Suggestion from our friend Adam…
Monthly Archives: August 2008
George Stephanopoulos interviewed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) this morning. Graham almost immediately trotted out the Republican claim that Sarah Palin bravely opposed the bridge-to-nowhere.
What Graham genuinely didn’t seem to realize was that she was first in favor of the project (and campaigned in for it) in 2006. She changed her position only when a national outrage erupted over the bridge’s proposed cost (and a month after John McCain attacked it).
Stephanopoulos pointed out that Palin was in favor of the bridge and only abandoned her support when the project became a “national joke.” Graham’s response was stammering and nonsensical: “Well, the point is that she had the courage to say, ‘we’re not going to do it because its not the right signal we want to send to everybody else from Alaska.'” Actually, the point is that she didn’t to do what you just tried to give her credit for.
Seriously, do these people know a single thing about Sarah Palin’s record? Country first!
Here’s the Graham/ Stephanopoulos video:
Apparently, the talking points go both ways between Fox News and the Republicans. Today on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Cindy McCain took a cue from Fox world affairs genius / weatherman Steve Doocy. McCain defended Sarah Palin’s readiness to run our foreign and military policy by noting that Alaska is right next to Russia. (Video here.)
And here’s the original argument, as articulated by Doocy:
According to Republicans, fitness for office is determined by the size of your jurisdiction.
Defending Alaska Governor Sarah Palin from charges that she is unprepared to become leader of the free world, Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus (Prince Incubus? Rinsed Preus? Prepubescent Renis?) cited her experience in “leading the largest state in the union. . .” That same day, Mike Huckabee, appearing on The Cartoon Network Fox News said that “she’s run the biggest land-mass state in the country. It’s about 600 times the size of Delaware.” (Video here.)
So the complexity of running a nation of 300 million people with the world’s largest economy and military is comparable to the difficulty of running a state with barely 600,000 because there’s a lot of it.
Greenland is gigantic, the world’s 13th largest country by land mass. Despite having all that land, though, only about 56,000 people live there. Its economy is based mainly on fishing, mineral mining, and handicrafts. Although handicraft demand is sure to skyrocket at some point, Greenland is today less than an economic juggernaut.
It also has little military capability to speak of: “The Royal Danish Navy operates a dog sled patrol called Sirius-patruljen, based in Daneborg. Greenland also has a coastguard that patrols the Greenlandic coast and carries out search and rescue operations.”
The United Kingdom, by contrast, is tiny. That little island is the world’s 78th largest nation, coming in behind Guinea and right in front of Ghana. Somehow 60 million people squeeze into the sub-compact country. Poor Gordon Brown is the Prime Minister. Before that, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, which is the office that handles the UK’s economy or whatever.
Despite being sadly diminutive, somehow the UK has managed to develop the world’s fifth largest economy, becoming a world center for banking and finance, and the second largest military in the world. It’s also got nukes, has at various times conquered large chunks of the world, and contributed incalculably to world culture. (See, e.g., William Shakespeare, Led Zeppelin, Michael Palin, John Cleese and Eddie Izzard.)
If Greenland ever becomes part of the UK, Hans Enoksen (the fisheries guy) needs to hire whoever is writing the Republicans’ talking points. Following the Sarah Palin model, Enoksen is perfectly capable of running the UK. When you get down to it, what’s the difference between dog sleds and intercontinental ballistic missiles, handicrafts and banking, 56,000 people and 60 million? Greenland is huge.
“Change we can believe in.”
In 1992, George H.W. Bush and the Republicans referred to Bill Clinton as “the failed governor of a small state”. Because of that, they argued, he was not fit to be president.
The words “small state” weren’t used by accident. The implication was that executive experience in a place with so few people couldn’t translate into fitness for governing a country with 300 million people, nuclear weapons and nuclear-armed enemies.
With the selection of Sarah Palin, the Republicans have apparently had a change of heart.
There’s no disputing that she’s the governor of a small state. Alaska has around 600,000 people. In 2000, it was ranked 48th in size. (In 1990 when the last census before the ’92 election was conducted, Arkansas was 33rd largest with 2.3 million people.)
So is Sarah Palin a “failed governor”? I don’t know. A survey conducted by CNBC this year says Alaska is 41st in education. At least it can look down on Mississippi.
The same study ranks Alaska’s economy 50th. I don’t think that’s good, but I didn’t go to an Alaska school.
Overall, CNBC says that out of 50 states, Alaska is somewhere between 49th and 51st.
On the other hand, when he took office, Bill Clinton had no foreign policy experience. Palin, by contrast, has a lot:
Florida has been trending red since 2000. (You may recall that Bush v. Gore was something of a squeaker that year.) Since then, Republicans have more or less gained the upper hand — but it’s still within reach.
Jewish voters, traditionally Democratic, also favor Obama but not currently by as large a margin as they did John Kerry in 2004. As a result, Jewish voters are “definitely” a target audience for McCain, says Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer. To that end, McCain’s campaign has frequently deployed Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who will campaign in the state next week. “He’s not only a leader, he’s a Jewish leader and they follow what he has to say,” Greer says.
So there is ground to be made up there. Doing so is far easier today than it was yesterday.
See, Sarah Palin supported Pat Buchanan for president in 1999/2000. This is from a ’99 AP piece, helpfully discovered by Christopher Hayes:
Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan’s strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage.
Buchanan’s bigotry, particularly his anti-Semitism, has been evident for years — many years before he ran for president in 1999/2000.
While she is still being defined, Obama needs to get an ad on radio and television in south Florida pointing out that in 1999, when Sarah Palin decided to support Pat Buchanan for President of the United States, he was on record saying things like
- After World War II, Jewish influence over foreign policy became almost an obsession with American leaders.
– A Republic, Not an Empire. P. 336.
- I know the power of the Israeli lobby and the other lobbies, but we need a foreign policy that puts our own country first.
– Meet the Press Interview. September 12, 1999.
- Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory.
– McLaughlin Group, June 15, 1990
As the world knew in 1999, Buchanan has also made a career out of defending accused Nazi war criminals. In 1987, while working for the Reagan Administration, he provided valuable assistance to wanted Nazis who had escaped Europe and were hiding in our country:
”Buchanan is no help,” said one Federal law-enforcement official . . . ”It appears he’s trying to shut down O.S.I.”
He continued his defense of Nazis in hiding once he left government. He began referring those those who worked for the OSI — people with names like Rosenbaum and Sher — as “hairy-chested Nazi hunters“.
Buchanan’s animosity toward Jews continues to this day. Most recently, Buchanan wrote a book letting Adolf Hitler off the hook for World War II and placing the blame for it on the Western Allies.
Israel is in greater danger now than it has been in decades. Iran is led by a religious fanatic who has made clear his desire to see it destroyed and ethnically cleansed of Jews. Iranian proxy Hezbollah plans to attack Jews worldwide.
Pat Buchanan has made a career out of antagonizing victims of Nazism and sympathizing with those who want to destroy Israel. Why is that okay with Sarah Palin? What is it about Buchanan’s views that led her to believe he ought to be president? Are these the kinds of questions you want to have to ask about someone who could be a heartbeat away from the presidency in less than five months?