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Saturday, September 06, 2008

"I feel like we deserve to win more than they deserve to lose"

Normally I'm not much of a "just linking" blogger. I figure you folks can find what you want without much help from me, if you found your way here in the first place. But Bill Whittle has posted an exceptional piece about Sarah Palin and John McCain on the NRO website that I wish I had written. I commend it to you. (H/t DRJ at Patterico's.)

Posted by Beldar at 02:48 AM in 2008 Election, McCain, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink

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» Bill Whittle on Sarah Palin: Go. Read. from third world county

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Comments

(1) Dan S made the following comment | Sep 6, 2008 7:29:14 AM | Permalink

"Sarah played to the base, who loved her. McCain played to the middle that we will need to win."

I think this is right but misses (or at least does not state) something important: Sarah put the spotlight onto John so that he COULD play to the middle effectively. He couldn't have stolen Obama's message effectively without the distraction, or attraction, of Sarah that brought him the opportunity to do so.

Sarah did "play to the base," but in doing so her natural ability extended the effect beyond. She magnetized far more than the base, allowing John the opportunity to create a current that could/might shift them.

And, credit where due, he picked her. Whether he dreamed there might be THIS degree of synergy so quickly we can only speculate. I doubt it. Veep choices historically just don't have this degree of impact. I really don't think John shot for the moon. That's just not his historical method. He strives for solid, doable compromises. I suspect he thought this WAS that.

(2) EW1(SG) made the following comment | Sep 6, 2008 2:30:39 PM | Permalink

I suspect he thought this WAS that.
I suspect as much also, but Whittle does a terrific job of explaining why it was such home run.

Unfortunately for intellectual flyweights like myself, Whittle and Beldar typically use up all the good words explaining stuff...so when I blog at all, I tend to just link things to avoid embarrassing myself.

Thanks for the pointer to the ever enjoyable Whittle.

(3) Neo made the following comment | Sep 6, 2008 3:42:15 PM | Permalink

I think the magic of Sarah Palin speaks to a belief that so many of us share: the sense that we personally know five people in our immediate circle who would make a better president than the menagerie of candidates the major parties routinely offer.
Sarah Palin is, first and foremost, "none of the above"

(4) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Sep 6, 2008 3:55:00 PM | Permalink

Palin has done an excellent job of setting-up McCain, but the time is rapidly coming when she must go off alone and sell Sarah Palin. If she remains as attack dog and head cheerleader to McCain the Repubs risk losing her main benefit.

She has her own story and her own record, superior in some ways to anyone else on either ticket. Let her begin meeting with the media, starting with the friendly faces then advancing to meet the liberal lions in their dens.

And let's hope that along the way she doesn't get a swelled head as she learns how fraudulent the Obamanites are.

(5) Carl Pham made the following comment | Sep 6, 2008 7:58:56 PM | Permalink

I think this is in there somewhere, but: Palin's choice for me cemented a slowly growing feeling that McCain is smarter than he's portrayed -- that he really is a fighter pilot inside Team Obama's OODA loop -- and that he's a man of great integrity.

When I look back on his accomplishments that dare not speak their name (at least in Republican circles), such as McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, and the Gang of 14, there's two ways of looking at them. The first, held until recently, and widely promulgated in Republican commentary areas -- I'm looking at you, Hugh Hewitt -- is that he's a limelight hog who doesn't mind sticking his finger in the eye of his "base" in order to score a headline.

But there's another way to look at it. Let's suppose he's really what he says, a man of great integrity who listens to the whole country, not just his "base," not even just his party, and who tries to do the right thing and actually get something done when everyone believes it should be done. Then he'd do just as he has.

We must remember that, in each of the cases cited, McCain was acting at a time when a large consensus of Americans said action was needed. Everyone wanted campaign finance reform, immigration reform, breaking the ideological logjam on confirmation of judges. Everyone said it was important stuff, and a "bipartisan" America-first approach was needed, in the face of severe partisan grandstanding.

So McCain acted. He did what we asked him to do. To get something done, not surprisingly he had to reach out to folks from the other side -- Feingold, Kennedy -- and cut deals that involved giving away half of the store. That's what it took. That's what it takes, sometimes -- and a lawyer should be very familiar with the client with a deluded idea of the strength of his case, who is dismayed at the plausible settlement offer he's asked to sign, right Beldar?

Maybe a wildly popular demigogue could charm the citizens enough to get a pure conservative solution to all of those problems -- but I doubt it. Not even Reagan could do that, and he cut many deals that smelt like day-old fish in his day, not even counting Iran-Contra. Both strong liberals and strong conservatives routinely make the dumb mistake of thinking that the rest of the country isn't like them (strongly left or right) because they just haven't thought about things, and if only stuff was explained to them properly, they'd become strong lefties or righties. The truth is, the rest of the country has thought about things, and is neither strongly liberal nor strongly conservative by deliberate choice.

