Palin: Flashy distraction, unvetted incompetent, but still dangerous

Heed the words of Frank Rich at The New York Times:

That’s why the Palin choice was brilliant politics — not because it rallied the G.O.P.’s shrinking religious-right base. America loves nothing more than a new celebrity face, and the talking heads marched in lock step last week to proclaim her a star. Palin is a high-energy distraction from the top of the ticket, even if the provenance of her stardom is in itself a reflection of exactly what’s frightening about the top of the ticket.

By hurling charges of sexism and elitism at any easily cowed journalist who raises a question about Palin, McCain operatives are hoping to ensure that whatever happened in Alaska with Sarah Palin stays in Alaska. Given how little vetting McCain himself has received this year — and that only 58 days remain until Nov. 4 — they just might pull it off.

This is exactly the problem with Gov. Palin’s “candidacy” for vice president: She is not running for anything, instead she is serving as a distraction from the torpid reality of the presidential candidate on the Republican ticket and as attack dog while dodging relevant questions about her qualifications on the basis that, if she were a man people wouldn’t be asking these questions. In fact, I do think everyone wants to know if the vice president is running on a fictional record of “reform” and “fiscal conservatism” (she is a “fiscal conservative” if you measure her against every Republican elected since 1980, as they’ve all contributed mightily to a dangerous national debt). However, it may just work.

Police brutalize journalists at RNC

This video of police charging reporters, who are screaming “press, press, press” and the accompanying video at Democracy Now of Amy Goodman being arrested for asking the police questions, raises some serious concerns about freedom. Remember, Tim Pawlenty, one of the final picks for VP, is governor of the state where this oppression is taking place — the RNC set the tone for police.

Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women — No Sarah Palin

I just got Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women issue. Condi Rice is on the cover. Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, ranks number 1 overall.

No Sarah Palin. There are, however, a number of prominent Republican women on this list that would have made excellent running mates for John McCain.

In fact, Sarah Palin has never been mentioned in Forbes based on this search. She appears in online results on only since being named VP nominee. Wow.

Just saying….

Reality check from the FT

The plain fact is that the presidency is unique. The contest to win the top job offers some preparation, but every first-term president is on a vertiginous learning curve. Experience is not the only – or perhaps even the most important – predictor of success in office.

Ready to rule? Financial Times, Sept. 3, 2008

Besides experience, the point of the election is to choose a direction. The one we’ve been on, the one really represented by McCain/Palin, has been a disaster economically, geopolitically and ethically. I’m much more comfortable with a 90% change from the policies of George W. Bush and the Republican Congress than I am with continuing to spend the country into the ground to support trickle-down economics and growing inequality.

Not a bad speech

Gov. Sarah Palin can read a speech. She lost it at the end, missing words in a way that suggests she’ll have trouble in debates. And there was a Manchurian Candidate line about McCain in Hanoi that fell flat in the room. I would like very much to see this candidate thinking on her feet, in debate and interviews. I agree with my wife, who said Palin cemented the conservative core but won’t bring many undecided voters to the ticket.

I’d say it was “Quaylie” — the low expectations for Dan Quayle made his speech, which was focused on the attack as well, his high water mark.

But the long and short of it is that she delivered the same jingoistic far right stuff that is killing this country.

How we got in this hole

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner, explains in two sentences how we got where we are economically and why it was easy to fall for the story along the way.

Falling Down
The task of unraveling all that went wrong in our financial system is a difficult one, but in essence the financial system’s latest innovation was to devise fee structures that were often far from transparent and that allowed it to generate enormous profits–private rewards that were not commensurate with social benefits. The imperfections of information (resulting from the non-transparency) led to imperfections in competition, helping to explain why the usual maxim that competition drives profits to zero seemed not to hold.

Remember all the talk about the miraculous new economy? Suckers born every minute.

Without sustained investment in American intellectual capital, we will end up living on the vanquished memories of when this country was great being doled out at the Republican convention this week.

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