McCain believes we are stupid. Is he correct?

Given McCain’s age and health history, the choice of Vice President has unusually great significance.  He chose someone who looks good, sounds good, and fits his marketing needs.  She is, however, grossly unqualified to be President of the United States.  Perhaps her primary qualification is to make Obama look over-qualified.   

McCain treats the election as if it were a reality TV show, to be won by tricks.  It mocks the McCain campaign’s slogan of “Country First.”   This choice not only demonstrates his well-known erraticness plus, in my opinion, displays contempt for the American people.  Are we as stupid as he believes us to be?

America will survive whoever wins.  Electing unqualified people with good marketing worked for us in the 19th century, it might prove disastrous in the 21st.   (Although the song “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” may have won the Presidency for Harrison in the 1840, he had prior service as Governor, Representative, and Senator). 


  1. Compare and Contrast Palin and Obama
  2. Is executive experience like homeopathic medicine?
  3. Interviews, the “troopergate” scandal, and other data about Palin
  4. Update: Palin giggles as radio hosts mock a cancer-surviving legislator as a ‘bitch’ and ‘cancer’.”
  5. Where to go for more analysis of McCain’s choice of VP
  6. My posts about the candidates

1.  Compare and Contrast Palin and Obama

Obama might become President.  So might Palin.  Note that several of the details in the mainstream stories are either mis-leading or incorrect about her background.

Sarah Palin


  • University of Idaho, major in communications

Political Offices

  • Part-time Wasilla City Council:  1992 – 1996
  • Full-time Wasilla Mayor:  1996 – 2002   (2000 population 5,470)
  • Member (Part-time?), Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission:  19 February 2003 to 23 January 2004
  • Alaska Governor:  4 December 2006 to present  (21 months).

About the O&G Conservation Commission:  She is listed in their 2004 report as the “public member”, the other members being the geologist and the engineer.  Some news reports describer her as the “chairwoman”, but this appears inaccurate.  In 1969 the commission was reduced in size; after then it no longer had a Chairman or Executive Secretary.  Sources:  history, 2004 annual report.

Saying that she has good executive experience because of her time as part-time mayor of a tiny village seems a stretch.  How many employees does it have?  In 2002 it had an operating budget of $5.8 million (source).

Professional Career (dates and details differ about this info)

  • Part-time sports reporter for 2 TV stations: 1987 – 1989
  • Co-owner, commercial fishing operation, 1988 – 2007  (role uncertain)
  • Owner or co-owner of a snow machine, watercraft, and all-terrain vehicle business: 1994 – 1997  (role uncertain)

I have found nothing describing her role in what appear to be these two family businesses.  Was she, as many reports say, really a fisherman?

Barack Obama


  • Columbia University
  • Harvard Law school

Political Office (aprox 1/2 of this time spent campaigning)

  • IL Senate:   1 January 1997 – 4 November 2004
  • US Senate:  4 January 2005 – present  (44 months)

Professional Career

  • Director of Illinois Project Vote!:  April – October 1992
  • Practicing attorney:  Associate in his firm 1993 – 1996, Counsel 1996 – 2004
  • part-time Lecturer at U of Chicago: 1992-1996, Senior Lecturer 1996-2004


There are many rumors about Obama’s relationship with Rezko, which are too complex to review here.  See Wikipedia for a brief and more links.

2.  Does executive experience work like homeopathic medicine?

The belief that Palin has substantial “executive experience” is odd, IMO.  As if scale has no meaning, both in the time spent governing and the size of the organization she ran. Is this like Homeopathic medicine: executive experience has an effect irrelevant to its concentration? One drop, one molecule, is all it takes?

Or is executive experience like most things in life, where the scale matters?  A village of 5 thousand people has a part-time mayor, but that is not comperable to being Governor.  Being a senior executive legislature of a state or nation for 20 months gains less experience than doing so for 5 years.

Legislative experience is slightly different.  For example, a US Senator’s experience has nothing to do with the size of the State he or she represents. They all cast one equal vote; they all do similar things in the Senate.

3.  Interviews, the “troopergate” scandal, and other data

The “troopergate” scandal sounds ugly.  Very ugly.

  1. Palin staff pushed to have trooper fired“, Daily Anchorage News, 14 August 2008 — “Governor says she’s learned calls were made about Wooten’s ouster”
  2. Interview with Sarah Palin“, Time, 14 August 2008 — Slow pitches to Palin.
  3. Why Walt Monegan got fired: Palin’s abuse of power“, Andrew Halcro, posted at his blog, undated — A brief description of the troopergate story, accuracy unknown.

4.  Update: Palin giggles as radio hosts mock a cancer-surviving legislator as a ‘bitch’ and ‘cancer’.” Summary: “Hear Sarah Palin giggle as radio hosts mock a cancer-surviving legislator as a ‘bitch’ and ‘cancer’.” 

Youtube recording of an interview with Sarah Palin, “Bob and Mark” show, Bob Lester and Mark Colavecchio, broadcast on radio station KWHL, 15 January 2008.  The shock jocks crudely mock Lyda Green, President of Alaska’s State Senate.   Governor Palin giggles in response.  {Update:  that youtube link no longer works; use Google to find others, as the Palin staff will seek to keep this hidden.  See comments for other links).

This must be heard to be believed, as interviews with Governors go. Esp bizarre are her giggles. If McCain-Palin win, we will have an interesting time ahead. If McCain dies or become incapacitated, we’ll have quite a ride ahead of us.  We will have no excuse, no basis to complain.

The only report I can find from the time of the incident:  “Palin’s responses on radio talk show very unbecoming“, Anchorage Daily News, 27 January 2008.

