Monday, September 29, 2008

Ask and ye shall receive

Jay Aitch made the reasonable request that we not excoriate Sarah Palin on the basis of one bombed interview question. So I submit a few examples below:

Sarah on the Bush Doctrine, a term she appeared to be unfamiliar with at the time:

On whether she's ready to be president if necessary:
Paraphrased, her answer is that "you have to be committed, and not blink." Flog me, folks, I know plenty of really idiotic people who are committed to their ideas; how does that in any way address the issue of whether you're the right person for the job? How about saying that this is a serious responsibility, and I thought long and hard about it, and concluded I can do the job well...?

A non-answer WRT national security:

On war with Russia "perhaps so":

And it's not so much the *position* -- the question of who to include in NATO is a complex one -- the problem is that her approach of total conviction, of "don't blink" make her say "Absolutely, Ukraine, yes Georgia" -- she appears not to have thought thru the ramifications of that policy. When Gibson asks her "Wouldn't that mean we might have to go to war with Russia?" she doesn't answer like a person who's even considered the answer and come to a reasoned conclusion -- she blinks once, then charges ahead like a pit bull (with lipstick), and forcefully reiterates NATO's policy of mutual support as if Gibson doesn't understand it, when it was actually the basis of his question. She seems to have achieved most of her success thru her appearance of conviction, rather than on substance.

Rhetoric vs Truth issues, per CNN and others:

On the earmarks issue, I don't fault her as much for taking federal money -- one can make the case that that's doing her job, representing her city or state. I do have a problem with pretending to have said "Thanks, but no thanks" when you actually took the money.
But my basic issue is this: If SP had done dozens and dozens of interviews where she demonstrated her knowledge and preparation, I'd be more inclined to cut her slack if she messed up once. But on the big issues that require careful thought, her percentage is terrible. The more I listen to her, the more I think there's no *there* there. It feels like her popularity is based on people liking the *person* she seems to be: strong successful woman, cool hockey mom, dedicated and directed, easy on the eyes, conservative religious family-values person. None of which qualify her in the slightest to be vice-president, or (God forbid) president.

Let's face it, the presidential election is mostly a popularity contest with the majority of voters. None of us is immune to the "feelings" thing: I don't like Hillary, not because of her policies, it's just visceral. But who we elect is going to inherit extremely challenging economic & foreign policy issues, not to mention likely have a big influence on shaping the supreme court. At some point it seems like we should also check into whether a person could actually do the job we're electing them for.

One more:

(Okay, that last one wasn't fair, but I have to say SP reminds me a lot of Miss Carolina...)


At Mon Sep 29, 02:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger jay aitch said...

Well, Bryan, I must say you did yourself proud (YouTube is quite busy these days) and I can hear all my right-wing relatives and 'friends' snickering because of all these videos. I am not one to act like I didn't read this. Of course I did. I knew I could count on just what you posted.
Thanks for this and it won't change my vote, but I'm glad it gives liberals ammunition for their abuse of this woman.
Frankly, Obama scares me beyond words, but our voters may deserve him.

At Mon Sep 29, 02:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger jay aitch said...

Oops. I meant all my LEFT wing relatives and friends. Have a good laugh! : )

At Mon Sep 29, 03:00:00 PM PDT, Blogger jay aitch said...

However, since YouTube is so popular, I have one for you on this day of standing on the Big Depression threshold. Sorry it isn't about Sarah.

At Mon Sep 29, 06:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger jay are said...

I don't think in any way, shape or form Palin is being "abused". She's a politician, she's been utterly shielded by her own party from taking any questions of reporters or citizens---which begs the question "why?". She's been asked the kinds of questions that every candidate has been asked and should be asked. And she's not inspired a lot of confidence when it comes to true substance. Like you said, Bryan, on the matter of convictions and fire, she inspires on that level. Which is helpful but not necessarily what will be relevant at 3 in the morning when the phone rings.

Obama might scare some people to death but I've not heard many specifics beyond the fact that he's a Muslim, which is a lie, and that apparently all his Muslim friends are going to infiltrate if he's in office, and that he's taking us straight down the path to socialism. Again, I've tried to read all I can find on Obama as well as the others....mostly I've found it refreshing to read about and listen to someone of intelligence who can support his positions and think on his feet and explain where's he coming from. There's more to learn still and I'm open to finding out whatever's out there on him. But I'm interested in facts on him.

As far as Freddie and Fannie...McCain is in bed with them as well as everyone else. He is tied to them, despite his lies to the contrary, and has been until just recently when they were taken over by the government. There's plenty of blame to go around concerning the economic woes we're facing, and I find it interesting that there are people who won't acknowledge that deregulation of the system played a key role---and guess who was firmly and squarely behind deregulation?

