Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why I'm excited about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as VP


Ed Morrissey pretty much sums it all up at Hot Air. If she has "little experience," Obama has less. If she has little foreign policy experience, Obama has none. And there's this [my bold]:

...the nature of the experience couldn’t be more different. Palin spent her entire political career crusading against the political machine that rules Alaska — which exists in her own Republican party. She blew the whistle on the state GOP chair, who had abused his power on the same commission to conduct party business. Obama, in contrast, talked a great deal about reform in Chicago but never challenged the party machine, preferring to take an easy ride as a protegé of Richard Daley instead.
As a conservative, I am happy to see another conservative chosen as McCain's running mate. It does indeed "energize my base." And I am glad to see that Sarah Palin is ready to shake up anybody, Republican or Democrat, who is dicey on ethics, or living large off earmarks. I am sick to death of Republicans and Democrats doing dirty political business as usual.

Dish out some of that there Hope and Change to us folks on the Republican side of the aisle, Sarah Palin!

Then there's this (to me) most important question: If anything should happen to John McCain as President, God forbid, would I feel comfortable with Sarah Palin as a relative political newcomer, leading the nation?

It didn't take me long to realize my answer: You bet I would, if the choice is between Sarah Palin and Obama/Biden. At least Sarah Palin has guiding principles and the understanding of the world I agree with. She would know how to call upon people to get the right things done. Obama as President, wandering and dragging our nation down the wrong domestic and/or a most dangerous foreign policy track: no way, no how, Nobama.

I admit I don't know very much about Sarah Palin yet, but what I've heard is good. I'm excited by the pick, and I want to know more about this conservative and colorful Alaska lady of many talents. I imagine a lot of other people do too. It will be nice, for a change, to see a comely conservative and her family in the mainstream media spotlight that has been soft-focused for months on the telegenic Obamas, and lately, on retrofitting scrappy Joe Biden, Amtrak-rider.

My 80-year-old mother called me up as soon as she heard about it on Rush Limbaugh's radio show today (Rush is also "energized" about Palin) and said the news had made her day. She admits now that she will vote for McCain after all, after having felt discouraged and inclined to sit out the election previously. Being a conservative, my mother did not feel McCain really deserved her vote. But his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate has won her over.

I'm wondering how many other people will feel the same.


Some people whose opinions I value are disappointed in the pick, such as Paul at Powerline. I appreciate their concerns and in light of their caution I reserve my final judgment about Palin until I know her better. But all the same, I remain excited about her and I think McCain made a good, strategic political choice in picking her. I hope she will exceed expectations for the benefit of the nation as well.


UPDATE: Bookworm Room's on top of Palin's acceptance speech. She also points to Confederate Yankee covering the first "smear Palin" campaign.

History teacher Betsy says: "This election just got more exciting and fun to follow. Whoever wins, we'll have a first in American history."

UPDATE: Ha! American Digest's base is energized!

UPDATE: Rightwing Sparkle's excited. Rachel Lucas is excited. Even the Instawife is excited. Maggie's Farm is on board. Most interesting VP pick evah.

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Sentiment on the campaign trail: Obama accepts

I began watching Barack Obama's DNC acceptance speech at the football temple last night out of curiosity and was somewhat surprised to see that I could last through the whole thing to the end. He is not as overtly smarmy as many embarrassingly unwatchable politicians are, thank goodness. A couple of times I checked my watch to see how much longer this 40-minute speech would be, but then a pre-speech, televised live interview with his wife, Michelle, had teased that the final paragraph of Barack's speech was a doozy, so I stuck it out to the end. Clever (and deceptive) marketing.

Personally, I didn't realize the final paragraph was the final paragraph until the speech was over (so much for a doozy of a conclusion), but maybe I'd dozed off a little there. The fireworks woke me up. I do have to say that the quiet instrumental soundtrack music played after the speech was quite remarkable for being unexpectedly sophisticated, instead of something facile like whatever the current rock version of "Happy Days Are Here Again" would be. I'd like to find out who wrote it and can we get it at iTunes? And are we at last turning a corner in musical tastes? That music was moving.

I also have to hand it to Barack Obama for one sure thing--if it had been Hillary giving that acceptance speech, I would've turned off the television in about three horrendously scarifying minutes, max. I can't stand that woman's voice, and I don't need to listen to her to know what she stands for. I am glad she's an also-ran (for the moment; I have no illusions that she and Bill won't be all too much in the fore and in the nation's face yet again and again). But Barack Obama is still an enigma and a wildcard, and as such can sustain a tension and hold attention.

I also keep thinking this: If Barack Obama didn't have such exceptionally perfect teeth, this whole election cycle would've turned out quite differently. He is blessed with a lovely-looking, telegenic family, including his sweet little girls, and he has remarkable teeth. Imagine him in his close-ups, delivering that speech, with say, brownish or crooked British-grade, non-Hollywood teeth. Somewhere along the line he was the beneficiary of some expert orthodontia as well as an expert Punahou-to-Harvard education. I guess his Kansas grandparents also passed on the family value of disciplined brushing and flossing.

One factor I admit I had not fully appreciated in all of this is how intensely emotional and historic the moment evidently was for the many weeping and tearful black people in the audience and around the nation. Taking advantage of the coincidence of the DNC convention's falling on a significantly historic day in the timeline of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s remarkable life, Barack Obama last night sent a shot directly into the heart of every black American (or at least every black Democrat) who had never before dared to dream or expect that an American with non-white heritage could reach the position of nominated Presidential candidate. John McCain recognized this moment and sent an appropriately classy acknowledgement as well. I liked that.

