Republicans Archives

Politics and the Big Lie

The Corner today points out a interesting survey done by David Frum. The Corner poster, Jim Manzi does some additional statistical musing and comes to a similar conclusion. However, this should cause a lot of consternation and navel gazing by anyone considers right vs left or conservative vs liberal a straightforward set piece ideological struggle. Consider that post in the light of two additional pieces of data:

  1. This divide has been stable for some time.
  2. and locally speaking therefore the policies set in place must therefore be supporting the stability of that divide.

The problem is that the Democratic states have been espousing policies that value equality and should be normalizing that which divides us. The GOP is ostensibly the free market party and supports business more and therefore should one would expect would widen the divide between the haves and have-nots.

However, the demographic data contradicts this. The Democrats are stronger in areas that are more divided and the GOP in areas with more equality. If this is stable … then there is an essential problem here.

Which means one might conclude that GOP policies do more to reduce the divisions between us and the Democrats reinforce them. So either politicians of both parties are lying all the time of that everyone is wrong about policy. That is, the policies that are assumed to reduce division in fact acerbate them and which are assumed to divide, don’t.

To restate, if you the reason you are a Democrat is because of the stated desired results that the Democratic platform espouses, you should switch parties because the actual entrenched policies of the other side empirically do what you find desirable and the policies of your party are empirically harmful. If on the other hand, you are rich and you want to get richer (and if it’s at the “expense” of the other guy you don’t care) then you should vote Democratic, because it is their policies which have been most effective at achieving that goal.

Palin v Earmarks

I was going to put a blog post together on this issue, but Dan Spencer at Redstate has done so, and with links to keep you busy for quite some time.

Among his list of things Palin has done on the earmark front, and contrasted with Obama:

  • She ordered her administration to cut the number of earmarks (including the “Bridge to Nowhere”).
  • He consistently supported said bridge, even refusing to redirect funds for it to Katrina victims.
  • She significantly reduced the number and dollar value of earmarks to the state of Alaska.
  • She vetoed nearly $500 million in government spending over 2 years
  • He has requested nearly $1 billion in earmarks over 3 years.

The "Responsible" Media

With a tip of the Blogger’s Fedora ™ to PowerLine, Charlie Gibson dabbled in some out-of-context quoting to try to slip up Sarah Palin last night.

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

Yes, the exact words, but in the middle of a 3-sentence thought that put it in context.  From the video:

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.

To break it down linguistically, the “also” that begins the second sentence continues the “pray for” thought.  So to put the phrase that Gibson was referring to in its context, it would more correctly be “Pray that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God.”  That is a very different statement than the one Gibson infers; suggesting Palin was declaring it as such.  Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to catch that and clear it up.

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words.

But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.

That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.

GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, “There is a plan and it is God’s plan.”

But apparently, Gibson’s deceit couldn’t help but try to pull more out of context.  And it simply had to be deceit, because if he read or heard enough of the quote to pull out those phrases, he couldn’t possibly have missed the very nearby context.

Gibson did apparently dry off quite well before the interview after being so long in the tank for Obama. 

What We Won’t See in the Debates

Some time ago, I suggested an alternative debating format, which would certainly make for a more interesting (and informative) evening. The format would go something like this:

moderator: The next topic will be educational reform. Mr Obama you are to begin. Please explain briefly Mr McCain’s position on what needs to be done to improve our educational system. You have three minutes, which will alternate with one minute corrections from Mr McCain until you are both satisfied.

[The two exchange]

moderator: Now, Mr Obama that you established an understanding of Mr McCain’s stand, you have 3 minutes to rebut that position.

Then … they reverse and Mr McCain explains Mr Obama’s position until Mr Obama is satisfied he has successfully explained it. And Mr McCain gets a short rebuttal of that.

And then of course, they move on the the next topic.

What this avoids of course is the endless arguments we so often find, where one side rebuts a position not held by the other and vice versa. It also means that at least two people (the candidates themselves) and perhaps several in the audience as well will finally come to understand the arguments and motivations of the otehr side instead of just demonizing a caricature of the same said position.

