in 1952.

An older war hero stretches convention and goes for a young upstart with not too much experience who has made a name as a rabble-rouser. Yes, Nixon had more experience in 1952 than Palin in 2008, and a lot more knowledge and curiosity. But Nixon was blasted as being too young and too green. His purpose was to placate the right-wing faction, similar to Palin, and the right-wing faction loved Nixon.

Spiro Agnew was Nixon’s Nixon in 1968, though Henry Cabot Lodge, a polar opposite among Republicans, was good enough for Nixon in 1960.

George H.W. Bush brought back the tradition in 1988, selecting someone with technically more experience in Congress than Nixon in 1952 or John F. Kennedy in 1960, but someone who wasn’t curious about knowledge of affairs a vice president should know. And the low bar of Dan Quayle lasted until 2008, when Palin surpassed him in spades.

For reasons that had nothing to do with them, Nixon and Quayle became vice president. Republicans see Palin in that role, but this time might be different. Whether Palin is responsible for this is a question that will be debated for years to come.

Republicans cite Palin’s executive experience, and say she has as much experience, if not more, than Barack Obama. While this isn’t technically true, Republicans miss the bigger picture.

Obama knows more about our government, how it works, and what it can do than Sarah Palin. Obama is curious about what he doesn’t know. The way he came into the Senate in 2004, talking to people on both sides of the aisle, and asking a lot of questions.

Most people when entering a new situation would carefully observe and ask questions to get a feel for their role. But not the mavericky Sarah Palin. If she wings it with her memorized schtick, and smiles, Palin figures she is in. That is how you win beauty pageants, not the second-highest political position in the country.

The bar is now lowered, yet you should worry. Some day, probably from the Republicans, there will be a vice presidential candidate that makes Sarah Palin look like Dan Quayle.

Written by democracysoup

October 23, 2008 at 9:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized