Friday, October 31, 2008

2008 Election Post-Mortem (Especially Regarding Sarah Palin)



Go with the real Sarah Palin: not the media / comedic caricature


The country hasn't gone completely nuts (the vote was 52-46% after all: that's pretty close). Every election is pretty much decided by the 20% in the middle. About 40% are liberal and 40% conservative. Elections are (strategy-wise) all about those in the middle: so-called moderates or undecideds or swing voters. If they tilt 5% in either direction, that pretty much decides it.

So it's not the whole country going insane: it is the folks in the middle who see the economy (which always hurts the incumbent when it is bad) and don't like the war. They also saw a young charming, photogenic guy vs. an older, not-so-charming person, and that is enough for many people. Then there is the turnout factor, 92% of blacks voting for Obama, and the low approval rating of George Bush and disgust for the status quo in Washington (17% approval of Congress: even lower than for President Bush). All of those things are more than enough to decide the election before even getting to a serious discussion of issues (which rarely takes place in any event).

Things can change quickly. Clinton squeaked by in 1992 with a 43% plurality. He won because of Ross Perot taking away votes from Bush (many conservatives were dumb in that election, too, and wanted to throw away the election by voting for pro-abort Perot: I tried to argue with them at the time, to no avail). But two years later was a Republican landslide, with them regaining control of the House. Clinton was thus forced to move to the center, pretty much for the rest of his Presidency. I expect the same to happen with Obama.

The Democrats are nothing, if not about excess, lust for power, and hubris. There's no way they will control themselves with all this power. But that will be their downfall. When liberals are openly liberal, they fail in the eyes of the public every time. That's why they always have to pretend not to be liberal during election seasons. They're afraid to even use the word. But now they will be themselves, and the public will really see what they have just done.

* * *

Let's hope and pray that real persecution comes (to someone other than preborn babies). Obviously, it will take that to wake up the 47% or so of Catholics and 35% or so of evangelical Christians who voted for Obama. The culture just got quite a bit more secularized.

Let's hope and pray that the Church herself will be persecuted, and that we'll lose our tax-exempt status.

Historically, true revival doesn't commence until it gets very very bad: often to the point of blood being shed, or at least extreme deprivations. When people want to play games about what is taking place, and to place themselves and their interests (e.g., money or sexual immorality) above God's (which is idolatry), God is merciful enough to see that they come back to reality, via hardship and suffering.

I rather like Obama, personally (infinitely more than Bill Clinton), and I am delighted that this election shows that America has decisively gotten beyond its sordid racist past (and present, among too many people). But that has no bearing on my opposition to his policies and what they represent in the larger picture (which is secularization, semi-socialism, and hostility to the culture of life and traditional morality).

* * *

Exchange with a fellow Republican pro-lifer on the CHNI board:

the largest culprit is Palin's campaign team and yes, Palin, herself to a considerable degree.

Really? If it weren't for Sarah Palin, McCain would've lost 60-40 at least, with an even more lopsided electoral defeat. I just heard today that the moderates went about 2/3 for Obama. McCain has traditionally been all about attracting centrists and moderates. Didn't work very well, did it? Palin was a true-blue conservative. When we are truly conservative in ideology, we can win (Reagan, older Bush [kinda sorta], the '94 congressional landslide with House Speaker Newt Gingrich).

But when Republicans go "big tent" and moderate, they lose (W in the long run with his 25% approval rating, Dole in '96, McCain in some ways). Why should a rational voter vote for "Democrat Lite"? If the conservative option isn't offered, they'll vote for the "real" liberal rather than the half-baked, posing "Liberal Lite." Therefore, it was Sarah Palin who helped McCain more than anything else. He picked her precisely because he was sensible enough to know that he had no chance whatever without her, because he was barely holding on to his own base.

Noonan would've loved to be in her corner, but Palin gave her precious little when it came to a VP candidate that'd be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

And of course, Biden is utterly qualified, with his 15 or so major factual errors in his debate, and his dumbbell remark about FDR getting on TV when the stock market crashed in 1929 (when Hoover was President and there was no TV). I'd rather have Palin as President than all the congressional Democrats put together.

