Getting Beyond Lies, Personal Attacks, and Evasions with the Palin/McCain Ticket

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I confess that I have laughed at many of the Sarah Palin jokes in my email this week. But is this what we want our campaign, and our national leadership, to become?

Clearly, without popular issue positions to run on, McCain-Palin have committed themselves to a strategy of lies, personal attacks, and evading direct answers to questions about policies. But do we want our candidates, or our own campaign activities to sink to this level? Are we willing to concede the Rovian message that issues don’t matter to the voters?

I think not. I think U.S. voters care enough about this great nation that they will consider the issues and use those issues to decide about candidates. And so I want to cut through some of the complaints about lies and meritless attacks on the press, and through the rhetoric of speeches, to see if we can actually discern where the candidates stand on some of the issues. To start, I tried to learn more about Sarah Palin – not just the labels and slogans but about what her actions tell us about her stance on the issues. With this week’s essay, I want to share a little of what I have learned about her position on a couple of issues:

Free Enterprise Fiscal Conservatism
Palin describes herself as a traditional Republican fiscal conservative. She talks about her managerial experience as a mayor and then a governor. So we should understand what that experience actually consisted of.

When she was mayor, Wasilla, Alaska had less than 6,000 residents. When she took office, Wasilla had a budget surplus. When she left office, Wasilla had a $20 million budget deficit. Was the deficit created by improving schools, or civic infrastructure? No, Palin paid contractors more than $20 milllion to build a for-profit sports facility. Palin guaranteed Wasilla tax payers that the facility would generate profits for years to come. Now, a decade after she left office, it has run at a loss every single year it has been open. But all of her contractor friends got paid.

Maybe she learned from the experience by the time she became governor. She told the Republican convention about her devotion to fiscal control and budget discipline. What she didn’t mention was that her current state budget, at $6.6 billion, is the highest state budget Alaska has ever had. She did mention that she had cut the fat out of the budget. What she didn’t mention was that the “fat” included a wind power energy project and a clean coal energy project. As we struggle to get less dependent on imported oil, Palin’s fiscal conservatism doesn’t encompass any new forms of energy production.

You might think that a fiscal conservative cut wind and clean coal power projects because she doesn’t believe private energy companies should be getting taxpayer subsidies. You’d be wrong. One of the things Palin insisted on in the $6.6 billion budget was a $500 million contract with a Canadian company to build a natural gas pipeline across Alaska. That’s right. Because the oil industry is so impoverished and unable to afford to build its own pipelines, she wants taxpayers to build the pipeline for the industry.

$500 million is 7.6% of the state’s entire $6.6 billion budget. ­7.6% for just one contract, for a foreign contract – no, she couldn’t find any U.S. company to build her pipeline. While you’re thinking about giving 7.6% of the state’s budget to one company, try to decide if you think she put a clause in the contract that provides for the taxpayers to get any share of the profits the Canadian pipeline company will earn from the pipeline the taxpayers paid for.

Fiscal conservatism? Free enterprise capitalism? Saving U.S. jobs for U.S. citizens?

Tax Policy
Palin has attacked Barack Obama’s tax reform plans. So looking at her record on taxes should help us understand her better. She told us that she believes in cutting taxes. And it turns out that she did cut some taxes in Alaska. And she raised some other taxes.

Palin cut taxes on commercial buildings. Say, for example, that a big real estate investor in, say, Phoenix owns a few office buildings and some apartment complexes in Juneau and Fairbanks, Palin wanted them to have a reasonable rate of return on their investments, so she worked to reduce the taxes they were paying on their buildings.

Those taxes were used for things like maintaining (and plowing) the streets around the buildings, providing police and other government services for the buildings, and paying for the various government agencies that kept the cities running so that the buildings had tenants to occupy them. So cutting the taxes didn’t mean cutting the services. Instead, Palin had to find some other source of money for the services. And she did. She raised taxes on groceries.

That’s right, to provide a tax cut to large property investors, Sarah Palin increased taxes on groceries purchased to feed families.

Now don’t get me wrong. Not all of the higher grocery taxes were routed directly into tax cuts for the investment companies. No, no! If you remember from the section above, $500 million of the taxes go to guarantee the profits of a Canadian pipe line company.

Earmarks
John McCain is famous for complaining about “earmarks” – those special bundles of tax money that congressmen give each other. Alaska Senator Ted Steven’s famous “bridge to no-where” was an earmark program, which Palin supported, until congress killed it. That’s why Ted Steven’s, between appearances in Court on criminal charges, campaigned for Palin for governor.

