Surfing in Minnesota

LISTENING to John McCain’s acceptance speech Thursday night was like surfing. That is, it was like surfing if you’re me:

    Paddle, paddle, here comes the wave, can I catch it, paddle, paddle, I’ve got it, I’ve got it, I’ve got it, can I get on my feet, yes I’m getting up, I can’t believe it I’m standing, I’m doing this, can I straighten up, yes this is it, whoa, whoa, yow, WIPEOUT, long fall forward, interminable period way under water, scraping on coral, pop back up, swim to board, paddle, paddle, paddle….

    I haven’t surfed since 1971, because that’s the last time I was in Hawaii, therefore the last time I saw a wave worth the effort. A long wait. But I’ve waited my whole life for someone to give the speech Sen. McCain set out to give Thursday night. And, in stretches that practically made my heart stop — stretches where I thought, he’s going for broke, standing up, can he ride it all the way? — he actually gave it.
    Earlier in the week, I had thought I’d have to settle for Joe Lieberman’s paean to post-partisanship, the best bits of which went over like a lead butterfly with that partisan crowd. Most of the week was just like the week before in Denver, the usual party pooge. Sarah Palin did a great job for a rookie her first time at bat, but hers was the usual veep role — take down the opposition.
    But in the hours leading up to the McCain speech, the word went out that he was going to try the thing that had not been tried before: to accept a major party’s nomination while simultaneously rejecting and opposing all the vicious nonsense that parties have stood for over the past 16 years. Just minutes before he started, I read on The New York Times Web site: “McCain Plans to Speak of Dedication to Bipartisanship.” He was going to try the thing that I had hoped Barack Obama would try the week before — but which, except for a few encouraging passages, he passed on, delivering a pretty standard crowd-pleasing acceptance in Denver.
    McCain was better positioned to attempt the unprecedented. Poor Obama had to please all those Clintonistas who hadn’t wanted him. McCain had greatly appeased those in his party who least wanted him with his choice of Gov. Palin, which freed him to reach out over the heads of the convention delegates to the rest of America.
    And for the first 26 minutes and 44 seconds, he delivered a speech that was all that I’d hoped for. “I don’t work for a party,” he said, and you knew he meant it.
    Then, just when you thought he had decided to give a speech that told all partisans where to get off, wipeout, he’d spend several moments underwater. But then he’d climb back up and gamely start paddling again.
    There were so many indelible impressions to be gained from that speech, but here are some of the highs and lows for me:

  • He mentioned, as so many had before him (to the point of monotony), his reputation as a “maverick,” saying “Sometimes it’s meant as a compliment; sometimes it’s not.” That was a mild way to describe the central ironic tension of the moment. That hall was filled with people who had long despised him for going his own way, and now he was their nominee, and what could they do but grin and bear it?
  • The passage about education was just embarrassing, a wipeout of stupendous proportions. In almost the same breath, he promised the ideologues who hate public schools their “choice” and then implied he’d improve public schools by renewing the teacher corps — attracting and rewarding the best, running off the worst. Let me give you two clues, John: First, the American taxpayer will never foot the bill for both turning around failing public schools and paying people to leave them; it’s one or the other. Second, Ronald Reagan had it right — the federal government has no business trying to run our schools.
  • “Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.” No one could doubt that this man truly believed that. He has lived it.
  • “His plan will force small businesses to cut jobs, reduce wages, and force families into a government-run health care system where a bureaucrat… stands between you and your doctor.” Oh, spare me. The one thing wrong with what Obama wants to do on health care is that he doesn’t have the guts to say, “single-payer” — and nothing short of that will solve the problem. At about this point, I started thinking how Obama and McCain are a complementary pair: One can sound dangerously naive on foreign affairs, the other on domestic.
  • The very best part was the part that could have gone very bad: talking about his own heroism. He made it a parable of why radical individualism is a dead end. “I thought I was tougher than anyone. I was pretty independent….” But God sent him misfortune as a gift. “I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even feed myself. They did it for me. I was beginning to learn the limits of my selfish independence.” And that’s when he truly learned to love his country.
  • At other points he vacillated between the self-centered ideology that Obama has decried as “you’re on your own,” and assurances that he’d make “government start working for you again,” even extending New Dealish assistance to those workers displaced in the shifting global economy.

