Category Archives: Sarah Palin

Palin cleared, for what it’s worth by now

An independent panel (emphasis this time on “independent”) has exonerated Sarah Palin of wrongdoing in the dust-up formerly known as “Troopergate.” The panel was convened by the nonpartisan state Personnel Board with an independent investigator, instead of by one of Gov. Palin’s most vocal opponents in the Alaska legislature with an investigator bought and paid for by him. (More here and here.)

Of course the first “investigation,” spearheaded by State Sen. Hollis French, did the damage it was designed to do. Exoneration now comes too late for the damage to be undone. But then again, that was the point of French’s crusade to begin with…it was never to punish wrongdoing, just to punish opposition (which, in French’s fevered mind, amounts to a distinction without a difference).

How else to explain why French’s entire set of findings rested on the perceived violation of an unenforceable non-statute (a violation which the more recent investigation found wasn’t worth the air Sen. French wasted on it)? How else to explain why no charges were filed? How else to explain why the French panel’s findings were never adopted by the Alaska Legislature, or any committee or subcommittee thereof?

There is no other explanation. Sarah Palin did her job, and abused no aspect of the office. Sen. French tried to dance around it, and fortunately nobody applauded, but then he wasn’t going for the applause, was he?

Senator Palin? Doubtful. But what if…

Covert Zero brings up “an interesting point” (before throwing me a link…thanks!) from former defense analyst Chuck Spinney (H/T James Fallows):

“How much do you want to bet the Sarah Palin won’t replace Ted Stevens after being induced to run in a special election by “popular demand”?

Could happen, but that’s not a bet I’d take.

Explanation, and lots more wonkery with an even wilder scenario, below the break.

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Kiss Alaska goodbye. Thank Ted Stevens.

Newly convicted Sen. Ted Stevens is digging in his heels, and this blogger sees no sign of any intent to resign, before or after the election. The man honestly thinks he won’t spend day one in jail; I don’t think he’s capable of envisioning a Senate without him.

National Republicans are abandoning him, the state party is clinging to him, his fellow senators (of both parties) are talking openly about expelling him, and local political experts are still saying he might eke out one final re-election victory.

News developments, analysis, and more wonkery below the break.

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Rally featuring Tito the Truck Driver

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Joe the Plumber has generated an honest-to-gawd sequel: Tito the Truck Driver, who introduced Sarah Palin at a McCain-Palin rally today.

Tito first burst onto the scene when he confronted Mother Jones columnist David Corn at an earlier rally, surrounded by a small crowd in high moral dudgeon. (Corn was there to demonstrate to the world what a savage bunch McCain-Palin supporters were.) Tito laced into Corn for the media’s shabby treatment of Joe Wurzelbacher, AKA Joe the Plumber, and their general, all-around in-the-tankitude regarding Barack Obama. Corn went through most of the exchange with the same deer-in-the-headlights look on his face that he and so many of his colleagues love to ascribe to Gov. Palin.

It got him noticed, and it eventually got his name out. He next turned up in the McCain-Palin campaign’s very effective ad released last week, “I Am Joe,” in which a succession of blue-collar workers and small-business owners vocally identified with Joe the Plumber and described what makes them like him. This was where the angry guy in the hardhat from David Corn’s ill-fated foray into Red-State America introduced himself formally as “Tito the Truck Driver.”

Now he appears to have joined the McCain-Palin ground team on a semi-permanent basis as a VIP, introducing Sarah Palin for her rally speeches. Not bad for a Colombian immigrant who came here with nothing.

I just hope, for Tito’s sake, that he has his taxes in order. Especially now that David Corn has a mad-on for him.

UPDATE: Thanks to Anchoress, who tells me Tito’s full name. Joe Wurzelbacher, meet Tito Muñoz.

Welcome to the bighouse, Ted. Now what?

