Category Archives: Sarah Palin

Kathleen Parker says Palin should drop out

I thought y’all might want your attention drawn to the Kathleen Parker column on today’s page (our first syndicated column in the hallowed space previously reserved to editorial board members) in which she concludes:

What to do?

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running
mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he
invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability.
Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can
save McCain, her party and the country she loves. She can bow out for
personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her
newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

But you should really go read it and see how she gets there. Wanting to make sure readers did that, I didn’t put the slam-bang conclusion in the headline. I DID put it in THIS headline, on account of the blog being all about provoking discussion.

An interesting thing about the column: Like Nixon going to China, you sort of needed a "conservative" (which I put in quotes because that oversimplifies Kathleen, but in this context it’s about widespread perception) woman to say this, assuming it needed saying. Sort of like nobody but fellow veterans could have criticized John Kerry’s service in the war.

Kathleen is able to cite her initial defense of Sarah, then her breathless tension watching her and hoping she wouldn’t screw up. And that’s something I can’t possibly identify with — worrying about someone’s performance because I’m a member of the same demographic. Maybe I’m too self-centered. But I have had to accept that black folks do that with Obama, and women do that with Hillary Clinton and/or Sarah Palin, depending on their proclivities. When I see a white guy out there succeeding or failing, he’s on his own as far as I’m concerned. I might agree with him or I might not, but it won’t have anything to do with which restroom he uses or what boxes he checks off on a census form.

That’s why it took Kathleen to write this piece. For my part, I haven’t had any particular expectations of Mrs. Palin. Y’all know what I thought when I first saw her, and all she had to do was give a reasonably competent convention speech to exceed my expectations.

But that’s me. What do you think?

Bill Clinton explains why Palin is ‘hot’ (and praises McCain, too)


Consider this post to be a taste of sorbet to cleanse the palate between courses of history-making political/economic news.

Katherine Q. Seelye on the NYT’s Caucus blog says "Barack Obama might be forgiven for wondering which side Bill Clinton is on," since the former president has taken advantage of several opportunities to praise John McCain this week. Finally he DID say some good stuff about Obama, but still…

This reminds me of a tidbit I read in the WSJ this morning, in which Bill had some nice stuff to say about Sarah, too:

"I come from Arkansas. I get why she’s hot out there, why she’s doing well. People look at her, and they say: ‘All those kids. Something that happens in everybody’s family. I’m glad she loves her daughter and she’s not ashamed of her. Glad that girl’s going around with her boyfriend. Glad they’re going to get married. . . .’ [Voters will think] I like that little Down syndrome kid. One of them lives down the street. They’re wonderful children. They’re wonderful people. And I like the idea that this guy does those long-distance races. Stayed in the race for 500 miles with a broken arm. My kind of guy."

Seems to me Bill had best hush before he gets himself into some more trouble with Mamanem.

WHAT election?

As anyone who was paying attention knows, the crisis on Wall Street pushed aside the presidential election in news coverage last week — for only the second time this year, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which reports:

The Wall Street
meltdown captured more media attention than the presidential campaign last week,
and the crisis re-directed the campaign narrative toward a focus on economic
issues, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

For only the second
time this year, another event eclipsed the campaign as the top story. Market
woes led the press agenda for the week of Sept. 15-21, filling 37% of the
newshole. Additionally, the state of the economy became the leading campaign
narrative last week, accounting for 43% of the campaign newshole. The previous
week (Sept. 8-14), the economy only accounted for 4% of campaign

The sudden burst of
coverage of the economy marks only the second time since early June that the
issue has been a top weekly campaign theme. Indeed, last week was only the
fourth time that a policy issue has been the No. 1 storyline in general election

Why even I, in spite of my extreme reluctance, have been writing about it, which probably accounts for a slight dropoff in blog traffic the last few days. Mind you, it hasn’t dropped to anywhere near pre-Sarahmania levels, but it’s tapered slightly — 15,010 page views last week, compared to 15,128 the week before, and 15,981 the week before that. Before the day that the Palin choice was announced, 11,000 a week was about our speed here. The drop I speak of seems hardly worth mentioning, except that it matches my intuitive belief that we’re on the cusp of a significant drop, unless something more arresting to the attention of normal people occurs in the next few days. One can take only so much of intense back and forth between Bernanke and Paulson and Chris Dodd et al.

