Blood and Guts Obama

In regard to President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan this week, I thought he made the cardinal error of basically telling the Taliban that if they keep their heads down for the next year and a half they can pretty well count on us being out of Afghanistan before he is up for re-election in 2012.  It is immoral to tell troops to die in a struggle that the Commander-in-Chief has clearly written off, and I think that is the reality behind Obama’s speech.  Rule one of fighting a war is to win it, but I suspect  that is not Obama’s intent.  But for the political consequences of Afghanistan quickly becoming terrorist haven number one, I doubt if Obama would do anything other than withdraw all American troops as quickly as possible.

At any rate, as a war speech by a President I would rate this a solid D.  If he wants examples of better speeches, he might try something like this minus the cussing.

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Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal has Lincoln adopting a similar policy to Obama’s during the Civil War:

After months of what his opponents called weakness and indecision, President Abraham Lincoln announced a new strategy for ending the war with the rebellious Southern states to a group of reporters today.

The Army of the Potomac, now under the command of Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant, will be granted an additional 35,000 troops, well short of the 200,000 requested by Grant several months ago, for the invasion of the South which will begin next spring.

Declaring that, “Unions and freeing slaves and such are one thing, the lives of brave young Americans quite another,” the President also indicated that the United States committment would have a definite time limit.

If the seceding states cannot be persuaded to return to the Union by August of next year, Washington would begin to withdraw US forces.  Asked if this implied eventual recognition of the Richmond government by Washington, the President declined to comment.

The indispensable Iowahawk gives his interpretation of Obama as war President here.

Our enemies are not idiots.  Based on the evidence I think they have reached the obvious conclusion that Obama is weak and vacillating.  They will now act accordingly.  We are in for  interesting times.

90 Responses to Blood and Guts Obama

  • It’s common sense that you don’t say we’ll execute a war until a given date then go home. As you point out, the enemy will lay low and plan for the day they can do as they will. More subtle, and in line with your comment about the immorality of asking a soldier put his life on the line for no good end, is this. Near the end of a war, as one side becomes assured of victory, the soldiers on both sides start to lay low. Nobody wants to be one of the last guy to die. In war that’s not about victory, but about hanging in there to a point in time, how can soldiers be expected to fight to win?

  • Does winning in Afghanistan require bringing it into the Union as the 51st state? Cause if not I’m not sure I see the analogy.

  • Donald, did you support Bush’s surge strategy in Iraq? To be honest, I had a lot of misgivings about it, with its scheduled goals and completion date. But it worked. (No one ever confused me with General Petraeus, especially not when I’m doing pushups.)

    I don’t think a surge is the right strategy in Afghanistan, but I’m not worried about the timetable aspect of it.

  • BA, the analogy is in setting a deadline on a war. It would have been a strategy of defeat if implemented by Lincoln, just as it is a strategy for defeat in Afghanistan.

    Pinky, I supported a surge in troop strength starting in 2004 in Iraq, when the size of the insurgency convinced me we had insufficient troops on the grounds. The fact that such a strategy wasn’t implemented until 2007 was a tragedy and the Bush administration bears the blame for that. I thought setting goals and timetables was just as mistaken in Iraq as it is in Afghanistan, although I also knew that as long as he was President Bush was in office he would not abandon the task. I have no such confidence in President Obama.

  • “Never again war!.No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war. Just as the time has finally come when in individual States a system of private vendetta and reprisal has given way to the rule of law, so too a similar step forward is now urgently needed in the international community. Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that at the root of war there are usually real and serious grievances: injustices suffered, legitimate aspirations frustrated, poverty, and the exploitation of multitudes of desperate people who see no real possibility of improving their lot by peaceful means.”

    – JP2, Centessimus Annus

  • Of course Pope John Paul II could not have made that statement but for the Allies winning World War II. If the Allies hadn’t won World War II Tony I also have no doubt you would be either penning hymns of praise for the latest successor of Adolph Hitler or be dead or in a concentration camp as a political dissident. War is a terrible thing, but it is not the worst thing, as the Taliban taught the Afghanis during their period of misrule.

    http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/E.CN.4.RES.2001.13.En?Opendocument

  • so too a similar step forward is now urgently needed in the international community.

    ‘Urgently needed’ is rather different from ‘feasible’.

    at the root of war there are usually real and serious grievances:

    Emphasis on ‘usually’. (Quite apart from discerning, in the present moment, just who is aggrieved).

  • “But for the political consequences of Afghanistan quickly becoming terrorist haven number one, I doubt if Obama would do anything other than withdraw all American troops as quickly as possible.”

    Afghanistan is looking more and more like Vietnam with each passing day. The Vietcong fled to the jungles of Cambodia & Laos where they knew the US was not allowed to pursue them just like the Taliban and Al Queda does to Pakistan. Obama won’t have to pull the troops out because he already put his “weasel clause” in the speech – “depending on conditions on the ground”. This war will go on as long as Haliburton, KBR et al’s stock prices rise.

  • Another Vietnam analogy – what South Vietnamese wanted to become known as a friend and ally to American troops when it became obvious we were going to leave? Once Saigon fell, those who had “collaborated” were killed in the thousands, or placed in reeducation camps.

    There won’t be reeducation camps in Afghanistan – just brutal massacres of native Afghanis who are assisting us. Their families will also be targeted.

    Our troops will get less and less vital assistance from the natives. And you can’t blame the natives for that. Who wants to paint a big bulleye on their own backs?

  • Donna V is spot on right I’m afraid, though I would add that the brutal massacres will not limited to those Afghanis who assisted us.

  • “Never again war!”

    Then, as a consequence, never again freedom, nor any triumph of the good over the evil, until the Lord returns.

    “No, never again war, which destroys the lives of innocent people,”

    …but which is, while undoubtedly the last resort, nevertheless sometimes the only resort to defeat villains who would destroy the lives of innocent people if no one slays, captures, disables, or deters them.

    “…teaches how to kill,”

    Sadly, yes. But when one kills the aggressor and defends the innocent person, is the horrible reality of becoming accustomed to killing MORE evil, or LESS evil, than the alternative; namely, the horrible reality of becoming accustomed to watching innocent persons killed?

    “…throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing…”

    Absolutely, and it’s tragic. (Good thing the Christian faith doesn’t call on us to do anything that might throw our lives into upheaval for the sake of others. Oh, wait….)

