Advantage: That one.

Of course Obama won the debate. Here’s the part you won’t believe: I’d say that even if I were still an independent voter, because it was so obvious. McCain looked angry, tired, angry, achy, angry and old. Olbermann mentioned the “get off my lawn” demographic he seemed to be speaking to, and that was it. He’s the grumpy guy in the neighborhood who came back from the Army with a plate in his head. All Obama had to do was stay cool — which he always does; the man has apparently replaced his blood with that blue stuff you put in picnic coolers — walk around a little to show off his knife-slim, erect, athletic posture, and wait for Grandpa Simpson to get angrier. Which he did. It’s presidential-by-comparison.

It’s over, folks. I’m already starting to feel sorry for the Mav’rick. (Sooner or later, I feel sorry for everyone who loses. I’m not the world’s biggest empath, but as a mother, I feel obligated to assume the sorrows and mistakes of all around me.) Maureen Dowd, of all people, seems to put her finger on the roots of his misery:

John McCain has long been torn between wanting to succeed and serving a higher cause. Right now, the drive to succeed is trumping any loftier aspirations. He cynically picked a running mate with less care than theater directors give to picking a leading actor’s understudy. And he has been running a seamy campaign originally designed by the bad seed of conservative politics, Lee Atwater.

It was adapted in 2000 in Atwater’s home state of South Carolina by Atwater acolytes in W.’s camp to harpoon McCain with rumors that he had fathered out of wedlock a black baby (as opposed to adopting a Bangladeshi infant girl in wedlock). Sulfurous Atwater-style rumor-mongering by Bush supporters — that McCain had come home from a Hanoi tiger cage with snakes in his head — aimed to stop him during that primary after he had zoomed in New Hampshire.

(To be sure, this is more or less conventional wisdom about McCain, and not original to Dowd. But she’s the most recent person to say so, so.)

Sarah Palin — now that’s another story. Discussion of her political future was a little side chitchat in the comments here yesterday, and I agree with whoever said she’s having a very good year, win or lose. It’s no accident she inspires rock-star swooning, while her running mate nets a little polite applause. She’ll go back to Alaska and muck around for a while, but her sights are set on Washington, and that’s where she’s going, if not to Blair House, than certainly to some nearby address. (I hope the First Dude can handle the humidity.) She’ll start doing her roadwork for 2012, while the propaganda wing of the party starts its whispering campaign about President Obama. It’s Clinton II! Oh, I can’t wait.

Meanwhile, carve out a big chunk of time and read George Packer’s dispatch from my native land of Ohio in this week’s New Yorker. God, is it depressing:

A man in Brown County, along the Ohio River, in the southwestern part of the state, said that a year ago there was one foreclosure notice in the local paper each week; now the number is six or eight, and the listings for the week of September 12th announced fifty-three foreclosure sales in a county with only fifteen thousand households. In the town of Wilmington, outside Dayton, a D.H.L. facility with eight thousand workers—a third of the area’s population—is likely to close. On September 9th, the day I flew into Cincinnati, a woman named Marla Bell, attending an Obama rally near Dayton, told National Public Radio, “It almost feels like it’s a dying state.”

The next day, Governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat who remains popular in Ohio, announced a budget shortfall that would require painful spending cuts across the board. The state’s budget director, Pari Sabety, told me, “There are a lot more part-time jobs, jobs without benefits, jobs that require a broader social safety net than we currently have. We are not creating high-value jobs at a rate that can absorb people who are losing high-value jobs of the old economy.” The economic crisis, she went on, is so grave that it has created room for a renewed discussion about the role of government in people’s lives. “Here’s the opportunity before us. What’s happening is a slow-motion Katrina to economies like ours. I feel like we are where F.D.R. was.”

(Yes, Deb, John — you’re going to see lots of place names you recognize here. Brown County, Athens, Glouster, Cincinnati, Columbus. So read.)

Several people have sent me a nine-minute YouTube video (!!! Like I have nine minutes! For YouTube! !!!) purporting to pin the entire economic meltdown on the Democrats and, specifically, the Community Reinvestment Act. Because, you know, Republicans couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it. Anyway, they’re wrong, as Daniel Gross explains in Slate. It’s a shorter, lighter version of “The Giant Pool of Money,” touted here about seven million times. Worth your time.

Oh, and speaking of which, in a piece on about “The Giant Pool of Money,” reporter Alex Blumberg mentions a blog he relied on in his research — Calculated Risk. I just bookmarked it and based on two days of reading, I’d say it’s also worth your time. Not a lot of analysis (in two days, anyway), but a wide range of sources collected under one roof.

NPR’s Planet Money blog is helpful, too.

And because I now have three freelance assignments and a zombie-movie shot list to produce by day’s end, I turn the rest of it over to you folks.

Posted at 9:47 am in Current events |

77 responses to “Advantage: That one.”

  1. del said on October 8, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Yes, Obama won — but both were measured and senatorial, a welcome change from W.
    And for a Halloween party we’re borrowing from nn.c commenters. My wife will wear heals and a snug skirt along with a cutout Sarah Palin mask (thanks LA Mary?) and I will wear a T-shirt: “Just because I want to have sex with Sarah Palin doesn’t mean I want to be screwed by John McCain.” (thanks moe99).

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  2. Emma said on October 8, 2008 at 10:18 am

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  3. brian stouder said on October 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Pam and I were constantly put off by…..Tom Brokaw!

    An actual debate was breaking out, and he quickly moved to silence Obama! THAT made me come out of my chair.