No change in 4 battleground states

Some of you have quite rightly cried "irrelevant!" when I have passed on national polls, seeing as how the POTUS is not chosen by a national popular vote. I have said I would pass on info on battleground states as I run across it. The WashPost today brings the following to my attention:

A new poll by Washington Post, Quinnipiac University and the Wall Street Journal shows that the presidential race between John McCain and Barack Obama in four key battleground states remains remarkably stable despite a month of politically significant developments, with the Illinois senator running ahead of or even with his Republican rival.

In Colorado, Obama takes 49 percent to 45 percent for McCain while in Michigan Obama stands at 48 percent as compared to 44 percent for McCain. The contest in Minnesota, once considered a lock for Obama, is also quite close with Obama at 47 percent and McCain 45 percent. Only in Wisconsin does Obama have an edge — 49 percent to 42 percent — outside the statistical margin of error for the poll.

Those results are remarkably similar to data from July Quinnipiac polls in each of the four states and suggest that despite the massive media coverage surrounding the two parties’ national nominating conventions as well as the vice presidential selections — especially that of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, which many presumed would alter the campaign’s dynamic — little has changed in the race for the White House.

Here’s a link to the story in the Post. And here’s the Wall Street Journal version.

I have only two things to say about this:

  1. So much for Sarahmania, which has boosted traffic on this blog significantly, but apparently has left voters in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin unmoved.
  2. I’m pretty sure that this is the first time I’ve ever heard of Quinnipiac University.

What if it were Obama/Palin vs. McCain/Biden?

Today I was reading Peggy Noonan’s column — she, by the way, sees the opposite of my rosy scenario happening, with the financial crisis making the presidential election meaner and more partisan — when an idea that has sort of half-occurred to me before came into full being.

Her column turned, in part — her pieces tend to meander, although elegantly — around the experience-vs.-change axis, to wit:

The overarching political question: In a time of heightened anxiety, will people inevitably lean toward the older congressional vet, the guy who’s been around forever? Why take a chance on the new, young man at a time of crisis? Wouldn’t that be akin to injecting an unstable element into an unstable environment? There’s a lot at stake.

Or will people have the opposite reaction? I’ve had it, the system has been allowed to corrode and collapse under seven years of Republican stewardship. Throw the bums out. We need change. Obama may not be experienced, but that may help him cut through. He’s not compromised.

The election, still close, still unknowable, may well hinge on whether people conclude A or B.

There was even a little cartoon illustration of a man poised indecisively at a voting machine choosing between those two options.

By the end of the column, I was thinking, what if the choice were that clear, and unmuddled by the running mates? What if New Kids Barack Obama and Sarah Palin were up against Wise Old Heads John McCain and Joe Biden? How simple and clear that choice would be.

Those on the right and left who want change, who distrust the Establishment, populists and libertarians, would have an uncomplicated choice for Obama/Palin — two fresh, energetic young faces rising up from among the people and sweeping the old aside.

Those of us who believe that experience is as valuable in government as in anything else, and who have come to trust and admire both McCain and Biden as individuals over the years — I would fall in that camp, by the way, as my respect for both is of long standing — would have just as easy a choice.

As things stand, the choice is more complicated. And the presidential candidates seem to have gone out of their way to make it so — Obama throwing away his advantage as a change agent in choosing Biden, McCain wasting the whole experience argument in picking Palin.

The twits who exposed Sarah Palin’s e-mail

Well, you’ve got to love the irony here. Being busy putting out editorial pages, interviewing legislative candidates and reading about the Wall Street collapse and the energy bill in Congress when I had time to keep up with the news, I missed the stupid human trick of someone hacking into Sarah Palin’s personal e-mail. Someone mentioned it to me over lunch.