    “…and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred,”

    No argument there. In the case of Islamists in general and Al Qaeda in particular, though, I think the resentment and hatred are present regardless, in which case this observation reflects no new harms unique to engaging Islamists in warfare, and thus no argument against doing so.

    “…thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution of the very problems which provoked the war.”

    This statement seems to view war as solely a sort of accident resulting from an unfortunate escalation of disagreements between two otherwise reasonable parties whose fundamental interests are not at odds.

    But this, while sometimes the case, is not always the case, and certainly is not the case in the war between the West and Islamists.

    To think that it is, is a form of willful blindness, albeit of a particularly endearing and well-intentioned kind.

    It is in fact similar (in some ways) to that brand of ecumenism which states that there are no real differences between the Catholic faith and Protestantism or for that matter Scientology, and that if we just all defined our terms better, we’d see that we really all believe the same things and we’d all be taking communion together tomorrow.

    “…Just as the time has finally come when in individual States a system of private vendetta and reprisal has given way to the rule of law,”

    It has done that, but with exceptions, in some countries, but with exceptions. But it will not “finally” do that, wholesale, without exception, until the Lord comes back.

    “…so too a similar step forward is now urgently needed in the international community.”

    Well, certainly. Let us by all means have progress towards improvement at all times. (But let us not be unrealistic about how much improvement has actually occurred. There is a difference between being a Peacemaker and being a sort of International Couéist.)

    “Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that at the root of war there are usually real and serious grievances: injustices suffered, legitimate aspirations frustrated, …”

    Yes. As an exanple, I’d call the 9/11 attacks an injustice suffered, and the desire of the folk in the towers to live to see their families again, a frustrated legitimate aspiration.

    “…poverty, and the exploitation of multitudes of desperate people who see no real possibility of improving their lot by peaceful means.”

    Ah, well that’s a different matter from actual injustices or actual frustrated legitimate aspirations, isn’t it?

    When one is down on one’s luck, one is tempted to steal. When one is feeling like the lowest guy on the totem pole, one is tempted to punch the highest guy, or even just the guy on the next rung up.

    But that’s a temptation, of course; a temptation to sin. And when “punching the guy on the next rung up” means, in practice, killing a lot of civilians, it’s a particularly egregious sin, for which nobody can be justly cut much slack merely because, gee, they were really having a tough time with their civilizational inferiority complex.

    Reality, reality, reality. Let us not get let our hopes for what will be, one day, detach us so far from what is that we make what is even worse through inaction, or ill-considered action.

  • he made the cardinal error of basically telling the Taliban that if they keep their heads down for the next year and a half they can pretty well count on us being out of Afghanistan before he is up for re-election in 2012

    Or… Obama sends 30,000 more troops, pulls 300 out in July 2011, 500 in September, sends 2000 “training personnel” in November, keeps 100,000 troops there until 2017 when Biden takes office and ends the war.

  • OK, Morning’s Minion, so how do you explain this:

    MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Somali government on Friday blamed al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants for a suicide bombing that killed 22 people in the capital, as government officials buried three Cabinet ministers killed in the attack.

    The bombing Thursday ripped through a university graduation ceremony at an upscale hotel in Mogadishu, killing medical students, doctors, journalists and three government ministers.

    What “real and serious injustices” did the Somalian government (to say nothing of those medical students, doctors, and journalists) perpetuate against al Queda? What sort of wicked Western imperialism drove the terrorists to set off a bomb which killed their fellow Muslims?

    Al Queda is attempting to gain a foothold in the Horn of Africa. They and other terrorist organizations will go on killing and bombing and murdering people (mostly people who profess the same faith they do) not because of America, Israel, colonialism, resentment of Western oil interests or any other excuse you want to make for them, but because they have a twisted and ungodly idea of what God wants them to do.

  • “Biden takes office and ends the war”

    Now you go too far restrainedradical! There are certain horrors the human mind simply cannot face, and a President Biden is one of them!

  • “When Biden takes office.”

    Thank you, restrained radical, for the laugh, but you’re getting waaaay ahead of yourself.

    According to a CNN poll (note: not Fox or Rasmussen, but CNN)48% approve and 50% disapprove of Obama. He can recover from that, of course, but I doubt the WH is thinking about 2017 at this point. They’re too busy sweating bullets over the 2010 midterms.

    You’re not only counting your chickens before they hatch, you’re not even within sight of the farm.

  • RR.

    You’re about as funny as Joe Biden ;-)

    The danger inherent in doing nothing is dramatically and tragically demonstrated in Rwanda, when the UN could have done something to stop the slaughter, but chickened out and stood back and let it happen.

    Along with the Holocaust,the cry should be “RWANDA – NEVER AGAIN”

  • Genocide should be stopped if possible but I don’t think nation building in Rwanda would’ve worked either. Unless there’s a surrender it’s extremely difficult to nation build, at least not without resorting to brutal unjust measures.

  • “There are certain horrors the human mind simply cannot face, and a President Biden is one of them!”

    Ah, but what if it’s President PALIN that ends up taking office in 2017 …. oops, that “thump” you just heard was probably Minion and Radical fainting in fright :-)

    Seriously, though, I can see where setting a deadline to end a war is counterproductive for all the reasons mentioned above. If you fight a war, you fight until you win, not until a pre-set clock runs out.

    The $64 billion question, however, is what constitutes “victory.” In a conventional war that’s fairly easy to determine — when you have killed or captured all the enemy troops, taken over the enemy capital, and/or forced the enemy generals to sign a surrender document.

    However, in a “war on terror” such as we are fighting, is there really any way of knowing when you have “won” in the conventional sense? And if not, then a war on terror becomes, by definition, unwinnable and without end.

    How would you all define victory in Afghanistan? Does it occur when the Taliban are wiped out, or when a government agreeable to our interests is installed, or when? I’m not saying we shouldn’t be fighting this war, but simply asking how do we know when we have won?

  • Afghanistan has been a relative mess since before the time of Alexander the Great so my version of victory would be fairly modest. The elimination of the Taliban as a faction that has any chance of taking power. In the meantime we can do a great deal of good while we are over there. An Army sergeant from my town told me recently of how his unit built a school for female students in the village where they were stationed. Their mothers would come after school hours, wearing their black burkas, so they could study to keep up with their daughters! The sergeant, a very tough man indeed, choked up at the memory. These type of examples of our troops helping the Afghanis are commonplace. They receive zero press coverage, but are important for both the Afghanis and for our troops. The sergeant told me that they got permission from the village elders before they built the school, and the elders decided that since they had a school for the boys already that it was only fair they have a school for the girls. A quiet revolution is underway in Afghanistan, and, given enough time, that may help put groups like the Taliban out of business.

