September 6, 2008

"The question is, will Mrs. Clinton fight Ms. Palin to help her former rival, Mr. Obama?"

Patrick Healy asks:
Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Palin have little in common beyond their breakout performances at the conventions and the soap opera aspects of their family lives. Mrs. Clinton always faces high expectations; Ms. Palin faced low expectations this week, and benefited from them. Mrs. Clinton can seem harsh when she goes on the attack; Ms. Palin has shown a knack for attacking without seeming nasty. Mrs. Clinton has a lot of experience; Ms. Palin, not so much. Mrs. Clinton is pantsuits; Ms. Palin is skirts.

Some Republican delegates in St. Paul saw starker differences.

“Sarah’s smile is sincere, which I never felt from Hillary, who has anger and resentment in her eyes,” said Ann Schmuecker, a delegate from Mountain Home, Arkansas, where she met the Clintons decades ago.
(Song cue.)

But Palin may appeal to the "white working women with children living in the exurbs and in rural parts of battleground states" who stuck by Hillary in the primaries. Obama may look to Hillary to try to deliver those voters to him, but then the question is: Does she want to?
Some of her aides note with a hint of resentment that Mr. Obama did not pick her as his running mate; he did not even vet her fully.
Fully? I thought he didn't vet her at all!
Plus, they add, her fall calendar also includes campaigning for Senate Democratic candidates, not just for Mr. Obama.
Ha ha, yeah. She's too busy!
“Let me tell you something,” said Luanne Van Werven, a Republican delegate from Lynden, Wash., as the convention closed late Thursday night. “I secretly think Hillary loves Sarah Palin.”
Oh, is sisterhood powerful all of a sudden? No. It's just that Hillary may want Obama to lose so she can run for 2012.

ADDED: In the comments, some people are making something of the NYT's use of different honorifics for Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Why is it Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Palin? The NYT is following a longstanding neutral rule:
The use of “Mrs.” is appropriate whenever a woman prefers it. It isn’t our choice, yours or mine; it is hers. Our style rule calls for us to use "Ms." in subsequent references to a woman unless she prefers "Miss" or "Mrs." and reporters are told that they should ask for the woman’s preference. That holds for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as other women (in her case, of course, "Senator" is also an option in subsequent references).
Hillary Clinton is one of those women who asked to be called Mrs.:
THE sign outside Nancy Pelosi's office bears the mark of her feminist roots: it identifies her as "Ms. Pelosi," using the honorific created half a century ago to give women an alternative to disclosing their marital status.

But mostly Mrs. Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, goes by just that — Mrs. Pelosi.

Across the Capitol, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, is referred to as Mrs. Clinton at every roll call. Yet the women in the Senate are split: seven use Mrs., but the other six go by Ms., including three who are married: Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine; Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana; and Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan.
Now, you can analyze the personality or the political strategy of various women as they decide whether to overcome the default and ask to be called "Mrs." (or "Miss"), but put aside your theories about New York Times bias.

"According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used..."

Incredibly weakly sourced anti-Palin crap. (Via Memeorandum.)
But being openly racist is only the tip of the Palin iceberg. According to Alaskans interviewed for this article, she is also vindictive and mean. We’re talking Rove mean and Nixon vindictive.

"Everybody's talking about change now."

Obama's all: John McCain is stealing my meme:

That's today in Terre Haute, Indiana.

ADDED: Everybody's talking about Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism, this-ism, That-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m...

What if you could play like this...

... but only while doing this with your face:

AND: Then there's this:

"3 times in 2 weeks, political speeches were watched by more people than the 'American Idol' finale..."

... or the Academy Awards or opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

We were tuning in like crazy not just for the big new celebrities, Obama and Palin, but even for crusty old John McCain, who, we know, isn't a good speechmaker.

Have we gone mad?

ADDED: Obviously, the election is important, but we aren't voting for best speechmaker. Why are we suddenly so interested in listening to speeches? Isn't that sort of a 19th century form of entertainment? Anyway, observing the trend, I want to propose a new TV show: "American Orator."

"Give me a signal: Adjust your shorts."

It's the commercial that is mystifying and horrifying everyone.

IN THE COMMENTS: Scrutineer says:
One doesn't dissect a Vorshtein.



[I've replaced the embed, which I think is playing havoc with some browsers.]

Regretflix, regretstuff.

Netflix rentals that sit there for months. What were you thinking when you ordered them? That you're the kind of person who watches movies like that? But you're not so why did you get yourself into the situation where a little piece of plastic has invaded your house and taunts you for not being the person you think you should be? Or do you like to be reminded of your lofty aspirations... by objects in your house? There are many worse things you might have around than an unwatched copy of "Hotel Rwanda."

Topics for discussion:

1. What rented movies do you have in the house? How are they making you feel? Do you keep misjudging what kind of person you are? Do you want to become that person or do you think you ought to sharpen up your perception of who you are and rent the movies that person likes to watch? Should you feel worse about not being the kind of person who watches "Hotel Rwanda" or worse about being the kind of person who lacks sharp enough self-perception to know you're not the kind of person who watches "Hotel Rwanda"?

2. Would you feel better if you hadn't rented, if you'd bought the film -- I note my instinctive shift to the term "film" -- and put it on a shelf in a nice bookcase, where it would be part of your "library"? The issue of returning it would cease to exist, and you could think of yourself as the kind of person who has that film in his library. It would be more like all those books you've bought. Or do all those books you've bought and not read taunt you? Are you reading on line now all the time and free of regret because you never remember the pages you've clicked away from, the tabs you never went back to, and the links you might have clicked?

3. What else do you have in your house that is preying on your mind like borrowed or purchased movies and books that you haven't watched/read? Clothes in a size you think you might wear again or with an image that never seems like the way you feel today? Sporting and exercise equipment? Music recordings? (You should like jazz and classical, shouldn't you?) Fresh fruits and vegetables that at least have the decency to decay into a form that forces you to oust them from the premises. Dying plants. And then we slide into the category of things that won't let you stop at mere regret if you fail to turn your attention their way. Those pets. The human beings you live with. No, perish the thought. You're not even allowed to think that you regret bringing them into your house. Your regretspace.

CORRECTED TEXT: Indicated by boldface, above.

The artistic qualities of this McCain ad completely distracted me from whatever words were spoken or shown.

Watching this ad was a strange experience for me. I clicked on the teaser at Politico, so I knew "'Temple' ad mocks Obama's stage," and I'd already decided I was going to watch it, so.... Well, you try to watch it:

Was your experience like mine? I was fascinated by the photographic effects in the beginning, the changing of the image to remove the crowd, and the way the "camera" pulled back from the stage. Then, before other images took over, I fell into a deep contemplation of the music: Was it from (one of my favorite movies) "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" or some other Errol Morris movie or was it simply music in the style of a sountrack in an Errol Morris movie? Could Errol Morris be making commercials for John McCain? If so, is he only in it for the money, does he actually support John McCain, or does he support Obama and somehow know how to hypnotize us so we cannot concentrate on the overt message, which is what happened to me?

In the end of the ad we are snapped out of it by the cheesy electronic music -- da da da da da da da da -- that ends most McCain commercials. So now that I've come to my senses, let me watch a second time. Okay, I've read the on-screen words and heard the concerned voiceover lady tell me Obama is "not ready to lead." But once again, I was struck by the artistry of the images and the music.

Oh, suddenly the irony of it all hits me. What I think about the ad is what the ad is trying to say about Obama! The style is fabulous, but what, really, is the content?

September 5, 2008

Surprising fact.

Today, I signed up for home delivery of the NYT.

A big crowd in Cedarburg, Wisconsin for McCain and Palin today.

