Saturday, August 30, 2008

Alaska: Coldest State, Hottest Governor

There's been much discussion of the female voters who might find the Republican ticket more attractive with the addition of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to the team.

Less well covered is her potential for attracting men who, faced with a choice of listening to (and looking at) Joe Biden or Sarah Palin, will vote with their eyes and hope that in her new role she spends little time in undisclosed secure locations and plenty of time on TV.

The mysogynists among us, who seem over-concentrated in New York media and liberal elites, will object that she obviously can't be smart enough or tough enough to play with the boys on an equal basis. This is where they make the error that keeps on giving. Whether with women or with minorities, they presume that skills and abilities are not enough to explain success.

This is where Barack Obama and Joe Biden are particularly at risk. Their arrogance drives them to believe much of themselves and less of everyone else, especially those they define as disadvantaged. By selecting Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain will attract the attention of voters to the McCain-Palin ticket, a team populated by real people with real accomplishments.

If I were John McCain, I'd make an effort to have her standing alongside for every major media event.


Anonymous said...

It is the arrogance - and ignorance - of the Republicans to assume that female supporters of Hillary Clinton will flock to the Republican ticket because they have a candidate who shares nothing other than anatomy with their first pick. And that males will think with their little heads when they step into the voting booth.

Having someone whose sole public experience has been short-term representation of less than 2 one-thousandths of a percent of the American people a (72 year old) heartbeat away from the Presidency is a scary thought.

It is the issues that will determine this election. The Bush Presidency has been an abysmal failure on almost every level. Government spending, not including the cost of the wars in the Middle East, has risen more than 60% under his "leadership", the value of the dollar has fallen over 30% in the international market over that same time. The national debt has risen by over 1/3 since 2000, the fastest climb since WWII. Including unfunded liabilities, which the federal government conveniently exempts itself from officially reporting, it now equates to over $500,000 per American household.

When Bush took office there were those in the conservative camp who loudly proclaimed that now we could return respectability to the Oval Office. Well, the antics of the idiot king have brought far more shame to the American government both at home and abroad than the dalliances of President Clinton.

Unless you own oil stocks or are otherwise connected with the financial elite the last 8 years been the absolute worst time economically since the Great Depression.

The "new" Republican ticket implores us to believe that 4 more years of the same failed policies will produce a different result.

It time for some real change. I can't say that the Obama-Biden ticket has all the answers or that it can maneuver through the political quagmire of Washington. That remains to be proven. What I can say it that the McCain-Palin agenda is just a rehash of same old policies that have benefited a few Americans at the expense of the rest.

Bob Leibowitz said...

Anonymous -- Thanks for your comments.

1. Sarah Palin unarguably has more actual accomplishments than does the combination of Obama and Biden, whether in the private sector, in life or in government. They simply cannot match her resume nor match the sense of her judgment that it communicates. If you disagree, go ahead, make my day, gin up the largest list you can manage of actual Obama accomplishments.

2. Newsflash: George Bush isn't running this time around. To devote so much of your argument against him suggests you may be a victim or carrier of BDS. You might want to have yourself checked.

Finally, I'm a conservative before I'm a Republican. As a conservative, I'm absolutely delighted with the selection of Sarah Palin and proud, too, that conservatives will walk the walk while liberals are still doing what they do best, talking about life on their plantation.

Anonymous said...