  • Alternatively, President Palin decides to send 200,000 more troops into Afghanistan. But unable to find it on a map, she mistakenly sends them to Argentina. When the liberal elite media run the story of her blunder, she responds, “You know, Joe Sixpack doesn’t know where Afghanistan is. You east coast media types need to stop obsessing over geometry. Smaller government is what we need to get government off our backs. Tax cuts for small businesses so they can put more money on the table. We’re a strong nation and we will win the war on drugs that started in Afghanistan. And when the fish swim, the turkey is done.” With that she flies back to Alaska to give birth to her grandson, Algebra.

  • Good one, restrained radical! Make a few changes, substitute the name “Reagan” for “Palin,” and it sounds like something I would have written in 1979. I enjoyed mocking Reagan for his stupidity in those days. ‘Cause all the cool kidz knew he was really dense. 30 years later, I realize now who the dumb ones really were.

  • I wasn’t politically aware in 1979, being that I was an infant. But I have read and seen some of Reagan’s speeches, accounts of him in private conversation, etc., and I have to say I’m not really seeing the connection with Palin.

  • You can be excused because of your infancy BA. I was 22 in 79 and Reagan was widely ridiculed as an idiot by his adversaries. Clark Clifford, Democrat establishment fixture since the Truman administration, summed up this attitude when he called Reagan, after he was elected President in 80, “an amiable dunce”.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/11/us/clark-clifford-a-major-adviser-to-four-presidents-is-dead-at-91.html?pagewanted=6

    Mr. Clifford was merely repeating what was the common wisdom of the Left.

  • That this is still the opinion of much of the Left is evidenced by a simple google search of the phrase Reagan was an idiot.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=reagan+was+an+idiot&aq=0&oq=reagan+was+an+&aqi=g1

  • I have no doubt lots of people thought Reagan was dumb, when in fact he wasn’t. The fact that people were wrong about Reagan, however, doesn’t show that they are wrong about Palin. As the saying goes, they laughed at the Wright Brothers, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

    Here’s a bit from Robert Novak’s autobiography:

    Rowly asked which philosophical thinkers and writers had influenced him the most. “Oh, boy, Rowly,” Reagan replied. Fearful Reagan was at a loss, Rowly noted that President Carter “used to talk about Reinhold Niebuhr” and then mentioned, without a clear connection I thought, Adam Smith, Thomas Hobbes, and Spinoza. But those weren’t Reagan’s models, and he didn’t need prompting. He was just collecting his thoughts.

    Describing himself as a “voracious reader,” Reagan cited nineteenth-century British free trade advocates John Bright and Richard Cobden and twentieth-century Austrian free market economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek. He also said, “Bastiat has dominated my thinking so much.” Bastiat? Rowly and I had to look him up. Claude-Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) was a French political economist who preached against protectionism and socialism. Later in the interview, Reagan talked about liberal clergymen who had been influenced by Reichenbach’s advocacy of big government taking care of the poor. Reichenbach? That sent Rowly and me back to the reference books to look up Hans Reichenbach (1891-1953), a German philosopher who belonged to the Vienna Circle of legal positivists. Reagan was better read and better educated than we were.

    Compare that to Paln’s inability to say which newspapers or magazines she’s read.

  • An empty shell, no substance, ignorant, outright stupid, unsophisticated, dangerous – to the US and the world. Those were all very common charges leveled from the left. Well, it wasn’t just charges, it was worse. It was a total mindset, an accepted truth. It permeated every discussion or criticism. Hence he was despised all the more because the majority didn’t see Reagan that way, and the fact that Reagan succeeded burned them from the inside out.

    I really think that is why many people, myself included, still think well of Reagan in spite of his faults. He was at root a decent man grounded in common sense and constantly attacked by those who were neither.

  • BA she rose from mayor to governor in one leap without a rich husband, being rich herself, no poltical connections and in the teeth of the party establishment. That demonstrates to me that Palin is much brighter than her critics believe, although I do hope they keep underestimating her.

  • BA,

    Why didn’t they ask that of Hilary Clinton when she was running.

    Palin already confessed that she was insulted by that question and refused to answer it.

    Next.

  • I’m pretty sure Secretary Clinton could have sufficiently answered the question.

  • Though Clinton couldn’t accurately report her trip to Bosnia. This, however, is a question of her integrity and credibility.

    Either way, I don’t think Sarah Palin would make a good President and I wouldn’t vote for her.

  • The point is why ask the question? It implies she’s a dimwit and Palin was upset about it.

    She would make a much better president than the one we have.

  • I certainly don’t think we have a good President, but I am not so sure that I would find Palin to be anymore acceptable outside of the fact that she wouldn’t tolerate the killing of the unborn. A pro-life President can still run the country into the ground. I might be surprised, who knows.

    I tend to be convinced prudential matters are not relative and are not unrelated to objective moral norms that cannot be agreed upon.

    I think I’m in agreement with BA on this.

    If anything, I agree with you Tito: the question shouldn’t have been asked.

  • Why didn’t they ask that of Hilary Clinton when she was running.

    For all I know they did ask her. It’s kind of a softball question (btw, when I watch the video of the exchange, Palin doesn’t come across as being offended; she comes across as not being able to answer).

  • BA she rose from mayor to governor in one leap without a rich husband, being rich herself, no poltical connections and in the teeth of the party establishment.

    No offense, Donald, but this would seem to be a non sequitur.

  • The point is why ask the question? It implies she’s a dimwit and Palin was upset about it.

    Asking the question doesn’t imply that she’s a dimwit. Her not being able to answer it on the other hand….

  • It takes intelligence to do that BA and other qualities. Good fairies didn’t descend and annoint her governor.

  • As for Mr. Obama, the subject of this thread after all, he is proof yet again that someone can be well-educated, and presumably well read, and still make a miserable leader.

  • Donald: Probably the most “book-smart” president we had in the 20th century was Wilson. And I think he was a dreadful president in many ways. Shows you how much book-smarts mean in that job.

    A commenter on another blog said he thought Nixon and LBJ were the two most brilliant presidents of modern times, regardless of what one thought of their policies. Nixon was certainly a cagey operator, but I’m not sure about Johnson. He was very ruthless and he certainly knew how to work Congress. But I’m not sure it was brillance – perhaps more of a sure instinct for power.