5.  For more analysis of McCain’s choice of VP

  1. Zenpundit — who has collected many links on the topic! 
  2. Also drop by Sic Semper Tyrannis, the blog of Patrick Lang (Colonel, US Army, retired) — esp note the comments, which typically run from good to excellent.
  3. What is McCain Thinking? One Alaskan’s Perspective.“, by AKMuckraker, posted at Mudflats, 29 August 2008 — A seemingly fair look at Palin.
  4. Most esp, see National Review Online’s The Corner — a stream of wildly enthusiastic posts.
  5. Palin the irresponsible choice?” David Frum, National Post, 29 August 2008 — A conservative dissents from the enthusiasm about Palin.
  6. Palin touts stance on ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ doesn’t note flip-flop, Anchorage Daily News, 31 August 2008 — IMO a fair review of her record as Gov.

Skimming #4, the NRO site, is fascinating.  Pure identity politics:  she’s one of us, we love her.  They like her for who she is, not what she can do.  Almost zero discussion of her training, experience, or ability to function as President.  Strange, very strange for conservatives.  And it show the moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party.

Not about Palin, but useful analysis:   “Foreign Policy and the President’s Irrelevance” by George Friedman on Stratfor, 5 Feb 2008 

Update:  Update: an interesting perspective on the experience debate

No Experience Necessary“, Michael Kinsley, Slate, 31 August 2008 — “How Sarah Palin made the GOP change its mind about presidential qualifications.” Excerpt:

The whole ‘experience’ debate is silly. Under our system of government, there is only one job that gives you both executive and foreign policy experience, and that’s the one McCain and Obama are running for.

Nevertheless, it’s a hardy perennial:

  • If your opponent is a governor, you accuse him of lacking foreign policy experience.
  • If he or she is a member of Congress, you say this person has never run anything.
  • And if, by any chance, your opponent has done both, you say that he or she is a ‘professional politician.’

When Republicans aren’t complaining about someone’s lack of experience, they are calling for term limits

… In fact, it’s not about experience at all. It’s about honesty. The question should be whether McCain—and all the other Republicans who have been going on for months about Obama’s dangerous lack of foreign policy experience—ever meant a word of it.

And the answer is apparently not. Many conservative pundits woke up this very morning fully prepared to harp on Obama’s alleged lack of experience for months more. Now they face the choice of either executing a Communist-style U-turn (“Experience? Feh! Who needs it?”) or trying to keep a straight face while touting the importance of having been mayor of a town of 9,000 if you later find yourself president of a nation of 300 million.

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

6.  My Posts about the Candidates

1.  How the Iraq and Vietnam wars are mirror images of each other  (7 February 2008) — Now we have McCain, the leading Republican Presidential candidate, talking of an open-ended commitment to victory in Iraq.

2.  What do blogs do for America?  (26 February 2008) — As our problems reach critical dimensions and our economy sinks into what is (at best) a severe recession, our national leadership will likely move into the hands of someone with astonishingly little capacity to govern. 

3.  A look at the next phase of the Iraq War: 2009-2012  (1 March 2008) — What is next in Iraq?  None of the leading candidates have expressed any intention of leaving Iraq – except in the distant and vague future.  McCain intends to fight so long as (or until) we suffer few casualties, then stay for a long time (perhaps a hundred years, as McCain said here and here) ).  On the other hand, Obama has been quite explicit…

4.  Our metastable Empire, built on a foundation of clay (3 March 2008) — We can elect leaders with vast ambitions (foreign for McCain, domestic for Obama), but can no longer afford them. 

5.  How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents? (21 March 2008) — The Presidential campaign rolls on in the seventh year since 9/11, with the only debate about the Long War being in which nations America should fight. We see this even the speeches of the most “liberal” candidate, Senator Barack Obama.

6.  American history changes direction as the baton passes between our political parties  (18 May 2008) – Importance of the November 2008 political landslide.

7.  President Obama, an Muslim apostate?  (2 June 2008) — Nope.

8.  Is Obama running for the office of Chief Shaman?   (6 June 2008) — Weirdness from our next President.

9.  Does America need a charismatic President?   (15 july 2008)

10.  More about charisma, by Don Vandergriff…(#2 in the “getting ready for Obama” series)  (16 July 2008) — About charisma:  know it before you buy it!

11.  Obama might be the shaman that America needs  (17 July 2008) — At what point does criticism of Obama’s charisma and rhetoric become criticism of leadership itself — and blind faith in technocratic solutions so loved by policy nerds?  Michael Knox Beran crosses that line in “Obama, Shaman“, City Journal, Summer 2008.

12.  Obama describes the first step to America’s renewal, 8 August 2008 — Obama’s statement about America may be the simple truth; this may be why so many find it disturbing.

13.  A powerful perspective on the candidates for President of the US, 28 August 2008 — John Derbyshire expresses what I have said about the candidates dreams of saving the world.

For interesting articles about the candidates from other sources, see About the candidates for President of the United States.

112 thoughts on “McCain believes we are stupid. Is he correct?”

  1. Lissa Delacourte

    No one is qualified to be US President. The main pre-requisite is the ability to inspire in the right direction. Obama can inspire to a greater sense of entitlement, but given the burgeoning budget deficit, that is not a particularly helpful inspiration. The US needs someone who will inspire citizens to work and achieve–and have more babies!

    Palin is a “can-do” individual living on the American frontier. She is a stark reminder of the Americans who built the country. She is what the strongest and toughest of feminists would have become, had they been willing to accept their womanhood.
    Fabius Maximus replies: This goes to an important question, about which we have different opinions. I would rather have a competent President who adequately executes the nation’s business. I can find inspiration elsewhere. Someone has to mind the store.

    Your second paragraph describes her has a symbol. We tried this approach when electing Carter as a prop in the bicentennial, forgetting that the President must do more than project virtue. That story did not end well.

  2. There’s too much Gramsci, and more Alinsky than Locke or Jefferson about Obama. His Americanism appears not intrinsic nor organic but affected and learned so that he must be reminded when to salute the flag and anthem rather than have it be a willful and eager response. He stands apart and views Americans as an anthropologist (e.g. his mother) might examine a tribe (e.g. of “clingers”) — but does not seem to have internalized the self-evident truths that cohere realized Americans. Palin is a bold and refreshing contrast.

