Palin meets Couric, again, with maverick back-up

I’m astonished that Senator McCain has to sit by his vice presidential candidate to defend her statements, blaming the press for Governor Palin’s clearly stated position about Pakistan, a contradiction to what McCain said in the debate Friday. McCain calls a question by a voter a “gotcha journalism” tactic.

Palin’s position, that cross-border strikes are necessary, is exactly what McCain condemned as naive and dangerous. Either she’s naive and dangerous or McCain’s characterization of Senator Obama is mere posturing.

We get to decide. Do you want these people running the country?

The runaway candidate

Now he’s out of the race. McCain should continue the debates, regardless of what he wants to spend his days doing. It is essential to our democracy that we hear from the candidates about all the issues.

If Senator McCain wants to suspend his campaign, he should drop out of the race and let someone who wants to answer to the American people run in his place. That would rule out Sarah Palin as a presidential candidate, as well.

McCain’s health plan: Adding to the legions of uninsured

Senator John McCain has promised to “fix” healthcare with a system that combines tax credits with increased emphasis on private insurance. One of his advisors, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, says the plan would pull 25 to 30 million people into the ranks of the insured. Yes, more private insurers making big profits is exactly what we need…. But a panel of experts has contradicted the McCain claims in an article in Health Affairs, according to The New York Times:

The article, published in the journal Health Affairs, argues that “initially there would be no real change in the number of people covered as a result of the McCain plan.” After a short-term reduction of 1 million in the number of people without coverage, the number of uninsured would increase by 5 million after five years, the authors predict. There are currently 45 million people without insurance, or 15 percent of the population, according to the Census Bureau.

If McCain would like to convene a panel of experts to determine what’s wrong with the U.S. financial system (as though we don’t know already–unrestricted greed has sapped the system of tremendous reserviors of value), he ought to listen to this pane about health care now. The McCain health plan is more of the same, which will only magnify the problem.

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.

McCain’s bizarre VP choice

There are many things being said about Gov. Sarah Palin being on the Republican ticket, which smacks of a tokenism worthy of a South Park parody, but what strikes me most is that it thoroughly undercuts the Republican argument against Barack Obama: That he is too young and inexperienced. If Palin can be a heartbeat away from the presidency under a 72-year-old four-time cancer survivor, Obama is eminently qualified to be at the top of the Democratic ticket.

Republicans can just put away the “Obama’s experience is the issue” rhetoric now. And I’ll take Joe Biden as president over Sarah Palin on any day, even the quietest one of any presidency ever.

That his VP destroys his argument against Obama speaks volumes about McCain’s judgment and willingness to pander mindlessly to the far right.

McCain’s believability: He has compromised with the public’s trust before

John McCain's believabilityJohn McCain, presumed Republican presidential nominee, has presented his denials to a recent New York Times story that suggests he had an improper relationship with a lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. Slate has an interesting video, which superimposes the trust expressed by 901 voters in McCain’s words during the press conference, which shows that people have some difficulty believing his categorical assertion that he has at “no time [done] anything to betray the public trust.”

I don’t know whether the Times got the story right—though I think they did capture a factual level of concern among McCain’s aides about the relationship. The point of the story was that McCain is apparently unequivocal in his statements that he is morally upright, despite the fact that, like many politicians, who are people first and foremost, has a history of questionable activities on behalf of supporters, such as Charles Keating, who had McCain’s support in trying to skirt the consequences of the collapse of Lincoln Savings & Loan.

Let’s quit trying to elect saints and start electing people based on their qualifications for office, the policies they propose, and their record of keeping promises to the people, while keeping firmly in mind that, as people, politicians are flawed.

McCain is no saint. I won’t vote for him because of his approach to the War in Iraq and terrorism generally, his misguided tax and economic ideas (which, in the form he supported throughout the Bush years has landed the United States in a world of hurt), and my general feeling that he caters to the extreme right in the belief they are essential to electoral victory.