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). 

Content

  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

Education

  • 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

Education

  • 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

Scandals

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. hoist, meet petard. lol In fairness then wouldn’t 2 years be more accurate than one term when describing experience? Did you notice that Grover Cleveland served only about a year IIRC before becoming VP?
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Yes; I changed it after your previous comment. Note that these comments are written in seconds.

    When was Grover Cleveland VP of the US? I know zip about him, but a quick look at Wiki shows (if I have this correct) he was an attorney for 6 years, then active in politics (mostly in office) for the next 20 years before becoming President.

  2. In spite of the constitutional power of the U.S. president in foreign policy –quoted by Ed

    There is no such power. The Constitution does not discern between law-making for domestic and foreign purposes — the Congress is responsible for both.

    In regard to treaties: “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur . .”
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    Fabius Maximus replies: We have two dimensions here. Don refers, correctly, to the litteral word of the US Consitution. However, the Consititution is a “living document.” Like a trout, which can be gutted and repackaged by a fisherman for his (or her, if Palin) convenience.

    Ed referes to our world, in which the President has great powers. I recall a comment by Nikita Khrushchev after the Cuban Missile Crisis to the effect that President Kennedy had far broader prower than he, leader of the Soviet Union.

    Consider Bush’s proposal to sign a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq. Not just is this functionally a treaty, but an important one governing our obligations and terms to fight a war. Bush explicity said that he will no submit this to Congress for approval.

  3. The Republicans #2 is more qualified than the Democrats #1. She had 5 years of executive experience before Obama had his first day in government period. You can try to downgrade her experience by saying it was as a mayor of a small town, but obviously the state of Alaska recognized her success on that level and on the councils and boards she served on in order to give her the job of running their state, which she has done extremely well. She has over an 80% approval rating and while Obama was voting present 136 times in the Illinois state senate, she was fighting corruption in her own party, taking corrupt politicians to task and actually doing something. If all you have to argue against her with is “troopergate” then you are reaching a little far. She has been interviewed on that issue and has released her story and the person responsible was suspended. If democrats want to go after that, it will only expose them to further scrutiny of Obama’s “Ayersgate” and “Rezcogate”. I love how you all are comparing your #1 candidate to our #2 and then saying the Country is not ready for someone with “no” experience to have to step in if something happened to John McCain, but Republicans share the argument, but in the sense that we cannot afford the inexperience of a newly elected President in Obama.

    By the way I like that Palin has come from such humble roots and worked her way up from “hockey mom” to governor, because it shows she is a “peoples” candidate. She is not a Washington insider and she is the essence of what politics used to be, the average people who live life in this country rising to power to lead us in the right direction, but then again, she is not running for President, John McCain is and he has more experience than Obama and thats all thats going to matter.

  4. Cleveland spent time as a sheriff, 5-6 years iirc. He was mayor of Buffalo for a single term and had one term as Governor of New York before being nominated for President. Was the term two or four years, lol??? Why I said Vice President can only be attributed to my medications. He was actually quite a reformer, and caused enmity within his own party by pointing out Democrat corruption. In very many ways he is like Sarah Palin. Cleveland was helped tremendously by the republicans, especially TR! (His spectre rises again)

    I do not buy your 25 years/republican story. Until I see proof otherwise I think you are just shilling for the Democrats. Your timezone (per timestamp) calls into question your nationality as an American and I find the answer nowhere on your website explaining it. I have asked you earlier about this and you have not responded. Having lived in Europe for many years myself, I understand that ex-pats are a reality. Why the non-response? Workload? I ask it only to see whether you are ill-informed and would benefit from some education or whether you are just obtuse to cogent discussion and not worth the effort.

    You seem to have a rather uninformed understanding of the roles of government and don’t understand the major difference between two of the three branches of the US Government. Perhaps all three, but we haven’t spoken about the judiciary yet.

    Your moral compass sxeems a bit out of alignment as well when you believe being called a hypocrit is worse than being labeled ‘morally bankrupt’.