Not sure exactly which accomplishments of Mrs. Palin you are referring to – perhaps her high school state championship, Miss Congeniality or her stint as a sportsnewscaster?
Probably her distinguished run as a councilperson and mayor of the bustling metropolis of Wasilla. I live in the Midwest and have personally known mayors and legislators from communities ranging from 30,000 people to over to several million, none of whom would be remotely competent to tackle the highest office in the land. To say that her level of experience qualifies her for the Presidency is tantamount to claiming that the franchise manager of the local McDonald’s is qualified to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I know you did not say that – directly – but others have.
From the little I have seen of her, I do have to give her credit for the ability to read the handwriting on the wall as in when she reversed her “bridge to nowhere” support after the public ridicule and slashing of nearly $170 million in federal funding. A much more dignified retreat than the incessant whining of Senators Stevens and Young.
I do believe that the position of governor “could” provide more executive level experience than a legislative position – a little more than 1/3 of our Presidents were governors first. Some of our best and some of our worst. Mrs. Palin’s experience at that level is hardly noteworthy – she’s barely been through one budget cycle.
I’m not a flag-bearer for the Democratic Party. I prefer to think that most of my views are grounded in reality – something severely lacking in both conservatives and liberals alike. I believe the government should be involved only in those things that people cannot do for themselves. National defense is one but another major area is making sure that competing businesses play by the same rules – something the federal government is pretty inept at doing.
In my younger days I had a keen interest in environmental protection and still do. Not as a tree-hugger though that is the typical characterization of environmentalists by the conservative cult. In the late 70s and early 80s there wasn’t much of a living to be made in this area unless you were on the side of wantonly circumventing laws in the name of progress. Instead, I followed a career path in finance; better for paying the bills, raising a family and leading a comfortable lifestyle.
What drew my interest to environmentalism was the fact that very often the public perception of an environmental issue is purposely distorted by those seeking short-term profit and by the government itself. The so-called environmental extremists often resort to controversial measures because it is the only way to combat the extremism of those whose sole interest is maximizing profits. Those who worship money above all else are every bit as radical as the “tree-huggers” and far more dangerous to society.
Take for example, the TVA project in constructing the Tellico Dam in the 1970s. Even today, the public perception is that the substance of the issue taken to the Supreme Court was the destruction of the habitat of a small fish versus a multi-million dollar public works project. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was merely a mechanism to try to force a real cost-benefit examination of the project’s worth and stop a bureaucracy from basically stealing almost 40,000 acres of prime farmland at far below market value.
The TVA destroyed 340 farms and displaced thousands of people, taking the land under eminent domain proceedings where they were able to arbitrarily determine compensation with no equitable oversight. They paid a little over $300 an acre for land worth far more.
Most of the land taken was unaffected by the project and was slated to be sold to private developers at a substantial profit – for the TVA. The ESA was invoked only after attempts for a rational approach to the issue repeatedly fell on deaf ears.
As a result of the successful litigation on behalf of the property owners all the way up through the Supreme Court, then Senator Howard Baker, pushed through an amendment to the ESA creating a committee to review projects such as this one to determine if an exemption to the act was warranted. This committee, popularly called the “God Committee”, as its initial task, reviewed the Tellico Dam project using a cost-benefit analysis. The project was already 95% complete and the committee weighed only the cost of completion against the all the purported benefits and still determined it was not a financially worthwhile project.
It did not end there however. Senator Baker, whom up until becoming aware of his complicity in this issue was a legislator I respected, managed to wrangle a legislative exemption to the ESA for the Tellico project through the House and Senate on an appropriations bill. He and his co-conspirators carefully avoided using the popular name of the ESA by referring to it only by its US Code citation and spirited the bill through both legislative bodies at times of low attendance.
I’d like to say this was an isolated incident but unfortunately there are many more examples of documented duplicitous behavior on the part of our lawmakers, administrators and corporate leaders.
Thus is the origin of my skepticism of all politicians. I have worked with and around administrative and legislative leaders at the local, state and federal levels for over 30 years and can count on one hand the number that I could comfortably leave alone in a room with my wallet. I have also found that, as the stakes get higher, the more money involved, the less trustworthy they become. At the local level, image, self-interest and self-preservation rules the day and it only gets worse as you move to the state and federal governments. I have seen federal agents persecute (not prosecute) some individuals for minor infractions and turn blind eyes to felonious behavior of others where it was deemed politically inexpedient to pursue the issue.
As far as party politics, I concur with the assessment of the comedian Lewis Black that “the Democratic Party is the party of no ideas and the Republican Party is the party of bad ideas.” Neither party “walks the talk”.
And, no, I am neither a victim nor a carrier of BSD – I’ve been checked. Having grown up on a farm I am quite familiar with the smell of BS – and the current administration reeks of it.
I spent so much time on my distaste for the current administration because I see no evidence to believe that another Republican administration will be any different. Not that I have much faith that the Democratic Party can provide anything substantively better. I guess I still hold out the hope that someday, somewhere, there will be candidates who will say what they mean and mean what they say. That has happened only a few times in my lifetime and not for a very, very long time.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, you like to see yourself talk...

Anonymous said...

I'd love the lon-winded poster before this to apply a similar level on inspection to Barack Obama's Senate 'accomplishments'. Obama started running for the Preseidency the day he arrived in the Senate. Almost literally! Use Wikipedia to get detail on his paper-thin list of legislative accomplishments ANYWHERE. Palin's actual accomplishments dwarf Obama's and she's only running for VP.

Unknown said...

To Anonymous:
This Hillary democrat is voting Republican this year and for the foreeable future. The democrats have let women down for the last time, as far as I am concerned.