And here’s the schlag atop the dessert. The weasels who did this called themselves "Anonymous." Expose someone else’s correspondence and not have the guts to attach your own name to it? Wow.

There are, of course, people on the right trying to make it look like Obama’s folks did this. No way. Obama’s got too much class for that.

Brooks on Palin as the New Bush

Assertions by some Democrats of hysterical tendency that a McCain presidency would be like a third term of Him-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named are of course absurd, and even morally offensive.

But David Brooks — in a column that I did NOT pick for tomorrow’s op-ed page because Robert Samuelson has a piece on why Wall Street is falling apart, and that seemed most relevant — provides a reasonably erudite exploration that Sarah Palin would be like W. Redux.

I like it because of the way it takes apart the bogus egalitarianism of the term limits movement, and other impulses that militate against competent government, to wit:

   This populist tendency produced the term-limits movement based on the belief that time in government destroys character but contact with grass-roots America gives one grounding in real life. And now it has produced Sarah Palin….
   I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn’t just lived through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice.
   And the problem with this attitude is that, especially in his first term, it made Bush inept at governance. It turns out that governance, the creation and execution of policy, is hard. It requires acquired skills. Most of all, it requires prudence.
   What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events _ the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight.

He acknowledges that "experienced leaders can certainly blunder if their minds have rigidified (see: Rumsfeld, Donald)," but on the whole, having experience is better than not having it.

(And yes, the same can be said about Obama, but here he was talking about Palin, specifically within the context of the debate going on now within conservatism over whether experience matters. Worth reading.)

Craig Ferguson on Palin’s ‘naughty librarian vibe’

ay, way before I suggested that Sarah Palin reminded me of that stock sitcom character, the secretary/teacher/librarian with the glasses and the hair in a bun who turns out to be sexy and glamorous, Craig Ferguson — a guy I am just barely aware is on television, he comes on so late — noted that the then-little-known governor of Alaska had a sort of "naughty librarian vibe" going on.

Just thought I should give credit where it was due, now that it’s been brought to my attention.

Obama vs. Sarahmania

In the battle of the political celebs for headlines, Barack Obama edged out Sarah Palin for most coverage last week, according to the Pew Center, although the Alaska gov dominated and "drove the media’s election narrative" again, whatever that means:

    Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama generated more exposure last week, but Republican VP hopeful Sarah Palin drove the media’s election narrative the week of Sept. 8-14, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
    Obama was a significant or dominant factor in 61% of campaign stories last week. Palin was a significant or dominant factor in 53%, edging out her running mate, John McCain (49%). Obama’s VP candidate, Joe Biden, registered only at 5%.
    Although Palin trailed Obama in the amount of coverage, she was clearly the focus of the campaign narrative last week. Storylines involving Palin accounted for 50% of the newshole, and she was a major factor in the top four media election narratives of the week. Scrutiny of Palin’s public record (14% of the newshole) topped the press agenda. Her ABC interview with Charlie Gibson followed (10%). The “lipstick on a pig” comment (10%) and reaction to Palin’s nomination (9%) rounded out the biggest storylines for Sept. 8-14.

Do you get the sense that somebody at Pew just doesn’t want to let go of "Sarahmania," even when Obama’s stats are higher?

Of course, Sarah beat out the old guy who’s running with her. And poor Joe garnered 5 percent of coverage, which is sort of like his bid for the presidency all over again…

Double dose of Krauthammer

Robert was poking around nosily on my desk earlier and, seeing the op-ed page proof, expressed his pleasure that I was going to be running Charles Krauthammer for a second day in a row.

Dang. And I’d hoped nobody would notice.

The problem started when I saved Mr. Krauthammer’s column that had been written for Friday publication for our Monday page (it was better than any other leftovers I had at the time I had to choose, which was Friday).

This morning, as I looked over the 11 new columns I had from writers to whom we subscribe, one of them was an EXTRA one that Mr. Krauthammer had offered over the weekend (he normally only writes once a week). Like most such spontaneously offered material — stuff the writer just felt compelled to write — it was a strong one. But I had just run a Krauthammer.