    I am reluctant to look at your other ‘analyses’ as I am afraid that they will be as crudely couched and tragically flawed as this one. If you take that as an ad hominem attack, I do not mean it that way. You have just produced a poorly reasoned and poorly argued statement and I am calling you on it.
    Do you have better work that you would point me too? Your openness to discussion is inviting but I as yet have learned nothing here except the Governor’s term in NY was once 2 years. I’d like to find a reason to add this to my favs list.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: All of those terrible things might be true. But at least I know that Cleveland was not VP of the US.

    Your comment might be interesting and valuable. However, your own logic was so compelling that I have adopted it as my own: Noting that your {comment} had such an obvious error, I fained to not fact check the rest. What other facts do you get wrong? The {insights} may be there, but I shan’t spend the time to read it.

  5. Don, your points are well taken in that Gore as a DLC type and establishmentarian seems to have drunk some of the Likud and interventionist kool-aid with the rest of them. I take the qualifications he posited, and the fact that Bush ignored those, to be probative, but you are right that they may not be dispositive.

    I think there is a very strong argument to be made for Obama’s experiences, overall, life and political, being far more relevant to the tasks of the Presidency than those of the Republican Vice Presidential nominee-designate. Merely on an economic level, as well as that of racial, religious, and tribal politics, it would seem to me that Obama’s resume, education, ability to articulate (one presumes he and Palin are peers when it comes to hygiene;-) are far more suited to the complex geopolitical situation in which we find ourselves. The issues raised by our institutions (national and otherwise) essentially being obsolete, unable to cope with the results of globalization, multipolarity, and instantaneous communications are going to require a combination of uncommon sense (which Palin may have, or not, but Obama seems to) and a wide and tolerant intellect (which Obama definitely has manifested and Palin clearly has not).

    I see any solutions as having to be post-ideological, and requiring on the one hand true conservatism in the sense of maintaining what is valuable from the past but only when it is truly valuable, and true liberalism in the sense of being innovative but only when that is truly effective.

    I also have to assert that any ad hominem attack on our host, any direct or indirect doubt as to his integrity, is in utter contradiction to all available evidence as well as being impolite and of no value in any argument of substance. This is a big election in a big time and should be about big things. The upside is how enjoyable it was to read his classic jujitsu riposte.

  6. Well I have my answer. Purposelu obtuse it is, You can’t even respond to the salient points and use a triviality as genesis of your retort. Advantage…me again. Do you ever speak on substance? And I do not mean medications.

    You also are ignorant as to what a SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement is. It is most definitely not a treaty. No need to submit to Congress. Once again you proffer an opinion or analysis without having the knowledge to support it. In this country (America) that is a protected right. How about where you live?

    Here is some information for you to ponder about SOFA’s: “Status-of-Forces Agreement [SOFA]“, Global Security

    Anybody else enjoying this exchange as much as I am?
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Although we do not have the text, so firm statements are not possible at this time. However, from what little we know from the conflicting leaks from all sides, this appears to go beyond the SOFA’s with Germany and such that the Global Security article describes:

    “… they define the legal status of U.S. personnel and property in the territory of another nation. The purpose of such an agreement is to set forth rights and responsibilities between the United States and the host government on such matters as criminal and civil jurisdiction, the wearing of the uniform, the carrying of arms, tax and customs relief, entry and exit of personnel and property, and resolving damage claims.”

    From what little we know, the SOFA under discussion appears to go far beyond that.

    For a discussion of the relevant issues see “U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework and Status of Forces Agreement: Congressional Response“, Congressional Research Service, 11 July 2008.

  7. Panfile:
    That’s right, he whupped me good. Lol. And look at all that unsupported name-calling I did. Why, I must be morally bankrupt! LOL.

    Make your case for Obama based on your criteria. I think that our VP candidate’s experiences raising a family, running businesses in hardscrabble Alaska, making tough personal decisions, 13 years of executive experience, willingness to stand up to corruption, all trump Mr. Obama’s ‘racial, religious and tribal politics’.

    I’ve made many good points in here that our host has avoided, pooh-poohed. trivialized and so on. For me to comment on that is not an hominem attack. It is an opinion fortified with support material.