The Compendium of Sarah Palin Rumors

Charlie Martin at the Explorations blog has put together an (ever-growing) list of 60+ rumors about Sarah Palin.  Most have links to their debunking, and a few are actually…er…”bunked”.  Bookmark it.  I have a feeling we’ll all need to refer to this often in the next 2 months (and with any luck, the next 4 years).

Just when you think that the mainstream media can’t sink any lower comes this breathless dispatch from the Associated Press: Palin Church Promotes Converting Gays.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

“You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,” according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed since she was a child.
Palin’s conservative Christian views have energized that part of the GOP electorate, which was lukewarm to John McCain’s candidacy before he named her as his vice presidential choice. She is staunchly anti-abortion, opposing exceptions for rape and incest, and opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples. 

Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, has scheduled the “Love Won Out” Conference for Sept. 13 in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla.

Palin, campaigning with McCain in the Midwest on Friday, has not publicly expressed a view on the so-called “pray away the gay” movement. Larry Kroon, senior pastor at Palin’s church, was not available to discuss the matter Friday, said a church worker who declined to give her name.

As usual, facts don’t seem to matter to the media. For one thing, Governor Palin and her family have only been part of the church since 2002.
For another, the AP seems shocked, shocked that Governor Palin’s church would actually be teaching what the Bible says.
Also, they totally mischaracterize the nature of the conference. According to the questions page on the conference website they don’t “cure” gays.

Are you here to “cure” gays?
Absolutely not. The only time you’ll ever hear the word “cure” used in relation to our event is by those who oppose Love Won Out.  They also like to claim we want to “fix” or “convert” gays and lesbians and that we believe people can “pray away the gay.” Such glib characterizations ignore the complex series of factors that can lead to same-sex attractions; they also mischaracterize our mission. We exist to help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome. It is not easy, but it is possible, as evidenced by the thousands of men and women who have walked this difficult road successfully.

In typical fashion, the AP distorts not only the role of the church in promoting the conference but also the nature of the conference itself. It also describes Focus on the Family as a “fundamentalist” organization. And it’s kind of ironic that the “pray away the gay” talking point cited on the website ended up in the text of the AP story.
But the bigger question is why this is even a story? How is it that Governor Palin’s church gets raked over the coals for including a promotional insert in a church bulletin while, say, Senator Obama’s church escapes any real scrunity when his pastor of twenty years has been caught on video preaching hate from the pulpit? If candidates’ churches are now fair game to media scrutiny then why not subject each candidate’s church to the same level of scrutiny?
I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

Why does Palin confuse them?

Sarah Palin is confusing the Left and the mainstream media.

And should we be surprised? In their myopic view of the world, they lack the ability to focus in on anything but that which surrounds them – anything but that which they are already engaged with. Within the realm of their understanding it seems to be nothing short of ludicrous that John McCain would seriously present the likes of Sarah Palin as candidate for Vice President of the United States. Their refined rationalism recoils at the thought of a right-wing, former small-town mayor, gun-lovin’, pro-life, Bible-believing woman being second in command – a mere heartbeat away from becoming POTUS. Indeed, the vile attacks levied against Palin, since her addition to the ticket, are all too telling.

John Podhoertz links to a NY Times article (HT: Crunchy Con) which illustrates the myopia of the media. From the NY Times article,

In the address at the Assembly of God Church here, Ms. Palin’s ease in talking about the intersection of faith and public life was clear. Among other things, she encouraged the group of young church leaders to pray that “God’s will” be done in bringing about the construction of a big pipeline in the state, and suggested her work as governor would be hampered “if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God.”
She also told the group that her eldest child, Track, would soon be deployed by the Army to Iraq, and that they should pray “that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.”

You mean that, as a Christian, she believes that the sovereign God (of the Bible) has… a will? That said God also has… a plan? And that we are to pray to said God for his will to be done through… his plan?


