Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Minnesota Recount Folly: We've Been Down That Road

How the Democrats 'won' the Washington governor's mansion in 2004.


Olympia, Wash.

Sorry Minnesota, but the sequel is never as good as the original.

For those who watched the Washington State governor's race recounts in 2004, the ongoing recount drama in Minnesota is just another rehash of the same script -- albeit for a U.S. Senate seat that might put Democrats one vote away from a filibuster-proof majority.

Four years ago in Washington, Democratic Party candidate Christine Gregoire lost the first count, lost the recount, and then won a second, highly dubious recount by 133 votes. In Minnesota, where Sen. Norm Coleman is defending his seat against comedian-turned-candidate Al Franken, the first count showed Mr. Coleman up 725 votes. Today, thanks to another dubious recount, Mr. Franken is apparently in the lead.

Razor-thin margins like these put election systems to the test. As the old proverb goes, they are a crisis and an opportunity. Yet the crises keep coming and the opportunities continue to be squandered. It's time to learn the lessons of the recount wars and address the systemic flaws in our election processes. Indeed, the price of a continued decline in voter confidence is too troubling for most Americans to comprehend.

In Washington's 2004 gubernatorial election, at least 1,392 felons illegally voted, 252 provisional ballots were wrongly counted, and 19 votes were cast from beyond the grave, according to Chelan County Superior Court Judge John Bridges's opinion in a case brought by Dino Rossi, Ms. Gregoire's Republican opponent.
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Election workers in King County (where Seattle is located) "enhanced" 55,177 ballots to make it easier for tabulating machines to read them -- even though the county had failed to establish written procedures as required by state law. In some cases, individual election workers modified voted ballots using black felt markers and white-out tape while observers were kept at a distance that prevented meaningful observation. Nine separate times, King County "discovered" and counted unsecured ballots.

Nevertheless, Ms. Gregoire lost to Mr. Rossi by 261 votes.

An automatic recount reduced Mr. Rossi's lead to just 42 votes. The Gregoire campaign demanded a state-wide hand recount, a time-consuming and expensive process that state law says the challenger must pay for (if the result changes, the challenger is reimbursed). Big labor unions joined with far-left groups like to put up the money for Ms. Gregoire's third-time's-the-charm ballot shuffle.

During the recount process, five counties found new, uncounted, unsecured ballots and added them into their totals. King County officials admitted publicly that ballot reconciliation reports were falsified in an attempt to conceal variations between the number of votes counted and the number of voters who voted (two elections workers were disciplined as a result).

By the end, 3,539 votes more than the number of voters who voted were tabulated. Four other swing counties provided an additional 4,880 mystery ballots. Ms. Gregoire was the victor by a margin of 133 votes.

That margin -- 133 votes -- happens to be the same number of ballots that Minneapolis election officials are currently missing. The initial vote tally in one Democrat-leaning precinct counted 133 more ballots than officials have been able to find for the Senate recounts. The Minnesota canvassing board decided on Dec. 12 to allow Minneapolis simply to ignore the recount and go with the original number. This provided a 46-vote boost for Mr. Franken, about the same as his current projected lead. The board also "requested" that counties reconsider rejected absentee ballots, a new and novel part of the recount procedure that is also expected to favor Mr. Franken.

Something is wrong when a victorious candidate owes more thanks to vote counters than to voters. Such was the case in Washington in 2004, and Minnesota is poised to follow in its footsteps in 2008.

It need not be this way. After 2004, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation produced a 42-page report offering a dozen solutions. While a few were implemented, most were simply ignored by officials content to cross their fingers and hope the next close election is in someone else's jurisdiction.

Some reforms are simply educational and cultural; others are fundamental and essential. Election officials need to understand current federal and state laws and regulations governing the entire election process, including recounts. Those responsible for elections must also inculcate a culture of compliance among election staff, including temporary staff hired at election time.

From the moment they are printed, ballots should be isolated and guarded and their chain of custody recorded. Officials with rule-making authority are responsible for establishing processes that clarify how ballots are to be handled, stored, counted, and, if necessary, recounted.

Most important to maintaining and increasing public faith in elections is improving openness, especially leveraging Internet technology to make anyone a potential election observer. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's project to put all 6,700 contested ballots in the Senate race on the Web, so people can compare their own judgments to those of the canvassing board, is but one example. Election officials who have nothing to hide should be putting as much as possible online as quickly as possible.

Citizens and the media might also take a closer look at some of the individuals and organizations involved in monkeying with and even overturning elections. Both Mr. Franken and Ms. Gregoire were endorsed by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- Acorn -- a group under investigation in several states for suspected voter registration chicanery.

The man overseeing the Senate recount, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, was also endorsed by Acorn, and his election campaign in 2006 was funded in part by something called "The Secretary of State Project." This latter group, founded by's former grass-roots director, exists solely to install far-left candidates as secretaries of state in swing states.

Close elections will always stir controversy. They will often require recounts to validate the results. Yet the Washington and Minnesota recounts offer cautionary tales. The democratic process is too important to be disregarded until a virtual tie forces us to pay attention. Regardless of which candidates win our elections, the voters -- not the vote counters -- should win every time.

Mr. England is director of the Citizenship and Governance Center at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Fix is In, Utah legislators keep getting elected, here is why

The problem here in Utah nobody, especially elected officials want to admit is the fix is in here in Utah. This goes both ways for the Democrats and the Republicans so this is not directed at either party.

There is turnover in the legislature to be sure, but it is controlled by the very elected officials that are leaving office.

Having been on the “inside” of the Republican Party all my life, I have never seen a more “the fix is in” system anywhere else in the country other than maybe Illinois.

An elected state Representative here in Utah (from either party) needs only a handful (about 50) friends and neighbors to keep happy and re-elected as delegates each two years to stay in office. The State Senators only need about 100 delegates every four years, and the Federal guys need 700-1500 delegates. The caucus system here in Utah can and will continue to be gamed by skilled operatives.

The other concerning issue here in Utah is their really is no true turnover in the legislature. When an elected official decides to leave the legislature, they essentially hand pick their replacement and just before their term is up they “retire”. The local county party holds a special caucus meeting of the delegates in that district. Usually this is only attended by “diehard” party people and those “friends” of the retiring legislator. The retiring legislator then in the caucus meeting introduces their handpicked replacement to all the delegates, and then “nominates” them when the meeting is called for a vote. I would say a nearly 100% success for this strategy is used by those elected officials. These caucus meetings may have only a handful of people, sometimes less than 10 delegates. So the fix is in.

Then these hand picked replacements are sworn into office and become the incumbent for the next election cycle allowing then to receive the mothers milk of elections, lobbyist money. It is almost impossible to replace an incumbent elected official in this state. Both sides know this and take advantage of this to maintain their seats in the Legislature.

The only way this will change is for the citizens of Utah to create an easier access to the ballot.

Having lived in Washington State and Alaska the election process seems to be a more open choice for the people to decide, not the hard line left or right.

Look at how moderate Republicans are treated here in Utah, even elected ones. You are a RINO if you do not agree 100% with the power brokers within the party, especially on the issue of vouchers.

As long as our current system decides the election on caucus night, nothing will change. Our elected officials don’t want it changed for obvious reasons, so what to do?

What chance does any candidate that is fiscally conservative but socially moderate have in ever receiving the nomination from either major party here in Utah, especially in Salt Lake City? How about zero, nada, zilch.

The third parties here in Utah all have some kind of issue that drives them. The Green party is the environment. The constitution party is even more right wing than the GOP.

So what to do? You can’t get a constitutional amendment before the voters without it passing the Legislature, so we again have no say in how we elect our officials.

This is why the need for a Unaffiliated Party of Utah. If candidates were allowed to run unaffiliated without having to obtain thousands of signatures, they could run against each other for a place on the general election ballot to be decided on the primary election. Both of the other major parties would be unaffected, and voters would actually have several choices other than the two major parties to choose from.

