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Crafty_Dog
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« on: February 26, 2008, 11:20:39 AM »

Well, its the NY Times, so McCain Feingold gets kid glove treatment, but FWIW:

The Real McCain
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By DAVID BROOKS
Published: February 26, 2008
You wouldn’t know it to look at them, but political consultants are as faddish as anyone else. And the current vogueish advice among the backroom set is: Go after your opponent’s strengths. So in the first volley of what feels like the general election campaign, Barack Obama has attacked John McCain for being too close to lobbyists. His assault is part of this week’s Democratic chorus: McCain isn’t really the anti-special interest reformer he pretends to be. He’s more tainted than his reputation suggests.

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David Brooks

Go to Columnist Page » Well, anything is worth trying, I suppose, but there is the little problem of his record. McCain has fought one battle after another against lobbyists and special interests. And while I don’t have space to describe all his tussles, or even the lesser ones like his fight with the agricultural lobby against sugar subsidies, I thought that, amidst all these charges, it might be worth noting some of the McCain highlights from the past dozen years.

In 1996, McCain was one of five senators, and the only Republican, to vote against the Telecommunications Act. He did it because he believed the act gave away too much to the telecommunications companies, and protected them from true competition. He noted that AT&T alone gave $780,000 to Republicans and $456,000 to Democrats in the year leading up to the vote.

In 1998, McCain championed anti-smoking legislation that faced furious opposition from the tobacco lobby. McCain guided the legislation through the Senate Commerce Committee on a 19-1 vote, but then the tobacco companies struck back. They hired 200 lobbyists and spent $40 million in advertising (three times as much as the Harry and Louise health care reform ads). Many of the ads attacked McCain by name, accusing him of becoming a big government liberal. After weeks of bitter debate, the bill died on the Senate floor.

In 2000, McCain ran for president and reiterated his longstanding opposition to ethanol subsidies. Though it crippled his chances in Iowa, he argued that ethanol was a wasteful giveaway. A recent study in the journal Science has shown that when you take all impacts into consideration, ethanol consumption increases greenhouse gas emissions compared with regular gasoline. Unlike, say, Barack Obama, McCain still opposes ethanol subsidies.

In 2002, McCain capped his long push for campaign finance reform by passing the McCain-Feingold Act. People can argue about the effectiveness of the act, but one thing is beyond dispute. It was a direct assault on lobbyist power, and earned McCain undying enmity among many important parts of the Republican coalition, who felt their soft money influence was being diminished.

In 2003, the Senate nearly passed the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act. The act was opposed by the usual mix of energy, auto and mining companies. But moderate environmental groups were thrilled that McCain-Lieberman was able to attract more than 40 votes in the Senate.

In 2004, McCain launched a frontal assault on the leasing contract the Pentagon had signed with Boeing for aerial refueling tankers. McCain’s investigation exposed billions of dollars of waste and layers of contracting irregularity.

In 2005, McCain led the Congressional investigation into the behavior of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The investigation was exceedingly unpleasant for Republicans, because it exposed shocking misbehavior by important conservative activists.

Over the past few years, McCain has stepped up his longstanding assault on earmarks. Every year, McCain goes to the Senate floor to ridicule the latest batch of earmarks, and every year his colleagues and the lobbyists fume. For years, McCain has proposed legislative remedies — greater transparency, a 60-vote supermajority requirement — that were brutally unpopular with many colleagues until, suddenly, now.

Over the course of his career, McCain has tried to do the impossible. He has challenged the winds of the money gale. He has sometimes failed and fallen short. And there have always been critics who cherry-pick his compromises, ignore his larger efforts and accuse him of being a hypocrite.

This is, of course, the gospel of the mediocre man: to ridicule somebody who tries something difficult on the grounds that the effort was not a total success. But any decent person who looks at the McCain record sees that while he has certainly faltered at times, he has also battled concentrated power more doggedly than any other legislator. If this is the record of a candidate with lobbyists on his campaign bus, then every candidate should have lobbyists on the bus.

And here’s the larger point: We’re going to have two extraordinary nominees for president this year. This could be one of the great general election campaigns in American history. The only thing that could ruin it is if the candidates become demagogues and hurl accusations at each other that are an insult to reality and common sense.

Maybe Obama can start this campaign over.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2008, 08:23:43 AM »

WSJ:

Earmark Nation
March 7, 2008; Page A14
Newly minted presidential nominee John McCain stepped into the Rose Garden this week to receive President Bush's blessing. What the cameras didn't catch were pork-addicted congressional Republicans blowing raspberries from their offices.

With all the talk about how Mr. McCain needs to unify his party, lost has been the question of whether some people will let him. Washington Republicans know he's their best shot at retaining the White House. Yet many remain ambivalent about him -- not because they question his conservatism, but out of resentment that he may get in the way of their earmarks.

 
This has resulted in a behind-the-scenes brawl, as spend-happy Republicans resist efforts by wiser heads to fall in behind Mr. McCain's anti-earmark message. At best, the spenders risk an embarrassing pummeling by their own nominee that could hurt them in their own re-election campaigns. At worst, they could undercut one of Mr. McCain's more persuasive messages.

They shouldn't count on Mr. McCain cutting them slack. He's always reveled in publicly humiliating pork-barrelers, including those in his party, and seems gleeful at the prospect of using his new podium to continue his crusade. He has no reason to back down now. Unorthodox as he's been on some conservative issues, on earmarks Mr. McCain has the full backing of an American public.

House Minority Leader John Boehner gets all this, and now believes there's more political mileage in thumping his opponents over pork than in retaining it for his party. He's spent the past two months pounding Democrats to agree to an earmark moratorium, even forcing a vote in a budget markup this week (not a single Democrat voted for it). The affair has left Speaker Nancy Pelosi red-faced, as she and her team struggle to justify the very pork they promised to rein in during the 2006 election campaign.

It's been embarrassing enough that even some in her party are refusing to hold ranks. California's Henry Waxman, a powerful committee chairman, recently intoned that "Congressional spending through earmarks was out of control" and announced he'd ask for none himself this year.

This sort of success has helped inspire some doubtful Republicans. At the recent House Republican retreat, several previous worshippers at the earmark church announced they were switching religions. Discussions have started between the McCain camp and the House GOP about areas on which to unify messages. Earmarks is a hot topic, putting spenders on the defensive.

The problem is the Senate, where Republicans have left House colleagues to twist in the wind. Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran, ranking member on the Appropriations Committee, brought home more pork than any other member of Congress -- some $837 million.

The Senate GOP leadership is no better, with former Whip Trent Lott finishing his last year in office with a $311 million haul. Driving this is the old philosophy that bacon is necessary to win elections. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is already running re-election ads in Kentucky boasting about the $200 million he secured for universities, as well as a hefty buyout he secured for his state's tobacco farmers.

The leadership's sop to reform has instead been an earmark "working committee," tasked with developing a set of reforms. Its members? Mr. Cochran, of course. There's also Georgia's Johnny Isakson ($161 million in pork last year); Indiana's Richard Lugar ($131 million) and Idaho's Mike Crapo ($121 million). Mr. McConnell did agree to include earmark antagonist Tom Coburn from Oklahoma ($0), undoubtedly for cover. But the committee is rigged to cater to the lowest common denominator. A better indicator of how many Republicans intend to rally behind the nominee will be how many vote for next week's budget amendment -- sponsored by South Carolina's Jim DeMint and endorsed by Mr. McCain -- to impose a Senate earmark moratorium.

Don't expect many. Earmark reformers have quietly been pushing senators to get in line with the House, and more importantly with Mr. McCain. All they've encountered is pushback. Several have privately fought against greater transparency, much less a moratorium. "We're not going to back [McCain] on earmarks, or on climate change or on immigration," piped one senior GOP aide this week. You read that right: Earmarks now rank among the bedrock conservative principles.

What's left is the price they'll pay, and that's where Mr. McCain comes in. Senate Republicans are facing their most brutal election environment in decades, fighting to defend several dozen seats. Diverging from Mr. McCain on earmarks guarantees it will be a defining issue in their re-election races. Smart opponents will use the split against vulnerable incumbents. Republicans will have to explain why Mr. McCain is wrong to want to shutdown the earmark factory, and their answers will be tragicomic.

Republicans are already getting a taste of this. Alaska's Ted Stevens's re-election bid is mired in an ugly investigation into alleged earmark corruption. Mr. McConnell is getting hit by a liberal clean-government group that says he's a tool of special interests.

The pork-barrelers also risk diluting one of Mr. McCain's winning messages. Hillary Clinton has a miserable earmark record, which Mr. McCain has used to embarrass her over a funding request for a Woodstock museum. Mr. Obama likes to point to Senate work to increase earmark transparency. But he too has asked for plenty of money and refused to release information about his early earmark requests. Either Democrat will want to neutralize this issue.

One way to do it is to point out that even Mr. McCain's own colleagues don't think it's that big of a deal. They can pick up on the lame Republican justifications for all this and throw them back at him. They could point to it as an example of Mr. McCain's inability to unite his party.

Republicans have a choice. They can unite behind the feisty Mr. McCain, and take a position that is true to their small-government principles, popular with the public and a smart political move. Or they can hurt themselves, and possibly their nominee, by sticking with the lard.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2008, 01:53:12 PM »

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House Party
March 14, 2008 9:26 p.m.; Page W16
It's a tale of two houses. One is dilapidated, old. Everyone in the neighborhood is used to it, and they turn away when they pass. A series of people lived in it and failed to take care of it. It's run down, needs paint. The roof sags, squirrels run through the eaves. A haunted house! No, more boring. Just a house someone . . . let go.

But over here, a new house on a new plot. It's rising from the mud before your eyes. It has interesting lines, a promising façade, and when people walk by they stop and look. So much bustle! Builders running in and out, the contractors fighting with each other—"You wouldn't even have this job if it weren't for the minority set-aside!" And everyone hates the architect, who put a port-o-potty on the lawn.

But: You can't take your eyes off it. "Something being born, and not something dying." Maybe it will improve the neighborhood. Maybe the owners will be nice.

If the old house is the Republicans and John McCain, and the new house is the Democrats and their presidential candidates, or at least one of them, what can Mr. McCain do? How can he better his position? What can he do to help his house?

You know what he has in his favor. He's gentleman Johnny McCain, hero, maverick. He has more knowledge on national defense in his pinky than the others will have, after four years in the White House, in their entire bodies. He's the one who should be answering the phone at 3 a.m. But "This is no country for old men." He feels like the past. He paints himself as George W. Bush's third term. Who wants that? Mr. Bush himself just wants the brown, brown grass of home.

The base is tired. Republicans feel their own kind of unease at Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. Talk about wanting to stand athwart history yelling stop. They're not in a mood to give money. Remember the phrase "broken glass Republicans?" The number of Republicans so offended, so wounded, actually, as citizens, by the Clinton years, that they'd crawl across broken glass to elect George Bush? They existed in 2004, too. Now a lot of them wouldn't crawl across a plush weave carpet to vote for a Republican. They're looking around. Look at that new house they're building . . .

What can Mr. McCain do, right now? He might start with a little refurbishing of himself. A good friend of his told me Mr. McCain's number one problem is "a lack of discipline." Mr. McCain is up at 6 a.m. and works it hard 'til midnight, but he lacks "discipline of the mind." He defined this as "not thinking about the answer to the question, not being serious, just popping off. He does it in part to charm and amuse the press. Before this is over they'll kill him with it." Former Sen. Phil Gramm, he said, is the only person around Mr. McCain who has the "heft" to get him to focus. Everyone else is in awe, or loves him too much, or doesn't see the problem. But it's crucial, he said, that Mr. McCain embrace a new seriousness—no more "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," no more Hey, we could be there for a hundred years.

The friend said he thought Mr. McCain is showing a certain "complacency" because he's already got what he wanted. "He's got Bush's people bowing, he's got the conservatives coming back, the establishment bowing. He's satisfied. He's finally got it!" But you have to want the presidency or the people won't give it to you. You have to fight for it. I asked if Mr. McCain really wanted it, really hungered. He shrugged. He didn't know.

* * *

Everything the friend said pinged off things I've observed of the McCain campaign. I'd add this. One always wonders with Mr. McCain: What exactly does he feel passionately about, what great question? Or rather, what does he stand for, really? For he often shows passion, but he rarely speaks of meaning. The issues that summon his full engagement are issues on which he's been challenged by his party and others. McCain, to McCain, is defined by his maverickness. That's who he is. (It's the theme of his strikingly good memoir, "Worth the Fighting For.") He stands up to power. He faces them down. It's not only a self image, it's a self obsession.

But it has left him seeming passionate only about those issues on which he's been able to act out his maverickness, such as campaign finance and immigration. He's passionate about McCain-Feingold because . . . because people don't understand how right he is, and how wrong they are. He's passionate not about immigration itself but about how he got his head handed to him when he backed comprehensive reform, about which he was right by the way. He's passionate about Iraq because America can't cut and run, as it did in Vietnam, to the subsequent heartbreak of good people, and heroes. But this is not philosophy, it's autobiography.

Issues removed from his personal drama, from the saga of John McCain, don't seem to capture his interest to any deep extent.

* * *

He has positions, but a series of separate, discrete and seemingly unconnected stands do not coherence make. Mr. McCain, in public, does not dig down to the meaning of things, to why he stands where he stands, to what understanding of life drives his political decisions. But voters hunger for coherence, for a philosophical thread that holds all the positions together.

Where Mr. McCain's friend says, "be disciplined," I'd say, "Get serious." What is the meaning of things? What is the guiding philosophy? Who has he read besides Hemingway? (And he's read him—he loves him to an almost scary degree.) Is there a little Burke in there? The Federalist papers? John Kenneth Galbraith?

On Iraq, for instance. The surge has worked, but what has it worked to do? Has it made us safe to be there 20 years? Is that good? Why are we there? Were we right to go in? What overall view of the world, of strategy, of American meaning, is being expressed in Iraq? Who are we in the world? What do we mean to do in the 21st century? And in what way does this connect to a philosophical view of life, of the meaning of being here on earth as Americans?

In the most successful political careers there is a purpose, a guiding philosophy. Not an ideology—ideology is something imposed from above, something abstract dreamed up by an intellectual. Philosophy isn't imposed from above, it bubbles up from the ground, from life. And its expression is missing with Mr. McCain. Political staffs inevitably treat philosophy as the last thing, almost an indulgence. But it's the central fact from which all else flows. Staffs turn each day to scheduling, advance, fundraising, returning the billionaire's phone call. They're quick to hold the meeting to agree on the speech on the economy. But they don't, can't, give that speech meaning and depth. Only the candidate can, actually.