    Your comments are inane, in my opinion. But I bet you are a terrific guy.

    Hey, was that verbal jujitsu? I await your judgement.

  8. Panfile:
    I revise my earlier post. Not all of your opinions are, imo, inane. Your penultimate paragraph I agree with whole-heartedly. My issue is that the left all-too-frequently refuses to learn the lessons of the past and insists on creating the same mistakes over and over.

    I respect FM’s willingness to allow me to post. A discussion however actually requires responses to one another’s points. Intellectual honesty and support material are welcomed additions as well. The rebuttal to his very flawed and one-sided ‘analysis’ has been made here by others and by me. He may be a teriffic guy, and I do suspect he is, but his argumentation is weak, obfuscatory, only partially responsive, and ill-informed. One fact doesn’t preclude the possibility of another being true.

  9. FM: Correct in your statement that we do not know what the actual agreement is, so witholding commentary may be most prudent. Too bad that wasn’t your original position. Thanks for link. I will read the document and comment as appropriate.

    On the face of it, historically SOFA’s have been an executive matter. They already stipulate that an agreement has been reached between the two countries that US Forces are there. BTW, there are SOFA’s for foreign troops in the US. If you understood US civics more deeply, you would be aware that Congress has the power of the pocketbook and can always rescind funding for anything done by the executive branch. We call that ‘checks and balances’ here in the US.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: These are comments, not essays. The equivalent of talking over drinks.

  10. Oh goodness SPic. When did you stop beating your wife?? Your site is full of that kind of statement. Once I got past the misogyny and dirty innuendo I found your purported Palin VP gaffe. Victory is our when a thoughtful and articulate response gets taken completely out of context in order to make a point. SPic, your site is vile and an insult to women.

    For those who actually care about facts, here is her full quote when asked about being a VP:
    Palin replied: “As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.”

    Tell me SPic, do you know what the VP does everyday? Pathetic.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: I assume this is response to the pingback from the “She’s Pain in Comparison” (SPIC?) pingback from the “28th Ammendment” blog. You are talking to a computer-generated notification that another site has a post including the URL of this post. The author of the other site has not posted a comment here. Or necessarily even read any comments here. (I’m no technican, so this is a rough cut explanation).

    Talk to him by posting at his website.

  11. Let’s remember, the two guys who apparently really screwed the pooch on Iraq were Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld…two experienced as hell big brained insiders who damn near managed us into disastrous defeat and humiliation. And the guy who saved our bacon was Petreus, an energetic albeit untested field commander. And GWB deserves no special credit for great management of the war, but he deserves huge credit for not giving up, and for trying a genuinely new approach. Not giving up even under adversity, prevailing against long odds, making tough decisions and living with their consequences; who among the candidates does this remind you of?

  12. livermoron: You also are ignorant as to what a SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement is. It is most definitely not a treaty.

    You are wrong. A treaty is an international agreement.

    Merriam-Webster:
    treaty: a: an agreement or arrangement made by negotiation: (1): private treaty (2): a contract in writing between two or more political authorities (as states or sovereigns) formally signed by representatives duly authorized and usually ratified by the lawmaking authority of the state b: a document in which such a contract is set down

    Gobal Security: The purpose of such an agreement [SOFA] is to set forth rights and responsibilities between the United States and the host government on such matters as criminal and civil jurisdiction, the wearing of the uniform, the carrying of arms, tax and customs relief, entry and exit of personnel and property, and resolving damage claims.

    The Iraq SOFA is more, as it sets time limits on the US military occupation.

    Iraq Prime Minister Maliki has stated, properly, that the SOFA would be considered by the Iraqi parliament. Bush has said the SOFA would not be submitted to the US Senate. Maliki is a democrat; Bush is a war criminal.

    US Constitution: “He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur . .”
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Yes, the question concerns the line over which a treaty requires Senate approval.

  13. Fabius Maximus replies: Yes, the question concerns the line over which a treaty requires Senate approval.

    All treaties require Senate approval, according to the US Constitution. Of course if the Constitution is just a trout then forget it.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Not by the literal definition of treaty, as you stated. For example, a SOFA is literally a treaty, but is not submitted to the Senate. The reasons for this and their adequacy I will leave to experts in Constitutional law.