Long before she became governor, Palin was working to get earmarks for that 6,000-person metropolis of Wasilla. She succeeded in getting $27 million Federal dollars for her 6,000 citizens. That works out to $4,500 for each person, each school child, each infant in Wasilla. That was your tax money and mine.

When did she decide that she was opposed to earmarks? As governor of Alaska, she asked for $160.5 million in Federal dollar earmarks for 2008, and $198 million for 2009. She actually ‘discovered’ that she was against earmarks when she learned that McCain wanted to pick her to try to go after ex-Hillary voters.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the speaker’s podium. Palin decided that she was against earmarks, but not against Federal dollars. You see, she told us that as a reformer she opposed the bridge to no-where earmark. But she didn’t mention that after “opposing” it, she took the $223 million Federal dollars anyway, and decided to spend them on other things.

Truthiness
Palin tells us that she’s a committed “Christian,” devoted to the Bible and working to force women everywhere to accept her narrow understanding of the Bible, in their health decisions. But she doesn’t mention how narrow that understanding is.

The Bible commands that “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”
But in her first national speech, Palin lied about Obama’s tax plan. She lied about her support for the bridge to no-where. She lied about Obama’s legislative record. She lied about her “reform” efforts in Alaska. She lied about her tax history and McCain’s tax plans.

I guess maybe her evangelical Bible has a different list of commandments in it than the Bibles which most of us read. In a later essay, I’ll look at how Biblical Palin really is.

by Tomtom_hall_2.jpg Hall

Tom Hall is a family law attorney. He is originally from Boston, where he grew up in the Cambridge Friends Meeting (Quakers), thinking that religion was a progressive force. During the Vietnam War, he organized draft counseling centers and worked with groups training people to participate in highly disciplined nonviolent demonstrations (real disciplined nonviolence is just plain maddening to police forces who count on demonstrators giving them reason to get ‘messy’ during public demonstrations). After the war, he became just another yuppie working to make himself a comfortable life. The Bush administration has shocked him back into social concerns. Tom can be reached at ProgBlog@aol.com

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Comments

  1. JuliaH says

    “Lipstick on a pig!” Lipstick on a pig!” Lipstick on a pig!” There! I said it! Neener neener neener!

    I am entirely proud that Obama has risen above this latest attempted media skewering. And I am encouraged to see that the majority of us who cognate appear to have recognized how the McCain camp is seizing on everything they can to distract voters from the mess that the Republicans have created in Washington, in this country, and across the world.

    I see no “change” in using the same old tired and dirty tactics to undermine Barack Obama. This is the same way that the Republican party managed to trick Americans into submitting to the debacle we’ve endured for the last eight years. We were duped the first time, duped yet again in ‘04, and if we don’t snap out of our complacency soon, we’ll be duped again this year, too.

    The Republicans are spinning the negativity like mad-dogs, lipstick and all, breeding hate and divisiveness, which is very un-Christian, deceitful, and extremely unproductive. It’s disgusting and entirely transparent.

    McCain used to be someone whom people respected back in the day…but he and his party are stooping to new lows just to “win” the White House.

    Race and gender are not the issues here. The sunk economy, the housing crisis, multi-trillion dollar wars, lack of affordable health care, and botched foreign relations are the issues, just to name a few and in case we were momentarily distracted by all the dog-fighting.

    Stop and think: Why are we in this condition? Because the Republicans have dragged us to the bottom of the barrel. How can we fight our way back up to the top? Not by blasting each other with nasty rhetoric. The only way to climb back out of our hole is to do it as a united American team who focuses like ADULTS on the troubling issues of the day. This is serious business, not a TV reality show. This is, actually, real life!

    The McCain camp is trying like the dickens to cheapen the election and hence, the office of the President of the United States, and further, they continue to trash America’s image to the world, which undermines our credibility, ability to create meaningful change, and our security. McCain and Palin have turned this election and our governmental infrastructure into a circus. We are proving that we are the laughing stock and are no longer the world leader that other countries used to emulate.

    This is the last straw. I am tuning out the white noise and am listening to the message that Barack Obama is delivering. He is the only candidate who is trying to restore decorum and decency to this country and he is the only candidate who has the vision to unite us, equal the playing field, and set us on a practical course toward finding progressive solutions to our immense national and international problems.