    That McCain has created an opening for a young American conservative woman to make and end-run around the “glass ceiling” is a gutsy — thus risky — move. It bodes well for hopes to undo, at long last, some of the ossified big-government excesses of The New Deal and The Great Society. There now appears an opening for a new generation of politics, and those of us who care to do so can day-dream a bit more realistically about something like a Palin-Jindal ticket in 2012 or 2016. It’s a lead I choose to follow, and as for the risk – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    And by the way, this title: “McCain believes we are stupid…” You know this how? Telepathy?
    Fabous Maximus replies: There is a long tradition on this site of over the top titles (I regret to say that this is not the worst of them). The text is more reasonable (usually).

    BTW, great response – considering how many times I have directed that line at others!

  3. Just watched the YouTube regarding the ‘giggles’. It isn’t what you people said it was; you’ve distorted the context enormously. I don’t generally like politicians, but I’m beginning to like this lady! Now if only Obama and McCain (and Biden) weren’t so loathsome.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Please explain “distored the context enormously”. The description given matches both news accounts at the time and what I heard. Note that Gov Palin apologized afterwards.

  4. Don’t kid yourself, Ralph Thayer. How can you possibly say that Obama was looking at America from an anthropological perspective when he was down in the trenches as a community organizer? McCain was trying to pick up disgruntled Hillary supporters and make himself look at once conservative and progressive by signing on a right-wing extremist woman.

    Republicans need only ply a few tricks to win an election. Democrats must sweat, toil and implore the American public to see through the mists. “McCain believes we are stupid. Is he correct?” I have weighed this question many times myself. I would say that Americans demonstrated GARGANTUAN stupidity in 2004 by voting in Bush. It was pathetic. People interviewed said that they supported him because he opposed gay marriage and abortion. So, homophobia and anti-choice won out over mass murder in Iraq. Some might call what I said at the time ‘elitist’: “The people who voted in Bush would rather imbibe on junk food, junk TV, junk culture, and Republican deception than think for themselves.” Elitist? No, I am acknowledging their capacity to think for themselves, but they do not show themselves nor the country nor the world such respect. Pathetic.

    Now I fear that they’ll fall for another ruse. “Well, looks good enough to me! I’m sold…” Palin and McCain will drive the nation to rack and ruin. You watch. (Of course, I’m sure that by then you’ll have another rationalization for why (a) it wasn’t the conservatives fault or (b) the conservatives can do a better job of cleaning up the mess they made, no matter how much that contention has been confuted.)

  5. This is so dumb. You obviously edited the radio show to get rid of any comments she had about the hosts remarks. The “giggle” came across as a sound of surprise.

    As for “Troopergate,” I’m glad the governor made sure a drunk driving child abuser was fired from law enforcement. I’m glad she was concerned he was being protected by his superiors because of his connection to the Governor. Way to go, Governor Palin. No law breaking child abuser should be in law enforcement. If she were a democrat, this action would be hailed and praised.

    As for Monegan, he should have lost his job for protecting a drunk driving child abuser. Another good move by the Governor.

    Its obvious from your post that it isn’t McCain who thinks “we” are stupid. A little projection there, buddy.
    Fabius Maximus replies:

    (1) Thank you for believing that I know how to edit a Youtube recording!

    (2) This recording has appeared on many sites, including the Anchorage Daily News. I doubt all of them were edited. Reports are consistent about its content.

    (3) The reports about the interview, such as the Daily News article, do not agree with your theory. Apparently neither does Gov Palin, who apologized for the incident.

    (4) While it is difficult to determine the truth of these things until we have the report from the investigation, it does seem clear that most of the allegations against Monegan result from a bitter custody battle, in which the wife’s family has made a long series of accusations against him. The public record indicates that most were false, so far as I can tell.

    (5) Whatever the merits, it is clearly not proper for the Governor to involve herself in an internal personnel in which she has such a personal interest. This is an obvious conflict of interest, irrespective of the merits of either case.

  6. Not a very balanced comparison. Where are the lists of accomplishments? Palin has it over Obama hands down. And why the qualifier “part time” on her city council and mayoral experience? Based on his attendance and voting rcords as well as his long pursuit of the nomination, Obama was much more a part-timer then she was.

    Obama has no executive experience, has not stood up to corruption in his party, avoids controversial positions by voting present, has a very questionable choice of a religious mentor in Wright and a political mentor named Ayers, tells people that we are our brothers’ keepers and allows his half-brother to live in squalor without any support… the list goes on.

    My take is that the Democrats are whistling past the graveyard on this one.
    Fabius Maximus replies: After writing 400+ posts on the FM site I have learned that no matter how long the analysis, someone always asks why it is not broader. At 1400+ words, it is longer and more detailed than 99% (guessing) of the articles on this topic. Ask the others writing to pick up more of the load! Perhaps you can research and write an article comparing their accomplishments.

    The primary point of this post is what Palin’s nomination says about McCain’s judgement. This is not and does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of the candidates. Time and space limitations prevent this. Also, this site is about geopolitics. Discussion of many aspects of their political careers, such as domestic policy, is beyond its scope.

  7. I’ll take a bootstrap woman out of the boonies over an affirmative action candidate any day of the week…
    Fabius Maximus replies: Everyone makes their choice. That’s what democracy is all about!

    The theme of the discussions on this site about the election:
    * This election is important.
    * We all need to get involved.
    * Vote! Work for your candidate, donating time and money.
    * Talk to your fellow citizens. Write about your views.

  8. Sorry for the multiple posting, but after reading more of FM’s responses to others here, I have to point out more intellectual dishonesty and ignorance:

    FM: Senators, whether state or federal do not manage budgets. They frame legislation. Mayors and govenors have to pay for state emploees and services (like DMV, transportation, teachers, police, etc.) and they do it on a fixed income. They have to be sure the infrastructure works, that emergency services are prepared and in place, that day-to-day services like water, sewage, police, fire response, etc are being run effectively and within legal constraints. They need to work with (and sometimes against) their own state legislatures to get things done. They have veto power. And they have to answer to the people of their states every year in the state of the state messages and of course every election cycle.

