October 5, 2008

Back to why I don't like Sarah Palin

Sorry. I know we are already tired of her. But she is still out there and still threatening to take over the Vice Presidency (which she still doesn't understand, btw). She said in her interview with Katie Couric that Dick Cheney's biggest mistake was his hunting accident. Evidently she doesn't sweat torture either. On Fox, the day after the debate, she said that as VP, she would make sure that the executive branch "does its job." What that means, I have no idea, and I don't think she does either.

I have been in an email conversation about Palin with a conservative friend. He has reservations about her as well, but has accused me and others of unfairly disparaging the Governor for lacking intellectual curiosity. I am not sure why that is such an insult, but it sure seems true with the woman who would be Veep. She doesn't know about the conversation about Roe, about Hamas, or about the Bush Doctrine. And she has no clue that Dick Cheney might have fundamentally changed the Veep role for the worse.

But it isn't her conservative stances (or lack thereof) that bother me the most. It is how she acts. While playing to the pious religious folk, she acts more like Mae West than Lottie Moon. Watching her wink and flirt during the debate, I wondered if she was putting on an act or if this was what her boss wanted. The NRO's Rich Lowry suggested it worked for him
I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.
Nice, huh? Bad enough that the religious right backing this candidate rightly worry about the over-sexualized nature of our culture, but then back someone who single-handedly is trying to turn the Vice Presidency into a beauty contest--complete with a flirting candidate. Oh, but she is pro-life, so that is all that matters?

I could handle the flirting and the winking. But, as the Slate blogger notes, she is not a nice person:
"it isn't her conservatism that rankles, but her bile. (Today, for example, she accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists who would target their own country'' because he happened to serve on a charity board on education reform with a '60s radical whose views he has denounced. According to the New York Times story Palin was referencing—and deliberately misrepresenting—"[t]he two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of [William] Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.' "
All that Jesus stuff comes in handy when you are preaching at the Wasilla Pentacostal church, or speaking to a canned audience of men like Richard Land, but it evidently isn't handy when you are asked to speak about your opponent. This one thing sums up why I have grown to loathe the Bush and Palin's of the world, and lose respect for the religious people who back them. They use their faith to get support and fundraising, and then govern or campaign in a manner that would make Machiavelli blush. The ends, after all, justify the means. Being Christian means you get certain people's votes, but it certainly doesn't ask you to speak honestly or respectfully about Barack Obama. Nope. You get to call him a terrorist and Unamerican.



Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

What has really become scary about Ms. Palin is her willingness to play attack dog for John McCain, with her statement in Colorado that Sen Obama "palls around with terrorists".

She has shown to be a quick study, a tool, and no maverick at all...merely a recycled version of Spiro Agnew, speaking for a presidential candidate who seemingly lacks the political courage to do the dirty work himself.

With hew willingness to play "guilt by association", this woman has stooped to the level of the political hack's political hack; the late Senator Joe McCarthy.

mary said...

re: "While playing to the pious religious folk, she acts more like Mae West than Lottie Moon." -- I'm not even sure this is on-topic, but this sentence made me think of TBN, where I've puzzled over the Mae West hair and bordello decor of the talk shows for years. Can anyone explain what's going on with that?

leighton said...

Mary, I don't know how general this is, but some of my family members who belong to churches without an explicit hierarchy have a weakness for TBN because it's so outlandish, and they enjoy the spectacle. It seems like they would be happier in "higher" churches with clergy and rituals and sacraments, but since membership in these churches leads to damnation, they have to participate vicariously through the medium of ridiculous people who claim to believe as they do.

steves said...

You'll have to excuse my ignorance, but what is TBN?

What that means, I have no idea, and I don't think she does either.

Apparently, Biden doesn't understand what the role of the VP is, or the Constitution for that matter. Here is another take. You would think that someone who went to law school, taught a Con Law class, and has been in the legislature for more than 3 decades would know these things. I can't say as I am impressed with his experience.

Streak said...

I think there is a legitimate question about the difference between ignorance and misspeaking. For example, while Palin misnamed the commander in Afghanistan, that is not, inherently, some kind of ignorance, but instead an easy mistake to make.

Similarly when Biden had FDR as president on tv in 29. Does anyone really think he doesn't know that Hoover was president? That seems like a misstatement, just as Palin's misnaming, or McCain referring to the Iraq/Pakistan border.

With Palin, however, there are responses that suggest a much deeper problem of not even knowing the conversation is ongoing. Does she know the valid complaints about the idea of privacy in the constitution? Does she know that is a controversy? She seemed to only know that her side opposes abortion and thinks it should be decided by the states. Hell, she seems to be unsure where "choice" should even fit in.