    Which is why President Bush, according to many reports, wants to sign some form of defense agreement with Iraq and call it a SOFA.

  14. Don: Webster’s definitions and definitions in practice of law are very different, as FM points out.

    FM, why characterize it in the most pejorative way? No matter what it is called, Congress has final power to fund or not fund. What you call it makes no difference, the money for it comes from Congress. This is just fearmongering and innuendo.

    I bid you adieu. I’ve made my case here and racked up the points. I’ve pulled the cover off your sham of intellectual honesty, purportedly reasoned thought, thinly veiled invective, and misstated and misrepresented facts. I’ve won the discourse just by dint of your failure to address and refute. By the rules of debate my side prevails. I harbor no delusion that you shall recognize it as such of course.

    You would help yourself more if you would actually inform yourself of the American form of government before entering into your ‘analyses’. I wish you well, but I feel I’ve entered a Monty Python sketch about arguments. To answer in specific your headline: If you are voting for Obama, yes he is correct. Goodbye and God Bless

  15. 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.”

  16. Jesus christ,FM. 95 comments just on this post. You’re gonna need another counter soon, I believe. Just for Most Popular posts reviewed. Guess mine counts as post no. 96.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Over 3200 comments since November. I have replied to most (if not always well or wisely).

  17. FM: I will leave to experts in Constitutional law

    One does not have to be an expert in Constitutional law to read and understand the Constitution, with the help of a dictionary.

    There is a misconception in the land that some subjects are simply too complex for us common folk to understand, and we need experts to clarify these things for us. We require, under this scenario, foreign policy experts and Constitutional experts to tell us what to think. Horsepucky, I say.

    The Constitution is written in plain English, and the part on treaties is no exception. The fact that people have routinely violated it does not serve to make it less clear, and that “experts” are needed, but it does illustrate that it (the Constitution) is not enforced.

  18. “… In fact, it’s not about experience at all. It’s about honesty.”
    — Excerpt from an article by Michael Kinsley, posted by FM in comment #95.

    Intended to move on but the end of #95 must be characterized under “DTJWH.”

    Did you really mean to invoke the “honesty” card in regard to politicians, election tactics/strategies, election promises, and results delivered? Name me one politician who has delivered in office all the things he promised to get elected. Oh wait, Adolph Hitler delivered more… Oh, wrong there too, he promised a 1000 year Reich.

    (What was that term again you introduced some time ago about calling up the “Hitler/Nazi card”? Godwin’s Law)

    Do you honestly believe Thursday night’s promises can all be delivered? Real honesty is most important but introducing John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as a question of honesty is a DTJWH.
    (Dog that just won’t hunt)
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    Fabius Maximus replies: I provide excerpts from a wide range of opinions and sources. Obviously I do not agree with all of them, or even most. Sometimes I will specifically mention that I agree. Sometimes, as with Kinsley’s article, I will draw attention to it by noting that it is interesting. Which it is, imo. Kinsley is a brilliant guy and an excellent writer, and his articles should be treated seriously IMO.

  19. Another perspective: “Northern Underexposure“, E. J. Dionne jr., Washington Post op-ed, 1 September 2008 — Excerpt:

    “By all rights, there should be a revolt at this week’s (now-delayed) Republican convention against John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate — for the same reasons so many Republicans opposed President Bush’s selection of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. Palin is, if anything, less qualified for the vice presidency (and the presidency) than Miers was for the court.

    “… How do Palin and Miers compare?

    “Miers, at least, had been a lawyer for 35 years, the head of the state bar in Texas and White House counsel. Palin’s experience comes down to a couple of years as governor and six years as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town with fewer than 10,000 residents.

    “Where Miers definitely tops Palin is on the question of whether her patron can vouch for her. Bush knew Miers well, worked with her closely, trusted her deeply. You can question Bush’s judgment in pushing her for the court — for the record, at the time I called the choice “too clever” and thus “dangerous” — but at least he had good reason to believe in the person he was asking others to count on.