    Senators propose legislation and the good ones are able to actually accomplish getting it enacted. No budgets, no management.

    If you do not understand the functions of our government you are unqualified to lead a political discussion.

    I also find it interesting that some posters are characterizing the ‘giggle’ disingenuously and dishonestly. Is that your conception of cogent political discourse? Sounds like a heady mixture of partisanship and sexism.

    BTW, Teddy Roosevelt was a second year govenor when Mckinley selected him. If you are unfamiliar with TR, a good likenesss of him is on Mt. Rushmore.
    Fabius Maximus replies: No need to apologize for multiple posts. This is a discussion! I do find your comments quite harsh, however.

    (1) “Senators, whether state or federal do not manage budgets.”

    US Senators vote on the budget bills originated by the House. Much of Senator’s time is spent on budgets, discussing all the things you mention. Only after Senate approval do they go to the President.

    (2) “I also find it interesting that some posters are characterizing the ‘giggle’ disingenuously and dishonestly.”

    Please explain. As I have said in previous comments, the description matches both news reports at the time and Gov Palin’s apology.

    (3) “Is that your conception of cogent political discourse?”

    As they say on TV, “Just the facts, sir or ma’m.”

    (4) “Teddy Roosevelt was a second year govenor when Mckinley selected him.”

    I do not see any previous mention of T. Roosevelt in the post or the comments. To what are you referring?

  9. Re: Post 46

    FM, you are arguing a strawman. I did not ask for length, I asked for accuracy and balance. Are you advocating or informing?

    You can’t offer balance because you had already written enough? Interesting perspective.

    BTW, to be responsive: This shows McCain to be a brilliant politician, an excellent judge of character (a skill I find in many ex-military) and someone who acts on his reformist beliefs and desire to institute change. What does the Biden selection say about Obama?

    I do not mean to be overly harsh in my commentary. I see by some of your posts that you make an attempt at balance. Keep trying.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I disagree. You were proposing to provide greater balance by expanding the coverage to include accomplishments, an area I did not discuss. While a reasonable request, that requires more length. Hence my reply. There are boundaries to any analysis, which the author sets on the basis of resources and interest. Readers, esp in free media, cannot not specify the boundaries (but you can ask for your money back).

    Everything in your third paragraph might be correct. McCain’s marketing of his campaign, Palin’s character and accomplishments, McCain’s plans … all these are outside of this analysis.

    The marketing might be brilliant, but IMO Palin’s contradicts his campaign slogan of “Country First.” Opinions will differ about this, as usual in politics.

    The other things are inherently subjective. It’s an election, and the primary point of my posts about it are that we need to get involved. Vote. Donate time and money. Talk and write.

  10. Wow FM, are you being purposely obtuse> Senators may vote on budgets, they do not manage them. Your lack of understanding of the US political system is breathtaking.

    Thg ‘giggle’ audio was clearly edited. A nervous giggle when someone says something stupid is a natural human response.

    Not ‘just the facts’. more like a partial, unbalanced recitation of some information spun to elicit a particular conclusion. You should learn the difference.

    Re TR. Please continue to whistle if it makes you feel better. You question her qualifications and then pretend that using a a similar historic precedent is somehow off topic or not germane? Intentionally obtuse or is it just a reaction to reasoned arguement? I could have also mentioned Woodrow Wilson and Grover Cleveland. I believe Cal Coolidge also became VP in his 2nd year as a governor.

    Please name the president with fewer qualifications than Mr. Obama.
    Fabius Maximus replies:

    “Senators may vote on budgets, they do not manage them. Your lack of understanding of the US political system is breathtaking.”

    This is splitting hairs. Congressfolks are clearly involved in the budget. They even “manage” budgets in the literal senses of “be responsible for” (the President only executes) and “watch, supervise.”

    I do not see the basis on which you so confidently say the audio was edited. If so, why do so many accounts at the time so describe the audio? Did anyone make this defense at the time, in January? As for the suitability of the response, everyone must judge for themselves.

    “You should learn the difference.”

    Pehaps the difference is that I believe opinions can differ on these things, esp as so many concern subjective matters. Your comments indicate a different view of life.

    “Please continue to whistle if it makes you feel better.”

    That is a very harsh response to the question “To what are you referring?” Are you seriously comparing Palin’s (or Obama’s) qualifications to Teddy R’s? From Wikipedia:

    * Extensive foreign travel (1869-70, 1872-73)
    * Businessman and rancher
    * Famous historian, wrote two major books
    * Colonel in Spainish-American War, Medal of Honor
    * NY Assembly (length uncertain)
    * Ast Secretary of Navy 1897-98
    * NYC police commissioner
    * President of NYC police commission (1895-96), instituted big reforms
    * Member of US Civil Service Civil Service Commission
    * Gov of NY for two terms one term (1 Jan 1899 – 31 Dec 1900)

    I will consider your last question, which is an interesting one!

  11. I shall continue to be harsh, but hopefully not offensive, as long as you continue to be open enough to post my comments. To paraphrase Truman’s response to his rhetoric: ‘I don’t give them hell. I tell the truth and theythink it is hell’

    I won’t say anything like your “And it shows the moral bankruptcy of the Republican party” comment and pretend that others are coarsening the discussion and that I am somehow offering a fair evaluation.

    I will point out, as I have already, your hypocrisy, lack of knowledge and slanted perspective.

    In fairness, I do applaud your courage in having this forum. Your critical thinking skills need honing and you suffer from framing error (to use a resesearch scientist’s term), but a willingness to be confronted with other perspectives indicates an intellect that is at least curious and that is a great place to start.
    Fabius Maximus replies: These things are subjective. I do not consider the following two statements as equivalent in “coarseness”. I believe this it is obvious to most readers.

    “And it shows the moral bankruptcy of the Republican party”

    “I will point out, as I have already, your hypocrisy, lack of knowledge and slanted perspective.”