The Congressional Indicted Caucus officially has one fewer member. Senator Ted Stevens has been convicted on all counts. To quote a certain played-out, over-the-hill cartoonist: “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” (More here, here, here, and here.) For his part, Stevens has announced he will appeal, maintaining his innocence and lacerating the prosecutors for what I admit was some pretty messed-up lawyering.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see Sen. Stevens go, which will come as no surprise to WitSnapper readers (who may have read my thoughts on the man here, here, here, here, and elsewhere). His Senate seat will likely go to his Democratic opponent, Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, now effectively running unopposed. Republicans now are scrambling to assess their very limited options.

Bunches of scenario-weaving below the break.

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“You got served, beeyotch!”

OK, after that last post I think we desperately need to lighten the mood a bit. This oughta work. Kick back and relax for the McCain vs. Obama Dance-Off! It’s on!

Stick around for the surprise twist. Whoever made this video has waaaaaay too much spare time, but all the same I’d say it was worth every second. (H/T the Corner.)

Sarah Palin plays a forbidden game…in public!

Well, this is new. Sarah Palin has asked the unthinkable question directly to a journalist: “Can you imagine if I woulda said such a thing?” CNN’s Drew Griffin has been asked on the air to play “Media Party Switch.”

Gov. Palin brought to the cable news networks (outside of Fox News) something that we in the blogosphere do on a regular basis.  She examined Joe Biden’s recent statement warning that an international crisis would test Barack Obama’s mettle as president before his first six months in the White House are up, and wondered aloud what might have happened if instead she had been the one to say something so bizarre (and manifestly unhelpful to the top of her ticket).

During this entire presidential campaign — and frankly, this pattern is not at all limited to presidential elections — bloggers like me have indulged in a time-honored thought experiment. I’ll call it “Media Party Switch.” Put briefly, it considers any given gaffe, smear, flub, reckless accusation, or other similarly outrageous or boneheaded statement by a Democrat that has gone unnoticed or unreported by the journalistic community, and poses the rhetorical question of what would have happened if the same type of statement had been made by a Republican under the same circumstances.

Readers of WitSnapper have seen me dabble in “Media Party Switch” here from time to time. It’s become a pseudo-regular feature of the Biden Gaffe Watch, in which I wonder more than once when the sum total of instances of Biden’s frothing mouth galloping away from him (also lovingly recapped here by Miz Michelle) might equal, for example, former Vice President Dan Quayle’s infamous misspelling of “potato.”  However, as widespread a practice as this thought experiment is among bloggers, it rarely, if ever, makes it to network or cable news, given how embarrassing such a look in the mirror could be (after all, it’s not the blogosphere that puts the “Media” in “Media Party Switch”).

In Griffin’s CNN interview with Gov. Palin, Griffin doesn’t go so far as to break the omerta among his colleagues and producers by openly musing what the media reaction might have been if Palin had said something like what Biden did. However, he must be given credit (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he might have been able to see this coming) for opening the door by asking the more general question of whether Palin thinks Joe Biden has been “given a pass” by the media.  Palin strides right through that door, answering that he’d have to ask his own colleagues and bosses as to why Biden’s been given a pass, but she does wonder aloud (video here):

Can you imagine if I would’ve said such a thing?  No, I think we would be hounded and held accountable: “What in the world did you mean by that, VP/presidential candidate?  Why would you say that, ‘Mark my words, this nation will undergo an international crisis if you elect Barack Obama?'” If I would have said something like that you guys would clobber me!

Again, to his credit, Griffin doesn’t waste airtime trying to argue the point:

You’re right! [Both laugh.] You’re right.

Excellent.  Good to hear it.  In that spirit, I look forward to seeing Griffin call Sen. Biden on this statement, or whatever other bizarre statement he’ll inevitably let loose by the time CNN gets him to sit down with them, or for that matter any of the embarrassing wealth of past statements on which the senator has been “given a pass.”  How’s your game of “Media Party Switch,” Senator?

What is CNN’s problem?

