Palin-Palooza Wrap Up.

4 09 2008

Part of me really didn’t want to watch last night. Several of my friends here in Anchorage couldn’t bring themselves to do it, and I understand why. Doubtless there are many others in Alaska who were glued to their sets. I knew Palin would deliver the speech well, considering her sportscasting experience. I knew she’d look good, and have an air of sincerity and straight talk. But I also knew she didn’t actually write the speech, so this was going to be more a test of delivery rather than a thoughtful dissertation full of policy details. But I watched anyway. It was kind of like a personal test of strength. I passed.

The stunner of the speech for me? “I said thanks, but no thanks to that Bridge to Nowhere”. Frankly, I was surprised she said it the first time, shocked she said it the second time, but again? Almost incomprehensible. This must be her test to see if that old George Bush theory that if you say something enough, people will just believe it, is true. No other explanation seems possible. This is easy to fact check. Really easy. Palin decided she didn’t want the bridge when she learned that Alaska would have to pay too much for it. If Stevens and Young had been able to pull it off, we’d be motoring to Gravina Island right now.

The nastiness of the speech surprised me a bit too. I had imagined that she’d be playing the Mom card – sensitive, caring, tough when she had to be, but the feel-good human side of the Republican party. It would have made it much more difficult for Joe Biden to flay her in the debate without looking mean. But time and time again, she stuck it to Obama with relish, and not on policy either. She talked about elitism, lack of ‘executive experience’, did the whole “parting the waters and saving the world” snark, mocked the use of the dreaded columns at Mile High Stadium, and criticized the Obama logo. Are we really reduced to logo bashing? McCain has been on the wrong side of so many issues that matter to people in this election, there’s obviously nothing left. And that’s what gives me comfort.

But the cherry on top was her sneering, snarky comment about how being a mayor was like being a community organizer, only with “actual responsibility”.

A commenter on this blog summed it up so well: (hat tip MH& metafilter.com)

“Jesus was a Community Organizer, and Pontias Pilate was a Governor.”

Can we cram that all on to a bumper sticker, or will we only be able to make t-shirts…

The fact that this derision of community organizers was met with rousing applause by the delegates did nothing but cement the fact for many viewers that this is really the opinion, and the spirit of the Republican ‘base’. What did all the good-hearted Republican community organizers out there watching the speech think, not only of the comment, but of the reaction from their own party? Whoever the speech writer was, it became apparent rather quickly they were going for zingers, barbs, and clever one-liners, and not really thinking much about how the non-bloodthirsty segment of the viewing audience would feel about it.

Sarah Palin was the Hail Mary pass of the GOP. The McCain campaign is counting on voters being dazzled by the package, enchanted with the newness, and pumped up by the fightin’ spirit of this unusual political figure. And they are also counting on the fact that most people will go no deeper than that.

Soon the Republican convention will be wrapping up, and we’ll be ready to move to the next phase of the campaign. How will Palin fare in an actual interview? What will happen in the debate with Joe Biden, who just said he would be “unrelenting” in his challenge of Palin? What will Hillary Clinton have to say about this? Stay tuned.

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Here We Go… RNC Watch Open Thread.

3 09 2008

Here we go everyone.  I’m sitting here in Anchorage with  my cocktail, my bucket of popcorn, and my Pepto Bismol.

Rudy is taking the stage.  Did anyone at the DNC have to wait for the applause on applause lines?

Did you guys know that John McCain was a POW?

I see what we’re in for.  Barack Obama bashing, line by line down his resume.  Community Organizer (laughter), celebrity Senator, no executive experience.  Never had to lead people in crisis…. is he going to say 9/11?

He just actually said, “This is no time for on the job training.”  Ummm…. what about Sarah?

Lots of reform talk, but no specifics.   Put government on the side of the people, shook things up, …

Oh Good God.  They’re chanting “Drill Baby Drill”. And they won’t stop.

September 11th!  He said it!  Everyone take a drink!