  • Nixon is widely regarded as the smartest president of at least the last half century. A base level of intelligence is necessary but not sufficient to be a good president. Palin doesn’t meet that threshold. Judging by all the other things she’s said, it’s far more likely that she was unable to answer Couric’s question. I love this line from the Economist: “Up to a point, one can allow that she might be playing dumb as a deliberate strategy, but ultimately Occam’s Razor must slice.”

  • Palin spoke at the Gridiron Club’s winter dinner last night and was a hit. Barney Frank spoke for the Democrats:

    http://www.leftcoastrebel.com/2009/12/sarah-palin-guest-speaker-at-gridiron.html

    People underestimate this lady to their political peril. Good.

  • Actually I don’t seriously believe, at this point, that Palin will be elected president in 2016, or anytime for that matter, UNLESS she gains some national government experience as a member of Congress or a Cabinet member. I was simply pointing out a possible scenario that was just as plausible as Biden being elected president :-)

  • I don’t underestimate Palin’s cunning or charisma… that isn’t in question.

    I listened to almost every interview she gave on the conservative media circuit, and she was struggling even with questions from friendly interviewers. Real softball questions.

    In my view, Palin thinks she can “wing it” all the way to the top. She’s sure that the people who will be voting for her simply don’t give a damn whether or not she is well-versed in world affairs. She’s making assumptions about us that I don’t think are very flattering.

    For once, and to my amazement, I agree fully with BA – this comparison to Reagan is silly.

  • I will say, to the shock of all, I agree with Joe and BA as well.

    There. The world is now doomed.

  • No Joe the comparison to Reagan is completely apt. I have not seen a politician since Reagan with more raw political talent than Palin. As to Palin not being well versed in world affairs, once again that is precisely what was thought of Reagan at the time. Here is a link to a Saturday Night Live video after Iran-Contra broke which depicts Reagan as a mastermind rather than an out of touch buffoon. The humor of course is because the people who wrote Saturday Night Live assumed that Reagan was an out of touch buffoon and thus depicting him as a mastermind was humorous. The humor now from what we know after the fact is that Reagan was much closer to being the mastermind than the out of touch buffoon. I truly do hope that people will continue to underestimate and misunderstand Palin as they did Reagan. It will make things easier for her politically.

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/4174/saturday-night-live-president-reagan-mastermind

  • As to Palin not being well versed in world affairs, once again that is precisely what was thought of Reagan at the time.

    This is an invalid argument, Donald. People may have thought Reagan wasn’t well versed on world affairs, but you only had to listen to Reagan to tell that this wasn’t true (for example, here is a transcript of a debate between Reagan and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1967; whatever you think of the substance of Reagan’s position, it’s clear that he’s knowledgeable about the subject). Listening to Palin, on the other hand, tends to re-enforce the view that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about (e.g., she had never heard of the Bush doctrine).

  • I have not seen a politician since Reagan with more raw political talent than Palin.

    Really? Can you cite anything that would remotely justify such a position? Her sole political accomplishment of any note would seem to be that she won election as governor. That happens about a dozen times a year, and given that her primary opponent was the most unpopular governor in America at the time, I wouldn’t consider it an example of exceptional political skill.

  • Don, I don’t dispute Palin’s raw political talent, but I think it much more along the lines of another great talent, Bill Clinton. I don’t like Clinton, but politically he was a master. I think the two are more alike in that they play into a powerful and often times marginalized force within their parties. Basically giving them a voice. However, I think those two are different from Reagan. Reagan filled that role and much more. He not only appealed to it, but he actually systematically and capably defined it. I don’t see Palin having that ability and I’d argue the biggest problems facing the Republican party is they don’t have a credible voice to redefine, articulate, and advance a sound and appealing direction.

  • “Can you cite anything that would remotely justify such a position?”

    Easily. In the face of opposition from the Republican establishment in her state, after she exposed corruption in the state GOP, she won the governorship in Alaska. The only time McCain was ahead last year was immediately after he picked Palin. Her speech to the convention was the best I’ve seen at a Republican convention since the Reagan acceptance speech in 80. Her crowds were massive, McCain’s lacklustre, except when Palin was present. McCain dropped 11% among white men in the final tally as opposed to Bush in 2004. Among white women his decline was only 4%. The only explanation for the difference is Palin. A neophyte on the national stage she clobbered Biden in their debate. (O.K. maybe that last one wasn’t difficult.) She accomplished all this while experiencing the worst press I can recall for any major candidate for national office in my liftetime. A defeated candidate for vice-president, she is the most talked about politician in the country. She owns the conservative base of the party, and is the only GOP national politician who elicits any enthusiasm.

  • Rick, Reagan was a conservative populist, just as Palin is. One of the key problems in the Republican party is a disconnect between what the base believes and the behavior of Republican elected officials, a disconnect which cost the Republicans the Congress. Democrat ineptitude and a lousy economy have given the Republicans a second chance in 2010. Palin has an opportunity to aid in a Republican landslide victory in 2010 and set herself up as the frontrunner in 2012 and I suspect that is her battleplan.

  • In the face of opposition from the Republican establishment in her state, after she exposed corruption in the state GOP, she won the governorship in Alaska.

    Again, she managed to win against the most unpopular governor in the country. Murkowski got something like 20% of the vote. You might as well say Obama is a political genius for having the good fortune to run against Alan Keyes.

    The only time McCain was ahead last year was immediately after he picked Palin.

    True, but then the American people actually got a chance to hear Palin speak unscripted and the lead evaporated. The initial bump has to be credited not to Palin but to the McCain people who picked her, whereas the latter slide can be blamed on both.

    er speech to the convention was the best I’ve seen at a Republican convention since the Reagan acceptance speech in 80.

    That’s not a very high bar, as convention speeches tend to be pretty vapid. Her speech was good, though I’m inclined to think that Rudy’s speech was probably a little better, and neither was as good as Obama’s 2004 speech or Clinton’s 2000 speech, just to cite a couple other examples from the convention speech genre. Palin came across well when she was in an environment where everything she said could be scripted. Unfortunately, when she wasn’t reading from a script she was a mess.

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

  • Yeah, you really dislike Palin. Got it BA.

    As to your comments:

    “True, but then the American people actually got a chance to hear Palin speak unscripted and the lead evaporated.”