All of a sudden, CNN appears to be taking some pretty underhanded steps to make things difficult for John McCain and Sarah Palin.  I say “underhanded” because my capacity for benefit of the doubt, at long last, has been depleted; neither of these screw-ups would ever have befallen a competent reporter or editor.

First, they reported Monday on their “Political Ticker” blog, wrongly, that the McCain campaign was ceding Colorado to Obama, prioritizing scenarios for winning without it.  Not only is this vigorously denied by the campaign, but this report came on the same day that Sarah Palin was drawing record audiences in Grand Junction, with four appearances across the state by Todd Palin scheduled for Tuesday.  How, when the McCain campaign looks to be concentrating especially hard on Colorado, does CNN possibly divine that they are giving it up for lost?

Now, CNN’s Drew Griffin has “dowdified” a passage from a column in National Review by Byron York to make it sound as if York thinks Sarah Palin is the dimmest of dim bulbs, when actually York is commenting on how the media are making every effort to make her look that way.  Here is York’s original passage (note especially the opening clause):

Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for vice president, it’s sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward, or — or, well, all of the above. Palin, the governor of Alaska, has faced more criticism than any vice-presidential candidate since 1988, when Democrats and the press tore into Dan Quayle. In fact, Palin may have it even worse than Quayle, since she’s taking flak not only from Democrats and the press but from some conservative opinion leaders as well….

Yes, there are legitimate concerns about Palin’s lack of experience. Who wouldn’t, at the very least, wish that she had more time in the governor’s office on her résumé? But a look at Palin’s 20 months in power, along with interviews with people who worked with her, shows her to be a serious executive, a governor who picked important things to do and got them done — and who didn’t just stumble into an 80 percent job-approval rating.

And here’s a transcript of Griffin’s question in an interview with Gov. Palin (video clip here):

The press has been pretty hard on you, the Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, I can’t tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above.

Note the conspicuous absence of the previously emphasized opening clause.  York himself takes considerable exception to the distortion of his article in NRO’s The Corner.  National Review had no story saying any such thing; the story said such a conclusion might be drawn from the tenor and content of Palin’s media coverage.  (Kind of ironic that Griffin should make himself an example of just such coverage with this tailored misquote.)

Too bad…with Griffin’s recent more-in-depth-than-usual coverage of Barack Obama’s connections to ACORN and Bill Ayers, I’d begun to consider reassessing my estimation of CNN’s “in the tank for Obama” status.  Griffin, in his infinite consideration, has done his part to spare me a minor cris de coeur.

UPDATE: Griffin has apologized, pseudo-kinda-sorta. He was kind enough to stress that “Sarah Palin was delightful,” and also pointed out that the offending quote aired only once (they were notified of the misquote by National Review, after which the quote was cut from the interview). His explanation:

“I wanted to keep the interview moving, so I got to the heart of the question and really the heart of York’s article, and the National Review‘s article, which is that you are a successful Governor, and why aren’t you getting that message out, which she answered…In no way did I intend to misquote the National Review.

OK. Saying you were rushed is a pretty weak excuse, and an apology would have been fitting (it was done out of his own carelessness, after all), but I give him credit for taking airtime out to explain. I still have trouble seeing how such a mistake can be made accidentally, but since he’s gone on the record admitting, at the very least, a “misquote,” then as far as I’m concerned, the matter’s closed. Too bad Kyra Phillips blew the whole thing when she ended off the segment with the following facetious yet self-pitying twaddle:

We should graduate not only with a diploma but a big target on our forehead, because no matter what we say during a political season, and you’re rushed and it’s tight time, there’s always going to be people out there that are going to criticize it. You did a great job Drew, appreciate it.

Excuse me? “No matter what we say??” What is Phillips trying to say, that an accurate quote would have generated the same backlash? Sorry, Kyra, but you’re not the victim here. Your testiness is undeserved and unprofessional, and however one might describe Griffin’s handling of that part of the interview, it was definitely not a “great job.”

