Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Giuliani: Palin More Qualified Than Obama

Speaking on Face The Nation Sunday, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was announced Friday as presumptive GOP nominee John McCain's running mate, is more qualified to be president than Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. "You know why? She had to make decisions," Giuliani told Face The Nation anchor Bob Schieffer. "All Senator Obama has had to do is talk. That's all he does."

Palin, who is 44 years old, has been the governor of Alaska for less than two years. Previously, she served two terms as mayor of the town of Wasilla, Alaska, whose population in 2000 was 5,470.

Citing her executive experience, the Republican National Convention keynote speaker called Palin "somebody of accomplishment" because "she's vetoed legislation, she's taken on corruption, and in her party, and won. She took on the oil companies and won. She administered a budget successfully." He also said Obama "is the least experienced candidate for president in the last 100 years." "I mean, he's never run a city, he's never run a state, he's never run a business, he's never administered a payroll, he's never led people in crisis," Giuliani said.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats but supports McCain, told Schieffer that McCain's decision to add Palin to the ticket "is a little bit like opening a door and letting some fresh Alaska air into Washington. "I think here he wanted to send the message, get somebody fresh, somebody really who represents the other America outside of Washington where people don't care whether you have an 'R' or a 'D' after your name, they just want you to get something done to help them deal with the problems they have," Lieberman said. "And Sarah Palin comes from that other America."

Carly Fiorina, a senior McCain advisor, called Palin "a person of great accomplishment" and suggested she excites women because she is "a woman trying to balance her work life and her family life, not to mention her incredible track record of reform and taking on, as she said, the good old boy network." Fiorina said Palin's anti-abortion rights position would not keep former Hillary Clinton supporters from backing a McCain-Palin ticket. "I think, frankly, the Democratic Party has done a disservice to women by trying to hold women hostage to the issue of Roe v. Wade," she said. "The truth is the most important issue to women, all the polls say this, is the economy. Women are not single issue voters. Yes, there are some women for whom the issue of reproductive rights trumps everything else. But the truth is most women are not that way."

Also appearing on Face The Nation, New York Times columnist David Brooks suggested McCain chose Palin to shift the focus from Obama to his ticket. "You can see why McCain took her," he said. "She risked her political career to take on the special interests in her own party, she took on the oil companies. She's like McCain. McCain wants to change this campaign from change to, from left to right, he wants to make it, 'I'm going to clean out the stables.'

More here

How to snooker Mr. Vagueness

McCain needs to get serious - and warn about a global tempest

Hurricane Gustav roars toward the Gulf coast of America and brings with it an extraordinarily appropriate metaphor for the Republican National Convention. If the message of the Obama Democrats last week was "change", then the prevailing theme of the Republican gathering this week should be "danger".

John McCain, when asked whether the arrival of the hurricane would affect his convention, said that it might well be inappropriate to hold a "festive event" at such a time. I hope that his people extrapolate from that and decide that festivity should not be the order of the day anyway. The tempest that is now threatening New Orleans with yet more devastation is an uncanny analogue of the perfect Russian storm that is confronting America and the rest of what we must once again call the "free world".

By some terrifying logic, Vladimir Putin has clearly decided that his country's destiny will be fulfilled by becoming a rogue superpower. That is the new reality in which the United States presidential campaign will be conducted. So the outcome of this election is likely to be determined by the contest between those who claim that internal "change" is the biggest challenge facing America, as opposed to those who see external threat and the collapse of world order as the first priority.

Where Barack Obama offers moral absolution for the original sin of racism (which is no inconsiderable matter for decent Americans of all political persuasions), John McCain can present confidence and proven courage in the face of an aggressor. Interestingly, Mr Putin can see quite clearly how this might work out. In an interview with CNN last week, he made one of his more bizarre claims: that the US government had actually engineered the war in Georgia in order to help McCain's campaign.