Philosophy is the foundation. All the rest is secondary, a quick one-coat paint job on a house with a sagging roof.

If Mr. McCain got serious and told us how he views life, and politics, and America's purpose in the world, people just may start to look at the old house again, see it new. Who knows, maybe with work it could be turned into a mansion.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2008, 08:33:25 PM »

Second post of the day:

The Conservative Case for McCain
By MARK SANFORD
March 15, 2008; Page A10
WSJ

Last week, I asked David Walker, the U.S. comptroller general, why he is quitting his job to travel the country on a "fiscal wake-up tour." His answer: Because we have only five to 10 years to address the federal government's looming shortfalls before we're faced with a fiscal crisis.

In about a decade, the twin forces of demographics and compound interest will leave few options for solving the fiscal mess Washington has created. By then, our options will all be ugly. We could make draconian spending cuts, or impose large tax increases that will undermine our economy in the competitive global marketplace. Or we could debase the value of the dollar by printing a large amount of money. This would shrink the overall value of the federal government's debt. It would also wipe out the value of most Americans' savings.

Mr. Walker is right. And I join many others in saying that federal spending is now as significant an issue as the war on terror, federal judgeships and energy independence. The U.S. stands at a fiscal crossroads -- and the consequences of inaction, or wrongful action, will be real and severe.

Fortunately, the presidential election offers us a real choice in how to address the fiscal mess. To use a football analogy, we're at halftime; and the question for conservatives is whether to get off the bench for the second half of the game.

I sat out the first half, not endorsing a candidate, occupied with my day job and four young boys at home. But I'm now stepping onto the field and going to work to help John McCain. It's important that conservatives do the same.

 
It's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of political perfection, and to assume that if a candidate doesn't agree with you 100% of the time, then he doesn't deserve your support. In fact, Mr. McCain is a lot closer to 100% than many conservatives realize. He has never voted for a tax increase in his 25 years in Congress. He holds an 83% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. He is listed as a taxpayer hero by Citizens Against Government Waste. And he is supported by noted conservatives Phil Gramm, Jack Kemp and others.

The process of iron sharpening iron is good for the GOP. But now, I believe, the time has passed for focusing on what divides us.

There is a yawning gulf between the viewpoints of Mr. McCain and those of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Nowhere is this more evident than on the critical issue of the steady collapse of our government's financial house.

Since 2000, the federal budget has increased 72%, to $3.1 trillion from $1.8 trillion. The national debt is now $9 trillion -- more than the combined GDP of China, Japan and Canada. Add in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security commitments, and as a nation we are staring at more than a $50 trillion hole -- an invisible mortgage of $450,000 for every American family.

Hope alone won't carry us through the valley of the shadow of debt. The fact that neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Obama has made cost-cutting a part of their political vocabulary is a clear indication that they would increase spending. In fact, Mrs. Clinton has already proven skillful at snagging pork. Over the past few years alone, she has attached some $2.2 billion in earmarks to federal spending bills. Mr. McCain has asked for exactly $0 in earmarks.

And while Mr. Obama's oratorical skills have been inspiring, his proposals would entail roughly the same $800 billion in new government spending that Mrs. Clinton proposes. To his credit, Mr. Obama admits that his spending proposals will take more than three clicks of his heels to fund. He would pay for his priorities with a bevy of tax increases which he hopes taxpayers won't notice.

But taxpayers will notice. Mr. Obama plans to raise taxes on capital gains, dividends and corporate profits. He wants to hike estate taxes by 50%. And he wants to eliminate the cap on payroll taxes. These tax hikes would increase the burden borne by individuals and decrease the competitiveness of our economy.

I was elected to Congress in 1994 as part of a Republican Revolution that captured control of both the House and Senate. A number of us tried to apply the brakes to the Washington spending train. We didn't succeed. Six years later, I left Washington convinced that only a chief executive willing to use the presidential bully pulpit could bring spending under control.

Now, in John McCain, the GOP has a standard-bearer who would be willing to turn the power of the presidency toward controlling federal spending. Mr. McCain has one of the best spending records in Congress, and has never shied away from criticizing government pork-barrel spending.

The contrast between the two opposing teams is stark. It is time for the entire conservative squad to step onto the field. Who will join me in helping our team get the ball and move it down the field?

Mr. Sanford, a Republican, is the governor of South Carolina.
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Crafty_Dog
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WSJ
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2008, 12:58:56 PM »

McCain's Campaign Finance Revelation
April 25, 2008; Page A13
While Democrats absorbed the lessons of Pennsylvania this week, John McCain was coming to a few realizations of his own. For one, "big money" in politics isn't so bad after all.

That's the takeaway from the presumptive GOP nominee's new fund-raising strategy, which his campaign has quietly rolled out these past few weeks. The McCain camp is teaming up with the Republican National Committee to tap into big, big donations from big, big donors – hoping to close the big, big money gap with Democrats.

Their (sic-- "The McCain Camp" is a singular, which call for "It" as subject, not "They") effort to do so will involve some creative abuse of the campaign finance restrictions Mr. McCain authored a few years back. Whatever. The Arizonan may not yet fully understand that money is speech. At least he has come around to the view that more of the stuff is better when it comes to winning the presidency.

Whatever has driven the shift – conversion, pragmatism, desperation – Mr. McCain's new financial determination is welcome news to his supporters. GOP voters had worried their candidate would unnecessarily fetter himself with self-imposed finance restrictions. Instead, he looks eager to win. And as far as strategies go, this one is arguably Mr. McCain's best shot at evening the odds against a money powerhouse like Barack Obama.

The joke, of course, is that Mr. McCain helped create those long odds. Turns out this whole campaign-finance thingy hasn't turned out to be the clean-politics, leveled-playing-field he envisioned. All it has done is handicap Mr. McCain.

The senator thought he had a fellow-reformer in Mr. Obama. Then the Democrat figured out how to tap into the small-dollar contributions required under McCain-Feingold. Now he's awash in cash and unlikely to sign up for the general-election public-financing system both men once lauded.

Unable to match Mr. Obama with smaller donors and (thanks to his own law) unable to cash any million-dollar donations, Mr. McCain is resigned to public financing. This will limit him to $84 million in taxpayer funds from the convention to Election Day. Mr. Obama will have no such restrictions.

Meanwhile, McCain-Feingold's biggest "accomplishment" these past five years has been the flowering of those shadowy operations known as 527s, which abide by no rules. Democrats have fine-tuned these outfits, and are gearing up to unload hundreds of millions in negative advertising on none other than Mr. McCain. This bullet is aimed not at his foot, but his head.

In light of all this, the McCain camp has come up with a plan that it hopes will tighten the score. It has filed to create the "McCain Victory '08" fund, a "hybrid legal structure" that includes the campaign, the Republican National Committee, and four battleground states.

Mr. McCain's own law restricts individuals to donations of $2,300 per candidate, but those individuals can also contribute much bigger amounts to different party funds. So, with "McCain Victory '08," donors can write a check for $70,000.

Technically, the money is divvied up between Mr. McCain, the RNC ($28,500) and the four states ($10,000 each). In reality, it will in effect all be used for the candidate's benefit.

Such are the contortions of our twisted campaign finance system, loopholes Mr. McCain must be happy exist today. He gets to sock away bigger chunks of money, faster, in hopes of gaining on a Democratic rival who may not be able to stomach a similar arrangement with Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean. Mr. McCain raised about $15 million in March, compared to Mrs. Clinton's $20 million and Mr. Obama's $40 million. But the RNC itself raised $13 million, and has $30 million cash on hand in aid of its nominee.

Mr. McCain has also taken his share of shots at lobbyists over the years, part of his quest to curb the "influence" of money in politics. Yet another recent campaign revelation is that there are only a small number of Americans wealthy enough to actually write a check for $70,000. Included in that group are the K Street regulars.

That may explain why McCain campaign manager Rick Davis recently showed up in Washington to brief a group of 30 lobbyists and PR types on Mr. McCain's new fund-raising plans – and pass the collection plate. He also met with about 100 Republican chiefs of staff to spread the word about the new RNC partnership.

Whether this will ease Mr. McCain's financial woes is yet unclear, but it's arguably his smartest move, given the hand he's dealt himself. Just imagine what might have happened if Mr. McCain had fought instead for simple transparency – and trusted Americans to decide how much to give and to whom. Free speech, via money, can be a liberating thing.

Write to kim@wsj.com
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2008, 10:18:48 PM »

Getting to Know John McCain
By KARL ROVE
April 30, 2008; Page A17

It came to me while I was having dinner with Doris Day. No, not that Doris Day. The Doris Day who is married to Col. Bud Day, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, fighter pilot, Vietnam POW and roommate of John McCain at the Hanoi Hilton.

As we ate near the Days' home in Florida recently, I heard things about Sen. McCain that were deeply moving and politically troubling. Moving because they told me things about him the American people need to know. And troubling because it is clear that Mr. McCain is one of the most private individuals to run for president in history.

 
AP 
Col. (Ret.) Bud Day with John McCain at a campaign stop in Pensacola, Fla., in January.
When it comes to choosing a president, the American people want to know more about a candidate than policy positions. They want to know about character, the values ingrained in his heart. For Mr. McCain, that means they will want to know more about him personally than he has been willing to reveal.

Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place.

Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complimented the treatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

Another story I heard over dinner with the Days involved Mr. McCain serving as one of the three chaplains for his fellow prisoners. At one point, after being shuttled among different prisons, Mr. Day had found himself as the most senior officer at the Hanoi Hilton. So he tapped Mr. McCain to help administer religious services to the other prisoners.

Today, Mr. Day, a very active 83, still vividly recalls Mr. McCain's sermons. "He remembered the Episcopal liturgy," Mr. Day says, "and sounded like a bona fide preacher." One of Mr. McCain's first sermons took as its text Luke 20:25 and Matthew 22:21, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's." Mr. McCain said he and his fellow prisoners shouldn't ask God to free them, but to help them become the best people they could be while serving as POWs. It was Caesar who put them in prison and Caesar who would get them out. Their task was to act with honor.

Another McCain story, somewhat better known, is about the Vietnamese practice of torturing him by tying his head between his ankles with his arms behind him, and then leaving him for hours. The torture so badly busted up his shoulders that to this day Mr. McCain can't raise his arms over his head.

One night, a Vietnamese guard loosened his bonds, returning at the end of his watch to tighten them again so no one would notice. Shortly after, on Christmas Day, the same guard stood beside Mr. McCain in the prison yard and drew a cross in the sand before erasing it. Mr. McCain later said that when he returned to Vietnam for the first time after the war, the only person he really wanted to meet was that guard.

Mr. Day recalls with pride Mr. McCain stubbornly refusing to accept special treatment or curry favor to be released early, even when gravely ill. Mr. McCain knew the Vietnamese wanted the propaganda victory of the son and grandson of Navy admirals accepting special treatment. "He wasn't corruptible then," Mr. Day says, "and he's not corruptible today."

The stories told to me by the Days involve more than wartime valor.

For example, in 1991 Cindy McCain was visiting Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh when a dying infant was thrust into her hands. The orphanage could not provide the medical care needed to save her life, so Mrs. McCain brought the child home to America with her. She was met at the airport by her husband, who asked what all this was about.

Mrs. McCain replied that the child desperately needed surgery and years of rehabilitation. "I hope she can stay with us," she told her husband. Mr. McCain agreed. Today that child is their teenage daughter Bridget.

I was aware of this story. What I did not know, and what I learned from Doris, is that there was a second infant Mrs. McCain brought back. She ended up being adopted by a young McCain aide and his wife.

"We were called at midnight by Cindy," Wes Gullett remembers, and "five days later we met our new daughter Nicki at the L.A. airport wearing the only clothing Cindy could find on the trip back, a 7-Up T-shirt she bought in the Bangkok airport." Today, Nicki is a high school sophomore. Mr. Gullett told me, "I never saw a hospital bill" for her care.

A few, but not many, of the stories told to me by the Days have been written about, such as in Robert Timberg's 1996 book "A Nightingale's Song." But Mr. McCain rarely refers to them on the campaign trail. There is something admirable in his reticence, but he needs to overcome it.

Private people like Mr. McCain are rare in politics for a reason. Candidates who are uncomfortable sharing their interior lives limit their appeal. But if Mr. McCain is to win the election this fall, he has to open up.

Americans need to know about his vision for the nation's future, especially his policy positions and domestic reforms. They also need to learn about the moments in his life that shaped him. Mr. McCain cannot make this a biography-only campaign – but he can't afford to make it a biography-free campaign either. Unless he opens up more, many voters will never know the experiences of his life that show his character, integrity and essential decency.

These qualities mattered in America's first president and will matter as Americans decide on their 44th president.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2008, 08:37:28 AM »

Caveat Lector, its the NYTimes:
============================

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign is in a troubled stretch, hindered by resignations of staff members, a lagging effort to build a national campaign organization and questions over whether he has taken full advantage of Democratic turmoil to present a case for his candidacy, Republicans say.

 
In interviews, some party leaders said they were worried about signs of disorder in his campaign, and if the focus in the last several weeks on the prominent role of lobbyists in Mr. McCain’s inner circle might undercut the heart of his general election message: that he is a reformer taking on special interests in Washington.

“The core image of John McCain is as a reformer in Washington — and the more dominant the story is about the lobbying teams around him, the more you put that into question,” said Terry Nelson, who was Mr. McCain’s campaign manager until he left in a shake-up last fall. “If the Obama campaign can truly change him from being seen as a reformer to just being another Washington politician, it could be very damaging over the course of the campaign.”

The ousters of some of the staff members came after Mr. McCain imposed a new policy that active lobbyists would not be allowed to hold paying jobs in the campaign.

Some state party leaders said they were apprehensive about the unusual organization Mr. McCain had set up: the campaign has been broken into 10 semi-autonomous regions, with each having power over things like television advertising and the candidate’s schedule, decisions normally left to headquarters.

More than that, they said, Mr. McCain organizationally still seems far behind where President Bush was in 2004. Several Republican Party leaders said they were worried the campaign was losing an opportunity as they waited for approval to open offices and set up telephone banks.