Photo by Gary Porter. Click here for the full size and to see the rest of the slide show. Here's the story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

And here's the blog post by Headless Blogger -- who commented on my earlier post to say he'd gone to Cedarburg. Despite arriving some time after 9 for the 11:30 event -- an outdoor event -- he couldn't get anywhere near the stage. But he did try to figure out whether the women he saw were trying to wear their hair in the style of Sarah Palin.

Another commenter on the earlier post, M.E., said:
Headless Blogger, I was there, too! We arrived just before 10 and gave up on the line as it was easily a half-mile long, maybe more. However, we hung around an intersection a block or so from the rally site, and managed to see the motorcade go by.

... I think McCain has a *chance* at Wisconsin. Without Palin, nothing, but with her ... anything is possible.

However, Bush spent lots of time here in 2000 and 2004 and never got Wisconsin to flip to red. We're blue-purple at best.
I like the small-town America backdrop they got at that intersection in Cedarburg, with a good-looking compressed crowd. Tough luck, though, for the folks who tried and couldn't get near McCain and Palin.

AND: One more story of trying and failing to get into the happening intersection in Cedarburg:
We walked for blocks and blocks trying to try to find the end of the line, yet as far as we walked, we could only see blocks of people stretching before us. The line curved all the way around the downtown Cedarburg area; it was easily over half a mile long but I couldn't see the end, so who knows? Could have been a mile.

"Being read your death sentence is like being a character in one of the old Bette Davis movies."

Bob Novak tells the story of learning about his huge brain tumor and his approximately 6 months left to live.

Here's the movie:

AND: Keep your eyes peeled at 6:06 for a special cameo.

"Evolutionists Flock To Darwin-Shaped Wall Stain."

"My view is that the GOP is now like Wile E Coyote about half a mile off the cliff suspended in mid-air."

That's Andrew Sullivan purporting to explain that new Rasmussen poll that shows Sarah Palin as more popular than either Obama or McCain.

Oh, really? I was picturing something more like this?

And don't be telling me my tags are redundant.

IN THE COMMENTS: Seven Machos says:
Wile E. Coyote is really the perfect metaphor for American liberal elites. In the few cartoons where he speaks, he has this scholarly voice. We find out that he is a sooper-jeanyus. He makes these grand plans and spends vast amounts of money and time bringing them together in order to solve this unsolvable problem. Sadly, the hilarious cartoon laws of unintended consequences always destroy his schemes.
Ha ha. I found one. You're right about the voice (although in this one he's only explaining why he cares so much about catching the Roadrunner).

It's the new Bloggingheads with me and Jane Hamsher.

Here's the whole thing:

The segments are:
Jane reports on the two conventions’ different vibes (04:56)
How America’s obsession with image helps Palin (06:49)
Can pro-life Palin win over Hillary’s voters? (07:14)
Ann accuses liberals of anti-feminist attacks on Palin (05:29)
Jane vs. Ann on prosecuting Bush (11:42)
So who’s gonna win this thing? (04:55)

"Jane vs. Ann on prosecuting Bush" is the hottest part.

I'm especially interested in your comments on that.

They titled this one "Palin Fire," for those think there hasn't been enough wordplay using the Palin name and allusions to Nabokov.

McCain and Palin make their first campaign stop as official nominees in Wisconsin.

Hey, they care about Wisconsin! The rally is at 10:30 a.m., at the main intersection in Cedarburg. Look, I mapped it for Madisonians:

View Larger Map

ADDED: If I'd hopped in my car when I wrote this, I could have gotten there in time. Could have taken some photographs. But I didn't. So don't be expecting that. I have obligations in Madison.

"Obama to Dispatch Female Surrogates" -- that NYT headline I flagged last night -- is now: "Obama Camp Turns to Clinton to Counter Palin."

I was struck, in the midst of my convention live-blogging, that the NYT had such an Obama-unfriendly headline. But now, they've friendlied it up. The original headline, "Obama to Dispatch Female Surrogates," put a picture in my head of Obama releasing an army of programmed fembots.

The new headline, "Obama Camp Turns to Clinton to Counter Palin," flips the image. It's not Obama, but the Obama camp -- a large, faceless group -- and now it's not a large, faceless group of women, but one particular woman, Hillary. Don't pin anything directly on Obama, and don't disrespect women by portraying them as nonindividuals.

And so suddenly, Hillary is the anti-Palin.

Hillary Is... the Palinator.

[ADDED: The image above, pointed to in the comments by Palladian, after I said: Kisses to the reader who Photoshops an image for that. Also, in the comments, was Ruth Anne's invitation: "And while you're photoshopping: Put a buff Sarah Connor body under the Sarah Palin face. No, wait. She's already done that herself."]

So now, let's read beyond the headlines:
Senator Barack Obama will increasingly lean on prominent Democratic women to undercut Gov. Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain, dispatching Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to Florida on Monday and bolstering his plan to deploy female surrogates to battleground states, Obama advisers said Thursday....

With the McCain-Palin team courting undecided female voters, including some who backed Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic primaries, Obama aides said they were counting on not only Mrs. Clinton but also Democratic female governors to rebut Ms. Palin — and, by extension, Mr. McCain. Those governors include Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.
Another poll:

Which headline was more accurate, and why did the NYT switch to the second headline?
The first. Changed because it was unfriendly to Obama.
The first. And websites change these things to add excitement or to balance with other headlines.
The second. Changed for accuracy.
The second. But websites just vary the headlines for excitement or balance. free polls

A very cool, spherically scrollable, panorama of the convention hall.


Obama and McCain tied in a new poll. I attribute that to the attacks on Palin, not the Palin choice per se. And why I haven't been submitted to polls.

Barack Obama and John McCain are now tied, at 42%, according to a CBS News poll taken over the last 3 days. CBS had the race at 48-40 in a poll conducted over the last weekend. Presumably, Palinosity infuses the new results. Yet why didn't it have more effect in that 48-40 poll? Maybe it's not Palin per se, but the attacks on Palin that fired up the support.

Can it be that people really respond to women when they are attacked? It seemed that way with Hillary. Clue to McCain opponents: Be gracious and kind as you undermine confidence in her qualifications and judgments. If you can.

But you can't. Not because you are bastards, but because there are too many different people speaking, and the graciously kind approach will never be adopted across the board. I think Barack Obama himself immediately adopted the graciously kind attitude -- which shows good judgment on his part -- but he's powerless to stop the nastier people from being nasty.

And some will say that's the way he likes it. He can pose above the fray while others do the dirty work. We'll never know what he really thinks, but presumably he likes what works, and ugly attacks on Palin don't seem to be working. Or do you think they just aren't working yet.

By the way, do you believe these polls? Are you getting polled? I must say that I've been getting phone calls every day from people who tell me they are doing a survey. I haven't submitted to a poll yet. Why not? Because the people who call have that terribly weary voice that I've been responding to for years with a reflexive "I'm not interested." If the voice sounded alert and sharp, I'd do a poll, but I instinctively cut off anyone who talks to me in that spam call voice.

A poll about polls:

Do you submit to the phone pollers?
Yes. I want my opinion recorded.
Yes. The pollers inspire my compliance.
No. I want to withhold my opinion.
No. Like Althouse, I can't stand to talk to those people. free polls

Another Madison murder.

The Wisconsin State Journal:
A late-night fatal stabbing outside a State Street-area bar Wednesday comes at a time when Madison police have beefed up their presence to combat a wave of alcohol-fueled crime that has Downtown residents and UW-Madison students on edge.

The latest incident — Madison's sixth murder of the year — claimed the life of Juan J. Bernal, 22, of Madison. Police said Bernal was not a student.

Madison police responded to an area outside the Plaza Tavern and Grill, 319 N. Henry St., around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday after a report of a stabbing and later arrested Justin R. Stout, 31, of Madison....