  12. You still do not seem to fairly present both arguments…interestingly, though, you have begun comparing Obama to Palin. This is what we will be seeing more and more of…

    as an added improvement overall, I suggest you change the name of the blog to “incontinentiabuttox” until you are better capable of controlling what seems to be an effusive liberal bladder.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I do not know what you mean by “fairness”. I have seldom seen a discussion about politics which both sides considered fair. Is this a mythical beast?

    The discussions on this site characterize my posts as liberal or extreme left. Except when they denounce them as conservative or reactionary. I do not know what this means, but it is certainly true.

  13. As far as executive experience scaling, why do you think her experience does not scale?

    Think for a moment – the same argument could (and probably has) been used to say that the experience running a town of 8000 does not scale to running a whole state. Yet she managed that transition quite well, with an excellent approval rating and a lot of impressive things done as governor.

    So why then would she not be qualified to step in even on day one as president and simply repeat what she did before? And we’re not even saying that’s what she would be doing, as VP she’d be stepping up in a supportive role where she could learn the ropes.

    Also if you claim her “small” role as executive in charge does not leave her with the experience she needs to run the government, than how much worse must it be to vote in a legislator with no experience whatsoever? Using your argument you’d think Sarah would be more qualified than either McCain or Obama (and there are some, like myself and Jerry Pournelle, who would rather have Sarah at the top of the ticket but will make do).
    Fabius Maximus replies: This is an interesting theory, which I see used in no other aspects of life than politics. I suggest an experiement: find people running small businesses, and help them apply to run Fortune 500 companies in the same industry. You can explain scaling to the Directors. Good luck!

  14. I see your point. And yet. And yet, I gotta say, most of our fundamental problems derive from our physical realities, and, I think, our loss of confidence in dealing with otherwise surmountable problems. Deep managerial insight, and keen understanding of surfing large bureaucracies is not the key to our current problems. For example, gas is too expensive. Why? Well, our transportation economy along with the world’s, is predicated on liquid fuel. No matter who is in charge, this is not going to change quickly.

    Our central government is the last place to look for solutions to this problem. Much more helpful is for government to stay out of it, and let markets adapt to price signals. I like Sarah Palin because I think she would be credible in saying,”Look, I don’t claim to have any central government solution to this problem, and that’s Ok. Let’s believe in ourselves and let the market solve the problem.”

    The more we insist on some “Big Daddy”, to “Take charge”, and solve our problems…well, be careful what you wish for. To a great extent, we currently face problems we can make worse, but cannot easily make better quickly. “Experienced” leaders are poor performers in this environment.
    Fabuis Maximus replies: Great comment! The two parties offer us a clear choice on this question. This is one reason I believe that this election is of greater than usual importance.

  15. You see FM, you take offense at being called a hypocrit, lacking in knowledge and being slanted in perspective and find that is a more harsh statement than calling someone morally bankrupt. Wow!

    You choose to list education as a qualification and then beg lack of space (or willingness to use space) to list accomplishments. Yet it seems to me obvious that education is much less important than accomplishments. And you purport that this is an analysis instead of a thinly-veiled advocacy and spin document.

    You also accuse me of ‘splitting hairs’ on the budget point. Voting on and management of a budget are two wildly different responsibilities and your ignorance of the difference, whether willful or not, is gobsmacking.

    Framing error was too kind on my part. You do know how to whistle don’t you? Just put your lips together and blow.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Making broad and conceptual statements about large organization is typically considered less harsh than personal insults. This theory is easily (if hazardously) tested by debates in any bar. The FM site’s comment policy says that comments must be civil, because experience shows that discussions with personal insults rapidly degenerate. This is the only basis on which I have had to edit or moderate the 3200 comments posted to date on this site. I usually tolerate invective directed at me, as I do not reply in kind. Similar comments directed at others get edited.

    “Yet it seems to me obvious that education is much less important than accomplishments.”

    This is my point. It seems obvious to you, but not necessarily to everyone. Education is a standard and relatively objective datum used on almost all bios; omiting this would be foolish.

    I believe that both Palin have too short records on which to assess accomplishments. Also, accomplishments are highly subjective. Hence my decision to omit them. As the author, I make those choices.

  16. BTW: Yes, I was comparing here to TR. I also stated accurate facts and not inaccurate ones that you posted. TR was governor from Jan 1 1899 to Dec 31st 1900.

    Two term governor? You just make that up?

    OT: Favorite TR quote: After his presidency he was in Berlin reviewing a parade. He was seated next to Kaiser Wilhelm. When a group of American soldiers marched by, the Kaiser turned to TR and chided him that the US flag ‘looks like a peppermint stick’. TR responded, “that may be true Your Highness, but you’ll never lick us”.

    Gotta love TR.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Corrected (I read Wiki too fast); thanks for catching that. One down. Now you just have to deal with the other nine things on the list for your analogy (about which I am still unclear) to work. After the fourth I suspect it will get very difficult.

    By the way, you showed one item to be incorrect. “inaccurate ones” is plural. Does this numerical error discredit your comment as you seem to believe my numerical error did?

    I agree with your last line. Too bad we do not have anyone like TR running.

  17. Education more important than accomplishments? You just listed a few of TR’s accomplishments to counter my arguement. Some of your points were actually accurate. I didn’t see his education listed there.

    Not seeing your own hypocrisy when presented so clearly is, frankly, a character flaw. In psychology they may call it cognitive dissonance, a form of defense mechanism. I am degreed in psychology so my opinion should have considerable weight with you.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I was not repeating the considerable effort put into my post, esp not in a comment. You made a specific comparison of their jobs (one-term Gov’s), I gave a more detailed one.

    If you consider this to be list of accomplishments, than I also gave one in my post.

  18. do you not see that in terms of experience, she compares well against Obama? If not, I challenge you to contrast the experience of each as it relates to preparation for being POTUS.

    I would argue that the best, most comparable experience would be as a military leader (many former presidents), CEO, governor (many former presidents were) or perhaps mayor (thinking Rudy, though NY is 1,000 times the size of Wasilla). But what about other life experiences and character issues? do these import? How do they compare and contrast in that regard?