“They finally assigned someone to West Virginia three weeks ago,” said Doug McKinney, the state Republican chairman there. “I had a couple of contacts with him and I e-mailed him twice and I never heard back. I finally called and they said that the guy had resigned.”

Mr. McCain’s campaign has transmitted conflicting messages in recent days about how he would present himself, as he has sought to reassure conservatives nervous about his ideological consistency even as he has tried to expand his appeal to moderates and liberals.

He recently spent three days talking about global warming, a subject he used to emphasize his differences with Mr. Bush. But he ended that week with a high-profile speech to the National Rifle Association, a group suspicious of his views on gun control.

Mr. McCain’s advisers — some of whom gathered with the candidate for the holiday weekend at his Arizona ranch along with three Republicans assumed to be under consideration as his running mate — said the concern in the party reflected, in part, exaggerated concern about Senator Barack Obama’s strengths as a general election candidate. Mr. McCain, they said, was in a strong position entering into this next phase of the race.

Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser, said Mr. McCain had used the time since effectively winning the nomination to methodically raise his standing by traveling the country, delivering speeches on issues including national security and the environment, and raising money, to make sure he could at least hold his own with Mr. Obama going through the summer.

Although Mr. Obama has continued to raise far more money than Mr. McCain, Mr. Bush’s fund-raising machinery has helped keep the Republican Party competitive. The McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee, between them, have $11 million more on hand — about $62 million — than the combined cash-on-hand of Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee.

“How do you measure success over the course of the spring campaign?” Mr. Schmidt asked. “This is how: The reality of this race is the Republican Party brand is very, very badly damaged, in some places broken. We’ve lost Congressional seats in districts that have elected only Republican for a generation. And Senator McCain is running even or ahead of Senator Obama in most national polls.”

Mr. McCain has taken steps to inject new thinking into his campaign. He recently expanded his extremely tight circle of advisers by bringing on Nicolle Wallace, who was communications director for Mr. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, which many Republicans view as the model for political management.

Last Sunday, he invited Mike Murphy, his longtime friend and political adviser, who is not involved in this campaign, to his home in Virginia. There, Mr. Murphy reportedly gave him a detailed and at times tough assessment of what Mr. McCain had done wrong.

Mr. Murphy urged him to tone down his attacks on Mr. Obama and stop coming across as so angry. He recommended that Mr. McCain concentrate on running as a reform candidate to strip that issue from Mr. Obama, and to make greater efforts to distance himself from Mr. Bush, Republicans familiar with the conversation said.

Some of Mr. McCain’s associates said that Mr. McCain might be interested in bringing Mr. Murphy back on board, but that his current circle of advisers was resisting that.

As soon as Mr. Obama secures the Democratic nomination, Mr. Schmidt said, Mr. McCain will begin a series of speeches intended to contrast their positions. Mr. McCain’s advisers said they did not think it made sense to do that until Mr. Obama wrapped up his battle against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, given how the two Democrats are dominating the news.
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“The race changes the moment she drops out and he emerges as the official nominee,” said Charlie Black, a senior McCain adviser. “Then the focus becomes on a two-person race and that leads to us getting more equal treatment in terms of getting airtime. We’ve had to fight with one hand tied behind our back.”


Republicans said Mr. McCain certainly had time to get his campaign back on track, and they remained confident that he would be a strong general election candidate against Mr. Obama. Some said the level of concern was overstated, or reflected the general Republican apprehension about this electoral environment, rather than anything Mr. McCain had done wrong.

“I think any Republican who doesn’t say panic is in the wind is lying through their shirt,” said Ron Kaufman, who was a senior adviser this year for Mitt Romney. “The question is, is that panic caused by McCain’s campaign — or lack thereof in some respects — or is it the climate?”

The string of departures from the campaign was prompted by questions about lobbying activities by aides and advisers to Mr. McCain and a new policy, which he dictated, that active lobbyists not be allowed to hold paying jobs in the campaign. Mr. Schmidt said that policy was an example of how Mr. McCain would take tough action, part of a contrast he said they would draw with Mr. Obama for “giving great speeches” but having no record of accomplishment.

But Mr. McCain’s associates said the campaign had failed to anticipate the extent to which the news media would use the policy to examine Mr. McCain’s staff. The result was a run of damaging stories and resignations that highlighted not the policy itself but the backgrounds of top campaign officials, including Rick Davis, the campaign manager, and Mr. Black, both of whom have long lobbying backgrounds.

Some Republicans said they were concerned that the Democrats would soon unify around Mr. Obama, and that it was only a matter of weeks before Mr. Obama began unloading a huge round of advertising intended to define Mr. McCain. If that happens, they said, Mr. McCain may look back at this period as a time of missed opportunity.

Discussing what Mr. McCain needed to do, Mr. Nelson, another veteran of the Bush 2004 team, said: “Step No. 1 would be finding a compelling message that excited Republicans, and Step No. 2 would be having the ability to turn your voters out. From what I see, in both respects, they have a long way to go, but they have time.”

Mr. McCain has made some gains in reassuring conservatives nervous about his views on issues like immigration, polls suggest. But if he is going to rely on turnout in the Republican base more than on winning over independents and disaffected Democrats, there is evidence that he has not gone as far as he needs to — particularly given how energized Democrats appear to be.

“He is going to need extraordinary participation of Republicans if Democrats continue to flock to the polls the way they have,” said Kris Kobach, the Republican Party leader from Kansas. “It’s critical that he use this period to generate enthusiasm from his base.”

Mr. McKinney, the Republican chairman in West Virginia, said Mr. McCain’s identification with immigration legislation that would eventually permit some illegal immigrants to apply for citizenship continued to be highly problematic for him.

“But it doesn’t matter what we think — Senator McCain goes his own way,” Mr. McKinney said. “Always has and always will.”

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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2008, 10:11:47 AM »

McCain was interviewed by Shawn Hannity and he answered all questions brilliantly.   If he keeps this up the difference between BO and him will be plain for all to see.  The undecideds will pick him in November.
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2008, 11:05:15 AM »

Let McCain Be McCain
June 27, 2008; Page A11
The big political headline this week, of course, involves John McCain's endless and humiliating attempts to placate Mitt Romney by bowing to demands he hire his operatives and pay his campaign debt. So far all he's got is a grudging one-sentence endorsement from that rampaging rage-aholic Ann Romney.

Oh wait, got confused, that's Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

 
M.E. Cohen 
The way it used to be is you ran and lost and either disappeared or pitched in. Mrs. Clinton continues making Mr. Obama look the dauphin to her embittered and domineering queen.

What a hothouse of egos and drama the Democratic Party has become.

Mr. McCain just can't get as much coverage as Mr. Obama, or the coverage is dutiful and therefore deadly. "McCain Unveils Proposal." "McCain Responds." At Google News there are 97,000 stories on Mr. McCain as I write this column, 138,000 on Mr. Obama. You know Mr. McCain's problems. He's old, he's angered everyone along the way, he never seems to mean it. His stands seem like positions. He bebops from issue to issue and never seems fully engaged in the real meat of policy, the content of it.

Also, we all know him. This, in time, will become a benefit to him—a big one. At the moment, early on, it's not. Mr. Obama has the lightning, he's new, he's still just being discovered. Or, as a person who runs a news site that traditionally treats Republicans fairly told me, "He's fun." McCain supporters have ginned up email campaigns aimed at people who run sites saying, to paraphrase, We notice your coverage is heavily Obama. We hope this is not a financial or opportunistic decision. We hope you're not tired of being brave. I should say it looks like it's ginned up by McCain supporters, or rather D.C. Republicans.

What a hotbed of incompetent manipulation they have become.

Mr. Obama's coverage is not all press bias. He sells papers and moves traffic. So right now it's all about him, or rather will be when Big Bertha gets out of the way. People are going to keep looking at him because they've heard the polls that say he's 5 or 12 or 15 points ahead. They can stop him or ease his way. They're looking to figure out which.

What can Mr. McCain do? It's still early, a lot of history has yet to unspool, we've entered summer and the shallow part of the campaign, the doldrums, there's a little space. He should take advantage of it and have some fun.

This would be a good time for him to get interesting again. And he'll find it easy because he is interesting. That's why the boys on the bus loved him in 2000. That's why the Republican base rejected him in 2000. He was hot and George W. Bush was—well, let's call it mellow. Mr. McCain attacked Christian conservative leaders while Mr. Bush played them. Republicans were trying to recover from eight years of interesting. They didn't want more.

I used to think what Mr. McCain's aides thought after he started winning: He has to change now, be more formal, more constrained. That was exactly wrong.

Let McCain be McCain. Get him in the papers being who he is, get people looking at his real nature. Maybe then they'll start taking him seriously when he talks policy. Maybe he'll start taking himself seriously when he talks policy.

The most interesting thing about Mr. McCain has always been the delight he takes in a certain unblinkered candor. There is also the antic part of his nature, his natural wit, his tropism toward comedy. All this was captured wonderfully by Mark Leibovich last February in the New York Times. Mr. McCain had taken the lead in the primaries and had gone from being "one of the most disruptive forces in his party" to someone playing it safe. In an airplane interview he said things like, "There is a process in place that will formalize the methodology." Then he couldn't help it, he became McCain:

"[He] volunteered that Brooke Buchanan, his spokeswoman who was seated nearby and rolling her eyes, 'has a lot of her money hidden in the Cayman Islands' and that she earned it by 'dealing drugs.' Previously, Mr. McCain had identified Ms. Buchanan as 'Pat Buchanan's illegitimate daughter,' 'bipolar,' 'a drunk,' 'someone with a lot of boyfriends,' and 'just out of Betty Ford.'"

That's my boy. That's the McCain his friends love, McCain unplugged. The fall will be dead serious. At this point why not be himself, be human? Let him refind his inner rebel, the famous irreverent maverick, let the tiger out of the cage. It won't solve everything but it will help obscure some other problems. His campaign is still not in great shape, his advance operation is not sharp—the one thing Republicans always used to know how to do!—he has many aides and few peers, and aides so doofuslike they blithely talk about the partisan impact of terror attacks.

And there is another problem that is bigger than all of that, and he is going to have to think himself through it. And that is that there is a sense about his campaign that . . . John McCain has already got what he wanted, he got what he needed, which was to be top dog in the Republican Party, the party that had abused him in 2000 and cast him aside. They all bow to him now, and he doesn't need anything else. He doesn't need the presidency. He got what he wanted. So now he can coast. This is, in the deepest way, unserious. JFK had to have the presidency—he wanted that thing. Nixon had to have it too, and Reagan had to have it to institute his new way. Clinton had to have it—it was his destiny, the thing he'd wanted since he was a teenager.

The last person I can think of who gave off the vibe that he didn't have to have it was Bob Dole. Who didn't get it. And who had a similar lack of engagement in terms of policy, and philosophy, and meaning.

Everyone in New York is saying, "What will happen?" "How do you see it?" "Who will win?" In this year of all years, who knows? My sense of it:

The campaign will grind along until a series of sharp moments. Maybe they will come in the debates. Things will move along, Mr. Obama in the lead. And then, just a few weeks out from the election, something will happen: America will look up and see the inevitability of Mr. Obama, that Mr. Obama has already been "elected," in a way, and America will say, Hey, wait a second, are we sure we want that? And it will tighten indeed.

The race has a subtext, a historic encounter between the Old America and the New, and suddenly the Old America—those who are literally old, who married a guy who fought at the Chosin Reservoir, and those not so old who yet remember, and cherish, the special glories of the Old—will rise, and join in, and make themselves heard. They will not leave without a fight.

And on that day John McCain will suddenly make it a race, as if moved by them and wanting to come through for them one last time. And then on down to the wire. And then . . .

And then. What a year, what an election. It continues to confound and to bedazzle.
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2008, 04:12:36 PM »

Sounds like President McC should negotiate with Ahmadinejad cheesy

http://www.sunherald.com/newsupdates/story/660742.html
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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2008, 11:53:05 PM »

McCain Is the Radical on Health Reform
By JOHN C. GOODMAN
WSJ
July 30, 2008; Page A15

If you listen only to presidential campaign rhetoric, you might conclude that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama proposed bold new changes for our health-care system, while John McCain is offering only small improvements. If so, you are in for a surprise. Most health-policy analysts believe that Mr. McCain is proposing the most fundamental health-care reform.

Right now the federal government encourages private health insurance primarily through the tax system -- handing out more than $200 billion in tax subsidies every year. Mr. Obama would leave this system largely intact. Mr. McCain would completely replace it with a fairer, more efficient system with a much better chance of insuring the uninsured and controlling health costs at the same time.

Under the current system, every dollar in health-insurance premiums paid by an employer is excluded from employee income and payroll taxes. Take an employee in the 25% income-tax bracket. Throw in state and local income taxes, add the 15.3% (FICA) payroll tax, and the tax exclusion for a middle-income family is worth almost 50 cents on the dollar. To make things a little better, employees can often pay their share of the premium with pretax dollars as well.

But this system is extremely arbitrary. There is virtually no tax relief for people who work for the 40% of employers who do not provide insurance, for part-time workers or people not in the labor market, or for anyone else who for any reason must buy his own insurance. The self-employed get a slightly better deal: They can deduct 100% of their premiums, but they get no relief from the payroll tax.

According to the Lewin Group, a private health-care consulting firm, families earning $100,000 a year get four times as much tax relief as families earning $25,000. In other words, the biggest subsidy goes to those who least need it, and who probably would have purchased insurance anyway.

The system is also wasteful. People can always lower their taxes by spending more on health insurance, and there is no limit to how bloated a health plan can be.

Under the McCain plan, no longer would employers be able to buy insurance with pretax dollars. These payments would be taxable to the employee, just like wages. However, every individual would get a $2,500 credit (and every family would get $5,000) to be applied dollar-for-dollar against taxes owed.

The McCain plan does not raise taxes, nor does it lower them. Instead, it takes the existing system of tax subsidies and treats everyone alike, regardless of income or job status. All health insurance would be sold on a level playing field under the tax law, regardless of how it is purchased.

The impact would be enormous. For the first time, low- and moderate-income families would get just as much tax relief as the very rich when they purchase health insurance. People who must purchase their own insurance would get just as much tax relief as those who obtain it through an employer. Whereas Mr. Obama would continue the current practice of giving the vast bulk of federal help to the rich (through tax subsidies) and the poor (through spending programs), the McCain tax credit would give the most new tax relief to the middle class.