    On the whole a noble effort, but the occasional dunkings in waves of cold ideology left me worn out. I’m so glad these conventions are over. Maybe once they escape the suffocating embraces of their respective parties, both Obama and McCain can better remind me of why I wanted them to win those nominations to start with.
    McCain made a good start on that Thursday.

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43 thoughts on “Surfing in Minnesota

  1. Randy E

    Un-freakin-believable!! Brad talks up McCain’s speech in his Sunday piece is a literary effort of trying to ram a round peg in a square hole.
    McCain’s call for bipartisanship and ending the partisan rancor is a disgusting example of hypocrisy. After he repeatedly claimed “Obama wants to lose a war for political gain” how does he have even an iota of credibility?
    He then recklessly picks a novice as his VP for obvious political reasons after bashing Obama for his inexperience. A person who’s been overseas once in her life could easily be the leader of the free world in a crucial time in our history because McCain is playing politics with our country. Despite this, the crowd brandished “country first” signs and heralded his patriotism.
    He only picked her after he kowtowed to the extreme right by changing his mind about Lie-berman in favor of one of them. His judgement led him to a person who is so shrill and partisan that when a dj interviewing her called her political nemesis a “b_tch” and a “cancer” (the object of this vitriol is a cancer survivor), Palin laughed. She was governor at the time and laughed. (There is an audio clip of this that is easily found on the web).
    The appropriate surfing analogy that I see here is Brad’s credibility wiping out.

  2. denise

    Good article. I was one of those Hil supporters that wasn’t going to vote if Hil wasn’t part of ticket. McCain had a sincerity. I think he wants to end his career on a good note….one he can be proud of… my gut feeling. I’ll take that in a leader any day.
    This article is a good read too if you are so inclined…pass it on if you like it. It basicly says McCain is a Chess Master and Obama is playing checkers. Stepped right in McCain’s trap…not what I want in a leader. here is the link

  3. Guero

    Randy E must be a rookie.
    Mr. Warthen has never had any credibility. Going back to the Clinton impeachment fiasco, he’s shown his Republican roots and partisanship while playing Hamlet. Just like Little Lindsey, and McSame, when push comes to shove, he always comes through for Republicans(Mr. Warthen won’t deny ALWAYS voting for and endorsing Republican Presidential candidates).
    Mr. Warthen has invested so much into McSame he truly is what McSame admits is his base, THE PRESS.
    Mr. Warthen spent the entire week of the Democratic Convention making unresearched snarky remarks based not on messy litle facts but his always negative impressions.
    This past week was spent writing with a veneer of “independence” by bemoaning his heroes aren’t flawless, but he still loves them all the same.
    He could have written this torch song to McSame six months, a year, ten years ago. His literary lust for McSame has smoldered forever…
    Mr. Warthen should take a cold shower so his wife won’t notice his adulterous thoughts.

  4. bud

    The very best part was the part that could have gone very bad: talking about his own heroism. He made it a parable of why radical individualism is a dead end.
    Actually, that was the worst part of his speech. When I heard that passage I wanted to through up. Please, gag me with a spoon. His so-called “transformation” into this selfless patriot who puts others ahead of his own need sure had a funny way of manifesting itself. For years after his captivity he became a very selfish playboy who turned his back on a wife that stood beside him for 5+ long years while he was in captivity. That ended up with a affair with a very rich, much younger woman who’s family fortune enabled him to succeed in politics.
    And besides, haven’t we heard that story a jillion times? I thought perhaps a passing mention of his time in Hanoi would have been ok, but even before I saw the speech I said to myself, “if he drones on about the POW stuff for more than 1 minute he’s just using the whole episode for self-serving politicizing.” And then not only did he drone endlessly on about it he embellished it with this nonsense about how he was a changed person. What crap.

  5. bud

    I no longer harbor any respect for John McCain. Still, the picture of him in the Broder column today left me horrified. McCain looked like a very old man who was about to fall down on stage. Where was his walker? I hope he had his Depends on. Why is McCain’s health and age not more of an issue in the campaign? Obama (and Palin too for that matter) will gain experience. But McCain will never regain his youth.

