Bill Roper's Journal
The Best Possible Choice 
29th-Aug-2008 04:46 pm
I was delighted when the news broke this morning that McCain had selected Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate, having gone to bed last night expecting Pawlenty. McCain needs to take risks if he's going to have a chance of winning this election and this looks to be one of the good ones.

McCain needs to get people who can be persuaded to do so to take a second look at him. (If this doesn't apply to you, that's fine. I suspect that McCain could have picked the deity of your choice as his running mate with a divinely-backed promise of Peace on Earth and he still wouldn't be your preferred candidate. :) ) Palin provides that in a way that none of the supposed front-running choices could have. Whether it will make a difference remains to be seen.

And I am absolutely thrilled to have someone on board the Republican ticket who has made her reputation by going in, kicking butt, and taking names in her efforts to rid her own party of corruption. If it were possible to say the same about Senator Obama, I'd be much less worried about him than I am. (Yes, I know about the investigation into Palin. It appears to be a non-event. Certainly McCain knew about it and picked her anyway.)

That is change that I can believe in.

I wish we had such Republicans in Illinois.
29th-Aug-2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
I think that the best thing is that she does not seem to be a neocon, she seems to be an old fashioned conservative. Now, I disagree with almost everything she believes in, especially creationism in schools and anti-choice, although I will give her credit for not being part of the "birth control is abortion" nonsense that is being pushed now, but the creationism in schools is a very bad thing.

She does seem to be that rare thing, an honest Alaska politician. The ethics investigation seems to be just something silly, I'm guessing a way for the folks in her own party who are angry at her to try to take a slap at her. I'm betting they are even angrier now, which could be a problem for the ticket, she has pissed a lot of republicans off in the last few years.

But overall I think she is about as good a choice for the ticket as McCain could have made.
29th-Aug-2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
I saw a post elsewhere (but can't confirm) that she didn't want to add creationism to the curriculum, but felt that it was ok to talk about it if it came up. I don't know how accurate that statement was.

My personal take on creationism in schools is that there's nothing wrong with spending time explaining to the students why creationism shouldn't be taught by the science department...
29th-Aug-2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
My reading is that she feels creationism and evolution should be allowed to be debated in science classes, which is fine...if the teacher understands what science is really about and uses it to explain why creationism is not science. Unfortunately, we've seen too many cases (Georgia, Kansas, Tennessee, other places) where that just isn't the case.
30th-Aug-2008 03:46 am (UTC) - Creationism
I wouldn't have so much problem with creationism if it were intellectually honest. Unfortunately, the current purveyors of creationism seem dedicated to wrapping their non-science with a pseudo-scientific fig leaf that relies of parlor tricks like pretending carbon dating doesn't work.

God made us smart enough to understand the concept of a metaphor, so it's reasonable to assume he used metaphors in inspiring the bible. Instead, we have people twisting science like a pretzel baked in a tesseract in order to convince the gullible that the earth is only 6,000 years old.
30th-Aug-2008 04:15 am (UTC) - Re: Creationism
Your pretzel analogy is quite interesting and apt since according to legend, pretzels were invented in the seventh century as a means of rewarding children for learning their prayers, and the shape of the pretzel is meant to depict a monk's arms folded in prayer.
29th-Aug-2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
I strongly disagree. I'd said that she looked like a smart pick a couple of months ago, but then the investigation stuff came up, and it's been getting bigger and bigger. I'm digging deep into this and some related issues, but I think she looks really honest - in comparison to Stevens and Young.
29th-Aug-2008 10:33 pm (UTC) - It'd be a hoax...
I suspect that McCain could have picked the deity of your choice as his running mate with a divinely-backed promise of Peace on Earth and he still wouldn't be your preferred candidate.