The McCain plan would also encourage all Americans to control costs. The tax credit would subsidize the core insurance that everyone should have. It would not subsidize bells and whistles (marriage counseling, acupuncture, etc.) as the current system does. Since employees and their employers will be paying for additional coverage with aftertax dollars, everyone will have an incentive to compare the value of extra health benefits to the value of other things money can buy. When they eliminate health-care waste, they would get to keep every dollar they save.

The McCain tax credit would be refundable. People could apply $2,500 per person or $5,000 per family to the purchase of health insurance, even if they do not owe any income taxes. Families would not have to wait until April 15 the following year to get their credit. They could obtain the subsidy at the time the insurance is purchased.

The credit would also be transferable. Insurance companies and other intermediaries would be able to help families obtain their credit and apply it directly to health-insurance premiums.

The McCain health plan would allow people to buy insurance across state lines -- thus creating a competitive, national market for health insurance. It would provide additional federal money for people who have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, making it easier for people who have lost their insurance to obtain new coverage. It would also encourage Medicare to become a smarter, more efficient buyer of care.

The McCain plan will not solve all our health-care problems. But it has a far better chance of positively reforming the system than any other plan that has been proposed in this campaign season.

Mr. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He is an unpaid adviser to the McCain campaign.

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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2008, 09:34:33 AM »

Is John McCain Stupid?
July 31, 2008; Page A13
Is John McCain losing it?

On Sunday, he said on national television that to solve Social Security "everything's on the table," which of course means raising payroll taxes. On July 7 in Denver he said: "Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won't."

This isn't a flip-flop. It's a sex-change operation.

He got back to the subject Tuesday in Reno, Nev. Reporters asked about the Sunday tax comments. Mr. McCain replied, "The worst thing you could do is raise people's payroll taxes, my God!" Then he was asked about working with Democrats to fix Social Security, and he repeated, "everything has to be on the table." But how can . . .? Oh never mind.

 
AP 
Yesterday he was in Aurora, Colo., to wit: "On Social Security, he [Sen. Obama] wants to raise Social Security taxes. I am opposed to raising taxes on Social Security. I want to fix the system without raising taxes."

What I'm asking is, does John McCain have the mental focus, the intellectual discipline, to avoid being out-slicked by Barack Obama, if he isn't abandoned by his own voters?

It's not just taxes. Recently the subject came up of Al Gore's assertion that the U.S. could get its energy solely from renewables in 10 years. Sen. McCain said: "If the vice president says it's doable, I believe it's doable." What!!?? In a later interview, Mr. McCain said he hadn't read "all the specifics" of the Gore plan and now, "I don't think it's doable without nuclear power." It just sounds loopy.

Then this week in San Francisco, in an interview with the Chronicle, Sen. McCain called Nancy Pelosi an "inspiration to millions of Americans." Notwithstanding his promises to "work with the other side," this is a politically obtuse thing to say in the middle of a campaign. Would Bill Clinton, running for president in 1996 after losing control of the House, have called Newt Gingrich an "inspiration"? House Minority Leader John Boehner, facing a 10-to-20 seat loss in November, must be gagging.

 RSS FEEDS

 
For weekly updates of Daniel Henninger's Wonder Land column, point your RSS reader here:
http://online.wsj.com/xml/rss/3_7128.xmlThe one thing -- arguably the only thing -- the McCain candidacy has going for it is a sense among voters that they don't know what Barack Obama stands for or believes. Why then would Mr. McCain give voters reason to wonder the same thing about himself? You're supposed to sow doubt about the other guy, not do it to yourself.

Yes, Sen. McCain must somehow appeal to independents and blue-collar Hillary Democrats. A degree of pandering to the center is inevitable. But this stuff isn't pandering; it's simply stupid. Al Gore's own climate allies separated themselves from his preposterous free-of-oil-in-10-years whopper. Sen. McCain saying off-handedly that it's "doable" is, in a word, thoughtless.

Speaker Pelosi heads a House with a 9% approval. To let her off the hook before the election reflects similar loss of thought.

The forces arrayed against Sen. McCain's candidacy are formidable: an unpopular president, the near impossibility of extending Republican White House rule for three terms, the GOP trailing in races at every level, a listless fundraising base, doubtful sentiments about the war, a flailing economy.

The generic Democratic presidential candidate should win handily. Barack Obama, though vulnerable at the margin, is a very strong candidate. This will be a turnout election. To win, Mr. McCain needs every Republican vote he can hold.

Why make it harder than it has to be? Given such statements on Social Security taxes, Al Gore and the "inspirational" Speaker Pelosi, is there a reason why Rush Limbaugh should not spend August teeing off on Mr. McCain?

Why as well shouldn't the Obama camp exploit all of this? If Sen. Obama's "inexperience" is Mr. McCain's ace in the hole, why not trump that by asking, "Does Sen. McCain know his own mind?"

* * *
In this sports-crazed country, everyone has learned a lot about what it takes to win. They've heard and seen it proven repeatedly that to achieve greatness, to win the big one, an athlete has to be ready to "put in the work."

John McCain isn't doing that, yet. He's competing as if he expects the other side to lose it for him. Sen. McCain is a famously undisciplined politician. Someone in the McCain circle had better do some straight talking to the candidate. He's not some 19-year-old tennis player who's going to win the U.S. presidential Open on raw talent and the other guy's errors. He's not that good.

There is a reason the American people the past 100 years elevated only two sitting senators into the White House -- JFK and Warren Harding. It's because they believe most senators, adept at compulsive compromise, have no political compass and will sell them out. Now voters have to do what they prefer not to. Yes, Sen. McCain has honor and country. Another month of illogical, impolitic remarks and Sen. McCain will erase even that. Absent a coherent message for voters, he will be one-on-one with Barack Obama in the fall. He will lose.

Write to henninger@wsj.com
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2008, 12:21:56 PM »

McCain's Problem Isn't Bush
August 5, 2008; Page A17
WSJ

When John McCain stands before the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis one month from now, the American people will see more than a United States senator. They will see a man who served his nation as a young officer and suffered for it as a prisoner of war. They will also see in that life a truly American story of hope and faith and honor.

Which leads to an impolitic question: Just where does George W. Bush fit in?

 
AP 
If you ask Barack Obama, he will tell you that a vote for Mr. McCain is a vote for a "third Bush term." It's a clever strategy, because it works on many levels. Plainly it rankles the McCain campaign, and pricks at the "maverick" label their candidate takes such pride in. It provides a foil to Mr. Obama's own campaign theme of "change." Most obviously, it plays upon the fatigue of people who are tired after seven years of war and hunger for something different.

The McCain response is reflected in the distance the Republican presidential nominee is keeping from the Republican president. The last time the two men were together for a campaign event was a McCain fund-raiser in Arizona back in May. The event was closed to the press, and the only photo was a departure shot at the airport.

Yet however awkward Mr. McCain may find standing with President Bush, the greater danger is that Mr. McCain will buy into Mr. Obama's campaign theme. And that is what appears to be happening.

Of all Republicans, Mr. McCain should have the least to worry about being called a Bush clone. Not only was Mr. McCain pushing for a surge in Iraq, and to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, long before anyone else, he has famously gone his own way on everything from stem cells and campaign finance to global warming and (before recanting) tax cuts.

 RSS FEEDS

 
For weekly updates of William McGurn's Main Street column, point your RSS reader here:
http://online.wsj.com/xml/rss/3_7361.xmlAllowing himself to look afraid of being in the president's company hurts him in two large ways. For one thing, it cuts against Mr. McCain's most attractive trait: his fearlessness. This is a man running as someone who stood up to his captors in Hanoi, who stood up to his own party, and who, as president, would be willing to stand up to America's enemies. For such a man to fear photo ops with the president broadcasts an insecurity that will only feed into the Obama campaign. And the press smells it.

At the fund raiser in May, for example, the story became the closed press. It also handed Mr. Obama this line: "No cameras. No reporters. And we all know why. Senator McCain doesn't want to be seen, hat in hand, with the president whose failed policies he promises to continue for another four years." No matter what Mr. McCain does, Mr. Obama is going to try to tar him with Mr. Bush. If Mr. McCain appears to be afraid of that, he'll get the worst of both worlds.

Mr. McCain's reticence will also hurt him with his own party. While the president's general approval ratings may be down in the 30s, among the GOP faithful the numbers are up in the 60s. These numbers, moreover, do not track intensity: The people who have stayed with Mr. Bush this far have been through the fire with him. They are not likely to be excited by a nominee who makes a habit of dissing fellow Republicans like Phil Gramm, whose crime was trying to support their nominee.

In other words, if by convention time Mr. McCain cannot look comfortable standing with his own president, he's going to find himself on defense through November. He is up against a charismatic opponent who has brought to his party an excitement they have not known since John F. Kennedy. Mr. McCain needs to remember that his real challenge is not to distinguish himself from George W. Bush. It is to put before the American people an agenda that distinguishes himself from Mr. Obama and the Democratic Congress that would likely do his bidding.

Drawing these distinctions should not be difficult. He's done it on the war. But on domestic policy, Mr. McCain offers no positive agenda.

Take energy. Even when he was finally dragged around to supporting more drilling for oil, it was only halfway. Yes, Mr. Obama would have likely attacked Mr. McCain for "flip-flopping" if he had come out in support of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). But Mr. McCain could have easily explained that priorities that may have made sense when gasoline was $2 a gallon no longer make sense when Americans are paying $4 a gallon.

In this context, his refusal to reconsider ANWR doesn't look principled. It just looks stubborn and incoherent. And it makes his support for offshore drilling look inexplicable and insincere.

Mr. McCain seems intent on reassuring skeptics that he's no George W. Bush. If he loses in November, he'll prove it.

Write to mainstreet@wsj.com
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2008, 07:38:35 AM »

What McCain Should Do Next
By KARL ROVE
August 7, 2008

Notwithstanding the hype about Barack Obama, here is where the presidential race stands: John McCain was within an average of 1.9% of his Democratic opponent in last week's daily Gallup tracking poll.

It shouldn't be this close. Sen. Obama should be way ahead. It's not that Sen. McCain has made up a lot of ground. Pollster.com shows that the Republican steadily declined from March through June as the Democratic contest dominated the news. Mr. McCain stabilized in July, and then ticked up slightly. But the most important political fact of July is that Mr. Obama has lost altitude. Gallup now projects that 23% of this year's electorate will be swing voters, more than twice the share in 2004.

 
M.E. Cohen 
It seems that each candidate is underperforming with his base. Mr. Obama's problem is that only 74% of Democrats in the latest Fox Poll support him, while Mr. McCain gets 86% of Republicans. But Mr. McCain's support lacks the same intensity Mr. Obama receives. The latest Pew poll found that 24% of voters "strongly" support Mr. Obama, compared to 17% for Mr. McCain.

Old doubts about Mr. Obama remain. In a late June Washington Post poll, 46% said Mr. Obama lacked the experience to do the job, the same number as in March, before he spent $119 million to run ads extolling himself. In February 2000, 59% said George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, had the experience to be president. That number grew as the campaign wore on. Now Mr. Obama faces new doubts over perceptions that he's arrogant, self-centered and calculating.

So what should Mr. McCain do? He's rightly raising questions about Mr. Obama's fitness to be president, starting with his failure to admit that the surge in Iraq worked. Mr. McCain should stay at it, though he'll need help to make the case.

Mr. McCain was correct to seize on Mr. Obama's insinuations that the GOP would mount racist attacks against him. Now Mr. McCain needs to find ways to describe an Obama who is running on empty rhetoric. He needs to do to Mr. Obama what Walter Mondale did to Gary "Where's the Beef?" Hart in the 1984 Democratic primaries. Given Mr. Obama's thin résumé and accomplishments, this can be done, with a sustained effort.

But to win, Mr. McCain must also make a compelling case for electing John McCain. Voters trust him on terrorism and Iraq and they see him as a patriot who puts country first. But they want to know for what purpose?

In the coming weeks, he needs to lay out a bold domestic reform program. He gave a taste on energy, but with a few missteps. He should appear in front of manufacturing plants where jobs depend on affordable energy, small businesses affected by fuel prices, and farms hurt by skyrocketing fertilizer costs -- and not in front of oil rigs. He needs to describe the consequences of specific domestic policy decisions. He must explain how his proposals on energy, health care, jobs and education will make a difference for ordinary families.

Mr. McCain also needs to elevate his arguments. It's not only that he opposes tax increases and Mr. Obama favors them. Mr. McCain must also make the principled case that there should be a limit to what government can take from its citizens. This argument will appeal to a large majority of voters. The top income tax rate is 35% and, according to the Tax Foundation, 89% of Americans believe that government should take no more than 30% from anyone's paycheck.

Mr. McCain should also talk about issues that increase Republican enthusiasm and win over independents, such as earmarks and judicial activism. And he should not shy away from appeals for bipartisanship. He's done it -- and talking about it undermines Mr. Obama, who hasn't. It also explains who Mr. McCain is. Mr. McCain should welcome opportunities to go against the grain. Defending free trade in manufacturing states is gutsy and feeds his maverick, straight-talk image.

He will be pleasantly surprised to find out how many people in Ohio and elsewhere understand that their state's prosperity depends on knocking down trade barriers.

Then there's character. Mr. McCain is the most private person to run for president since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s. He needs to share (or allow others to share) more about him, especially his faith. The McCain and Obama campaigns are mirror opposites. Mr. McCain offers little biography, while Mr. Obama is nothing but.

The Republican Party's convention next month is Mr. McCain's biggest chance to improve his posture. The best minds in his campaign should be carefully working on its script. Everyone knows conventions are show, but voters want to see if a candidate can put on a good one that rings true.

Mr. Obama has the easier path to victory: reassure a restive electorate that he's up to the job. Mr. McCain must both educate voters to his opponent's weaknesses and persuade them that he has a vision for the coming four years. This will require a disciplined, focused effort. Mr. McCain has gotten this far fighting an unscripted guerrilla campaign. But it won't get him all the way to the White House.

Mr. Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2008, 08:30:32 AM »

Second post of the AM:

WSJ

The McCain Veepstakes
August 7, 2008; Page A12
The Beijing Olympics are about to begin, but in Washington the real games of August involve vetting the potential Presidential running mates. As a young, rookie candidate running on "change," Barack Obama can help himself by choosing a safe, seasoned politician like Evan Bayh or Joe Biden. As the trailing candidate from an unpopular party, John McCain has the harder decision because there really is no obvious candidate.