    Other than that, it was what I expected. In the post-shows, we flipped around a bit (although Olbermann was must-watch, at the top of the hour) and heard one of the newsies say how COLD it was in the hall….and that (possibly) made some sense out of McCain’s rapid bug-out from there!!

    And then I read this, this morning, from fivethirtyeight’s “live-blog” – and had to laugh

    9:57 PM [Sean] By the way, a special shout out for an absolutely horrible experience on the campus of Belmont University. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a less welcoming place. We hated this campus and the staff here so much that we left to watch the debate at a pizza joint. I don’t like to regret things, but it would be hard to overstate how terrible a day this has been, and how crappy every interaction we had in Tennessee was. It was a terrible decision to leave Indiana and come down here. That had to be said for the record.

    Hah!! It was a terrible decision to leave Indiana… – indeed!!

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  4. del said on October 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I meant “heels” not heals. Brian, I was also put off by Brokaw as his questions were designed to get the candidates to commit to “Brokaw’s question”, stuff like, will you commit within 2 years to do X, etc.

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  5. moe99 said on October 8, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Ah, Del. Happy to help.

    Nancy, this is not over til it’s over. I still remain concerned that Osama bin Laden (or someone pretending to be him) could precipitate an incident which will send voters scurrying back to the McCain/Palin fold. Those types know that a McCain presidency would do them far more good than to have Obama as our Commander in Chief. And with listening to my 83 yr old mother as a sounding board, I would not discount the value of racism as keeping voters from Obama either. (the Tom Bradley effect here) Racism is touched on in the Packer article. The fear mongering by the McCain camp has racism as its base and it is never far away from us. I will not rest easy until the results are in Nov. 5. As it is I do not sleep well these nights.

    Here’s some good fact checking on McCain’s lies last night:

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  6. nancy said on October 8, 2008 at 10:32 am

    True dat, Moe. But I was listening to an NPR piece on the voter-registration numbers, and it looks as though the Democrats are way ahead with that one. Especially in North Carolina, an accomplishment I think we can credit singlehandedly to Coozledad and his wife.

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  7. brian stouder said on October 8, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Especially in North Carolina

    and Indiana, baby!

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  8. nancy said on October 8, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Yes, and Indiana. They said Indiana was the only toss-up state that was still leaning toward McCain. Maybe you have to have lived in Indiana for 20 years (or your whole life) to fully grok the significance of that, but when Indiana starts to teeter, I think it’s safe to say we’ve had an earthquake.

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  9. Julie Robinson said on October 8, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I grok, I grok. It’s been 29 years (I don’t count Bloomington) and finally I feel like I’m not alone. This has been the first year my vote in a Democratic primary actually meant something, and the first year my vote in the general election can make a difference. Now, if we could just get Souder out…

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  10. coozledad said on October 8, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Obama said if we could get him North Carolina, then he’d give us the Court of St. James post. Anyone need anything from London? Marmite? HP sauce?
    Branston Pickle?

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  11. LAMary said on October 8, 2008 at 10:51 am

    The mask wasn’t from me, but I have shared it with a half dozen people around here.

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  12. LAMary said on October 8, 2008 at 10:54 am

    coozledad, you just replicated the in house Brit’s shopping list. Most of that stuff can be found at Cost Plus, so don’t waste your time in London on shopping for us. Go to the Tate Modern or drop in on Liz and Phil the Greek to slot a few.

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  13. nancy said on October 8, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Where does the American ambassador live, anyway? I can’t wait to see the walls hung with C’dad’s “Tits” paintings, and the yard overrun by his happy menagerie of lucky, imaginatively named animals: “Watch where you step, Mrs. Blair — I think Llewd was grazing here yesterday.”

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  14. brian stouder said on October 8, 2008 at 11:06 am

    technically, “Watch where you step, Mrs Brown” – but we wanna keep Mrs Blair out of the bio-waste, too

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  15. nancy said on October 8, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Mrs. Brown has her official duties to attend to. Whereas Mrs. Blair has more time on her hands, and being a free-spirited Catholic sort to begin with, would be totally up for a party at the ambassador’s house.

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  16. Connie said on October 8, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I posted the mask link for what that’s worth, but should probably note that I saw it on a staffer’s desk and got the link from her.

    I have once again reached the point where I can’t bear to watch the news. Politics, economics, what happened to the war? I know who I will vote for, and at this point I don’t think anything will change my mind.

    I do read the news. And I am horrified about the Palin rally that had attendees screaming traitor, terrorist and kill him.

    My husband is a Viet Nam vet, and would never vote for McCain. Last week he was in the hospital and a nurse was taking his health history. She asked if he had any previous surgery and if so when and where. His answer: I had surgery for shrapnel in my leg and arm at the xx Army Field Hospital in DaNang in 1970. The nurse – maybe aged 30 – turned and said “Thank you for your service.”

    I realize that is not so uncommon for military folk to hear that these days, but to a Viet Nam vet it was a huge surprise.

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  17. Jen said on October 8, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Speaking of McCain being a cranky old man, my mom says she’s pretty sure that if McCain is elected president, he’ll be out on the White House lawn during the annual Easter Egg hunt, shaking his fist and shouting “You damn kids, get off my lawn!”

    Most of the people I’ve talked to don’t really like either candidate. Personally, I kind of feel like it’s a lose-lose situation, and I can’t see myself voting for either candidate.

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  18. Snarkworth said on October 8, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Speaking of Marmite (and i can safely say I’ve never typed that phrase before), what exactly is it? I recently returned from England with a little packet of the stuff from the B&B breakfast table. What do I do with it?