    No, what actually destroyed the lead was the economic meltdown in September and McCain’s bizarre suspension of his campaign and then his signing on to the bailout swindle.

    http://www.buzzle.com/articles/224138.html

    McCain has always liked to act as if he is above politics, when what is really the case is that he simply doesn’t understand politics which he amply demonstrated last year.

    “Again, she managed to win against the most unpopular governor in the country. Murkowski got something like 20% of the vote. You might as well say Obama is a political genius for having the good fortune to run against Alan Keyes.”

    Leaving out that he was unpopular mainly due to her revelations of the corrupt deals his administration had been involved in.

    http://theeprovocateur.blogspot.com/2008/08/sarah-palin-whistleblower.html

    This made her persona non grata within the party establishment, and I think it was a considerable feat to then win the nomination and defeat the Democrat in the fall with a large section of the party establishment loathing her.

    “Palin came across well when she was in an environment where everything she said could be scripted. Unfortunately, when she wasn’t reading from a script she was a mess.”

    Actually she was just as good on the stump,as the crowd reactions at her rallies demonstrated.

  • The only time McCain was ahead last year was immediately after he picked Palin.

    It happened to coincide with the convention. McCain would’ve gotten that bump had he picked Huckabee, Romney, or his daughter Meghan.

    McCain dropped 11% among white men in the final tally as opposed to Bush in 2004. Among white women his decline was only 4%. The only explanation for the difference is Palin.

    So Palin hurt McCain less with women. I don’t think that’s something to brag about.

    A neophyte on the national stage she clobbered Biden in their debate.

    She exceeded low expectations but polls still showed that Biden got the better of Palin.

    She accomplished all this while experiencing the worst press I can recall for any major candidate for national office in my liftetime.

    For good reason.

    A defeated candidate for vice-president, she is the most talked about politician in the country.

    But not in a good way.

    She owns the conservative base of the party, and is the only GOP national politician who elicits any enthusiasm.

    Glenn Beck also owns the conservative base but he’s just as unelectable as Palin. Palin has a significant following but not enough to win even the Republican primaries. A majority of the electorate has a negative opinion of Palin and even Republicans have a more favorable opinion of Romney and Huckabee (pre-Maurice-Clemmons).

  • One year ago, did anybody think we’d still be talking about Palin at this point? Everyone expected her to go back to Alaska and lick her wounds, having been decisively bested on the national stage by such fonts of wisdom as Katie Couric and SNL. Then she resigned the governorship. I thought at the time that that was it for her.

    Since then, she managed to nearly send Obamacare off the rails with two words on Twitter and she’s made very cogent and well-reasoned arguments against the healthcare bill, Obama’s attendence at Copenhagen, and other issues. A million copies of her book sold in 2 weeks. I feel a little sorry for Barney Frank, who was trying to hawk his book at last night’s Gridiron affair, because who pays attention to any other politican when Palin’s in the room?

    I am undecided as to whether or not she should run in 2012 (as if the decision is up to me!) Not because I think she’s dumb, but because she’s just so darn good in her present role of gadfly.

    But if there’s one thing the past year should have taught, it’s that you can’t second-guess what she will do. Love her or hate her, there is no other politican like her in America today and who knows, by 2012, the American public might be more than ready for someone who doesn’t sound like every other phoney, blow-dried pol in DC.

    restrained radical wrote:

    McCain would’ve gotten that bump had he picked Huckabee, Romney, or his daughter Meghan.

    He would have gotten a slight, entirely expected bump – and then he would have gone back to trailing Obama. I saw Palin at the Convention and pulled out my checkbook. I wouldn’t have done it for McCain, Huck, Romney, or Meghan.

    The financial crisis is what finished off McCain – not Palin. If it hadn’t been for her, Obama would have won by a bigger margin.

  • “It happened to coincide with the convention. McCain would’ve gotten that bump had he picked Huckabee, Romney, or his daughter Meghan.”

    No, the polls clearly showed that it was due to the Palin pick restrained radical, but thank you for playing.

    “So Palin hurt McCain less with women. I don’t think that’s something to brag about.”

    No, it means that she gave women a reason to vote for McCain, something that a lot of GOP voters were having a hard time finding a reason to do until the Palin pick.

    “She exceeded low expectations but polls still showed that Biden got the better of Palin.”

    Polls after political debates restrained radical usually reflect the horse race. Palin demolished the clown.

    “For good reason.”

    Yeah, most of them were charter members of the Obama Cult.

    “But not in a good way.”

    Only if you insist on reading only moonbat blogs restrained radical. Wherever Palin goes she attracts attention and crowds. A million copies of her memoir sold. Networks begging for interviews. Most veep candidates after they lose are lucky to get a “Where is he now?” retrospective a decade later.

    “Palin has a significant following but not enough to win even the Republican primaries.”

    Restrained radical I will forgive this comment since I assume you are as much a stranger to the Republican party as Obama is. If Palin gets into the primaries for the Presidency in 2012 she will be the odds on favorite to win the nomination. Even immediately after she resigned from the governorship with massive negative commentary she stood behind Romney the frontrunner by one point in a Rasmussen poll.

    http://www.rightpundits.com/?p=4254

    With the Huckster having self-destructed Palin has no competition for the social conservative base of the party if she chooses to run in 2012.

  • No, what actually destroyed the lead was the economic meltdown in September

    Actually, if you look at the Daily polls, McCain’s lead had evaporated prior to the Lehman Bros collapse. The high point for McCain seems to have come somewhere around September the 10th or 11th, which also happens to be about the time the Gibson interview was aired.

    Are you really going to sit there and say that watching those interviews isn’t cringe-inducing?

    Leaving out that he was unpopular mainly due to her revelations of the corrupt deals his administration had been involved in.

    I left it out because it doesn’t have anything to do with her skill as a politician (if Palin’s plan to beat Obama is to get him to appoint her to some ethics commission, find compromising material about him, etc. I suspect she’ll be out of luck).

    Actually she was just as good on the stump,as the crowd reactions at her rallies demonstrated.

    Stump speeches are scripted. I actually went to a Palin rally during the campaign. She did fine, but it was nothing to write home about. My sense was that a large part of her appeal was reactive. The people we hate don’t like her, therefore we must like her. That’s fine, but the problem is that there aren’t enough people who feel that way to carry an election.