Add to that her bizarre response on Hamas and you have a real weirdness of what sure seems to me someone who has not bothered to really be curious about the world outside Alaska. Understandable in most contexts, but not when applying for the top two spots.

steves said...

Similarly when Biden had FDR as president on tv in 29. Does anyone really think he doesn't know that Hoover was president?

That is why I didn't mention the FDR TV comment. His comments on the VP and other Constitutional issues show an ignorance that is hard to write off and is especially bad when you consider his background.

Streak said...

I disagree. I think all of Biden's career has demonstrated a pretty keen understanding of government and history. No one has accused him of being ignorant, merely gaffe-prone. Palin simply doesn't get that benefit of the doubt, because there is such legitimate doubt of her basic understanding of complex issues.

leighton said...

Steve, TBN = Trinity Broadcasting Network, aka the Christian Channel. Paul and Jan Crouch, the Bakkers, and Pat Robertson are (or were, when I was current) common contributors. I'm sure people who care about theology find much there to be frustrated with, but the thing that leaps to my mind when I channel-surf is the question of how on earth anyone can stand to spend more than three minutes on sets so...well, garish, and devoid of any kind of aesthetic appeal.

Re: Biden, I hate televised debates precisely because there is a tendency to dumb things down and give misleading arguments that are factually wrong, but persuasive to people who know a little but not a lot about the issues in question. I honestly don't know whether Biden meant to oversimplify things so much. At this point in time I'm willing to give him a degree of latitude and assume he was trying to explain what the VP does to an audience comprised mostly of people who will never understand what the VP does, whether or not they hear a correct explanation. If a pattern of gaffes like that crops up, I'll change my mind. Palin, on the other hand, seems only to get facts right by accident.

steves said...

Both of the articles I mentioned show that Biden is more than just gaffe prone. From the Kalt article:

First, when asked why he supported the decision in Roe, Biden said "Because it's as close to a consensus that can exist in a society as heterogeneous as ours." That's a preposterous answer, for three reasons. First, anyone who can put the words "Roe" and "consensus" in the same sentence without a "no" in the middle has not been paying attention to the last thirty-five years of American history. If Roe represented a consensus, it would not have been such a landmark case, and it would not have caused one of the biggest rifts in American politics in the intervening years.

Second, if tracking consensus is the standard for a good judicial opinion, then Palin's answer was much better. There is no national consensus on abortion. There is a diversity in the U.S., and in individual states. Tracking consensus is a lot easier if states can each go their own way—think of lighting a house, and having either one switch for the whole house, or individual switches for each room—and easier still if it is done through the legislative process rather than the less flexible judicial process.

That relative inflexibility is the third point: the job of judges in constitutional cases (in my opinion, but apparently not Biden's) is to apply the law as it is, not as it should be. Legislators are supposed to remake the law in line with the election returns; judges are supposed to hold the constitutional line and they are given lifetime appointments to insulate them from political considerations.

Even worse:

Biden continued by lauding Roe's complicated trimester formulation, either unaware or uninterested in the fact that it has long since been replaced by different approaches in subsequent cases.

Good grief. A first year law student knows this. He should know this, especially if he teaches Con Law, which is the class where you would have read Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey and other abortion decisions. The other article shows more than just a gaffe, IMO, but I am willing to hear him elaborate.

No one has accused him of being ignorant, merely gaffe-prone.

I am accusing him right now, at least in the areas of the Constitution and jurisprudence. Kalt has some reservations:

I would have been much happier if Palin had given better answers to Couric. But her lack of knowledge of constitutional law would assumedly lead her to rely on others for advice on such matters. She doesn't know, but surely she realizes it. Biden, by contrast, has the smooth confidence of someone who has been immersed in these issues for decades. But he's wrong. To me, that's actually scarier.

FWIW, Kalt was my Con Law professor for 2 semesters. He was also my Torts professor. IMO, he was one of the best I had.

It is possible that he was trying to dumb things down, but the VP comments, with his comments to Couric on Roe v. Wade and his major support for federal criminal laws convinces me that he may not be all than astute when it comes to the Constitution, or at least how I understand the Constitution. I will admit that reasonable minds may differ, but I disagree with him more that I agree with him.

I have seen Pat Robertson on TV and have trouble understanding how anyone can watch him for more than a few minutes.

Streak said...

Steve, I still disagree. You are welcome to your opinion. Biden does not scare me, while Palin does very much.