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  19. Connie said on October 8, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Snarkworth: you best bet is to throw it away. Trust me. I’ve tried it.

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  20. moe99 said on October 8, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Sharkworth: Throw it away or feed it to the dog.

    For those of you still on the fence regarding Obama, may I recommend this article from the HuffPo:

    The organization that Obama has built transcends simply getting him elected and should benefit our society past that. His attention to structure bodes well as we are forced to retool our country. Palin’s mockery of community organizers is put paid for the fraud that it is by this article.

    a new video out about McCain’s rage:

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  21. brian stouder said on October 8, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Personally, I kind of feel like it’s a lose-lose situation, and I can’t see myself voting for either candidate.

    Jen – I know that unsure feeling; in 2004 that feeling was growing within my Hoosier, life-long Republican heart; and after 2005 and Katrina, I had been blown right through it, and into the waiting arms of the D’s.

    Still, in ’06 I continued as a declared ‘R’; and becoming a declared D in ’08 felt (surprisingly)….not ‘painful’, but….unsettling….but also it proved to be a relief.

    Watching footage of the sort we have seen in recent days, of revved up R’s yelling “Kill him!” and “Terrorist!” makes me pretty sure that, barring the disintegration of the Republican party coalition as it stands today, I’ll go to my grave as a Democrat. (I recall when RR said that he hadn’t left the Democratic party, so much as IT had left HIM. That is precisely how I feel about the Republican Party in 2008)

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  22. Mindy said on October 8, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Snarkworth: Marmite is a fermented yeast spread. It tastes like cheep beer that’s been on the gas station shelf much too long. Throw it away, don’t feed it to your poor innocent dog.

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  23. LAMary said on October 8, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Fermented yeast with lots of salt. It’s like chewing a B vitiamin and a salt tablet at the same time. I’m assured by the in house brit that it’s tasty if thinly spread on buttered toast.

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  24. ellen said on October 8, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    marmite is an acquired taste. if your mum gave it to you on toast bits as an infant, then you love it. i have met very few marmite lovers who were introduced to it later in life. if you can stomach it, it is very healthy.

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  25. Snarkworth said on October 8, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks, everyone.

    Unfortunately, in addition to marmite, I possess a morbid fascination for things other people say are awful.

    Where did I… ah, here it is.


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  26. Snarkworth said on October 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm


    Wow! That is foul. ptptptpt.

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  27. Jolene said on October 8, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Here’s a snippet that was published in The Politico a couple of days ago. Really captures the tension that some of the people Packer wrote about seem to be feeling.

    An Obama supporter, who canvassed for the candidate in the working-class, white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, sends over an account that, in various forms, I’ve heard a lot in recent weeks.

    “What’s crazy is this,” he writes. “I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are f***ing undecided. They would call him a n—-r and mention how they don’t know what to do because of the economy.”

    We should all hope that the writer is overstating when he says he has heard such things a lot. Apparently, though, we do not have to be too worried about the Bradley effect. People who have been looking at both current and historical data believe that it will not play a meaningful role in this year’s election.

    Oh, and today’s Gallup Daily Tracking poll now shows Obama up by 11, his biggest lead yet.

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  28. Jolene said on October 8, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Here’s one more comprehensive piece from Megan McArdle on how the financial crisis came to be, framed in terms of the flaws in judgment and the self-interest we all are subject to. Will be interested in your reactions.

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  29. Dave K. said on October 8, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Jen, you still have 27 days so please don’t make up your mind just yet. Obama is speaking in Indianapolis right now. I hope everyone has a chance to hear this speech, and the response from the crowd. No mean-spirited or negative rhetoric, but specific plans about what we need to do together to move in the right direction “…to change this country and to change the world!”. Indiana is actually a toss-up at this point. Our votes really will matter, to win Indiana and to win the most important election of my (56 yr. old) life.

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  30. Colleen said on October 8, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I know someone who is working for the Obama office in town, doing call outs, and she said she’s received her share of “n word” responses from people.

    Here’s what I don’t get–I hear a lot of people use words like “scary” and “dangerous” when they talk about why they don’t like Obama. How, precisely, is he “dangerous”?

    Or does it really come down to race for some people?

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  31. LAMary said on October 8, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    A co-worker here says Obama is scary because he wants to redistribute wealth. He’s a socialist, borderline commie. I asked her where she got this info and she said it was out there.

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  32. brian stouder said on October 8, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Mary – I have had a few, low-key conversations with folks here and there, about various (wildly untrue!) things, related to Obama.

    Yesterday I overheard a fellow on the other side of the office saying to his colleagues (not for the first time) that Obama would be bounced off the ticket (somehow!) and replaced by Hillary, because he wasn’t a natural-born citizen of the United States! Couldn’t resist walking down there and asking him where he heard this flatly untrue thing, and he began clicking away on his computer until he arrived at a screen detailing the lawsuit of some quack lawyer named Berg who has indeed filed a lawsuit of some sort….

    I asked what website this was on – and the fellow replied “” – !!!! THAT, I suggested, was Clue Number One!! Also pointed out that McCain was not born in the United States, but instead in the Panama Canal Zone – and appealed to his common sense (wouldn’t Hillary have siezed on such a gaping vulnerability a year ago?!)

    Later – I printed the Snopes debunk of this citizenship canard (snopes being a good, all–purpose, generally acceptable source) and placed it on his desk, and silence has reigned since.

    If there is another Obama supporter in this office, that person has kept it under wraps!

