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Palin Comparison

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September 1, 2008

In a perfect world, there would be a floor fight to take Sarah Palin off the ticket at the Republican Convention. It would make for some good TV this week.  On the Friday, August 29 program, Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO), National Public Radio’s Michel Martin made the strident claim that those who criticize Sarah Palin “do so at their peril”.  Sarah Palin is a Gumball.   There.  I will say it again, as well.  Although I would agree that anyone who resorts to sexist criticism of Palin does so at their own peril, there is plenty of room for reasoned dismay at McCain’s choice.  Meanwhile, Michel Martin’s claim that Palin’s experience is analogous to Tim Kaine’s experience, should have been made at Martin’s peril.  Actually, it was.  Tim Kaine is the Governor of a state that just happens to be next door to our nation’s Capitol.  Virginia’s population is 7,702,091 people.  The population of Alaska is less than one tenth of that at 683,478.  Although Kaine’s time served as Governor of Virginia is equivalent to the time served by Palin as Governor of Alaska, Kaine previously served four years as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia  — a job with similar day-to-day duties as those of the Vice-President of the United States.  You see, both the Lieutenant Governor and the Vice-President preside over a body called “the Senate”. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the State Senate and the Vice-President presides over the United States Senate.  The Gumball made the mistake of asking the question, into a TV camera, of what the everyday duties of the Vice-President might be.  Tim Kane learned the answer by presiding over the Virginia Senate for four years.  In case The Gumball doesn’t know (and she doesn’t, by her own admission) Kane’s duties as Lieutenant Governor matched those of the Vice President of the United States.  Michel Martin must be aware of this … she just might not want anyone else to be so aware.  Before Tim Kaine was Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, he was the Mayor of Richmond Virginia for four years.  Two years ago, The Gumball was the mayor of her home town:  Wasilla, Alaska (population 9,000).  Tim Kaine was the mayor of a city with a population over twenty times the size of Wasilla, Alaska, at 200,123 people.  Tim Kaine went to law school (Georgetown).  The Gumball didn’t, nor did John McCain.

The stupidity of this episode is “off the charts”.  On the heels of an outrageously successful Democratic Convention, McCain has made a desperate reach for those disgruntled supporters of Hillary Clinton.  At the same time, with his choice of The Gumball, McCain has sold out to the televangelist lobby in the hope of connecting with that ever-elusive Republican “base”.  The term “desperate” has been used by many commentators.  Jonathan Alter of Newsweek was kind enough to analogize the selection of Palin to a “Hail Mary” or “Hail Sarah” pass at the end of a close football game.  McCain’s media sycophants claim that McCain’s selection of Palin as his running mate, reinforces his “maverick” persona.  To the contrary, if McCain really were a maverick, he would be standing up to the televangelist lobby, rather than sucking up to it, as he is with this choice.

Sarah Palin (a/k/a “The Gumball”) is a “wing nut” who wants creationism to be taught in public schools and who refuses to believe that global warming has been caused by human activity.  To her credit, Palin went to term with a baby known to have Down Syndrome, based on her anti-abortion stance.  Her ability to do the anti-abortion walk as well as the anti-abortion talk will give her some degree of “street cred” with a limited population.

Nevertheless, with his choice of Palin, McCain has alienated his own “base” – the independents, moderate Republicans and centrists who believed that once elected President, McCain would tear off the rubber mask and return to his old self.  As Arianna Huffington said a while ago:  “The John McCain of 2000 is not a candidate in this election.”  McCain’s choice of The Gumball just drove that message home.

The fact that The Gumball was not adequately vetted, has become glaringly obvious to many Republicans.  She hasn’t been Governor of Alaska for two years and yet, she is already in trouble there. A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate her activity.  She has been accused of “abuse of power”.  Our current Vice-President has that as his middle name.  This situation should make life easy for those writing the negative ads about the Republican ticket.