Noonan's already worked in that environment. She was a Reagan/Bush 41 speechwriter in the West Wing so she knows what's required to be on top of one's game in that league.

She's not infallible. Who's to say that she is simply courting the approval of her media elite friends? It happens all the time.

She penned the "1,000 points of light" speech and is strongly Catholic and very Pro-Life.) But Palin stepped up to the big leagues willingly, almost too willingly for somebody with such little national experience in the limelight and did little cramming, if any at all.

What did you want Palin to do, be unwilling? How do you accept the VP spot being "unwilling"? You seem to have bought the horse manure that the media has been feeding everyone about her. They did that precisely because she was threatening. I heard several liberal commentators concede that her convention speech and debate performance were some of the very best they had ever observed: including even Reagan himself. That is a threat. And what do liberals do in face of a real threat? They smear and engage in personal attack.

I'm sure Palin, who's no slouch upstairs, will look back on her mistakes and make sure they never occur again.

What mistakes? So she didn't know a few answers in an interview that was heavily edited, precisely to make her look bad? The mistakes, if any, were from her handlers, who wouldn't let her be herself, as she was in the debate and at the convention (as Bill Kristol and others noted).

If she doesn't, guys like Romney or Guiliani will hand her head back to her with the waiter's tab, which if it comes from Guiliani, will include a mandatory tip-charge in NYC, no less.

Two waffling / liberal Republicans will trounce Palin? Hardly . . .

She wasn't ready for that league and her folksy mannerisms backfired Big Time when she had little or nothing to deflate Big Media's ego-cases with a return slap-shot in her defense.

She supposedly "wasn't ready" because they despised her; period. Folksiness had nothing to do with it. Plenty of Democrats were and are folksy. Clinton was folksy, as was Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer with the beer-guzzling brother. Tip O'Neil was folksy, in the Boston Irish sort of way, and even Biden himself, in his "Scranton / working class background / regular old guy" sort of fashion. Hubert Humphrey had a dialect not unlike Palin's (upper midwest, from Minnesota). None of that matters a hill of beans. It was strictly political derision. Liberals will happily apply a double standard on "folksiness" if it helps their cause.

Playing Wasilla hockey might be terribly rough for Alaska; but she moved up to the NHL of politics and dealing with the Boston Bruins with all of them having a "bad mood night," and I've seen a few of those. Not pretty. And the red worn by the players wasn't lipstick.

If she had been at the head of the ticket, I think things could have been very different. But probably not, with the present economic / anti-war climate. Economic downturns have defeated many Presidents or presidential nominees.

But I am disappointed that Palin, whom I thought would've shown more political street smarts, if she is indeed this "pit bull with lipstick" -- hadn't stuck back at Couric saying "Lady, you're the dumb one if you think I'm not being figurative when I speak of seeing Russia from Alaska."

She wasn't in control, and had to do what she was told.

She knew she goofed but augered herself into a deeper hole by not laughing it off right then and there which would've shown a much more credible and relate-able candidate for people to follow, especially middle class and middle aged moms. We all flub, but she flubbed it even more by trying too hard and Couric served her to Obama for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

She can't do anything that will please liberal media and academic elites. The sooner we conservatives learn that, the better we will be. Name one conservative who is highly thought of by liberals during his or her lifetime?

This is the "narrative" that Noonan was upset about and I missed in September because I, too, was much too eager to push for Palin even though I had more than a few lingering doubts if this woman was ready to perform well enough in that level of play.

So now she serves the role of scapegoat for you? I think you have it exactly backwards.

Maybe none of Palin's mistakes wouldn't have stopped the Obama juggernaut, but better preparation would've likely stopped some of the early hemorraghing that bled the McCain/Palin ticket so fast after it rose so rapidly in the early September post-GOP convention polls.

They were leading in the polls, right before the economic crisis hit. That is what clearly did them in, not Sarah Palin. McCain also blew two opportunities in his debates to hit a home run. He did better in the third one, but it was too little too late.

(And, sorry to go for so long, but I guess it's a "post-mortem-in-waiting" I couldn't keep in. But Jill, I know how frustrated you feel. I've "been there" on this side of the Big Muddy. It's not fun on either side my good friend. Not fun. But we will prevail. God wants us to.)

