MAD LIBS – Palin Derangement Syndrome Overwhelms Media

THE WEEKLY STANDARD

by William Kristol
09/22/2008, Volume 014, Issue 02

The liberal media are angry. Very, very angry. How do we know? Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post‘s chronicler of all things media, says so:

 

The media are getting mad. Whether it’s the latest back-and-forth over attack ads, the silly lipstick flap or the continuing debate over Sarah and sexism, you can just feel the tension level rising several notches. Maybe it’s a sense that this is crunch time, that the election is on the line, that the press is being manipulated (not that there’s anything new about that).

 

Of course, politicians are always trying to manipulate the media. And the liberal media are always allowing themselves to be manipulated by liberal politicians. So why the foot-stamping snit by liberal journalists? Not because “the press is being manipulated.” Rather, because the American people are resisting manipulation by the media.

For, as Kurtz goes on to say, the media “are increasingly challenging false or questionable claims by the McCain campaign.” In other words, the media are going after McCain. In his piece Kurtz cites two allegedly false claims from McCain ads that are in fact basically true–or, at least, no more one-sided than dozens of other campaign ads. Back when Barack Obama was coasting toward victory, normal campaign exaggerations (“You know, John McCain wants to continue a war in Iraq perhaps as long as 100 years”) didn’t fill the media with loathing for Obama. Now the McCain camp’s exaggerations do.

Why? Because McCain is doing well. And because Sarah Palin is surviving–even flourishing in the midst the liberal media onslaught.

When the media get mad, they don’t just pout. They pounce. How? By any means necessary. The day of Kurtz’s article, September 11, ABC’s Charlie Gibson conducted his first interview of Sarah Palin. Gibson asked: “You said recently, in your old church, ‘Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.’ Are we fighting a holy war?”

Palin responded, “You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.”

“Exact words,” Gibson triumphantly retorted.

Not so fast. As Palin explained, quite eloquently, what she was saying was in the spirit of Lincoln: “Let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.” The tape of Palin’s church appearance bore out her interpretation and revealed Gibson’s mischaracterization. “Pray for our military men and women,” she had said, “who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.” Gibson had made it sound as if Palin were claiming to know God’s will, rather than praying that U.S. actions might be in accord with God’s will and in a cause worthy of God’s blessing.

No doubt the mere fact of Palin’s asking for any kind of blessing on our troops and our national leaders at some backwoods Alaska church was sufficiently distracting to the scripters of Gibson’s questions that they didn’t look closely at the wording. God knows (so to speak) what they believe at a place like that! Why, their kids probably even enlist in the Army to fight our enemies. Speaking of enemies: Within hours of the ABC interview, the Washington Post distorted straightforward remarks made by Palin that same day to U.S. soldiers deploying to Iraq. She praised them for going over to help “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.” Palin clearly meant that our soldiers would be fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq–a group connected to the al Qaeda central command responsible for 9/11. The Post claimed to believe that Palin was asserting a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11–as if she thought soldiers now heading to Iraq were going to fight Saddam’s regime–and triumphantly noted that even the Bush administration no longer asserted such a connection (it never did, in fact).

 

Palin’s remarks should have been unexceptional: We’ve been fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq for several years now. But the media are desperate to try to make her look foolish. In the same interview, she praised Ronald Reagan for having won the Cold War. What a gaffe, some media watchdogs barked. The Soviet Union didn’t collapse until three years after Reagan left office! Gotcha!

Not a chance. Sarah Palin is quickly proving to be more than a match for the mad, mad media. Having foolishly started a war with her that they can’t win, the liberal media would be well advised, for once, to implement their own favorite war-fighting strategy: cut and run.

–William Kristol

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/558zdiqa.asp?pg=2

 

Why The US Needs To Secure Its Borders: Organized crime takes control in parts of Mexico

By Jane Bussey, McClatchy Newspapers Sun Sep 14, 6:00 AM ET

MORELIA, Mexico — As helicopters circled overhead, trucks carrying Mexican army troops lurched through the colonial streets of this provincial capital to a central plaza, where a grenade had been discovered near the cathedral.

Law-enforcement agents cordoned off the plaza and removed the grenade. But the latest attempt at intimidation in Michoacan , the state where Mexican President Felipe Calderon first dispatched the military to confront the Mexican drug cartels, appears to have succeeded.

Fear of the drug gangs pervades this city about 200 miles west of Mexico City .

“Don’t go to Aguililla or to Tepalcatepec or to Coalcoman!” is the warning Victor Serrato , president of the State Commission on Human Rights in Morelia gives visitors. There is a risk of abduction, mistreatment or worse, he said.

Paracuaro , which human rights experts considered a “safe” town, turned out not to be. Not long after this reporter and a photographer sat down at a restaurant interview a local resident about drug violence, two police officers arrived and sat down — only to rush off when they spotted the visitors. We took the hint and quickly left town.

Gruesome gangland-style murders and targeted assassinations of law-enforcement officers have claimed headlines in what Mexicans now refer to as war.

