S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Digest of Republican Shenanigans

Pounding Palin -- On the one hand we have the phenomenon of Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, who has fairly well set all of us progressives back a bit. But we are beginning to find our voices again this week. I got this e-mail from my regular contributor, Jon, on 9/11:
I just watched ABC interview with ms. palin. I understand now why the reps. put palin under a cone of silence after the conv. , she had to have a crash course in evasion, how to speak without saying anything, and the art of doublespeak, of being for something before you are against something. Oh, I forgot one other, stick to talking points; Charlie G. kept pressing her if she agreed with the bush doctrine (she did not [know] what he was talking about) so she kept spouting her support of bush ... Biden is going to enjoy himself at the debate.

In addition, GOP foreign policy experts [are] cool on Palin, writes Politico's DAVID PAUL KUHN. On 9/11 the author said, "The acclaim for the vice presidential nominee is all but deafening within the GOP, except in one small but influential corner: the party’s foreign policy establishment. Among that mandarin class, the response to Palin’s nomination has been underwhelming, marked by distinctly faint praise or flat-out silence."

After 8 years of (OCP) our current president George W. Bush's far right reign, progressives were quick to recognize more of the same, or even worse in Palin. Jon's e-mail link said, "WOW! She sounds as far out there as Hagee." The post was seen @ AlterNet (9/8/08): "Weird Theology in Wasilla: A Look Inside Sarah Palin's Pentecostal Church.#." Summary: "Exposing the unusual, highly politicized religious beliefs held at the Wasilla Assembly of God."

And after 8 years of OCP's active polarization, ineptitude, and shallowness, 80% of the people are giving him failing frades. Mayor Palin had somewhat the same effect in Alaska. This 9/7/08 story was @ Seattle Times: "Sarah Palin had turbulent first year as mayor of Alaska town." To quote:

Sarah Palin's first year as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, could easily have been her last as she became embroiled in personnel challenges, a thwarted attempt to pack the City Council and a bitter standoff with her local newspaper. Her first months were so contentious and polarizing that critics started talking of a recall.

Given all of the above and what we have seen in recent weeks, perhaps defeating Palin, et al in not impossible after all. All we need to to is to somehow get "galvanized." Can Palin also galvanize the U.S. left? asks Reuters. In an analysis by Ed Stoddard, 9/4/08, the author points out that 25% of Americans consider themselves evangelical Christians, and "U.S. rates of belief and worship are much higher than European." To quote further:

"'Everybody pays attention to the mobilizing affect on the right but equally important is the mobilizing affect that Palin's nomination makes for the left,' said Michael Lindsay, a political sociologist at Rice University in Houston who has written extensively on the U.S. evangelical movement."

. . . Perhaps mindful of her national television audience on Wednesday, Palin did not directly address these hot-button social issues. She instead electrified the party faithful with sharp jabs thrown at Obama.

But Democratic concerns about her brand of religion may be blunted by the fact that Obama himself often speaks about his faith and has very publicly tried to woo a share of this vote.

On the other hand, we have the radical Republicans in general up to their usual shenanigans. They cover up, lie, spin, flip-flop, and exhibit occasional out of control behavior. We have plenty more for the Friday Digest.

"Whistleblower breaks 15-year silence to allege McCain hid wife's drug abuse#," was posted 9/11/08 @ Raw Story: From the post we learned how far the McCains went to cover up the problem and to keep it all a secret:

Cindy McCain's addiction to prescription painkillers emerged into public view 14 years ago with a well-orchestrated PR campaign designed to preserve her husband's political future.

Aside from a lengthy contemporary investigation from Phoenix's alternative weekly and occasional mentions since then, the addiction back-story -- including ample questions about what John McCain knew, when he knew it and questions over whether he was complicit in the cover-up -- has gone largely untold. Until now.
Tom Gosinski, a former employee of the medical-aid charity Cindy McCain used as personal supplier of Percocet and Vicodin, is speaking...

Regarding questionable assertions in the nomination acceptance speech of Senator McCain -- posted on 9/7/08 @ AlterNet: "Exposing Five Dangerous Lies in McCain's Big Speech#."

McCain's falsehoods on health care, oil companies, trade, taxes and worker training were egregious and covered up his pro-corporate positions.

Out of control --  On 9/7/08 @ McClatchy/Yahoo! News this headline appeared to reveal what we always suspected: "McCain's history of hot temper raises concerns#."

The Republican party's two leading nominees are seen as radicals by many progressives.  That opinion was set forth by a leading reporter who is not necessarily seen as on the left,  Joe Klein.  The story was in the 9/5/08 Time Magazine, and headlined, "How McCain Makes Obama Conservative."  To quote:

What we have is a choice between a conservative and a radical.

The conservative is Barack Obama. He is a careful man, perhaps to a fault.

. . . But Obama's weakness for undue prudence seems downright virtuous compared with the recklessness that McCain showed in choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.

'Everything is f*cking spin#' McCain said of WH -- is taken from The Raw Story (on 9/5/08).  It regards McCain's colorful terminology used earlier to describe the White House.  To quote:

Bob Woodward, the journalist partly responsible for bringing about President Nixon's resignation during the Watergate scandal, will see his new book on the Bush Administration published Monday. And while the volume is a lengthy study of the administration's failures, even Sen. John McCain, now the GOP nominee to the presidency, does not escape the light of his pen.

"Everything is f*cking spin," says McCain in the new book, "The War Within," of the Bush Administration.

I also want to include a tidbit on McCain's absenteeism as a Senator, contributed in a S/SW comment last week from "pdsa:"

"You're being much too kind about McCain's habitual absenteeism from his Senate job. The last time he voted on a Roll Call was April 8, 2008, and he voted on one. The next previous vote was on March 14, 2008.

Comparing and contrasting -- On the one hand pounding Palin has been the preoccupation of the progressive blogosphere this past week. And on the other hand reporters have finally begun to be a bit more more critical of the Republicans in general. This story lists mistakes made by both campaigns. JIM VANDEHEI & HARRY SIEGEL (9/7/08), from, noted: "Doh!: Top eight gaffes of the campaign."

The excerpt that follows is from CQ Behind the Lines newsletter 9/9/08. It is also of a general nature. The paragraph is well done by David C. Morrison. To quote (author's links):

McBama: “Barack Obama is uniquely attuned to 21st-century . . . transnational security threats — things like terrorism, proliferation, cyberattacks,” etc., his foreign policy adviser tells U.S. News Kenneth T. Walsh. “Don’t assume that a Democratic president will necessarily transform the counterterrorism policies of the current administration,” David Cole cautions in Mother Jones. Wherever Osama bin Laden is, the White House contenders “have been at it hammer and tongs over which of them would be more likely to oversee the terrorist chief’s capture,” Agence France-PressOlivier Knox surveys. “If McCain is elected president, endless war will be our future. His obsession with Islam and militarism will bankrupt our nation and imperil the world, my friends,” Michael Abraham maintains in the Roanoke Times.

Hat Tip to regular contributors, (#Jon and *"betmo") for the leads to such good news stories, as well as these good references:

  1. @ Think Progress 9/11/08,"The Sarah Palin Digest#."
    ThinkProgress has put together a document compiling what we know about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) vice presidential running mate.

  2. From AlterNet (9/10/08): "8 More Stories About Palin the Public Needs to Know#."
    As she enters her second week as VP candidate, more shocking information emerges about Sarah Palin.

  3. "Vietnam Veterans against John McCain#" - and these folks really are!

  4. "High School Student to McCain: You're No Leader*," headlined @ ABC News, 9/4/08.  On the question of gays and discrimination.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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