    I would also argue that an Ivy League education may be a liability…grads seem to have a tendency to disdain non-grads…or at least, think they cling to their guns and religion rather than make conscious, logical decisions…
    Fabius Maximus replies: The primary point of my post was what it tells us about McCain, not Obama vs. Palin. While I disagree with your assessment, both of their job histories are so brief that evaluation of relative weight is difficult and subjective.

    As for value of an Ivy League education, you might be correct. However, it seems not to damage the carreers of their graduates.

    Character issues and life experiences were outside the scope of this comparison, but are of course relevant. Doing so will require considerable research and analysis. For example, a quick look at public sources shows little about Palin’s role in her two family businesses — other than that she was co-owner. She might have been the prime decision-maker, or in effect a silent partner.

  19. Sorry for the conflation of one to one’s. Noting that your list had such an obvious error, I fained to not fact check the rest. They may be there, but I shan’t spend ther time. You’ve already refuted your own argument vis a vis education/accomplishements. I need do no more.
    I’d like to see others chime in regarding our discourse.

  20. I was planning to sit out this election, but after McCain’s pick of Gov. Palin, I’m voting the republican ticket. First time ever. I and my girls are thrilled about the possiblity of this feisty woman becoming vice president.

  21. Ultimately friends I think we tend to over estimate a person in Obama’s position because of there education and where they got it. To me it seems that the opposite must be true in that the farther away we get from Elitist’s factions maybe … just maybe we are better off.

    She wasn’t at Harvard Law or Princeton; Missouri may actually be far enough away from all that hoopla to have shielded her from it. Maybe in the case of Governor Palin’s selection as a VP candidate we may finally have a chance at limiting the corruption and slogan bashing advertisements and environment and possibly even set a future aside for reform politics; as far as I’ve seen in the whole three days since her selection was reveled she hasn’t jumped up and started some mass celebrity run to prove her right to be there as recent Democratic nominee’s have done.

    It’s true she hasn’t experienced enough of the cut and grind of Washington to know what to expect and that might just be the trump card she needs to change it. Lord knows we haven’t seen or accomplished what we’ve wanted with the bunch that’s been up there for forty years and quite honestly I don’t believe a political climber such as Barrack Obama is what we really need either. I don’t believe in the ideaology of the lesser of two evils.

    Something you failed to touch on too that I noticed was Obama’s relation to Ayer’s aside from a friendly neighbor. His cocouncil in the funding group for Chicago students and his relation to the weatherman terrorist organization all so many years ago. Things that I believe Obama himself may think the lot of us stupid in that we wont question it if he tells us we shouldn’t. As for the rest of the dilemna’s that face us in the coming election time will tell.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Interesting and thought-provoking comment. Thanks for posting it.

  22. You keep changing the discussion. Is accuracy and intellecutual honesty outside the scope of this discussion. Everytime you get pinned to the mat you call for a different game.
    Look at your headline, look at your republican bashing, look at how you insert ‘part-time’ in describing her city council and mayoral positions. Tell me, who was Mayor and making the decisions when she wasn’t? Running businesses and being a mayor simultaneously means that you are part-time?
    You compare and contrast Obama and Palin and then, when being hoisted on your own petard by responses that offer a different perspective, claim that was out of scope?
    You conflate voting on a budget to the same as managing one? You show precious little understanding of how the executive branch at local, state, and federal levels function and ask to believe your ‘analysis’ represents some intellectual effort as opposed to biased spin? I know nothing of you. Are you not an American? Presidents, mayors, governors prepare and submit budgets to the relevant funding body. These executives have to manage that budget and find ways of balancing priorities when faced with unexpected challenges such as disasters, economic downturns and the like. Congress and the Hof R do not manage budgets in any sense…they vote on whether to provide the executive with monies requested by same in their budgets. You should take some classes in American civics.
    Education is important and accomplishment is only relevant?? Apparently not relevant enough to actually include in your ‘analysis’
    Harshness alert!!! Harshness alert!!: Your analysis is vacuous and risible.
    Your pretext of civility and intellectual honesty serves only yourself and your ego.

    What say you other posters?? Am I wrong??

  23. “in real life the college on your bio has a large effect on your career”

    I call that a load of BS. Its horribly un-PC but its ambition/intelligence and depending on your vocation, social skills that make/break your career. (Go ahead and Google “Does an Ivy League Education Matter?”)

    And yes, I believe executive experience matters a whole hell of a lot, and I’m pretty disappointed that we have two Senators at the top of the ticket and one in the secondary slot. Being the person in charge means you have to not be afraid to tick people off.

    Sarah Palin has to ticked off her own party–for all the right reasons, and she’s not apologetic about it. That’s a good thing.
    Fabius Maximus replies: We’ll just disagree on this. The intense scramble by parents and children to get into Ivy League schools suggest that this belief is widespread. That does not, of course, make it correct.

    “ambition/intelligence and depending on your vocation, social skills that make/break your career.”

    Agreed. Other factors have an effect, but these are the big factors IMO. As Theodore Roosevelt said:

    “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”

  24. Fabius Maximus replies: “The primary point of my post was what it tells us about McCain, not Obama vs. Palin. While I disagree with your assessment, both of their job histories are so brief that evaluation of relative weight is difficult and subjective.”

    It tells us that McCain is a brilliant strategist, because voters are comparing Obama to Palin. And it seems that the argument that McCain wants to win more than he is concerned about the welfare of the country because he would put someone with what you deem so little experience “within a heartbeat” of the presidency is ludicrous…since Obama would require on the job training, as both Hill and Joe have said.