This statement rests on two wildly inaccurate premises: the first, which Putin himself would repudiate in his more lucid moments, is that Russia's actions (such as the invasion of Georgia) can be manipulated by the US, and the second is that the Bush administration and the McCain campaign are in close communion. The latter, I can tell you, is anything but the truth. I have friends in the US who have been close to the Bush White House from its earliest beginnings. Their utter loathing for McCain is so palpable that I find myself (as a McCain supporter) having to tread carefully in conversation for fear of creating a breach in our relations. I cannot remember a time when the incumbent team has so viscerally detested its prospective successor. The picture that the Democrats are attempting to present of McCain being Bush by other means ("another four years of the same") is simply risible.

If the Republicans do as I suggest they might - that is, take their cues from the sombre mood created by Hurricane Gustav and the looming Russian threat - then the logic of the campaign will be established so firmly that it will affect our retrospective view of what has already occurred. Obama's triumphal party in Denver could come to seem like a happy-clappy exercise in self-congratulation by comparison with the sober gravity of a McCain warning about global instability. The vice presidential running mates could be re-examined too: not so much the people chosen, but the manner of the choice.

The pick of a vice-presidential candidate is made under advice but is also deeply personal: often, it is the first real indication of how a future president will behave in office. What are we to make then of the fact that Obama went for the safe, defensive option and McCain the daring one? It is being said that Sarah Palin is a risk, but maybe that is the whole point.

The electorate may come to feel that this is a time for a leader who is unafraid of risk. (Then again, as Aristotle advised, there is a fine line between courage and foolhardiness.) But if McCain should make a grave, very grown-up acceptance speech centred on the realities of global volatility, how will Obama's acceptance extravaganza hold up in contrast?

His speech was said to be modelled on that of John Kennedy in 1960, also held in an open-air stadium to which the general public could be admitted.

Well, maybe I am being sentimental here - as one tends to be about the formative events of one's youth - but I (a preternaturally political schoolgirl) was present in the Los Angeles Coliseum when Kennedy made that speech.

It introduced the concept of the New Frontier - the future challenges for America at home and abroad with specific reference to the Russian threat - and posited what he believed to be the central question of the era: could a nation "organised and governed" as America was, endure? His peroration, "Give me your help, give me your hand, give me your voice", was humble and hugely moving. There was no stage set: just Kennedy himself flanked by the key party figures, past and present.

When it was over, he did a lap of honour round the stadium sitting on the back of an open-top car - which, now that I recall it, seems like an uncanny foreshadowing of the circumstances of his death. The event did not begin with a rock concert and it did not end with fireworks. Politics was a serious business in those days. It had not yet become a part of the entertainment industry. We were in the midst of the Cold War. The counterculture of the Sixties had not yet happened. (In fact, as Norman Mailer always claimed, Kennedy's assassination had a hand in creating it by precipitating a "national nervous breakdown".)

It will be for Americans to decide whether Obama is a saviour who will purify the past evils of slavery and segregation, or simply another very ambitious politician whose instincts are most reminiscent of Jimmy Carter - that other thoughtful, idealistic liberal who thought that you could negotiate constructively with the Iranian regime while it held a gun to the heads of your hostages. And they will have to decide whether McCain's startling choice of running mate constitutes audacity or recklessness.

If I were advising the Republicans on the conduct of this crucial convention, I would say: don't compete with the show business glamour and the pyrotechnics of last week. Take your cue from the potential tragedy of Hurricane Gustav: go serious, go grave, go grown-up. Talk about what a dangerous world it is out there. It will be nothing more than the truth.


Hillary-Voting Readers Respond to Palin

It seems everyone at NRO has been getting happy e-mails from readers since Palin is picked. Perhaps because of this piece, I've become something of an Ambassador to Hillaryland, and the ones who read me are pretty impressed with her, too. Obviously, Hillary supporters who read NRO are a self-selecting sample, but here's some of the responses coming in... From a New York reader:
Hi, Jim. I'm one of your readers who is a Clinton-supporter and I was still sitting on the fence as of this morning... but now... now things are getting interesting! Clinton's speech on Tuesday night had made me consider voting for Obama, but Obama's speech last night convinced me that I don't want to. I was assuming McCain would pick someone safe and boring - but he hit it out of the park today! Talk about shaking things up! She seems terrific - the sharpest of the four - and will complement McCain's wisdom with energy and passion. I don't even mind that I disagree with most of her positions - she's a real person, and she seems to have heart. She seems to be in politics to help people and to change things, not just to get to the next higher office!

