The Conservative Intelligencia on Palin UPDATED
by wrb, Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 10:57:50 AM EDT
I thought this series of comments quite powerful when taken together, and potentially useful
I have been disturbed about the choice from the start, as you know. And I have not seen any reason to feel less disturbed ... She really could be president! And here's where my fellow conservatives really worry me. They are so attracted by the symbolism of the selection that they show no concern -- never mind for her executive competence -- even for her views.
"The foreign-policy session was a white-knuckle affair. She barely got through it and showed no knowledge more than an inch deep. What she did demonstrate was amazing self-possession. She somehow bluffed her way through the Bush doctrine question. Gibson apparently didn't want to go into full "gotcha" territory by asking flat-out if she knew what it is. And then he muddled things further with his dubious definition of it, so she was never truly nailed and there was enough ambiguity there for conservatives to defend her. The fact still remains that she very likely didn't know any of the possible definitions of the Bush doctrine. I can't imagine if Obama had picked Gov. Tim Kaine and he had had a similar moment, conservatives would have rushed to say that the Bush doctrine is just too amorphous and complicated for him to know anything about it. Palin seemed weak on economic and budgetary policy too, talking in the vaguest generalities. "
Just saw Palin talking about domestic issues on ABC World News Tonight. Depressing. Programmed, just like last night. Charlie Gibson asked her twice what she and McCain would do about the economy different from Bush. Answer: not much. Here's the Palin economic plan:
Get government out of the way of the private sector. Cut taxes. Control spending. And when Gibson pressed her, she added "reform agency oversight. "
Entitlement spending reform? Pass. They're going to cut spending by rooting out -- wait for it -- waste, fraud and abuse. (This year's GOP buzz word for that hoary phrase: "finding efficiencies.")
To quote the latest McCain commercial about Obama: "That's not change. That's more of the same."
Sarah The Unready
13 Sep 2008 11:30 am
Now that we've seen the entirety of the Palin-Gibson tete-a-tete, I concur with Rich Lowry and Rod Dreher. The most that can be said in her defense is that she kept her cool and avoided any brutal gaffes; other than that, she seemed about an inch deep on every issue outside her comfort zone. Yes, the questions were tougher than the ones that a Tim Kaine or Tim Pawlenty probably would have been handed, but they were all questions that a vice-presidential nominee needs to be able to answer. And there's no way to look at her performance as anything save supporting evidence for the non-hysterical critique of her candidacy - that it's just too much, too soon - and a splash of cold water for those of us with high hopes for her future on the national stage."
I'M NOT SURE MY PARTY WANTS ME AS A MEMBER ANY MORE
Politico's David Paul Kuhn writes about the dog not barking among GOP foreign policy heavyweights:The acclaim for the vice presidential nominee is all but deafening within the GOP, except in one small but influential corner: the party's foreign policy establishment. Among that mandarin class, the response to Palin's nomination has been underwhelming, marked by distinctly faint praise or flat-out silence.
Having chatted with a few members of this mandarin class, I would describe the range of opinion about Palin's foreign policy bona fides as varying from "underwhelmed" to "you gotta be f#$%ing kidding me?"
What's really disturbing, however, is this Bob Kagan quote:"I don't take this elite foreign policy view that only this anointed class knows everything about the world," he said. "I'm not generally impressed that they are better judges of American foreign policy experience than those who have Palin's experience."
This is one of those head-scratching comments when the only question is whether Kagan is being completely cynical or whether he actually believes that expertise is irrelevant. Given the GOP attack line just three weeks ago was about Obama's inexperience, and given that Bob goes to the trouble of writing and researching actual books, I have to go with cynical.
Question to other GOP policy wonks: is it possible to support a candidate that campaigns on the notion that expertise is simply irrelevant?
Andrew Sullivan (Who, it should be noted, is considered a lapsed conservative by many):
For me, this surreal moment - like the entire surrealism of the past ten days - is not really about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama or pigs or fish or lipstick. It's about John McCain. The one thing I always thought I knew about him is that he is a decent and honest person. When he knows, as every sane person must, that Obama did not in any conceivable sense mean that Sarah Palin is a pig, what did he do? Did he come out and say so and end this charade? Or did he acquiesce in and thereby enable the mindless Rovianism that is now the core feature of his campaign?
So far, he has let us all down. My guess is he will continue to do so. And that decision, for my part, ends whatever respect I once had for him. On core moral issues, where this man knew what the right thing was, and had to pick between good and evil, he chose evil. When he knew that George W. Bush's war in Iraq was a fiasco and catastrophe, and before Donald Rumsfeld quit, McCain endorsed George W. Bush against his fellow Vietnam vet, John Kerry in 2004. By that decision, McCain lost any credibility that he can ever put country first. He put party first and his own career first ahead of what he knew was best for the country.
And when the Senate and House voted overwhelmingly to condemn and end the torture regime of Bush and Cheney in 2006, McCain again had a clear choice between good and evil, and chose evil.
UPDATE> A fresh one from Sullivan:
And then, because he could see he was going to lose, ten days ago, he threw caution to the wind and with no vetting whatsoever, picked a woman who, by her decision to endure her own eight-month pregnancy of a Down Syndrome child in public, that he was going to reignite the culture war as a last stand against Obama. That's all that is happening right now: a massive bump in the enthusiasm of the Christianist base. This is pure Rove.
Yes, McCain made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base. No person who truly believed that the surge was integral to this country's national security would pick as his veep candidate a woman who, so far as we can tell anything, opposed it at the time.
McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain - no one else - has proved it.
For some reason I cannot find the transcript of the third Gibson interview, although I watched it slack-jawed online this morning. In my judgment, she is close to a parody of a politician who cannot tell the truth and has nothing substantive to offer on policy whatsoever. When she isn't lying, she is bullshitting. I'll deal with that over the weekend, examining in close detail her actual answers and how they don't tell us anything substantive about what she would do as vice-president. I'm going to fisk the interview thoroughly. But it seems to me that, before I do that, I should put on the table what I think was the real news in the interview. On two occasions, she said:
"When you're running for office, your life's an open book."
Thanks, governor, for being a lone voice of sanity in this, at least. http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/09/the-most-import.html#more