So...is it McCain's fault if he dutifullly does what we ask him to do, as a legislator, and then, willy nilly, it turns out we didn't like the results so much? We thought we wanted campaign finance reform, but it turns out the cure is worse than the disease. That's not his fault. It's ours. We should ask fewer miracles of our government, and more plain workmanlike stewardship.

This is reassuring to me. Despite all the baloney about "experience," as if being President is like scoring a 10 on the balance beam in the Olympics, something involving such split-second reflexes that you need acres of training and practise to do it, I think the number one qualification for President is character: you've got to make tough choices, not tough because they're complex and mystifying (unless you have "experience"), but because they are morally ambiguous and scary. It takes character and grit to make them, and stick by them. Reagan had that, and W has to some extent, the inner guidance that ignores the fickle poll. Clinton most famously did not, and I doubt Barry Obama does now, even if he once did.

Second in importance is a good judge of other men (and women), the ability to size up your opponents, and know what their strong and weak points are, how to cut deals with them, and how to oppose them effectively if you must. Based on McCain's proven ability to cut deals with the likes of Ted Kennedy, I think he can handle the deal-making business. Based on his recent amazingly successful performance against Obama, including his shrewd pick of Palin, I'm beginning to think the guy knows how to fight just as well as he knows how to deal. That makes a pretty decent candidate for President.

(6) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 12:34:15 AM | Permalink

No, McCain-Feingold cannot be forgiven. I don't care if the people demanded "campaign finance reform"; it was McCain's job as a senator — as it was that of all congressmen and the president — to tell the people that they couldn't have it. There's no integrity in listening to "the whole country" and giving it something it's not entitled to. That's populism, not principle.

McCain-Feingold was immoral and unconstitutional, and every congressman who voted for it broke his oath of office, as did the president who signed it. That includes Thompson, but at least he regretted it; McCain never did, and he cannot be forgiven. I may end up voting for him anyway, because Obama's so much worse on every issue including this one, and because it's the only way I can get Palin, but I refuse to whitewash this offense of his.

(7) Carl Pham made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 6:25:56 PM | Permalink

Feh, Milhouse, with such religious inflexibility, you belong with the Democrats.

Of all the threats to the Republic, from 1800 on down, I'd rank the BCRA about, oh, 655th. What do you say about Reagan's choice to send the Marines to Lebanon, which cost the lives of 270 good men, followed by just cravenly packing up and leaving when they got hit? Or Iran-Contra? What about Churchill's decision to press for an attack at Gallipoli during the First World War? What about Jefferson's support of the Kentucky resolutions, which were widely (and probably correctly) cited as lending support to the doctrine of nullification in the 1850s, and helped provoke secessionism in the 1860s? Let's not even get into Woodrow Wilson's performance in Paris in 1919 -- his betrayal of the Greeks, for instance -- or that of Truman at Potsdam.

Each of those mistakes cost the lives of thousands, at least, and yet those men live on as heroes because on balance they did what was good. The worst you could say about McCain-Feingold is that it has made campaign lawyering an obnoxiously large part of running for office, and that it has not had its intended effect on "corruption" at all. By historical standards, those are small potatoes.

To set against that error in judgment is the fact that McCain does, apparently, stand for the whole country, and does know how to get stuff done. If judgment correct even in hindsight is your criterion for high office, you need to hope Jesus Christ comes down and runs for office, because no mere human can display it.

Human beings can however demonstrate character and fortitude, and you could do worse than putting someone in office who shows those qualities. He may make mistakes, but he'll own up to them, and change when the evidence is clear that he is. Witness McCain's about-face on offshore drilling, and possibly on securing borders before the "path to citizenship."

I'll take a man who can own up to mistakes and address them effectively over a (hypothetical) man who doesn't make any mistakes.

(8) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 8:09:53 PM | Permalink

McCain-Feingold was not an "error in judgment", apparent only in hindsight; it would have been just as foul had it succeeded at its stated goal. It's the goal itself that's foul. The worst I could say about McCain-Feingold is not that "it has made campaign lawyering an obnoxiously large part of running for office", or that it has not had its intended effect; the worst and most obvious thing to say about it is that by it own terms it is an unconstitutional restriction on my speech and your speech and the speech of anyone who wants to have an effect on elections. Damn the candidates, especially the major-party ones, I'm not concerned about them; they can afford the lawyers. It's the bloggers; it's the individuals who want to put together some money and run a few ads in the local paper; it's the person with more money than time, who wants to persuade people to support his chosen candidate, but would like to hire someone better at it than himself, whole those with more time than money are unrestricted in the amount of their own labour they can donate to the candidate of their choice. That is what makes this an unforgiveable sin.

(9) Milhouse made the following comment | Sep 7, 2008 8:10:44 PM | Permalink

I'm also intrigued by your notion that moral flexibility is a Republican trait, and standing on principle is a Democrat one.

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