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?

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ACORN goes to prison…to register MN voters

No, ACORN has not been sent to prison; I guess that comes later. In fact, they’ve gone willingly, and they’ve brought their clipboards with them.

An investigative report in Minnesota has found that ACORN workers went to prisons in an effort to add the wards of the state therein to the voting rolls. (Link via Hot Air; click through for interesting video.) Needless to say, Minnesota law forbids voting by convicted felons, let alone by those still serving out their sentences.

How convinced do you have to be of your own safety from the reach of the law in order to send your voter-registration apparatus into a place where you are virtually guaranteed to find nothing but throngs of the ineligible?

(I’m waiting for an ACORN spokesman to explain that they weren’t actually targeting the felons in Minnesota’s prison system. I’m laying odds that ACORN comes out and accuses America’s right wing of actively seeking to disenfranchise Minnesota’s prison catering community. Let the Ladle Guys Vote!)

Word spreading about hostility to coal?

Ohio Coal Association president Mike Carey has made his and his organization’s thoughts known on Obama’s stated plans for slow strangulation of the American coal industry:

“Regardless of the timing or method of the release of these remarks, the message from the Democratic candidate for President could not be clearer: the Obama-Biden ticket spells disaster for America’s coal industry and the tens of thousands of Americans who work in it.

“These undisputed, audio-taped remarks, which include comments from Senator Obama like ‘I haven’t been some coal booster’ and ‘if they want to build [coal plants], they can, but it will bankrupt them’ are extraordinarily misguided.

“It’s evident that this campaign has been pandering in states like Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania to attempt to generate votes from coal supporters, while keeping his true agenda hidden from the state’s voters…”

More commentary, with expanded text of the OCA statement, here and here. References made to an old Biden Gaffe Watch favorite.

No word yet as to the effect of Obama’s “bankrupt” comments, or Carey’s response, on other coal-producing swing states such as those Carey mentions, or others such as Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, or New Mexico.

Ouch. And again I say, ouch.

Mary Katherine Ham at the Weekly Standard blog has assembled this collection of clips into what she calls “Obama’s Attack Ad on Himself”:

The number of fundamental policy positions on which Obama has simply and brazenly reversed himself is staggering, especially (as MKH puts it) while “floating above us all as the post-partisan redeemer of America.” Ham expresses regret at not having posted this video earlier; I regret it also, since it’s over three and a half minutes long (way too long for a TV spot) and won’t be carried anywhere but the Web; if it had been released earlier, it might well have filtered into TV news coverage. I should note that I don’t say that as a knock against her (it’s a very effective clip collection, and good on her for getting it out); just as a measure of agreement that it’s a shame it took longer to assemble the requisite video than she expected.

More here, here, here, and here. Jim Geraghty sums up the message: “All Barack Obama Statements Come With an Expiration Date. All Of Them.” The blog post that follows that title, a roster of major policy positions that make up Obama’s flip-flop playlist, is truly breathtaking; a wonder to behold.

Biden Gaffe Watch: “What Biden gaffes?”

Well, that’s a novel approach: answer critics of your gaffes by declaring they weren’t actually gaffes.

“I think we’ve run a really good campaign,” Biden said Monday. “And for all the stuff about gaffes, I don’t think there have been any real gaffes,” Biden said. “I mean, I don’t see anything in your polling data demonstrating any of that stuff you guys love to write about.”

“I never make any big, big gaffes,” he added. “I mean, you guys love saying that about me, but I tell you what, just look at the numbers. I don’t have any problem with what I’ve said and there’s nothing I’ve said that I would back off of.”

Republicans have ripped numerous Biden remarks over the past few months, with Sen. John McCain calling him “the gift that keeps on giving.”

And there you have it: the Biden Gaffe Watch’s first “Biden meta-gaffe.” It takes a true gaffemeister to commit a gaffe about your own gaffes.

UPDATE: Following close on the heels of Biden’s first meta-gaffe is Biden’s first “gaffe sandwich” (my own phrase), which is what I call a rare moment of lucidity enclosed on either end by incomprehensible blather. The moment of lucidity?

“I shouldn’t be going off like this, but…”

The rest of the gaffe sandwich? Well…why don’t you check it out for yourself.

Not to bring up polls again, but…

Yes, I know I blogged earlier that I didn’t want to blog on polls, because they’re unreliable this year due to the complete absence of solid and consistent standards, demographic balances, or turnout models from one poll to the other. However, I’m going to blog on polls once again before the election is over, and I’ll be staying true to my word because it’s another blog post on polling unreliability.

OK, I also know it sounds like I’m trashing a field of professional study of which I was a part for some time, but I’m really not; I still believe in the basic soundness of political polling. I simply think this year’s election dynamics are unique in their unpollability. However, there is an area of political polling in which I have never had any faith, at least not since I knew what they were. The area is that of the damnable exit poll.

More wonkery, notes of caution for Obamacolytes, and reasons for optimism for McCainiacs, below the break.

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