What I WANTED to run on Tuesday was a "liberal" columnist, even though I normally don’t think about such things. Why? Because a colleague suggested the other day that I’ve been running more "conservative" syndicated op-ed columnists than "liberals" lately. She may have been right; I had not been keeping score. In the daily scramble to put out pages since we lost Mike Fitts (who used to choose op-ed copy), I have done each day’s selection in a vacuum, with no thought to what I ran the day before or will run the day after.

And each day, I have simply chosen what seemed to be the best-written column. You see, I only have room for one. I can’t pick what I regard as the best column, and then another for "balance." But since this perceived imbalance was pointed out to me, I’ve been making an extra effort to see the "liberals" as "best" on some days. But they haven’t been helping much. Especially today.

Oh, I thought I was in good shape on my goal, because I first picked a Paul Krugman piece that I thought was particularly timely. It was about the mounting crisis in the U.S. financial sector. Good topic, one I certainly could stand to know a lot more about. I had it picked, and edited, and was in the process of choosing some AP art to go with it, when I made the fatal mistake of READING the captions on the photos of anxious traders I was looking at. They mentioned that Lehman had filed for bankruptcy today. Mr. Krugman’s piece didn’t reflect that. Nor did it reflect that Bank of America was buying Merrill (he had been writing over the weekend, for Monday publication). Dang.

At this point, already late for my Rotary meeting, I turned back to my options, and noticed that while some of the folks on the left had written about the Sarah Palin interview with Charles Gibson …

  • Bob Herbert: While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson on Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail….   "Do you believe in the Bush doctrine?” Gibson asked during the interview. Palin looked like an unprepared student who wanted nothing so much as to escape this encounter with the school principal. Clueless, she asked, "In what respect, Charlie?”
  • Maureen Dowd: Being a next-door neighbor is not quite enough, though. If Sarah had been reading about the world she feels so confident about leading rather than just parroting by rote what Randy Scheunemann and the neocons around McCain drilled into her last week — Drill, baby, drill! — she might have realized that as heinous as Russia’s behavior toward Georgia was, it was not completely unprovoked. The State Department has let it be known that it warned McCain’s friend, Misha, the hotheaded president of Georgia, not to send troops in to crush the rebellion in two breakaway states.  And she might not have had to clench her jaw and play for time when Gibson raised the Bush doctrine, the wacko pre-emption philosophy that so utterly changed the world.

None were as good as the Krauthammer piece. Those columnists went no deeper into the "Bush doctrine" thing than Tina Fey had on SNL.

Momentarily, I considered a column from Mary Newsom at The Charlotte Observer (a paper with a new EPE, by the way), which struck me as interesting because it was written by someone who disagrees strongly with Ms. Palin, but considers much of the criticism of her as "creepily misogynistic." I like columns like that — you know, the "against type" columns, like the one in which Kathleen Parker broke with other "conservatives" and expressed her displeasure with the Rick Warren event — but I was struck by how much this passage was like Herbert and Dowd: "Further, I am horrified at her inexperience in foreign affairs. Did you see her micro-expression of fear Thursday when ABC’s Charles Gibson asked her about the “Bush doctrine” (that pre-emptive strikes are OK) and Palin obviously was lost?"

Meanwhile, Krauthammer not only raised the question that popped into MY head when I heard it — WHICH Bush doctrine? (If you had forced me to guess, I would have guessed he meant "pre-emption," but I would have asked him to define his term first, too) — but also made the point that while Sarah Palin obviously didn’t know what it was, neither did Mr. Gibson. Nor, presumably (if Mr. Krauthammer, who claims to be the author of the phrase, knows what HE’s about), do Mr. Herbert or Ms. Dowd.

An arguable point to be sure, but one that struck me as more interesting, and adding more to the conversation, than any column that merely elaborated on the Tina Fey point of ridiculing Ms. Palin. (And if you haven’t watched that yet, you must; it was truly hilarious.)

Anyway, that’s why you’ll be seeing Charles Krauthammer two days in a row.