Plaza Tavern owner Dean Hetue said his staff told him the two arrested men left the bar, then waited outside for Bernal. He was stabbed right outside the bar's front door after he came out to have a cigarette, Hetue said....

The Plaza Tavern is in an area including State Street where Madison police have launched an effort to control alcohol-related crime and disorder. The Downtown Safety Initiative, which began this spring, employs officers working overtime in targeted areas on selected Friday and Saturday nights to patrol the vibrant State Street area, which draws a sometimes-volatile mixture of drunken students, the homeless and criminals seeking easy prey.

The program was developed in response to an increase in violent street crime Downtown, including a disturbing pattern of weekend bar-time muggings of male college students in the spring of 2006 and the murder the following year of UW-Whitewater student Kelly Nolan, 22. Nolan disappeared after she left a State Street bar in June 2007. Her body was found about three weeks later south of Madison in the town of Dunn.

Madison Police Capt. Mary Schauf said there were no extra officers on duty Wednesday night because "Wednesday night is not one of the nights that's normally targeted for extra resources."
So what do you think, Madison people? Are the police doing enough? I'm not swallowing the it was Wednesday excuse.

September 4, 2008

Live-blogging night 4 of the Republican Convention.

5:38 Central Time: Just setting up the post, so you'll know I'm going to do this again. Don't expect much for another 2 hours.

6:44: I just recorded a new Bloggingheads, with lots of talk about the convention. Now, I have the time to watch some things. Pawlenty is coming up in the next hour. Brownback. Hmmm.

7:07: Barack Obama gives a good speech, but the best sermons are lived, says Tim Pawlenty. He's trying to get the chant going: "John McCain put our country first." That was a little cheesy. Ah, but it didn't last long.

7:24: Brownback calls McCain "a history maker and a history breaker." That sounds like a line for the Steve Carrell character on "The Office."

8:01: Lindsey Graham says that everyone knows the surge is working. "The only people who deny it are Barack Obama and his buddies at" Why? Because the Obama campaign is built on losing in Iraq, Graham says. McCain pushed for the surge, pushed against Republicans. It was unpopular. "Some said it was political suicide." John McCain "stopped the Democratic Party from losing this war." Strong stuff. Excellently delivered.

8:10: A little film about Sarah Palin. Co-maverick. "When Alaska's maverick joined America's maverick, the world shook." Some lovely pictures of people and landscapes. I especially enjoyed the shot of shelves of cut up fish meat to illustrate "hard work."

8:23: "It's not about talking pretty; it's about talking straight," says Tom Ridge, putting a lot of effort into sounding tough. "Let's call this maverick forward."

8:35: A nice film about Cindy McCain. Good works. Loving mom. And.... drift racing!

8:43: Cindy is speaking. She says we feel Abraham Lincoln's hand tapping us on the shoulder, then pauses, and it takes way too long for the crowd to pick up the applause cue. She makes a nice contrast -- a good liberal/conservative contrast -- between being concerned about what people in other countries will think and being concerned about what our forefathers would think.

9:02: "Obama to Dispatch Female Surrogates" -- NYT headline.

9:04: Excellent film presentation of the story of John McCain. Most notable is the idea that he survived the Forrestal fire because there was a plan -- God isn't named outright -- for him to do something more. Nice but intimidating contributions from Mother McCain.

9:17: McCain's speech. It feels rote sometimes and has an actorly passion sometimes. "I hate war," woke me from one of my dozes. "I've never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn't thank God for the privilege.... I was blessed by misfortune." The speech felt very long and had its ups and downs. After many diverse phrases, he got it together over the idea of service and the slogan "Country First." He spoke clearly and well about his early life, as a cocky selfish man, and his transition to a man in love with his country. Now, I'm watching the final waving, with the family and Sarah Palin. Where are the balloons? I obsess over the balloons. What if they never fall? Obviously, there is a huge balloon snafu. Finally, balloons. Why were balloons important? Ah, why is a speech important? The big idea is John McCain's life, and somewhere along the way tonight that point was made. It was made over and over. It's now for us to decide if we want this man to lead us for the next 4 years.

"51% Say Reporters Are Trying To Hurt Palin; 39% Say She Has Better Experience Than Obama."

Rasmussen polls. And 52% had a favorable opinion of Palin before her speech last night.
Eighty percent (80%) of Republicans say reporters are trying to hurt the GOP vice presidential nominee, and 28% of Democrats agree. Only six percent (6%) of Republicans – and even fewer Democrats (4%)– think the reporting is intended to help her. Most Democrats (57%) think the reporters are being unbiased, but just nine percent (9%) of Republicans concur.

Among unaffiliated voters, 49% say reporters are trying to hurt Palin, while 32% say their coverage is unbiased. Only five percent (5%) say reporters are trying to help her.
I love that people are so skeptical about journalism.

Here, let me do some (unscientific) polling:

Do you think reporters are trying to hurt Palin?
No. free polls

Does press bias backfire?
Yes, people perceive it and react against it.
No, people either don't perceive it or perceive it and go along with it or ignore it. free polls

David Axelrod on Sarah Palin: "For someone who makes the point that she is not from Washington, she looks like she would fit in very well there."

Politico reports:
“She is deft at going on the attack. For someone who makes the point that she is not from Washington, she looks like she would fit in very well there,” Axelrod told reporters on the campaign plane in Pittsburgh, Pa. “These attacks all felt very familiar to Americans who are used to this kind of thing from Washington.”

Axelrod said her speech was riddled with distortions.

“Right down the line,” he said. “She tried to attack Obama by saying he had no significant legislative accomplishments – maybe that’s what she was told – but she should talk to Sen. Lugar, talk to Sen. Coburn, talk to people across the aisle in Illinois where he passed dozens of major laws to expand health care reform welfare, reduce taxes on working families. So I think she had an assignment and she went out and she discharged it.”
She's an automaton, programmed to carry out a mission. Possibly raised hydroponically by Karl Rove in a basement in the White House.

By the way, I keep hearing that Obama has executive experience qualifying him to run for the presidency in that he has run a campaign for the presidency. Does that mean Axelrod -- and Rove -- could run for President? I mean, isn't Axelrod really the brain behind it all?
He founded a political consultancy and soon made his mark running the re-election campaign of Chicago's first African-American mayor, Harold Washington. He has since done work for clients ranging from the current mayor, Richard M Daley, to presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. But the Washington campaign proved a template for helping other African-American mayoral candidates, leading one commentator early in the Obama campaign to remark that Axelrod had 'developed something of a novel niche for a political consultant - helping black politicians convince white supporters to support them'.

Yet in Obama, almost from the moment they met, Axelrod seemed to sense something on a far grander scale: a potential for what he described to friends as a 'historic' agent for change in American politics on the scale of the hero he had seen as a five-year-old. He helped to run Obama's campaign for the US Senate in 2004 and was also credited with helping to craft the powerful Democratic convention speech in July 2004 that put him squarely on the national political stage.

"This woman is an Obama-level political natural."

Says Megan McArdle. Indeed.

It's like some bizarre nightmare/dream (depending on your party preference). The Dems had Obama, and then... suddenly Sarah.

It's as if some mad right-wing scientists designed and built an android to counter all the things that Obama is. Can she be real? Can it be that there was this actual human entity, on ice in Alaska, waiting for this moment to be thawed out and set loose in the lower 48?

Ann, remember Jon Turley's line about John Roberts et fam. at the 7th Circuit Bar meeting last year? "Hydroponically raised by Karl Rove in the White House basement" or something to that effect.

Good memory. Here's Turley:
Roberts is a handsome, perfectly groomed man who looks like he was raised hydroponically by Karl Rove in the White House basement.

"Many will find it ironic to read Peggy Noonan — who was Ronald Reagan's speechwriter – claiming that Republicans are not very good at The Narrative.

"George Lakoff made a name for himself as a political commentator by expressing, at length, a contrary view."