The chilling reality of Mexico is the mounting evidence that organized crime has become the de facto power in parts of the country, and local authorities can no longer protect citizens and impart justice.

” Michoacan is one of the states where you feel most the breakdown of the social fabric because of this criminal activity,” Serrato said.

“These cartels, which previously were dedicated to the narcotics business, have now turned to control a whole other series of activities,” he said. “They are demanding payoffs not only from owners of illicit businesses, but what is more serious, they are demanding them from people who sell clothing in markets or the owners of small restaurants.”

The winnings from the trafficking of illegal cocaine, marijuana and other drugs are on view in Uruapan : There are luxury car dealerships, stores selling expensive furniture and homes that locals say belong to drug traffickers, distinguished by having no windows facing the street and thick walls on all sides and strings of electrified wires atop the walls.

Violence between competing drug gangs reached a peak in 2006, when drug commandos knows as the Zetas tossed five severed human heads on a night club floor in Uruapan , some 290 miles west of Mexico City . But there is no sign that the bloodshed has ended. In the last week in August, the state was the site of four gangland killings and the abduction of Uruapan’s town council secretary, Maribel Martinez , who was snatched after the attended an evening mass. Her bodyguards were wounded.

“This happens all the time: killings, kidnappings, robberies, rapes,” said Morelia college student Francisco Paredes , putting on a brave face. “I was afraid, not any more.”

Life in some parts of Mexico is part Colombian-style violence, part Al Capone’s Chicago in the 1920s, and part civil war, although the gangs are not fighting for any cause beyond self-enrichment.

Despite the 2,673 deaths in the violence through mid-August — more than in all of 2007, life goes on. Some 14,000 people recently ran a Mexico City marathon; “12 Angry Men” played to packed audiences in Mexico City in August and Wal-Mart Mexico opened 14 stores in June.

But Mexicans in Michoacan and other parts of the country, described in dozens of interviews the growing sense of despair that organized crime has moved beyond just drug trafficking to kidnapping and extortion of ordinary people, overwhelming law enforcement with their spoils of crime, estimated at $25 billion to $40 billion annually.

Like Michoacan , residents in Tamaulipas , which borders the U.S., say that drug cartels control widespread intelligence-gathering networks, for example paying waiters to keep tabs on whether diners are talking about drug gangs or spotters in small towns to report on visiting outsiders. The majority of kidnappings go unreported.

A number of wealthy Mexicans have started to make plans to move to the U.S. because of the rising incidence of kidnapping and extortion.

A poll taken in June showed 53 percent of Mexicans thought drug gangs were winning the war and only 24 percent believed the government had the upper hand.

What’s worse, security analysts agree that while the military can reduce the open violence, soldiers can do little to weed out the spread of organized crime into civilian institutions. That effort requires coordination with law enforcement and justice institutions.

Increasingly political leaders and officials are speaking openly of the threat to the country’s democratic government.

On Aug. 23 , Beatriz Paredes , leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party , lashed out at Calderon’s government over the rising violence.

“There are risks of this becoming ungovernable above all because the rule of law is being weakened by rising crime and public insecurity,” she said.

Paredes echoed Guillermo Valdes , the head of the government’s intelligence organization CISEN, who framed the issue as a threat to democracy. Drug traffickers are attempting to take control of the government, he told foreign reporters recently.

It’s too early to call Mexico a failed state. The federal government retains enormous power, and Calderon pledged in a radio message on Aug. 25 that the insecurity problem was “a cancer that we are going to eradicate.”

But there are some states that are failing to protect their citizens from the slaughter.

On the same day Paredes was criticizing the Calderon government, Jose Reyes Baeza , the governor of Chihuahua, faced down an angry crowd in the town of Creel demanding an explanation for the absence of police protection on Aug. 16 , when drug commandos stormed a dance hall, gunning down and killing 13 people, including an infant.

Despite the 40,000 troops Calderon has deployed — including 6,500 in Michoacan — safety and security still elude residents in zones where drug lords and their heavily armed commandos fight among themselves, battle the military and wage a low-intensity war of intimidation on the population.

“People are at the breaking point,” said Serrato of the Michoacan human-rights commission.

(Bussey reports for the Miami Herald .

 http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080914/wl_mcclatchy/3042653

The Bonfire of the Hypocrisies: Palin & Obama – Hypocrisy in American Politics

THE WEEKLY STANDARD

The nomination that launched a thousand attacks.
by Tod Lindberg
09/22/2008, Volume 014, Issue 02

Historians looking back on these tumultuous times will no doubt argue over the precise date on which the Age of Palin began. Her speech at the Republican National Convention on September 3 certainly catapulted her to national renown. But there is a good case to be made for her introductory appearance in Dayton, Ohio, five days before.

It’s all there: You have the same poise and panache Palin exhibited at the convention. You have the self-assurance of a champion high-school athlete who went on to bigger and better things (unlike in the gloomy Democratic, Bruce Springsteen version of life, in which it’s all downhill after your Glory Days). There’s the ability to deliver a barb with a smile. And above all, that day inaugurated arguably the most incoherent and blubbering partisan response to a candidate in the history of American politics–against which the charms of the candidate stood out even more clearly.