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  33. mark said on October 8, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you nancy. Perhaps others can learn from your example. I have no problem with vehement disagreement with Palin’s views (or Obama’s). I have no problem with discussions of her lack of experience (or Obama’s, although I think his 2 years of campaigning gives him a depth of knowledge that compensates). I have no problem with those who point out her missteps, like the dreadful interview with Katie Couric.

    But I cannot understand those who insist upon demeaning her. She didn’t win a state b-ball championship, 2nd in Miss Alaska, pay for her own education, help run a family business, land a broadcasting job, marry a seemingly neat, manly guy who appears unthreatened by and supportive of her career, pay her bills, raise 5 children (in process), win a city council seat, a mayoral position, and a governor’s race, with no talent, no intellect, no values and no work ethic.

    To read many comments here, her parents should slit their wrists in shame.

    We should all do so well (or have our children do so well) in life.

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  34. alex said on October 8, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Just the other day had a strange exchange with a woman who says she’s sitting on the fence but leaning away from Obama because “he lied about being editor of the Harvard Law Review and they can’t find any documentation that he ever was.” It took tremendous restraint on my part not to ask her how she could be so stupid.

    Just a minute ago saw Indiana congressional hopeful Mike Montagano and his entourage ambling down the street while I was outside smoking. He’s running as a family values Democrat, which means he’s not particularly appealing to his own party or any Republicans. But here’s hoping Obama’s coat tails are long enough to drag him in because it’s time for Mark Souder to be put out to pasture.

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  35. Dorothy said on October 8, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I don’t know if any of you will find this funny, but I got a huge kick out of it. My 23 year old college graduate son is joining the National Guard as of 10/21/08 (that’s not the funny part), and he’ll be at basic training for 17 weeks, so he voted early. On Monday he texted me. Here’s a transcript of the texts back and forth:

    SON: I just voted!!!
    ME: I hope it was for the right guy.
    SON: You know it!
    ME: Um, maybe I don’t!
    SON: his name rhymes with O Hama
    ME: Or yo mama!

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  36. mark said on October 8, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    LA Mary-

    Obama does want to redistribute wealth. That’s what his “95% of working American families will get a tax cut” rhetoric is about. Only about 50% of working families pay federal income taxes. For the other 50% it means a larger check from the government.

    You can argue the merits of this, but it is about the clearest form of income redistribution there is.

    I’m not in favor of using the tax code in this manner, but it is, in my opinion, better and cheaper than additional entitlement programs that cost billions to administer and tie benefits to compliance with government dictated behavior.

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  37. mark said on October 8, 2008 at 2:21 pm


    wow. I found two points of common ground with you in your one short post. I’m a nicotine addict and I’ll be voting for the not so appealing democrat for congress. Between Obama’s coattails and Souder, well, being Souder, the kid might make it.

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  38. nancy said on October 8, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Mark, I’ll bite. Here’s why people attack Palin personally: Because she bloody well asks for it. I’m not Frank Rich’s greatest fan, but his Sunday passage on Palin was bull’s-eye:

    There’s a steady unnerving undertone to Palin’s utterances, a consistent message of hubristic self-confidence and hyper-ambition. She wants to be president, she thinks she can be president, she thinks she will be president. And perhaps soon. …A few weeks later came Charlie Gibson’s question about whether she thought she was “experienced enough” and “ready” when McCain invited her to join his ticket. Palin replied that she didn’t “hesitate” and didn’t “even blink” — a response that seemed jarring for its lack of any human modesty, even false modesty.

    She is George Bush with XX chromosomes — confident far out of proportion to her abilities, intellect and experience. And your list of her accomplishments — win a state b-ball championship, 2nd in Miss Alaska, help run a family business, land a broadcasting job, marry a seemingly neat, manly guy who appears unthreatened by and supportive of her career, pay her bills, raise 5 children (in process), win a city council seat, a mayoral position, and a governor’s race… — isn’t that remarkable, really. (I’ve covered pageants. I know. Second in Miss Texas, maybe you’d have something, but in Alaska? Um, no.) Seriously, though, take away the politics, and that’s a pretty typical middle-class life. And we’re supposed to respect that, but Obama’s rise from a far more perilous background to far greater accomplishments — Harvard Law Review is one tough nut to crack — is only evidence of his elitism. It just doesn’t track.

    The lady interested me until that convention speech. Then she declared herself my enemy.

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  39. LAMary said on October 8, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Mark, not to be catty, but whenever we’ve watched Miss America, we assumed there were not very many women who entered the Miss Alaska contest because the winner was not of the same level as the Texases or Alabamas or even the North Dakotas.
    Lots of women played basketball (me, for one) and run businesses. Lots of women are in small town government as well as in big town or state goverment. She’s not ready to run the country. She’s someone who wants to be powerful and famous and figures she’ll pick it up as she goes along.

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  40. nancy said on October 8, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    To chime in, Wasilla, Alaska is half the size of Grosse Pointe Woods. And I don’t think the mayor of GPW is qualified to be president. The entire state of Alaska has fewer people than the city of Detroit. You can’t begin to compare the governorship of Alaska to that of, say, California. (And we all know who has that job.)

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  41. brian stouder said on October 8, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    The bloom is already largely off the Palin posy; and the movie “W” might well consign her (and other hothouse flowers like her) to being pressed back between the pages of a thick Wasilla library book

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  42. mark said on October 8, 2008 at 2:48 pm


    You pick and choose unfairly. I suppose somebody has said that Obama’s editorship of the HLR, or his remarkable personal success story, is evidence of elitism. Pretty stupid comment and hardly a justification for not respecting Palin’s accomplishments.