    “McCain, as far as anyone can tell, met Palin only once before considering her for vice president, and once more before settling on her, which is to say he barely knows her. For the purpose of courting disaffected Hillary Clinton voters and satisfying the social conservatives, McCain is willing to place someone he knows mostly from press clippings and, okay, what his staff insists was thorough vetting, in the direct line of succession to the presidency. There is a breathtaking recklessness about this choice.”

  20. Kinsley may be a brilliant guy and an excellent writer but under the flag of “experience” he labeled John McCain a liar because of his choice of Gov Palin!!???? Way over the top.

    Since this post – your note – is about McCain, let’s reframe this “experience” context in terms of “character.” You ask for some indicators of how we might expect the candidates to act. Who has demonstrated “character” under duress?

    First Senator Obama. No need to provide details since all know his response to the Reverend Wright situation. He had the opportunity to very quickly indicate he intended to be a president for all Americans, but he hedged, he couldn’t deal with coming out against a part of his baseline support. Not a stand-up measure of character was it?

    Next Senator Bidden. Just don’t know one way or the other.

    Gov Palin: At risk of her political career stood up to a senior senator from her state, her own party, the oil companies and the U.S.Congress. Not bad for a frontier woman.

    John McCain: As a Plebe (1st year man) at the USNA, took on a 4th year who was verbally abusing a Phillipino steward. The rest of his lunch table must have seen real shock and awe – you don’t do that, ask anyone who ever went to a military academy. McCain was right and stood up no matter the personal result.

    Everyone knows the story of his refusal to come home from Hanoi because he knew as the son of top military leader, NVN would exploit his acceptance of pardon to the hilt, but McCain was also a constant POW bad apple. Rather than sit quitely hoping to avoid guard attention, he put on “Monday Night at the Movies,” led Sunday services, was a major player in the badboys room in the “Hilton.”

    He led in the most uncommon of ways, at his own risk, willing to do what was necessary to keep those in the most dire of situations hopeful and full of spirit. (all these stories varifiable from people who were there)

    His maverick role as a politician needs no further discussion.

    Bottom line, you can observe people for weeks, years, read their resumes, listen to their words, all signifying little of how they might respond in real crisis. See them in extremis, and you have your indicator of how they most likely will respond in future similar situations.

    In the old WWI movie “The Blue Max,” George Peppard as a common soldier pulled from the trenches and taught to fly, completely inexperienced, joins a German Fighter Squadron, members alll aristrocrats. The commanding officer queries “Who will fly with Stachel?”

    If character counts, I know on whose wing I choose to fly. Character counts.

  21. We are all missing the most important qualification, the single most important thing required of any president without which all other attributes mean nothing, the first and last question we should always ask of any candidate for political office.

    IS HE/SHE ON OUR SIDE?

    The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 were largely illegal immigrants, and they only pulled it off because John McCain and others like him fought so hard to avoid enforcing the laws against illegal immigration. Without driver’s licenses the terrorists could never have gotten on the planes! The amnesty bill that McCain authored with Ted Kennedy had effectively NO background checks, and explicitly included gang members! A policy that gives hardened MS13 gang members the same right to come here as a Nobel-Prizewinning physicist cannot be defended on the grounds of either national security or compassion. John McCain has put the interests of big business for cheap labor above the safety and security of the nation. On national security grounds alone John McCain is not fit to be president, i don’t care if he as a 200 IQ.

    If we do not defend our borders we do not defend our nation. Indignation when caught lying is not straight talk. If you believe that a president McCain is actually going to start enforcing the laws against illegal immigration then I have a bridge in Manhattan to sell you. And consider McCain’s push to enable his wealthy campaign contributors to sell off our high-tech defense industries to China: even Adam Smith allowed as national defense trumps ‘free’ trade.

    Loyalty is more important than experience. Benedict Arnold was a ‘war hero’, too…

  22. Fabious,

    OUTSTANDING POST, great summary. I could not agree more. But, why does politicans like McCain take such liberties with the American people? Because we are stupid, they keep voting for the same idiots! And, we are also tolerating a two party closed political system, which is turn is controlled by big money and special interests who also control the news media.