If only politics and the economy were just a fun board game and we could debate and spar but real money and real people weren't involved. Dang. I hate when that happens.

Take it over, Bryan. Tell me where I'm wrong. Clue me in on what I don't know. I'm open.

At Mon Sep 29, 09:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger Extrem4 said...

Here is one where I can't agree more with Bryan. What was McCain thinking? I think that SP is going to turn out to be a major liability for his campaign. I was reading a Newsweek article and the author was commenting on Gov Palin's attitude as a "joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance". He felt that she would gladly assume any responsibility on earth and so he put forth this little dialog.
Interviewer:"Gov. Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on this child's brain?"
SP: "Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I am an avid hunter."
Int: "But gov, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a surgeon of any kind."
SP: "That's the point Charlie. The American people want change in how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a challenge you cannot blink". It is just hard to imagine that in the blink of an eye she could be the next President.
Wasn't there any other female Rep out there with some credible experience that he could have chosen? I am afraid his poor choice for running mate says something about his inability to think things through. Maybe there is something I am missing.

At Mon Sep 29, 09:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

The question by Charlie Gibson looking down his nose at her about the Bush doctrine was obviously a gotcha question. All the talking heads are admitting that now. The rest are on a continuous loop on all the stations. I’m sure Katie Couric needed some ratings too. Come on Bryan, kind of mean spirited and disrespectful at the end. She is the Governor of the largest state in the union elected by the people of Alaska that has about the same number of people that Delaware has where Biden is Senator. Are 70% of people in Alaska ignorant like you think Palin is? Have you really done your research on her accomplishments or are you just looking at You Tube clips like most people do? Please read up about what Palin has done for Alaska. Then ask youself what Obama has done for Illinois. As I’m sure you know if you look hard enough you know you will find about the same amount of goofs for everybody running because we are all human. If we pay the You Tube game it will go on forever.

At Mon Sep 29, 10:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Extrem4, Don’t you think that analogy is just a little extreme?

At Tue Sep 30, 08:07:00 AM PDT, Blogger Extrem4 said...

Blogball, of course the analogy is hyperbole and extreme but this is expected from the Extrem family. SP may be a fine person and a budding politican with a good future but she is just that. I can't possibly see her as the best choice for VP. What were the motives for choosing her vs any number of other qualified women.
This coming from a small town (my hometown being half the size of the metropolis of Wasila)farmboy who used to be more conservative. In fact I am sure my college roommates would be amazed that I will vote democratic. I guess living in liberal MI for 6 yrs and being married to a commie liberal university professor for 16 yrs has had some effect.

At Tue Sep 30, 10:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

Thanks everybody for thoughtful comments. I'm glad more than anything that people are thinking and interested. (Strange words from someone who argued for not voting, I admit it...)

Anyway, a cpl points:

It's not about youtube (what relevance where the info comes from? if she said it, she said it), or ratings (yes, so?), or that it was a "gotcha" question (which it was). The point is Palin's non-answers.
There are a lot of intelligent people (including repubs) who are disappointed & disenchanted with Palin.
To quote a friend of mine: it doesn't take someone with a degree from Harvard to listen to her comments and be completely appalled and amazed.

Extrem's analogy: of course it's extreme. The writer was highlighting how ridiculous that Palin wouldn't appear to have even given *some* thought to this matter of being vice president.
The only difference between her answers in the brain surgery conversation and the actual interview is that brain surgery is more specialized and further outside her area of expertise. IOW, it's a matter of degree. But I submit that it effectively highlights the issue: that the question was (is) about how her experience qualifies her to do X, and her answer was basically "when in doubt, throttle out."

The fact that she was elected by 70% of Alaskans carries zero weight with me. It’s not that Alaskans are stupid, it’s that we generally know too little about the ppl we vote for, and (more importantly) we typically vote for the wrong reasons: who makes us feel comfortable on a personal level, who does the best job manipulating our fears. We regularly vote for celebrities (Reagan, Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, etc) or any number of ppl who turn out to be all form & no substance.

As to being disrespectful, I don’t think so. SP is a public figure, and a politician running for an important office. AFAIC, her answers cry out to be compared to Miss Carolina’s. The fact that anyone would consider that comparison “mean” seems to me to strengthen my point: her supporters like her on a personal level, and defend her indefensible answers (it’s just youtube, it was a gotcha question, you don’t know her, the press is abusing her, it’s about ratings) because of that.

JH, I’m curious what specifically scares you about Obama…?

At Tue Sep 30, 10:24:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

oh, and yes, I *am* surprised to hear my old roomie expressing support for ideas that were formerly anathema. shows what can happen when you marry well, i guess. :-)


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