Terrorists, Islamic extremism, ….more terrorists, surge, Democrats afraid to insult terrorists.

He just said Joe Biden should get ‘that VP thing’ in writing.  In case Obama flip flops.  That’ll be a great clip to play back if Palin is asked to leave. leaves gracefully.

Obscure negative references to the U.N.  Tries to start the U-S-A chant…semi-successfully.

HA!  The spin:  Obama looked back by choosing experience.  McCain “looked to the future” when he picked young and inexperienced.

He’s “sorry that her home town isn’t cosmopolitan enough” for Barack Obama.  “The first day she was mayor she had more executive experience” than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined.  Where’s my drink?

 Here we go. Palin is on.  Crowd goes wild.

Why does she keep saying John” S”. McCain??   Mom of a troop.  Deployment on 9/11.  More U-S-A chanting.  Family introductions. We’re just like you.  Special needs children need special love. (*Note to self.  make a post about how she cut funding in Alaska for special needs education).

Lukewarm applause for Todd being a steelworker.  Intro of parents.  Hardworking small town people are always proud of America. (as opposed to whom?)

The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull?  Lipstick.

Piper is licking her hand and wiping it on Trig’s head.  Ew.

“A small town mayor is something like a community organizer except that you have actual responsibilities”.  The ‘bitter’ comment is resurrected.  Big boo for ‘the media’ who thinks she’s unqualified.  Doesn’t care about their opinion, she’s going to Washington to serve the country.  (Pepto Bismol)

She talked about putting Murkowski’s luxury jet on Ebay and selling it.  (OK, that was a good move).

Talked about her vetoes.  Didn’t mention that it included housing for unwed mothers in crisis and special ed. 

For the THIRD TIME she’s taken credit for scuttling the bridge to nowhere, even though it’s completely untrue.  Also says Alaska has a budget surplus.  Don’t think we’ve ever NOT had one.  Lots of oil $ here.

Iran sabre rattling and energy independence.  Take it from a “gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska”, we’ve got plenty of oil.

Obama only uses the word “victory” when talking about his own campaign.  Talks about the dreaded “columns” at the DNC convention. “What does he do after holding back the waters and saving the planet?” Big government.  (more Pepto Bismol)

“Al Qaeda is plotting to inflict catastrophic harm, and [Obama] is worried that someone won’t read them their rights”.  (pounding head on desk) Now lots of tax talk.

“Some use change to promote their careers.  Others, like John McCain use their careers to promote change.”  High flown speechmaking, self-created presidential seals….

Hey, did you guys know that John McCain was a P.O.W.?

Whew.  We survived.   And here’s the whole family.  And that’s one ginormous flag.

And here’s John McCain.  “Don’t you think we made the right choice for the next Vice President of the United States?”   Ummm….





Palin is McCain’s Bridge to Nowhere. Thanks, But No Thanks.

30 08 2008

Perhaps the brain was still a little fuzzy from the shock of McCain’s new VP pick, Alaska’s own governor Sarah Palin.  Perhaps it was still stuck in the endless loop of wondering – why? why? why?  Whatever the reason, it took more than 24 hours for Palin’s first big untruth to register with me.

Today, while I watched her hop out of the “Straight Talk Express” bus, and give the second reading of her acceptance speech, one of my fellow viewers said, “You know, I don’t remember her opposing the Bridge.”  And it hit me.  I don’t remember that either.  A quick double-check with the third member of our watch party confirmed our confusion.  We all live here.  We all watch the news, read the paper, and pay attention to the local political circus, but none of us connected Sarah with her claims of rebuffing the controversial earmark.  If you weren’t watching, here’s the quote from her speech:

“I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that Bridge to Nowhere. ‘If our state wanted a bridge’, I said, ‘we’d build it ourselves’.

Reeeeally.