    I don’t think her confidence is in excess of her abilities. I think she is in a very dificult position trying to argue the “McCain line.” Other than the goofy “maverick” pitch and the kind of meaningless “country first” junk, I’m not sure I know what McCain believes in. It’s hard for Palin to retreat to comfortable ground (her developed, conservative views) when in doing so she is as likely to be criticizing McCain as supporting him. If all you were allowed to write about for eight weeks was the journalistic superiority of the FW Journal-Gazette, you might find the subject limiting, and not conducive to showcasing your skills and talents.

    As for Palin’s achievements not being that remarkable, we will have to agree to disagree. There is no one path that is more commendable or praiseworthy in all circumstances or for all people, so it is hard to make comparisons. Can we agree that her accomplishments are remarkable IF she actually has the level of intellect, talent, etc. routinely attributed to her on this blog?

    And no, she doesn’t deserve it. She is competing in the arena of ideas. Politics makes the arena ugly, compared to a college classroom. But trying to dismiss her ideas with comments about her looks, her accent, her clothing, how late the infant is up, etc. are mean and petty.

    I think Obama is wrong on about 80% of his positions. Why have a country that gives him the right to speak his mind, and try to influence others to think as he does, if I have to view him as my enemy? Perhaps what bothers me is the sense that for many posting here, it might be a better country if their enemies weren’t allowed to speak at all.

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  43. nancy said on October 8, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I read an early review of “W” in one of the London dailies last night. Verdict: Meh. No surprise there — Oliver Stone is Spike Lee’s doppelganger in the Academy of the Overrated. Too bad.

    I might see it anyway, just to piss off a Republican.

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  44. brian stouder said on October 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Perhaps what bothers me is the sense that for many posting here, it might be a better country if their enemies weren’t allowed to speak at all.

    Yes – Nance spikes posts hereabouts all the damned time!

    A general beef I have with the McCain campaign is their unabashed fear of unscripted moments. Rick Davis – the McCain campaign manager who had millions of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac lobbiest dollars stuffed into his pants – actually stated that journalists must show the proper “deference” to Sarah Palin….to which I say, horsefeathers!! If she wants the voters to elect her ticket into power, then it is THEY who must show the proper deference to free and open institutions, such as the live Sunday gabfests, or the morning television shows (she took a pass yet again this morning, in the wake of the debates, giving Biden an open road on all the shows)

    People yap here all the time, and nobody said you can’t. I, for one, love to read what you say, and love to argue back. But, if you think Nance’s kitchen is too hot, then you can hit the Jeff-exit….but I hope you don’t (even, or especially! if Alex is right and you’re Danny)

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  45. LAMary said on October 8, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Mark, we can’t agree her accomplishments are remarkable, sorry. Lots of unremarkable people have been governors, and everything else she’s done is pretty ordinary.

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  46. Joe K said on October 8, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Hang in there Mark,
    Your able to express pretty much the way I feel about the whole subject but am unable to get into print. I know in my head what I want to say I just can’t seem to write it well. So when I do write I seem to get called all sorts of names from a FEW posters, I can take it it doesn’t bother me, I just wish I could respond as you do.

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  47. Jolene said on October 8, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    And please. Her ideas? Do you mean the idea that we should address climate change, but shouldn’t worry about the cause? Wouldn’t we be able to address it better if we understood it more precisely? And how about the idea that government should “get out of the way”? How does that fit with the idea of controlling global warming? And how about the idea of cutting taxes and the need to “ramp up” spending on public education? Her “developed views” could use a little more development.

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  48. brian stouder said on October 8, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    And what about the idea that Senator Obama “pals around with terrorists” who don’t love this country? How does this square with her marriage to a secessionist?

    How does this square with her idea about “Country First”?

    How does she square criticism of Obama’s former pastor’s sermons, with her personal “laying on of hands” with a lunatic pastor who brags about conducting successful witch-hunts?!

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  49. Catherine said on October 8, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Mark, I do hear what you’re saying about SP’s personal accomplishments, but I’d be more likely to talk about her ideas if she were actually competing in the arena of ideas. Instead, SP especially and the McCain campaign in general have chosen to compete based on image rather than ideas — “we’re just like you, Joe Six-pack” or some other nonsense. Her personal affect (the winking! the g-dropping! and “nuculur!”) becomes fair game because she sets herself up for voters as a candidate of image, not ideas.

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  50. Dexter said on October 8, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    According to SLATE, Blair House as a residence of the veep is an urban legend.
    (“Truman didn’t actually move into Blair House as veep. Contrary to urban legend, vice presidents have never lived in Blair House, although President Truman occupied it when the White House was being renovated.”…SLATE)
    I recall being taught that it was the veep rez as a school boy. Blair House (Blair-Trowbridge House) is now touted as Guest House of The President . For years the US Naval Observatory has been the official rez of the veep, but I think Cheney abandoned it to a more secure location early-on in his reign as King of the World these last eight years.

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  51. joodyb said on October 8, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    mary, you’ve brought us full circle. the intent was for uncommitteds and hillarybots to identify with that ‘pretty ordinary’ woman, and some may (have). when it comes down to it, nobody wants an ordinary person as VP. we need extraordinary. for mccain, that field was empty. so he found himself a maverick heifer.
    i wonder if he’s stopped talking about his ‘brand’ because someone pointed out that ‘maverick’ means unbranded.

