SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Overstock.com, 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIHw7C73s3E 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 http://mainstreetamericans.info."
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Overstock.com, 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.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
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 FOXNews.com. “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 FOXNews.com 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
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
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?
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.
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 7:17 PM
Thursday, September 04, 2008
By ELISABETH BUMILLER and MICHAEL COOPER
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
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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Questions or Comments
Posted by Mark E. Towner at 8:48 AM