Nice discussion, by Mark Liberman, of Peggy Noonan's open mike confession.

(And yes, it irks me that Mark spells it "mic." A lot.)

"She seems like a real fighter, someone who would stick it to the lobbyist and special-interest groups that have run ramped in Washington."

Writes one of the Detroit Free Press readers who are weighing in on Sarah Palin's speech:
Originally, I was a not too happy about McCain’s choice for a running mate, Sarah Palin … However, after her speech tonight I am beginning to see her in a different light. She seems like a real fighter, someone who would stick it to the lobbyist and special-interest groups that have run ramped in Washington. Her perspective between Obama and McCain was brilliant. … Palin hit it on the nail, the Democratic Party is about big government and high taxes. McCain has walked the walk on change while Obama has to date only talked the talk about change.
Hey, somebody notify Language Log! "Run ramped" is a fabulous eggcorn -- "a kind of word creation due to a mishearing that a glance at the written form would normally have corrected." The writer obviously meant "run rampant."

I love the association with the vogue use of the phrase "ramped up," which William Safire wrote about in his "On Language" column here:
Who is there to restrain this kudzulike growth of ramp, up and down? A myriad of readers (including those who prefer the adjective form, as in ''myriad readers'') have urged this department to take to the ramparts. In Old French, ramper was ''to creep or crawl.'' Its first appearance in English was in a 1390 poem: ''A litel Serpent on the ground, Which rampeth al aboute round.'' Three centuries later, John Milton contributed to its meaning of crawling upward: ''Surely the Prelates would have Saint Pauls words rampe one over another, as they use to clime into their Livings and Bishopricks.'' Shakespeare's contemporary Ben Jonson used it to lead off the couplet that has become the epitome of realism: ''Ramp up my genius, be not retrograde; But boldly nominate a spade a spade.''
Now, now, Ben Jonson wasn't talking about Obama, and I didn't read that part of the paragraph until after I pasted it in. I'm just interested in this word-root "ramp" and its present-day manifestations "ramp up" and "rampant" and how they converged in that eggcorn."Rampant" denotes a virulent growth, while "ramp" mostly refers to rising up. Not really that different, but "run ramped" seems like something from the 16th century.

Republicans for Obama.

Let's talk about the dangerous, lurking issue of "card check."

"Several moderate-Democrat friends of mine have been emailing--few if any would ever vote for McCain--but all agree that Palin was very strong."

Writes TNR's Michael Crowley, adding that "[t]he more liberal among them are a little panicked."

Crowley also talks about how "negative" she was, which he "completely misjudged," which makes me wonder why he made the judgment he did. Because Sarah Palin is female? Because she's a socially conservative female?
Her lines about Obama were brutally cutting and possibly over the top in places.
When a man agonizes that a woman is "brutally cutting," I reach for my Freud text.

IN THE COMMENTS: Doyle writes:
It was definitely well-executed, but I thought the speech was too sarcastic.
Oh, yes, sarcastic. That reminds me. I saw Paul Begala on some morning show and he was using that word. He said that Palin was excellent when she was telling her life story, but then when she got into the criticisms of Barack Obama, she was sarcastic, and that wasn't good.

Step back, little lady. Be good. Be nice. Tell us about your children and what you like to cook for dinner and how much you love your hubby.

Grrrr... my feminist blood boils.

Biden says a President Obama might pursue criminal charges against George Bush.

Now, this is loose talk from Biden, saying the one thing which, if I believed it, would force me to vote for McCain.

Please follow up with Obama himself, because I'd really like to know. Oh, and when you're asking Obama this question, please needle him with the Eagleton scenario, because that's the way they talk about McCain and Palin, and I like to see good turnabout.

ADDED: The linked article quotes what Obama said on the subject a while back:
"[I]n April, [Obama] vow[ed] that if elected, he would ask his attorney general to initiate a prompt review of Bush-era actions to distinguish between possible "genuine crimes" and "really bad policies".

"[I]f crimes have been committed, they should be investigated," Obama told the Philadelphia Daily News. "You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve."
That's different from pursuing Bush specifically. I can't believe Obama would want his administration consumed with the past and all about Bush. I know I don't want that. But then, I voted for Gerald Ford, long ago. (And I was the kind of person who voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980... and Mondale and Dukakis and Bill Clinton, twice, and Al Gore.)

ADDED: And McGovern.

AND: Please understand that my opinion here is not just about the advisability of pursuing criminal charges against a former President. This goes to the more general question of judgment. I will not trust the presidency in the hands of a person who thinks this way.

IN THE COMMENTS: Of Biden's idea, Joe says:
This is banana republic material.
Palladian quips:
Let's hope Biden and Obama slip on the rhetorical peel and go down in a hilarious pratfall before they're elected.
AND: Here's the video:

I love the first part where he inanely lectures us about the word "estoppel." I guess the Obama campaign has decided to go with the law professor vibe. But Senator Biden, I am a law professor. I work with law professors. Law professors are friends of mine. Senator, you're no law professor.

"First of all, I don’t know the governor. There’s no reason not to respect her and I believe she’s qualified to be the vice president."

That's what Joe Biden said.

At first, I was all oops -- Biden's putting his foot in his mouth again.

And then, it was more oh, yeah, right.

Sarah Palin was forced to give half of her speech from memory, without the use of the Teleprompter.

Or that's the word from the McCain campaign. The same thing, they say, also happened to Giuliani. Both had to rely on memory and improvisation.

Now, who can say whether that's really true? Yes, they both deviated from the text that was sent out to the press. But it would be so easy -- easier than faking a pregnancy -- to send out one speech and load a slightly different one into the teleprompter and then lie about it.

Given the virulent meme about how Obama can't speak when he's off the teleprompter, it would be delightfully useful to get people to think Sarah Palin does brilliantly well without the device, even when she's under the highest pressure, when the stakes are highest, and when the need to go without it is a sudden surprise. It proves she's smart and able to deal with a crisis. It flaunts intimidating superpowers.

What's with these stories of unverifiable wondrous feats?

I want a DNA test.

AND: There's obviously a conspiracy theory available in the other direction. Was Sarah sabotaged?

Highlights of last night's Sarah Palin speech.

Did it seem to as though Sarah Palin "came out of nowhere"?

Look how much VP buzz there was about her long before last Friday.

Now, blogs have Facebook pages.

Come join mine.

September 3, 2008

Now, what's the right way to fix a baby's hair?

So what did you think of Sarah Palin?

A new thread, so you aren't buried down in the 600s in the comments on that last post. But stay on the precise topic to belong under this heading. The issue is only: How did she do?

IN THE COMMENTS: Revenant saiD"
From now on, when a Democrat says "But what if McCain drops dead on his first day in office?!?!?!" I'm going to say "dude -- don't tease me like that."
Prosecutorial Indiscretion said:
The response from the left tells us all we need to know: "You know someone else wrote that speech, right?"

When that's all you have, you don't have much. The speech was awesome, Palin is awesome, and there is palpable fear from the left as they realize that the woman they denigrated as a backwoods PTA mom is going to give them all kinds of hell for the next two months with a big and sincere smile on her face.
john(classic) said:
Given all the slime thrown at her over the last 5 days, I feel like I just watched one of those action films where the hero disappears in debris, smoke, and a roar, the music pauses, and the hero steps forward out of the smoke, samurai sword slung over his shoulder. The music swells.

But I gotta get used to saying "heroine."
Beldar said:
First-inning grand-slam.

By the vice presidential debate, they may have Biden fake illness, give her an intentional walk. She's going to kill them at every single at-bat.
Well, speaking of fake illness, maybe Biden is so ill, he needs to step down. You know, he's reminds me so much of Eagleton. (Just reversing that idiotically insincere Eagleton meme.)