As long as Michel Martin has directed our attention to Tim Kaine, let’s remember where he was born:  a city named St. Paul, Minnesota.  If you want to find out what life is like there now, with the Republican Convention taking place, read Lindsay Beyerstein’s article, “Inside an RNC Raid” at Firedoglake.com.  It will make you sick, with reports of warrantless searches at homes — even one owned by a former military police officer.  When a woman staying at the house discussed in the story asked for a warrant, she was detained.  Local police were blended with apparent “contractors” or private Gestapo-for-hire.  Of course, this is all completely illegal in the United States where we have lived for all our lives.  Those in control of the 2008 Republican Party don’t care about the rule of law.  They make a point of promoting “leaders” who know nothing about it, either.  The reasons for this are obvious.

Kaine Is Able

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July 31, 2008

Speculation is rampant these days, concerning the identities of the Vice-Presidential selections to be made by Barack Obama and John McCain.  The late timing of the Democratic and Republican Conventions, both of which will take place after the Olympics, has apparently resulted in pressure to name VP selections before the Olympics begin on August 8 (lasting until August 24).  The Democratic Convention does not begin until the day after the closing ceremony of the Olympics (August 25) and runs until August 28.  Almost immediately thereafter, the Republican Convention begins on Labor Day (September 1) running until the 4th.  Out of fear that a Vice-Presidential selection could be upstaged by the Olympics, both parties are expected to announce their candidates’ picks before August 8.

Since the Democratic Convention takes place before the Republican conclave, Barack Obama is expected to announce his choice first.  Rumor has it that he will pick Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.  Speculation has run against Kaine as the VP choice because he has been the Governor of Virginia for only two years and he has no experience in Washington, D.C. politics.  These considerations, combined with Obama’s short history in the Senate, have dominated the discussions concerning Kaine’s presence on the ticket.

Nevertheless, as we dig deeper into Kaine’s background, we find plenty of good experience to qualify him for the Vice-Presidency and make him an attractive vote-magnet for the Democratic ticket.  For starters, we have the “Southerner” factor.  It is imperative for Obama to pick a Southerner as his running mate, if he expects to have a chance in Dixieland.  Beyond that, Kaine has a history of being an “activist Christian”.  This should have a favorable impact on Southern voters preoccupied with religious issues (i.e. about 95 percent of them).  Although Kaine belongs to the “wrong” Christian religion for most Southerners (Roman Catholicism) he did take a year off from Harvard Law School to help the Jesuit order of priests and assist with their missionary work in Honduras.  Digging deeper into that fact, we can expect to see some big appeal to Latin-American voters, an important voting bloc in the State of Florida.

On the issue of Kaine’s experience, we need to keep in mind that he is the Governor of Virginia, a state literally “next door” to our nation’s capitol.  Although he has been the Governor for only two years, his previous job was that of Lieutenant Governor of his state.  The role of a Lieutenant Governor is identical to that of the Vice-President: being the President of the Senate.  As President of the Virginia Senate for four years, he had the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to be an effective President of the United States Senate.  He previously served as the Mayor of Richmond, the state’s capitol city.  He therefore does have some executive experience, although at the municipal level, as in the case of Rudy Giuliani.

As an alumnus of Harvard Law School, he has a bond with Obama and he has the credentials to demonstrate a significantly greater degree of concern for the rule of law, than that of our current VP, who, like his partner-in-crime, George W. Bush, never went to law school.

As Governor of Virginia, he gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union address, given by George W. Bush on January 21, 2006.  His role as spokesman for the Democratic Party, to rebut Bush’s speech targeting (among other things) the now-defunct “Axis of Evil”, highlighted his prominence as a national figure in the Democratic Party at that point in his career.

His humble background is similar to that of Barack Obama.  Tim Kaine is the son of a welder.  The fact that he grew up in Missouri could help draw the interest of that state’s voters.  His rise from a modest upbringing to Harvard Law School grad and on to government, makes him a kindred spirit to Obama.

Hillary Clinton’s fanatic supporters are now facing up to the fact that she will not appear in any capacity on the 2008 Democratic ticket.  However, we may yet see some outrage when the stake is finally driven through the heart of her candidacy, with the announcement of Tim Kane as Obama’s Vice-Presidential choice.