  6. p.m.

    You know, bud, you’re taking one step over the line about McCain, crossing the bridge too far. Your lack of tact undermines your argument.
    Thus gagging you with a spoon, as per your invitation, would improve the timbre of the discussion.
    And, Randy, why don’t you analyze the political inappropriateness of Obama’s pick of Biden, too? Why don’t you point out that the change candidate picket a tired old Washington hand as his running mate because Obama is really just a sweet home Chicago transparent political whore?
    Furthermore, Guero, the press is Obama’s base, not McCain’s.

  7. Doug Ross

    There was also another opinion piece in The State today on Governor Palin written by a young female attorney. It may have had the most idiotic line I have read in the paper in ages. In regards to Sarah Palin campaigning five months after having a Down Syndrome baby:
    “With the rising number of women in professional schools and the rising trend of traditional gender role reversal (i.e., “house husbands”), I can only speculate that my generation’s response to that must be: “Does she not have a husband to help at home? And isn’t that what an au pair is for?””
    An “au pair”? You have GOT to be kidding me! Yeah, I’m sure every working mother out there can connect with that simple solution.

  8. Lee Muller

    Brad Warthen doesn’t get it, because he doesn’t think like a citizen. He sees himself as a mere consumer of government services, shopping for who will fill his cart with the most goodies.

  9. Guero

    Sorry to make your eat your words, pm, but youtube has your boy McSame admitting the press is his base.
    Would you like some salsa with that crow?
    Chao, pm

  10. Mike Cakora

    The press was part of McCain’s base as long as he was not a candidate and until they fell for Obama. Their swoon was so obvious that even PA Gov Ed Rendell had enough:

    I’ve said the coverage of the primary. Certain media outlets were openly partisan, had really brought into Barack Obama as a savior. He’s not a savior.

    And he likes Obama.

  11. Mike Cakora

    If anything I’m a reluctant McCain voter, but I did find the section on learning “the limits of my selfish independence” noble and heartwarming. Unless I misunderstand you, I don’t regard that part as “a parable of why radical individualism is a dead,” but rather the episode that shook him from his sole preoccupation with himself to an awareness of the needs of and for others.

  12. James D McCallister

    Doug: I was so moved by that young woman’s editorial that I sent in an actual letter this morning instead of just excoriating her in the blog here.
    If that writer is the future of feminism, in a few years women will be looking back on the good old days.

  13. Lee Muller

    You can forget feminism under the Muslims, who are backing Obama’s campaign, and his entire career.
    His Harvard Law education was funded by a radical Black Panther, Donald Warden, who changed to a Black Muslim aks Lahlid Mansour, and got on the gravy train of promoting anti-Semitism for the Nigerian dictators and Saudi-funded foundations.
    These foundations, with radical black separatists, African nationalists, and Jew-haters on their boards funneled money into the community organizers operating in the Chicago ward which would later be represented by Obama in the Illinois Senate.

  14. guero

    “Reluctant McSame voter…”
    Oh, pulleeeze, what a load of nonsense.
    Ducky! You’ve never voted for a Democratic candidate for president. You’ve never done anything but drink the kool-aid and pull a straight ticket.
    You’ve never donated money to anyone other than a Repub. Hollywood Fred being the latest.
    You’re exactly the sort who pees on people’s heads and calls it rain, expecting them to believe it. The stench of your arrogance is overwhelming, Duckie. Try again, no one here believes you except perhaps Spaceman Muller.
    Quack, quack.

  15. Mike Cakora

    I’m not sure what’s bugging James D McCallister and Doug Ross about Sunday’s column by Amanda Schlager. I guess it was the “au pair” reference in the following paragraph:

    When people ask, “How can she be vice president and have time to raise those kids?” my generation is outraged. No one would dare ask a man that question. (The question was inapplicable to Hillary.) With the rising number of women in professional schools and the rising trend of traditional gender role reversal (i.e., “house husbands”), I can only speculate that my generation’s response to that must be: “Does she not have a husband to help at home? And isn’t that what an au pair is for?”

