Palin Ain’t That Bad, MoveOn

I genuinely like Sarah Palin.

I don’t mind that picking her was probably a cheap, desperate ploy by John McCain to mine votes from still-fervent Hillary Clinton supporters. That’s politics, the same politics that prevents Obama from calling Clinton out as a divisive, harmful, transparent politician not worth Spider Jerusalem’s tugs.

Naturally, MoveOn didn’t waste any time sending me an smear e-mail. (I got on the list for criticizing their weak criticism of John McCain, and I haven’t bothered to get taken off, yet. I have a voyeur’s curiosity.) Most of their arguments against her were especially weak, and the rest are all a matter of perspective.

She was elected Alaska’s governor a little over a year and a half ago. … She has no foreign policy experience.

Neither did small-state Govs. Clinton and Carter. Neither does Obama, for that matter.

Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage.

Obama’s previous office was in the Illinois state legislature. I don’t hold that against him, either.

Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

Sounds good to me. Oh, and take a cue from the Associated Press — it’s “abortion-rights” versus “anti-abortion,” not “pro-choice” versus “anti-choice.”

She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000.

The same Pat Buchanan who praised Obama’s convention speech for two straight minutes in 2008, only stopping because some uppity producer off-screen called time. Buchanan ain’t all that bad, people.

Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.

She later clarified this, saying that “alternative views” should be debated, but not part of the curriculum. This is political waffling, but her very first. I’ll give her some slack.

She’s doesn’t think humans are the cause of climate change.

I’m not sure this is the indictment you think it is, MoveOn. A lot of humans outside your inner circle believe this — more than you’d care to admit.

She’s solidly in line with John McCain’s “Big Oil first” energy policy. She’s pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won’t be ready for years.

Wrong. Viable renewables won’t be ready for decades. In the meantime, pushing hard for more oil drilling, or at least seeming to, could lessen the effects of speculation.

She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species — she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.

Read her real reasoning, instead of speculating.

How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.

Considering all the grief you guys give Cheney for being the master puppeteer behind Bush, that Palin and McCain barely know each other is a breath of fresh air for the GOP.

MoveOn should be able to paint anyone as a right-wing nutjob — not that it should, but that’s its speciality — and so that it’s having such trouble staying coherent about Palin is very good news for the McCain campaign.

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  1. Ancient Bearded One

    My two cents, worth less than ever.

    For the last 100 or so years VP candidates have been mainly Hippocratic: “First of all, do no harm”. Except for Truman in ’44, every VP nominee who had a significant impact on their campaign had a negative impact.

    I think Obama has a distinct disadvantage with Biden given Biden’s mouth. If on the other hand Obama can keep him on a tight leash, maybe he does deserve the presidency.

    Palin’s “big oil bias” is pretty understandable considering that that’s the largest component of her state’s economy.

    My biggest problem her so far is that she’s the namesake of my least favorite Monty Python member.

  2. Tim

    I disagree on a few points, but I feel especially compelled to clarify your abortion views.
    Do you agree with Palin that a 13-year-old raped by her father should be forced to bear his baby? Do you agree with her that even pregnancies that are risky to the mother (e.g. ectopic) should not be allowed to be terminated? If the choice comes down to the mother or the child, should the mother be forced to give up her own life? What if that mother was the 13-year-old rape victim of her own father? Do you think it’s a good idea to subject all miscarriages to criminal investigations?
    You may agree on all those points, that’s certainly your right, but then you would be standing alongside Palin in a tiny minority of Americans that believe that abortion should be illegal no matter what.

    Sorry for getting a little confrontational, but it’s important that anyone claiming to like Palin be clear that they know exactly where she stands.

  3. Gina Marie

    I know you didn’t intend to get a lot of backlash from this, and I don’t want to give it to you, but I have to agree with Tim on the abortion issue. If perfectly acceptable for you to believe what you do, but you should understand then how other people will react to that.