The year’s most unsurprising surprise

Former SecState Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama on Sunday is eliciting surprise from a lot more people than it should be.  He’s been making sotto voce noises about it for months, and frankly his announcement on “Meet The Press” was fairly anticlimactic, and late enough in the game to look like he’s just scrambling for what space there is left on the bandwagon.

For his part, John McCain was “disappointed” that Powell didn’t think to give him a heads-up a little bit ahead of time, and that he never even took the time to meet Sarah Palin (though that didn’t stop him from trashing her as “not ready,” which is odd given the presidential candidate he’s throwing over for a newbie like Obama).

What strikes me most about his endorsement, though, is what he doesn’t say.  Check the video:

When Powell goes into specifics, his reasons for voting for Obama have nothing to do with Obama, but with McCain.  Powell says the senator seems “unsure” how to deal with the economic crisis; he thinks McCain’s running mate is “not ready” (once again, without having met her, which if he wanted to do all he’d have to do is ask).  When he talks about Obama directly, the specifics fail him:  he’s a “transformational figure;” he has an “ability to inspire;” he “reaches across lines” (leading one to wonder which Barack Obama he’s been watching, as does his assertion that Obama hasn’t jumped around from one position to the next).

Powell cites none of Obama’s positions that appeal to him; it’s all image.  His statement of support for Obama is so vague and airy, it may as well have been written by the other “big O” in this race, Oprah.

Powell also gets in a hell of a cheap shot that I once thought beneath him; he ascribes the “Obama is a Muslim” rumor, long since debunked, to Republicans, when it was promulgated during the Democratic primaries and reinforced (for what it was worth) by an email traced back to the Hillary campaign showing Obama in African Muslim garb.  This rumor has long since lost all meaningful currency it might once have had, and no Republican with any shred of a reputation has repeated it; for Powell to rehash it and cram it into the mouths of unnamed “members of my own party” is just low; it sounds like he’s searching for an excuse to throw in his lot with Obama.

UPDATE: Was Secretary Powell just in need of a little attention?

Sarah Palin is a… WHAT??

“Civil rights icon” Rep. John Lewis made news recently by drawing a parallel between John McCain and segregationist Alabama governor George Wallace.  Sen. McCain was understandably gobsmacked, and Lewis subsequently (and unconvincingly) backtracked in the face of anti-race-baiting backlash, but Lewis’s point was that the tone of McCain’s and Sarah Palin’s recent campaign rhetoric was “sowing the seeds of hatred and division,” and that McCain and Palin were “playing with fire” and “playing a dangerous game.”

Want to see a “dangerous game” played with “hatred and division?”  Check below the break.

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McCain-Palin ralliers attacked in Manhattan

Video has gone viral around the Web of a September 21 McCain-Palin rally on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and Gateway Pundit has posted it.  The reaction from the local wildlife was predictable, though no less cringeworthy for it.

I’ve been in their position before myself, and in my case I was just covering the demonstration for a friend, not participating in it.  For my trouble, I came close more than once to getting the crap kicked out of me by indignant Manhattanites and other observers of the demonstration in question.

Gather round, my children, and I’ll tell you about it below the break.

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“She didn’t, but I’m saying she did anyway”

The Branchflower Report is out. Obama supporter, Sarah Palin stalker, Troopergate investigation frontman, and Alaska State Senator Hollis French promised the world an “October Surprise” with this report on Sarah Palin’s firing of Walter Monegan (this promise, of course, was issued before a single witness had uttered a word).  Technically speaking, he didn’t disappoint (that is to say, the report did come in October as promised).  Substantively speaking, the report was lacking a certain punch.

Gateway Pundit has more.  Roger Kimball asks, “Is that all they’ve got?”

Ann Althouse, on the other hand, thinks this is a red flag:

Lots of us like Sarah Palin and have high hopes for her in this election and the next, but let’s resist the impulse to slough off this report. It means something.

She doesn’t say what that something is, and I must admit I’m at a loss to say what it means myself, at least regarding Palin.  Link to the full report, highlighting of the nut graphs, and implications below the break.

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