Clinton would have given me hope for the future. Obama, the "Hope" candidate, fills me with dread. Now I've got some hope again - maybe we can really can see some change in this country. And with this choice, McCain's stock went up enormously in my book (in the same way Obama's went further down when he picked Biden over Hillary Clinton). Talk about good judgment - McCain could have played it safe like Obama, but he was bold and historic - he IS a maverick. Bravo, McCain!

One that arrived Sunday:
I cannot tell you how upset I am while listening to these misogynists on TV talk about Governor Sarah Palin. I am about to blow! Suddenly, she isn't qualified. Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Mark Christ, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, etc. were all eminently qualified according to these same people...

I will do everything I can to get this woman elected. So will my twin sister, who was a Hillary delegate in Texas. And we have NEVER agreed on anything political!

One reader objected to the way the media was defining "feminist":
At the outset, let me note that I am THRILLED that McCain picked Palin. But, I'm extremely disappointed in the media coverage and the assertions that feminists won't support her. Such statements show a total misunderstanding of what a feminist truly is.

In the mid 1990s, Christine Hoff Sommers (a Democrat) wrote Who Stole Feminism? She opines, and I believe correctly so, that there are two types of feminists-equity feminists, who want women treated equally, and gender feminists, who basically dislike the other gender and always claim victim status. I am one of the former-I want to be treated equally and judged on merit, not on my gender. I am also pro-choice (not pro-abortion, but pro-choice). And, I have always been a Republican. I think Palin was a perfect choice. She had made it on her own-not because she is a woman and not by claiming victim status. She was judged on her merits and has basically lived the American dream. I am also greatly impressed by her decision to remain pro-life in light of the information that her fetus had Down syndrome. She was allowed to make her choice and she stood by her principles.

The gender feminists who supported Hillary would never vote for McCain-regardless of who his VP selection turned out to be. Likewise, there are pro-life women who would never vote for Obama, whether or not he picked Hillary. But, there are a great number of women, equity feminists, who will be proud of the choice that Palin made and be proud that she made it-and not because of her sex. I think those females, whether Republican or independent, will turn out in great numbers because of McCain's choice of Palin.

The McCain camp was spotlighting these responses from Team Hillary:
Geraldine Ferraro: "I have to tell you, I got a phone call from my family too, and my daughter - the immediate thing was, 'Wow! McCain picked a woman.' I thought it was stunning when it happened, because it is so historic. The other thing I must say this is the first time that anybody who is in a national position, has publicly thanked me in 24 years." (FOX's "Fox & Friends," 8/30/08)

Former Hillary Clinton Campaign Adviser Ann Lewis: "Well, first, the John McCain campaign definitely served notice that they intend to compete hard for the support of women voters. Of course, I appreciate the reference to Hillary Clinton, who did such a magnificent job in her campaign." (CNN, 8/29/08)

Former Clinton Adviser Howard Wolfson: With Palin Pick, "You Are Going To Have A Lot Of Women Voters Wondering Why Senator Obama Didn't Tap Senator Clinton As His Running Mate." "To that end, consider the immediate reaction of Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson, who writes today in a short piece titled 'I'll See Your Biden and Raise You a Palin,' that 'you are going to have a lot of women voters wondering why Senator Obama didn't tap Senator Clinton as his running mate.'" (Jake Tapper, "A White Shade Of Palin," ABC News, 8/29/08)

One reader predicted more comments from Obama and Biden that will be interpreted as sexism:
He's not going to be able to help himself. The petty [initial] response stands in stark contrast to McCain's gracious ad that ran last night.