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  52. Dexter said on October 8, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    joodby: …had not thought about that…of course a maverick would not be branded.
    On another unrelated issue…winter has come to Wasilla, it snowed two inches a couple days ago and it will snow again Tuesday, and it’s 30 degrees F right now…GEE! GREAT weather for HOCKEY MOMS , doncha know!!?

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  53. moe99 said on October 8, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    If either Mark or Joe could offer substantive reasons for supporting McCain, it would be worthy to take them on. But, for example the ‘facts’ cited by Mark that only 50% of working class families pay federal income taxes is in a word, unsupported. Many of us, when we write in, offer a web address for more information. I’d appreciate the source of that comment, please, Mark.

    Oh and with regard to Sarah Palin’s quals, I’ll let conservative columnist David Brooks take the stage:

    “[Sarah Palin] represents a fatal cancer to the republican party. When I first started in journalism, I worked at the National Review for Bill Buckley. And Buckley famously said he’d rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty. But he didn’t think those were the only two options. He thought it was important to have people on the conservative side who celebrated ideas, who celebrated learning. And his whole life was based on that, and that was also true for a lot of the other conservatives in the Reagan era. Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I’m afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices.”

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  54. caliban said on October 8, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    ‘That one’ sounds like the ‘little brown ones’. Privilege in American culture produces the Manchurian Bush. When moms is Quaker Oats or that deceased white man on the dollar bill, and the family Sopranoed their current candidate of choice, who fathered an illegitimate black baby, but all is forgiven, well, sure, you betcha.

    This raised it’s head like Putin menacing Alaska in 2004. Intelligence, sophistication, reading, apparently those things are anti-American. For a fact, terrorist interdiction is all about law enforcement. It works. Invasions don’t, except to enrich Cheney. Is it too much to expect that voters understand that Kerry was slimed and the Sanduskuy results were hijacked? County after county in Ohio and Florida were just robbed.

    Now you clever people that like reading Nancy Nall. Know anything about magicJack? Seems to good to be true.

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  55. caliban said on October 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    If you were libeled, would you champion the lies used against you? Wouldn’t that make you a jerk?

    John McCain couldn’t figure out how to fly a plane without getting shot down. The moron W didn’t get shot dowm so repeatedly. John Kerry saved guys lives.

    Who’s the hero? Kerry is. McCain is bullshit.

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  56. moe99 said on October 8, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Find out who in Congress really supports our troops:

    And Obama and babies:

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  57. LAMary said on October 8, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    There are people that I need to be really smart. My doctor is one, the president is another. Sarah Palin isn’t stupid, but she’s not very informed or intellectually curious.

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  58. Jenflex said on October 8, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Mark: my only $0.02 would be that if my 8 1/2 year old grew up to sport a resume similar to S.P.’s, I might be proud of her accomplishments (albeit shocked she veered so far right from her upbringing) but that doesn’t mean I think she’d be a good veep on that basis. SP is ambitious and determined, and those are important qualities, but hardly unique. I’m with the faction that thinks she hit it on the head when she called herself a hockey mom: tough, determined, fierce, but not necessarily a great or visionary leader.

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  59. MichaelG said on October 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Here you go, Caliban.,2817,2250244,00.asp

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  60. Dexter said on October 8, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Shady shines in the spotlight, months before his new release

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  61. mark said on October 8, 2008 at 6:09 pm


    To me, the issues you raise only demonstrate the difficulty in being “stuck between McCain and a hard place.” I’m pretty sure Palin does not thinking that global climate change is caused to an appreciable degree by human activity. McCain, I guess, thinks otherwise, although I have no idea what he plans on doing about it and I don’t think he’s given it a lot of thought (“what would a ‘maverick’ do about global warming? Come on, my friends, let’s come up with something unconventional and shock Washington!)

    As an aside, one of Obama’s better moments was talking about his energy initiative and the need to share developments with the rest of the world. I agree. Even if man’s ativities are influencing climate, I’m not willing to lower living standards here while billions of people in the developing world are polluting like crazy to create jobs and eat. Our self-imposed (or government imposed) deprivations might well be meaningless while, as Obama pointed out, China is adding one new dirty coal plant everyday.

    I wish I could enthusiastically argue McCain’s positions. I can’t. Only in the foreign policy area do I find them to be founded upon convictions applied with some degree of consistency.

    Perhaps Palin should have turned down the offer. That would have put her in a prety exclusive club. She didn’t and she’s making what she can of the situation.

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  62. mark said on October 8, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    I’m a computer illiterate. i don’t know how to cut and pate or post links.

    I may be a little high on my figure. I’m not sure. What I found quickly is from The Tax Foundation, “Fiscal Facts”, June 9, 2005 (which I found by googling “federal tax demographics”):

    “Tax Foundation economists estimate that for tax year 2004, a record 42.5 million Americans who filed a tax return (one-third of the 131 million tax returns filed last year) had no tax liabilty after they took advantage of their deductions and credits. Millions more paid next to nothing.”

    I think the percentage has risen steadily since. If this isn’t sufficient to support my point, let me know and I’ll try to find more later.

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  63. joodyb said on October 8, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    some of them probably even got refunds. i didn’t see your point. was it that a third of the country does not pay taxes? because that’s not what the data show. it simply says they had no liability after filing. they certainly paid in, many of them. (i missed your earlier thread.)