Dark Eden said:
One word: Thatcher

Live-blogging night 3 -- Sarah Palin alert! -- of the Republican Convention.

5:43 Central Time: I'm just setting this up so you can get started talking and to let you know that I'll be here -- on what is obviously a very exciting night.

7:48: I'm just settling in for some serious blogging, and the first thing I notice is this open mike eavesdropping on Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan. Peggy: "The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives... Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it."

8:11: It's Mitt Romney. He's got a peppy, plastic style. It's hammy in a way that might work from farther back in the room. Down with the "eastern elites"! It's time for sun to rise in the west -- in Arizona and Alaska. Now, he's getting an audience chant going: "It's liberal!" "We need change all right. Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington." Liberals don't understand business. They grow government and dependency. It's "death to initiative." Fight dependency "like the poison it is." "It's time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother." He does a pretty good job of sharpening up the line between conservatives and liberals and making the conservative side seem better -- especially in economics.

8:28: I'm watching on CNN, with a TiVo assist. I'm keeping up with the speeches. But I pause when a speech ends and then scroll through the commentary when it's time for the next speech. Are the CNN commentators interesting? I don't have time for it all. Let's stop. Here's Jeffrey Toobin saying that bitching about the news media is hypocritical coming from John McCain, because they always used to love him. How come suddenly they seem "hypocritical and biased against him"? Huh? What's hypocritical? That sounds like they were always biased, but they just aren't supporting John McCain right now. What the hell kind of a defense of journalism isn that supposed to be? I mean, I can see why McCain is pissed about it. But it's an embarrassing defense.

8:33: Candy Crowley snags Mitt on the convention floor. She poses a hypothetical. Hey, what if John McCain drops dead on day one, huh? What do you think about that? How is Palin up for it? Mitt responds exactly the way you'd expect: Well, Obama, if elected, would be Prez on day one and how's he going to do it? Yeah, you don't even need a death scenario for that, you know, Candy. Mitt-quote: "The question about experience raises a lot of questions about Barack Obama."

8:36: Now, Mike Huckabee is up. He admits he's disappointed not to be the nominee. But McCain was his second choice, he says. He's got "the character and the stubborn kind of integrity that we need in a President." He thanks the MSM for uniting the Republican Party. Obama "will elevate our taxes and our risk in a dangerous world." He's got a chant he's trying to get going: "You want something to change." But don't forget about the things you don't want to change, like our freedom. He mocks "Barack Obama's Excellent Adventure to Europe." We don't like "European ideas." We like our freedom -- in other words, we don't like big government. This is the anti-dependency message again. It's not what government will do for you, it's what you will do for yourself if government gets out of the way. "The only soap we ever had in my house is Lava." That's a great line. "I'm not a Republican because I grew up rich. I'm a Republican because I didn't want to grow up poor waiting for the government to rescue me." Hey! This is an excellent speech. Much better than Romney's. Nice rhetoric and delivery.

8:46: The digital backdrop -- a flag, I think -- is, on these closeups, just a throbbing red. It's hard on the eyes. They need to blue it up, like normal TV. [ADDED: When Sarah Palin speaks, they just turn if off and have a black background.]

8:51: Huckabee ends with a long, folksy story about a teacher with a lesson to students about how they could "earn their desks." Veterans carrying desks are involved. I respect respecting veterans, but don't really see what's so wonderful about taking little kids and lengthily instructing them about what men have done in far away wars. It's a little too Captain-Koons-Hello-Little-Man for my taste.

8:58: I just corrected a typo in the 8:11 entry. I'd written "It's hammy in a way that might work from father back in the room." My son John emailed me about the typo, and I indicated that maybe it was Freudian, and I really wished I could have Mitt Romney for my dad, and John sends me this pic...

... and reminds me that he always said that Mitt looks like the dad on "The Donna Reed Show."

9:05: It's Rudy Giuliani, and this should be good. He was great at the RNC in '04. (Closeup on Cindy McCain who suddenly has her hair curled. Did the memo go out to soften her up?)

9:07: Rudy is saying that electing a President is basically hiring someone to do a job. He recites McCains résumé. Then we have another man. "He worked as a community organizer." He pauses. Mutters "what?" The audience reacts. Rudy repeats: "He worked as a community organizer." "Maybe this is the first problem on the résumé." And: "He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics." (That's an important line that could take a lot more play.) The audience boos Chicago machine politics. On to the Illinois state legislature where he couldn't figure out whether to vote yes or no. "It was too tough!" "I didn't know about this vote 'present' when I was mayor of New York City." And Sarah Palin couldn't vote "present" as Governor of Alaska. Being able to vote "present" means you weren't in an executive position.

9:17: Barack Obama has never led people in times of crisis. "He is the least experienced candidate for President in at least the last 100 years." He's never led people in anything -- "nada, nothing." Hey, that's unfair! He led the Harvard Law Review.

9:19: And don't forget: He led his campaign for President.

9:23: Rudy says Obama talks about change, but it might be the wrong kind of change. We want the right kind of change. Like, we should drill for oil. The crowd is all: "Drill, baby, drill!"

9:24: The Dems worry that it's politically incorrect to say "Islamic terrorism." They're afraid of insulting terrorists. The big digital screen is used to show a big skyline of NYC.

9:26: The surge was right. McCain got it right and Obama got it wrong. John McCain has taken unpopular positions and political risks. When, Rudy asks, has Obama ever done that? He was for an undivided Jerusalem for one day, only one day, when he was in Israel. The idea is that Obama is a man who played it safe, ingratiating himself in one way after another.

9:31: Palin has had "more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined." He doesn't throw in John McCain and say she's had more executive experience than all 3 of them put together. He mocks the Dems for mocking her for being a mayor of a small town... where they cling to religion and guns. And now she's the most popular Governor in the country with an 80% approval rating. "You never get that in New York City." She fought corruption. She stood up for what is right. She and McCain "are going to shake up Washington." And "how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be Vice President. When do they ever ask a man that question? When?!"

9:36: And now! It's her! Sarah Palin! Black skirt. Silver jacket. Oh, when do they ever say that about a man?

9:37: Huge cheers. Cute kid closeup. "Thang-Q. Thang-Q. Thang-Q so much."

9:38: She introduces her family -- her son, who is going to Iraq, her 3 daughters -- the cute youngest waves -- and the baby Trig, the special needs child. And she looks out directly on America, as though she sees all the people who have special children in their families -- and pledges that we will have a friend and advocate in the White House.

9:48: She tells us about Todd, the fisherman, her "guy," and don't forget that Yupik ancestry. She's got a Native American husband.

9:50: She praises small town Americans (like her!). Don't disrespect them! They are the salt of the earth.

9:52: "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer... except that you have actual responsibilities." And in small towns, they don't know what to make of a candidate who "lavishes praise" on them when he's around and then, behind their backs, "talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns." Don't talk about us "one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco." Ouch. John McCain is the same man wherever he goes.

10:00: In power, she fought corruption and government excess. "That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay." "Nearly half a billion dollars in vetoes."

10:11: She's laying into Barack Obama. What is he, once those styrofoam pillars are dragged off the stage? It's all show. And the real plan is the old tax and spend.

10:13: "The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery."

10:19: She retells the story of John McCain, with the emphasis on character and authenticity. Elect "a great man" as the next President, she implores... to fabulous applause. We see the newly-curly-headed Cindy in the audience. She's pumped. The Palin family files out onto the stage. Trig is awakened. No baby would understand what the hell is going on, but he's gazing around at the lights and colors. The pregnant Bristol is there with her hunky hockey boyfriend. And now McCain trundles out. He raises his arms as high as he can to wave to the crowd. His tie is the color of the pantsuit Hillary wore for the DNC. [ADDED: He's sending the secret tie signal.] "Don't you think we made the right choice for the next Vice President of the United States? And what a beautiful family." He leans over to respond to something the little girl said. He shrugs. I guess he didn't know whatever it was that she didn't know.