Can't see the Deity of my choice taking second place on *any* ticket...
29th-Aug-2008 11:07 pm (UTC) - Re: It'd be a hoax...
Well, I suppose not, but it was a useful analogy. :)
29th-Aug-2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
There is no "deity of my choice", but should a reliable promise of "peace on earth" have come up, I'd have swallowed hard over my policy disagreements with the senator. He does still get my admiration for appearing oodles of time on The Daily Show. It's just that pesky "I can't think of any policy item we agree on" issue.
30th-Aug-2008 12:45 am (UTC)
that and he keeps banging the war drums against Iran. i can't stomach another war, and I dont' think our country can survive another one.
29th-Aug-2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
If he could promise peace on earth, backed by any credible deity, I'd consider him. So far, he seems to be a pro-war candidate, and I have a major problem with that before we even get to the cut taxes and spend more philosophy (which is probably the top problem I have with the current generation of "conservatives" - they are conserving something that I just don't understand!).
30th-Aug-2008 12:47 am (UTC)
if conservatives were what they were 40 years ago, i'd be a full-on republican. now conservative means religiously conservative. it used to mean balance the budget, stay out of foreign wars and conserve natural resources.
sometimes i wonder if some of the neocons are actually trying ot bring about teh apocolypse. no, actually, i frequently suspect it.
30th-Aug-2008 12:10 am (UTC)
We.... probably should avoid politics as a subject for conversation tomorrow.
30th-Aug-2008 12:42 am (UTC)
well, i can certainly identify with what it's like to be the only (pick a color) person in a (pick the other color) state or town. it would be refreshing for me to live in a blue area for once. i guess some of us are just placed where we are to balance things out. (or we're being punished for sins committed in a previous life).

30th-Aug-2008 01:20 am (UTC)
And Big Oil is really, really glad to have her out of Alaska. Her own party doesn't like her, back home. She's going to replace Cheney? Yeah, right.
30th-Aug-2008 05:46 am (UTC) - Look at McCain? Please.
Speaking as a former rabid McCain supporter (2000, when he seemed a plain-talking moderate, fiscal conservative who questioned the role of the religious right in hijacking the party's agenda)

...who began questioning him in 2002 (when he was parroting the Cheney/Rumsfeld lies about how Iraq was already won now, and totally tracking with tying Saddam to 9-11 and building a global American military empire)

...who began seriously doubting him in 2004 (the fake-ass Bush hug and its all-too-real symbolism of his embrace of the Bush agenda)

...who was flat-out disgusted with him by January 2007 (60 Minutes interview where he buys a rug in a Baghdad market, wearing kevlar and surrounded by soldiers in 10 armored Humvees and 2 Apaches overhead, to prove it's safe there now)

...and who now loathes him more with each new "look" at him, I have to say that this VP pick somehow made the prospect of a McCain administration noticeably more horrifying to me, and that's a feat. I'll tell you why.

I did look at McCain carefully and objectively when he won the nomination. He was even my first of all the (terrible) choices in the GOP stable. The Dems started talking about how he was essentially the same as Bush on all issues, and I went to see how fair that really was. I researched his platform, specifically looking for issues on which he differs from Bush. Know what I found? These:

1. Opposes torture of enemy combatants (in a lukewarm way, but give it to him)
2. Supports embryonic stem cell research
3. Supports environmental issues (opposes drilling in ANWR, pays better lip service to global warming than Bush, though still opposed Kyoto and Obama has a better record)

That was it. So guess which two of those Palin (the Evangelical with the oil-magnate husband) now subtracts from the equation?
30th-Aug-2008 05:55 am (UTC) - Re: Look at McCain? Please.
Frack, typo. No matter how you proof these rants, one gets away. 2002 should be 2003.
30th-Aug-2008 06:53 am (UTC) - Re: Look at McCain? Please.
And the 60 Minutes interview was April, 2007. A fact I checked as I was writing but forgot to correct. Is it true that paid LJ accounts get to edit their posts in other journals? *sigh*
30th-Aug-2008 05:53 am (UTC) - How I Broke Down the Positions
So that leaves McCain joining with Bush in opposing: abortion rights, raising the minimum wage, same-sex marriage, sex education, federally funded health care, the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, assisted suicide, and NET NEUTRALITY (which has become my litmus issue, to the same degree some others treat abortion).