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  64. moe99 said on October 8, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    It’s easy to do paste a website here. you go to the address line of the post you want to bring here, left click and drag your mouse across the address and then right click your mouse and click ‘copy’ then you come here, right click your mouse and click ‘paste’

    The Urban Institute has similar figures to those at the Tax Foundation but they also have this caveat at the end of their executive summary:

    “Even though these tax units bear at most a modest net federal income tax liability, they often face significant payroll and other taxes.”

    So these taxpayers, whose income is so low, they don’t pay income taxes, pay sales tax, gas tax, and of course have social security and medicare deducted from their wages. And as a proportion of their income, I submit that the sales and gas taxes that they pay are a far higher percentage of their income than that of taxpayers who do file and pay income tax. The 8.9% sales tax on non food items in my state takes a bigger hit from the pockets of the poor than it does those of the upper middle class, and by this I mean those earning more than $50K a year.

    More info on what US households earn:

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  65. moe99 said on October 8, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Donna Brazile to lift our spirits:

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  66. Dexter said on October 8, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Oh yeah…as far as I can gather, Cheney still lives at Number One Observatory Circle.

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  67. Jolene said on October 8, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    My problem w/ regard to Sarah Palin’s views on global warming don’t have to do w/ how well they fit w/ McCain’s views but with the logic of saying (1) it’s not important to understand its causes and (2) we need to fix it.

    To fix it, we need to understand it. After all, if global warming is a consequence of natural variations in the weather, we may not be able to do much more than buy sunscreen to deal with it. If, on the other hand, it’s the result of human activity, there are lots of potential interventions. And understanding which interventions are likely to bring about the most benefit depends on understanding which activities are having the most problematic activities.

    Palin’s incoherence on this topic has to do w/ not wanting to back away from a common Republican argument, which is that we don’t know whether climate change is caused by human activity. If it is, the solutions are going to involve governmental regulation of commercial activity. Republicans don’t want that, so they stick w/ the “we’re still studying the problem” stance.

    Palin is trying to have it both ways–to acknowledge that the climate is changing, which is especially obvious in Alaska, while avoiding the conclusion that some form of government action is required to address it.

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  68. Gasman said on October 8, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Nonsense! I for one, have never suggested any violent act toward Sarah Palin. I am politically opposed to her, but do not think that she deserves to die because of that opposition. That is the kind of sentiment that is being pedaled from the pulpit of her churches in Wasilla. You’ll generally find that us liberals tend toward nonviolence as a rule.

    You bemoan Sarah Palin’s treatment by liberals and the media as somehow being unfair. How? As I routinely say to Joe, cite chapter and verse. Name specific charges that have been unfair. What unfair questions did Gibson, Couric, or even Hannity ask? Are you expecting us to usher Palin into the corridors of power without vetting her? You certainly wouldn’t accept that kind of complaint from liberals regarding Obama or Biden, so why is it fair to ask us to give her a pass?

    You put forward her resumé as something special and worthy of elevation to President of the United States. I am curious why you would list anything from her high school days. Most professionals don’t cite high school accomplishments. I certainly don’t, even though I was Jr. and Sr. class president. Aside from her political accomplishments, and her high placing in the Miss Alaska contest (I would have made it if it hadn’t been for that damned swimsuit competition!), our resumés contain most of the same stuff, i.e., being married to a “neat” spouse, paying bills, running a successful business, etc., etc., etc. I also have more education, and I dare say, more record of intellectual achievement. It does not mean, ipso facto, that I should be my party’s nominee for VP. Ooh, on second thought, maybe I really am qualified to be president too!

    You also tend to toss out unsubstantiated “facts” with not shred of evidence to back them up. It seems you freely reach into a certain southern orifice and extract your “facts” and lob them our way. The few time(s) you do cite a website it turns out to be laughably deficient in objectivity and merit. Maybe it’s just my elitist graduate school training, but I don’t make arguments that I can’t support with demonstrably provable facts, usually from multiple, reputable sources.

    You continually refer to Palin as being “bright.” What evidence do you have of this brightness? She very well may be the “dimmest” person in national politics that I have ever seen. For the average citizen, it is no shame to have few intellectual achievements. There are many respectable professions or trades that are not intellectual in nature. However, if you would put yourself forward as being among the best and the brightest to run this country, you should have some record of intellectual activity that merits your ambitions. Like W, Palin seems astoundingly incurious. Her self confidence seems to be inversely proportional to her abilities. She is a big fish in a very small pond and has grandiose dreams of ever larger bodies of water. She wants to play in the big leagues, but she wants to be put in the lineup without even having to try out for the team. She demands to be taken seriously, but she really does not want to be treated like Obama and Biden when it comes to facing reporters or unscripted events.

    Palin exudes a kind of breezy airhead arrogance which seems to make her think that she is capable of her way through questions about topics she is not the least conversant in. She seems to think that winking and flirting are suitable substitutes for actual knowledge and ideas. I’m not sure if her arrogance is borne of her fundamentalist Christian views or from her success on the small Alaskan political stages, but she possesses ignorance and arrogance in fairly equal proportions.

    She has shown no expertise on any subject, even when it comes to basic knowledge concerning Alaskan oil and gas production. If she can’t even get that subject right, arguably her best, why should we accept her 22 months as Governor as evidence of her qualifications for the presidency?

    Her pick by McCain was a typical hail Mary pass deep into the end zone without even a glance to see if there was a waiting receiver. I don’t think that McCain listened to, or even consulted his campaign staff when he chose Palin. He made a rash and ill advised choice by picking someone so utterly unqualified and unprepared. He will go down in history as possibly the most reckless and incautious – to the point of stupidity – politician in our history.