    If Obama is qualified to be president, so is Sarah Palin, at least. I am sorry, but your argument is not convincing. I understand that she is in fact an inexperienced politician. But in the time she has been one, she seems to have been a very effective one. Obama is inexperienced as well, and I know of no accomplishments he has achieved as a politician, other than managing to get himself nominated. Name legislative accomplishments, if you can…

    Is it the Ivy League education or the connections of the wealthy that help the “carreers” (spelling problem too…are you an Ivy Leaguer??) Ivy League graduates?
    Fabius Maximus replies: I have mentioned many times that the point of this is not whether Palin is more qualified than Obama (I mentioned that as an aside, which I regret). The point is why McCain picked someone with so few qualifications. That a sufficient number of Democratic Primary voters chose someone with little experience IMO neither forced nor justifies McCain also doing so.

    “It tells us that McCain is a brilliant strategist,”

    Perhaps so. We will see in the next two months if this is true. I have no opinion on this decision the marketing aspects of this decision.

    “If Obama is qualified to be president, so is Sarah Palin, at least. I am sorry, but your argument is not convincing.”

    Perhaps so. I believe the difference is relatively slight, and I can see why people would decide either way.

    “Is it the Ivy League education or the connections of the wealthy that help the “carreers” (spelling problem too…are you an Ivy Leaguer??) Ivy League graduates?”

    I am amazed at the comments on this. It is obviously a widespread belief, but not one that I share. My comments just noted this fact. Perhaps I am an Ivy graduate, or just someone who wished he was.

    Either way, I consider being an Eagle Scout more significant. (The Girl Scouts have the equivalent Gold Award.

  25. McCain’s a brilliant strategist? He picked as VP someone he has met once and talked with twice more on the phone, someone who he didn’t bother to have his campaign vet, because he was bullied away from the guy he actually wanted, Lieberman. But hey, he stopped people on TV from talking about Obama’s convention speech! Victory!

    Strategy is about more than winning a news cycle (at the expense of your entire campaign’s argument of experience mattering uber alles).

    Conservative Ire Pushed McCain From Lieberman“, NY Times, 30 August 2008

  26. Since you appear to be avoiding responding to some of my points in previous posts, let me ask you a simple question: “If Obama were of his (McCain’s) party, would your headline be the same?”

    If Biden were the top of the ticket and he selected Obama, would your headline state that Biden thinks we are stupid?
    Fabius Maximus replies: Do you mean if McCain selected Obama? If Biden selected Obama. Probably yes, in both cases. As the posts in my “America” and “About the Candidates” series show, I am bipartisan in my criticism on this site — and have been critical of Obama’s weaknesses as a potential President.

    In the real world (vs. cyberspace) I am have 25 years of active involvement in the Republican Party.

  27. FM – I enjoyed the conversation. you take the ribbing in stride…therefore, I am also going to recommend you rename your blog Biggusdickus because it takes that to state an opinion and wither the punishment, either way.

    Good luck to you

  28. I second Mr. K’s statement. I also appreciate getting to win an argument. My wife won’t let me win any at home.

    By the way, Adrian if you can put down the Kool-Aid ™ (keepin ya legal FM!), then read the following: “Palin Made an Impression From the Start“, Washington Post, 31 August 2008 — “Fellow Maverick Survived McCain’s Thorough Vetting Process, Aides Say”

    The NY Times has not been a very reliable source of information for a while now.

  29. Here is a conservative’s (or “right-wing”) analysis of Palin — a minority viewpoint on the right.

    Comments by David Frum, National Review Online, 30 August 2008 — Excerpt:

    “I (and most NRO readers) will vote against Barack Obama because I oppose his ideas. … That said: Can we conservatives please stop kidding ourselves about Barack Obama’s “qualifications”? Yes, if I had been a Democratic donor back in 2006, I’d sure worry about whether Barack Obama had what it took to be president. That was before he took on the toughest political operation in America, before he beat Bill and Hillary Clinton, before he won 18 million primary votes.

    “Obama’s nomination was not handed to him. He fought hard for it and won against the odds. “Qualifications” predict achievement. Once you have achieved, it doesn’t matter what your qualifications are. Who cares whether the guy who built a big company from nothing didn’t have much of a resume when he started? But if you are applying to run a big company built by somebody else, the resume matters.

    “… And can we please stop this silly TR analogy? In 1900, Theodore Roosevelt had already
    (1) established himself as one of the country’s leading experts on military affairs,
    (2) served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and worked ferociously to modernize the American fleet,
    (3) taken on the then-overwhelming problem of corruption both as New York police commissioner and as a civil service commissioner (in the latter job he was so successful that he was re-appointed by a Democratic president),
    (4) raised and led a regiment in war, and
    (5) been elected governor of the nation’s largest state.

    “Nobody said “Teddy WHO?” when the Republicans put him on the ticket.

    “… She was plucked by John McCain because of an electoral calculus. She could be vice president of the United States in January 2009 – and president at any moment thereafter, abruptly thrust in supreme command of two wars in two different countries. And who knows how she’ll do? She does not know what she would do. Yes she might turn out to be a Harry Truman. Or she might be an Andrew Johnson. Wouldn’t you wish for some hint in advance of which it might be?”

  30. Wow, livermoron! McCain’s aides dispute the claim that their campaign is totally disorganized! I bet that was on the front page!

    One interesting thing about this pick is that it’s highlighting a divide between the National Review types and the mega-church types. Obviously McCain has been walking a fine line between the two sides of the GOP party, the war wing and the crazy wing, but this seems like the first time where the war wing is the discontented party. Previously they would write off pandering to the crazies as pandering, but you can’t really take back a VP pick after election.

  31. Since you are citing NRO, here is a post and links that briefly expand on her foreign policy experience.

    Commander of the Alaskan National Guard, Cont’d“, Jonah Goldberg, posted at The Corner, National Review Online, 31 August 2008

    Compare and contast this with Obama’s please.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Perhaps in her 20+ months as AK Gov she has received substantial briefings — perhaps even involvement — in defense policy and treaties. Sounds like guessing IMO. Perhaps it is true, perhaps not. Much like her role in the family businesses. Could be substantial, could be near zero.

    We can say much the same about Obama’s experience after 44 months in the Senate. Perhaps he has had many deep briefings on defense policy and foreign affairs, perhaps even involvement. Perhaps not so much.

