conservatives and the mccain/palin ticket

There are two main issues that Christian conservatives consider important enough to threaten withholding votes from any politician who doesn’t perfectly toe the line — abortion and same-sex marriage.   When evangelicals and others hold the line on principle and refuse to endorse a candidate who doesn’t agree with them on these issues, they are called single-issue voters and derided for standing on those principles.  These issues are important to me as well, but sometimes we don’t think about the consequences of withholding support from perfectly good and qualified candidates who might be a better bet to win an election. Every one of our divided conservative groups picked a different horse, and McCain got his independents and moderates — at least in the primary. That’s how we ended up with a candidate in McCain that we are still unhappy with, despite the Palin bounce.

I agree with those who say that we should stop trying to make the experience argument for Sarah Palin, even though it doesn’t seem to bother the Obama sheep that their man hasn’t closed the deal with the American people in that category.   Her appeal is a broad appeal that has very little to do with her knowledge of foreign policy or her deep conversations with world leaders.   It’s all about her personal story — moose hunting, fishing, the NRA membership, her Down’s Syndrome son.  She’s a very sympathetic figure, and she is a happy warrior, zinging Obama and the Democrats with a smile on her face. (She does need some more variations in her scripted lines, but other than that, I have no complaints.)

While she has requested and received some earmarks, it is evident that she has made some significant changes in the way Alaska does business.  She deserves credit for that.  With an sky-high approval rating in Alaska, she must have done something right in her short tenure there.  I still think that Palin can learn what she does not know,  but unless the Democrats know something we don’t know about McCain’s mortality– McCain will be President on day one, not his VP.  Why are the Democrats even worried about Palin’s readiness anyway?  All they have to do is make sure Barack overcomes his struggles and wins the election. Not that difficult, right? 🙂

Then the 80% wrong Joe Biden can run his foreign policy.  Yikes.  This can’t be what the Democrats really want.

cut it out

So says Barack to the rumor mongers:

At a press avail in Monroe, Mich., Barack Obama on Palin: “Back off these kinds of stories.

“I have said before, and I will repeat again: People’s families are off-limits,” Obama said. “And people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be a topic of our politics.”

On charges that his campaign has stoked the story via liberal blogs:

“I am offended by that statement. There is no evidence at all that any of this involved us,” he said. “Our people were not involved in any way in this, and they will not be. And if I thought there was somebody in my campaign who was involved in something like that, they would be fired.”

dnc: barack’s historic night

Is anyone else tired of Al Bore’s “I really won the 2000 election” canned jokes?  If we could just find a way to harness the hot air coming from our former Vice President, we would have a endless source of renewable energy.  Give the Democrats credit though.  They have a group of skilled attack dogs who allow Barack Obama to stay above the fray.

As far as the historic nature of Senator Obama’s achievement, I want to join with Senator McCain and others in applauding the Senator for being the first African-American presidential nominee from the Democratic party.  That is worthy of note, and the country is better off for Barack’s candidacy, because it shows that we continue to make progress against racism and discrimination.

Even as a Republican who still remains skeptical of Obama and his grand plans for the country, I have to admit that there would be no way that McCain could fill up a football stadium with people willing to listen to his acceptance speech.  McCain is not and will never be Mr. Excitement,  but that shouldn’t be the determining factor in choosing a president.  The whole spectacle was impressive, and Barack gave an excellent speech.  It had quite a few center-right elements, like when he talked about individual responsibility and the desire for fathers to be there for their children.  There were many things I liked about what he had to say, but there were many more areas where Senator Obama and I sharply disagree. That’s why I cannot vote for him.

We should not underestimate Barack Obama.  He is a threat to win this election, and even though the DNC was divided at the beginning of this week — and distracted by the Clintons’ long (and temporary) goodbye speeches — Barack Obama owned the stage Thursday night and became the lasting memory of the 2008 DNC. If it weren’t for McCain’s shocking announcement Friday morning, Obama’s speech would be the main topic of discussion at the political water coolers today.  Thanks to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, it is not.  She’s quite the distraction.