    I am deeply gladdened that some of us are starting to pay attention…there are some very spot-on and well thought out comments in this string! Well done! Huzzah!!! At last! There really IS hope that there is intelligent life in America! Now we need to act! I am not going to sit here doe-eyed and take the McCain/Palin farce in the backside!

    - Concerned in Silicon Valley, CA

  2. Buck says

    Over the past weeks, following both the Democratic and the Republican conventions, I have attempted to see both sides of the arguments presented by both candidates. In that, I have to balance what I have seen and heard against what I have seen over the past 7 years. What I am finding is that I don’t hear any substantial change that Mr. McCain or Ms. Palin has offered to correct the issues we face today. Rising unemployment, a war that is costing us dearly in the number of lives lost, the foundering economy to the point of collapse, the lost of credibility on the world stage, the rising and out of control deficit that threatens not only this generation but future generations to come, the rise in gas prices and the increases in profits for those companies and executives of the oil companies. All I have heard from the Republican candidates is the Obama does not have the experience to run the country but is offering change as a remedy. But If I am not mistaken, it would appear that this is what the McCain ticket is now trying to sell. It truly amazes me that he has the audacity to say that.

    I was truly surprised when Ms. Palin was identified as Mr. McCain’s running mate. It seemed to me to be contrived and intended to siphon the votes that Hillary Clinton got during her campaign. That was, in my opinion, a blatant attempt to manipulate women to vote for them because she is a woman. But I have not heard anything that she has had to say because, as in the Bush administration, she is being shielded from close scrutiny. I do understand that she is to have an interview in the near future, when she is ready. What does that mean? When she is ready? We are less than 60 days away from election day. Does this mean that she isn’t ready to share her views in an open forum? That is a scary thought.

    Lastly, in listening to Obama. It is true that he does not have the extensive background that we have seen in other Presidential candidates, but what I have heard makes sense. Why ignore your enemies? If you don’t have some type of dialog, how do you guage your actions? Haven’t we seen this in the past 7 years and the world is less safe today than it was 7 years ago. In the Democratic convention, I heard a number of changes that he said he would pursue. And what I heard as a rebuttal, is that there were no specifics. Oh well, I guess we all hear what we want to hear and discard the rest. All I heard from the Republicans was an attack on what he had said and the insinuation that he would increase taxes. No specifics.

    Now, what I would like to know is this. How do we service a debt that is so large that it is crushing our economy? Are we better off today than we were 7 years ago? In my meager opinion, we are not. And with that said, we will have to pay the piper at some point in the future. If there is a way to do that without increasing taxes on those who pay the least, then please enlighten me. I have taught my children at least one thing about fiscal responsibility. It is called “Cash and Carry” If you got the cash, carry it. If not, leave it where it is. It seems that we have lost that lesson and we now are paying for it in foreclosures, failing banks, unstable markets, lost credibility in the world markets, two wars and the list is almost inexhaustable. When do we CHANGE direction? Or is it that we just go along with the program and accept whatever comes along? All I want is to have someone in the White House that can think their way through a problem and select the best possible solutions rather than being a Maverick and shoot from the hip and hope to get it right. I think that we have seen what happens when we have someone in the White House that is a Maverick and won’t listen to anyone but those who agree with him. Iraq comes to mind.

    Am I going to vote for Obama/Biden? Yes. Not because he is an African-American but because the message he is presenting is more acceptable than the one I have heard from McCain/Palin. Enough said.

    • John says

      Buck,
      That was elegant. I wish more people cared to research their positions as thoroughly as you, but then again, most people is this country do not read, never mind thinking about researching a topic. Sad.

  3. Bill says

    TO Elena Perez, Factcheck.org today debunks 5 of the rumors going around the liberal blogs about Palin.2 of them are from your link to CA NOW. The alledged book banning was in 1996,yet some of the books on the “list’ were not even published yet. She didn’t push for creationism only to be taught,but for both sides to be open for discussion/debate. What I find ironic about the CA NOW site is it is meant to advance women in nation/world.Here we have a women running for office who your group should greatly admire,yet you are attempting to smear her and tear her down. Your group is alittle like the NAACP which only supports and defends blacks as long as they are not a republican/conservative.Your group needs to change its moniker to NOLW ( National Org.of Liberal Women)

  4. Dixie Dawg says

    What we truly have in play in this country is pragmatic materialism. As long as people are comfortable, content and able to purchase the latest gizmo at Best Buy, then they really don’t take the time to examine the qualifications and past history of a politician. As long as CNN and FOX can take their opinion polls and dose us up with another windfall of media propaganda, that will satisfy the appetite of the many lazy Americans who are more interested in the Food Network than they are the state of our Union.