Check out these entries from the Ketchikan Daily News:

“People across the nation struggle with the idea of building a bridge because they’ve been under these misperceptions about the bridge and the purpose,’ said Palin, who described the link as the Ketchikan area’s potential for expansion and growth.

Palin said Alaska’s congressional delegation worked hard to obtain funding for the bridge and that she ‘would not stand in the way of the progress toward that bridge’.
8-8-06

‘We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative,’ Palin said.”
Ketchikan Daily News 9-28-06

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (currently under indictment) and Representative Don Young (currently under investigation) were the bridge’s two biggest proponents.  But they were unable to convince Congress to fund the infamous bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina Island at the levels it had hoped.  Now, instead of Alaska paying $160 million, the cost to Alaska skyrocketed to $349 million.

After federal funding had been slashed, Palin was asked if she was still in support of funding the project.  She said:

Yes. I would like to see Alaska’s infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now–while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.

Well that assistance never materialized, and Alaska’s congressional powerhouse is tumbling like a house of cards.  Senior Senator Ted Stevens is under indictment on seven felony counts.  Representative Don Young is under investigation and has spent more than a million dollars of his campaign fund on legal fees…and he hasn’t even been indicted yet.  And although Stevens just won his primary bid handily, Young is hanging on by his fingernails while a recount is performed to determine the winner of his contest.  His challenger?  Sean Parnell, Palin’s Lt. Governor and also the head of the Division of Elections that is in charge of recounting the votes for his own race.  You can’t make this stuff up.  The third member of the delegation, Lisa Murkowski, was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat by her own father, Senator Frank Murkowski who left the senate to become the governor that Sarah Palin defeated in the 2006 primary.  (Are you keeping up with me?)  I could keep going, but those are the highlights.

So, if Congress had gone along and coughed up what Stevens and Young had asked for, guess what….that bridge to nowhere would have become a reality during the Palin administration.  She supported the bridge every step of the way…until the funding was cut.  So we decided to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.  If we want a bridge we’ll build it ourselves?!”   Is that like the failed earmark version of “You can’t fire me….I quit!”

The fact that “Thanks, but no thanks” was the money line for her debut as Vice Presidential candidate, and yet is a total fabrication, makes the mind reel.  Is there no fact checker on McCain’s staff?

Today, Palin called in to a local radio program, and bubbled, “This is so amazeen!”  Then she said that her children and she had only learned of her selection the day before the announcement was made.  I think of the extensive vetting process that the Democratic VP candidates went through.  Evan Bayh said that he was grilled extensively about skeletons in the closet, and even whether any of his kids had a Facebook or MySpace page that might come back to haunt him.

Apparently the Republicans don’t worry about such things.  With all the potential scandals and skeletons about to emerge from the Palin closet, (troopergate, babygate, bridgegate) we in Alaska are sitting here listening to the clock tick and wondering when it will all hit the fan.

But many Alaskans are just giddy over the whole thing.  The local sportscaster, after reporting on the high school basketball scores, said, “You know Sarah Palin used to be a sportscaster….and she’s the Vice Presidential candidate.  So, I think I wanna do that…yeah.” (eyeroll)  And one woman who was interviewed said she was totally in support of Palin because, “This is really going to put Alaska on the map.  Now people are going to find out what we’re really all about.”

Because this is what we’re looking for in the next Vice President.  We want Alaska to be on the map.  And not in that little box in the South Pacific you guys always stuff us in.  This election is about Alaska’s road to legitimacy!  Sar-ah Sar-ah Sar-ah! (banging head on desk and going to bed)

UPDATE:

Looks like the Anchorage Daily News is now reporting this.  Read HERENote to outsiders: the tongue-in-cheek reference Palin makes to herself as “Valley Trash” demonstrates a local ‘regional slur’, as it were.  Former State Senate president Ben Stevens (son of indicted Senator Ted Stevens, and currently under investigation himself) called what he perceived to be the under-educated redneck, rural population of the Mat-Su Valley where Sarah Palin is from, “Valley Trash”.