Frankly, if Hillary's supporters were paying attention during Obama's speech, they ought to be even more angry. His statement that Hillary is inspiring to "my daughters and to yours" was, in my opinion, an insult. What does that mean exactly? That a woman making a serious run at the presidency isn't as significant as an African-American making the same run? That a woman can't inspire men? That only little girls could find Hillary inspiring?

I loathe identity politics but can't deny the historical significance of Hillary's run.

He's been condescending and patronizing to Hillary and her supporters throughout the campaign. Combined with his underpayment of female staffers and the "sweetie" incident, I don't see how any but the most rabid of single issue abortion rights feminists can vote for him. So I'm not sure he'll lock up the PUMAs, now that Palin is in the mix.

Not every Hillary backer was on board to vote McCain-Palin, obviously:
I supported Hillary in the primaries and voted for her in SC. I thought she got a really raw deal from the press and to a lesser extent from Obama. I'm a die hard liberal and plan to vote for Obama though. I was excited when I saw that McCain was picking a woman - I just said to my husband last night while watching Obama that I guessed I never would see a woman give that speech. (I'm 40).

Having said all that, are you kidding me? I might have given McCain a second look if he had picked Kay Bailey Hutchinson (who I voted for a long time ago when I lived in Texas and she first ran there) or Christie Todd Whitman. But this lady? Talking about running for the PTO? Is she running for city council? Hillary Clinton has more gravitas in her little toe than this lady. If McCain thinks that women are so shallow that we are willing to vote for a woman just because she is a woman, he is going to have a rude awakening.

The same way that African American voters never voted in huge numbers for Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or Alan Keyes, women are not going to vote for Sarah Palin. We want a qualified woman to run.

BTW, I will give her props for having a Down Syndrome baby. I don't agree with her on abortion, but she at least lives up to her convictions.

The thing is, McCain doesn't need all the Hillary voters and PUMAs. He just needs... enough.


Now We Can Have A Real Culture War!

Thank goodness for Maureen Dowd. If she didn't exist, and the New York Times hadn't found her, we'd have had to invent her in order to have a proper mouthpiece for the haughtily condescending, superior, superciliously snide view our bi-coastal betters have of us benighted (and if conservative, evil) middle Americans who live in small towns. But she does exist, and her emblematic liberal snobbery is on display in full force in her column today, which discusses Sarah Palin's selection as worthy of a "hokey chick flick." First, note the now seemingly mandatory invocation of "uppity" (as just discussed here):
It's easy to see where this movie is going. It begins, of course, with a cute, cool unknown from Alaska who has never even been on "Meet the Press" triumphing over a cute, cool unknowable from Hawaii who has been on "Meet the Press" a lot.

Americans, suspicious that the Obamas have benefited from affirmative action without being properly grateful, and skeptical that Michelle really likes "The Brady Bunch" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show," reject the 47-year-old black contender as too uppity and untested.

Query 1: Is it unreasonable, or maybe even racist, to suspect "that the Obamas have benefited from affirmative action without being properly grateful"? If that is unreasonable, at least with regard to Barack, is it unreasonable to suspect, and hence resent, that many professional blacks have benefitted from affirmative action?
Enthusiastic Republicans don't see the choice of Palin as affirmative action, despite her thin r,sum, and gaping absence of foreign policy knowledge...

Query 2: Could part of the enthusiasm Democrats have for Obama be based on his color, on the fact that their enthusiasm for him is an advertisement for their own moral superiority?

Query 3: If those who regard Obama as unqualified because of his lack of experience are racist because what they are "really" saying (unbeknownst to themselves) is that he is "uppity," are those Dowding Thomasinas who regard Palin as unqualified because she is "untested" (everyone knows you can't be tested in small towns or even as governor of a small state) really sexist? But let's move on to Dowd's cultural critique.
Obama may have been president of The Harvard Law Review, but Palin graduated from the University of Idaho with a minor in poli-sci and worked briefly as a TV sports reporter....