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  69. Deborah said on October 8, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    lower case mark – regarding your litany of Palin accomplishments, may I just say that being a mother of 5 who has an unmarried pregnant 17 year old is not exactly Mother of the Year material. Who’s minding her kids? With all of her extracurricular activities is the First Dude filling in? I wonder.

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  70. joodyb said on October 8, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    that’s something else i’ve been wondering: i bet someone could get the babysitter/nanny to talk. unless there aren’t any. that would be odd, wouldn’t it, with two working parents? maybe not in alaska. i’ve never been there.

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  71. alex said on October 8, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Per the National Enquirer, she was fucking First Dude’s business partner, so if he wasn’t minding the kids, no wonder they’re knocked up.

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  72. Jolene said on October 8, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I think they rely a lot on extended family for child care, joody. Her parents are retired, but relatively young and seemingly fit. The Sally Jenkins story that was linked here last week mentioned that there were kids running in and out while she was interviewing the parents. One of them was Piper, her youngest daughter. The others were other grandchildren, Sarah’s nieces and nephews.

    She also has three siblings. I think all of them live nearby, so that’s more sources of childcare. She mentioned when she was first selected that she was from a close family and that they provided lots of help w/ the kids.

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  73. Jolene said on October 8, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Here’s the “inside dope” on Obama’s campaign in Florida. Looks pretty optimistic, and there are lots of electoral votes there. Winning Indiana would be great, but it has only 11 electoral votes. Florida has 27.

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  74. mark said on October 9, 2008 at 1:47 am


    So much to respond to, so little time for a hunt and peck typist like me.


    Thanks for the instructions. I’ll give it a shot, but… new trick, old dog.

    I agre that the poor, the working poor, and the lower middle class are taxed heavily in ways other than federal income tax where, generally, they are not taxed at all. They spend a much greater percentage on just getting by, and we tax the hell out of those purchases weth little regard (other than food) for their circumstances. Sales tax, as you mention, is an obvious one. Taxes on utilities like electric, gas, water and phone are awful, I think, particularly when coupled with late fees that translate into usurious interest and high disconnect and reconnect fees. Plus there is the tax on gasoline. And don’t even get me started on property taxes.

    It’s something of a “third rail” in tax policy, but we tax the hell out of tobacco and alcohol and most states have the voluntary tax of a lottery. We know full well that use of these items tends to be inversely proportionate to income and education, and that lower income people pay a disproportionate amount of these taxes. Even if use was even across income levels, the poor pay a greater percentage of available income. I guess we dislike the substances, and like the revenue, more than we like the poor.

    FICA, of course, hits no matter how little you make. To me it makes no sense not to means test the program at the back end.

    I’m not suggesting we hammer the poor and middle class by beating up on them with a substantial income tax burden as well. I’d try to even up the system elsewhere and have a nominal tax rate for all but the truly poor. I fear a system where too many are disconnected from the cost of government- or at least the federal government.


    I don’t think I accused you or anyone else of violent intentions against Palin or anyone else. I certainly didn’t intend to.

    I intended to accuse you (the collective “you”) of meanness, pettiness and ridicule of those who hold ideas contrary to your own, perhaps in the hope that you can embarass them into silence.

    I don’t think I have ever mentioned the media and its treatment of Palin, let alone bemoaned it. I did quarrel with Gibson’s question about the Bush doctrine without defining it and I criticized Palin for not having the confidence to insist he define it.

    I also know I didn’t “put forward her resume as… worthy of elevation to the President of the United States” as you claim. To the contrary, I specifically said that I think discussions of her lack of relevant experience are appropriate. For a guy who claims he doesn’t make arguments without demonstrably provable facts, you seem indifferent toward accuracy in characterizing the position you are attacking.

    What I claimed was that her accomplishments make her objectively unworthy of the ridicule and debasement reflected in the comments that appear here. Bill Clinton, a few days ago, quite capably argued Palin’s lack of experience and the wrongheadedness of her views while acknowledging her skills.

    You also say that I “continually refer to Palin as being ‘bright'” and then challenge me to prove my point. I haven’t referred to her as “bright” even once, let alone continually. Would it save time if I agree in advance to concede victory to you on all occassions where you choose to disagree with something I haven’t said? It’s even OK with me if you destroy positions I haven’t taken by pointing out that I didn’t support the things I didn’t claim to be facts with sources that meet your approval, or that the arguments I didn’t make were pulled only from various parts of my anatomy.

    I suspect she is “bright” but i don’t know. It’s not pertinent to the point I actually was making and I’m not interested in trying to reach agreement on the meaning of “bright” with someone with your graduate school training and record of intellectual achievement in order to argue the applicability of the label. My point is and was that her achievements are objective evidence that she is clearly not stupid and not deserving of the more extreme remarks made toward her here.

    joe k-

    Thanks for the kind words, but apparently I need to work a little on the clarity with which I express my thoughts.

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  75. Joe K said on October 9, 2008 at 7:41 am


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  76. Gasman said on October 9, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    If, as others suspect, you and Danny are indeed one and the same poster, then you have referred to Palin as being “bright.”

    Please, spare me your kind words. Truthful or even thoughtful words would be a welcome change.

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  77. Lisa said on October 12, 2008 at 4:29 am

    I am in Springfield, midway between Dayton and Columbus. In our Sunday paper there are an average weekly of over 100 foreclosures and no one can get a job here. Part time jobs look GOOD. My daughter is a sophomore at OU, in Athens and she is insulated from how bad it really is. It is a scary time to live in Ohio nowadays.

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