For must-read hilarious coverage of the DNC, go read Dave Barry’s column.

dnc: shiny tie night

More of the Clinton show on day three — former President Clinton (the elected one) showed Hillary how a convention speech should be delivered.  I was surprised by the massive outpouring of cheers and applause for Bill Clinton, because the whole message of the primaries was that the Democrats had moved on from the Clintons and were ready to take the party in a new direction with Senator Obama.  This could have been designed to give the former president his moment in the sun and have some closure on the Clinton era before the Obama era begins.  Of course, this effort would be a massive failure since Hillary isn’t going away.

President Clinton gave a typical Clinton speech, except that it was relatively short.  The crowd was enthusiastic and cheered just about everything he said. He made a better case for Obama than his wife did, and he made what Democrats would consider to be a reasonable effort to support the current presidential ticket.  It must have annoyed a few folks that he said nice things about John McCain, since he’s the next Bush and all.

Our favorite flip-flopper John F. Kerry also made an appearance and gave a coherent speech.  Now that he’s no longer a threat to be president,  he’s much more likable and not quite as scary as he was in ’04.

I like Joe Biden.  I can’t help liking him and his story, even though I disagree with his views on about 90, 95% of the important issues of the day.  His story is a great made-for-TV narrative.  It is interesting that that personal story of him as a fighter doesn’t always translate into his views on foreign policy.  He knows that the way to deal with bullies in the real world is to hit ’em until they respect you and leave you alone.  The same should be true for rogue nations and terrorists as well, so I’m surprised that he is so willing to surrender his hawkish side to go along with Obama’s policy views.  Of course this is something all VPs do, submerging their own personal views to mirror those of the presidential nominee, so I guess he’s just following the grand tradition of Gore, Lieberman, etc.

Then there was the great Obama surprise, where he attempted to steal the spotlight from Bill Clinton and his VP pick Joe Biden.  Think he might have been tired of watching other people star at his convention?   Looked that way to me.  But it was nice of the great one to stop by and thank the little people who got him where he is today.  It’s the least he could do — to show up in person and mingle with the hoi polloi for a few minutes before his big speech to the masses on Thursday.

My prediction for tonight — Obama’s speech won’t meet expectations.  He may wow the mediots and some of the blind follower sheep he has in his flock, but the rest of us will look at what he said and inevitably find it lacking in useful substantial content.

it’s biden

Did you really think that Barack would tell you his pick before the media found out?  That’s some kind of faith, I must say.  Biden’s hardly the most exciting choice, and I can understand why some of you may be disappointed.  But it does change one calculation by McCain — he can’t pick a VP who would be killed by Biden in a debate.  That narrows the field of choices a little bit for him, and probably excludes some of those conservatives we would have wanted McCain to pick.   Oh well..not like McCain would have considered those names anyway.

This is going to be fun.  Joe Biden…you have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used against you by the McCain campaign.

Like this (for example):

sense and nonsense

Guess I don’t know much about the VP selection process — because I thought that Obama would have to pick one of Dick Morris’s boring white guys (Evan Bayh) to bring some balance to the ticket.  He still could pick Bayh or Tim “The Eyebrow” Kaine to keep this team from getting too much buzz around it — and to keep the attention of the press on the guy at the top of the ticket.  Unless there’s a glaring weakness to fill and all this other stuff doesn’t matter…

Why else would Joe Biden be under serious consideration in the Democratic veepstakes?

I hope and pray that Senator Obama picks Joe Biden.  On some levels, it makes a lot of sense.  He has the most credibility of any Democrat on national security issues.  He is much more experienced than Obama with the ways of Washington and he could help Obama make all those tough decisions a president has to make.  There are plenty of good reasons why this pick would be smart for Senator Obama, although there would be the risk of looking like a Cheney-Bush scenario, where the VP is in charge of organizing foreign policy.