Perhaps the reporters for the NY Times piece, in their zest for research, should do a bit of it on what constitutes the Christian faith, not to mention finding out what the Bible says on the subject.

Better yet, how about they take Melinda’s suggestion, and listen to some of the sermons from the pastor at the church which Palin attends (sort of an end-around on the whole Jeremiah-Wright thing).

Or, maybe, listen to the excitement of the people

When Will Palin Do Meet the Press?

Now that the presidential campaign is in full swing, the big question in media circles is when Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin will be available to them to answer their questions. This is to be expected since they spent the last week since McCain’s announcement acting like a petulant child because McCain dared to nominate someone they hadn’t vetted.

The main problem the media faces is that they are no longer the gatekeepers of information. Ever since the collapse of the monopoly controlled by CBS, NBC, and ABC they’ve struggled to keep themselves relevant. And while they do serve a purpose, it is not as great as it used to be.

My guess is that Governor Palin will make media appearances in the coming weeks but will be careful to select outlets that are willing to treat her with the respect that she deserves rather than trying to assault her with smears and “gotcha” questions. She doesn’t need to bother sitting down with media outlets that have shown themselves to be hypocrites. They don’t deserve the privilege of being able to ask her any questions.

The Appeal of Sarah Palin

As I was watching Alaska Governor Sarah Palin accept the Republican vice-presidential nomination last night, I kept asking myself what it is about her that makes her so appealing? Yes, she’s attractive. But there is more to it than that.
She’s authentic.
She tells you exactly what she thinks and you don’t have to guess.
You don’t have to read and re-read her speeches to try to figure out the meaning of her words.
Even if you disagree with her politically, you can’t help but like her. I mean, really like her.
She’s the kind of person that many people will be able to identify with. Her family has many of the same ups and downs that the average family experiences.
The Left, with an assist from their enablers in the mainstream media have done everything they can in the days leading up to this speech to try to demonize her.
Sarah Palin showed last night why those attacks won’t work on her.
Democrats are afraid this morning. They should be.
John McCain took a huge risk in selecting Sarah Palin. Last night, Sarah Palin showed America exactly why she was selected and demonstrated he made the right choice.
If the Republicans go on to win the election this November, it will be because it was won last night with Governor Palin’s speech.

Forests and Trees

I am very thankful to have to intelligent, active, and attentive (liberal) contributors (in comments) on this blog. Various particulars relating to snippits as they come out concerning “Who is Gov. Palin” have been up for discussion. While we can go back and forth quibbling over details, still at this point seen quite dimly, it occurs to me there is an over-arching issue up hiding in the wings.

Most of what has been coming in fits and starts from the media sources (and for that matter the campaign) have been negative (and positive) pieces largely unconnected from context. This is alas, counter from the enterprise in which we are all engaged regarding the good governor.

In the context of the election with regards to all four candidates what the rest of us are trying to do is to build a holistic picture of the candidates as a person, to figure out their political and moral philosophies. Who are they? How do they think? How do they appreciate and consider the issues facing the nation?

This problem is made more complicated by the fact that the candidates and the press are aware of this exercise on our part and are intentionally trying to frame that image in a way that is perceived by us as favorable (in the case of the candidates) or unfavorable (in the case of partisan factions). The mechanisms that the press and press releases operate however is antithetical to the process at which the rest of are engaged. The modern press operates on sound bites, catch phrases and other short bites (bytes?).

What we seek however is a holostic ensemble view of the candidate. The challenge for the voter is to fight through this morass of annoying scattered flotsam and to assemble that image. My suggestion (which I’m about to follow more consciously) is to disregard in the main those details provided sans context.

Palin’s "Troopergate"

I read this post on the TalkLeft blog by “Big Tent Democrat” last Sunday.  It’s regarding the issues surrounding Sarah Palin’s reassigning of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, allegedly because he wouldn’t fire Palen’s sister’s estranged husband.  BTD takes fellow liberal blogger Josh Marshall to task for his coverage of the issue, specifically over the fact that Marshall seems to take all the accusations against Palin at face value (guilty until proven innocent) and Marshall’s contention that this kerfuffle may hurt Palin politically.