    In both cases there might be some sort of paper trail that could tell us more than these “might have happened” stories.

  32. Adrian:

    {snip — too personal} Wow, “NY Times has something bad to say about McCain” would’ve been a thoughtful and reasoned response? I didn’t realize it was so easy!! I do hear a lot of whistling coming from your direction.

  33. I do not often post outside material in the comments, as it clutters up the discussion. However Frum’s critique of Palin is exceptional, a conservative on a Republican. This seems IMO to make it more significant, as opposed to right slamming left and vice versa.

    Also, I strongly agree with these excerpts.

    Palin the irresponsible choice?” David Frum, National Post, 29 August 2008 — Excerpt:

    “Ms. Palin’s experience in government makes Barack Obama look like George C. Marshall. She served two terms on the city council of Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,000. She served two terms as mayor. In November, 2006, she was elected governor of the state, a job she has held for a little more than 18 months. She has zero foreign policy experience, and no record on national security issues.

    “All this would matter less, but for this fact: The day that John McCain announced his selection of Sarah Palin was his birthday. His 72nd birthday. Seventy-two is not as old as it used to be, but Mr. McCain had a bout with melanoma seven years ago, and his experience in prison camp has uncertain implications for his future health.

    “If anything were to happen to a President McCain, the destiny of the free world would be placed in the hands of a woman who until the day before Friday was a small-town mayor.

    “Mr. McCain’s supporters argue that he is more serious about national security than Barack Obama. But the selection of Sarah Palin invites the question: How serious can he be if he would place such a neophyte second in line to the presidency? Barack Obama at least balanced his inexperience with Mr. Biden’s experience. What is Mr. McCain doing?”

  34. Another article for Adrian and his/her fellow travelers.

    The Gal That Got Away“, By The Prowler, American Spectator, 25 August 2008 — Excerpt:

    “In selecting Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, Sen. Barack Obama may have selected the safe pick, but according to several campaign insiders, Biden wasn’t necessarily his first or even his personal choice.

    “‘He really wanted [Kansas Gov. Kathleen] Sebelius,’ says one Obama insider with knowledge of the Democrat candidate’s vetting process. ‘And if our European tour had played better here at home, she might have been the pick.’ “But, says the insider, the campaign’s internal polling indicated what the public polling indicated — that Obama failed in his European sojourn to build out his foreign policy credentials. ‘We needed the foreign policy on the bottom of the ticket more than we want to admit,” says the insider.'”

    Sorry for my bad typing at times. Having lost some appendages in combat I have difficulties keeping my few fingers working harmoniously and fluidly with my brain.
    Fabius Maximus replies: You have a better excuse than me. I just cannot spell well. WordPress has no spell checker for comments, unfortunately.

    This article describes the usual process for choosing VP’s, selecting among the pool of available qualified people to find the match the works best politically. Sebelius has 20 years of political experience, both as legislator, regulator, and executive.

  35. Finally to the real issue – capability to command in crisis.

    The sunday TV shows were all on top of this with references to commanding aircraft carriers vice just flying off the pointy end, making critical decisions. Unless I’ve badly misread history, those type decisions, from FDR after Dec 7th to the decisions to go to Afghanistan and Iraq have not been played out like being on “Let’s Make a Deal,” requiring a be-all end-all suitcase 5 or 11 decision with either one cent or one million dollars before the next commercial. No president makes those kinds of decisions on his own, lots of expertise is drawn on. Best example/reference I know is <em”Essence of Decision; Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis by Grahm Allison and Phillip Zelikow (see Wikipedia for a summary). “Thirteen days” of work by lots of people not an isolated decision, so to me One-heart-beat-away loses much.

    Also in regard to foreign policy and decision making see “Foreign Policy and the President’s Irrelevance” by George Friedman on Stratfor, 5 Feb 2008 — Excerpt:

    “In spite of the constitutional power of the U.S. president in foreign policy, in most cases, the president really doesn’t have a choice. Policies have institutionalized themselves over the decades, and shifting those policies has costs that presidents can’t absorb. There is a reason the United States behaves as it does toward Russia, China and Europe, and these reasons usually are powerful. Presidents do not simply make policy. Rather, they align themselves with existing reality. For example, since the American public doesn’t care about European unification, there is no point in debating the subject. There are no decisions to be made on such issues. There is only the illusion of decisions…

    “It’s not that presidents don’t matter. It’s that they don’t matter nearly as much as we would like to think and they would have us believe. Mostly, they are trapped in realities not of their own making.”

    Given the above, what Gov Palin brings in other areas far out weighs this issue. What does this say about McCain? He created a strength, rather than worrying about an issue that will play out under a set of protocols with ample opportunity to examine issues, whether the final decision maker is himself or his Vice President.

  36. So where is the commentary from Dems on how disappointing the Biden pick is? How picking Biden negates Obama’s message of change. There is plenty of it out there. Perhaps you included it in your “Obama Thinks We Are Stupid” article? Can you point me at it please? Frum’s point is that Palin is as inexperienced as Obama. Seems awful weak as a reason to vote for Obama. Just confirms the right’s belief that experience is necessary. If it calls McCain’s judgement into question, what does that say about the judgement of the DNC and the ability of their nomination process to present a qualified candidate?
    Good to see that NRO continues remains an open forum to all opinions and that they debate them in an adult, informed way. I recommend the site to all.

  37. FM, precisely the point about the process. Adrian {spoke of the} NYT article as if it proved something.

  38. I see you have started to respond to some of my earlier posts. Thanks for that. I take back nothing good or bad I’ve said, but I respect a stand-up guy.
    She has had briefings and has responsibility for these important organizations. Don’t expect to find much of a paper trail for Obama…he seems to be missing a lot of documentation about his past.

    BTW, TR did not serve one term as NY governor. He served one-half term.
    Fabius Maximus replies: From the Wikipedia page on “Governors of NY” (the same page you cited earlier), discussing the Governor’s term of office:

    “but the 1894 constitution again reduced it to two years.. The most recent constitution of 1938 extended the term to the current four years.”

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