    As a citizen AND a woman is it truly unnerving to see this radical a stance on an issue that is so controversial. I would not be comfortable with Palin as VP knowing how she feels about abortion. I don’t think people truly understand a situation until they experience it. I would never wish this situation upon anyone, but I have a hard time believing that if Sarah Palin was raped by her father and bore his child that she would still be against abortion. I just don’t believe it.

    IMHO, she is going to turn a lot of woman (and men) off by this whole abortion issue – people (like me, admittedly) won’t be able to see past it.

  4. Mr. Bearded One: I was about to note another major exception, except that Vice President Teddy Roosevelt in ’00 was just in office just barely more than a century ago. You got lucky.

    If she has a bias toward Big Oil, I don’t mind it — the Oil Industry, especially big spenders like ExxonMobil and British Petroleum, lead the world in funding alternative fuel research. It’s a business decision on their part — they’d like to have the next big thing before the other guy — but that they outspend any other part of the private and public sectors is still mighty impressive.

    Mr. Tim: Count me in the tiny minority. For those curious about abortion opinion polls.

    I believe a fetus is human, and I can understand how other Americans disagree with me about that. I’ll save the stormy rhetoric for another time.

    What I don’t understand is why Americans, given no disproof that a fetus is human even if they believe it, would allow abortions, thus even taking the chance in legalizing the murder of unborn children.

    On abortion in instances of rape:

    Punish the father, not the child.

    On abortion in instances that the mother might otherwise die:

    As I believe it, the only moral route is to, until the very end, take whatever steps possible or necessary to save both lives. Saving lives cannot be decided with arithmetic.

    It’s possible to save one life and still lose something because, in the process, you’ve ended another. For what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his soul?

    While the above argument invokes scripture, what better way to base one’s moral argument while in a Western society?

    Ms. Marie: Read above.

    One interesting thing about Sarah Palin is that she knowingly gave birth to a child who had been diagnosed with Down syndrome while in her womb. With shared elements of pregnancy, the choice of abortion, and unwanted consequences, that’s about as analogous as a scenario as we’re going to get, if a poor comparison.

  5. EnglishTeacher

    I’m still waiting to hear from her, so I’m withholding judgment. But it worries me that she might be in favor of banning books.

  6. Your link is broken.

    Besides, what better way to increase the popularity of a book and its readership than to ban it? It hasn’t hurt The Catcher in the Rye.

  7. Tim

    Fair enough, you are certainly entitled to your beliefs. My concern has always been practical rather than moral (I do feel that , however, and I’m not talking about a fear of back alley abortions. I mean, just pause and reflect for a moment on the fact that if abortion were made illegal, every single miscarriage would have to be criminally investigated. Besides the obvious emotional trauma, women suddenly have a strong incentive not to get medical care early in their pregnancies, even if they want to keep the baby. Anyone found guilty would be guilty of first degree murder, and in some states subject to the death penalty (I hope at least that you are against the death penalty). One need only look to countries that have made abortion illegal to see the drawbacks.

    Incidentally, she did try to force the library in her town to get rid of some materials. She also fired several of city staff upon becoming mayor because they supported her opponent and put her city deep into the red. Sound like anyone you know? She later hired some of them back because it was supposedly a “loyalty test.” After 8 years of Mr. George Crony Bush, I’m not sure I can stomach any more of such shenanigans.

    The lack of vetting is a question of judgment as well. I don’t want one of the most important jobs in the country being given to someone who is an unknown quantity even to the one hiring her.

    Just my two cents. I’m glad at least that you’ve given some consideration to the issues, although I find it interesting that you admire both tickets, as they could not be more opposite of one another.

  8. I’d agree with you if I didn’t believe that abortion does qualify as a first degree murder, by the very definitions of first degree and murder.

    That library thing, if the story pans out, would seriously damage my opinion of her as a person. I doubt she’d try that kind of stunt as vice president, though, or even as president if McCain were to kick the bucket.

    … if abortion were made illegal, every single miscarriage would have to be criminally investigated

    I’m not sure it worked like that back before Roe v. Wade.

    … Mr. George Crony Bush …

    I don’t think George Bush is dumb, nor do I think he’s out to ruin America. He’s simply incompetent as a president, and his polices, though full of good intentions, haven’t panned out.