    Do they really want a well informed and educated citizen? A citizen who follows the Constitution and is responsible for the government we have? Not really. It is not in the interest of the “establishment” to have a well informed and involved citizen. If we did, they would not be “strip mining” this country.

    I watched last night the airways of all the news shows with two items, Hurricane Gustov and whether Palin’s daughter is pregnant (and how this reflects the family values that the Republicans tout as their own). Anyway, we have this going on, at a time our country faces major catastrophic issues. Well, why do the news media waste such time? Because they also consider the public stupid.

    Don
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    Fabius Maximus replies: I agree on all points! But – no matter what their opinion of us, we have an opportunity every four years to prove them wrong.

  23. 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.

    Fabius

    Do you believe there was a time when conservatives were concerned with policy over identity politics? If so, then seriously, when was that?

    In my (admittedly brief) experience following politics, conservatives have been all about identity politics and emotional appeals.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Everybody plays identify politics. Doing so to the exclusions of other factors — like having some relevant training and experience — is unusual for either party. Their excitement is about Palin as a totem, not a candidate. For what she is, not what she can do.

    Contrast that with McCain, Obama, and Hillary. Both have strong identity politics themes (to be), but also are real candidates (to do).

  24. Everybody plays identify politics. Doing so to the exclusions of other factors — like having some relevant training and experience — is unusual for either party.

    Fair enough. Perhaps my view is clouded by the events of the past ten years or so.

  25. “A comment by livermoron posted at Classical Values on 1 September 2008:”

    What an {vulgarity deleted}.

    I for one am sick to death of the word-twisters on both political wings. I suspect I am not alone.

    How anyone who is as transparently partisan as livermoron can come onto a site like this, blather and diatribe at ridiculous length, and perceive that he has accomplished anything to further his cause, is just beyond me. I saw nothing more than a dishonest display of intellectual pomposity in his comments: Ad-hominem attacks, shifting definitions, intentional sidestepping, mudslinging, on and on. It seemed to me a case of accusing others of the crimes and vices that one knows best from his own heart.

    I remind myself often that this site represents a conversation rather than a self-contained philosophical system that attempts to reconcile all realities. In the best cases we add our dissonant voices and learn from each other. Anyone who keeps score has already lost.

    On the issue that started this conversation, I will say that the poorest judgment call I have heard was that McCain’s top choice would have been Joe Lieberman. I say that not because I don’t like Lieberman; on the contrary, I expect and want him to be in the cabinet should McCain win. But MCain-Lieberman would not be electable, in my opinion (age, religion, former Dem, dry as toast).

    Maybe McCain used him has a straw-man to balance off some odious choice he expected the party hacks to foist on him. But I suspect it was just McCain leading with his heart, not his head. From that perspective Palin is a far better choice, despite inexperience.

    And in closing, my heart believes that everyone who leaves their home and goes to Washington, and stays there, does, in their heart, after a time, believe we are stupid.
    .
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    Fabius Maximus replies: “does, in their heart, after a time, believe we are stupid.”

    The question is: are they correct in their belief that we are stupid?

  26. Like I’ve mentioned before a couple of months back, I don’t really give a f!@# who become’s POTUS. The US job market is at an all time low in 5 years. That’s ALOTTA people mot bein’ employed = unable to pay for their home loans = people sleepin’ in the streets & wonderin’ what the f!@# their politicians are doin’.

    Hmmm #108, a no. representin’ good omen accordin’ to some Oriental beliefs.

  27. Re: KWHL interview –

    The link you posted no longer works — it now shows a “content pulled at copyright owners request” header. I bit of searching did find what might be a second copy, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-2z2NAqpGI.

    A couple of observations about the recording that I did find:

    1. There’s almost no context – we have no idea why Palin is on the show or why Lynda Green is the subject of the discussion. It seems unlikely that they just decided to poke fun at a cancer survivor.