    The reference to “au pair” must have struck Dough as elitist, but when my wife and I lived in the DC area in the 1980s — where Ms. Schlager worked for an indeterminate period of time — we were surprised at the number of professional couples who had au pairs. Look a little deeper and the reasons are simple:

    – many folks in the area are migrants from elsewhere, so there’s no immediate family available to help out.
    – while the cost of living in the area is high, so are salaries.
    – au pairs are relatively cheap; there’s no healthcare, no minimum wage, etc.

    Thus even neighbors who were both mid-level federal bureaucrats (GS13 level) had an au pair.
    Elsewhere Doug has wondered aloud how a woman with a special-needs kid could be in her right mind when accepting the rigors of a national campaign as the candidate for VP. That’s a pretty good question, but the answer lies with Governor Palin. I don’t know for sure what motivates her other than ambition.
    But there’s got to be something more than that, because she displayed more than blind ambition when she took on the good old boys in her own party over ethics. For almost two years she was an outcast, unable to speak out about the complaints she filed until she prevailed, and then she took on an incumbent GOP governor and won.
    I’m the oldest of nine — five sisters — and was talking earlier today to my youngest sister — at 44 a mother of two, wife to one, and small-business owner (auto repair shop) in Northern Virginia — and found her take refreshing: Why That’s Fantastic! Isn’t it likely that McCain told her, and she believed, that the country needed a VP candidate like her, somebody who could take on the old boys at the federal level. And if she could make the sacrifice, she could be that candidate? If she couldn’t, Big John would be hard pressed to find another.
    So it may have been the notion of sacrifice for a greater good, not blind ambition alone, that influenced her decision. I don’t know, but neither does Doug, but her past performance tips the probabilities thataway.
    What other credible choices did the old warrior McCain really have to take on the establishment? Joe Lieberman, Mark Sanford, Tim Pawlenty? Heck, he needed partner who’d taken on the good old boys and won big. That he got one that bites and wears high heels is to his greater credit.

  16. p.m.

    What McCain says and what the press does just might be two different things, Guero.
    Certainly you don’t think, even if Brad Warthen is part of McCain’s base, that The State’s newsroom backs him, too?
    Or NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc.
    And, by the way, you will never see me eat my words, certainly not thanks to something on YouTube that you recommend.

  17. Joe C

    Only western european white societies create the possibility of a Sarah Palin, career mother politican, and also, the opportunity of
    an african kenyan indonesian muslim born to an unmarried white kansan 17 year old by a bigamous kenyan alcoholic philanderer,
    could get affirmative action education and move to chicago and declare himself a black american. Ha Ha.
    The obamaoid is kenyan slave seller ancestry, not congoid slave descendent like jesse and al.
    Strange, the slave descendents would choose an african slave seller daddy, and an anglo slave owner mama, as their chosen one.
    Can you say standard deviation?

  18. Candid

    Brad Warthen does a good job fence sitting on controversial issues, but does make his opinion known.
    Why do the self hating chattering class leftists so despise the opinions of working class hard knocks citizens?
    Did not Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Chavez, Castro and obama teach you anything?

  19. p.m.

    Doug, a United States vice president can have an au pair if she wants. The guest writer in The State was writing about Palin, not the average working class mother.
    And James, the piece was a wake-up call to Obama, not an endorsement of Palin. I daresay the woman who wrote it probably knows a bit more about feminism and being a woman than you do, no matter how much you know about the lyrics of the Grateful Dead.

  20. Phillip

    Like you, Brad, I found much to admire in McCain’s acceptance speech, as I mentioned in your earlier post on it. What’s telling in your analysis of it in today’s column is that the so-called “anti-partisan” appeals you cite on McCain’s part were all generalities, i.e., “we’re all Americans,” “I don’t work for a party,” etc. But the parts you (and I) did not like so much were all the parts that did refer to specific policies, i.e., education as you mention, also the lack of understanding of the urgency of the health-care crisis, etc.
    By contrast, Obama offers many more specific policy ideas that move beyond traditional liberal orthodoxy. Since you mentioned McCain’s position on education (like so much else, virtually identical to George W. Bush’s), this piece in today’s NYT Sunday magazine might be of particular interest. It’s illustrative of the ways in which Obama is uniquely positioned to move some of these arguments beyond the traditional left-right orientation in looking for new solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Most interesting in the article are the positive results from a new early-childhood program going on up the road in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system.
    In any case, I hope that in the end you and other independents on the fence will realize that Obama is actually the guy proposing specific policies that are post-partisan, while McCain is the one whose only has generalities behind his calls for bipartisanship. He did at one time have much more than that going for him but sadly seems to have jettisoned that for the sake of getting his party’s nomination.