    I’m glad at least that you’ve given some consideration to the issues, although I find it interesting that you admire both tickets, as they could not be more opposite of one another.

    Thanks; I try give consideration where due.

    I generally agree with the McCain ticket when it comes to issues. As I believe, Obama pretty much has health care and environmentalism right, and that’s it.

    I admire Obama much in the same way as Pat Buchanan. I think that video clip illustrates my feelings about Obama pretty well.

  9. Tim

    First, my point hinged in part on the fact that abortion is indeed first degree murder if you consider a fetus to be a person at conception (I repeat that I hope you are at least against the death penalty), but again as long as you are willing to acknowledge that fact, I can’t really “prove” you wrong.

    No doubt it did not work like that before Roe, but the fact remains that any and all miscarriages would have to be investigated if we treated the ban seriously, because any woman performing an illegal abortion would most likely claim she miscarried.

    As for Bush being dumb, that was not at all my contention by calling him George “Crony” Bush. The point was that he, like Palin, surrounded himself by yes men (and women), and punished any who proved not to fit the bill.

    Even accepting that McCain now supports some of the issues you find significant, I think it is more than a little relevant that he has changed stances so severely (e.g. from “maverick” to the embodiment of the Republican evangelical “base”), that no one, not even one in favor of his current issues should fully trust him after how strongly he ran against his own party in 2000 (at which point I actually had a favorable opinion of him). If nothing else, at least Obama has been fairly consistent meeting his image as a liberal nut job, or whatever.

    I can see the appeal of the Republican party, but only as it claims to be, not as it actually is. If a Republican actually cut government spending along with taxes, and remained committed to small government, I might actually give them a second look. Nothing about McCain tells me he honestly intends to do that (especially given his selection of Palin).

    Again, I am refreshed that you are not overly partisan on these issues. I hope that I have not come across too strongly.

  10. … I repeat that I hope you are at least against the death penalty …

    I am against the death penalty, but I am very much for chain gangs and baloney sandwiches. If you get thrown in jail, it had better mean something.

    First, my point hinged in part on the fact that abortion is indeed first degree murder if you consider a fetus to be a person at conception, … but again as long as you are willing to acknowledge that fact, I can’t really “prove” you wrong.

    More specifically, when it comes to how I treat the positions of others, I believe that, even accepting it’s just a chance that a fetus is human, having an abortion is still rolling the die on whether or not you’re committing murder. The safest route is to err on the side of caution, to believe that human life that maybe, just maybe, life starts at conception.

    That’s the trouble with these arguments — both sides start at untenable positions, and just hope the other side will acquiesce after enough volleys.

    No doubt it did not work like that before Roe, but the fact remains that any and all miscarriages would have to be investigated if we treated the ban seriously, because any woman performing an illegal abortion would most likely claim she miscarried.

    Clean, well-lit abortion clinics are all I target — the symbol of legitimization and safety. Just as the cops don’t imprison every drug user and instead concentrate on the pushers, the best way to enforce such an abortion law would be to convict the abortionists.

    Naturally, the best way to decrease abortions after they’re made illegal would be to decrease the situations that drive women to commit abortions, if this approach wasn’t already used in tandem. So far, as far as what those poverty-fighting actions would be, I have no idea what we should do.

    Yet.

    I can see the appeal of the Republican party, but only as it claims to be, not as it actually is. If a Republican actually cut government spending along with taxes, and remained committed to small government, I might actually give them a second look.

    However laughable his candidacy, that was the whole appeal of Ron Paul. He’s Republican, consistent, honest and has all the right, Republican principles. Most important, he sticks to those principles. It’s like he’s Ronald Reagan, but really means that thing about cutting spending this time around.

    They are consistent on a few issues, though — abortion, for one. Unfortunately, abortion must take precedence over the other issues. Poverty is a matter of living poorly, but living. Environmental issues are a matter of living less well, but living. Energy issues are a matter of maybe you’ll have to take the bus.

    Abortion, once or if you accept that it’s rolling the dice on murder, is a matter of life and death.

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