For starters, the Left seems to see this entirely in a political lens.  BTD notes:

Let’s face it, Marshall’s interest, and everybody’s for that matter, is almost entirely based on the political implications of this story. And here is what Marshall is missing – the story is likely to have little political implications for Sarah Palin. And if there are any, they are likely to be positive.

Quite an honest admission from BTD, who reiterates this point at the end of the post.  Not mentioned in this post or Marshall’s is that, while there has been an investigation opened into this, Palin hasn’t been subpoenaed — because she’s been so forthcoming!  This is another example of what I’ve noted before; Palin seems to be the kind of politician everybody says they’d like and wish there were more of.  And indeed this corruption-fighting, cooperative governor enjoys 80%+ approval from her constituents.

But Big Tent Democrat goes over the accusations and the facts of the case and find no “there” there, which to me is the larger point.  So many on the left smell blood in the water, because it’s all political.  In the meantime, there’s no credit given for the unusual openness shown by Palin simply because she’s of the wrong party.

Hey liberals.  You’re watching the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and booing Jimmy Stewart (in a brilliant disguise).

UPDATE: John Hinderaker at PowerLine notes that the NY Times called itself “squeamish” about covering the John Edwards “love child” story, and had to (in their words) devote more time to the “big issues facing the country”.  But today, they had 3(!) front page stories on Bristol Palin.

Times’ Public Editor Clark Hoyt said of the Edwards coverage, “I do not think liberal bias had anything to do with it.”  I’m sure he said it with a straight face, too.

When hypocrisy is not hypocrisy

It seems that some liberals are having a difficult time understanding what constitutes hypocrisy.

Consider the saga of Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter, and this blog post at ABC News,

ABC News’ Andy Fies reports: Although Barack Obama has said the pregnancy of Gov Sarah Palin’s unwed teenaged daughter is “off-limits” and has “no relevance”, not all of his supporters agree.

Clinton Wray and his family sat among the 14,000 who gathered to hear Obama speak in Milwaukee this evening. While he supported Obama’s decision to, in Wray’s words, “take the higher ground”, he was not convinced the pregnancy is irrelevant. “Republicans will say that they are the party of family values and that everybody else doesn’t have any values. So when you’ve used that, I think the public and the media have the right to use whatever you’ve put out to come back to you.”Wray added that this applied to Palin too. “This young lady is saying that she’s a strong conservative with Christian values. That’s great. But the Republican party has consistently used the religious right to say ‘we’re Christians,’ to say ‘we don’t believe in this and we don’t believe in that.’ And so I think they have to be held accountable…. She has to be held accountable.”

To begin with, I’m not aware of any prominent Republicans stating that “everybody else doesn’t have any values.” To be sure, persons with alternative political affiliations hold values of some sort.

Yet I wonder exactly what type of accountability Mr. Wray would hold Sarah Palin to? It seems to me that, in her public statement on the issue, she made it clear that her daughter was choosing life for her unborn baby, that her daughter was going to get married to the child’s father, that her daughter would have the full support of her and her husband, and that their full support was needed now that her daughter would learn about the reality of having made choices that fell outside the realm of “family values”. It further seems to me that, rather than displaying hypocrisy, Palin is being fully consistent with the family values she claims to have. Honesty, love, commitment, and responsibility.

If Sarah Palin wished to be a hypocrite, she would have counseled her daughter to have a secret abortion, in order to preserve the family image, thereby allowing her to attend college (if she so desired) without the punishment of having to take care of a child at the same time.

Experience as Trojan Horse

It has been argued by many that the amazing inexperience of Mr Obama is now off the table, due to a similar lack of experience of Ms Palin (who it might be noted is not running for President). However, that inexperience factor is not “off the table”, it is turning out to be something of a political Trojan horse. The left is no longer as worried about talking about the experience factor. Where before they were actively sidestepping this topic, now instead they are talking about it.

