The Vanguard Blog
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Sent in by Nancy T.
From a British publication
>> At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous
>> vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate
>> with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen
>> attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it
>> would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has
>> single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and
>> American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in
>> more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed
>> acceptably last night.
>> By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential
>> candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the
>> astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering
>> the queries put to her. "I may not answer the questions that either the
>> moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the
>> American people and let them know my track record also," she said.
>> And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects
>> she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted
>> attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her
>> own pseudo-folksy authenticity.
>> It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely described
>> as such is that too many American pundits don't even try to judge the
>> truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric they are paid
>> to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as interpreters of a
>> mythical mass of "average Americans" who they both venerate and despise.
>> In pronouncing upon a debate, they don't try and determine whether a
>> candidate's responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or
>> she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the
>> financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The
>> criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could
>> avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane
>> commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they
>> see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission
>> There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic beaming
>> and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her personality
>> managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her answers last
>> night. It's worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it
>> becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example,
>> is how she responded to Biden's comments about how the middle class has
>> been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will
>> continue Bush's policies:
>> Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You
>> preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now
>> doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to
>> do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I'm glad you did.
>> I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher
>> for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? ... My
>> brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a
>> shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School,
>> you get extra credit for watching the debate.
>> Evidently, Palin's pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of speaking
>> on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to simply
>> disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points or
>> cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky
>> average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick - and dishonesty.
>> Asked what her achilles heel is - a question she either didn't understand
>> or chose to ignore - she started in on how McCain chose her because of
>> her "connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very
>> concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids
>> heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?"
>> None of Palin's children, it should be noted, is heading off to college.
>> Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is
>> engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described
>> "fuckin' redneck". Palin is a woman who can't even tell the truth about
>> the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about
>> matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she
>> was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all,
>> keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was
>> considered anything but a farce doesn't show how high Palin has risen,
>> but how low we all have sunk.
Sent in by Nancy T. Rockwell,
[Just click on the title)
By Nancy T.
There once was a chick from Wasilla
who thought she was the whole magilla.
She made her debut
Midst great cry and hue,
And proclaimed, "I'm the 800-pound gorilla."
There once was a mom from the north
who came south and promptly held forth.
And although she faked it,
One guy swore she'd aced it.
His name was McCain, of courth.
By Shirley Wershba
How can anyone claim she held her own in the
VP debate? She held to her own convoluted "talking points" which make
no sense to anyone who was listening to her instead of counting the
winks, blinks and smirks of satisfaction with which she punctuated
Did anyone else note how she shuffled her little notes at the podium
to find the "keywords" to trigger her robotic answers, which weren't
answers at all, at least, not to any question put to her? It struck me
that she may have been reading some text messages on her blackberry to
remind her to bring up the little buzz words and catch phrases her
trainers had arranged for her to hit periodically before someone
noticed that she was reading from a different script than the Q and A
of what was billed as a DEBATE. Toward the end she realized she hadn't
uttered the "say it ain't so Joe" line so she stuck it in just
before the old Reagan phrase ".There you go again"...a non sequitor
if ever there was one , forgetting she had already used up that line.
Oh well, why not? That's what will stick in people's minds along with
the "Heckuvas, Joe 6-packs,and gosh darn yas" that's supposed to make
us commonsense folks think she's one of us, and" don't we all belong
in the White House telling off those policy wonks who talk fancy but
don't know how to run a household let alone a country."
Yessir, we've got trouble, trouble in River city all right if the
people I hear saying they don't pay much attention to politics
actually go into the voting booths and vote with their guts instead of
their brains because that "gut" reaction often doesn't recognize that
it 's coming from a subconscious residue of racism.
By Nancy T. Rockwell
What if the circumstances were different?
Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin: What if things were switched around?.....think about it.
Would the country's collective point of view be different? Could racism be the culprit?
Ponder the following:
What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage,
including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?
What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?
What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?
What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring
car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?
What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long
affair while he was still married?
What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers
but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were
five United States Senators accused of corruption -- (The Savings and Loan crisis
of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)
What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?
What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included
discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?
What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many
occasions, a serious anger management problem?
What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?
What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?