I think that if you want to blame Sarah Palin for the loss, that you (with all due respect) have completely missed the dynamics of the race and defeat.

But it was fun "chattin'" with ya!

* * *

Nor had set out to make her a "scapegoat" for the loss. I only focused on Noonan and Palin when I wrote my response. Palin has wonderful potential, but much of it was squandered, and not just by Palin as you rightly pointed to --but, by her handlers to a certain degree.

An important distinction . . .

I fully agree with you that philosophically speaking she was the better of the two candidates. McCain's been lukewarm at best on social issues for most of his career.

He's been good on pro-life and war issues. That was enough for conservatives to accept him.

She was the more exciting candidate. And even though she didn't have to work hard at that, meaning it came more naturally to her) Palin put real effort into giving her speeches. No question.

Looks a heck of a lot better than McCain, too. ;)

I never thought Biden is, was or ever will be, intellectually superior to her, nor do I believe I even tried to imply that.

I was reacting much more to the liberal pundits and propagandists in those comments than to you.

My point in defending Noonan's perspective was not to say Palin cost the Republicans everything. You're right; a tanked economy, an unpopular long war added to a general sense of GOP fatigue would've done in any of the candidates. But when I was mentioning Guiliani and Romney, it wasn't meant to give those guys anything but a good dammning but by feint praise and only for their skills in political skullduggery.

If they were so good even at that, then it seems to me that either should have beaten McCain in the primaries. Giuliani was once the front-runner.

But if Palin IS the rising star, why wasn't she privately prepped more on how the national media pulls its crap so as to give her some room to move (so-to-speak) during her interview with Couric so she could've slammed that woman from CBS back to hell and gone -- just by giving the gov. more preparatory background as to Couric's m.o. meaning how Couric words her come -back questions, etc. and then standing out of Palin's way.

She wasn't because McCain has a more positive relationship with the media than most Republican candidates do. He is far less wary of them than he should be. I think there was a certain naivete. It's like when elder Bush thought he could reason and work with Democrats, and agreed to a temporary tax hike. We saw what happened. He was dead meat after that, and all we remember about him was "read my lips: no new taxes."

If a conservative tries to deal in good faith with congressional Democrats, they end up tossed out in a junk pile like a cheap prostitute. It's not just dumb; it is bad political strategy. Politics is about acquisition and application of power. Democrats and Republicans can't work together, many times, on principle, because they are often on two different sides of the cultural war between Christianity and secularism.

You said Palin "wasn't in control, and had to do what she was told" when she had the opportunity to give Couric some of her own medicine. I appreciate that you want to give her the benefit of the doubt on this, but I can't fully agree for a few reasons.

Many people who would be in a position to know (former political strategists, high-ranking conservative journalists, etc.), have said as much. It's not just me.

1) If the GOP won yesterday, in January, she'd be a heartbeat from the Oval office, and given the stress of the job, McCain's age and what he's been through in life -- Palin didn't just have an opportunity to slam Couric back (boy, wouldn't all of us loved to have seen that!) -- but she also had an obligation of sorts to her party, big campaign backers, individual contributors, the voters and even the world to demonstrate how one of its future leaders, esp. somebody who might have well been thrust into the Presidency (may have God forbidden if McCain won) would've handled one of the most important media figures. (I'm just referring to Couric's position, not talent by any means :roflol:, not by a longshot, brother!)

So Palin had one bad day, or couldn't say what she really wanted to say, without being hindered by force-fed talking points. Big wow . . . Even Obama had those . . .

2.) If Sarah Palin or any politician wasn't willing to stand up to Couric, or her political "handlers," pull off the mike and if need be, make a private little scene to reset the ground rules ... in other words, show who's the boss and who's the scribe -- then what would she be like facing down that whack job in Iran or Putin /Medvedev who are planning on putting missiles close to Russia's european borders. (I only saw a sketchy headline, but I'm just using it for the sake of argument.)

Apples and oranges. One scenario is trying to kow-tow to a media elite in order to win an election; the other is actually governing. In that situation, which was edited down for maximum impact, it was artificial. When she was on her own, in the debate and at the convention, it was quite different. I've had remarks of my own edited down (in a short television interview once, having to do with a local legal controversy)! And that was just a few sentences. I can imagine what it would be like to have a long interview butchered and cut into pieces.