There are also good reasons to look in another direction.  Wouldn’t a Washington lifer like Biden dilute the “change” message?  After all, Senator Biden has been in D.C. a long time.  If the system is broken, then Biden gets some of the blame for that.  And then there’s the endless ad copy against Senator Obama that Senator Biden has helpfully provided for John McCain and the RNC.

Jim Geraghty gives us some of the highlights here:

Biden, on a post-debate appearance on MSNBC, October 30, 2007: “The only guy on the other side who’s qualified is John McCain.”

Then there’s my personal favorite:

Biden said in a campaign ad, “When this campaign is over, political slogans like ‘experience’ and ‘change’ will mean absolutely nothing. The next president has to act.”

For all Senator Biden’s knowledge and experience, at times he can be a loose cannon, and he’s not that skilled at keeping his random opinions to himself.  If he’s the pick, Obama’s staff also might want to consider writing Biden’s acceptance speech for the convention to keep him from stealing words from random British politicians.  Imagine how much fun it could be for Republicans if Obama chooses him as VP.   Biden could be a smart choice, but he’s hardly the safest choice.  I would think that Obama might want someone who would be more comfortable being a supporting cast member rather than the star of the show. Can Joe Biden handle just being VP?   We might soon find out.

dnc math

So if 1.3 million dollars in contributions from big oil means that John McCain is “in the pocket of big oil”, then what does Barack’s $400,000 from big oil mean?  Apparently nothing if you’re the DNC or the average Democrat.  Jake Tapper also mentions that employees of big oil individually have given slightly more money to Obama than to McCain.  But that doesn’t matter either because big oil money is only bad if the recipient is a Republican.  I challenge the Democrats to provide examples of McCain writing policy to support the interests of big oil.  I don’t think they have any.  McCain even voted against President Bush’s big energy bill, because he said that it provided too much in the way of corporate tax breaks for the oil/gas industry.   It’s much easier to connect Bush/Cheney to big oil than it is to make the same claim about John McCain.

And if Barack Obama is so concerned about taking money from big oil, then maybe he should return all the contributions that he has received from them.  He also might want to explain why he voted for Bush’s energy bill if it’s not just because of its support for alternative energy sources.

Senator McCain has responded to this criticism by Senator Obama by saying this:

I think Senator Obama might be a little bit confused. Yesterday, he accused me of having President Bush’s policies on energy. That’s odd because he voted for the President’s energy bill and I voted against it. I voted against it, had $2.8 billion in corporate welfare to Big Oil companies, and they’re already making record profits, as you know. Senator Obama voted for that bill and its Big Oil giveaways. I know he hasn’t been in the Senate that long, but even in the real world, voting for something means you support it and voting against something means you oppose it.

Exactly right.  The Senate vote on the energy bill wasn’t even close.  Obama could have voted against it without much political fallout, because it would have passed without his vote.  Does the DNC really want to go through the list of Dems who have received fat corporate contributions from big oil (or from big ethanol)?  Fair is fair.  They can list all the Republicans “in the pocket” of big oil, and we can make our own list of Dems, and then let the American people decide whose hands are clean here.  The answer is neither party.  But this is a very shallow case to make against McCain.  The only reason this would matter is if he were like Ted Stevens and he had designated earmarks or wrote legislation for his own financial benefit.  He’s not and he hasn’t.  So let’s move on to the next contrived grievance, ok?

mccain is jealous

Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist and self-appointed expert on human behavior, says that’s the reason McCain has been acting so mean toward poor Barack Obama and hitting him with those frivolous ads.

She says:

Now John McCain is pea-green with envy. That’s the only explanation for why a man who prides himself on honor, a man who vowed not to take the low road in the campaign, having been mugged by W. and Rove in South Carolina in 2000, is engaging in a festival of juvenilia.

The Arizona senator who built his reputation on being a brave proponent of big solutions is running a schoolyard campaign about tire gauges and Paris Hilton, childishly accusing his opponent of being too serious, too popular and not patriotic enough.