There’s life, and then there’s life

Oh, boy, the animal lovers are out again, and that always spells trouble. Check this letter on the Monday page:

Hunting suggests Palin is not pro-life
    The photo in your Monday issue of Sarah Palin and her daughter posing proudly with the caribou that Palin has just shot to death is graphic proof that Palin is not, as she claims and as she is often labeled, “pro-life.” “Anti-abortion” or “pro-human-fetus” maybe, but certainly not “pro-life.”


No, hunting is not proof that anyone is not "pro-life," in the sense that word is used in American politics — not unless the person in question is hunting humans.

A caribou is not the moral equivalent of a human being. The difference isn’t even quantitative; it’s qualitative.

Now if Sarah Palin favors capital punishment — and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she does — THAT would indicate a failure to be pro-life.

Do ya see the difference? Are ya following me here?

This is not to defend hunting, by the way. I’ve never been able to square it in my mind. Killing an animal to avoid starvation, fine. But for sport, no. That, however, is a qualitatively different thing from killing humans.

We have here a hierarchy of moral considerations:

  1. The lightest consideration is that if you want to say one shouldn’t hunt from helicopters, fine — it’s not sporting.
  2. At a higher moral level, one should not hunt for sport alone anyway.
  3. On the highest, a caribou still does not have the moral claim on us that a human does. Not the same at all.

Michael Koska, S.C. House District 77


Sept. 11, 11 a.m. — When he first came to see us during the primaries, Michael Koska made a good impression — an especially good impression given that he was a newcomer to electoral politics. He had made himself expert on the issues that had gotten him involved — especially Richland County road needs — and showed a passion for learning about more.

He made an even better impression this time, and here’s one of the reasons why: As he said himself a couple of times in the interview, he’s learned and grown on the campaign trail. For instance, he expressed a tendency toward supporting vouchers. But it was fairly obvious at the time that he hadn’t really thought the issue through. Now, he doesn’t see himself supporting either vouchers or tax credits (last time he didn’t know the difference between them) "in the foreseeable future." He believes that our first priority should be fixing the public schools that need fixing.

Mr. Koska is the Republican nominee in a district that has long been strongly Democratic. But his views are not inconsistent with those of moderate South Carolina Democrats, and he goes out of his way to praise such Democrats as Joel Lourie and Anton Gunn (regarding a recent op-ed by Mr. Gunn in our paper, he said "ditto.") He maintains that if voters elect him instead of opponent Joe McEachern, he will be more likely to get things done, being a member of the majority party in the Legislature.

About the only other time he said anything about his party affiliation was when he expressed enthusiasm for his party’s vice presidential nominee. Much as Democrats have spoken of an Obama Effect this year, he predicted that Sarah Palin would do a lot of good for down-ticket Republicans such as himself.

But mostly he talked about his passion for better roads and affordable health care. His advocacy for fixing Hard Scrabble Road had won him a position on the citizen’s panel on transportation that recommended the sales tax hike, and he feels betrayed that County Council (led by Mr. McEachern) didn’t put the issue to a referendum. He said he believes the $550,000 spent on the study, not to mention the "valuable time, time spent away from their families" by the volunteers like himself, to have been cavalierly wasted. He is also critical of Mr. McEachern and the council for having bungled the county’s representation on the Council of Governments that doles out what road money there is in the area, allowing Lexington County to get the lion’s share of the funding for the next 10 years.

The council’s decision to borrow $50 million for new parks (including one in his area), and to do so without a referendum, while people are still dying on Hard Scrabble is to him an outrage.

He has a small business owner’s perspective on health care. His own personal experience and that of his acquaintances convinces him that the state must act now to make health care more affordable (he has no patience for waiting for the feds to do anything). It was like deja vu when he told about his daughter’s recent $1,800 x-ray, which sounded an awful lot like the x-rays for MY daughter, the one that ate my "economic stimulus check," if you’re recall. He was particularly incensed that when he asked the folks at the hospital in advance what the x-rays would cost, no one had any idea. Speaking of outrages, he thinks (as do I) that the stimulus checks were "the stupidest thing." If only, he says, that money had been devoted to upgrading the nation’s infrastructure…

Energy is another area where he has no interest in waiting on the federal government to act. He says the state should push to have natural gas filling stations built around the state. Natural gas, he maintains, is "probably going to be our bridge off foreign oil," but you can’t get anywhere without the retail infrastructure.