Our view is that vice presidential nominees rarely matter much to election prospects because voters focus on the top of the ticket. A bad selection can hurt, of course, and veep nominees can be very important both to governing and especially to the future of the party. We'd advise Mr. McCain to make his choice based mainly on the latter two criteria, especially because at his age he could be a one-termer.

This means choosing someone who voters think has the stature to be President from the outset, and also doesn't give up Mr. McCain's clear experience edge over Mr. Obama. That probably rules out a pair of young, attractive Governors, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Alaska's Sarah Palin, despite their potential and appeal as GOP reformers.

Experience also argues against tapping nonpoliticians like eBay's Meg Whitman or FedEx's Fred Smith. Both have undeniable appeal as successful entrepreneurs who could help Mr. McCain's economic bona fides. But the magnitude of press scrutiny that any nominee must endure today is a lot to ask of someone who's never sought elective office. Even Presidential nominees get to spend months auditioning off-Broadway in the primaries, while Dan Quayle knows all about the way the press corps treats unknown GOP veeps.

A successful choice would also be someone who doesn't offend the currently listless conservative base. Independent Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut would be a splendid VP in our book, and is solid on foreign policy and taxes, but he'd probably alienate too many social conservatives. The best choice on the merits, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, has the wrong last name. Florida Governor Charlie Crist could help the nominee in a big state with 27 electoral votes. But like Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee, Mr. Crist has a record of too-frequent political opportunism that would disappoint much of the party.

A name often mentioned is Mitt Romney, who looks and speaks the part and as an entrepreneur himself could help on the economy. The former Massachusetts Governor failed to catch fire in the primaries, though, and, however unfairly, his Mormonism seems to be an issue with many evangelicals. Our own concern is that he continues to defend his state health-care reform even as it looks increasingly like a fiscal disaster.

By now you might be wondering if there's anyone we do like. Well, Fred Thompson would bring governing judgment and policy heft, and because he isn't much younger than Mr. McCain might make sense as a duo promising to serve one term, clean up the mess, and go home. On the other hand, he might be better suited for Attorney General if Mr. McCain prevails.

Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota is a conservative on most issues who has twice won the governorship of a liberal swing state. He's as confused as Mr. McCain on global warming, but he seems to have more principles than Mr. Crist. Rob Portman, former White House budget chief and once a rising star in Congress, brings candle power and might help in his home state of Ohio. Some McCain advisers will say his Bush experience rules him out, but he has depth as a policy wonk.

South Carolina's Mark Sanford, now in his second term as Governor, is unknown to most voters but is well liked among GOP activists for his reform credentials. Elected to Congress in 1994, he kept his promise to serve only three terms. As Governor, he's pushed for lower taxes, less spending and more school choice for disadvantaged kids. Mr. Sanford did stumble recently during a CNN interview, going blank when asked to name policy differences between Mr. McCain and President Bush. Still, it was a minor misstep, and Mr. McCain could do worse.

A darkhorse pick would be John Kasich, another Buckeye-state politician and former Congressman who left Washington before Tom DeLay and other Republican leaders forgot why the voters elected them. Mr. Kasich is still well known in Ohio and is widely thought to be aiming at a run for Governor in 2010. He's an energetic campaigner, the son of a mailman who can talk about taxes and spending in ways that voters can understand.

If there were a miracle choice for Mr. McCain, that person would be obvious by now. There isn't, and an attempt to find one can easily backfire (Spiro Agnew, Geraldine Ferraro). Mr. McCain's age and moderate political profile suggest he needs a younger but still experienced conservative who can help him unite the party and govern if he happens to win.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
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ccp
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« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2008, 09:00:04 AM »

***But to win, Mr. McCain must also make a compelling case for electing John McCain. Voters trust him on terrorism and Iraq and they see him as a patriot who puts country first. But they want to know for what purpose?

In the coming weeks, he needs to lay out a bold domestic reform program.***

I couldn't agree more.

McCain has to respond to the redistribution of wealth argument BO is giving us.

NOt have some stuffy wealthy guys like Forbes et al, or Kudlow telling us how it will hurt our ecocomy and hence all of us, or not saying his tax hike on gains or dividends will hurt more ordinary citizens.  He has got to explain to the majority of Americans why "taxing the rich and giving more to them" is really a con job from BSABO (bull shit artist Barack Obama).

And he has to do it in a way that a listener will think, "you know he makes sense".  I have not heard this yet.  If we see another lame Dole performance out of him in the RNC then it's over.  We know BO will be given to read a glorious and marvelous sounding speeche at his convention that will highlight a *new* course for America ("we know the last eight years is not working") with a new dawn etc etc ad nauseum.

Yet BOs lack luster performance in the polls gives me some hope.  I remember how the other darling of the crats - BC never got above 50% in the elections.
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« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2008, 09:24:30 AM »

Certainly doesn't sound good so far.

"half of which is deducted from employee wages up to $102,000" - no one seems to point out this is *already* a hefty increase from where it was around 10 years ago.


***McCain Irks Republicans With Confusion Over Social Security Tax

Edwin Chen Thu Aug 7, 12:01 AM ET

Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- On June 10, John McCain lambasted Barack Obama for advocating a new Social Security payroll tax on the wealthy.
ADVERTISEMENT

``In a time of real crisis, the last thing we want to do is raise people's taxes,'' the Republican presidential candidate said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

That echoed his refrain throughout the campaign's primary season: As president, he would oppose all tax increases, including those on wages that fund Social Security.

On July 27, he struck a different note.

Asked on ABC Television if he'd consider raising payroll taxes to keep the pension program from going bankrupt, McCain said, ``Everything has to be on the table if we're going to reach a bipartisan agreement.''

That, too, was consistent with his frequent references during the campaign to a 1983 Social Security deal brokered by President Ronald Reagan, House Speaker Tip O'Neill and economist Alan Greenspan, who led a bipartisan commission. What McCain never mentions in his praise of that panel is that it urged hefty tax increases on businesses and employees. McCain, then a newly elected congressman, voted for the proposals.

These contradictions reflect a central conundrum for the Arizona senator: He's seeking to both placate conservatives -- suspicious of him because of his willingness to buck the party in areas from climate change and campaign finance to President George W. Bush's tax cuts -- and project himself as an independent ready to work with Democrats on many of these issues.

Wave of Retirements

No debate underlines the candidate's dilemma more than how to shore up Social Security, which will pay benefits to almost 50 million Americans this year.

Some conservatives are infuriated when raising taxes is even discussed. In an open letter the day after the July 27 interview, the Club for Growth said McCain's remarks were ``shocking'' given his earlier ``adamant'' opposition to higher taxes.

Yet experts argue that saving the system is possible with only some combination of a tax increase and benefit cuts. In 2005, Bush proposed private savings accounts yet refused to negotiate on taxes. The effort died -- even in a Republican- controlled Congress.

Social Security, facing a tidal wave of baby-boomer retirements, is projected to run out of assets by 2041. The solutions to its insolvency are ``well-documented,'' said John Rother, an executive vice president at AARP, an advocacy group for older people. They include raising the payroll tax as well as the age of full eligibility.

Must Include Both

``A plan capable of passing Congress would have to have some of both,'' Rother said.

The payroll tax totals 12.4 percent -- half of which is deducted from employee wages up to $102,000, and half paid by employers.

Obama, 47, an Illinois senator and the Democratic presidential candidate, would boost the tax by continuing to apply it to incomes up to $102,000 as well as to those earning $250,000 and over. Incomes between $102,000 and $250,000 wouldn't be touched.

While McCain, 71, hasn't detailed his own plan, spokesman Tucker Bounds says he thinks Obama ``is absolutely wrong.''

Getting Testy

The tax-benefit dilemma has not only thrown McCain into rhetorical contortions, it's also caused him to get testy when pressed to explain.

During a campaign bus ride last week in Missouri, a reporter said his July 27 comment presumably meant McCain wasn't ruling out raising taxes.

``That's presuming wrong,'' McCain said in cutting him off, according to the Washington Post.

Still, he has a history of being open to new Social Security taxes.

In a ``Meet the Press'' interview in 2005, McCain unequivocally endorsed the idea of levying such taxes on high- income earners, saying he could support that ``as part of a compromise.''

Then, as he closed in on the Republican nomination between last December and February, he pledged at least four times to oppose all tax increases, including Social Security levies.

``I will not agree to any tax increase,'' he told the Wall Street Journal in December. On Feb. 3, he vowed on ``Fox News Sunday'' and CBS's ``Face the Nation'' to veto any higher taxes. ``No new taxes,'' he declared on ABC two weeks later.

Confusing Surrogates

His shifting rhetoric has entangled even some surrogates. In a Bloomberg interview in July, adviser Carly Fiorina ruled out Social Security tax increases on ``middle-and working-class'' Americans, but said if a bipartisan coalition is ``creative enough'' to fashion levies on wealthier people, that may be acceptable.

Other aides insist the candidate opposes new taxes and only wants to avoid declaring any option non-negotiable.

``He's committed to tackling entitlements by seeking a real bipartisan solution,'' said Mark Salter, a confidant. ``You can't do that with preconditions.''

Some tax-cut proponents remain optimistic McCain won't let them down.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said he ``didn't go nuts the way some other conservatives did'' over McCain's July 27 remarks because he's been reassured by the senator's aides.

``McCain's saying: `Yes, let's talk about everything,''' he said. ``But that does not mean he'll agree to raise taxes.''

Just in case, Norquist is keeping handy the clips of McCain pledging on national television to not raise taxes.****

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« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2008, 10:44:20 PM »

CCP, Interesting observations on McCain regarding SS taxation.  First on the tax (and this should be in rants)...If social security is an insurance program then the tax and benefit schedule should apply the same to all.  In other words, you shouldn't have to pay premiums beyond some income level if you aren't buying into additional benefits.  Clearly the benefits cap out so the 'liberals' like Obama are saying they are ready to change the system over to a welfare program - unlimited pay-ins with means-tested payouts.  But if we admit SS is a welfare program, then like McCain says, everything is on the table.  Like getting people off the system or partially off and into private accounts.  (That didn't go very well last time.)  If you tax all income eliminating the cap, then the rates could or should be much lower for all. When all people pay the same rate on all income and face an uncertainty about receiving the benefits then maybe more people will consider lowering the rate and shrinking the program, which would be fine with me.  How many productive people have social security as their retirement plan centerpiece?

When you tax to 125k, skip to 250k, then tax to infinity (Obama's SS plan), you have left all logic and ideology IMO and are just targeting a demographic for their prostituted vote.  Does anyone vote on principle anymore?

Back to McCain: "McCain Irks Republicans With Confusion Over Social Security Tax."

McCain has been irking Republicans as a career path for as long as I can remember.  Like Bush Sr., Bob Dole and even 'W', he doesn't really understand or espouse the efficiency advantages or the moral case for low tax rates.  McCain opposed the most recent tax cuts.  Like Democrats, McCain expected revenue losses while revenues in fact surged 44% in 4 years from $1.78 Trillion in 2003 to $2.57 Trillion in 2007. That was a serious miscalculation.

Republicans and conservatives are gathering around McCain with soft support for a number of reasons, such as Obama being the senate's no.1 liberal, strong credentials for the war against jihad and other factors - pro-life, better tax and spend plan than Obama and the importance of the next supreme court picks.  Another factor is that conservatives also show up to vote for other offices and questions.  Here we have a key senate race and open seats for congress, state representative or county commissioner.  Our county commissioner spends more money than 7 or 8 of the smallest states.  It's pretty hard for an opinionated conservative to not show up or to be unable to pick between McCain and Obama.

The McCain plan for conservatives and the Republican plan in picking McCain does not involve a love affair.  McCain annoying his base is an attractive quality to independent voters and working class Democrats that (allegedly) hold the key to victory.

He needs to lay out precise positions but the reality is that he will be working with a Pelosi-Reid congress and none of his good proposals (from my point of view) will become law.  His bad ideas (from my point of view) will be welcomed, celebrated and implemented.

This plays into McCain's hands however in the sense that Obama's serious proposals really will be passed into law for the most part, giving people plenty of reason to fear him and fret the details.  With all the talk about change, conventional wisdom tells us that people generally favor the status quo over the unknown and voters subconsciously choose divided government more often than not.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 11:08:34 PM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2008, 08:53:58 AM »

Doug,

Good points and especially good forward thinking which I didn't do on this point:

***the reality is that he will be working with a Pelosi-Reid congress and none of his good proposals (from my point of view) will become law.  His bad ideas (from my point of view) will be welcomed, celebrated and implemented.***

Wasn't the SS cap in the 60K plus range about 15 or 30 years ago and in the 80 plus range around 10 years ago? What is the mechanism for this continued increase?

It is hard to know what McCain intends when he states everything is on the table.  But we know where BO comes from notwithstading what he is saying.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2008, 10:51:05 AM »

If he wins, in several ways McCain will be very bad.  Its just that BO will be bad n most ways, including the struggle with Islamic Fascism.
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« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2008, 02:00:58 AM »

We Are All Georgians
By JOHN MCCAIN
August 14, 2008; Page A13

For anyone who thought that stark international aggression was a thing of the past, the last week must have come as a startling wake-up call. After clashes in the Georgian region of South Ossetia, Russia invaded its neighbor, launching attacks that threaten its very existence. Some Americans may wonder why events in this part of the world are any concern of ours. After all, Georgia is a small, remote and obscure place. But history is often made in remote, obscure places.

As Russian tanks and troops moved through the Roki Tunnel and across the internationally recognized border into Georgia, the Russian government stated that it was acting only to protect Ossetians. Yet regime change in Georgia appears to be the true Russian objective.

Two years ago, I traveled to South Ossetia. As soon as we arrived at its self-proclaimed capital -- now occupied by Russian troops -- I saw an enormous billboard that read, "Vladimir Putin, Our President." This was on sovereign Georgian territory.

Russian claims of humanitarian motives were further belied by a bombing campaign that encompassed the whole of Georgia, destroying military bases, apartment buildings and other infrastructure, and leaving innocent civilians wounded and killed. As the Russian Black Sea Fleet began concentrating off of the Georgian coast and Russian troops advanced on one city after another, there could be no doubt about the nature of their aggression.