What a novel idea, actually letting the voters of Utah select the best candidate regardless of party affiliation.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Regulators Spring Into Action Against Naked Short Sellers. Or not. December 7th, 2008 by Patrick Byrne

As is explained in numerous pieces in DeepCapture, there are many cracks in the settlement system, one of them being the DTCC’s Continuous Net Settlement system, or CNS. I am highly confident that the federales (at least, the SEC) are not permitted to explore the other cracks, that the failures to deliver that they see within the CNS are thus but a small fraction of all that exist, and that, therefore, trying to gauge the depth of the naked short selling problem from the level of FTD’s in the CNS is like trying to guess the condition of an automobile from the level of water in its radiator.

But it’s a start. Given that the CNS system is the one place the SEC can look, and might be able to do something about, it is instructive to see how well they are cleaning up unsettled trades there. Towards that end, DeepCapture has analyzed the data that the SEC released last week. These graphs show their fine progress in that regard.

Full Story

Monday, October 06, 2008

Financial Plan that makes sense !

If you had purchased $1000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00.

With Enron, you would have $16.50 left of the original $1000.

With WorldCom, you would have less than $5.00 left.

If you had purchased $1000.00 of Delta Air Lines stock you would have $49.00 left.

If you had purchased United Airlines , you would have nothing left.

But, if you had purchased $1000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling refund you would have $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

This is called the 401-Keg Plan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

President's market rescue plan

SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --, Inc. (Nasdaq: OSTK) chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne comments on President Bush's September 24, 2008 speech outlining the President's market rescue plan.

Dr. Byrne commented: "This bailout is necessary to save the bacchanal that is our US financial system. However, at the core of the administration's plan is the assumption that Wall Street is worth saving. It is not. For years Wall Street has bossed Washington, DC around like they're hired flunkies, while preying on Main Street businesses and investors. The federal government should use this opportunity to extract from Wall Street concessions that could never be extracted were Washington in its customary subordinate position.

"If American taxpayers are to bailout the Power Elite, they should attach conditions. Taxpayers should share in any upside, and gaping flaws in the current system should be fixed. Towards that end, I believe that any bailout legislation should include at least the following protections:

1. Taxpayers need to share in the upside if the bailout works, to compensate them for the risk that the administration is forcing them to take. This could be accomplished through warrants on shares in the firms being bailed out, such as those Mr. Buffett extracted from Goldman Sachs.

2. The government should impose a tax on those that benefit most from bailout -- Wall Street itself. Perhaps a 0.25% transaction tax on all securities trades is in order? Such a tax would be insignificant to investors, while be largely borne by those that are merely speculators - including those that churn trades in an attempt to manipulate the markets.

3. Bailout or none, the government must fix underlying problems in our capital market. The fixes includes:

a. Reforming our stock settlement system so that trades actually settle promptly, precisely as Congress stipulated in 1934. This can be accomplished by putting in place a market-wide mandatory pre-borrow requirement (like the SEC did in the 30-day July 15, 2008 emergency order that protected the 19 financial institutions);

b. Creating the obligation that if a naked short seller fails to deliver a share, the broker-dealer must force a mandatory buy-in (as is done in civilized countries, such as Canada);

c. Tracking trades cradle-to-grave (rather than net blocks of trades against each other), so that it is obvious who the naked short sellers are and the total amounts they are stealing;

d. Providing regular, timely disclosure of when and how many shares have failed to deliver;

e. Enforcing the rules, including significant monetary penalties and jail time.

"Keynes said that an ocean of productivity can support a bubble of speculation, but an ocean of speculation cannot support a bubble of productivity. Washington has been captured by speculators at the expense of producers. I have long been talking about systemic risk and potential financial crisis (see for a three- minute video from as early as October 2005). I am proposing specific steps to fix the system. For those that agree with these fixes which protect Main Street Americans, I ask you to sign the electronic petition at"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who Hates Sarah Palin?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
By Greg Gutfeld

According to many in the media, we truly have discovered someone worse than Hitler — and it's Sarah Palin.
Head to any left-wing blog or even CNN for that matter and you'll find the zaniest of conspiracies -- froth that even a dude with rabies would find unseemly.

So how can one person create so much bile among folks who claim to be the most tolerant in the universe? I mean, liberals are the good people: They're open-minded, caring and of course, fair.

But somehow, a Republican lady in her 40s is exempt from this treatment. Perhaps, she truly is the devil in a dress, a ghoul that eats children and pollutes the planet and possibly beats Barack Obama, the patron saint of every customer buying wheat germ in bulk at GNC.

But I know the real reason why every single elitist media type is terrified of her. They've never met her. And by "her," I don't mean Sarah Palin. I mean "her", an actual normal woman with a bunch of kids, an average husband and no desire to watch "The L Word."

She's scary to these folks the way Wal-Mart is scary to them: Both are alien to someone who blogs about their chakras. They won't go there, because they've never been there.

To them, hating Sarah Palin is a symptom of larger bigotry against the rest of us, the normal. If they saw her at a party, they would wonder how she got in. She's the anti-Obama, the anti-New York Times, the anti-everything that Tim Robbins loves, which is why I love her — and you should too.

And if you disagree with me, then you sir are worse than Hitler.

Greg Gutfeld hosts "Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld" weekdays at 3 a.m. ET. Send your comments to:

Sahra sends slapshot back at Obama

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Political Teams Battle to Define Palin in Alaska

A new battleground is emerging in the presidential race, and it’s not a swing state like Ohio or Florida. The fight is in Alaska, and it’s over the ability to define Sarah Palin.

Alaska, rich with gobbets of information on Palin’s personal and political past, is the new political frontier.

According to reports, a “mini-army” of Democratic lawyers and operatives has descended on the home state of John McCain’s running mate to open the books on her past, and the Barack Obama campaign is trucking out a group of Alaskan supporters whose mission is to “set the record straight” on the governor’s career.

The McCain campaign, likewise, has sent a team — much as it did during the Democratic National Convention — to launch a counteroffensive of its own in Alaska. The campaign also has formed a “truth squad” of McCain-Palin supporters to defend Palin when it feels she is unjustly attacked.

The proxy war has led to recriminations on both sides, and it will probably last through Election Day.

In the center of it all are questions over Palin’s religious beliefs, her family, her record on pork-barrel spending and an ethics inquiry into whether she fired a former public safety commissioner because he would not dismiss a trooper who was going through a divorce from Palin’s sister.

McCain’s campaign launched an ad Wednesday invoking a Wall Street Journal article that reported that 30 Democratic lawyers and researchers were digging around in Juneau, Anchorage and Palin’s home town of Wasilla.

“The attacks on Governor Palin have been called completely false, misleading, and they’ve just begun,” the narrator says, referencing the article. “As Obama drops in the polls, he’ll try to destroy her.”

Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor released a statement refuting the Journal article, saying “neither the Obama campaign nor the DNC have sent researchers to Alaska.”

But the campaign does not specifically deny that Democratic lawyers are researching Palin in Alaska, either from in-state firms or out-of-state independent groups that support Obama. They only deny having sent them.

The Democratic National Committee also denies having any researchers on the ground.

“The Democratic National Committee has zero lawyers, zero, zilch, nada in Alaska,” DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse told “I don’t know of any lawyers or researchers from the outside that have been sent into Alaska.”

But McHugh Pierre, with the Alaska Republican Party, told he’s personally seen and spoken with Democratic operatives in the state looking into Palin.

“They’ve got a ton of people. They’ve got like three dozen staff here,” he said. “They’re knocking on doors. They’re everywhere.”

He said he spoke with a few who were knocking on doors in Anchorage, and who said they were working for the Obama campaign.

The Obama campaign seemed to leave a little wiggle room in its description of the situation Wednesday.

Asked about the claims, spokesman Josh Earnest took issue with the charge in the Journal and McCain ad that operatives were “airdropped” into Alaska.

“That’s just not true,” he said on a conference call, adding: “There are no Obama or DNC staffers or researchers that were airdropped into Alaska.”

But his objection centered more on the alleged importation of Democratic lawyers than on their actual presence in the state.

Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles and Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, two Obama supporters on the call, tried to brush off the charge.

Weinstein said he’s “not aware” of any Democratic lawyers in the state researching Palin.

But he also said: “I’m not surprised, whether it’s Democrats or media, coming to Alaska to find out who is this person, what is really her record, what are her truth beliefs?”