Michael Koska is a good example of what you get when a regular citizen not only gets worked up about an issue, but goes out of his way to get informed and try to do something about it. That’s why we endorsed him in the spring. Of course, we also endorsed his general election opponent, so that makes this race particularly interesting to us.

Carol Fowler: An uptick explained

Before I left the office last night, I glanced at my stats page in Typepad and noticed something odd: I was getting a lot of hits from Google on a year-old post headlined "Carol Fowler and the Dark Side" (which, now that I look back at it, was an odd headline for the subject).

Later that night, I realized why — the quote from Ms. Fowler on Politico. Sheesh. What a bunch of nothing — my post last year was more interesting.

Folks, compared to the usual overheated rhetoric from Democrats of a certain persuasion about those ofFowlercarol
us who oppose abortion, this was nothing. When I heard the quote on TV (my wife watches TV news, even local "if it bleeds it leads" TV news, usually when I’m not in the room; but there I was trapped in my recliner holding a grandbaby and begging somebody to pop in a DVD — I ended up staying up way too late to rewatch "The Graduate"), I thought sure it would be something provocative. When I heard, "Choosing someone whose primary qualification seems to be that she has…," I thought the next thing would be a reference to some distinguishing feature of female anatomy. But when I then heard, "…n’t had an abortion," I could not freaking believe that someone was making an issue of it.

Come on, folks — at least what Don said was offensive, and I was fairly dismissive of that meaning anything, either. As any rational person who knows the way human beings talk with friends would be.

Anyway, that explains the uptick in interest over Carol Fowler. Again, sheesh.

And again, I will urge the partisans: Get over it. Democrats, quit your whining about "Swiftboating," which, I’m sorry to tell you, is not a real word, much less something for you to keep wetting your pants about, expecting the GOP to do it to you at any minute. That "quit picking on me" pose doesn’t work on anybody but your whiniest base. (And Barack, dismissing the GOPpers for acting hurt about "lipstick," then whining yourself about "Swiftboating" is about as petty as I’ve heard you get.)

And Repubicans, get over your crying about the lipstick and the Fowler remark and the mean media and the pregnant daughter and the rest.

And then let’s try to have a grownup election, OK?



ontinuing on the subject of interesting pics, and shamelessly willing to post whatever it takes to drive traffic (within limits), here’s one I just ran across that encapsulates Sarahmania more than any other I’ve seen. It’s from the same rally as the shot in the previous post, by the way.

Perhaps irrelevantly, doesn’t her smile in this one look a little like that of the nice, attractive girl whose Mom made her go out with the geeky guy, and he’s having an AWESOME time, and she’s gamely trying to see it through, all the while thinking, "Can I plead a headache yet? Would he believe me if I said my father wanted me home by 7:30?"

Speaking of Sarah, I think the coolest shot of her since she came on the scene is the one below that I put on the Monday letters page. It’s emblematic of someone young and new and fresh being sprung on the world. She looks kind of like a smart kid in a spelling bee, standing on the stage, hands at her sides, waiting for the next word with no fear, no fear at all. Botticelli put Venus on the half-shell; a Republican artist would present Sarah Palin to the world this way.


Art for art’s sake, GOP edition


emember when I shared the photo of the Obama supporter with the T-shirt outside the stadium, just because I liked the picture?

Well, here is its perfect Republican complement. Beyond the fact that I like the picture, there is something about it that invokes the essence of support for the McCain-Palin ticket in the same way that the hip, youthful, stylized image of the Obama supporter did that ticket.

Do you agree?

Anyway, I actually managed to get this one into the paper — a black-and-white version of it, anyway. It will be on tomorrow’s op-ed page, with a Kathleen Parker column that it didn’t exactly go with, but sort of did.

