I Talked More about Sarah Palin Here, Probably Some of It Made Sense

Thursday, July 16, 2009

(this is back when Obama was trailing in the polls; easy to forget that happened)

The Gibson/Palin interview has been lots more interesting than one would have guessed.

Of the highlights:

Palin responded to a question about her "national security credentials" with the non-sequitor:

PALIN: Let me speak specifically about a credential that I do bring to this table, Charlie, and that’s with the energy independence that I’ve been working on for these years as the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy, that I worked on as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, overseeing the oil and gas development in our state to produce more for the United States.

Which not only is off topic (although repeats a claim that McCain made to Gibson earlier this month) but untrue.

Alaska produced 3.5% of the US domestic supply of energy in 2007. Which is less than nearly 20.

Better was her response to the following question about the budget:

GIBSON: So let me break some of those down. You talk about spending. How much smaller would a McCain budget be? Where would you cut?

PALIN: We’re going to find efficiencies in every department. We have got to. There are some things that I think should be off the table. Veterans’ programs, off the table. You know, we owe it to our veterans and that’s the greatest manifestation that we can show in terms of support for our military, those who are in public service fighting for America. It’s to make sure that our veterans are taken care of and the promises that we’ve made to them are fulfilled.

GIBSON: So you’d take military off the table, the veterans’ benefits. That’s 20 percent of the budget. Do you talk about entitlement reform? Is there money you can save in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

PALIN: I am sure that there are efficiencies that are going to be found in all of these agencies. I’m confident in that.

GIBSON: The agencies are not involved in entitlements. Basically, discretionary spending is 18 percent of the budget.

PALIN: We have certainly seen excess in agencies, though, and in — when bureaucrats, when bureaucracy just gets kind of comfortable, going with the status-quo and not being challenged to find efficiencies and spend other people’s money wisely, then that’s where we get into the situation that we are into today, and that is a tremendous growth of government, a huge debt, trillions of dollars of debt that we’re passing on to my kids and your kids and your grandkids … It’s unacceptable.

So, not only does Palin not know what the Bush Doctrine is (you know who does - my students in US Government, 'cause I teach it to them) she apparently thinks the word "efficiency" means "inefficiency."

Oh, and you know, the idea that it isn't the trillion dollar Republican War in Iraq and the hundreds of billions of dollars of Republican Tax Cuts for the MegaRich that have led to the debt - but instead some nebulous bureaucrats not doing their jobs efficiently enough is beneath the level of intelligent discourse.

In other words, perfect for a Republican in 2008.

It seems to me acceptable for an honest person to say - "I supported Bush; McCain supported Bush; McCain will continue Bush's policies; I support McCain."

I would disagree with that support vociferously, but it's not dishonest.

It seems acceptable for an honest person to say - "I supported Bush; McCain supported Bush, but we were wrong - McCain will discontinue Bush's policies on X, Y, Z - bringing change to Washington after 8 years of Bush."

I wouldn't buy that argument; George Bush may well go down historically as the worst President in American history, an epithet I don't throw around lightly; from the domestic economic struggles to the foreign policy disasters, to the litany of illegal activities, to the refusal to consider actual scientific facts when considering the environmental disaster looming - it is an 8 year record of constant misery heaped upon the American people. And if he was your guy - twice - it's hard for the political party that elected and supported him - to now disavow everything they've supported and say they will bring in change and reform to Washington.

But it is absolute demagoguery to say 'I supported Bush; McCain supported Bush; we were right; Bush was successful, and now McCain will bring change and reform to Washington."

A big applause line for Mitt Romney at the GOP Convention was the following:

"We need change all right -- change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington -- throw out the big-government liberals and elect John McCain."

There is simply no honest argument that after 8 years not only of a Republican Administration - but this Republican Administration - that what we have had is a "liberal" Washington.

No one could possibly believe it.

Except maybe people who don't know the meaning of the word efficient.

McCain's now leading in the polls. It's gone beyond a convention bounce - he's winning, winning the popular vote, winning the electoral vote. And somehow, someway - that message that he's the reformer - the change agent - has resonated.

You've got no argument here. You can argue the Iraq War was a good idea (it wasn't) the economy isn't so bad (it is) that tax cuts for the wealthy are what's best to stimulate the economy (they're not) that we need less money spent on social welfare programs (we don't) that abortion and homosexuality are the vital moral issues of the day (they're not) that the war on terror is real, and not just a way to generate income for the military industrial complex (you're wrong) that the Bush Doctrine (huh?) is a valid exercise of American power and not just the latest expression of imperialism from a country historically willing to commit its own people to kill and die at the behest of giant corporations (you're still wrong) that the United States is the greatest country on the face of the earth (no such thing) chosen by God (no such thing) to be a beacon of freedom and justice for all (you're cute when you're wrong.)