  • One attribute Palin surely shares with Reagan is a good sense of humor, including the ability to make fun of herself (something Obama lacks):

    On the political front, Palin said that “if the election had turned out differently, I could be the one overseeing the signing of bailout checks and Vice President Biden could be on the road selling his book “Going Rogaine.”

    Much of Palin’s gentle political humor was aimed at the media.

    “Sometimes you’ve got to trust your instincts, and when you don’t you end up in a place like this,” she said. Palin also tweaked journalists for buying books and turning immediately to the index to see if they are mentioned. Her book does not have an index but she made up index entries during her speech including: “A. Alaska, media not understanding it, page 1 to 432.”

    One other comment about the media: “It is good to be here though, really, in front of this audience of leading journalists and intellectuals or, as I like to call it, a death panel,” she said.

    Palin’s book notes the sometimes troubled relationship she had with McCain campaign staffers. Talking about her bus tour for her book, “Going Rogue,” she said, “the view is so much better inside the bus than under the bus.”

    In a reference to the rocky relations she had with Steve Schmidt, McCain’s bald campaign manager, Palin said that if she needed a bald campaign manager, “all that I am left with is James Carville.”

    She also told a reporter that her purse was made out of otter! LOL! That probably caused 10 vegan journalists to pass out on the spot!

  • “Actually, if you look at the Daily polls, McCain’s lead had evaporated prior to the Lehman Bros collapse.”

    As to the economic collapse causing McCain’s lead to collapse, I will defer to the most accurate pollster last year Mr. Rasmussen:

    “Unless McCain pulls off a stunning comeback, history will note the final two weeks of September as the decisive and defining moment of this campaign. On September 14, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll showed McCain up by three points. Then Lehman Brothers collapsed and the Wall Street debacle began to dominate the news. McCain’s lead disappeared almost immediately. By September 26, Obama reached the 50% level of support and was ahead by five percentage points.”

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/election_2008_daily_presidential_tracking_poll

    “Are you really going to sit there and say that watching those interviews isn’t cringe-inducing?”

    The only thing I found cringe inducing BA was why the McCain campaign had Palin do her initial interviews in unfriendly venues in a year when the vast majority of the media were acting as press agents for Obama.

    “I left it out because it doesn’t have anything to do with her skill as a politician (if Palin’s plan to beat Obama is to get him to appoint her to some ethics commission, find compromising material about him, etc. I suspect she’ll be out of luck).”

    Couldn’t disagree more BA. Good politicians make their own luck. Palin had the courage and honesty to expose political corruption in her own party against a sitting governor and then the political skill to take advantage of it.

    “My sense was that a large part of her appeal was reactive.”

    I disagree BA. Republican audiences reacted to her with a warmth and a passion that I haven’t seen since Reagan. Certainly I can recall no other Veep candidate receiving such a reception on the campaign trail in my lifetime in either party.

  • I assume you are as much a stranger to the Republican party as Obama is.

    I’m a registered member of the Republican party.

    If Palin gets into the primaries for the Presidency in 2012 she will be the odds on favorite to win the nomination.

    I, along with millions of other Republicans, will vote against her. She has galvanized the anti-anti-intellectual wing of the Republican party.

  • restrainedradical,

    She has galvanized the anti-anti-intellectual wing of the Republican party.

    LOL

  • I said Republican Party restrainedradical, not the RINO Republican Party. :)

  • I certainly have nothing against genuine learning and scholarship. But we live in a time where genuine learning and scholarship is thin on the ground even on college campuses. PC infects our educational system. The “experts” involved in Climategate have been revealed as corrupt and dishonest. Ivy League degress are a dime a dozen in Washington, and yet our ruling class is incompetent and arrogant.

    So if you consider Palin’s fans to be “anti-intellectual,” restrained radical, well, I guess I’ll just have to live with that. It was the “best and the brightest” who hopelessly mucked up the Vietnam War and they’re not doing terribly well today.

    Someone with basic common sense would be a great improvement over the “intellectuals” we have running the country into the ground today.

  • I’ll take a degree from the University of Idaho over any from the Ivies any day of the week when it comes to politics.

    Period.

  • I am wondering how we got from there to here in this thread.

    Mrs. Palin’s profile and background (a predominantly vocational education, a pattern of frenetic activity, decidedly non-cereberal hobbies) suggests perhaps that she is not someone to devote time cogitating about things abstract from her mundane life. I think what Blackadder forgets is that her entree into the political world was as a municipal politician. She indubitably has has studied and acquired a considerable knowledge of a portfolio of issues, just not the issues Katie Couric is likely to ask about or care about. You might suggest that this made her an unsuitable choice for a federal office and you might suggest she was overconfident to accept Sen. McCain’s offer, but neither renders her useless or a fool. The question arises, of course, as to whether an absence of experience superintending a public bureaucracy is a greater deficit than an absence of time reading briefing papers on political developments in Russia. You might suggest that Mrs. Palin would have benefited from a liberal education in political topics in order to better understand those briefing papers. Keep in mind, though, that Dr. Woodrow Wilson and Dr. George McGovern had ample education in this regard. Keep in mind, also, that federal politicians are specialists as well. The most appalling thing I have heard a politician utter in recent years was the phrase, “Sweden had, like, five banks”. It came out of the mouth of Barry O’Teleprompter, B.A., J.D., last winter.

    I think if you review the subsequent history of unsuccessful Presidential or Vice Presidential candidates over the last generation or so, you are only going to find two others who were roughed up in the manner Mrs. Palin has been: Geraldine Ferraro and John Edwards. Mrs. Zaccaro faced a string of scandals derived from the misbehavior of her son and (more contingently and esoterically) her husband as well, not to mention the colorful Ferraro and Zaccaro family history that came out after the election was over; Edwards was running for president while nailing one of Jay McInerney’s old squeezes, something the lamestream media did its best to ignore. The Levi Johnston show does not compare. This dame pushes people’s buttons big time, and I do not think the hostility to her speaks well of most of her critics.

    Personally, I think her foray into national politics has resulted in many injuries done her and she might be well advised to pay off her six figure legal bills and go back to Alaska and get work in radio broadcasting or sales or some such. Much about her suggests she is quite adaptable.

  • President Obama also spoke about the 57 states of the union, yet I guess his “upper crust” education more than trumps this snafu.

    I think I’ll be joining the anti-anti-anti-intellectual caucus of the GOP soon.

  • “I am wondering how we got from there to here in this thread.”