You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality,
do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?
This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes
positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in
another when there is a color difference.
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism
Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in
the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call.
A couple of the Tabloids are declaring that she won. I'm hoping that
voters have a little more sense than that.
I guess Republicans are happy that she didn't have to be carried out.
By Albert Lasher
Doubtlessly, we all watched the Biden-Palin debate Thursday evening, October 2. Here a footnote passed along to me by a political friend.
Twice during the debate Sarah referred to United States General David McKiernan, Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, as "General McClellan." Neither Gwen Ifill nor Senator Biden corrected her on the error. It's possible that Ms. Ifill didn't pick up on it. but Senator Biden most certainly did, and consciously chose not to mention the mistake.
The reason was that when Senator Biden first ran for his Senate seat, some 30 years before, his opponent was a long time incumbent. They had a debate and in the course of the exchange, Biden made an error demonstrating his lack of familiarity with the details of the particular issue under discussion. His opponent, he later learned, had immediately caught it, but chose not to mention it because he felt that doing so would not address the issue at hand or be worthy of comment in high level discourse. The incumbent also felt that the point was so picayune in contrast to the major subjects of the debate that mentioning it to embarrass Biden might well be counterproductive insofar as it might diminish his own stature.
Senator Biden remembered the incident when Sarah made the error and chose to remain silent for much the same set of reasons.
The Palin debate -- too late?
By Nancy T. Rockwell
It wasn't a debacle. Nevertheless, I thought Palin was often wooden. She looked as though she was trying to remember her lines--actually "reciting." You could see that clearly if you looked at her eyes. And sometimes she seemed almost frightened. She said nothing new, repeating ad nauseam the McCain positions we all know so well. She refused to answer a lot of questions, steering away from them and discussing the issues she did know about: "I'm not going to argue about the cause of global warming, but I'll tell you what we're doing in Alaska." She placed herself on solid ground by talking about Alaska. Clever. One thing I'll admit is that she has "chutzpah."
"Say it ain't so, Joe" had a familiar ring. "There you go again," of course, was the mantra of Ronald Reagan in his debate with Jimmy Carter. A characteristic of the McCain campaign has been its willingness to co-opt the slogans and expressions of others. "Change You Can Trust" was a "knock-off," so to speak, of the Obama slogan. "Country first" came from one of Hillary Clinton's speeches. "It's not about me; it's about you" came from Obama's campaign speech. It makes me wonder whether even Mr. McCain believes he has a single original idea.
I thought Biden had much more substance and stated the Obama positions well. He didn't let himself get bowled over--and he was neither aggressive nor condescending. Pundits say he is long-winded and gaffe prone, but I think he is honest, intelligent, knowledgeable, and patriotic--and probably also long-winded and gaffe prone (not as important as the other qualities).
In spite of my feelings, the pundits seem to think Palin rose to the occasion--which she did, sort of--but some are saying she "won," whatever that means. It was obvious to me that if the debates had been structured so that she would have to to further explain her views and those of Senator McCain, she would have blundered (as she did in her interview with Katie Couric). In essence, she was robotically repeating what she's been taught and what she has been saying on the campaign trail.
I hope that eventually people will see that although she didn't fall on her face, she didn't cover herself with glory, either.
I'll be interested in learning what you all thought.
By Harriet Posnak Lesser
Deep in the mountains of Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden lies in a
state-of-the-art dialysis unit, his eyes fixed on a 62-inch plasma
TV mounted on the cave wall. He smiles as a trio of CNN pundits
discusses the implosion of America’s financial structure. “Two
attacks on the World Trade Center couldn’t do it,” Bin Laden says
to no one in particular, “then along comes George Bush who brings
down Wall Street in less than eight years --with a little help from me
and the Supremes, of course.”
Humming a chorus of “My Guy,” Bin Laden reflects on the future
and the total destruction of the United States. Despite a few mistakes
along the way, things are looking good. Like, how could he know that
the guy with the Arab name wasn’t a Muslim? But after a long and
arduous search, Bin Laden has come up with the perfect substitute for
George Bush. Her name is Sarah Palin and he can’t wait to introduce
her to Washington. Did he hear that somewhere before? Oh well.
The steady flow of replacement fluids must be addling his brain.