Similarly McCain joins Bush in supporting: permanent $trillion tax cuts for the wealthiest, permanent and expanding military involvement abroad, all of our many reasons for invading Iraq (whatever they were then or are this week), warrantless wiretapping, suspension of habeas corpus for anyone the President deems an enemy combatant, privatization of social security, deployment of missile defense (but only without Russian cooperation, so that we can finally establish a nuclear first strike capability on Moscow and win that Cold War, woo!), school vouchers, and TEACHING INTELLIGENT DESIGN (another big red button for me) and school prayer and all the other pet issues of the James Dobson crowd.

Areas in which McCain and Obama's positions do not differ and I consider them both right: support for space exploration, support for alternative energy, opposition to affirmative action, support of disability rights, support for the death penalty, tough on crime.

Areas in which they agree and they're both wrong: giving amnesty to telecoms assisting in warrantless wiretapping (and support of the PATRIOT Act in general), support/expansion of tax funded faith-based programs, both are hypocrites on campaign finance reform, both give credence to an autism/vaccine link

Areas in which Bush/McCain agree and Obama is wrong: free trade/NAFTA, aggressive development of nuclear power (Obama supports this at a considerably more limited scope)

Areas I have no strong opinion on and don't care about the candidates' positions: gun control, immigration, Medicare, cigarette tax, drug enforcement

Additionally, McCain has said he would make it a goal of his presidency to overturn Roe v Wade, that only a Christian could properly be president, that he would continue to expand the executive branch's power and create a "President's Question Time" which George Will called unconstitutional, and his current campaign violates every "soft money" and "issue ad" rule of campaign finance reform he's ever proposed.

Don't tell me that those who have come to hate McCain just need a second look. I would have voted for him over Gore! A second look, third look, hundredth look is how I came to see him for the say-anything political monkey he is, and hate his lying ass. He gets worse and worse with each look and I swear to you, Bill...I swear I am looking for some good in McCain. What little there is disappears daily, and the Palin tap took the biggest remaining chunk of it.

Why don't you take a second look at him? Or Palin, for that matter? Let's see you outline the differences and similarities between Palin's positions and Ann Coulter's? I'd love to hear any you can find.

I'm sorry for the rant, I mean that.

But I'm extremely insulted that you'd suggest that opposing McCain means I'm either hopelessly partisan or haven't done my due diligence on the old man. I'm an independent, in a period of deep disgust with the right and hoping to someday see the rational wing of the GOP take over again. McCain might have been it, once, but he's made all his deals with the devils and the crazies and now he's the best you've got.

Not enough for this centrist. Try again in 2012.
30th-Aug-2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
McCain thinks that experience, particularly with regard to military matters, is terribly important for the president of the US, and yet his chosen stand-in is someone with one term as governor and some lesser state offices as her total experience in office. This confirms my earlier estimates of his honesty and his concern for the country.

I may end up liking her better than McCain.
30th-Aug-2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
"And I am absolutely thrilled to have someone on board the Republican ticket who has made her reputation by going in, kicking butt, and taking names in her efforts to rid her own party of corruption."

This is, in fact, the message McCain needs to get out to the world before the election. This ought to separate him from Bush, in that it will be clear that McCain/Palin want to rid the government of those who aren't following our own laws in both the letter and the spirit.

He can take the risk of somewhat alienating his own party, because the Republicans will still rally 'round the conservative flag. Palin and McCain's differences with the Republican party, after all, are far less than those of Obama's Democrats.

I think the pundits on TV and radio saying that the Palin pick means that McCain is trying to get the women's vote available after Hillary's withdrawal from the consideration are oversimplifying and insulting to both the McCain campaign, and to voters. Women won't vote for other women unless they share a connection and belief system in common, just as we won't vote for a male candidate with views with which we disagree.
30th-Aug-2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
I am always looking at McCain. I just don't like what I see.