Despite a French-brokered cease-fire -- which worryingly does not refer to Georgia's territorial integrity -- Russian attacks have continued. There are credible reports of civilian killings and even ethnic cleansing as Russian troops move deeper into Georgian territory.

Moscow's foreign minister revealed at least part of his government's aim when he stated that "Mr. Saakashvili" -- the democratically elected president of Georgia -- "can no longer be our partner. It would be better if he went." Russia thereby demonstrated why its neighbors so ardently seek NATO membership.

In the wake of this crisis, there are the stirrings of a new trans-Atlantic consensus about the way we should approach Russia and its neighbors. The leaders of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Latvia flew to Tbilisi to demonstrate their support for Georgia, and to condemn Russian aggression. The French president traveled to Moscow in an attempt to end the fighting. The British foreign minister hinted of a G-8 without Russia, and the British opposition leader explicitly called for Russia to be suspended from the grouping.

The world has learned at great cost the price of allowing aggression against free nations to go unchecked. A cease-fire that holds is a vital first step, but only one. With our allies, we now must stand in united purpose to persuade the Russian government to end violence permanently and withdraw its troops from Georgia. International monitors must gain immediate access to war-torn areas in order to avert an even greater humanitarian disaster, and we should ensure that emergency aid lifted by air and sea is delivered.

We should work toward the establishment of an independent, international peacekeeping force in the separatist regions, and stand ready to help our Georgian partners put their country back together. This will entail reviewing anew our relations with both Georgia and Russia. As the NATO secretary general has said, Georgia remains in line for alliance membership, and I hope NATO will move ahead with a membership track for both Georgia and Ukraine.

At the same time, we must make clear to Russia's leaders that the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world require their respect for the values, stability and peace of that world. The U.S. has cancelled a planned joint military exercise with Russia, an important step in this direction.

The Georgian people have suffered before, and they suffer today. We must help them through this tragedy, and they should know that the thoughts, prayers and support of the American people are with them. This small democracy, far away from our shores, is an inspiration to all those who cherish our deepest ideals. As I told President Saakashvili on the day the cease-fire was declared, today we are all Georgians. We mustn't forget it.

Mr. McCain is the Republican nominee for president.

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« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2008, 07:13:41 AM »

From the NY Times chattering class:

The Education of McCain
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: August 19, 2008

On Tuesdays, Senate Republicans hold a weekly policy lunch. The party leaders often hand out a Message of the Week that the senators are supposed to repeat at every opportunity. Sometimes there will be a pollster offering data that supposedly demonstrates the brilliance of the message and why it will lead to political nirvana.

John McCain generally spends the lunches at a table with a gang of fellow ne’er-do-wells. He cracks jokes, razzes the speaker and generally ridicules the whole proceeding. Then he takes the paper with the Message of the Week back to his office. He tosses it on the desk of some staffer with a sarcastic comment like: “Here’s your message. Learn it. Love it. Live it.”

This sort of behavior has been part of McCain’s long-running rebellion against the stupidity of modern partisanship. In a thousand ways, he has tried to preserve some sense of self-respect in a sea of pandering pomposity. He’s done it through self-mockery, by talking endlessly about his own embarrassing lapses and by keeping up a running patter on the absurdity all around. He’s done it by breaking frequently from his own party to cut serious deals with people like Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold. He’s done it with his own frantic and freewheeling style, which was unpredictable, untamed and, at some level, unprofessional.

When McCain and his team set out to win the presidency in 2008, they hoped to run a campaign with this sort of spirit. McCain would venture forth on the back of his bus, going places other Republicans don’t go, saying things politicians don’t say, offering the country the vision of a different kind of politics — free of circus antics — in which serious people sacrifice for serious things.

It hasn’t turned out that way. McCain hasn’t been able to run the campaign he had envisioned. Instead, he and his staff have been given an education by events.

McCain started out with the same sort of kibitzing campaign style that he used to woo the press back in 2000. It didn’t work. This time there were too many cameras around and too many 25-year-old reporters and producers seizing on every odd comment to set off little blog scandals.

McCain started out with the same sort of improvised campaign events he’d used his entire career, in which he’d begin by riffing off of whatever stories were in the paper that day. It didn’t work. The campaign lacked focus. No message was consistent enough to penetrate through the national clutter.

McCain started his general-election campaign in poverty-stricken areas of the South and Midwest. He went through towns where most Republicans fear to tread and said things most wouldn’t say. It didn’t work. The poverty tour got very little coverage on the network news. McCain and his advisers realized the only way they could get TV attention was by talking about the subject that interested reporters most: Barack Obama.

McCain started with grand ideas about breaking the mold of modern politics. He and Obama would tour the country together doing joint town meetings. He would pick a postpartisan running mate, like Joe Lieberman. He would make a dramatic promise, like vowing to serve for only one totally nonpolitical term. So far it hasn’t worked. Obama vetoed the town meeting idea. The issue is not closed, but G.O.P. leaders are resisting a cross-party pick like Lieberman.

McCain and his advisers have been compelled to adjust to the hostile environment around them. They have been compelled, at least in their telling, to abandon the campaign they had hoped to run. Now they are running a much more conventional race, the kind McCain himself used to ridicule.

The man who lampooned the Message of the Week is now relentlessly on message (as observers of his fine performance at Saddleback Church can attest). The man who hopes to inspire a new generation of Americans now attacks Obama daily. It is the only way he can get the networks to pay attention.

Some old McCain hands are dismayed. John Weaver, the former staff member who helped run the old McCain operation, argues that this campaign does not do justice to the man. The current advisers say they have no choice. They didn’t choose the circumstances of this race. Their job is to cope with them.

And the inescapable fact is: It is working. Everyone said McCain would be down by double digits at this point. He’s nearly even. Everyone said he’d be vastly outspent. That hasn’t happened. A long-shot candidacy now seems entirely plausible.

As the McCain’s campaign has become more conventional, his political prospects have soared. Both he and Obama had visions of upending the system. Maybe in office, one of them will still be able to do that. But at least on the campaign trail, the system is winning.

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JDN
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« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2008, 09:00:36 AM »

I still often worry if McCain is up to the job.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/18/cafferty.mccain/index.html
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« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2008, 11:30:14 AM »

Said with love, but I found that to be a useless piece of chattering class drivel that typifies exactly what my post of the David Brooks piece describes.  Its precisely because of chattering twits life Cafferty that any sane candidate gets driven towards the crisp pat answers Cafferty says he describes.

Take this "He was asked to define rich. After trying to dodge the question -- his wife is worth a reported $100 million -- he finally said he thought an income of $5 million was rich."  I actually heard McCain's whole answer to the question on Larry Elder, and it was thoughtful, sound, and well said-- not the evasion Cafferty evades his substance with because  Cafferty is too busy trying to pin a "gotcha" on McC. 

McC was certainly far from my preferred candidate, but I do strongly prefer him to Barack "afraid to work without a teleprompter" Obama.  McC regularly put himself in unscripted town halls meetings and BO has kitited out from accepting McC's challenge for 10 such debates.  What is His Glibness afraid of?
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« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2008, 02:36:52 PM »

I am not defending nor am I necessarily a fan of Caffferty, and I too would like to see the "10 debates" (although it is not the first time in political history that the frontrunner has declined to debate; why give McCain the stage?), but my question regards McCain's intellectual capability or his lack thereof.  If it wasn't for his Father and family (reminds me of Bush) he simply wouldn't be where he is today.  Heck, with his intellect McCain never would have even gotten into the Navel Academy (894 in a class of 899?).  Connections are great, especially in Washington, but as President, well often the President alone needs to make the tough decisive decisions, but first he needs to grasp the consequences.  "The buck stops here" is a truism, not just a trait phrase.  And he needs to be up to it; McCain a nice guy with fun retorts but where is the depth?  That and his age (it's not ageism) concern me.   Note, I am not saying Obama is a panacea.  A pity the Republicans couldn't have done better.
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« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2008, 02:44:10 PM »

BO's not a front runner any more cheesy

And I wonder where he will be after the Hillbillary Clintons are done putting a cigar up his sanctamonious butt at the Demogogue convention  evil
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« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2008, 03:52:21 PM »

Sooo maybe we will see those debates after all  cool
I hope so.

And hilbillie or not, don't mess with Bill   smiley
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2008, 03:58:21 PM »

Well, if Hillary had, maybe Monica wouldn't have happened.  Do you know how the two of them met?  They dated the same girl in law school. cheesy
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2008, 07:36:28 AM »

OK, now that BO has chosen the loquacious Joe Biden, whom do we think that McC should choose?

I confess to thinking that Romney has many merits

a) strong economics-- a major issue in this campaign, and a weak area of McC.  Romeny can articulate pro-growth free market economics well
b) running a Senator's staff is not preparation for running the executive branch, whereas Romney has his quality experience in the private sector, with the Olympic Games in Utah, and as gov of MA
c) Romney can be a pit bull for McC against the calumnies that surely will continue to grow
d) given concern about McC's age, it is important that he can be seen as ready to step in

He also has cons:
a) has said tough things about McC and the MSM will use them in an effort to neutralize all the things Biden has said about BO
b) a non-issue for me, but apparently a lot of people are concerned about the Mormon thing.
c) he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and the BO team will contrast that with their version of BO's life story, McC's 7 homes rolleyes Republicans as children of patrician privilege blah blah

Whom do others here think McC should pick?
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DougMacG
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« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2008, 04:04:43 PM »

"Whom do others here think McC should pick?"

I'll leave aside my personal wish for leaders more conservative than the current bunch and go with what we know this election cycle.  I think the pick will be Romney because he has been vetted through the process, because he presents himself well, is extremely bright, competent and well-spoken.  He has good experience and is squeaky clean with no surprises.  He already ran hard this time so he has already pondered most likely questions that could be asked about issues across the globe and across the economy.  He is close enough to McCain on issues compared with any other recent pair.  His previous differences with McCain are nothing compared to the differences they both share with the far left philosophies of the opponents.  His evolved position on abortion etc. is not new, interesting or relevant compared to the baggage that the candidates at the top of both tickets have to deal with.

The Mormon question is a matter for those who want to discriminate to sort out. (Discrimination overall probably hurts Obama more.)  McCain is a Christian and Obama doesn't want focus turned back to the teachings in each other's place of worship.  If Mitt Romney was a recent polygamist or had writings attacking Christianity it would be a problem but that is not the case.

Our governor, Tim Pawlenty, is perhaps second choice.  In a subtle way he is a very good politician with a few accomplishments.  He was on the McCain team early when no one else was, but he is not known nationally, he will not knock your socks off, he does not guarantee McCain even Minnesota much less the region, and there isn't time for everyone to get to know him and come to like him.  The main point is that choosing a new face involves unnecessary risk. Romney has been looked at already.  Choosing him steers the arguments back to the issues and the leadership questions at the top of the tickets.

I don't think anyone on the political right or center doubts that Mitts Romney could step in quickly and competently in a national emergency and serve as President until the next election.  The arguments in the VP debates will be about the positions already set out by McCain and Obama.  Mitt should request no time limit in the debate for Joe Biden to speak.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 04:06:21 PM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
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« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2008, 04:22:46 PM »

 "Mitt should request no time limit in the debate for Joe Biden to speak."

Exactly!!!!!  grin
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2008, 01:57:09 AM »

Good analysis Doug.

Your last sentence is very, very funny.
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« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2008, 09:09:32 AM »

Not that I agree, but here is Bill Kristol's take on this:

A Joe of His Own?
By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Published: August 24, 2008
DENVER
NYTimes

The anguished cries of Hillary supporters pierced the midday calm here on Saturday, as Barack Obama confirmed that his vice presidential choice was not Clinton, who got about 18 million votes this year running against him, but rather Joe Biden, who gained the support of a few thousand caucusgoers in Iowa before dropping out of the race.

(OK, I didn’t personally hear any anguished cries from my work space near the Pepsi Center. But I’m an empathetic guy — I felt as if I could hear them.)

McCain operatives were pleased by the Biden selection, which they considered, as one said to me, “a pick from weakness.” Still, it complicates McCain’s vice presidential calculations.

The two leading G.O.P. prospects have been Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesota governor, and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. But with Biden’s foreign policy experience as a contrast, could McCain assure voters that the young Pawlenty is ready to take over, if need be, as commander in chief? Also, Biden is a strong and experienced debater. Pawlenty is unproven. If he is the choice, there will be many anxious Republicans in the run-up to the vice presidential debate in St. Louis on Oct. 2.

Romney might match up better against Biden in debate. But it’s clear that the Obama-Biden campaign is moving aggressively to embrace a traditional Democratic populist economic message. Such a message will have appeal this year — especially, one supposes, against a doubly multimansioned G.O.P. ticket of McCain and Romney.

If not Pawlenty or Romney, how about a woman, whose selection would presumably appeal to the aforementioned anguished Hillary supporters? It’s awfully tempting for the McCain camp to revisit the possibility of tapping Meg Whitman, the former eBay C.E.O., Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, or Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. But the first two have never run for office, and Palin has been governor for less than two years.

So what’s to be done? McCain could well decide the obstacles to Pawlenty and Romney aren’t insuperable, and pick one of them. He could choose a different Republican governor or ex-governor, senator or congressman. Or he could decide that Obama’s conventional pick of Biden allows him to seize the moment by making a bold choice. He could select the person he would really like to have by his side in the White House — but whose selection would cause palpitations among many of his staffers and supporters: the independent Democratic senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman could hold his own against Biden in a debate. He would reinforce McCain’s overall message of foreign policy experience and hawkishness. He’s a strong and disciplined candidate.

But he is pro-abortion rights, and having been a Democrat all his life, he has a moderately liberal voting record on lots of issues.

Now as a matter of governance, there’s no reason to think this would much matter. McCain has made clear his will be a pro-life administration. And as a one-off, quasi-national-unity ticket, with Lieberman renouncing any further ambition to run for the presidency, a McCain-Lieberman administration wouldn’t threaten the continuance of the G.O.P. as a pro-life party. In other areas, no one seriously thinks the policies of a McCain-Lieberman administration would be appreciably different from those, say, of a McCain-Pawlenty administration.

Would McCain-Lieberman have a better prospect of winning than the more conventional alternatives? If they could get over the early hurdles of a messy convention and an awful lot of conservative angst and anger, I’ve come to think so.