    I didn’t really expect to “un-earth” the willingness of my Conservative friends to accept at face value what little they know about the latest VP choice. I truly expected people to be slightly more cognizant of who she was and what she has done, but I was wrong. Why should I be surprised, though? The average American has become complacent and lives in total ignorance. As long as they can aquire a mortgage that they can’t afford, buy a designer car that they don’t need and pretend to have the American Dream that will give them a heart attack, then why mess up a good thing?

    We have over 300 million people in the country, give or take a few. When you look at presidential qualifications, you want someone who is grounded in foreign policy knowledge, educated about economic issues and well-versed in government policy. One would hope that a qualification would include reading and understanding the U. S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

    Out of 300 million people, we came up with a man whose claim to fame is a POW camp (and God Bless him for his service), but there were over 600 other POW’s who actually were imprisoned as well and some were in captivity much longer. We have a candidate who got into the Senate through the help of his wife’s beer distributorship fortune and has managed to become presidential material after the scandals of womanizing and Keating Five.

    We have another presidential candidate who is a Harvard graduate and a lawyer, but lacks the foreign policy and economic experience that is preferred for the presidency. Yes, he is charismatic and a great speaker, but the lack of experience is somewhat troubling at best.

    I think about all the many people who would be truly qualified to run for office on either party ticket because of their vast knowledge of domestic and world affairs, people with years and years of proven experience. The many government leaders, strategists and diplomats who have traveled the world and understand foreign policy…..The many college presidents, professors and lawyers who have extensively studied economics, political sciences and functions of government……The many people who have worked in the private sector and government for decades and who have formed policy that is tried and tested.

    But, what is America interested in? Stage presence and the ability to hunt down Alaskan wildlife. Today, I am deeply saddened because there are so many people who are unwilling to stand up and be counted, to tell the truth about our current state of affairs. Until people begin pounding on their Congressmen and Senators and keep their phone lines hot in pursuit of good leadership…….until people stop accepting the status quo and turn up the heat on Washington, DC, then things are truly not going to change. When our nation’s future becomes more important than the latest flat screen TV, then maybe we will have a glimmer of hope and someone truly qualified will be voted into office.

  5. Tom Hall says

    >>They just told on a news channel a while ago that Palin did not actually ban libary books when she was Mayor, but that she did ask the Librarian if she would be willing to censor books at the local library and the Librarian said, “No”. What concerns me is that Palin would even raise the question of book censorship. Doesn’t that violate freedom of speech? Do you have any more info on this?<<

    What I understand is that Palin sent a letter of termination to the librarian, but withdrew it after a public outcry. I don’t know if Palin has ever publicly identified the books she wanted removed from the library. But there are plenty of people like her who believe that it is important for them to decide what is safe or unsafe for us to read and do, and also believe that they should impose their beliefs on us.

    But don’t forget the focus here. Palin in nominally second on the ticket. The significance of much of this stuff is that McCain seems to have mortgaged himself completely to the ultra-right wing fundamentalists in his desparate attempt to win the election. We have consider whether we can afford the payments, over the next four years, of the mortgage he is signing us all up for.
    (Of course, if you consider supreme court appointments, the price will be paid over many more than four years.)

    Tom

    • D. Keaton-smith says

      The Lavender Inkwell Bookshoppe Newsletter
      Palin’s Banned Books

      Sept. 8, 2008

      Dear Friends of The Lavender Inkwell,

      A friend and recently retired teacher sent this to me today. I pass it on to you.

      Here is a list of books that Sarah Palin tried to have banned from the Wasilla Public Library, according to the official minutes of the Library Board. When she was unsuccessful at having these books banned, she tried to have the librarian fired.

      As many of you will notice, it is a hit parade for book burners.