    2. There are artifacts in the recording above 29-30 and 46-47 seconds that sound like something’s been cut out. Indeed, the Alaska Daily News _commentary_ (not news article) refers to comments that aren’t on the tape. The author of the commentary is also a radio talk show host, one who’d received many negative comments from his listeners — I assume after he replayed the recording providing his own context and interpretation for his listeners.

    3. To my ears, anyway, her inappropriate giggles could just as easily be the nervous embarassment of a “hockey mom” listening to a couple of shock-jocks go way, WAY over the line. Indeed, ADN commentary points out that she called Green to apologize – but doesn’t say whether she did so before or after public response to her comments.

    If she apologized before a ruckus was raised, then I’d tend to come down on the side of embarrassed mom stuck listening to things she’d never let her kids get away with. Regarding comments in the article about how she should have phrased things — perhaps that’s what happens when real people get involved in politics, instead of professional politicians and speechwriters?

    4. I’ve also e-mailed KWHL and requested / suggested that they put the original, full interview and transcript on-line. Pulling a recording that sounds like it’s been “edited for effect” might make sense — but ’tis almost always better to get the raw data out so that we (the public) can make own judgments.
    .
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    Fabius Maximus replies: This makes the whole affair needlessly complex. The whole incident was discussed extensively when it happened. We have the newspaper reports and the Gov’s apology from that time. Attributing this to an edited tape seems absurd. If so the Gov would have disproven this in a heartbeat, either then or now.

  28. I enjoy that #107 accuses me of all sorts of baloney, How about posting an example? Fabius got his name from the Roman who used avoidance to win a war. When confronted with actual data he avoids addressing the key points… you know, the passive-aggressive way.
    He provides the court and the ball, but when a better player shows up, he just sits on the sideline. I stand by everything I said, and I challenge him (again) to actually refute my points and I challenge you to find an ad hominem attack in there. His ‘analyses’ are full of framing error, mistatements, and biased logic.
    But hey. Whatever floats your boat.
    .
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    Fabius Maximus replies: I responded at length to your earlier posts. You responded with nonsense and invective. That’s fine (unlike other sites, I do not censor or ban except for violations of the comment policy), but I have no obligation to respond. Life is short, and we all ration our time.

    “but when a better player shows up, he just sits on the sideline.”

    There have been 4,143 comment posted here this year (I respond within comments, so few are of these are mine). I have posted replies to the majority of them, sometimes in discussions going a dozen or more rounds — so I obviously comment where I consider it useful to do so.

    “I challenge you to find an ad hominem attack in there’

    Your statement (#106) “both pimp-slapped that phony Fabius Maximus” is an ad hominem attack. (That was easy) Now here is how it works. You get to comment on this site. Those reading this site draw their own conclusions. I believe people who write such things are best ignored, and so I will do so.

  29. Well, this thread has become a hell of a lot more relevant vis a vis the economic happenings of late. No matter what, the new president will be sitting in some serious as a heart attack meetings soon. The number one requirement will be to run those meetings effectively, meaning in a way that gets us out ahead of the gathering storm, as you so ably advise. We are mostly screwed in this. As a day to day manager, Obama has been tested running CAC and produced little. McCain is a seasoned politician, but isn’t likely to grasp the “get ahead of events” concept. We aren’t likely to get Biden which leaves Palin. She could surprise her critics. I don’t know.
    .
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    Fabius Maximus replies: IMO the “end of the post-WWI geopolitical regime was always relevent. Folks have just begin to realize it.

    I am sure Palin will surprise somebody. I doubt it will be her critics. Her supporters have constructed a fantasy-Palin in their minds, only loosely similar to the actual.

  30. It wasn’t identity politics that got us here so much as a “country folk” vs. “city folk” tension fomented by the GOP, and tragically abetted by the Democrats by consistently running highly citified wonkish candidates. John Kerry never blew me away as a deep thinker. Same with Gore. Now we have real trouble, and both parties get caught playing the same old game. Palin is the logical choice for the GOP since their game plan was always to seek support from rural America. Obama has more credibility as a deep thinker, but is light on management chops. As with Truman, we better get surprised by someone or we’re in trouble.

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