Obama and Biden will try to frame the presidential race as a normal Democratic-Republican choice. If they can do that, they should win. That would be far more difficult against a McCain-Lieberman ticket. The charge that McCain would merely mean a third Bush term would also tend to fall flat. And an unorthodox “country first” Lieberman selection would reinforce what has been attractive about McCain, and what has allowed him to run ahead of — though not yet enough ahead of — the generic Republican ballot.

A Lieberman pick should help with ticket splitters. But can such a ticket hold the support of pro-lifers, conservatives and Republicans? If you’re conscientiously pro-life, you will have reservations about a pro-abortion-rights V.P. If you’re a proud conservative, Lieberman hasn’t been one. If you’re a loyal Republican, you’d much prefer someone from within the ranks.

But if you’re pro-life, conservative and/or Republican, you certainly don’t want Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid running the country. If a McCain-Lieberman ticket is the best way to thwart that prospect, you could probably learn to live with it — even perhaps to like it.

And Hillary supporters could protest Obama’s glass ceiling by voting for John McCain and the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee.
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JDN
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« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2008, 12:11:29 PM »

Sarah Palin?  Who?Huh?  What a joke.  A first term governor who admits "she was just a soccer mom before."  She is a good person,
but.......

I thought McCain said experience was important, "vital to our nation"?  And at McCain's age he needs someone truly qualified as his number 2.  Why Palin except to pander to the women's vote?  McCain/Palin; I am disappointed.  That's the best he could do?
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G M
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« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2008, 12:18:31 PM »

Oh, now experience is an issue?
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ccp
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« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2008, 02:56:40 PM »

JDN,
Your right about the experience issue.  So now we have an inexperienced man picked because he is black and an inexperienced woman picked because of her sex.  The whole election process has in my opinion become a three ring circus.

With regards to Michelle O her statement that she "loves this country" is not going to "put to rest" questions about their both hating whites, Jews, and America in general as of course the Dems would like.

So what is really in her college thesis that we are not being allowed to see?

This is heresay but the doubts are rightly and justly going to linger:



***According to Snopes.com, Princeton was asked to put a restriction on the distribution of any copies of the Michelle Obama (Michelle la Vaughn Robinson)senior thesis. Princeton was asked to say that the thesis could not be made available until November 5, 2008.
However, when the thesis was published on a political web site , Princeton decided to lift the restriction.

                  http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/thesis.asp
OBAMA'S MILITANT RACISM REVEALED



In her senior thesis at Princeton , Michelle Obama, the wife of Barrack Obama stated that America was a nation founded on crime and hatred. Moreover, she stated that whites in America were ineradicably racist.  The 1985 thesis, titled 'Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community' was written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson.
Michelle Obama stated in her thesis that to whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, she will always be black first. However, it was reported by a fellow black classmate, 'If those whites at Princeton really saw Michelle as one who always would be black first, it seems that she gave them that impression. 
Most alarming is Michelle Obama's use of the terms separationist and integrationist when describing the views of black people. Mrs. Obama clearly identifies herself with a separationist' view of race. By actually working with the black lower class within their communities, as a result of their ideologies, a separationist may better understand the desperation of their situation and feel more hopeless about a resolution as opposed to an integrationist who is ignorant to their plight.
Obama writes that the path she chose by attending Princeton would likely lead to her further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society, never becoming a full participant. Michelle Obama clearly has a chip on her shoulder. Not only does she see separate black and white societies in America , but she elevates black over white in her world.


Here is another passage that is uncomfortable and ominous in meaning:
There was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the black community, I am obligated to this community and will utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit the black community first and foremost.
What is Michelle Obama planning to do with her resources if she is first lady?The following passage appears to be a call to arms for affirmative action policies that could be the hallmark of an Obama administration. Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.


The conclusion of her thesis is alarming. Michelle Obama's poll of black alumni concludes that other black students at Princeton do not share her obsession with blackness.  But rather than celebrate, she is horrified that black alumni identify with our common American culture more than they value the color of their skin.  I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites resulting from the educational and occupational paths that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility.
Is it no wonder that most black alumni ignored her racist questionnaire?  Only 89 students responded out of 400 who were asked for input. Michelle Obama does not look into a crowd of Obama supporters and see Americans. She sees black people and white people eternally conflicted with one another.
The thesis provides Mrs. Obama's world view, seen through a race-based prism. This is a very divisive view for a potential first lady that would do untold damage to race relations in this country. Michelle Obama's intellectually refined racism should give all Americans pause for deep concern.
PS: Yes, taxpayers funded her scholarships****























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DougMacG
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« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2008, 08:03:11 PM »

Expanding on what CCP wrote - that she was chosen because she is a woman - she was chosen to make the ticket win.  It's extremely ironic IMO to hear the Obama campaign point out her lack of foreign policy experience.
---

from ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg

    It wasn't until Sunday night that John McCain, after meeting with his four top advisers, finally decided he could not tap independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to be his running mate. One adviser, tasked with taking the temperature of the conservative base, had strongly made the case to McCain that it would be a disaster for the party and that the base would revolt. McCain concluded he could not go that route.

    The next day, McCain studied the three men at the top of his shortlist: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. All had different strengths and negatives, but McCain was not satisfied. None of them had what McCain believed he needed to do -- and would have done -- with Lieberman.

    McCain wanted to shake up the ticket.

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's name was in the mix as an unconventional choice for months, but she had not been considered a front-runner. So, over the next few days, with McCain continuing to believe he needed someone who had more of a maverick streak than his other choices, lawyers reviewed her vetting information. They kept their activities from even some in McCain's most senior inner circle....

    The campaign secretly flew Palin into Dayton last night. She and McCain met privately for a couple of hours. McCain concluded she would "shake up the system" and was "a maverick," qualities he believed Lieberman would have brought to the ticket. But she also would appeal to conservatives -- which Lieberman most certainly would not have done.

    After their meeting, McCain concluded he was comfortable with his choice. He notified Pawlenty this morning that he was going in a different direction.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2008, 09:51:56 AM »

We were driving back up to my mom's in upstate NY from NYC last night when we first heard.  Who?  WTF?  My first reaction was pandering and a foolish choice for a 71 year old man.  Saw the Brit Hume Report when we got in and there was a very nice piece on her; she seems very interesting but still the idea that she could step in just doesn't seem plausible.  For me its not much of an answer to say that she has more experience than BO. 

This WILL be interesting to see how this plays out.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2008, 11:11:46 AM »

The thing that annoys me most about the American political process is that about the only way to work yourself up the ranks is to become an unctuous weasel. It seems like the system has evolved in such a way that it manufactures myopic, doctrinaire, pork barrel slathered situational ethicist who will shake your hand and steal your wallet while smiling telegenically all the while. I've met a lot of folks over the years who I think would do a far better job in Washington than the rictus grinning retreads we usually end up with, though I'm not sure many could have survived the sausage factory you have to step through to get there.

Enter Sarah Palin. Ms. Palin may very well prove to be a not particularly gifted amateur, but she has done some stepping up and cleaning house before getting propelled to the head of the line, and she damn sure has a lot more grab your boots, get your hands dirty, and get the job done in her past than does the honorable Senator from Illinois. I hope she surrounds herself with competent advisors, steels herself for some serious OJT, and starts pitching unctuous weasels off the balcony.

I might not be sitting this one out any longer.
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JDN
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« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2008, 01:03:14 PM »

We were driving back up to my mom's in upstate NY from NYC last night when we first heard.  Who?  WTF?  My first reaction was pandering and a foolish choice for a 71 year old man.  Saw the Brit Hume Report when we got in and there was a very nice piece on her; she seems very interesting but still the idea that she could step in just doesn't seem plausible.  For me its not much of an answer to say that she has more experience than BO. 

This WILL be interesting to see how this plays out.
Frankly, she has a lot less experience and education (mayor of a very small town and governor for two years of Alaska, a State with more Reindeer than people) than BO who could use a little more experience himself therefore I think Biden was a good choice.  And this is the woman who will be if elected, second in line, a heartbeat away from a President who will be 72 at the beginning of his term???  Bottom line, she seems like a fine woman, but someone with NO experience.  The fact that she is a woman (pandering?) an NRA member (good) and a mom of five (good for her) and is adamantly against abortion (her choice, but I believe it should be the free choice of a woman) does not nearly qualify her to be President.
 

Enter Sarah Palin. Ms. Palin may very well prove to be a not particularly gifted amateur,


As you say, she is not EVEN a particularly gifted amateur, much less an experienced professional.  Being President of the United States is the toughest job in the word, therefore someone who isn't even "a particularly gifted amateur" should never be in charge.

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #40 on: August 30, 2008, 02:45:24 PM »

Quote
As you say, she is not EVEN a particularly gifted amateur, much less an experienced professional.  Being President of the United States is the toughest job in the word, therefore someone who isn't even "a particularly gifted amateur" should never be in charge.

Uh no, I said she may prove to be. I in fact think she has more going for her on the qual front than Barry and can't imagine she could be more insufferable than Joe.

BO could use a little more experience, eh? And Kimbo's ground game could use a wee bit more coaching.
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G M
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« Reply #41 on: August 30, 2008, 05:12:50 PM »

This was a brilliant move by McCain. Peel off some PUMAs, bring in a number of the "soccer mom" demo and energize the conservative base while squashing Barry-O's "sermon on the mount" out of the news cycle.
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G M
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« Reply #42 on: August 30, 2008, 05:23:38 PM »

http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/08/mccain_and_the_ooda_loop.html

August 30, 2008
McCain and the OODA Loop
By Charlie Martin

Man, is this guy a fighter pilot, or what?

There are two military concepts here that explain the (absolutely spectacular) choice of Governor Sarah Palin.  Both of them are important to the training of a fighter pilot, and while one of them wasn't formulated until after McCain's flying career was over, it was an observation based on what fighter pilots had to know.

One of them is the "envelope" -- which is to say the parameters within which a fighter airplane must operate.  The envelope can be seen as a sort of egg-shape, based on how quickly a plane can turn and maneuver.  If your plane as a "tighter envelope" than another plane, the pilot has the advantage in a dogfight: you can turn inside the other plane, which means you can get into the perfect firing position, behind the opponent.

More important is the "OODA loop" -- which is the envelope for the pilot's thought process.  How quickly can the pilot observe the situation, orient within the situation, decide, and act.  If the pilot's OODA loop time is shorter, the pilot can overcome the slower.

At this point, we're seeing that McCain is completely within the Obama campaign's OODA loop -- they are out-thinking them and out-acting them -- and very problably the McCain campaign has a tighter envelope than the Obama campaign, as well.

Look at the choice of Palin, and the remaining tactics of the last week. It was the week of the Democratic Convention, and while they had their show, he continued to campaign, with immensely effective responses every day (see my day one coverage of Silver Salazar and the Democrats for McCain.) Then, on Thursday, the campaign let it be known that there would be an announcement and ad running that night.

The talking heads chattered about it -- would it be a challenge? Would he announce his VP choice to step on the speech?

It got to the point that the Obama campaign said it would be "political malpractice" to announce his VP pick, and that it was more evidence the McCain campaign was a "war room masquerading as a political campaign" --- on the day that Obama was to say in his speech "But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes."  Then the ad comes out ...
... and it's congratulations on Obama's nomination on the anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech.  In one day, they make Obama's campaign look cheap, they make McCain look gracious, and the get the Obama campaign to belie Obama's own speech.


Then the next day, they announce Sarah Palin -- after a dozen head fakes.  It's Romney.  No it's Pawlenty.  It's Romney again. Oh my God, it's Lieberman.  Instead of the days and days of anticipation, followed by anxiety, followed by boredom, followed by even more boredom when Obama picked Biden, we get a real surprise -- and the air is sucked out of Obama's big day.

Now look at what this means to the running criticisms of McCain.
Age?  Palin is young, beautiful, charismatic and strong. What's more, Biden is going to have to be very careful about an attacks in the vice presidential debate; he'll look like a misogynistic jerk, and then Sarah Barracuda will gut him like a trout. Smiling.

Hit too hard, and Hillary PUMAs they managed to attract back with the campaign's show of unity will flee in droves. Besides, the McCain campaign is all over it already. According to Real Clear Politics' Tom Bevan, "McCain senior advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer just said on Fox -- and I'm paraphrasing: I think the Obama campaign would have learned not to belittle women."
Experience?  The Obama campaign has already tried hitting at Palin as inexperienced --- but every time they do so, they open themselves to the obvious retort: she's got more executive experience than Obama, and she's only running for Vice President. 

Foreign policy? Again, she's been to Iraq as often as Obama has -- and she's got a son going there.  Hugh Hewitt rightly points out "by reason of just her work with Canada, she's light years ahead [sic] Obama." The Democratic nominee has had his own problems with Canada in fact.

Corruption and pork? She got into office attacking corruption among Republicans in Alaska and turned down the famous "bridge to nowhere".
There's one more military concept here, as well: operational security.  Unlike the usual campaign leaks, this really was kept completely quiet -- in fact, they even managed to almost eliminate the usual hints, like aircraft movements.  It was planned and executed like a SEAL op.

All in all, it was masterful.  We just finished the Denver convention, and the self-congratulation last night was thick on the ground.  But this week, it looks like the Obama campaign's "Chicago Rules" have turned out to be bringing a knife to a gunfight.
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G M
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« Reply #43 on: August 30, 2008, 05:44:20 PM »

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/08/30/mccain_gets_7_million_bounce_f.html?hpid=topnews

THE GREEN ZONE
McCain Gets $7 Million Bounce from Palin Pick
By Matthew Mosk

Sen. John McCain has taken in $7 million in contributions since announcing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, a top campaign aide said today.

The money bounce may owe to Palin's appeal with conservative donors, many of whom said privately they had planned on sitting out the campaign this year. The money comes in just under the wire -- after McCain accepts the GOP nomination Thursday, he will accept public funds and no longer be permitted to raise private money for the campaign.

That will not, however, stop McCain and Palin from raising money for the Republican National Committee. In coming weeks, McCain will host four megafundraising events in major cities aimed at bolstering the accounts of the party. Palin, meanwhile, will be sent out to headline more than a dozen fundraising events for the RNC.

Shortly before Palin's announcement, one senior RNC official said McCain's pick "better like doing fundraising."

Like almost everything else she does, hosting these events will be something of a new experience for Palin. When running for governor of Alaska in 2006, Palin raised a total of just $468,400.