    Some threads seem to take on a life of their own Art. Your comments in regard to Palin are original and insightful.

  • I’m a registered member of the Republican party.

    So am I. And I’m hardly a RINO.

  • All this talk of “RINOs” is really self-defeating.

    For someone like me, who has never voted for a Republican but is seriously considering it in the future, Palin is just a nightmare.

    I do not want to vote for an anti-family, anti-life Democrat ever again, but I sure as heck don’t want to vote for someone who I believe has amply demonstrated her unsuitability for the highest office in the country.

    I resent these choices and I resent this dichotomy. I would have voted for Huckabee but I think he’s done for. I’m either going third party or sitting the next one out if Palin is the nominee, unless she shapes up to be the sort of candidate I think is worthy of the office. I’m not holding my breath.

  • I think the ‘You’re a RINO, you wouldn’t understand’ argument misses the point. In order to be electable, a candidate has to appeal to a broad cross-section of people outside of the party. Arguing that only RINO’s kow-towing to elites dislike Palin may be true (but, really, watch those interviews!), but it supports rather than discredits the idea that she can be a successful national politician.

    Reagan was not disliked by RINO’s. Instead, he created a new generation of Republican converts. Palin alienates a lot of people – approval ratings below 50% are a problem (just ask Obama’s team).

  • I think most are in agreement that Palin isn’t too bright. I don’t care that she isn’t Ivy educated but I do care if she’s incapable of comprehending complex issues. But whether the president needs to be smart is an interesting topic for discussion. That some intelligent presidents have been bad isn’t reason to demand dumb presidents. I picture a President Palin echoing her VP and the Republican leadership. Suppose a Palin presidency is basically John Boehner with a pretty face. That may not be so bad. Where I think she could fail miserably is in areas that require compromise (i.e., any piece of complex legislation) and areas that require her presence (i.e., international relations). She’d be unexceptional at best.

  • I think most are in agreement that Palin isn’t too bright. I don’t care that she isn’t Ivy educated but I do care if she’s incapable of comprehending complex issues

    I think most, but not all, are capable of distinguishing between intellectuality and intelligence and distinguishing between the intelligent and the merely articulate.

    Palin is just a nightmare.

    Oh go on.

  • Restrainedradical — good points. In fact, one of your comments was my Facebook status because I couldn’t stop laughing.

    But to the point — I think this RINO business really needs to be put to rest. It is no different than the false liberal orthodoxy choking the Democratic party. Mainstream liberalism supports “diversity” and “tolerance” and vehemently opposes any view that doesn’t fit within the rigid confinement of their liberal orthodoxy, e.g. being pro-life and anti-same sex marriage is anathema to these so-called “liberals.” If anything a real liberal opposes both those things and the rest are fascists masquerading around as liberal.

    Yet, I recall someone once commented in my column that they could not understand how or why any serious Catholic could be a Democrat, and that I would have a better opportunity to change the GOP because it’s willing to listen than I do of trying to change a single policy position or getting more tolerance from Democrats.

    This couldn’t be more true. I would be classified a RINO. I don’t think I could have my views and be a Republican. If anything, this “RINO” business is the problem with American politics.

    We have a linear political spectrum — why? Could we not have discourse within our parties over what really meets the vision that has brought us altogether? One issue of dissension and we’re out? Since when is there infallible political dogma?

    To say that Republicans that don’t like Palin are RINOs is just a prime example of that. It’s to reaffirm this false-political orthodoxy. The only orthodoxy that I’m concerned about, the only kind I think there should be is religious orthodoxy and most obviously, Catholic orthodoxy.

    I thought for a while about leaving the Democratic Party and to say the least, the whole RINO spin is more than off-putting.

    If you support Sarah Palin and think she’d make a good president, make your case; I won’t stop you. Though I’d likely cross over into the GOP primary and do all in my power to stop her.

  • I don’t take offense to the RINO label. I don’t take pride in being a member of a political party.

  • Wow, I didn’t expect this thread to get so far off track. Actually my intent in bringing up the possibility of a President Palin was simply to suggest a scenario that would horrify liberals as much as the prospect of a President Biden would horrify conservatives!

    The whole issue of RINOs and political/ideological purity, I think, is an example of placing a quasi-religious emphasis on worldly things. A political party is NOT a church whose doctrines are essential to eternal salvation, nor are party platforms part of the deposit of faith or the canon of Scripture. Hence the preservation of party “doctrine” and loyalty. does not have to be taken as seriously as the preservation of church doctrine. Political parties exist to promote temporal ideas that are meant to make our lives better in THIS world. As such I believe party organizations and individuals are free to adjust or change or discard those ideas as circumstances change.

    I do not care for “cafeteria” Catholics who pick and choose what doctrines they believe, but I have no problem whatever with the notion of a “cafeteria” Republican or Democrat picking and choosing which parts of the party platform they agree with. I consider myself basically a Republican largely due to the pro-life issue, but I don’t agree with absolutely everything the party stands for, and if I were to run for public office my views on immigration, the death penalty, and taxation, would probably get me branded as a RINO.

  • Eric, I think the term “RINO” is generally made use of to refer to politicians who have enrolled as Republicans because that is advantageous in the geographic constituency in which they find themselves and who then proceed in office to undermine the programmatic goals one might expect a Republican legislative caucus to pursue. It is a term that would not have made much sense a generation ago, when the Congressional caucuses of both parties were ideologically heterogeneous. Applying it to a rank-and-file voter does not make much sense. Applying it to someone whose business is political commentary would seem inappropriate as well, though I can think of several for whom the status of ‘conservative pundit’ appears something of a pose and a hustle. Applying it as an insult to a political professional who is using people makes adequate sense.

  • “Reagan was not disliked by RINO’s.”

    No, he was despised by RINO’s, both in 1976 and 1980. Reagan represented a shift to the right in the Republican party that they hated and feared. A great many of them in 1980 supported John Anderson who eventually ran as a third party candidate in the Fall.

    Parties should stand for something. The Republican party is the conservative party, and if it were not I would not support it.

  • “I think most are in agreement that Palin isn’t too bright.”

    No, I think most of her critics are clueless as to her, which I think is a good thing for her future. Reagan got a lot of milage out of the fact that most of his critics regard him as a reactionary grade B actor who was only reading line, and I am glad that Palin has a similar advantage.