      A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
      A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
      Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
      As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
      Blubber by Judy Blume
      Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
      Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
      Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
      Carrie by Stephen King
      Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
      Christine by Stephen King
      Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
      Cujo by Stephen King
      Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
      Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
      Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
      Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
      Decameron by Boccaccio
      East of Eden by John Steinbeck
      Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
      Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
      Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
      Forever by Judy Blume
      Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
      Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
      Have to Go by Robert Munsch
      Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
      How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
      Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
      I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
      Impressions edited by Jack Booth
      In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
      It’s Okay if You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein
      James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
      Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
      Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
      Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
      Lord of the Flies by William Golding
      Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
      Lysistrata by Aristophanes
      More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
      My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
      My House by Nikki Giovanni
      My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
      Night Chills by Dean Koontz
      Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
      On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
      One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
      One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
      One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
      Ordinary People by Judith Guest
      Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective
      Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
      Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
      Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
      Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
      Separate Peace by John Knowles
      Silas Marner by George Eliot
      Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
      Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
      The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
      The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
      The Bastard by John Jakes
      The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
      The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
      The Color Purple by Alice Walker
      The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
      The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
      The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
      The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
      The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
      The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
      The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
      The Living Bible by William C. Bower
      The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
      The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
      The Pigman by Paul Zindel
      The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
      The Shining by Stephen King
      The Witches by Roald Dahl
      The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
      Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
      To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
      Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
      Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster
      Editorial Staff
      Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween
      Symbols by Edna Barth

      http://www.lavenderinkwell.com
      http://www.sugarpearl.org/

      Contact Information
      phone: 424-7191 The Lavender Inkwell

      • Bill says

        To D keaton Smith, go to factcheck.org where some of the rumors on Palin are debunked including the alledged book ban.If the book ban took place in 1996 as is claimed,then why are the harry potter books on the list? they were not published untill 1998. You Palin haters lose all credibility (besides looking foolish) when you keep jumping on these rumors hoping they are true.She will be doing interviews soon along with her Oct.2 (I believe) debate with Biden.If she is not qualified for the job,it should come out then. Here is another site debunking the Palin rumors explorations.chasrmartin.com/2008/09/06/palin-rumors

      • Tom Hall says

        Dear D. Keaton-Smith & LavenderInkWell,

        Excuse me if I am blunt, but this posting deeply saddens me, on multiple levels.

        First, How could operators of a bookshop not see instantly that this list was a hoax? Does anyone truly imagine that Sarah Palin is aware of the Canterbury Tales or the Decameron, let alone aware enough to a level to make a demand for censorship?

        Before this list circulated, verifiable news from Alaska had detailed Palin’s inquiries to the librarian and her letter firing the librarian, and the town’s response. There was no support for a claim that Palin had a censorship list.

        To circulate such a list is to do to Palin what the McCain-Rove campaign organization is doing to Obama. It’s wrong for them and wrong for us.

        And it’s most saddening that every progressive doesn’t know that.

        Tom

  6. Dixie Dawg says

    Tom Hall Said:

    Second, in fairness to Palin, she did not sell the plane on ebay, and never said that she did. She said she put it on ebay. It was John McCain, who knew the facts, who made the intentionally false statement that the plane had sold on ebay.

    (In fact, McCain certainly had the facts available to him from his research staff (or even from Palin), but may have simply not had the intellectual activity to recognize them – so his misstatement may not have been intentional.) Do we want a president who is so careless about facts?

    —————————————————————-
    Dixie Dawg says:

    Thank you, Tom for the correction. I honestly thought the plane was sold on E-Bay. I misread that one. One other note of concern: They just told on a news channel a while ago that Palin did not actually ban libary books when she was Mayor, but that she did ask the Librarian if she would be willing to censor books at the local library and the Librarian said, “No”. What concerns me is that Palin would even raise the question of book censorship. Doesn’t that violate freedom of speech? Do you have any more info on this?

    • Sharon Kyle says

      Dixie Dawg and Tom:

      A million thanks for elevating the dialogue. This type of exchange is exactly what we need on this site, on the internet and in America.

      You both are outstanding.

      Sharon

  7. Dixie Dawg says

    This is what concerns me about the election. People on both sides of the fence, Conservative or Liberal, are refusing to take a close look at all candidates because they have always voted Republican or always voted Democrat. That is insanity at its finest……

    Some of my Conservative friends have actually been quite nasty in their remarks towards me just because I questioned Sarah Palin’s experience and her need to leave small children for long periods of time to become Vice-President. I also questioned her need for power when she willingly exposed the teen pregnancy of her daughter, a young girl who had her situation exposed on the world’s stage. When I raised questions about her experience and life decisions, you would have thought I had burned an American flag. People even accused me of having something “personal” against her as though I am jealous of her.

    What I have learned is that the reason so many things are going wrong in this country is because people are not able to sit down in a calm and rational manner and discuss important issues. People have become totally irrational in their thought processes and God help anyone who has a thought independent of the two political parties.

