Archive for the ‘Sarah Palin’ tag
Ross Douthat does a pretty good job pinning down why Americans afford their politicians so little breathing room for their personal life:
But by turning their personal choices to political ends, politicians lose the right to complain when those same personal lives are subject to partisan critiques. They can and should contest these critiques, but they can’t complain about them. In a culture as divided about fundamental issues as our own, the kind of weird attacks that Rick Santorum is enduring come with the vocation he has chosen.
After having fallen asleep while watching the last two, I can’t really disagree with Mr. Keating (who wrote this before Wednesday’s debate. Yes, I’m behind.):
The “media elites,” as Sarah Palin would say, are hungry for the candidates to make news at the debates and seem perpetually disappointed when they just hear the same talking points they’ve been reporting for months.
As I wrote near the end of the Democratic primary, the candidate’s positions on nearly every conceivable issue are so well-refined and publicized at this point, that the only way to generate news at a debate is to go the George Stephanapolous route of asking pop quiz questions and emphasizing personal scandal. There’s really no way for Schieffer to win. If he asks good substantive questions, the candidates will recite their talking points and the debate will be boring. If he presses them on “character” issues and personal attacks, he’ll (rightly) be accused of descending into tabloidism.
So why have debates at all? What would we lose without them?
There’s also a follow-up.
This may explain my feelings about Sarah Palin’s speech patterns:
Overall, because of the mixture of people and the large number of newcomers, Alaskan English is often hard to place, with both Westerners and Midwesterners thinking that it sounds oddly foreign; indeed, some Westerners have said that Palin sounds like a Midwesterner, and Midwesterners that she sounds Western.
Jim Albrecht pens an enjoyable defense of the Alaska of his childhood. While it’s tangentially a defense of Sarah Palin, it’s really just good fun. One of the more serious lines:
Wilderness has a bully pulpit all its own, and, back when we could still hear it over the cell phones and the four-stroke snow machines, it preached a repetitive sermon. 1) We don’t all have to agree about everything, 2) but we do all have to survive the winter. If the Alaska of my childhood could be put on the stump, I believe that would be the content of its speech.
Intrigued by Sarah Palin high (in-state) approval rating, Andrew Gellman ran some quick numbers and came to this conclusion:
It seems to be easier to maintain high approval in a small state. What’s going on? Some theories: in a large state, there will be more ambitious politicians on the other side, eager to knock off the incumbent governor; small states often have part-time legislatures and thus the governor is involved in less political conflict; small states (notably Alaska) tend to get more funds per capita from the federal government, and it’s easier to be popular when you can disburse more funds; large states tend to be more heterogeneous and so it’s harder to keep all the voters happy. As the graphs show, the pattern isn’t perfect, but it looks real to me. Next step is to get data from other years.
I like the simplicity of this site, which simply aims to count all the times the US presidential candidates, their running mates, and their campaigns tell obvious lie. Like all and sundry, their is likely to be dispute of the political truth, but the sites definition of lies seems reasonable:
When a politician makes a point that can be clearly refuted with non-partisan sources, or even better their own words, we call that a lie. Given the claims each campaign has made regarding their own competence and ‘readiness’, we don’t believe there is room for ‘mistakes’ of speech either. So we mark any and all wrong statements as lies.
Questions for Palin
And, somewhat related, Kevin Drum is sick of the lies about Ms. Palin and the Bridge to Nowhere and thinks the fact that the McCain campaign is still able to talk about it is an indictment of the press.
While most of America is still obsessed with what scandal will next be dug up about Sarah Palin, Foreign Policy offers an interesting list of Barack Obama’s ten worst policy proposals. It’s unlikely that you could ever find consensus on such a list, but it’s worth seeing what they’ve come up with.
UPDATE (9/2/08): As a counterpoint (or maybe just because I liked it), I offer a recent Op-Ed by Sarah Vowell.
UPDATE (9/10/08): Just noticed they have the same feature for McCain. That would have been a better counterpoint.