3.) Do we want pols who don't have the backbone to stand up to handlers or scandalously overcompensated television anchors who should be made to feel as if interviewing any future world leader is a privilege and not the other way around. I used to be a reporter. We weren't told to be suck-up patsies, but also to respect the system, official rank, etc. (The old salute the rank, no matter how low you think the guy is drill. But, if reporters really went after the pols like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and other attack dogs, one day there'd be nobody for a reporter to cover unless all questions were submitted in advance. And who could blame them?

I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill with this. You seem to have bought the liberal line that this one interview did her in and revealed to the world what a dolt she was. They were all ready for her to collapse in a gooey mush during her debate, but it didn't happen, did it?

Did I enjoy interviewing Mike Dukakis when I knew he was fibbing right through his teeth? Of course not. But I never went after the governor personally. (Though in some ways I have to admit that had Couric "gone O'Reilly" on Palin we might've seen an entirely different Sarah Palin. But Couric was at worst sarcastic compared to an O'Reilly -- yet Palin didn't get her back up and question Couric if she had the brains to know the difference between figurative and literal expressions.

She didn't have to be mean during the interview. All she had to do was throw out questions to try to trap Palin, and then cynically edit later. That's the game. It happens all the time. If you want to see liberal bias firsthand, try being in Operation Rescue, as I was. We regularly saw how the day's events would be roundly lied about and distorted on the evening news. They would even lie about the numbers attending the National Right to Life rally in Washington, D.C. (that I went to in 1990). You were probably of the old Tim Russert / Ted Koppel school of journalism, and actually tried to be objective and fair.

No handler on the face of this earth should ever have that kind of influence in any campaign.

I agree, but that ain't Sarah Palin's fault. What is she gonna do about it?

Blame the handlers. I agree that they have way too much influence. But we elect leaders who are supposed to be leaders and not kowtowers.

Of course. But the VP pick is in no position to outwardly disagree with the Presidential candidate during campaign season.

Nobody put those words about Russia into Palin's head to tell Couric but Sarah Palin.

That was blown out of proportion. I heard that. But the media takes a line and isolates it and makes it sound ridiculous. It's the use of propaganda to make someone look absurd (perfected by Martin Luther against Catholics and the Nazis against German Jews). She was simply making a passing remark that Russia was close to Alaska. So what? She's no more naive about foreign policy than Obama himself is. He has no experience, either (so now we have no experience in the President-elect, not the "heartbeat away for the Presidency"). But at least Sarah Palin has some executive experience, whereas Obama had none. So there was an equivalence there, with Palin possibly having the advantage over Obama. But no one cares about that. The only object was to make her look like a dunce, so as to discredit her and the ticket (since McCain picked her). The same thing was done with Dan Quayle.

And nobody had a better opportunity to instantly turn the tables better than Palin, and make Couric look like the ideological bully she is; but Palin didn't.

How can one do that when they have no control over the editing?

Besides, was that "I'll get back to you" moment all about?

She didn't have an answer on the spot. She's a human being. Lots of times I don't have an answer right away when I'm being asked a hundred things. That's what is great about being a writer. One can take time to find an answer. :)

Much was made of the fact she's a governor and a former television sports reporter. So, she knows the drill whether it's sports or politics. The reporter has a duty to prevent himself or herself from being bossed around. On he other hand, what Couric does (while hiding behind her perky sexist skirts) is far from fair game, too. As far as I can remember, Couric wasn't riding the press section on Palin's plane that day. (Maybe I'm wrong on that detail.)

I don't understand why you want to go on and on about one interview that didn't go so greatly, as if that is the overwhelming consideration.

That's what I was trying to get at. And I fully agree that the loss NOT was all her fault.

But it seems that she is all you wanna talk about, rather than McCain himself, or the election year dynamics that were clearly infinitely more of a factor than one interview with the VP pick.

But the doggone wheels started coming off about then,

They came off because the economy crashed. It ain't rocket science . . .

and the same media that found one or two cracks in Palin as well as McCain busted them even wider as they attempted (quite successfully it seems) to create a bandwagon/steamroller for Obama.