But only temporarily. He will appear sharp and healthy in his next
video, planned for pre-Christmas release. Maybe he’ll even win an
Oscar. He has told the Mujahadeen to watch out for vacationing
Rockettes. Doubtful, but hey, stranger things have happened.
Didn’t the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service renew Dick Cheney’s
Bin Laden focuses on Sarah Palin’s ascendancy to the White House.
All he has to do is convince Americans to elect a sick old man to
the top office in the land. Time and nature will take care of the rest.
And before you can spell “Iditarod,” (if you can spell “Iditarod”)
Sarah Palin will be President. In an ecumenical gesture, he will
also arrange to have her named goddess of fertility. She is more
than qualified for the job.
The U.S. will go downhill quickly with Sarah at the helm.
Like George Bush before her, she will realize Bin Laden’s dreams
for America. She will pass legislation to make Alaska the nation’s
capitol and replace George Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy
with her own version removing sex education from all curricula
and mandating the teaching of creationism. Under the tutelage of
Sarah’s favorite pastor, there will be classes in witchcraft for
children of a religious bent. In the tradition of our last three
Presidential spouses, First Dude Todd Palin will write a best-selling
children’s book. Titled “The Velvet Raptor,” it will tell the story
of an adorable little Neanderthal boy and his best friend, a plush
dinosaur with scaly ears. (The book ends on a happy note when
the boy shoots the dinosaur from an airplane.)
Ah yes, the outlook is bright. America is doomed, finally and
for all time. Dialysis is over for the day. Bin Laden, cane in hand,
walks out of the cave and stops suddenly as a frightening thought
invades his mind. What if Barack Obama wins? The aberrant idea
fades quickly. That can’t happen. Americans will never elect a
Muslim even if he isn’t a Muslim and they know it all too well.
Obama has committed the ultimate crime. He is guilty of destroying
a time honored stereotype. Yes, he is brilliant, well-educated,
cool-headed, and has already demonstrated outstanding leadership
abilities; but can he tap dance? Americans will answer that
question on November 4th by electing Sarah Palin president
of the United States.
By Judith Warner, NY Times
I spent the past week in New York, helping my mother recover from surgery. It was a new role for me, taking care of my mom. It must, I think, have been somewhat destabilizing.
Perhaps when previously untapped wells of care-for-others are accessed, there’s no stopping the flow. Or perhaps it was just that, after five days locked in stare-downs with my mother’s cat, my eyes were playing tricks on me.
This may explain why, on Tuesday afternoon when I went to The Times Web site and saw the photo of Sarah Palin with Henry Kissinger, a funny thing happened. A wave of self-recognition and sympathy washed over me.
That’s right — self-recognition and sympathy. Rising up from a source deep in my subconscious. I saw a woman fully aware that she was out of her league, scared out of her wits, hanging on for dear life. I saw this in the sag of her back in her serious black suit, in the position of her hands, crossed modestly atop her knees, and in that “Mad Men”-era updo, ever unchanging, like a good luck charm.
[Continued in "Commentary", click "Commentary" in upper left corner]
Brit Official on Palin: "Horrendous"
Sent by Nancy T. Rockwell
From a British news source
A British government minister attacked Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "horrendous" at the Labour Party conference on Saturday.
The outburst from Communities Secretary Hazel Blears threatens to undermine Prime Minister Gordon Brown's determination for the British government to maintain a neutral position in the U.S. presidential election.
Speaking at a fringe meeting of the centre-left party during its annual party conference in Manchester, Blears said Palin was capitalising on people's disillusionment with regular politics.
"I just think there is so much anti-politics — not just in this country but around the world," Blears said.
"One of the reasons why Sarah Palin has been such a phenomenon is because she's anti-politics, anti-Washington.
"Her politics are horrendous, but actually she's struck a chord with people — 'I'm a maverick, I'm not part of those powerful people' — and people identified with that," Blears said.
Palin, the strongly anti-abortion governor of Alaska, has boosted Republican candidate John McCain's fortunes since being named his surprise choice as running mate.
This month, Brown denied favoring either McCain or Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race, despite writing an article in which he appeared to back the Democrats.
He rejected allegations of bias after a magazine article in which he said it was "the Democrats who are generating the ideas".
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