DeMint sticks up for Sarah Palin

If you’re a Republican looking for cred on Iraq, then you want Lindsey Graham to stand up and tell everybody you were for the "surge" when nobody else was — as Lindsey did for best buddy John McCain last week.

But if you’re looking to bolster your rep as a fiscal hawk, then you want South Carolina’s junior senator.

Jim DeMint has made a name for himself nationally as the scourge of earmarks. So it is that Sarah Palin’s got to be grateful for his op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal this morning, headlined "Yes, Palin Did Stop That Bridge." An excerpt:

In politics, words are cheap. What really counts are actions. Democrats and Republicans have talked about fiscal responsibility for years. In reality, both parties have a shameful record of wasting hundreds of billions of tax dollars on pork-barrel projects.

My Senate colleague Barack Obama is now attacking Gov. Sarah Palin over earmarks. Having worked with both John McCain and Mr. Obama on earmarks, and as a recovering earmarker myself, I can tell you that Mrs. Palin’s leadership and record of reform stands well above that of Mr. Obama.

Hyde Park is a small town, too (according to Chicago)

A reader gave me a heads-up to a piece in the Chicago Tribune in which a supporter of Barack Obama rebuts Sarah Palin by insisting that the Democrat is from a small town, too. A sample:

We know about the power of faith. In Hyde Park we brave the bitter winds to gather in Rockefeller Chapel on Thanksgiving morning. We are welcomed by African drums; we are blessed by rabbis, priests and preachers; then we are sent home to our holiday feasts by the smell of burning sage offered by Indian tribal leaders.

You know, I can really dig this, because when I was growing up, Bennettsville was just like that!…

No, no, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t make fun… not even when people seem to be going out of their way to tempt me… And earnestness, particularly of the "politically correct" variety, can be so wickedly tempting. (And I HATE that trite phrase, "politically correct." But how else do you describe something that so painstakingly, self-righteously invokes the concept, like, "look at me; I’m doing my best to be a cliche…")

Oh, and please, please, you who are earnest and self-righteous — PLEASE don’t try to explain this to me. I get it; what is offensive to me is when somebody thinks I DON’T get it, and goes to such lengths as this to overexplain to me the virtues of "multiculturalism." I got it when I was in the first grade, I promise — probably earlier. We’re all God’s children, regardless of race, color or creed — even the irony-deprived among us. But no one with a sense of humor can see it ladled on that thick and not crack up.

And don’t worry, this writer doesn’t expect you to get the point from that excerpt above; for those of you just too clueless to get it, she drops it on you like an anvil in the last graf:

The people of rural America do not have a monopoly on these principles. And they are not the only Americans who count….

Ow! Got … to… have… release…. "So a preacher, a priest and a rabbi walk into an herbal tea bar in Hyde Park…"

SORRY, dang; I can’t help it! Get thee behind me…

The Kulturkampf is wearing me out.

The Palin Effect

As you know, I’ve written here a number of times about The Obama Effect, which has inspired lots of folks to get involved in politics for the first time.

Now I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a Sarah Palin Effect, which is to cause many people to pay WAY more attention to politics. Or at least to blogs.

And on the MSM as well. Note this report from The Pew Center about last week:

For the first time in three months, John McCain generated more coverage than Democratic hopeful Barack Obama last week. But McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, earned even more attention during Republican National Convention week, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Here on the blog, page views surged up to the point that last week I had my heaviest traffic since the S.C. primaries in January. At first, I thought it was about the GOP convention, but that didn’t explain why my traffic didn’t surge during the Democratic confab the week before.