Part of the problem is, the experience of Ms Palin and Mr Obama are roughly on a par. Both are about the same age. Both attended school. While Mr Obama supporters like to point to a distinguished Academic career of their candidate, it really isn’t so. He ostensibly took an Academic career after law school but … failed to publish (and if you talk to Academics you’ll find that for an Academic career publishing is not just a small matter). As well, he went into “community activism”, and his record at community organizing apparently was only distinguished by his ability to use this as a stepping stone to the next level, i.e., state office. Ms Palin by contrast did not seek public office (a far more commendable outlook from this onlookers point of view), but circumstances thrust it at her. From PTA to Mayor to Regulatory board to Governor she was thrust up not by dint of self promotion but instead by the fight against corruption.

The time Ms Palin and Mr Obama spent in actual public office is comparable, one might actually argue that the time that Mr Obama spent at the highest level (Senator in his case vs Governor for Ms Palin) is far less while because, alas within 6 months to a year of attaining his Senate seat he was campaigning full time for the Presidency … and thus missing out on actual Legislative experience. For what it’s worth, Mr Obama had 50% approval ratings as a State senator during that stint and Ms Palin prior to Mr McCain asking her to be on his ticket enjoyed 80+% approval ratings.

The point is, that far from taking “experience” off the table, it has gotten the left to bring it up. And, when they do, it is not a winning issue for them. So I’d argue that experience as a topic far from being “off the table” is even hotter because the left has been fooled into thinking it is now a safe topic.

McCain’s tactics, and the Left’s confusion

Just what is John McCain up to?

In the movie Jaws, when the fictional Captain Quint makes first contact with the great white, and the shark behaves unexpectedly, he tells Police Chief Brody, “I don’t know Chief, he’s very smart or very dumb.”

On McCain unexpectedly picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, Kirsten Powers wonders,

I can’t help wondering if this is a trap. The McCain camp watched and learned as Obama supporters offended Hillary supporters by their treatment of her. The McCainiacs had to know that this group is incapable of behaving, that Palin would bring out their worst instincts.

Ed Morrissey states,

This trap has two doors, as Powers notes, and the Obama campaign and its supporters fell through both of them. First, it didn’t take long to speak dismissively of Palin as a “beauty queen” and a “small-town” hick, even though she governs the state of Alaska and has a favorability rating in the 80s…

The bigger trap, though, was the knee-jerk attack on Palin’s experience. Calling her a “small-town mayor” only underscored Obama’s own woeful lack of experience…

and then wonders,

Did McCain set Obama up to fall into this trap? If so, then perhaps that more than anything demonstrates how poor a candidate Obama is and how much more masterful McCain can be. Would you rather have the man who set the trap dealing with our enemies abroad, or the man who fell into it?

At the Belmont Club, Richard Fernandez states,

…McCain will take risks, but only after figuring the odds.

He has the ability to wait patiently until his opponent commits himself to a move then ruthlessly strikes to exploit it. He gives nothing away to clue his opponent on which way he is going to turn. Then suddenly he snaps the stick. A collection of links by Glenn Reynolds reveals a sudden appreciation by McCain’s opponents of his unpredictability. Some are hesitating to criticize Palin’s relative youth and inexperience, lest they fall into the Trap. What trap? A classic AP head says it all: Analysis: Palin’s age, inexperience rival Obama’s.

He’s a 72 year-old Maverick who, it would appear, knows his way around.

Also see:

Mark Steyn’s The Hostess with the Moosest

HotAir’s Desperation from Democrats

Palin vs. "The Bridge To Nowhere"

A commenter recently noted that there was a tape of Sarah Palen supporting Ted Steven’s pork project nicknames “The Bridge to Nowhere”.  A writer on a local group blog, “Peach Pundit” says she was for it before she was against it.  As one of their commenters notes, she was for state funding if the state wanted, and her speech in Dayton confirmed that. 

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