    We have Russian warships at our back door, the war in Iraq, the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the illegal immigration problem, the border issue, the health insurance problems and all we hear about is, “I sold the Governor’s airplane on E-Bay”! So what! What are you going to do as Vice-President? Where do you stand on issues? This is not a personality contest – this is a very important election. I wish someone would notify the candidates that this is about the future of our country and not about winning a spot on American Idol.

    People who get upset over anyone raising questions about the next leader and co-leader of the free world needs to have their head examined. There is too much at stake to accept someone as a deserving candidate just because they sound good, look good or can stir a crowd into a frenzy. We don’t need a cheerleader, we need a leader!

    • Tom Hall says

      >>We have Russian warships at our back door, the war in Iraq, the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the illegal immigration problem, the border issue, the health insurance problems and all we hear about is, “I sold the Governor’s airplane on E-Bay”!<<

      Dear Dixie Dawg,

      Two comments on this sentence. First, the Russian warships reflect our success in building a country which occupies a continent reaching from Atlantic to Pacific. Unless we want to claim suzerainty over all the seas, one price of our success is having other country’s ships off our shores. Probably we should be trying to build peaceful relationships with those countries, whether or not we agree with their policies.

      Second, in fairness to Palin, she did not sell the plane on ebay, and never said that she did. She said she put it on ebay. It was John McCain, who knew the facts, who made the intentionally false statement that the plane had sold on ebay.
      (In fact, McCain certainly had the facts available to him from his research staff (or even from Palin), but may have simply not had the intellectual activity to recognize them – so his misstatement may not have been intentional.) Do we want a president who is so careless about facts?

      Tom

    • WomanforPeaceSanity says

      Dixie Dawg,
      Welcome to the New Face Of the Neo-Conservative Republican Party. They have divided the citizens of this nation in the most nasty way possible with their “compassionate conservatism” (both untrue) and have caused our government to be hated around the world. I only hope that the American people wake up! I applaud your courage to dig deep for the truth and to stand up to these lockstep Republican sheep friends of yours! Thanks, Tom, for getting the TRUTH out there, since it is so missing on mainstream television these days!

  8. reader says

    “Clearly, without popular issue positions to run on, McCain-Palin have committed themselves to a strategy of lies, personal attacks, and evading direct answers to questions about policies. But do we want our candidates, or our own campaign activities to sink to this level?”

    Tom, thank you for your comprehensive comments. No, we should not sink to this level of lies and attacks. What is most important, to me, is to learn as many facts as possible about Sarah Palin.

    I’m concerned about Palin’s judgment when her birth time drew close in Texas. Here’s a link to the Washington Post article:

    Palin’s family always held a place in her politics
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26583001/

    I’m a Democrat and would have never terminated the birth of a Down Syndrome fetus. Palin in not special in deciding not to abort. My opinion is she was somewhat reckless in her decisions surrounding Trig’s one month premature birth. See PAGE 3 of the above article. Palin is strong, for certain, but is she wise?

  9. Vera From Sedona says

    As an Arizona Republican I received a fundraising letter from the McCain campaign last Friday. I sent it back with a note that says I will donate exactly the same amount that John McCain has requested in earmarks for our state. McCain’s call to fame is that he is the only representative in Washington never to request any earmarks for his home state. What does that prove? To me it shows that in McCain’s mind Arizona is so wealthy that we do not need any assistance from Washington. It seems he is happy to see all the tax dollars that we send to DC go to other states. Arizona has Indian Reservations with unemployment over 60%. We have beautiful rural areas that would greatly benefit from an increase in tourism. McCain’s lack of concern for Arizona shows that when John and Cindy fly over our state in their private plane that they do not pay attention to the people that live outside of Scottsdale. Lets see if in November the citizens of Arizona will send him a message and not vote for him. In my estimation John McCain has been the laziest representative in Washington in 26 years! So this educated, white, Christian, Republican grandmother will be donating, ZERO, NOTHING, NONE, NADA! To the McCain Campaign. I did donate to the Obama campaign….

    • Lois Hamilton says

      I love you, Vera from Sedona! I am a grandmother of six and am working hard to get Obama and Biden (bless his kind soul) elected. I am doing it for my grandchildren, three of which are female and I want their reproductive rights protected as they grow up; three are male, and if we elect McCain, I am convinced they may be forced to go to war and be killed or screwed up for life. Palin’s also very pro-war and believes that we should “destroy any enemy of her Christian Faith” (Assembly of God’s sermon), which goes along frightenly well with McCain’s foreign policy to rollback rogue states via premptive, unilateral warfare (“Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran”). Any mother or grandmother in this country should be very afraid for their children and grandchildren if the Republicans cotinue to lead our nation! Thanks, Vera, for standing up to power Republican Party) and not voting for McCain/Palin. God will surely bless you!