10:32: Maybe it was: "Are you the next President?"

3 questions about Sarah Palin the Obama supporter should not want to ask.

According to David Bernstein:
(1) How can she do her job as vice-president and take care of her kids?
Because Obama has kids, so the only way to ask the question is with an anti-feminist assumption. Obama supporters are tempted to make a Down Syndrome distinction and to emphasize that the decision to have the child entails a commitment to spend extra time on it, but that only forefronts the disagreement about abortion -- for her, there was no choice -- and highlights the harsh reality that (some of those) who accept abortion think it's a good idea to discriminate against the (unborn) disabled. None of that is very pretty. And yet, planting seeds of doubt is all that is needed. You can believe that an anti-feminist argument is wrong and even think that it will trigger a strong counter-argument and still think it might work as it plants doubts in some voters' minds and decide to do it anyway, because that's how much you want to win. Just look at the doubts the Clinton campaign tried plant about Obama in minds that they must have hoped had a place where racial prejudice could grow.
(2) What makes anyone think that Palin has enough experience to be "one heartbeat from the presidency?"
Because it points up that Obama, with his corresponding lack of experience would actually be the President.
(3) Is Sarah Palin's church/pastor nutty?
Because McCain supporters would love to bring back good old Jeremiah Wright -- American chickenssssssss and all.

Bernstein's points are good. And yet, Bernstein supports McCain, right? Why is it a McCain supporter who is giving this advice. Why should Obama supporters take this any more seriously than they take the bogus advice they are dispensing about how Palin ought to drop out for her own good?

ADDED: Bernstein isn't a declared supporter of McCain's.

"She hunts. She fishes. Her mooseburgers are delicious."

And watch the whole thing, called Palinpalooza.

Let's talk about this new Obama ad.

I've said that I wanted to post more Obama ads and that the reason I haven't is that his ads haven't been very creative or much fun, like McCain. So someone sent me this one:

"They share... the same questionable ties to lobbyists." That line about made me think about this.

I liked the peppy music and the style of voice over. It seemed like a parody of a promo for a new TV show or movie, though, so it would have been funnier with a punchline, something like "You'll love this new show for the next four ... [channel flipping]... Vote for Barack Obama."

ADDED: For comparison, here's what McCain just put up:

"Levi Johnston, the kid who knocked up Bristol Palin and will now be forced to marry her, will attend the RNC tonight."

That's how Gawker puts it.

I just had a nightmare vision -- this election season has me continually scribbling a fictionalized screenplay in my head -- of a plot to woo that handsome guy away from Bristol Palin.

Here's the picture of the young man who suddenly has the whole world looking at him:

How is an 18-year-old guy supposed to handle all of this? He could be the main character in one of the ten romans à clef that could be written about this vividly populated election season.

New York Magazine has a piece titled "We’re Sorry, But Palin Baby Daddy Levi Johnston Is Sex on Skates." Doesn't that sound like an open call to female Obama supporters?

Note the caption at that last link.

Funny. But shameless. But he's 18. So... "fair game," right?

After all the attacks, the audience for Palin's speech tonight will be huge.

Lorie Byrd observes:
Some will be curious to see America's hottest governor, others will watch to catch a glimpse of Bristol's baby bump in the crowd or a shot of her handsome young hockey player fiance. Others will watch to see if she is really the "Dan Quayle in a skirt" they have been hearing about. Some will even be interested in her take on the issues.

... Maybe after the viewers realize the Obama camp has been misleading them about her experience and that the caricature many Democrats have painted of her over the past week has been far from reality, they will question whether or not they can trust team Obama. Maybe they will even wonder why the media didn't seem to know any of this either. If the stars are aligned right they might even decide the media intentionally misled them.
Much depends on her speech tonight, and I tend to think it will wow the viewers. I was wowed by her presentation on Friday. I'm not saying I agree with all her ideas. I certainly don't. But she sounds great and the image -- image counts (ask Obama!) -- is fabulous.

Hey, Eagleton meme-pushers. You know McGovern said "If had it to do over again, I’d have kept him."

Last year.

"Perhaps Governor Palin, realizing that and trying to minimize her own humiliation in coming days, should withdraw before she is nominated..."

The "that" is.... Well, what is the "that" there? The previous paragraph in this Garry Wills NYT op-ed -- "McCain’s McGovern Moment" --- is:
Perhaps Senator McGovern should not have deserted Tom Eagleton. Perhaps Senator McCain should stick by Governor Palin. But if he does soldier on with her by his side for a while, will he end up having to call another midget convention like the one that had to be cobbled together to nominate Sargent Shriver? That is hardly in his best interests.
So Palin -- perhaps -- ought to realize that McCain perhaps may find it hard and perhaps need to oust her in the end. Quit now before you embarrass yourself and hurt poor old John McCain, Garry Wills says.

This Eagleton meme is everywhere. Over at the Atlantic, Joshua Green has a piece called "The 'Eagleton Scenario'":
Barring a dramatic reversal, Sarah Palin will formally become the Republican vice presidential nominee Wednesday night. Since Friday, when the pick was announced, news surrounding Palin has been almost uniformly negative....
Is that evidence of what a terrible idea it was to choose her or of how horrified the media are to see the McCain campaign electrified?
Here in St. Paul, talk of Palin has dominated the Republican convention—even more so than cable news—and by Monday night discussion among Republican operatives and reporters had turned to whether Palin would survive or become the first running mate since Thomas Eagleton in 1972 to leave a major-party ticket.
Oh, so the discussion among Republican operatives and reporters has turned to whether Palin is the new Eagleton? Why is that? Because the reporters are asking Republican operatives about it? What slithery language you have there, Joshua!
With reporters and opposition researchers crawling through Alaska...
... and with the McCain campaign having dispatched its own team of lawyers to re-vet Palin....
So now defending yourself in the face of attacks is "re-vetting"?
... Republicans are wondering what shoe might drop next.
The expression is "waiting for the other shoe to drop." People have 2 shoes. This is an expression to be used when one thing has happened in a context where you expect one more thing to happen. You live in an apartment and you hear, from upstairs, a shoe drop. You therefore conclude that your neighbor is taking off his shoes and rationally expect to hear the second shoe. There's no expression "what shoe might drop next." There's no rain of multiple shoes. There's no concept that if there's one shoe, there are probably a whole lot of other shoes out there.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. That just annoys me. The random intrusion of inapt shoe metaphors.

But yeah, so, obviously Green wants us to think that the Republicans upset about Sarah Palin. But who is pushing the Eagleton meme? Who wants her out?

You know, I remember the McGovern campaign. I was a big supporter of McGovern's, and I hated Nixon, as did all of my friends. And the scenario then was completely different from what you are seeing now. We were never excited about Eagleton in the first place. We just wanted McGovern to win. Eagleton didn't infuse new energy into the McGovern campaign or jazz up am important subset of voters. He was just some boring Senator that got slotted in. And then he brought nothing but trouble and distraction as the news came out that he'd been hospitalized for depression 3 times and had receive electroshock treatments. It wasn't just that there were a couple of old political controversies or a family member was less than perfect. We were getting significant new information about his brain, the brain that we might need to rely on to make presidential decisions. It was simply not acceptable, especially since he'd also withheld this information from McGovern, which showed some really poor character.

The Palin candidacy has virtually nothing in common with the Eagleton scenario, and the people who are saying it does are displaying their desperation. Obviously -- I'm not the first to say this -- if you want McCain to lose and you think she's so terrible, you should be happy to see Palin as the VP nominee. It will help defeat McCain.