  21. Mike's America

    Phillip said: “In any case, I hope that in the end you and other independents on the fence will realize that Obama is actually the guy proposing specific policies that are post-partisan, “
    Thanks Phillip. You’re always good for a laugh. Not only was Obama’s speech loaded with partisan attacks at John McCain it was also loaded with empty promises, generalities and hardly a specific in sight.
    See the wordle diagram I did on his speech text if you need a reminder:
    Saying we would have the best education system in the world and become energy independent are just too examples. Promises promises!
    And when it comes to actually working WITH the other party on issues, you might recall from my multiple posts on the subject of immigration, torture etc. how McCain was willing to offend members of his own party on those and other issues.
    To paraphrase Hillary Clinton: McCain has a record of bipartisanship. Obama has a speech he gave in 2006.

  22. Mike Cakora

    Phillip –
    Obama has a lousy record on education with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, spending $110M on ideologically pure but educationally unsound programs, without noticeable effect on the performance of the little kiddies. details and links here. I suppose one may chalk it up to lack of experience, so, for the sake of argument, I will.
    His contemporary, buddy, and plagiaristee, Deval Patrick, now Governor of Massachusetts, walked into an education Nirvana upon taking office in January 2007. MA was the best performing state on the NAEP assessment tests in all four categories for one simple reason: his predecessors from both parties had established and support efforts, culminating in the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA) to ensure that the state’s testing methods conformed closely to the NAEP. Sure, administrators were stressed, as were teachers, but there were tangible, measurable, objective results. Patrick closed that office effective June 30, 2008 to pay his debt to the teachers’ union. Details here. His “hope and change” campaign was managed by David Axelrod and that’s probably why Obama used themes and verbatim excerpts from Patrick’s speeches — Axelrod simply recycled Patrick speeches for Obama. For the current skinny on Patrick’s sinking approval rating, type the following into the search engine of your choice: Deval Patrick popularity rating. For the sake of argument, I can overlook this too.
    You base your support on a New York Times article about a school district in the Other Carolina. Is it not just as reasonable for me to base my non-support on what Obama’s current and former colleagues are saying? Stuff like this:

    Ayers uses this May 2006 talk to endorse the proposal to “reframe” the concept of the achievement gap – the gap in outcomes between students of different racial, ethnic or class backgrounds – as an “education debt” that needs to be repaid by whites to people of color, in other words, reparations.
    This reparations-based approach to education was apparently first proposed the month before by Gloria Ladson-Billings in her Presidential Address to the American Education Research Association. Ayers is now a Vice President-elect of AERA.

    (This excerpt is fully supported by links to mainstream and other media, and the website’s proprietor is a lawyer and a law professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law. He has excellent coverage of the difficulties folks have had getting at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge stored at the University of Illinois.)
    I’m no fan of this sort of ideologically pushed educational movement, and I’m not sure if Obama is. He’s not said much about his connection to the Chicago public school system, and not of his contemporaries are coming forth to attest to his fine efforts. Obama’s stand on education strikes me as a particularly weak reason to support him.