  10. Kwaayesnama says

    What I saw was a woman who used her poor judgment as a prop to win the sympathy of the American voters. Sarah Pahin uses poor judgment and the GOP makes her out to be a hero! The issue should not be about Sarah Pahin not having an abortion; the issue is that she did not have the good judgment to use birth control. Any intelligent person knows that when you choose to have unprotected sex at 43 you have a very high probability of having a child with Down Syndrome. The republicans are making her out to be a hero because she used the bad judgment not to prevent the pregnancy in the first place. I’m a mother of three, quite well educated, and moderately politically active. I am also a registered Arizona Republican. I do not have the experience, judgment and intelligence to have my finger on the nuclear button and I do not feel that Sarah Palin does either.

    • sonofdy says

      Are you saying she deliberately got pregnant with a downs syndrome child to garner support for this election? WOW. She is amazing. How do you know she isn’t on birth control? Birth control fails for some women. But I admit this is one of the better smears of Palin. At least there is some truth to it.

      • Lauren says

        Sarah Palin opposes birth control use, including condoms, even in the case of married people. But you may well be right in suggesting that she herself is on birth control- since when do Republicans abide by the same fascist moral code they impose upon everyone else?

      • says

        I question Palin’s judgement in saying she is Pro-life yet she had an amniocentesis test – which is not mandatory – to determine genetic defects of her unborn child. There is a 1 in 200 to 1 in 400 risk of miscarrage of the fetus when this test is done. If in fact Palin is Pro-life why did she run the risk of miscarriage by having the amniocentesis test done? Pro-life denotes that regardless if the child looked like a three legged toad, she would keep it anyway. Furthermore, she told the news that it was “…her daughter’s choice” to keep her baby. Does that mean Palin would have supported her daughter if she had chosen abortion? So, is Palin pro-choice, pro-life or what. The other thing that bothers me even more is Palin is not in favor of equal pay for women. This is unbelievable. So far, America has heard three prepared speeches delivered by Palin and all three were written for her and read from a teleprompter by a former sportscaster turned politician. I feel like we have been “set-up”. The RNC didn’t properly vet her – that’s obvious – and at the convention, the politicians blasted the media for coming out against Palin, which put a “hands off Palin” wall around her. So now either the American people have fallen in love with her as a symbol or we have been left hunting down everything we can on the internet to find out anything about her. In essence, we’ve had to vet Palin ourselves. This is frightening! There is entirely too much at stake in this election – taxes, education, social security, The Supreme Court, housing, the war, etc, etc – OMG! What are we doing to ourselves? It’s as if the presidential election has turned into a personality contest.

  11. Dixie Dawg says

    Tom, I appreciate your article and your concern about Sarah Palin. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Christian, Conservative registered Republican. I voted for Bush both times, but after looking at his record and looking at the research I have done over four years about America’s political history, I believe that it is imperative that anyone (Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent) examine each and every candidate through a magnifying glass.

    I try to be fair about both sides, even though I don’t agree with the political views on the Obama/Biden ticket. However, for some reason, I’m not comfortable with the McCain/Palin ticket as well. McCain needed a bonafide boost to the ticket, especially since he was sliding into the abyss with the religious right. He also needed a shockwave to counter Obama (first African-American nominee) on the ticket. And, he did. McCain chose the first woman Republican nominee in American history. But, not only did he choose a woman, he chose a woman who can shoot a moose, clean a moose, who can catch fish, who is a runner, who has had five children, has been a city council-woman, a Mayor, a Governor and now a Vice-Presidential nominee. This lady is not just a VP nominee, she is a folk hero. Of course, women everywhere would love her because she epitomizes the American Dream. She is perfect for the Republican party……and to sway some of the disenfranchised Hillary voters.

    Now, all of my Conservative friends know that I’m not voting for Obama because I feel that a lot of his agenda promotes Socialism, especially his healthcare reform. Still, just because I’m not voting for Obama doesn’t mean that I won’t examine the Republican nominees as well. When I raised a few questions about Gov. Palin with my Conservative friends, they did not appreciate my examination. I truly don’t understand why people don’t feel the need to examine the person who will lead or co-lead the free world. This is the most important position on Planet Earth and people don’t want to ask any questions or question any legislation? That’s unbelievable. Anyway, thank you for your article and God Bless You!