Knowles and Weinstein are part of the newly formed Alaska Mythbusters, which on Wednesday held the conference call to accuse Palin of supporting the very earmarks, such as the “Bridge to Nowhere,” that she claims to have defeated, and to raise questions about the trooper inquiry.

“That is a very serious ethical charge, and whether it’s for personal vendetta or personal gain, a person in public office cannot use their power to achieve those ends,” Knowles said.

The trooper investigation will no doubt be a hot topic in the race to define Palin, along with earmarks. Though the McCain-Palin ticket touts itself as the scourge of pork-barrelers, Palin has requested nearly $200 million in earmarks this year.

Obama hasn’t asked for any earmarks this year, but he sought $311 million worth last year. McCain doesn’t seek earmarks for his state and routinely pledges to make authors of such wasteful requests “famous.”

As the debate churns, the McCain campaign is also on the ground in Alaska.

Spokesman Taylor Griffin said he’s set up shop with eight other members of the McCain campaign in Anchorage to “counter the smears at Sarah Palin that are coming from the Democratic side.”

He called the trooper investigation “politically motivated,” and said he’s working hand-in-hand with McCain headquarters to refute Palin criticisms.

“It’s absolutely unprecedented, the level of attacks that have been made against Sarah Palin and her family,” he said.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said it should come as no surprise that Democrats are doing detailed research on Palin, since she was introduced to a national audience less than two weeks ago. He said only Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Dan Quayle in 1988 generated this kind of surprise response.

“When a presidential candidate surprises the country with a relatively unknown choice, then all hell breaks loose,” Sabato said. “It did with Ferraro, it did with Quayle, it’s happening with Palin.

“The surprise guarantees that the other side hasn’t done the research,” he said.

Sabato said the key Democratic objective with Palin is probably to find controversial statements made at churches Palin has attended, to counteract criticism Obama faced over the fiery sermons of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright Jr.

Indeed, a former pastor of Palin has been quoted telling followers in 2004 that he questioned whether people who voted for John Kerry could receive salvation. He also described the Iraq war as a battle for the survival of Christianity.

Palin, however, left that church — the Wasilla Assembly of God — in 2002.

“They’re trying to gather information to negate the Rev. Wright,” Sabato said. “Politics is just one big game of tit for tat.”

FOX News’ Judson Berger, Carl Cameron and Dan Springer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Obama puts heat on Palin as she boosts GOP ticket

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer 40 minutes ago

Listening to Barack Obama, it can seem like Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is the main person standing between him and the White House instead of John McCain.

Obama is putting as much heat on Palin as he is on the man at the top of the GOP ticket, objecting to the Republican Party's portrayal of her as a reformer who can bring change to Washington.

That is supposed to be Obama's distinction, and he's not taking kindly to Palin trying to claim it. Especially when it appears the new star on the GOP ticket is helping boost its standing: McCain has jumped to a dead heat or narrow lead over Obama in the latest national polls since choosing Palin as his running mate.

Obama said last week's Republican National Convention did a good job of highlighting Palin's biography — "Mother, governor, moose shooter. That's cool," he said. But he said Palin really is just another Republican politician, one who is stretching the truth about her record.

"When John McCain gets up there with Sarah Palin and says, `We're for change,' ... what are they talking about?" Obama said Monday, arguing that they aren't offering different ideas from President Bush and they are just trying to steal his campaign theme because it seemed to be working.

"It was just like a month ago they were all saying, `Oh, it's experience, experience, experience.' Then they chose Palin and they started talking about change, change, change," he said.

Obama's campaign seemed to be caught off guard by McCain's surprise pick of Palin on Aug. 29. Obama's spokesman initially blasted her as a former small-town mayor with zero foreign policy experience who wants to continue Bush's policies. But Obama quickly walked the statement back with more congratulatory words about Palin as a compelling addition to the ticket.

Voters, particularly women, seem to agree, according to new polls. An ABC News-Washington Post survey showed white women have moved from backing Obama by 8 points to supporting McCain by 12 points, with majorities viewing Palin favorably and saying she boosts their faith in McCain's decisions.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said there's no doubt Palin is helping excite the GOP base, but what remains to be seen is how she plays with swing voters over the remaining two months of the campaign.

"There's no question they believe Governor Palin has given them a surge of energy in the short term," he said. "We'll see where we stand eight weeks from now."

With Palin out on the campaign trail every day blasting Obama, it became increasingly clear he had to respond and try to undermine her credibility. He was careful with his approach, declining in an interview on MSNBC's "Countdown" on Monday to respond directly to a question about whether she's too inexperienced to be next in line to the presidency.

But Obama's campaign saw an opening when the McCain-Palin campaign released a new ad Monday called "Original Mavericks" that included the claim that Palin stopped the so-called Bridge to Nowhere, a nearly $400 million proposal to build a bridge to an island in Alaska occupied by just 50 residents and an airport. Obama called the claim "shameless."

Palin voiced support for the bridge during her campaign to become Alaska's governor, although she was critical of the size, and later abandoned plans for the project. She used the federal dollars for other projects in Alaska.

"A bunch of heat started generating because people were thinking, `Why are we building a bridge to nowhere?'" Obama said to laughter from a packed gymnasium of supporters in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills. Some booed at the mention of her name.

"So a deal was cut where Alaska still got the money. They just didn't build a bridge with it, and now she's out there acting like she was fighting this thing the whole time," he said, jabbing his fist in the air like a boxer. He released his own ad in response to the GOP spot that says McCain and Palin are "politicians lying about their records."

At an earlier stop Monday in Flint, Obama said of the bridge claim: "I mean, you can't just make stuff up. You can't just re-create yourself. You can't just reinvent yourself. The American people aren't stupid. What they are looking for is someone who has consistently been calling for change."

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Palin has billed Alaska taxpayers for more than $43,000 in travel and lodging expenses for her children and husband during the 19 months she has been governor.

Sharon Leighow, a spokeswoman for the Alaska governor's office, told the Post that many of the invitations Palin receives also request that she bring her family. And the newspaper pointed out that Palin's travel expenses are far less than those of her predecessor, Frank Murkowski.

McCain-Palin spokesman Tucker Bounds said Obama's negative attacks show he is increasingly desperate.

"Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin have shook up the establishment and delivered real reforms," Bounds said. "Barack Obama has a speech he gave in 2002."


Associated Press writer Christopher Wills contributed to this report from Chicago.

Monday, September 08, 2008

You Can’t Fake Authenticity

Cal Thomas
September 8th, 2008 2:44 PM Eastern

What is it about Sarah Palin that has gotten the liberal media’s knickers in a twist? Why are they criticizing, even mocking, everything from her hair to her faith?

She is exactly what the feminists claim to want and admire in women: strong, self-assured, a working mom, a political leader. But wait, she is a conservative Republican and because of that they hate her for displaying all of the aforementioned characteristics.

They are appalled that she would keep a Down Syndrome child when she could have aborted him. They are outraged when she speaks of God as if she knows Him, when their only acquaintance with the name is as a curse word, followed by “damn.” They are even disgusted that she has five children, as they think one (or two if you are Obama) is enough.

Sarah Palin is to the left what sunlight is to a vampire. Her high heels have knocked them back on the heels of their comfortable shoes.

She has galvanized and united the social and economic conservatives, when the left thought it saw an unbridgeable divide between the “oil and water” elements of the Republican Party.

The USA Today-Gallup Poll published Monday shows a ten point advantage for McCain-Palin among likely voters — the most important constituency. That is a remarkable turnaround when you consider Obama received an eight-point bounce from the Democratic Convention, which has now been wiped-out.

I think it has something to do with the fact that average people, who live in what the left thinks of as “flyover” country, identify with a woman who has an intact, yet imperfect family. They can visualize her pushing a grocery cart at the supermarket and shopping at Wal-Mart.

You can’t fake genuineness and if this trend continues, Obama and the entire Democratic Party — which thought it had this election in the bag — will be left to wonder over the next four years how they got their pockets picked by someone they arrogantly consider a yahoo from moose country.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

McCain-Palin becoming Palin-McCain?

McCain-Palin becoming Palin-McCain?

By SARA KUGLER, Associated Press WriterSat Sep 6, 4:26 PM ET

The banners, buttons and signs say McCain-Palin, but the crowds say something else.