But I personally was caught off guard by all of that, because it had never occurred to me before that any American could not become President or would be ruled out solely due to skin color or heritage. Obama's acceptance of the nomination last night just seemed to prove my assumption. But from the televised crowd shots and interviews I learned last night that many black Americans evidently believed differently. If that is what Obama's message of "Hope" and "Change" means, I am truly glad his nomination gives such hope to people who did not previously have it. We should all join together in realizing and acknowledging that this is truly a unique and great country.

Whether or not this therapeutic and sentimental "healing" of those Americans among us who (for whatever reasons of their own) need such a moment to feel included as hopeful Americans-in-full-standing is a sufficient and necessary reason to elect Obama to be the leader of the Free World is still debatable, in my book. But last night's presentation made me better appreciate some of that sentiment I do not share--and I do not share it not because I am a white racist, but because I do not doubt the goodness of our country in this case.

All that said, Powerline has the blow-by-blow reaction to Obama's speech that pretty much agrees with my own.

On substance: Obama wants to promise the moon (including propping up the utterly stupid Social Security System and demonizing those who tried to privatize it for the good of the country and for the retirees). He plans to pay for all the wrong-headed, economy-killing mega-giveaways by bringing home our troops and increasing taxes on corporations and those bloodsucking slobs, "the rich." (The former course is unwise and the latter is unsustainable. Watch our economy go down the toilet.) He says he'll cut wasteful government programs, none of those, of course, being the cornucopia of special-interest favors he plans his big-government Santa to hand out. I'm sure his line-item veto and cruel executive whip will have an significant braking effect on Congressional spending.

God help us, the man is an economic and historic illiterate.

But as far as sentiment goes, evidently he hit a home run out of the park with Democrats last night. Good for him. That's why they have political conventions. And how far the U.S. has come since the 1908 election. Or, for that matter, since Nixon's damp upper lip in his televised debate lost him the Presidency to JFK. The political world's focus on televised style over textural substance has long since spiraled out of orbit. Now, to paraphrase Williams Carlos Williams, so much depends on fireworks, technology, staging, and nice teeth.

Next stop: on to nominate McCain.


Reading: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay. See especially the bit on "Popular Admiration of Great Thieves."

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Hiatus

Just a note to let my regular readers know I am still alive. I have been returning very slowly to blogging since our vacation to Alaska. I have been dealing with some health issues, getting the kids back to school, catching up after our vacation, helping my mother, and managing my daughter's 13th birthday weekend. Other mothers will recognize immersion in this kind of lifestyle requires more than can be explained or described.

I have also been watching all 10 episodes of the 1980 PBS TV series, "Free to Choose" by Milton Friedman with my son, who is taking Microeconomics this semester (his senior year in high school). That's been fun!

Plus, I am still admittedly enjoying that detachment I sampled while away from internet and email and my usual obsessive attention to the details of current events. But I will be slowly wading back into more regular blogging as I find the peace and quiet, the time to myself after chores, and the willingness and the ability to sit for longer periods at the computer.

There are more important things in life than blogging, didya know?

In the meantime, Victor Davis Hanson has one of the nicest collections of comments I've caught up with yet.

And Bookworm Room has joined up with a new blog. It's a brave bunch, willing to campaign for John McCain within spittin' distance of San Francisco.

DrewM. at Ace has a Showdown at Saddleback roundup of reactions I can agree with:

I don't agree with McCain on a lot of things but compared to Obama he's simply filled with substance. I don't mean on policy prescriptions (though McCain is stronger there) but just on being a man. McCain has lived, he's succeed, he's failed and he just come off as someone who knows himself and the world he lives in.

For more on the Saddleback discussion, see Powerline. I watched the presentation, and thought it was very useful in giving a graphic and contrasting sense of who both of these men are.

Betsy's Page: "I expect more from national network reporters" (on Andrea Mitchell gossiping about rumors); also What a Successful Georgia Could've Meant and Will the Chinese Get Away With It? See also Michelle Malkin's " Cheating ChiComs, Crouching IOC."

I am finding it kind of difficult to watch the Olympics without my mind straying off before too long to remember the examples of the Communist Chinese lying and attempting to deceive the world (including pushing little girls around and erasing internet history), and to remember the appalling invasion by Russia of Georgia. The Olympic athletes themselves are doing such a splendid job in competing in sports and doing their part for world peace and global understanding. The rest of the world--not so much.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Back from Alaska, part 1

I have been out of touch of email and blogging and almost all net-surfing for three weeks, and that's what I call a real vacation! I will slowly be wading back into the fray, no doubt. In the meantime, here are a few photos:


DAY 3:

A moose calf next to the road
in Kincaid Park, Anchorage



View near the Glen Alps trailhead,
Chugach State Park, near Anchorage


DAY 4:

Life vests and boots --
rafting the Kenai River with
Alaska Rivers Company near Cooper Landing


DAY 5:

Passing Bear Glacier in Resurrection Bay,
on the way to Holgate Glacier in Aialik Bay;

on our 6-hour Renown catamaran tour
of Kenai Fjords National Park



Holgate Glacier, Aialik Bay
an offshoot of the Harding Icefield,
one of the four remaining icefields in the U.S.


Our amateur photos really can't do Alaska justice.

To be continued.

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