Campaign Update – news from the front
Considering how many great events are in motion, this might be one of the most important elections in American history. Here are a few reports from the front.
- “Palin’s `Guy’ Snubs Subpoena Just Like Rove, Miers: Ann Woolner“, Ann Woolner, op-ed at Bloomberg, 23 September 2008 — Standard behavior by members of our political class.
- “Transcript of Katie Couric’s interview with Governor Palin“, CBS News, 24 September 2008 — Incoherence personified.
- Andrew Halcro, her opponent in the Governor’s race, describes the key to Palin’s successful rhetoric: “Classic glittering generalities.”
- “Oops! Colorado McCain camp sends internal e-mail to reporters“, The Colorado Independent, 24 September 2008 — This clear summary of McCain’s position is worth reading, perhaps important.
1. “Palin’s `Guy’ Snubs Subpoena Just Like Rove, Miers: Ann Woolner“, Ann Woolner, op-ed at Bloomberg, 23 September 2008 — Standard behavior by members of our political class. Excerpt:
When Todd Palin said thanks but no thanks to a legislative subpoena last week, his defiance had a familiar ring. Oh, right. That’s precisely what the Bush administration does when Congress sends a subpoena to the White House.
In Juneau, Palin refused to show up to testify before a state Senate Judiciary Committee investigating alleged abuse of executive power by his wife, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, now the Republican vice presidential nominee.
Likewise in Washington, the White House is defying subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary Committee investigating possible abuse of executive power by the president’s people.
Perhaps you were hoping that come January, Washington would usher in an administration that understands it is just one of three government branches, each with a duty to act as a check on the other two. This one clearly doesn’t.
… The two cases also have this in common: The executives’ strategies are so legally specious that they look like nothing more than stalling tactics. The McCain-Palin campaign no doubt wants to avoid any embarrassing findings before the Nov. 4 election. The Bush White House is trying to run out the clock on the current Congress, which ends in January, hoping the next Congress shows less interest in those fired U.S. attorneys.
… In Alaska, as in Washington, it is illegal to ignore a legislative subpoena. Todd Palin could be jailed for six months or fined up to $500, according to the Associated Press. But with the legislature out of session until January, nothing will happen, at least not until then.
It wasn’t long ago that Governor Palin pledged cooperation with the Senate committee. “Hold me accountable,” the governor said in mid-August as the lawmakers’ investigation got under way. But that was before she joined John McCain’s ticket.
Now the two candidates who insist they would bring change to Washington, who plan to shake it up and make it do right, these self-described mavericks who are working overtime to shed any connection to the Bush administration, have adopted one of the most dangerous principles that Bush has promoted. They seem to think they are above questioning, indeed, above the law. Sound familiar? So much for change.
2. “Transcript of Katie Couric’s interview with Governor Palin“, CBS News, 24 September 2008 — Incoherence personified, as the title of “maverick” provides a cover for all evasions. Tonight CBS broadcasts the 2nd part, about foreign affairs. The full interview will be broadcast on September 29 and 30. Excerpt:
COURIC: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?
PALIN: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie – that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.
COURIC: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.
PALIN: He’s also known as the maverick, though. Taking shots from his own party, andcertainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about – the need to reform government.
COURIC: I’m just going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?
PALIN: I’ll try to find you some, and I’ll bring them to you.
3. Comment by John Henry posted at Matthew Yglesias’ blog (I do not find this quote on the Internet):
Andrew Halcro, her opponent in the Governor’s race, nailed her MO with “Classic glittering generalities. Ironically, this is Palin’s greatest strength and although these types of nebulous statements drive policy wonks crazy, the average voters eats them up.”
Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly-valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. … A glittering generality has two qualities: It is vague, and has positive connotations.
This is one of the seven common propaganda devices identified by The Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA). Collectively they are almost the whole of American political campaigning.
- Glittering generalities
- Plain folks
- Card stacking
The IPA was a U.S.-based organization composed of social scientists, opinion leaders, historians, educators, and journalists. Created in 1937 by Kirtley Mather, Edward A. Filene, and Clyde R. Miller, the IPA formed with the general concern that increased amounts of propaganda were decreasing the public’s ability to develop their own critical thoughts. The purpose of the IPA was to spark rational thinking and provide a guide to help the public have well-informed discussions on current issues. “To teach people how to think rather than what to think.” The IPA focused on domestic propaganda issues that might become possible threats to the democratic ways of life. (source)
4. “Oops! Colorado McCain camp sends internal e-mail to reporters“, The Colorado Independent, 24 September 2008 — Is this good sense or political maneuveringby a candidate falling behind in the polls? Matthew Yglesias says, “It’s the maverick’s credo – engage in constant, crass political stunts all the while maintaining that they’re anything but crass political stunts.” I don’t know.
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