  • To say that Republicans that don’t like Palin are RINOs is just a prime example of that. It’s to reaffirm this false-political orthodoxy

    A rule of thumb suggested some years ago by Fr. Neuhaus, about matters both religious and political: if it is a priority for you for differentiate yourself from ‘them’, sooner or later you are going to abandon ‘them’. Certain things are indicators of where people’s guts are and what their priorities are. In general, former VP candidates are not matters of intense public discussion. It is very difficult to believe that members of the commentariat are repelled by Gov. Palin because they’ve been wading through the minutes of the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission or because they are hot-and-heavy on the idea that a suitable national candidate need to be knowledgeable about Russian politics. All politicians have gaps in their background and decisions they might later regret, and characters like David Frum are not particularly opinionated on any one of them.

  • I don’t think Palin is stupid – I think she is intellectually lazy.

  • Not sure if Palin is intellectually lazy, but I’m skeptical. In any case, that would describe the vast majority of politicians at every level on the scale. More likely she has historically not been that interested in abstract intellectual topics, and her intersections with such pursuits are rather new. My daughter is not really interested in abstract matters of the intellect the way my son is, but she doesn’t have a lazy bone in her body. On the other hand she is very practical and can be counted on to exercise very sound prudence. In my 50-plus years I have read more philosophy than anyone I know and more history than anyone I know except for Don, but I don’t think myself especially equipped for political office. We who fancy ourselves “intellects” often succumb to Plato’s rather silly notion that philosophers make the best kings. History strongly suggests otherwise though. It is just an understandable conceit.

  • A very good point Mike. George Washington was probably the least well read of the major Founding Fathers, but I can’t imagine anyone else winning the Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief, nor can I imagine anyone else doing as well as he did as our First President. Nathan Bedford Forrest was semi-literate and as he put it, “never scratched his back up against any college”, yet during the Civil War he defeated a long list of Union officers who graduated from West Point. In our credentialed age too many people confuse being well-educated and well-read with wisdom and ability.

  • I really don’t think Palin’s level of intellectual ineptitude comes close to the other major contenders for leadership of the GOP.

    I’ve sounded off on this before, so I may as well do it again. When I compare how Mike Huckabee – who I would be hard-pressed to call an “intellectual” – articulated the pro-life position during the campaign to the way Palin did, there really is no comparison. Huckabee eloquently presented the case for life, not only for the unborn but all of the vulnerable members of society.

    The best Palin could come up with, that I saw, was “I would choose life.” I never heard her make an objective, accessible case for life based in theology or common sense. That’s not a defense of the pro-life position. It’s equivalent, in my view, to saying, “I’m pro-life, therefore it is a good position.” Contrary to what many social conservatives seem to think, I do not believe she is a good representative of our views.

    It just isn’t fair to compare her to George Washington or any other classical political figure who may have lacked an education. Aside from the fact that higher education really was less accessible in say, the 18th century, given even those circumstances the correspondence of farm boys and shop apprentices still seemed to rise above the level of what passes for literacy in modern America.

    To rehash a line from the ’08 campaign, what I see going on is an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. And when I say she is intellectually lazy, that isn’t to say that she is totally lazy – a person can work hard in one area of life and be lazy in another. But I don’t think she takes the time that a person who seeks the highest office in the land ought to take to understand the issues, and her latest round of interviews on the conservative talk circuit – not the liberal, where they are trying to “get her” – demonstrated that even more. She evades questions, she dodges, she covers up her ignorance by falling back on empty platitudes. It isn’t fooling me and for the life of me I don’t understand why it fools any of you.

    I think we who are pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family can do a lot better – MUST do a lot better. We MUST have a representative that can intelligently state our case, and we have dozens of possibilities on that score. Forget this silly charge of “intellectualism.” I don’t trust the official academic establishment and the professional intellectuals either, but “intellectual” is not the same as “articulate.”

  • Wow, if I can digress… not that we Virginians are a little obsessed by the Late Unpleasantness, but I really liked the Obama-instead-of-Lincoln thought exercize. Grant could never have beaten Bobby Lee without plenty of extra boys in blue to feed to the meat grinder, er, to the ANV. But with only 35,000?

    Sigh. It was not to be.

  • Joe said it better than I could. Though I’d add that I think Palin is inarticulate, at least in part, because she’s not very intelligent.

    If Palin isn’t qualified is Huckabee? I really like the guy as a person and he’s a skilled politician. He doesn’t seem intellectually lazy but he’s no intellectual either. He’s great on abortion but I don’t trust him on economic matters.

    On the other hand, Romney may have been the smartest candidate last year but he lacked a backbone. I’d trust him as an adviser but not as president. Wish we could combine Romney’s brain, Huckabee’s heart, Palin’s looks, Obama’s speaking abilities, and Biden’s religion.

  • Joe, we are in 100% agreement on this. Well said.

    I really like Mike Huckabee. He strikes me more as a pro-life populist Democrat than he does a Republican a lot of the time, except say on issues of foreign policy where I think he strolls along the party platform because it is an area that he has no expertise because of his specific political experience.

  • I hope the crazed Palin haters continue to restrict themselves to throwing tomatoes.

    http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2009/12/crazed-palin-hater-throws-tomato-at-governor-palin-hits-a-cop-instead/

  • I think if you glance at the background of the least problematic of our most recent chief executives, you find the following:

    1. Some time spent in a consequential position in the federal government (~ten years, give or take).

    2. Some time spent as a public executive (~seven years, give or take).

    3. A stint in Congress (~four years, give or take).

    4. An elongated period of time working in trades other than politics (~ a dozen years).

    5. A stint in the military.

    6. An orderly domestic life.

    7. Entry into political life (as a professional) on the cusp of middle age and accession to the Presidency on the cusp of old age.

    Franklin Roosevelt is the only one of our more able chief executives who did not meet a majority of these criteria. (He did meet the first two). Sarah Palin meets only one or two criteria and Barack Obama one or two (of lesser importance), so I would submit both are not at this time suited to the office. Of course, one occupies the office and the other occupies the febrile brain of Dr. Andrew Sullivan.

    Mrs. Clinton and Bill Richardson were the only Democratic candidates last year who met a majority of these criteria. I believe all of the Republican aspirants did meet a majority of them.

    It is of value that people can argue and articulate precisely why the adhere to the positions they do. The principal reason for that is that it aids them in standing their ground. While we are at it, I do not think that Daniel Patrick Moynihan or Anthony Kennedy were lacking in forensic skills.

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