"Sa-rah! Pa-lin!" came the chant at a Colorado Springs rally on Saturday moments before Republican nominee John McCain took the stage with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a woman who was virtually unknown to the nation just a week earlier. The day before, thousands screamed "Sa-rah! Sa-rah! Sa-rah!" at an amphitheater outside Detroit.

"Real change with a real woman," read one sign at a Wisconsin rally. "Hurricane Sarah leaves liberals spinning," cried another.

In the short time since McCain spirited the 44-year-old first-term governor out of Alaska and onto a national stage as his running mate, Palin has become an instant celebrity. And since her speech at the Republican National Convention, watched by more than 40 million Americans, she is emerging as the main attraction for many voters at their campaign appearances.

"She's the draw for a lot of people," said Marilyn Ryman, who came to see her at the Colorado rally inside an airport hangar. "The fact that she's someone new, not the old everything we've seen before."

McCain has sought to portray Palin as a bulldog who will help him "shake things up" on Capitol Hill.

Washington, he said Saturday, is "going to get to know her, but I can't guarantee you they'll love her."

"We do!" came a cry from the crowd.

Perhaps recognizing the excitement she is generating, the McCain campaign was planning to keep Palin with McCain for several more days, rather than dispatch her to campaign by herself, as had initially been discussed.

On Saturday, McCain and Palin rode their post-convention wave into the competitive West, where Democrats have made recent gains in traditional Republican strongholds.

After a day of talking up economic themes in the Midwest, the pair attracted thousands at a rally in Colorado Springs, a city at the foot of Pike's Peak that is home to many conservatives and military families. They were to head later to New Mexico.

It was McCain's first appearance in Colorado since the Democrats had their convention in Denver last month.

Both campaigns consider the battleground state in play with the election less than two months away.

"Colorado, it's going to be a hard-fought battle here," Palin said. As soon as she began speaking, a group of supporters interrupted her with a cheer of "Sa-rah! Sa-rah!"

Palin is even getting the star treatment from celebrity magazines, Web sites and television programs, which have played up her personal story as a mother of five children, one of whom is 17 years old, unmarried and pregnant.

The excitement with which people are turning out to see Palin could complicate a key line of attack that the McCain campaign has been building against Democrat Barack Obama for months.

Republicans have sought to cast Obama's support as nothing more than shallow adoration and hype befitting a movie star. They have mocked his appeal among Hollywood types and compared his star status to that of lightweights like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. They say there is nothing of substance to back up the candidacy of the Illinois senator.

Palin herself asked in her convention speech what happens "when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot — what exactly is our opponent's plan?"

Obama has been careful in his comments about her, saying Saturday that she has flip-flopped on spending earmarks, but also calling her a "skillful politician."

Voters interviewed at rallies said their support for McCain has been cemented with his pick of Palin, who is a social conservative and reassures many who were wary about McCain on those issues.

Patricia Hoskins said she was already backing McCain but that Palin "really lit the fire under me."

And in the brief time that McCain and Palin have been campaigning since she introduced herself to the nation, many women at their events have said they identify with her personal struggles.

"She's every mom," said Lindsey Denny, a mother of 7, including a set of quintuplets, two of whom have special needs like Palin's infant son with Down syndrome. Denny said Palin's inclusion on the ticket was "110 percent" the reason why she went to see her Saturday.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin Assails Critics and Electrifies Party

Published: September 4, 2008

ST. PAUL — Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska introduced herself to America before a roaring crowd at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night as “just your average hockey mom” who was as qualified as the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama, to be president of the United States.

An hour later Senator John McCain, a scrappy, rebellious former prisoner of war in Vietnam whose campaign was resurrected from near-death a year ago, was nominated by the Republican Party to be the 44th president of the United States after asking the cheering delegates, “Do you think we made the right choice” in picking Ms. Palin as the vice-presidential nominee?

The roll-call vote made Mr. McCain, 72, the first Republican presidential candidate to share the ticket with a woman and only the second presidential candidate from a major party to do so, after Walter F. Mondale selected Geraldine A. Ferraro as his running mate for the Democratic ticket in 1984.

But the nomination was a sideshow to the evening’s main event, the speech by the little-known Ms. Palin, who was seeking to wrest back the narrative of her life and redefine herself to the American public after a rocky start that has put Mr. McCain’s closest aides on edge. Ms. Palin’s appearance electrified a convention that has been consumed by questions of whether she was up to the job, as she launched slashing attacks on Mr. Obama’s claims of experience.

“Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown,” Ms. Palin told the delegates in a speech that sought to eviscerate Mr. Obama, as delegates waved signs that said “I love hockey moms.” “And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

As the crowd cheered its approval, Ms. Palin went on: “I might add that in small towns we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.”

Ms. Palin was referring to Mr. Obama’s experience as a community organizer in Chicago before he served in the Illinois legislature and was elected to the United States Senate in 2004 as well as comments he made at a fundraiser in California about bitter rural voters who “cling” to guns and religion.

The address by Ms. Palin, 44, who stunned the political world last week as Mr. McCain’s pick for a running mate, took place before a convention transformed from an orderly coronation into a messy, days-long drama since the McCain campaign’s disclosure on Monday that Ms. Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, was pregnant. Since then there have been a host of other distractions, including Hurricane Gustav, questions about how thoroughly Mr. McCain vetted what people close to his campaign have called the last-minute pick of Ms. Palin, and charges from Mr. McCain’s top aides that the news media has launched a sexist smear campaign against his running mate.

“I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment,” Ms. Palin said in her remarks. which took aim at the news media as the crowd began lustily booing the press. “And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion; I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”

Ms. Palin spent the first part of her speech introducing her family one by one to the crowd, including her husband, Todd. “We met in high school, and two decades and five children later he’s still my guy,” Ms. Palin said.

Ms. Palin also displayed humor in one of her biggest lines of the night when she said that “the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull” was “lipstick.”

Ms. Palin’s speech was the big draw of a convention night notable for not a single mention from the stage of the unpopular president, George W. Bush, who addressed the delegates Tuesday via satellite from the White House after the hurricane forced him to cancel his appearance.

Ms. Palin’s speech came after Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York launched a withering attack on Mr. Obama as part of a relentless assault by Republicans arguing that Ms. Palin, the former mayor of a town of less than 7,000 people who has been governor of Alaska for 20 months, had a more impressive résumé than Mr. Obama.

“She already has more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket,” said Mr. Giuliani, one of three former rivals of Mr. McCain for the nomination, including former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who took on Mr. Obama in speeches Wednesday evening.

“Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada,” Mr. Giuliani said, then launched an attack on people who have questioned whether Ms. Palin will have enough energy to focus on the vice presidency as the mother of five. “How dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president,” Mr. Giuliani said. “How dare they do that? When do they ever ask a man that question?”

The criticism of Mr. Obama reinforced new television commercials by the McCain campaign that similarly belittled the Democratic nominee’s experience. The campaign and its surrogates also took on what they called biased and sexist coverage of Ms. Palin.

“Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we all didn’t know that already,” Ms. Palin said. “But the fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all. Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines, build more nuclear plants, create jobs with clean coal and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative sources.”

The speech was the first public emergence for Ms. Palin since arriving here Sunday, two days after Mr. McCain named her as his running mate. Ms. Palin has spent her time in a hotel suite with her husband, Todd, and their five children preparing for her speech and the questions on foreign policy, national security and family matters that she will face from the news media when the McCain campaign makes her available to reporters. Their son Track, 19, deploys overseas for the Army next month.

Democrats, who have held much of their fire this week as the Republican melodrama has played out in Minnesota, criticized the convention as failing so far to address the concerns of ordinary Americans.

“You did not hear a single world about the economy,” Mr. Obama told an audience on in New Philadelphia, Ohio, before Ms. Palin’s speech. “Not once did they mention the hardships that people are going through.”

Mr. McCain landed in Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon and was greeted on the tarmac by Ms. Palin, her family and his family in a striking multigenerational tableau, 16 strong, with the youngest member Trig Palin, Sarah Palin’s 4-month-old, who has Down syndrome. Later, in Mr. McCain’s appearance at the convention, he praised the Palins as “a beautiful family.”