Sure.  That’s it.  McCain is jealous of Barack Obama, and wishes he were as popular as the Senator from Illinois.  That’s not quite it…but she’s in the neighborhood.  McCain is resentful of Obama, just the way he was of Mitt Romney during the Republican primary.  McCain thinks that he is entitled to the presidency because he has earned it, and he doesn’t view Obama as worthy of the job.  He seems to believe that Senator Obama doesn’t deserve to be that close to becoming President of the United States without a long record of public service or a military record.  Senator McCain has struggled through a few fierce political battles in addition to his well-publicized captivity in Vietnam.  The press has now turned their backs on him in favor of Senator Obama.  Conservatives are agnostic about his candidacy, even though they are aware of the risks of embracing any other alternative choice.

It’s hard being John McCain.  He has lost the media love.  His opponent is popular and has drawn quite a few large crowds.  In addition to that, the Republican brand has been badly damaged by scandal and mismanagement in Congress, and he must run against them and the sitting Republican president.  Tough environment.  No wonder McCain is a little frustrated with Barack Obama and the media circus surrounding him.

Some of his ads were better than others.  I wasn’t thrilled with the ‘celeb’ ad, but it asked the right question: Is Barack Obama ready to lead?  That’s the area of the sharpest contrast with McCain, and even with the flawed execution of that message, people are starting to understand Barack’s limitations as a candidate.  Why else would this race be too close to call in early August?

the one

Sometimes Barack unknowingly descends into self-parody, and all John McCain and my fellow Republicans are trying to do is to help him set more realistic expectations for himself.  The reason many of McCain’s ads are about Barack is because that’s the decision the voters are making here — whether Senator Obama is ready to lead and whether he has the best solutions for the country.    That’s the question McCain is asking in this ad, and in the ‘celeb’ ad.  John McCain has gone out of his way to avoid anything that could even remotely be considered racist or anything playing into the stereotype of folks who still believe that Obama is a Muslim.  If Senator Obama really wants us to stop talking about his race, then he should stop bringing it up.

I know there are some random people who want our main objection to Barack to be about that, or about the rumor that he is secretly a scary Muslim, but this has never been the position of the McCain campaign.  McCain has thrown people under his bus for just using Barack’s middle name.  How can Senator Obama honestly say that all this talk is McCain’s fault?  I think the senator needs to get a thicker skin, or he will never survive 4-8 years in the White House.

the ‘s’ word

Investor’s Business Daily is brave enough to go there — calling Barack Obama’s Global Poverty Act suspiciously similar to a government redistribution of US taxpayer wealth.  Well, technically they use the ‘s’ word.  Socialism. That’s a heavy charge, and it’s one that needs to be backed up with specific examples.  This op-ed makes a convincing case that the Global Poverty Act could qualify as a socialist proposal.

While I know that one example of bad policy wouldn’t brand someone like Barack with the socialist label, it’s troubling that this Global Poverty Act would redistribute our wealth to those in other countries.  We wouldn’t even benefit from all this increased spending, unless international good will can be bought with this high price.  That premise is highly questionable.  If the world’s affection can be bought with enough foreign aid money, we should have the receipt for it already.

Here’s how Investor’s Business Daily first described this bill:

Obama’s costly, dangerous and altogether bad bill (S. 2433), which could come up in the Senate any day, is called the Global Poverty Act. It would commit U.S. taxpayers to spend 0.7% of our gross domestic product on foreign handouts, which is at least $30 billion over and above the exorbitant and wasted sums we already give away overseas.

The bipartisan bill would require the president “to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the U.S. foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.”

To say that the United States government has far exceeded its Consititutional mandate would be understating the case.  Charity shouldn’t (and doesn’t) begin and end with the federal government.  Americans are generous people.  Through non-profit charitable organizations and our own churches, we are reaching out to people here in this country and around the world, and it’s having an impact.  This shouldn’t be a role of the federal government.  That’s the flaw in this legislation — requiring United States taxpayers to subsidize some mandate thrown down by the U.N. and the international community.  The financial obligation of the federal government should be first and foremost to the citizens of the United States — not to the world community or the U.N.

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