That week had been just slightly above typical. For instance, the week before the DNC went like this:

Sunday, Aug. 17 — 872
Monday — 1,610
Tuesday — 2,024
Wed — 2,091
Thurs — 1,785
Friday — 2,002
Saturday — 1,220
TOTAL: 11,604

Since January, my traffic had been almost monotonously regular — 11,000 and something, week after week. Then, the week of the DNC:

Sunday, Aug. 24 — 1,143
Mon — 1,878
Tues — 1,839
Wed — 2,154
Thurs — 1,840
Fri — 2,068
Sat — 1,336
TOTAL: 12,258

But building off of that Friday’s news about Sarah Palin (I’ve noticed that a topic that interests my readers doesn’t usually generate its biggest numbers that day, but has an effect for several days), here’s what y’all generated the next week:

Sunday, Aug. 31 — 2,159
Mon — 1,497
Tues — 2,516
Wed — 2,733
Thurs — 3,162
Fri — 2,565
Sat — 1,349
TOTAL: 15,981

I really don’t think that reflects a higher interest in the Republicans (minus Sarah Palin) than in the Democrats. Especially since, if you go back and see which posts tend to have the most comments, it’s easier to see why the numbers did what they did:

I’m noticing a pattern, to say the least. Her name drives Web traffic the way Ron Paul’s did a few months back. Which is saying something.

Community organizers strike back

I‘m beginning to suspect that community organizers are organized on a level somewhat larger than the "community."

The first letter on tomorrow’s editorial page sticking up for community organizers as a breed. Last week, within a day after Sarah Palin’s remark about their ilk vis-a-vis being a mayor, I got TWO e-mails sticking up for community organizers. Then, when I got home Friday, there was a panel discussion on PBS, and the person speaking when I walked into the room was defending community organizers.

The two e-mail releases came in within two hours of each other on Thursday. Here’s the first one:

Leading National Organization Responds To Attacks On Community Organizing Statement from the Center for Community Change
Washington, dc- Recently, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and several commentators and surrogates surrounding the presidential contest have attacked and misrepresented community organizing.  The following is a statement from Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, a 40-year-old national organization that builds the field of community organizing with hundreds of local organizations nationwide:

“When Sarah Palin demeaned community organizing, she didn’t attack another candidate.  She attacked an American tradition — one that has helped everyday Americans engage with the political process and make a difference in their lives and the lives of their neighbors. 

"All across the country, in every state and every community, there are community organizers helping people find shared solutions to the shared problems they face.  The candidates for President and Vice President should be working to solve our shared problems, too, rather than attack others who are trying to do the same.

"From winning living wages to expanding affordable housing to improving the quality of public schools to getting health coverage for the poor and elderly, community organizers have made and will continue to make our communities and our country better for all of us.

"The values that community organizers and grassroots leaders represent are not Washington values or Wall Street values but American values–that we care for each other and look out for each other and know we’re all interconnected and have a valuable role to play in making our country work for all of us.  Candidates should be courting these Community Values, not condemning them.”

Since 1968, the Center for Community Change has strengthened the leadership, voice and power of low-income communities nationwide to confront the vital issues of today and build the social movements of tomorrow.  The Center leads the Campaign for Community Values, a national movement of more than 300 grassroots, community-led organizations mobilizing voters in this election and beyond to demand policy changes that reflect our nation’s founding principles of shared responsibility, inclusion and interconnectedness. 

Here’s the second one:

America is Built on the Contributions of Community Organizers
Statement of Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

“The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is a coalition of nearly 200 organizations, much of whose work is done through community organizers. These advocates have provided the leverage for Americans to organize themselves into unions, get the five-day work week, voting rights for every citizen, paid maternity leave and the curb cuts used by people with disabilities and young mothers with strollers.

We’re a nonpartisan coalition but we do take exception when anyone disparages the vast contributions of community organizers to American society.

The United States has had a long and proud history of contributions made by community organizers, from Benjamin Franklin who organized the first volunteer fire department in this country to Clara Barton, who organized assistance for soldiers during the Civil War, to Martin Luther King, Jr., who helped our great nation correct a historic wrong. Over the years, many more community organizers have brought changes to American society that benefit all of us.

Nothing is done in a vacuum.  Someone has to organize it to get it done.  That is the simple and great role of a community organizer.”

               # # #

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition. For more information on LCCR and its nearly 200 member organizations, visit

So, however you define "community," one can’t say that these folks aren’t organized.