"I'm the freaking Governor of Alaska. I didn't get there by just eating mooseburgers and popping out kids."

This is brilliant. (You will hear "fuck"... once):

ADDED: The second installment is not much fun at all.

September 2, 2008

Live-blogging night 2 of the Republican Convention.

5:22 Central Time: Just setting up the post. Let's watch!

5:31: Ugh. CNN is still going over and over the hurricane. Would they be making so much of a hurricane of this dimension if it was the Democratic Convention?

5:32: I'll have to run off at some point to go to a hair appointment. Feel free to tell me how you think I should get my hair cut. Pictures especially appreciated.

5:49: The subject is whether Sarah Palin should stay home with her "special needs" child. Can you be a mother and pursue a career? Gloria Borger, a self-identified "working mom," says you can't make "generalizations," and everyone must make her own decision.

5:57: Wolf Blitzer is pushing the meme -- which I've heard elsewhere -- that McCain is a "maverick" and that means he makes impulsive decisions like the choice of Sarah Palin. He doesn't add -- but there are versions of this meme where it is added -- that this supposedly gut level choice of Sarah Palin should stand as a warning about the way he will make decisions about foreign policy.

6:38: Super-serious singing of the the national anthem, but I really don't like the singer's enunciation. Weird to have the flag waving on a digital screen.

8:22: I'm back. Hair cut. Just scrolled through all the stuff I missed, and it seems like virtually nothing.

8:43: Very moving presentation of the story of a Medal of Honor winner, Michael Monsoor. I see from the NYT that Senator Lieberman spoke, but I didn't see that in my scroll-through, so I didn't mean to count that as "virtually nothing." What I saw was a lot of Blitzer et al. commentary. [ADDED: No, that was just a preview. I didn't miss it.]

8:53: It's Laura Bush, extolling her husband as a man of principle and resolve. She praises his achievements: the appointment of women and 2 new Supreme Court Justices, the faith based initiative, the fight against AIDS -- "you might call that change you can really believe in" -- "and let's not forget, President Bush has kept the American people safe." Will Laura's husband ever be honored? Does she believe he will? She introduces him.

8:56: And here he is, on the video screen. "I know the hard choices that fall solely to a President. John McCain's life has prepared him to make those choices. He is ready to lead this nation."

9:09: A film clip about Reagan. In the car, I heard the film clip about Abraham Lincoln. The Republican Convention, much more than the Democratic Convention, highlights the heroic individual. This fits the party's ideology. John McCain was "a foot soldier" in "the Reagan Revolution." Reagan "broke the self-confidence of the Evil Empire of Communism." And he had Nancy. He put "country first." ("Country First" is the new McCain campaign slogan.)

9:14: And now: Fred Thompson. Ah! He springs to the defense of Sarah Palin. "I say give me a tough Alaskan Governor who's taken on the political establishment of the largest state in the Union and won over the Beltway 'business as usual' crowd any day of the week!"

9:18: Fred says Sarah has got the other side "in a state of panic." And she knows "how to field dress a moose." Now, he's telling the story of John McCain's life, "putting his country first." He's putting a lot of passion into the delivery. The harrowing story of McCain's imprisonment. "We hear a lot of talk about hope these days. John McCain knows about hope. That's all he had."

9:29: Remember. After the comments go over 200, you need to click on "post a comment" and then "newer" to keep the conversation going. I know a lot of you know how to do that.

9:35: "The respect [John McCain] is given around the world is not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to America's critics abroad... *ahem*.... no, it's not that."

9:38: Obama is "history-making" all right: he's the most inexperienced, left-wing candidate the Democrats have ever run -- says Thompson.

9:52: The CNN commentary is insufferable. After Thompson, they all just kept saying "red meat."

9:55: It's Joe Lieberman. I kind of love this guy. I voted for him one time. Man, he is a boring speaker though. I can't imagine him as the VP candidate. Palin is a much better speaker.

9:59: "I'm here to support John McCain because country matters more than party."

10:05: "Eloquence is no substitute for a record," Lieberman says of Obama. Now, he compares Obama to Bill Clinton. Clinton stood up to interest groups and worked with Republicans for major achievements. [ADDED: He was saying Clinton was better than Obama: "In the Senate [Obama] has not reached across party lines to get anything significant done, nor has he been willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party. Contrast that to John McCain’s record, or the record of the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton, who stood up to some of those same Democratic interest groups and worked with Republicans to get important things done like welfare reform, free trade agreements, and a balanced budget."]

10:07: Sarah Palin is a "great lady."

10:12: He's warming up. Maybe it's not so boring now. "These are not ordinary times and John McCain is no ordinary candidate." He says what he thinks is right... ah... too much repetition. John McCain has character and experience....

10:17: After-speech commentary. Donna Brazile is talking fast but stumbles in a way -- "Look, Joe... Lieberman is a man... " -- "speaking at this conviction, this convention" -- that makes me feel sure she's reading from a teleprompter.

10:21: David Gergen thinks Lieberman has "extremely annoyed" some Democrats by not only supporting his old friend McCain but also really going after Obama "in a very personal way."

10:43: That's it for me. A decent convention night. The highlight was Fred Thompson's dramatization of McCain's Vietnam experience. Or was it Joe Lieberman telling everyone we should vote against his party?

Oh, the things people search for.

Referring search words ranked by visits -- as captured a moment ago:

Yes, I clicked on "vaginas." My blog is hit #3 in an AOL search for that term. I also found this there, from AdFreak:

Apparently, the ad seemed like a good idea because "The Vagina Monologues" was in town.

This post is purely for amusement purposes and not a sleazy effort to attract more traffic from the search term "vaginas."

UPDATE: Time Magazine reports on the Googling for "hot" pics of Sarah Palin.

The "in a world" voiceover guy...

... is no longer in the world.

Movie trailers will never be the same. What a voice!

Don LaFontaine. RIP.


"Artist to feed convict to goldfish."

Because I think maybe there are some people here who'd like to talk about something other than Sarah Palin, I give you this, a story that has it all: art, fish, crime, death, weirdness, lameness, law.
Gene Hathorn, who has been on death row since 1985, has given his consent for artist Marco Evaristti, the bad boy of the Danish art scene, to use his body as an art installation.

"My aim is to first deep freeze Gene's body and then make fish food out of it. Visitors to my exhibition will be able to feed goldfish with it," Evaristti told the Art Newspaper.
Oh, bullshit. How is this different from scattering ashes on... wherever... a beach volleyball court in China?

The artist imagines that the work will somehow make an argument against capital punishment. I make my living trying to fathom legal arguments, and I don't see it at all. Now if Evaristti sat in a cage in a gallery subsisting on freeze-dried Hathorn until he approached death, I would understand the argument. I'm not saying I would buy it, but I would understand it.

IN THE COMMENTS: Cannibal jokes.

"The Libertarian Case for Palin."

By David Harsanyi. But wait! She's a big social conservative. How can she count as libertarian?
The choice issue... is complicated, even for many libertarians. And, as I was recently reminded, Ron Paul, the Libertarian champion of the 21st century, also opposes abortion.

Even when advocating for "moral" issues, Palin's approach is a soft sell. Palin does not support gay marriage (neither does Obama, it should be noted). Yet, in 2006, Palin's first veto as Governor was a bill that sought to block state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples.

We cannot bore into Palin's soul to see her true feelings about gay couples, but, at the time, she noted that signing "this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office" because it was unconstitutional. For most libertarians, the thought of politician following any constitution, rather than their own predilections, morality or the "common good," is a nice change of pace.

On the counterproductive War on Drugs, Palin is no warrior. Her Republican opponent in 2006 primary, incumbent Republican governor Frank Murkowski, made recriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot a priority. Palin, though she does not support legalization, believes enforcement should be a high priority....