Incidentally, Bill Burton, a spokesman for Sen. Barack Obama, declined to reveal how much money the Democratic nominee took in after his speech to 84,000 supporters in Denver and 38 million television viewers.
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G M
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« Reply #44 on: August 30, 2008, 10:02:22 PM »

**Sorry about the formatting. Go to the site to see the tables intact.**

zogby.com
8/30/2008

Zogby Poll: Equilibrium in the POTUS Race!

Brash McCain pick of AK Gov. Palin neutralizes historic Obama speech, stunts the Dems' convention bounce

UTICA, New York - Republican John McCain's surprise announcement Friday of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate - some 16 hours after Democrat Barack Obama's historic speech accepting his party’s presidential nomination -  has possibly stunted any Obama convention bump, the latest Zogby Interactive flash poll of the race shows.

Data from this poll is available here
The latest nationwide survey, begun Friday afternoon after the McCain announcement of Palin as running mate and completed mid-afternoon today, shows McCain/Palin at 47%, compared to 45% support for Obama/Biden.

In other words, the race is a dead heat.

The interactive online Zogby survey shows that both Obama and McCain have solidified the support among their own parties - Obama won 86% support of Democrats and McCain 89% of Republicans in a two-way head-to-head poll question not including the running mates. When Biden and Palin are added to the mix, Obama's Democratic support remains at 86%, while McCain's increases to 92%.

After the McCain "Veep" announcement on Friday, Palin was almost immediately hailed as a strong conservative, and those voters have rallied to the GOP ticket, the survey shows. Republicans gather in St. Paul, Minnesota this week to officially nominate McCain and Palin as their presidential ticket.

Does the selection of Sarah Palin help or hurt John McCain's chances of winning the presidential election in November?

8/29-30

Zogby Poll One Week Ago: Does Biden Help or Hurt Obama?

Will help him

52%

43%

Will hurt him

29%

22%

Will make no difference

10%

26%

Not sure

10%

9%

Overall, 52% said the selection of Palin as the GOP vice presidential nominee helps the Republican ticket, compared to 29% who said it hurt. Another 10% said it made no difference, while 10% were unsure. Among independent voters, 52% said it helps, while 26% said it would hurt. Among women, 48% said it would help, while 29% said it would hurt the GOP ticket. Among Republicans, the choice was a big hit - as 87% said it would help, and just 3% said it would hurt.

Pollster John Zogby: "Palin is not to be underestimated. Her real strength is that she is authentic, a real mom, an outdoors person, a small town mayor (hey, she has dealt with a small town city council - that alone could be preparation for staring down Vladimir Putin, right?). She is also a reformer."

"A very important demographic in this election is going to be the politically independent woman, 15% of whom in our latest survey are undecided."

"In the final analysis, this election will be about Obama vs. McCain. Obama has staked out ground as the new JFK - a new generation, literally and figuratively, a new face of America to the world, a man who can cross lines and work with both sides. But McCain is the modern day Harry Truman - with lots of DC experience, he knows what is wrong and dysfunctional with Washington and how to fix it, and he has chosen a running mate who is about as far away from Washington as he could find.

"This contest is likely to be very close until the weekend before the election - then the dam may break and support may flood one way or the other."

The interactive survey shows that 22% of those voters who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in their primary elections or caucus earlier this year are now supporting John McCain.

Among those who said they shop regularly at Wal-Mart - a demographic group that Zogby has found to be both "value" and "values" voters - Obama is getting walloped by McCain. Winning 62% support from weekly Wal-Mart shoppers, McCain wins these voters at a rate similar to what President Bush won in 2004. Obama wins 24% support from these voters.

Other demographic details are fairly predictable, showing that the McCain/Palin ticket heads into its convention on Monday with numbers that may fuel an optimism they may not have expected, and that many would not have predicted, especially after Obama's speech Thursday night.

Still, storm clouds remain on the horizon for the Republicans, a four-way horserace contest between McCain, Obama, Libertarian Bob Barr and liberal independent Ralph Nader shows.

The Four-way Horserace

Total

Dems

GOPers

Indies

Obama

44%

85%

4%

39%

McCain

43%

8%

87%

33%

Barr

5%

2%

4%

11%

Nader

2%

1%

1%

4%

Other/not sure

7%

7%

5%

12%

The online survey was conducted Aug. 29-30, 2008, and included 2,020 likely voters nationwide and carries a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.

For a detailed methodological statement on this survey, please visit:

http://www.zogby.com/methodology/readmeth.dbm?ID=1331
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JDN
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« Reply #45 on: August 30, 2008, 11:46:16 PM »

Just one question, she is a fine woman/person, I honestly like her, and I agree with many of her values,
but do you truly believe she is qualified to be President of the United States?  McCain is 70+ (it's not ageism)
and I am concerned.
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G M
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« Reply #46 on: August 31, 2008, 10:04:35 AM »

I think she is more qualified than Barry-O. At least the Repubs have the veteran at the head of the and the novice as VP. Everything i've seen about her I like and i'm reminded of one of my favorite movies "The Untouchables". Remember how they couldn't trust the CPD officers so the recruited right out of the academy? This is somewhat like that.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #47 on: August 31, 2008, 05:52:41 PM »

FWIW, my initial reaction is that I like her a lot, but a chain is as strong as its weakest link.  Here that is the idea that this woman is remotely prepared to lead the US against Ahmadinejad and the Iranian nuke program or Putin, to deal with the Pak-Afg situation, and so many other knotty world situations.   On first blush, she's not even close. This certainly isn't enough to change my mind about McC over BO, but I do worry about how it will play.

That said, in many ways she is an imaginative choice.  One positive amongst many is that she will give the chattering class something to chatter about besides His Glibness.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #48 on: September 02, 2008, 09:58:54 AM »

John McCain
Has a Tax Plan
To Create Jobs
By MARTIN FELDSTEIN and JOHN B. TAYLOR
September 2, 2008; Page A23

John McCain's tax policies are designed to create jobs, increase wages and allow all Americans -- especially those in the hard-pressed middle class -- to keep more of what they earn. His plan achieves these goals in three important ways.

First, he proposes a package of tax incentives that will create jobs and raise earnings by inducing firms to invest more in the U.S. Second, he is strongly committed to blocking any increase in tax rates while doubling the personal exemptions for families with children, which will reduce the tax burden on working Americans. Third, he proposes a new, refundable tax credit that will increase health-care coverage, reduce the cost of health care, and provide more funds for families and individuals to purchase health care.

Here's how the three components of Sen. McCain's tax plan will work in practice.

To create jobs, Mr. McCain will reduce the corporate tax rate -- now at 35% the second highest among all industrial countries -- to one that doesn't penalize firms for doing business here. To encourage small businesses to expand, he will fight against higher tax rates on their income.

To increase wages, Mr. McCain will provide incentives to raise productivity, which leads to higher wages. To increase productivity, he will provide incentives for developing and applying new technologies by expanding the tax credit for research and development, and by making that credit permanent.

More savings and investment in businesses also raise productivity. Mr. McCain will stimulate saving by keeping tax rates low on the returns to saving in the form of dividends and capital gains. He will also allow faster depreciation of assets, which encourages investment. And he will strengthen the incentive to save by reducing the maximum estate tax rate, with a substantial, untaxed exemption.

In stark contrast to Barack Obama, Mr. McCain believes that tax policy should be used to foster the creation of jobs and higher wages through economic growth, rather than to redistribute incomes. The economy is not a zero-sum game in which some people can enjoy higher incomes only if others are made worse off.

Mr. McCain's plan will significantly ease the tax burden on American families with children by doubling the personal exemption to $7,000 from $3,500. This means a larger percentage tax reduction for families with smaller taxable incomes, and specifically helps families in the middle income levels. And a President McCain will enable people to keep more of their earnings by preventing Congress from raising tax rates.

Mr. McCain's overall tax policy will also expand health-insurance coverage, and make health care more efficient. Most taxpayers will also pay less in tax. Here's how it will work. His plan includes a refundable tax credit of $2,500 for single individuals and $5,000 for couples, if they receive a qualifying health-care policy from an employer (one that includes adequate coverage against large medical bills), or buy a qualifying policy on their own. The credit will replace the current tax rule, which excludes employer payments for health insurance from employees' taxable incomes.

This tax credit will be available to everyone, including the self-employed and the employees of businesses that do not provide health insurance. Thus it will lead to a major expansion of health-insurance coverage. The tax credit will of course be available to people who are between jobs, or have retired before they're eligible for Medicare.

Since any part of the credit not used to pay for insurance could be invested in a health savings account, individuals will have an incentive to choose less costly health-insurance policies. This will improve the efficiency of health care, to everyone's benefit.

Importantly, the tax credit will be a clear gain for most employees. Consider a married taxpayer whose employer now pays $10,000 for a health-insurance policy. Ending the exclusion will raise that individual's taxable income by $10,000 -- but the $5,000 tax credit will exceed the extra tax liability whether the marginal tax rate that individual pays is 10% or 35% or anywhere in between. Indeed, the lower the taxpayer's income, the more of the credit that will be available to pay for health care that's not reimbursed by insurance.

Sen. Obama was at best disingenuous in his convention speech when he criticized the McCain plan for taxing health benefits. The health insurance tax credit exceeds the extra taxes on existing benefits.

Mr. Obama also criticized Mr. McCain on the grounds that he doesn't cut taxes on 100 million families. But this ignores the fact that Mr. McCain's health-insurance credits would benefit most taxpayers and that many people who are not currently eligible for the increased personal exemption will become eligible when they have children. When these features are taken into account, the vast majority of today's 140 million taxpayers would pay lower taxes under the McCain plan.

Tax revenues will increase robustly over the next few years with Mr. McCain's overall tax strategy as the economy grows -- even with conservative economic growth assumptions. And by maintaining strong control over the growth of government spending, Mr. McCain will bring the budget into balance. His long record of fighting against excessive government spending, his plans to veto earmarks and reverse the spending binge of the past few years, and his strong commitment to balancing the budget can make this goal a reality.

Mr. McCain's tax policy stands in strong contrast to Mr. Obama's ever-changing tax proposals. Although it is difficult to know just what Mr. Obama would do if he were elected, it is clear that he wants to raise taxes on personal incomes, on dividends, on capital gains, on payroll income and on businesses -- all of which will hurt the U.S. economy. He regards the tax system as a way to redistribute income, and disregards the resulting adverse incentive effects that reduce employment and economic growth.

Mr. Obama's claim to being a big tax cutter defies credibility. His assertion that he would cut taxes on 95% of families reflects his one-time $1,000 rebate payouts, and a variety of new government spending handed out through the tax system.

Mr. McCain, on the other hand, has been clear that he wants to preserve the favorable incentive effects of the existing low tax rates -- and to reduce taxes in other ways that will strengthen the economy, create jobs and help current taxpayers, including those without health insurance.

Messrs. Feldstein and Taylor are economic advisers to John McCain and professors of economics at, respectively, Harvard and Stanford.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #49 on: September 02, 2008, 10:03:03 AM »

second article of the morning

Ignore the Chauvinists.
Palin Has Real Experience.
By NANCY PFOTENHAUER
September 2, 2008; Page A21

In Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain has found a fellow maverick to be his running mate -- one who can help bring the right kind of reform to Washington. Ms. Palin, like Mr. McCain, has a strong record of battling the status quo, restoring accountability and effectiveness to government, and working to secure energy independence, root out corruption and curb wasteful spending.

As the chief executive of the nation's largest state, Ms. Palin oversees some of the country's largest energy reserves. She came into office at a critical time in Alaska politics, facing a system plagued by corruption. Her response was to immediately begin cleaning it up. The results of her leadership today speak for themselves: Ms. Palin's approval ratings top 80% -- more than 60% higher than that of the Democratic Congress.

Ms. Palin has a tangible, impressive record of achievement and executive experience. She is head of the Alaska National Guard and the chairman of two multistate agencies that make energy decisions that affect all Americans. While Barack Obama spent almost all of the past two years running for president, Ms. Palin has been running a state.

It's telling that Sen. Obama chose to give a negative, partisan speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. He envisions a Democratic monolith in Washington that will solve all of our problems.

But Ms. Palin knows that real change doesn't come from rigid adherence to party lines. She has transformed her state's government from what she called a "good ol' boys network" to an accountable, successful system. Like Mr. McCain, Ms. Palin realizes that the problem isn't a Republican administration or a Democratic Congress. It's business as usual in Washington.

Ms. Palin's experience in reforming Alaskan government shows she's ready to lead on the national stage. She stood up to members of her own party who abused their power, risking her political career by protesting ethics violations. Ms. Palin went on to pass ethics reform. She has put the people's interests ahead of her own -- like Mr. McCain.

A McCain-Palin administration will not tolerate pork-barrel spending. In Washington, Mr. McCain spoke out against the "Bridge to Nowhere," a $400 million waste of the taxpayers' money that led to an island with a few dozen residents. In Juneau, Alaska, Ms. Palin made sure the bridge went nowhere, canceling the earmark. She wasn't afraid to use her veto pen, and Mr. McCain won't be either.

In a state where energy production is a top priority, Ms. Palin is an expert in the field. She has never shied away from challenging the influence of big oil companies, all the while fighting for the development of new energy resources. Ms. Palin worked with Democrats and Republicans to institute a rebate that used the state's vast oil revenues to help offset the high costs of fuel and heating in the state.

Ms. Palin has been a leader in the fight for American energy independence. Like Mr. McCain, she understands that we need an "all of the above" solution to secure our energy future. Her influence extended far beyond Alaska as she recently pushed through a gas pipeline project that will bring new supplies and lower prices to the lower 48 states.

Just last month, meanwhile, the Democrats running Congress went on vacation rather than vote to allow offshore drilling, which would reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Beyond ethics and energy, Ms. Palin shares Mr. McCain's passion for conservation. Mr. McCain often speaks of his admiration for Theodore Roosevelt, a conservationist and sportsman who surely would have enjoyed Ms. Palin's company. She grew up hunting and fishing in Alaska, and she understands the importance of responsible stewardship of our environment.

All women should be proud of Mr. McCain's selection of Ms. Palin as his running mate, an historic moment that came the week of the 88th anniversary of women's earning the right to vote. Sarah Palin will break through the glass ceiling that, as she noted on her first day as the vice presidential nominee, has 18 million new cracks thanks to Hillary Clinton.

Ms. Pfotenhauer is a senior policy adviser and national spokesperson for the McCain campaign.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
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