Delegates said they were enthralled by Ms. Palin. "I think she’s great; she’s giving it back to the Democrats for all the sorry things they’ve said about her and about America," said Anita Bargas, a delegate from Angleton, Tex. "She’s a conservative, and she has a great sense of humor."

With Ms. Palin facing a torrent of inquiries from reporters, Mr. McCain joined other Republicans in assailing news outlets when he told ABC News in an interview on Wednesday that “Sarah Palin has 24,000 employees in the state government” and was “responsible for 20 percent of the nation’s energy supply.” He added that he was entertained by the comparison of her experience to that of Mr. Obama and that “I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America.”

Monday, September 01, 2008

Palin electrifies conservative base

Palin electrifies conservative base

Jonathan MartinSun Aug 31, 8:16 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate has electrified conservative activists, providing a boost of energy to the GOP nominee-in-waiting from a key constituency that previously had been lukewarm — at best — about him.

By tapping the anti-abortion and pro-gun Alaska governor just ahead of his convention, which is set to start here Monday, McCain hasn’t just won approval from a skeptical Republican base — he’s ignited a wave of elation and emotion that has led some grass-roots activists to weep with joy.

Serious questions remain about McCain’s pick — exactly how much he knows about her and her positions, past and present, on key issues. But for the worker bee core of the party that is essential to any Republican victory, there are no doubts.

“I woke up and my e-mail was just going crazy,” said Charmaine Yoest, head of the legislative arm of Americans United for Life and a former top official in Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign. “And then when it was announced — it was like you couldn’t breathe.”

The media elite — as well as elite members of the GOP consulting community — have all but mocked Palin as a former small-town mayor with zero Washington experience. But that view of her totally misses the cultural resonance she carries to crucial Republican power centers and could not be more at odds with the jubilation felt among true believers that one of their own is on the ticket.

Palin, say conservative activists, has instantly changed how they feel about McCain’s campaign and spurred them to go to work for the Republican ticket.

First, though, they’re expressing their newfound fondness for McCain with their checkbooks. Since tapping Palin, the campaign has raised nearly $7 million online, according to McCain aides.

Most importantly for McCain, the two constituencies who are most energized by Palin just happen to be the twin grassroots pillars of the GOP: anti-abortion activists and pro-Second Amendment enthusiasts and sportsmen. Without these two camps making phone calls, stuffing envelopes and knocking on doors, Republican presidential candidates would severely lack for volunteers. They are critical to the health of the conservative coalition that has dominated Republican politics for a generation.

Republicans say the primary source for the passion can be found in Palin’s example and authenticity.

Not only is the 44-year-old governor opposed to abortion rights — but she carried and gave birth to a child with Down syndrome earlier this year, a profound and powerful motivating force to both opponents of abortion rights and the parents and relatives of special needs children.

And not only is she a supporter of the right to bear arms — but she’s a lifetime member of the NRA and an avid hunter and fisherman whose gubernatorial office couch is adorned with a massive grizzly bear pelt.

“She’s lived it!” exulted Yoest. “It’s so satisfying as a conservative woman. When she walked out on that stage there was just this moment. It was really emotional for a lot of us.”

After hearing the news, Yoest, who was in St. Paul preparing for the convention, said she and other Republican women here “were grabbing each other and jumping up and down.”

Steve Duprey, a former New Hampshire GOP chairman and top McCain backer who hails from the moderate wing of the party, was also in the Twin Cities when the news broke.

“I was in the Rules Committee with about 150 people in the room. They had TVs set up and we took a break to watch the announcement. For a second after she came out, it was silent. Then there was a gasp and everybody stood up and started cheering and clapping. We stayed standing the whole speech.”

After Palin finished, he said, the emotion set in.

“There were 10 or 12 women, party stalwarts, in tears, using napkins and handkerchiefs.”

Part of the reason for the joy is what President Bush once called, in another context, “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Social conservatives just didn’t expect one of their own to be tapped and were actually bracing themselves for the selection of a supporter of abortion rights.

“There is an electricity going through the social conservative crowd right now; it’s unbelievable,” said James Muffett, head of Michigan’s Citizens for Traditional Values, who had met with McCain in the weeks leading up to his selection of a running mate. “Especially given all the set-ups and head fakes — it’s amazing. A lot of people were sure he was going to show his more moderate colors.”

Muffett said the effect on his conservative comrades in arms has been immediate and visceral.

“My wife and I watched an MSNBC special on her last night,” he said. “My wife knew nothing about this woman. But she was in tears listening to her articulate the views she had.”

Since the pick, Muffett said, he’s gotten “dozens of e-mails and the phones have been ringing off the hook” from other social conservatives who had assumed McCain would spurn them.

“They were taunting me, saying ‘McCain’s going to disappoint you,’” he said of the sentiment before the pick.


“’Boy, what kind of prayers have you been saying for McCain?’” he said with a chuckle about the question asked on one phone call. “He went and chose a Pentecostal for his running mate!”

The adoration goes beyond Christian conservatives.

Sportsmen are also overjoyed at the addition of one of their own, and can’t get enough of video and pictures showing Palin firing a weapon.

“She's one of us,” wrote Michael Bane, a prominent Colorado-based gun enthusiast who has a show on the Outdoor Channel, on his blog. “FINALLY, we can get 100 percent behind the Republican ticket ... change we can believe in!”

“You know I've had my problems with McCain, but he has reached out a hand to us both at the NRA Annual Meeting [earlier this year] and with the amazing selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate,” Bane added.

And then there is the contrast: “While [Barack Obama] wants to ban AR-15s, Palin shoots AR-15s, and apparently pretty well.”

“Every shooter, every hunter, every gun owner, every competitor needs to understand that it is time to, in the words of Bruce Willis, ‘cowboy the 'f...' up.’ ”

Chris Cox, the top political aide at the NRA, suggested that his job just got a whole lot easier, not just with a pro-gun Republican vice presidential nominee but a Democratic number two — Delaware Sen. Joe Biden — who is anathema to the Second Amendment community

“We’ll be able to have some fun contrasting not just McCain and Obama, but Biden and Palin,” said Cox, whose organization is giving "I'm a Bitter Gun Owner and I Vote!" signs and T-shirts to its members. “She’s great on our issues and [Biden’s] been terrible for 35 years.”

Her image as a pistol-packin’ mama could prove especially key in the hunter-filled Rust Belt, said Paul Erhardt, a longtime political strategist who specializes on gun issues.

“Palin could play strong in the sporting states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, depending on how they use her,” he said. “Most pundits will underestimate her appeal in these key areas because they don't know her and they are unfamiliar with the sporting scene. But among sportsmen, authenticity counts and Palin's got that and then some.”

Palin also reassures those concerned about McCain's judgment on judges. Said Gary Marx, head of the Judicial Confirmation Network and a former Mitt Romney aide: "I can tell you that this pick tells millions in the base of the party that they can trust McCain. More specifically that they can trust him with Supreme Court picks and other key appoitments"

The sense of rejuvenation is not just limited to party activists, though. Conservative elites, among the most disdainful of McCain, are also coming around.

James Dobson, long a McCain skeptic, said after the announcement Friday that he’d support Palin.

And he’s not alone.

“I’ve talked to two prominent social conservative leaders in the past 24 hours who told me they had previously not planned to attend the convention, but were now coming to Minneapolis after the Palin pick,” wrote Ralph Reed, a Christian conservative leader who has tangled with McCain, in an e-mail. “One scrambled to find a hotel room and is coming tomorrow; the other rearranged his schedule and is flying in Wednesday. I got a call this afternoon from an evangelical business leader who told me he was contacting the McCain campaign and offering to host a fundraiser with his friends for McCain (sans the candidate) before the Thursday deadline [when McCain shifts to the public financing system]. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a veep pick energize the grass roots like this.”

Rush Limbaugh, who exulted on the air this week, summed up the response he’s gotten from his loyal listeners: “Home f***ing run.”

“Palin=Guns, Babies, Jesus,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Contrast that to Obama's bitter clingers. Obama just lost blue-collar, white Democratic voters in Pennsylvania and other states.”

And, he said, the line that the pick was aimed at picking off Democratic women who backed Hillary Rodham Clinton doesn’t get it right.