On education, Palin supports school-choice programs. There have already been smears that she backed "creationist" teaching in "public" schools, when in fact, Palin's comment regarding intelligent design should hold some appeal to libertarians. Even if you find the idea inane, in essence, Palin pushed the idea that parents, rather than the state, should decide what children are learning.
Is Palin -- is McCain -- more libertarian than social conservative? That's an important question for me.

About Bristol Palin's pregnancy: "People are looking for real. Real means blemishes, real means warts, real means real."

Says Mark Sanford, the Governor of South Carolina, spinning the news.
"These family imperfections make people say, 'That family isn’t so different from my family.'"
Blemishes? Warts? Don't you know people get those things removed? There are all sorts of procedures that people use to perfect their appearance these days. So, really, it's to the point where the existence of blemishes, warts, and teen pregnancies says less about human failing and more about the a person's decision not to undergo a procedure. If there are no teenage pregnancies in a family, it no longer reads as evidence of virginity.

But why are we even thinking of evaluating candidates based on the chastity of their offspring? Even if we could ascertain whether a candidate has this qualification -- and, given birth control and abortion, we can't -- it's a patently absurd and offensive idea for a qualification.


I hope Bristol Palin is a strong person who can endure all this talk about her. Has a teenager ever had to put up with such a thing? Maybe we'll get to see a beautiful wedding. You know the people love weddings! And the husband-to-be is gorgeous. Oh, I'm not saying dress the kids up and parade them around so that people can feel good about love and life and jerks can pronounce the whole thing an exploitative political show. It would probably be more tasteful to have a small and very private wedding. But I'm saying that from Wisconsin and reflecting my East Coast upbringing. I don't know how they do things in Alaska.

IN THE COMMENTS: Tex said...
"But I'm saying that from Wisconsin and reflecting my East Coast upbringing. I don't know how they do things in Alaska."

Thank you for saying this, assuming you are not being sarcastic. The reactive elitism from journalists & bloggers surrounding the Palin story is killing me.
I responded:
I'm not being sarcastic. I'm saying this with genuine love and appreciation for the diverse cultures of the different states. I like that Sarah Palin shows us Alaskan styles and values -- lots of rugged individualism, connection to nature in a harsh climate... whatever. I want to see it. Show me. I think it's very cool. I wish Barack Obama brought more of a sense of what Hawaii and Kansas mean. I think he's trying to bring the Chicago. He's worked hard at making himself into a Chicago person. He selected his place, and it's not his place of origin.
I should add that I think going to a new place and remaking yourself as a person of that place is a very American thing to do, as American as absorbing and embodying the culture of your original state.

AND: MadisonMan answered my question "Has a teenager ever had to put up with such a thing?" with "Jamie Lynne Spears." You know, I thought about Jamie Lynne Spears as I was asking the question and I don't think she fits the category. She put herself in the limelight and was used to fame -- her own fame -- when this happened. Yes, she was inspected and judged for keeping her baby, but unlike Bristol Palin, she was not suddenly exposed to the entire world and she was not snapped at by politicos who were ready to do whatever they could to destroy her mother. There was no hordes with a built-in motivation to crush Jamie Lynne Spears.

PLUS: Here's what I said about the Jamie Lynne Spears pregnancy at the time.

Jeralyn Merritt is comparing Sarah Palin to McGovern's disastrous selection, Thomas Eagleton.

She's taking bets on what day Palin will drop out:
Did John McCain just repeat George McGovern's fatal mistake? How long will Palin stay on the ticket? Will McCain recover any better than McGovern?

It had nothing to do with Eagleton's particular problems, but how McGovern came to choose him, failed to adequately vet him, and then waffled when the problems arose, effectively costing him the election.
Eagleton cost him the election? McGovern lost by an awful lot. But, certainly Eagleton damaged him badly.

John McCain picked Sarah Palin to get the enthusiastic support of the evangelical, radical right. He didn't think it would matter that she has no national experience because he perceived he could argue Obama didn't either.
Or he thought it would work as a magnet for attacks that could be turned around onto Obama. But Merritt doesn't see it that way because:
Obama presented himself for 17 months to the American people, they heard him debate more than a dozen times, they made their own decision that he was ready for the job and the Democrats voted him their nominee.
Did they? I remember early excitement, among Democrats, followed by months of difficulty fighting back Hillary Clinton, who had let the nomination slip away by failing to do the math early on and to take the caucus states seriously enough. The Obama campaign figured out a clever strategy. Was this really the public vetting him? He pulled off a surprise early on, got some people very excited, and ultimately edged out the more qualified contender. How was that a decisive test? When the testing really got serious, Hillary surged. But it was too late.
Obama wasn't unilaterally appointed by a party's nominee in a transparent play for the evangelical and female vote. As if Sarah Palin could fill Hillary Clinton's shoes by virtue of her gender. As if women wouldn't see that Sarah Palin is the antithesis of Hillary Clinton on issues. As if anything would evoke Palin's lack of qualifications more than to compare them to Hillary's.
Yes, the VP selection process is different and more nearly unilateral. But the person chosen must be accepted by the Party, and the position is VP, where at least there will be some time for seasoning. And as for Hillary, Obama's qualifications looked weak next to hers and yet he won. Nor can you say that all of the support for her was because of her qualifications -- that weren't that strong -- and her policies -- they weren't all that popular. The fact is that she pushed the idea that she was a woman and she'd be the first woman President, and some people responded to that. For them, Obama's failure to pick her for VP -- or even to vet her -- is perhaps rather irksome. Meanwhile, Palin is something new and different, and disaffected, shunned women may feel the pull.
As I'm typing this, Obama is being interviewed by Anderson Cooper about Gustav. Anderson's last question was how he would answer those who say that Gov. Palin, as mayor of a small town and Gov. of Alaska, has more experience than he does. He didn't miss a beat. He smiled and said Palin's town of Wasilia, Alaska had 50 employees. His campaign has 2500. The town's budget is about $12 million a year. His budget is 3 times that per month. He cited the legislation he's passed on emergency management post-Katrina and that many recommendations he made were adopted and are being put in place as we speak.
It's true that Obama's biggest accomplishment is his success (thus far) in running a Presidential campaign. But isn't this a bit absurd? One qualifies to run for President by the very activity of running for President? I'm glad to hear that he smiled when he said that, because I don't think it's an argument you can make with a straight face.

In our Palinsanity, we need a Palindrome: Harass Sarah.

I'm up way too early this morning, not because I personally am tossing and turning over the Palinsanity that has seized the blogosphere, but I can see that you people have been up all night, and every night since Friday, commenting feverishly throughout the night, pushing my traffic up threefold and more.

This morning I take a glance at the NYT -- "Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process," "In Political Realm, ‘Family Problem’ Emerges as Test," "Palin Daughter’s Pregnancy Interrupts Script" -- and Memeorandum -- "The Palin Meltdown in Slo-Mo," "Pool: What Day Will Sarah Palin Drop Out?," "Face It: They Didn't Vet Her" -- and I see that the press and the blogosphere have rolled out their attacks for the first working day after the McCain's game-changing announcement.

So it looks like another big day for the craziness that, last night, I called Palinsanity.

In the comments -- and there are tons of comments -- Madison Man said (I've added links):
You need to make a Palindrome.
Amba said:
Welcome to the Palin-Drome.

Now let's have some palindromes to let off steam.

Or is a palindrome like a syndrome? Is it getting you Down? (wince)
But it was chickenlittle who discovered the perfect Palin Palindrome:
Harass Sarah.
And we all smile at chickenlittle's bon mot and hope the sky is not falling.

September 1, 2008

Code Pink!

One more photograph from the Republican convention in St. Paul, found through a Flickr search. This one is from !!WaynePhotoGuy, who has all rights reserved, but emailed me permission to blog it here.

Republican National Convention - CodePink