Palinistas, as they are called, love Sarah's spunky, relentlessly quirky "Northern Exposure" story from being a Miss Alaska runner-up, and winning Miss Congeniality, to being mayor and hockey mom in Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of 6,715, to being governor for two years to being the first woman ever to run on a national Republican ticket. (Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It's a little insulting.)

Sarah is a zealot, but she's a fun zealot. She has a beehive and sexy shoes, and the day she's named she goes shopping with McCain in Ohio for a cheerleader outfit for her daughter.

As she once told Vogue, she's learned the hard way to deal with press comments about her looks. "I wish they'd stick with the issues instead of discussing my black go-go boots," she said. "A reporter once asked me about it during the campaign, and I assured him I was trying to be as frumpy as I could by wearing my hair on top of my head and these schoolmarm glasses."

So, in (or from) a nutshell: the Republicans have insulted all proper upper East-and West Side women (and their sisters in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and university towns everywhere) by having the nerve to select a pretty University of Idaho graduate (not even from a good college, much less a prestigious law review editor), small town soccer mom mayor, and small state governor who also hunts when she's not looking after her five kids and who, in addition to her bad taste in not attending an Ivy League school also sports "a beehive and sexy shoes."

Her hair doesn't look to me like a beehive, nor have I noticed her shoes, but what do I know. I do know she took on her own party in Alaska, routed it, and has been cleaning house ever since. She didn't simply give lip service to "reaching across the aisle"; she all but obliterated the aisle. Which is more than can be said of a time-serving state senator whose only accomplishment after being elevated to the U.S. Senate has been to write the second volume of his autobiography.


Synopsis of the interview with Stanley Kurtz that the Obama campaign tried to suppress

The University of Illinois released documents yesterday that propelled this conversation forward. Barack Obama and Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers, who spent a number of years on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, were the leading powers behind a massive educational reform for the city of Chicago. Then Secretary of Education, William Bennett stated that the Chicago educational system was the worst in the Nation.

William Ayers prepared the proposal that got the seed money for the education reform program that would become the Chicago Annenberg Challenge - some $50M from the Annenberg Foundation, which was then matched by philanthropists and business interests - to total over $100M for Chicago's failing school system.

With the money came the need for a organization - hence the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) was formed. The Chairman of the Board was Barack Obama. William Ayers was an ex-officio board member. The two attended meetings together...how often is not yet known.

Obama and Ayers presided over a very powerful political duo: The CAC headed by Obama and The Collaborative, co-chaired by Ayers.

It allegedly worked like this: "Programs" would apply to the CAC for an educational grant. Some programs were chosen, and others were not. Before the CAC was disbanded, almost all, if not all, of the monies were spent.

Kurtz, reading from yesterday's released documents, gave these examples of who or what received the grants:

Chosen to receive a grant:

The South Shore African Village Collaborative for their "Celebrate African-American Holiday of Juneteenth" (celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation). Some African-Americans celebrate Juneteenth instead of the Fourth of July (a report fromTexas). Kurtz commented that in his reporting of Obama's previous church, Trinity United Church of Christ, some members told him that Juneteenth was their Independence Day, not Fourth of July (Kurtz did not say that all members held this view).

Turned down to receive a grant:

*The Chicago Algebra Project: goal to increase student achievement

*The District 5 Math Initiative: goal to aid Hispanic students in the process of learning English, to further learn math and science.

Kurtz characterized the information he viewed as showing grant preferences for ethnic identity projects. The grants were evidently not given to schools, but rather to "external partners," to which schools sought to attach themselves - such as a South Shore African Village Collaborative.

In the meantime, after "external partners" received millions, ethnic identity didn't help math and science scores. It is interesting to note that this Chairman of the Board position was Obama's first "executive" experience.

There's more: Obama's connections to the Gamaliel Foundation, Kurtz says has a "core point" advocating for a form of" liberation theology." He further states that his research shows that Jeremiah Wright's Black Liberation Theology preaching is not an anomaly.