You can be a conservative Republican and be all that entails. I disagree with virtually everything for which you stand, but I know you honestly believe those ideas.

But the idea that: McCain will now bring reform to Washington 'cause those liberals have had power for too long...

There's no way to honestly believe that. None.

You can vote for McCain if you like. You can believe McCain/Palin is a better choice than Obama/Biden.

You're wrong. I mean, unless you're a millionaire, you're wrong.

But you can't agree with Mitt Romney. This argument McCain is currently making, succesfully, making - that he isn't repudiating anything George Bush has done in the last 8 years but nonethless plans to bring sweeping change to Washington that argument is dishonest.

It's beneath you Republicans. It's beneath you.

(Oh - USC 35 Ohio St. 3. Just sayin'.)

Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

You need to read the lengthy New York Times piece about Palin from Sunday. The phrase blank slate was written to describe Palin; she has no knowledge, no curiosity, there is nothing in her record or public statements that suggests anything beyond religiosity and a desire for power.

She's Bush without the coke problem.

Which, of course, is why people like her. The Republicans have made a calculation that a candidate who is "just like reg'lar people" is who reg'lar people want.

Maybe they're right. Maybe we don't want smart; maybe even a trillion dollar war and 4 buck gallon gas isn't enough to convince the people of the United States they're headed down the wrong path.

The Democrats should have made George Clooney the running mate. I'm completely serious.

If you haven't seen Mike Judge's Idiocracy, it's a dystopic view of America 500 years from now; social Darwnism has turned out to work, and its been the smartest who have died out. A relentless genetic selection of the ignorant, mindlessly chanting their slogans while rolling back centuries of knowledge accumulation. Soon we'll look to solve global warming by sacrificing virgins into volcanoes. Fortunately for Sarah Palin, we know her eldest daughter will be safe.

Your empire is collapsing. You've allowed the conservatives (in both parties) to tear the fabric of the social safety net for the last quarter-century. You've allowed the media, under the cover of "objectivity" refuse to challenge the arch right wing as they returned our nation to Gilded Age levels of economic injustice and scientific ignorance. We're debating lipstick and flag pins while in a war that economists now estimate will wind up costing us three trillion dollars.

The next time a Republican votes against a half million dollar program for working mothers and talks about fiscal responsibility; the next time a Republican says the Democrats are the party of big government - you ask about the 3 trillion dollar Republican Iraq War.

Republicans want less government when black people are drowning in New Orleans. Republicans want less government when rejecting increases in the minimum wage. Republicans want less government when a half dozen corporations divide up all the media in the country so their propaganda can make its way out unfettered. Republicans want less government whenever someone mentions the 45 million Americans without health insurance while the US ranks 37th (according to the World Health Organization) in quality of health care. Republicans want less government when union organization is busted, when soldiers' families have to live on food stamps, when American corporations kill the planet with polution, move their factories overseas, shield their assets from taxation.

That's the party of small government.

But when it comes to spying on you, arresting and detaining you, squelching dissent, spending tax dollars on their religion, getting in your bedroom - getting in your uterus, handing money to the Royal family of Saudi Arabia, the stockholders of Haliburton, and oil company executives - when it comes to a 3 trillion dollar war that was fought because Iraq had weapons of mass dest...I mean, because they were behind 9/11...I mean, because Saddam had to be remove...I mean, to protect the 600,000 Iraqi citizens now killed in our war...I mean, for any reason other than gigantic corporate profit and a desire for the corporately controlled US government to stride the world like a colossus --

Then they want the biggest, baddest government they can get.

They're about power, imperialistic, unmitgated, unvarnished power that both fills their shareholders bank accounts and appeases their millennialist need to ready the world for destruction. They're flim and flam, hocus and pocus. John McCain and Sarah Palin are going to ignore science, continue and expand war, cut taxes for millionaires, appoint judges who will pare back abortion rights even further, continue to rip away at the separation of church and state and rudimentary civil liberties protections, exascerbate the economic conditions that make it increasingly difficult for "reg'lar people" to feed their families, and further the Republican policies of the last 8 years -- the conservative policies of the last quarter-century - that have the American empire in its death throws.

Put any flavor of lipstick on that you like. It's still Idiocracy.

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