  23. Doug Ross

    Mike and p.m.,
    Au pair’s are just babysitters who take money to relieve parents of having to do the real work of parenting. It wasn’t clear whether the editorial writer had kids or not. Maybe she’s hoping to squeeeze one out between meetings with a client.
    I was up on Long Island this summer and my wife and I listened to the women talk about the night nurses they had hired for $500 a week to handle all the late night feedings. I guess if you want kids to put in the Christmas card photo, that’s the way you do it… but I don’t think my wife and I would trade any of our experiences with our kids for more quality time at work.
    And you can call me a lunatic, but I’ve got the crazy idea that all the kids we see these days with ADD, autism, and lack of discipline in schools can be tied directly to the generation of parents who chose to give up quality time with their kids at a young age in exchange for dual career parents. Something is causing it…

  24. Doug Ross

    And maybe someone can determine if Sarah Palin is the least educated nominee for Vice President? Apparently she spent six years at four colleges before gaining a degree in journalism. Hawaii Pacific, North Idaho College, University of Idaho, Matanuska-Susitna College (Alaska), and then back to University of Idaho.
    Can you imagine if the Democrats put up someone with Palin’s credentials?
    The dumbing down of America continues.

  25. bud

    … but rather the episode that shook him from his sole preoccupation with himself to an awareness of the needs of and for others.
    This is really annoying. John McCain is a very selfish man. He’s running for president now because he loves himself, not his country. This is nothing but a bit of self-aggrandizement on his part. If he was really a selfless patriot he wouldn’t constantly spout off about his time in the Hanoi Hilton. It reminds me of Saddam Hussien’s story about swimming across the river to escape capture. He constantly reminded the world of that “selfless” episode. All you McCain lovers can’t have it both ways. You can’t cite one part of his life without citing his entire life. Just spend a bit of time examining how the lessons learned as a POW made him “aware of the needs of others” in the years following his release from captivity. Unless the old geezer wants to discuss that time in his life he really needs to just shut the hell up about the Hanoi Hilton stuff.

  26. Mike Cakora

    Doug – Sheesh, you are exacting. Look, she did get her degree in journalism (with a minor in poli-sci) and did work in news media, but she did crawl out of that muck into the mud of politics. So ya gotta give her some credit for that, no?
    Besides, she’s so shaken up the opposition, so screwed up their game that they’ve gone to see the Godfather. That takes more than brains, it takes savvy.

  27. p.m.

    OK, Doug, I’ll accept that you don’t like Palin as a VP choice, but I do. I’d put drive and leadership ability ahead of formal education on my list of desirable VP characteristics anyway.

  28. Mike Cakora

    bud –
    McCain grates on me a bit too. But I’ve read elsewhere that a lot of folks who tuned in to see his speech may not have known about his POW sojourn. While this seems incredible to those of us who follow the ebb and flow of political tides, I think he had to mention it in his acceptance speech. We here in SC remember the bitter primary in 2000, but the rest of the country barely followed it at all. Include Iowa and New Hampshire and there are not a lot of folks who’ve been exposed much to McCain until last year.

  29. bud

    Mike, you’re missing my point. McCain was using his captivity story to underscore how he was a changed man because of it. This story is used to, not so much to describe who he is but rather to lay the groundwork for a claim that he is a selfless patriot who puts others and his country ahead of his own needs. Supposedly he was this very self-centered hedonist only interested in himself before he was captured. Then the incarceration miraculously changed him into a very different and much more honorable man. The point being he had this life changing experience that Obama has not had.
    However, his life history after this episode completely refutes that claim. Not only did he selfishly reject his poor, crippled wife for a young, rich woman but later on he became entangled in the Keating 5 scandal which was a very selfish political act in itself.
    And it wasn’t just McCain re-telling this story it was virtually every speaker at the GOP convention. And McCain continously brings it up on the stump. At some point he needs to be called on this obvious cynical ploy to attract voters.
    Sadly, the MSM, as usual, is failing to do it’s job. John McCain is pretty much getting a pass in this election on his questionable ethics. Clearly the MSM has become a tool for the GOP. And that’s a shame.

  30. bud

    I was fascinated by the state’s article about the the pros and cons of nuclear energy in yesterday’s paper. I’m still pretty much undecided about nuclear but I’m leaning in favor of it. But there are still lots of things that make me uneasy about it. This would be a good topic for discussion.

