The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, September 01, 2008


I disagree with Sarah Palin on a variety of issues—from abortion rights to “family values” (a euphemism for a variety of anti-gay stances) to her hardcore, NRA-based opposition to any form of gun registration or control. But I’m impressed with her no-nonsense, by-partisan efforts to reform Alaska’s corrupt political system, and her resume that includes a number of real, non governmental positions (e.g., sports journalist, commercial fisherwoman, state oil and gas commissioner) implying an understanding of a world in which profit is not a dirty word. And despite the legions of detractors who question her “readiness” (the irony of their claims is delicious, given Barack Obama’s anorexic resume), I respect her governmental experience as a mayor and as Governor of Alaska—both positions where one cannot hide behind "present" votes.

Gerard Baker of the The Times of London comments:
Democrats, between sniggers of derision and snorts of disgust, contend that Sarah Palin, John McCain's vice-presidential pick is ridiculously unqualified to be president.

It's a reasonable objection on its face except for this small objection: it surely needs to be weighed against the Democrats' claim that their own candidate for president is self-evidently ready to assume the role of most powerful person on the planet.

At first blush, here's what we know about the relative experience of the two candidates. Both are in their mid-forties and have held statewide elective office for less than four years. Both have admitted to taking illegal drugs in their youth.

So much for the similarities. How about the differences?

Baker goes on to address a number of topics in a head to head comparison of the differences between Palin and Obama. Recall, please, that Palin is running for Vice President, a support position that is historically minor, and Obama is running for the most powerful political position in the world—an office from which the economic and human security of millions can hinge on his decision alone. Baker addresses:
Political experience

Obama: Worked his way to the top by cultivating, pandering to and stroking the most powerful interest groups in the all-pervasive Chicago political machine ensuring his views were aligned with the power brokers there.

Palin: Worked her way to the top by challenging, attacking and actively undermining the Republican party establishment in her native Alaska. She ran against incumbent Republicans as a candidate willing and able to clean the Augean Stables of her state's government.

Possibly, you think Baker’s characterization is unfair. If you do, spend a moment considering the Senator’s close and long time association with convicted felon Tony Resko, a political bagman who coerced money from hundreds of Illinois contractors, donating to politicians including Barack Obama. Or maybe it’s better to think about Bill Ayers, an admitted domestic terrorist and proto-Marxist, who “made” Obama on his way up and worked with him repeatedly on the only executive position of Obama’s career—the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). The CAC was an education initiative that frittered away close to $100 million to friends and cronies of Obama’s and Ayers and according to it’s own final report, did not appreciably improve education in Chicago.

But you'll have to consider Obama's dealing without the help of the MSM. Again this afternoon, CNN, for example, spent segment after segment discussing the “scandal” of Palin's firing of a state trooper. Even if every allegation is 100 percent true, this event pales in comparison to Obama’s association with Resko and Ayers.

I’m still waiting for Wolfe Blitzer & Co. to discuss those “scandals. Not a word.

Senator Obama claims that he values bipartisan politics. Baker comments:
Record of bipartisan achievement

Obama: Speaks movingly of the bipartisanship needed to end the destructive politics of "Red America" and "Blue America", but votes in the Senate as a down-the-line Democrat, with one of the most liberal voting records in congress.

Palin: Ridiculed by liberals such as John Kerry as a crazed, barely human, Dick Cheney-type conservative but worked wit Democrats in the state legislature to secure landmark anti-corruption legislation.

Former state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz - a Democrat - said. "Gov. Palin has made her name fighting corruption within her own party, and I was honored when she stepped across party lines and asked me to co-author her ethics white paper."

But not to worry. According to the Obama campaign, the Senator “fought” to pass the nuclear non-proliferation treaty—a bipartisan measure. Oops, the fact that Obama had nothing to do with the drafting of the measure and more importantly, the fact that there was no Republican objection to it (the bill passed by a vote of 97 to 3) does not demonstrate a profile in courage, unless you’re supporting a candidate whose achievements are so lean that you’ve got to grasp at straws.

Now with the announcement of Palin’s teenage daughter’s pregnancy, the Obama attack machine (yeah, there is an attack machine on the other side of the aisle as well) will try to ravage Palin. They may succeed, but they should be careful of echos of the Obama machine’s attacks on Hillary Clinton. Those echos just might resonate among at least some thoughtful women.