“[The] choice is to shore up the conservative, pro-drilling base,” he said. “This is an aggressive, on-offense pick, not a defensive pick.”

The pick caps off what has been a turbulent few weeks for conservative Republicans.

Muffett, who was talking on his cell phone from a church outing at Ohio’s Cedar Point amusement park, likened McCain’s campaign to the world-record 17 roller coasters that dot the park on the banks of Lake Erie.

“Oh my gosh, holy moly,” he said. “He floated the pro-abortion running mate, then there was his performance at the Saddleback debate, and then you had the Lieberman headfake and now this.”

“Up and down, up and down.”

For now, though, at least as it relates to the long-mistrustful conservatives he’ll need energized to win, McCain is sky-high.

“Now that he has so thoroughly exceeded their expectations for his candidacy (first with his stellar performance at the Saddleback Showdown, now with his selection of his running mate), social conservatives are finally putting on their cleats and getting on to the field,” wrote Reed. “It’s really quite remarkable, and something that no one would have guessed would happen even three months ago.”

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington?

Presidential nominee John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, greet supporters at Consol Energy Park Saturday in Washington, Pa. (Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington.

When I received a text message from one of my daughters that McCain had picked Alaska Governor Sarah “Baracuda” Palin to be the GOP’s Vice Presidential choice I was thrilled. Finally a total Washington outsider who is just a “Hockey Mom”, and wants to do the right thing even if that upsets the Good-Ol-boy Republican machine. She is a 44 year old mother of 5 who can wear Prada and look like a movie star, and the next day be in hiking boots with camo’s scoping for the next trophy caribou (she really eats meat folks) or the next king Salmon on the Keni River.
What Sarah Palin does not know about foreign policy she will learn. She’s not running to be the President, McCain is. And unless he dies in the first week of his Presidency she will have a handle on things very quickly. McCain isn’t going anywhere, just look at his genetics. He spent 5 years being isolated and tortured in Vietnam, if he was weak person his life would have been over with. John McCain will live well into his 90’s and he will fulfill one and maybe even two terms. But the experience provided Sarah as VP will allow the Republican Party to nominate either a 48 or 52 year old woman with 4-8 years experience in the second highest profile job on the planet, and NOBODY will be questioning her credentials then.

Mark E. Towner

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin, I called it in June. This changes Everything. I'm sure my wife has already written Sarah a $4000 check to the McCain Campaign

Wednesday, June 04, 2008
McCain's Choice for VP, and I know this gal a real class act !!!

Having come from Alaska where you gatta be tough just to survive, and in order for McCain to be considered in my house for our vote he simply must choose a female for his running mate. Condi Rice would solve this but I think she would rather be the Commissioner of the NFL. So where does McCain go after Condi?, how about up North where the air is cold, and the women can be tough as nails, drop dead gorgeous, and Ivy league smart. Governor Sarah Palin is a gal who while 8 months pregnant honored a commitment to speak at a event in Texas, went into labor, finished her speech, jumped on a jet with a doctor, flew back to Anchorage, then was driven out to her home in Wasilla, had the State troopers drop her off at the local Hospital and punched out her 5th kid, now that takes chops. My daughter who still lives in Eagle River absolutely loves her as does the entire State of Alaska. She has kicked butt and taken names, and virtually eliminated the remotest aroma of corruption. She has seen to it that even long term GOP elected officials were investigated, tried and convicted and now sit in Alaska prisons. Like "Sarah Connor" of the terminator, she has taken on the establishment including the Federal Government trying to get oil fields open and the new Natural Gas pipeline built to help reduce US dependence on foreign oil. And finally given her age, she will be the first female president of the United States.

June 04, 2008
McCain Should Pick Sarah Palin for VP
By Jack Kelly

Who? When?

Republicans including, I imagine, Sen. McCain himself are asking these questions about his selection of a vice presidential candidate.

Ideally, a presidential candidate wants a running mate who will help him or her win the election, and (maybe) to govern afterwards. But most will settle for a veep who isn't a drag on the ticket, as Dan Quayle was for the first President Bush.

Traditionally, a presidential nominee has chosen a running mate to balance the ticket geographically, or to appease a faction of the party. The most successful example of this was when John F. Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson, though neither liked the other, and LBJ joined the ticket only because he thought Kennedy would lose.

Bill Clinton broke with this tradition when he chose another young (purported) moderate from a neighboring southern state. By picking Al Gore, he hoped to reinforce his campaign theme of generational change.

Which way will Sen. McCain go? The potential running mates most often discussed have downsides nearly as great as their upsides. Gov. Tim Pawlenty helps only in Minnesota, and not enough, according to current polls, to make a difference there. Sen. McCain's friend Sen. Joe Lieberman would bring in some moderate Democrats, but could further antagonize conservatives already suspicious of Sen. McCain. Gov. Romney would have little appeal to working class whites unhappy with Sen. Obama, and evangelicals fret about that Mormon thing. A Huckabee nomination would irritate economic and foreign policy conservatives as much as it would please evangelicals.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is a rising star. But he's only 36, and he's been governor for less than a year.
There is one potential running mate who has virtually no down side. Those conservatives who've heard of her were delighted to learn that McCain advance man Arthur Culvahouse was in Alaska recently, because they surmised he could only be there to discuss the vice presidential nomination with Gov. Sarah Palin.

At 44, Sarah Louise Heath Palin is both the youngest and the first female governor in Alaska's relatively brief history as a state. She's also the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating that has bounced around 90 percent.

This is due partly to her personal qualities. When she was leading her underdog Wasilla high school basketball team to the state championship in 1982, her teammates called her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her fierce competitiveness.

Two years later, when she won the "Miss Wasilla" beauty pageant, she was also voted "Miss Congeniality" by the other contestants.

Sarah Barracuda. Miss Congeniality. Fire and nice. A happily married mother of five who is still drop dead gorgeous. And smart to boot.

But it's mostly because she's been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party.

Ms. Palin touches other conservative bases, some of which Sen. McCain has been accused of rounding. Track, her eldest son, enlisted in the Army last Sept. 11. She's a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association who hunts, fishes and runs marathons. A regular churchgoer, she's staunchly pro-life.

Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal said Sen. McCain should run against a corrupt, do-nothing Congress, a la Harry Truman. If he should choose to do so, Gov. Palin would make an excellent partner "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who have crossed Sarah," pollster Dave Dittman told the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes.

Sen. Barack Obama's support has plunged recently among white women. Many Hillary Clinton supporters accuse him -- I think unfairly -- of being sexist. Having Sarah Palin on the ticket could help Sen. McCain appeal to these disgruntled Democrats.

Running mates usually aren't named until the convention. But if Sen. McCain should name Gov. Palin earlier, it would give America more time to get to know this extraordinary woman. And because she's at least a dozen feature stories waiting to be written, she could help him dominate the news between now and the conventions.

Another reason for selecting Sarah Palin early would be to force Barack Obama to make a mistake. He'd have to rule out choosing someone like Virginia Sen. Jim Webb as his running mate, for fear of exacerbating charges of sexism. And if he chose a woman other than Hillary, the impression Democrats are wimpy would be intensified.

Posted by Mark E. Towner at 8:33 AM 3 comments Links to this post

Labels: clinton, election 2008, gender, huckabee, John McCain,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Obama's economy outright laughable

By George F. Will
WASHINGTON — Barack Obama has made his economic thinking excruciatingly clear, so it also is clear that his running mate should be Rumpelstiltskin. He spun straw into gold, a skill an Obama administration will need in order to fulfill its fairy-tale promises.

Obama recently said he would "require that 10 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources by the end of my first term — more than double what we have now." Note the verb "require" and the adjective "renewable."

By 2012 he would "require" the economy's huge energy sector to — here things become comic — supply half as much energy from renewable sources as already is being supplied by just one potentially renewable source. About 20 percent of America's energy comes from nuclear energy produced using fuel rods, which, when spent, can be reprocessed into fresh fuel.

Obama is (this is part of liberalism's catechism) leery of nuclear power. He also says — and might say so even if Nevada were not a swing state — he distrusts the safety of Nevada's Yucca Mountain for storage of radioactive waste. Evidently he prefers today's situation — nuclear waste stored at 126 inherently insecure above-ground sites in 39 states, within 75 miles of where more than 161 million Americans live.