The media doesn't determine elections. If that were true, how in the world did Republicans win seven out of ten Presidential elections in recent times? The 20% "squishy middle" determine all nationwide elections.

But it's those interviews and the way the Obama camp was able to use them for ads, and those ads are like the cartoons that Boss Tweed complained more about than articles calling for his ouster from Tammany Hall.

See my last reply.

It's one thing for people to watch a half hour show and catch a little of the stories, but when a flubbed interview can be transformed into a killer ad that's played over and over ... that's what's darned near impossible to get past Dave, esp. when Palin's party and the McCain campaign went nearly silent (up here at times.) And of course, there should've been more Biden goof ads but there weren't. Money, media censorship? (The "oh, we didn't get it on time" line.)

I disagree that this was what sunk the campaign, per my reasoning above.

Every reporter's got his or her special traits and weaknesses. Even Noonan. I don't agree with her all the time and sometimes she does come across as a Northeasterner with that capital N! But that's where she's from and a real New Yawker (without the accent.) People up here are insufferably parochial and regionally blinded beyond the Hudson and far too many eggheads look down their noses at any points south and west of that river and NY Harbor. (Exceptions are made of course for Georgetown, Charlottesville, Ann Arbor, Oberlin, and of course, Berkeley.) I never implied she was infallible. All I did was highlight some of Noonan's experience as an influential social conservative woman pundit. Besides, she's a devout Catholic, a social conservative who's established herself as as syndicated columnist for the Wall Street Journal and among other books Noonan's published, she penned a wonderful book about John Paul II, "John Paul The Great."

None of that makes her right about Sarah Palin. It could be as simple as a northeast prejudice against westerners. Wouldn't be the first time. Even conservative northeast media elites can be provincial and snobbish.

As I said at the top of my reply, most of the blame for what went wrong from within the ill-fated McCain campaign rests on John McCain.

Good, but by the volume you have expended upon criticizing Sarah Palin, that's not the impression you are giving.

He even graciously admitted it last night. I apologize to anyone thinking I meant to dump all my blame on Palin. No. I couldn't nor wouldn't do that. And Dave brought up some valid points.

I'm just having fun discussing politics. We need to do that after a loss for our side. We have to put the experience to good use for the future.

On the other hand, there could've been a lot better coordination from the top down in that campaign, especially regarding McCain's desperation relocations of his troops from one key state to another without speaking to Gov. Palin; a badly timed move that left her in an awful lurch. McCain's overplaying of Joe the Plumber started to look old real fast. McCain's "calvary coming to the rescue" of capitalism campaign stoppage but not stoppage resulted in the press reacting negatively dumbfounded.

Nothing could have overcome the bad economy. It was a hopeless cause. This was a Democrat year. Experience shows that it usually switches back and forth. Next time ('10) we'll have Obama's (and the liberal Congress's) record, and something to criticize, instead of having to run against an image and suave sophistication. Once he has to defend his record, (including an economy that is not likely to improve anytime soon) it could well be a different story. So we can get more Republicans in Congress and hope to defeat him in 2012. Could be Jimmy Carter all over again: especially if the economy stays bad, and Obama shows himself a wimp in the face of terrorist threats.

Insofar as the shopping spree is concerned, while that cannot be totally blamed on Palin, or McCain's top politicos -- and it's a historical fact that this sort of sprucing up a candidate or his/her spouse's campaign "image," -- much of it does fall on the GOP's doorsteps. And, too her credit, Palin did poke fun at the issue.

Another non sequitur that the all-knowing media wants to use with one of their patented double standards . . .

It shouldn't have become an issue in the first place because that kind of money never should've been spent in the first place, especially when so many Americans are literally scratching to get by from one check to another -- if they can count on a check at all.

Materialism is shot through American society, which is another huge issue to discuss! Both parties spend lots of money. The relevant consideration here is to fairly criticize both sides, rather than one, while pretending that the other side is different, when they are not at all.

I'm exhausted.

You expend too much energy! I enjoyed "sparring" with ya. I thought it was okay to do because these are just political issues and strategy discussion: nothing directly to do with the faith. I think people have a need to cope with a huge loss like this. One way to do it is by talkin' and giving our opinions.

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