Kurtz refers to a book written by Dennis A. Jacobsen, Doing Justice - Congregations and Community Organizing. This book, according to Kurtz, embodies the views of the Gamaliel Foundation. Further he asserts that Greg Galluzo, "the most important figure" in the Gamaliel Foundation, approves Jacobsen's book, and is also an Obama mentor. Kurtz believes that Obama was a teacher at the Gamaliel Foundation before Jacobsen wrote the book. Kurtz does not know whether Obama has read the book.

The last portion of the interview was given to callers and emails, most of which were angry that Kurtz was allowed radio time. One emailer confused Kurtz with Weekly Standard editor, Bill Kristol, referring to "the vile traitor Bill Kristol." Another asked about FCC oversight of the "unbalanced" station.

It was striking that few callers had anything to say more than the email's talking points. Some pulled out the constant whine that Obama was only eight years old when the Weathermen were bombing our U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the State Department building, etc. They further pointed out Obama has "denounced" William Ayers. He did not, however, denounce him until he was forced to for the sake of his political campaign, and he wasn't eight years old when he and Ayers began their educational reform.

More background here

Changes happen anyway

By Thomas Sowell

One of the few political cliches that makes sense is that "In politics, overnight is a lifetime." Less than a year ago, the big question was whether Rudolph Giuliani could beat Hillary Clinton in this year's presidential election. Less than two months ago, Barack Obama had a huge lead over John McCain in the polls. Less than a week ago, the smart money was saying that Mitt Romney would be McCain's choice for vice president. We don't need Barack Obama to create "change." Things change in politics, in the economy, and elsewhere in American society, without waiting for a political messiah to lead us into the promised land.

Who would have thought that Obama's big speech at the Democratic convention would disappoint expectations, while McCain's speech electrified his audience when he announced his choice of Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate? Some people were surprised that his choice was a woman. What is more surprising is that she is an articulate Republican. How many of those have you seen?

Despite the incessantly repeated mantra of "change," Barack Obama's politics is as old as the New Deal and he is behind the curve when it comes to today's economy. Senator Obama's statement that "our economy is in turmoil" is standard stuff on the left and in the mainstream media, which has been dying to use the word "recession." Not only has the economic slowdown failed to reach the definition of a recession, the most recent data show the U.S. economy growing at a rate exceeding 3 percent-- a rate that many European economies would die for, despite our being constantly urged to imitate those countries whose end results are not as good as ours.

Barack Obama's "change" is a recycling of the kinds of policies and rhetoric of the New Deal that prolonged the Great Depression of the 1930s far beyond the duration of any depression before or since. These are the same kinds of liberal policies that led to double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates and rising unemployment during the Carter administration. These are "back to the future" changes to economic disasters that need repeating.

Make no mistake, the political rhetoric of FDR was great. For those who admire political rhetoric, as so many of Barack Obama's supporters seem to, FDR was tops. For those who go by actual results, FDR's track record was abysmal. Although the Great Depression of the 1930s began under Herbert Hoover, unemployment during Hoover's last year in office was not as high as it became during each of the first five years under FDR. During the eight years of FDR's first two terms as president, there were only two years in which unemployment was lower than it had been under Herbert Hoover-- and not by much.

World War II has been credited by some with getting the United States out of the Great Depression. What the war did was put an end to the New Deal, as national survival became the top priority and replaced FDR's anti-business and class warfare rhetoric.

Senator Obama's rhetoric today is the anti-business and class warfare rhetoric that worked so brilliantly in a political sense for FDR in the 1930s. But Obama is following an opposite course from FDR when it comes to recognizing threats to American national security. Senator Obama has repeatedly tried to deal with national security threats with rhetoric. He tried to dismiss the threat of a nuclear Iran with because Iran is "a small nation"-- even though it is larger than Japan, which launched a devastating attack against the United States at Pearl Harbor.

FDR had the good sense to begin urging greater military preparedness in 1940, more than a year before the United States was attacked. He said, "If you wait until you see the whites of their eyes, you will never know what hit you." Cutting the military budget and taking foreign policy problems to the United Nations are Obama's version of "change." That is change that we dare not believe in. It is the audacity of hype.



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