But back to requiring this or that quota of energy from renewable sources. What will that involve? For conservatives, seeing is believing; for liberals, believing is seeing. Obama seems to believe that if a particular outcome is desirable, one can see how to require it. But how does that work? Details to follow, sometime after noon, Jan. 20, 2009.

Obama has also promised that "we will get 1 million, 150-mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on our roads within six years." What a tranquilizing verb "get" is. This senator, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, is going to get a huge, complex industry to produce, and is going to get a million consumers to buy, these cars. How? Almost certainly by federal financial incentives for both — billions of dollars of tax subsidies for automakers, and billions more to bribe customers to buy these cars they otherwise would spurn.

Conservatives are sometimes justly accused of ascribing magic powers to money and markets: Increase the monetary demand for anything and the supply of it will expand. But it is liberals like Obama who think that any new technological marvel or other social delight can be summoned into existence by a sufficient appropriation. Once they thought "model cities" could be, too.

Where will the electricity for these million cars come from? Not nuclear power (see above). And not anywhere else, if Obama means this: "I will set a hard cap on all carbon emissions at a level that scientists say is necessary to curb global warming — an 80 percent reduction by 2050."

No he won't. Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute notes that in 2050 there will be 420 million Americans — 40 million more households. So Obama's cap would require reducing per capita carbon emissions to levels probably below even those "in colonial days when the only fuel we burned was wood."

Regarding taxes, Obama says "we don't want to return to marginal rates of 60 or 70 percent." The top federal rate was 70 percent until the Reagan cuts of 1981. It has since ranged between 50 in 1982 and today's 35. Obama promises that expiration of the Bush tax cuts will restore the 39.6 rate.

He also favors a payroll tax of up to 4 percent on earnings above $250,000 (today, only the first $102,000 is taxed), most of which also are subject to the highest state income tax rates. When the top federal rate was set at 28 under Reagan, payroll taxes were not levied on income over $42,000, so the top effective rate of combined taxes was under 35. Obama's policies would bring it to the mid-50s for many Americans, close to the 60 percent Obama considers excessive.

There never is a shortage of nonsensical political rhetoric, but really: Has there ever been solemn silliness comparable to today's politicians tarting up their agendas as things designed for, and necessary to, "saving the planet," and promising edicts to "require" entire industries to reorder themselves?

In 1996, Bob Dole, citing the Clinton campaign's scabrous fundraising, exclaimed: "Where's the outrage?" This year's campaign, soggy with environmental messianism, deranged self-importance and delusional economics, the question is: Where is the derisive laughter?

George Will's e-mail address is

Saturday, August 23, 2008

They're Paying Attention Now


They're Paying Attention Now
August 22, 2008; Page A11
Why is it a real race now, with John McCain rising in the polls and Barack Obama falling? There are many answers, but here I think is an essential one: The American people have begun paying attention.
It's hard for our political class to remember that Mr. Obama has been famous in America only since the winter of '08. America met him barely six months ago! The political class first interviewed him, or read the interview, in 2003 or '04, when he was a rising star. They know him. Everyone else is still absorbing.
This is what they see:
An attractive, intelligent man, interesting, but—he's hard to categorize. Is he Gen. Obama? No, no military background. Brilliant Businessman Obama? No, he never worked in business. Famous Name Obama? No, it's a new name, an unusual one. Longtime Southern Governor Obama? No. He's a community organizer (what's that?), then a lawyer (boo), then a state legislator (so what, so's my cousin), then U.S. senator (less than four years!).
There is no pre-existing category for him.
Add to that the wear and tear of Jeremiah Wright, secret Muslim rumors, media darling and, this week, abortion.
It took a toll, which led to a readjustment. His uniqueness, once his great power, is now his great problem.
And over there is Mr. McCain, and—well, we know him. He's POW/senator/prickly, irritating John McCain.
* * *

The Rick Warren debate mattered. Why? It took place at exactly the moment America was starting to pay attention. This is what it looked like by the end of the night: Mr. McCain, normal. Mr. Obama, not normal. You've seen this discussed elsewhere. Mr. McCain was direct and clear, Mr. Obama both more careful and more scattered. But on abortion in particular, Mr. McCain seemed old-time conservative, which is something we all understand, whether we like such a stance or not, and Mr. Obama seemed either radical or dodgy. He is "in favor . . . of limits" on late-term abortions, though some would consider those limits "inadequate." (In the past week much legal parsing on emanations of penumbras as to the viability of Roe v. Wade followed.)
As I watched I thought: How about "Let the baby live"? Don't parse it. Just "Let the baby live."
As to the question when human life begins, the answer to which is above Mr. Obama's pay grade, oh, let's go on a little tear. You know why they call it birth control? Because it's meant to stop a birth from happening nine months later. We know when life begins. Everyone who ever bought a pack of condoms knows when life begins.
To put it another way, with conception something begins. What do you think it is? A car? A 1948 Buick?
If you want to argue whether legal abortion is morally defensible, have at it and go to it, but Mr. Obama's answers here seemed to me strange and disturbing.
Mr. Obama's upcoming convention speech will be good. All Obama speeches are good. Not as interesting as he is—he is more compelling as a person than his words tend to be in text. But the speech will be good, and just in case it isn't good, people will still come away with an impression that it must have been, because the media is going to say it was, because they expect it to be, and what they expect is what most of them will see.
Will Mr. Obama dig deep as to meaning? As to political predicates? During the primary campaigns Republicans were always saying, "This is what I'll do." Mr. Obama has a greater tendency to say, "This is how we'll feel." Republicans talk to their base with, "If we pass this bill, which the Democrats irresponsibly oppose, we'll solve this problem." Democrats are more inclined toward, "If we bring a new attitude of hopefulness and respect for the world, we'll make the seas higher and the fish more numerous." Will Mr. Obama be, in terms of programs and plans, specific? And will his specifics be grounded in something that appears to amount to a political philosophy?
I suspect everyone has the convention speeches wrong. Everyone expects Mr. Obama to rouse, but the speech I'd watch is Mr. McCain's.
He's the one with the real opportunity, because no one expects anything. He's never been especially good at making speeches. (The number of men who've made it to the top of the GOP who don't particularly like making speeches, both Bushes and Mr. McCain, is astonishing, and at odds with the presumed requirements of the media age. The first Bush saw speeches as show biz, part of the weary requirement of leadership, and the second's approach reflects a sense that words, though interesting, were not his friend.)
But Mr. McCain provided, in 2004, one of the most exciting and certainly the most charged moment of the Republican Convention, when he looked up at Michael Moore in the press stands and said, "Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war, it was between war and a greater threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. . . . And certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace." It blew the roof off. And the smile he gave Mr. Moore was one of pure, delighted malice. When Mr. McCain comes to play, he comes to play.
Look for a certain populist stance. He signaled it this week in Politico. He called lobbyists "birds of prey" in pursuit of "their share of the spoils." Great stuff. (Boy, will he have trouble staffing his White House.)
* * *
I still think a one-term pledge could win it for him, because it would allow America to punt. It would make the 2008 choice seem less fateful. People don't mind the chance to defer a choice when they're not at all sure about the product. It would give bitter Democrats a chance to regroup, and it would give those who like Obama but consider him a little half-baked to vote against him guiltlessly while he becomes fully baked. (Imagine the Q&A when Sen. Obama announces his second presidential run in 2011: "Well, Brian, I think, looking back, there is something to be said for the idea that I will be a better president now than frankly I would have been four years ago. Experience, if you allow it, is still the best of all teachers.") More, it would allow Mr. McCain to say he means to face the tough problems ahead with a uniquely bipartisan attitude and without having to care a fig for re-election. That itself would give him a new power, one that would make up for the lost juice of lame duckdom. It would also serve to separate him from the hyperpolitical operating styles of the Clinton-Bush years, from the constant campaign.
And Mr. McCain would still have what he always wanted, the presidency, perhaps a serious and respectable one that accrued special respect because it involved some sacrifice on his part.
A move that would help him win doubtful voters, win disaffected Democrats, allow some Republicans to not have to get drunk to vote for him, and that could possibly yield real results for his country. This seems to me such a potentially electrifying idea that he'd likely walk out of his convention as the future president.
Mr. McCain told Politico on Wednesday that he's not considering a one-term pledge.
Why would he not? Such modesty of intent is at odds with the political personality. The thing that makes them want to rule America is the thing that stops them from thinking of prudent limits. This mindset crosses all political categories.
See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Jour

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Top acquisition official: Tanker acquisition top priority

by Staff Sgt. Monique Randolph
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

7/21/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Officials from the Government Accountability Office testified before Congress July 10 here about their decision to uphold Boeing's protests of the Air Force's selection of Northrop Grumman Corp. to produce 179 new tankers that would replace the aging KC-135 Stratotanker fleet.