Given that, naturally second fiddle doesn't matter to me. What difference should it make who's second, if the guy who's first promotes policies that will be bad for us and for the country?

That said, I do think it's progress that the Republicans have finally tapped a female for a spot on the ticket. And only 20 years behind the Democrats. For the Republicans that represents real progress and I heartily congratulate them on it.

And it's nice to see that McCain agrees that we need a change; fresh youthful enthusiasm, an outside perspective on Washington, rather than another long-time Beltway insider. It's great to know that he gets that change is more important than experience. That's one place I do agree with him.

I would say good things about him picking a candidate with good judgment, except that she turns out to support Creationism in the public schools. :-7
30th-Aug-2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
partiallyclips calls Todd Palin (Sarah Palin's husband) the oil-magnate husband. Wikipedia says he's an oilfield worker in winter, a salmon fisherman in summer, a union guy, just follow the references! I'd love to be making the $120K he pulls down, but that's not magnate-ness, that's just an Alaska oil job. This guy sounds like a can-do redneck, but in a good way.

Sarah Palin could be McCain's bad-boy answer to the Repubs, dragging them forward to 1984. Say what you like about ol' John, he's always had a sly sense of humor. Palin may help McCain about as much as Ferraro helped Mondale. Look beyond her positions for a moment, though. She vetoed the Bridge to Nowhere and cut a lot of other pet projects - a real goo-goo of the old school. She's cheerful and not full of herself. This is about as far as you can get from all those rich, pompous guys from the primaries who the echo-chamber partisans were saying "should" have the VP nomination. She's ever so much more clueful than Dan Quayle.

Now look at Palin's positions again, and sigh. Watch the VP debate, and smile.
31st-Aug-2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
It's fascinating to talk to you about politics, because you see the same facts I do, but reach opposite conclusions.

I lack the imagination to understand how anyone who cares so little about the lives of Iraqis as to support our war there can sincerely care about the "right to life" of a fetus. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million, Iraqis have been killed, including at least one woman in labor, killed by American troops while she was en route to a hospital to have her baby delivered.

So I view the "pro-life" sentiments of Bush and McCain as nothing more than a calculated, insincere attempt to win the votes of the religious right. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, doesn't just talk the talk, she walks the walk. But at the same time, I don't think that giving birth to a child with Down's syndrome qualifies one to be Vice-President. Palin's sincerity on an issue that I feel should be a matter of individual choice is a reason not to despise her, not a reason to vote for her.

I'm happy that the Republicans have selected their first female running mate, 24 years after Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro. But Palin has governed, for 18 months, a state with the population of Fort Worth, TX. If Bush wanted to select a woman VP, why didn't he select someone with more experience, like Christine Whitman, Kay Hutchison, Elizabeth Dole, Susan Collins, or Carly Fiorina?

I'm not worried so much that Palin would be clueless if she became President, but that McCain would be clueless if he kept appointing people like Palin.

Any President, no matter how experienced or inexperienced, knows only a small fraction of what is needed to make sound, objective decisions. So any President must appoint to his or her administration reasonably impartial, knowledgeable people with expertise in many areas. I know of only two such people in the Busn administration: Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke. They both were ignored because their facts contradicted neo-conservative ideology, so they quit or were fired and wrote books critical of the Bush administration's ideologically based, reality-free policies.

Sarah Palin is not a Paul O'Neill or a Richard Clarke. She would be no more of an asset to a McCain administration than Mike Brown, the Arabian horse guy, was to FEMA. Even the Bush appointees with considerable experience, like Cheney and Rumsfeld, based their beliefs (or at least their claims) on ideology rather than on reality. They believed the fairy tales about the WMDs, collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, "we will be greeted as liberators", and so on, because those beliefs supported the administration's desire to invade Iraq.

This country can't afford another ideological, reality-free administration.
31st-Aug-2008 10:03 pm (UTC)

I don't think that giving birth to a child with Down's syndrome qualifies one to be Vice-President.

I realize you never said it does.

Edited at 2008-08-31 11:03 pm (UTC)
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