    • Tom Hall says

      >>Now, all of my Conservative friends know that I’m not voting for Obama because I feel that a lot of his agenda promotes Socialism, especially his healthcare reform.<<

      Dear Dixie Dawg:

      Doesn’t this comment risk becoming the same sort of definitionless labeling that is so much a problem in political discourse, as you so rightly comment on in your other posts?

      ALL of our capitalist competitors in Europe, and also Japan, Canada, etc. have functioning public health systems which cover all or most of their citizens. We do not.

      So what does it mean to call Obama’s plan “socialism”? What specifics about the plan offend you? Or, in the alternative, how do you define socialism? We will all benefit if we can move beyond inflammatory labels, to real discussion of important issues.

      Thank you for all of your comments on this forum.

      Tom

      • howard says

        DixieDawg, what I don’t understand is why conservatives get all foamy every time a national healthcare plan is brought up, as if such a thing will begin the slope towards a US communist dictatorship.

        Why don’t they seem to understand that we’ve been living in a partly socialist economy from the getgo? Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, ANY government-sponsored program that aids citizens is a form of socialism.

        Free-market conservatives want to eradicate these and other programs in favor of market-driven solutions, but what they ALWAYS fail to remember [or, if I may be allowed cynicism, do not not wish to remember] is that, generally, these solutions are untested and DON’T WORK when they are. How many examples do we need of government de-regulation leading to an immediate spike in corruption & unfettered, grab-all-you-can greed?

        Again, my point is that we already ARE a socialist economy. We have been as long as we’ve been a nation; there’s nothing wrong with it, so why does it cause such consternation among conservatives?

    • Lauren says

      Dixie,

      I must beg to differ. “Women everywhere” do not love Sarah Palin; as a woman from a family of Hillary supporters (all of whom will be casting their ballots for Obama this fall,) I can assure you that I and the women in my family are not only seriously frightened by the selection of Palin for the GOP ticket, we are deeply insulted. The Republican party assumes that supporters of a politically seasoned Democrat and tireless champion of women’s rights like Hillary Clinton would vote for a candidate who would deny all women the right to make their own medical decisions, a woman who believes that it is HER place to decide when and if people have children, simply because she is a woman. They need to think again. The idea that this pathetically unqualified, relentlessly moralizing, and politically vindictive woman could sit a heartbeat away from the presidency frankly terrifies me- were Palin to sit in office and instill the same policies as President as she has as governor of Alaska I, my sister, and the women of this country would have fewer reproductive rights than my mother’s generation. Unbelievable. McCain and Palin are no choice for women’s lives.

    • Pask says

      “I truly don’t understand why people don’t feel the need to examine the person who will lead or co-lead the free world. This is the most important position on Planet Earth and people don’t want to ask any questions or question any legislation? ”

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. Now more than ever we need to be much more discriminating of the candidates – including the ones we support!

    • says

      Until this very day, I had never heard of the LA Progressive.

      This morning when I went to work out at a local university, I ran into retired Ph.D. sociologist. When I asked him what he thought of Sarah Palin, he said the more I learn about her the more I dislike her. He gave me an envelop and asked that I read the contents and tell him what I thought.

      Thinking that it was going to be a scholarly piece about Sarah Palin, I expected it to be a hard read. Upon opening the envelop, I found 4 pages of babble that had appeared in the LA Progressive. After reading it, I made a note on the envelop for my elderly friend that it reminded me of a review that one of my students once wrote about me. And I suggested that he’d probably had one student write a similar review about him as well.

      Curious, I went to the LA Progressive on the web to see if what I just had read was typical for the Progressive. The very first article I encounter was by some Ph.D. that had been a POW with McCain. It was just as bad as what my friend had asked that I read. So I looked no further.

      Being, by nature, a scientist, I’m not really impressed by sample sizes of 1.

      • Tom Hall says

        Thank you so much for the ratification!

        As you claim to be a scientist, you are probably familiar with the scientific method – involving the consideration of actual facts BEFORE stating the conclusion.

        So where you jump right to the conclusion (“4 pages of babble”) and (“just as bad as”), without pointing to a single factual or logical error, your readers are left understanding that you, the scientist, had no facts or errors to point to, but rather condemned simply because you dislike the exposure of facts.

        I did check your website, and see there the proud claim of years working for tobacco companies before moving on to insurance marketing. I guess some readers might see that history as explaining your dislike of facts.

        Tom

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