In its report, GAO officials stated that errors had been made during the acquisition process that could have affected the outcome of the close competition between the two companies, but did not find evidence of intentional wrongdoing by Air Force officials.

"We didn't see an iota of evidence that there was intentional wrongdoing, no evidence of bias, no evidence of criminality," said Daniel I. Gordon, the deputy general counsel for the GAO during the hearing.

Following the Department of Defense's subsequent decision to reopen the bidding process, the Air Force's top acquisitions officer said she is optimistic the proposals will only get better, and both the taxpayer and warfighter will benefit from the new tanker.

"Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has made the tanker acquisition a top priority, and I applaud that," said Sue C. Payton, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition at the Pentagon. If we can get cooperation with all the parties, we should be able to award (the contract) in December or January."

Ms. Payton credits members of the Air Force acquisitions team with helping to build such strong proposals from both companies.

"Over the past two years, I saw the most honest, dedicated, hard-working individuals I've ever worked with in more than 30 years," she said. "We shared more information and opened the door for more questions from the offerors than ever before. Acquisitions have extensive regulations, legislative considerations and rules of fair play. It's extremely complex, very competitive and high stakes."

Of more than 100 issues raised in Boeing's protest, eight were sustained by the GAO, she said.

"When the GAO finds fault, it doesn't mean your (organization) is fatally flawed," Ms. Payton said.

The tanker is one of 35 major defense acquisition efforts currently in the works for the Air Force and Ms. Payton said she looks forward to leading those efforts.

"There is still much to accomplish," she said.

Sir Isaac and the Airbus

Sir Isaac and the Airbus

by Jed Babbin

Newton's laws are immutable: so is the Airbus's unsuitability for the Air Force tanker mission.

Sir Isaac and the Airbus

Human Events

Jed Babbin

25 July 2008

Newtonian physics - which a professor of fond memory tried to teach me in freshman year of college - prescribes laws that are immutable. Dr. Fred Furst used to say, "The laws of physics are the same wherever you go, and bad things happen when you try to break them." For that reason alone, I'm confident neither Sir Isaac nor Prof. Furst would choose the Airbus 330 tanker for the US Air Force.

I never promised you there would be no math, but trust me: this won't be too bad. We've got to do a little math and a little physics.

Newton's Second Law of Motion defines the relationship between mass (roughly what something weighs), acceleration (not the speed of an object, but the rate at which an object gains speed) and the force required to move a mass at a rate of acceleration: Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. As Freddie Furst said over and over again, "F=mα." About which more in a moment.

The Air Force has a lot of guidelines, manuals and regulations. Pilots - at least those who live to ripe old age - usually go by the book. The book on air refueling operations requires that tanker aircraft be able to perform maneuvers called "breakaways" and "overruns" in just the way the Air Force specifies.

As I described on the Rush Limbaugh Show on July 17, a "breakaway" is a vital safety maneuver which is performed often in training and in flight operations. There's an imaginary envelope around the tanker "boom," the controlled crane-like device projecting from the rear of the tanker that pipes fuel into the receiving aircraft. If you go outside the envelope - say a gust of wind hits, or the fighter is going too fast, or even if it pitches or yaws, twisting away -- the "boomer" (the guy sitting in the back of the tanker who "flies" the boom), the receiving pilot or the tanker driver can call "breakaway," which is supposed to result in several near-simultaneous events.

The boomer pops the boom off the receiving aircraft which then decelerates rapidly and drops about 1000 feet of altitude. The tanker is supposed to be able to accelerate rapidly (to a specified higher speed that varies by type of receiving aircraft) and climb away from the receiver. So now we're back to F=mα.

According to the General Accountability Office decision overturning the contract award to Northrop-Grumman/EADS for the Airbus 330 tanker, "...there is no documentation in the record setting forth an analysis of whether Northrop Grumman's proposed aircraft has sufficient operational airspeed when refueling the [deleted by GAO] to initiate an emergency breakaway procedure."

What the GAO is saying, in its lawyerly language, is that the facts show that the Airbus 330 cannot reach a sufficient speed to pull away from one or more aircraft it's supposed to refuel. And if it can't, there could be a mid-air collision. That may also mean that the huge weight of the Airbus isn't compensated by comparable engine power to enable it to accelerate fast enough to get out of the way. You need an awful lot of "F" to push that much "m" fast enough to get enough "α" for a breakaway, and the Airbus apparently just doesn't have it.

Another part of the Airbus' inability to perform the mission is the "overrun" problem. No, Virginia, we're not talking about cost overruns (those will come but only after the contract is begun). We're talking about how a tanker and a receiving aircraft join up.

Tankers usually orbit above a set position - flying a racetrack-shaped oval that may be thirty miles or more in length - waiting for whatever fly guys are coming by to gas up. When one or more do - say an F-16 - the tanker swings out of its orbit to theoretically come up ahead of the F-16 on the F-16's original course. But sometimes (according to the tanker guys, it's always the fighter jock's fault: you can imagine what the fighter jocks say) the tanker comes out behind.

At that point, the fighter is supposed to drop speed and altitude and - again, that old F=mα thing - the tanker is supposed to climb and accelerate past the fighter to get in position for the boomer to plug into the fighter's nose. But the Airbus weighs too much and apparently can't even go fast enough even if its engines could push it to the required speeds.

According to the GAO decision, despite the fact that the Air Force had told Northrop Grumman that the Airbus apparently couldn't accelerate quickly enough and reach the speed set by Air Force standards to perform an overrun, the Air Force disregarded its own mandatory guideline to keep the Airbus eligible for the contract. And, as the GAO decided, they had no reasonable basis to do so: "...the record does not establish that the [Air Force] had a reasonable basis for concluding that Northrop Grumman's proposed solution would allow its aircraft to obtain the requisite overrun airspeeds to satisfy this...requirement."

So not only can't it accelerate quickly enough, the Airbus apparently has too low a top-speed. Again, this is a problem that cannot be overlooked. Or, as the GAO put it, it was unreasonable for the Air Force to say that the Airbus 330 can refuel all USAF tanker-compatible aircraft in accordance with Air Force procedures.

The Airbus cannot be eligible for the contract award if it can't fly the mission. That's what the Air Force documents said and that's one of the big reasons GAO tossed out the contract award.

And there's a third problem. This one is simple geometry.

Most airfields don't have runways as wide as Dulles International. The NATO standard runway is 147.6 feet wide. When an aircraft breaks down, or if another aircraft has to take priority landing or taking off, a tanker will have to be able to be turned around on the runway.

To do that, one of those small tractors you see at airports is attached to the nose gear, the pilot turns the nose wheel all the way over, and the tractor pulls the bird around 180 degrees. According to Boeing, their 767 tanker can turn around in about 129 feet, which can be done fine on a 147-foot wide runway.

There is no public data we could find on the Airbus' turning radius but one source says that the Airbus website used to state that the turning radius of the A-330 was 143 feet. If the runway is a few feet narrower than the NATO standard, if the Airbus isn't lined up with its right wheels on the farthest edge of the runway and if a lot of other ifs, the U-turning Airbus gets its nose off the runway and probably gets stuck.

Which means you have a runway out of operation until - minutes or hours later - the too big, too heavy aircraft gets unstuck.

It's just like good old Freddie Furst used to say: the laws of physics are the same wherever you go. If F still equals mα (and it surely does) the Airbus 330 can't perform the Air Force tanker mission.