  31. Phillip

    thanks Mike C and Mike’s America for your response…leaving aside the Ayers obsession thing, for those of you who would actually like to know more facts about the Annenberg Challenge (for example, the fact that Chicago was but one of many locations around the country which received grants) go here.
    The pluses and minuses of the Annenberg outcomes notwithstanding, there’s ample evidence that Obama (who after all was extremely early in his public career at the point of serving on that Board) has, as with many other issues, been incorporating his knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work (via experiences like Annenberg) into his current positions. These positions (and again, for those who would rather know what they actually ARE rather than what the two Mikes say they are, read this), DO represent a bridge between traditional lib thinking and ideas that originate from outside the entrenched education bureaucracy, unions, etc.
    Of course Obama’s concern for early-childhood intervention, solutions to poverty, etc. that are reflected in his views on education, deal quite a lot with urban populations, or semi-urban and suburban. If you go to Mike’s America website you’ll find that he and his heartwarming friends are basically offended by concern for these people, because they wholly buy into the Palinesque view that small-town America and the children of hockey Moms (you can fill in the blank of the codespeak that represents) are the REAL America, they fight America’s wars, etc.
    I wonder how that makes the Hispanic mother in Washington Heights who’s lost a son in Iraq feel. Or the mom on the south side of Chicago. Does it matter? To Sarah Palin, or so it seems, they’re not “real” Americans. So naturally this view will inherently oppose the kind of concerns a Barack Obama embraces as it pertains to where we most need to attack problems in our educational system.

  32. Mike's America

    Doug Ross: Drop the smears on Sarah Palin’s education. It makes you look like an elitist who is out of touch with mainstream America.
    Perhaps you are unaware that Sarah Palin’s father was a teacher in the local school in Wasilla and her mother was the secretary in the same school. With four children to put through college the Palin’s would have been hard pressed to find the money on their salaries to pay for college tuition. Perhaps this is part of the reason she needed to change schools?
    Sarah earned some of the tuition by winning scholarships in beauty pageants.
    Like so many families in small town America, there are no affirmative action or government programs to provide for the educational needs of families. People in these places learned long ago the need for self reliance and they don’t look to government for all their answers.
    And they shouldn’t be ridiculed because they got where they are the hard way. They should be admired and respected.

  33. Lee Muller

    This weekend, CNN ran a bio on Obama’s college years and early years after college, through law school. There are a lot of gaps, for CNN, at least.
    This was reported, though:
    * While at Columbia, Obama roomed with two Muslims, including a Pakistani involved with illegal aliens.
    * CNN interviewed 400 classmates and professors of the classes Obama allegedly took at Columbia, and found no one who remembered him.
    * CNN interviewed some of the other “community organizers” who worked with Obama in Chicago. They are all political organizers, radicals from the 1960s who learned under socialist Saul Alinsky, the mentor of Hillary Clinton and Dick Morris.
    * Obama only earned $15,000 working in Chicago, but made connections with the Nation of Islam.
    * Obama later went back to that ward where he worked and did legal work to help Rezko get federal grants to buy run-down buildings and convert them into subsidized housing.

  34. Doug Ross

    Mike’s America,
    You’re just making assumptions, right? do you have any facts as to why she would (on a supposed tight budget) have to go to Hawaii, Idaho, etc.?
    As someone who paid his own way through college with student loans at about the same time she was in college, I don’t buy the excuse that her family’s financial situation was a factor. With good enough grades, you can go wherever you want to go.

  35. Reader

    I’m with Doug. To say Sarah Palin has gotten where she is VIA the ‘hard way’ is quite a stretch. McCain made his first government hand-out already:
    Vice-Presidency on a silver platter.
    It was pandering on McCain’s part — demeaning to women — and people can see right through it.

  36. Lee Muller

    So who should McCain have chose over Palin?
    Why would he not be accused of pandering, no matter which one he chose?
    Would the critics have voted for McCain and any of the alternative VPs?

  37. Brad Warthen

    FYI, James D’s letter is on tomorrow’s page.
    Just a minute ago, I was reading my proof, and I started thinking, “This letter is just like what James said…”
    … and then I saw why. Duh.

  38. Randy E

    Had a baby, au pair, as they say.
    Anyways, I had to come back and provide air cover for my boy bud.
    Brad, do you seriously believe McCain 2008 = McCain 2000? I bought his book in 2000. This summer I gave it to goodwill – that’s about the only way he will have any impact on poverty.
    Doug, you and RP hardly made a dent in Minnesota.


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