Let’s get this straight: Your party has just nominated for president a fellow who has been elected exactly once to the United States Senate, in an uncompetitive race, following a garden-variety stint in a state legislature. And your response to the GOP nominee’s choice for vice president–someone who has been elected once as governor following a stint as a small town mayor–is to decry the lack of experience? Nobody ever said Barack Obama was unqualified for the No. 2 spot on the ticket.

Had Hillary Clinton won the nomination and selected Obama as her running mate–which, being a savvy politician,she would certainly have done, in order to fire up his 18 million primary supporters–Obama would have been perfectly positioned. Either he would be preparing himself as vice president for his run for the Oval Office eight years hence. Or he would be experienced and tested in a national campaign that he would never be held responsible for losing, with a fundraising base beyond the imagination of Croesus. Instead, it’s McCain-Palin with the wind at their backs, and Palin who is being prepared as the outstanding future prospect for her party.

Now, you might think it hypocritical to criticize the inexperience of a vice presidential nominee who has similar experience to your presidential nominee, but that’s just a failure of the imagination. Indeed, hypocrisy was the strange charge Democrats decided to make against McCain and Palin: Having run against Obama all summer for his lack of experience and accomplishment, how dare John McCain pick as his running mate someone with (ahem) experience comparable to that of the Democratic candidate for president McCain had been criticizing?

Well, maybe because it is not a sign of the strength of a candidate at the top of a ticket to need the experience of Joe Biden (or Dick Cheney) in order to allay concerns that he’s not quite up to some aspects of the job. And, contrariwise, it is a sign of strength at the top when the nominee can look to the future and make a priority of party-building. Does anybody think that if Obama loses, he will have left his party in a stronger position by advancing the prospects of Joe Biden? Fortunately for Democrats, at least they’ve got Hillary in the wings.

But these weren’t the only hypocrisies in the air. Remember reading the discussions of Vice President Al Gore’s parenting skills in all the papers the day after his teenage son got busted for dope at high school? No? That would be because Gore called around to all the papers (including the Washington Times, where I was editorial page editor at the time) and asked us not to publish it, kids being kids and being owed some privacy. The newspapers didn’t. That was then: Given a preposterous Internet rumor that Sarah Palin was never pregnant with her four-month-old baby but faked it to cover up for her daughter, Bristol was fair game. This was a judgment shared among Democrats and, coincidentally, the media (the same ones who were also all over the John Edwards love-child story, remember?).

And so Democrats started pointing at the stunning “hypocrisy” of McCain putting Palin on the ticket in spite of her pregnant daughter. Shouldn’t all the GOP talk about family values and abstinence education have disqualified Palin? Because, after all, Bristol is getting married and keeping the baby, and if that isn’t a sure disqualification for someone’s mother for the vice presidency, what is?

Plus, Sarah Palin, we’ve been informed endlessly, is a hypocrite with a capital H. In all the obvious ways, such as being opposed to women’s rights while still having a career. Democrats have been at the forefront of cheering women on to break supposed glass ceilings, but only the right kind of women, which you can be pretty sure a Republican woman isn’t.

Then there’s all the pro-life business: It just took one columnist in Salon to expose the hypocrisy there: Palin had her baby tested for Down syndrome, and then–had the baby! If she were really pro-life, there wouldn’t have been any reason to have the test. As Rahul K. Parikh, M.D., explained, “We could ask, given that Palin had no doubts about seeing her pregnancy through, why she bothered to take a genetic test. Why not, as you might expect a woman in her position and with her outspoken beliefs to do, decline any testing or counseling? Of course, it seems very reasonable to want to know about the health of your baby and to have time to prepare (emotionally and otherwise) for a baby that may have a genetic disorder. But that doesn’t negate the fact that by having a blood test, Palin was given a choice about what to do. .  .  . Her supporters say that Trig signals that she practices what she preaches. Her decision to make her own choice but not grant it to others is a sign of her hypocrisy.”

So let’s see if the pro-lifers can get this straight for a change: If you are going to have the baby anyway, you are not entitled to information about its health (even though the desire for such information is “very reasonable”), because some people who are not pro-life use such information as a basis for deciding whether to terminate their pregnancies. Got it?

But the most stunning hypocrisy of all, from the point of view of most Democrats and, coincidentally, the media again, was that McCain had promised a vice presidential nominee qualified for the job and then undertook such a haphazard, last-minute, incompetent vetting process that he found out all the things that Democrats and the media are so exercised about. And he went ahead with Sarah Palin anyway!

And just look at the bitter fruit McCain has reaped for all his “hypocrisies”: Palin has helped propel him ahead of Obama in national polls for the first time. Fifty-two percent of respondents in a Pew survey think she is ready to be president now. If people could vote only for vice president, they favor her over Biden 53-44 in a CNN poll. And the unknown governor of two weeks before is now the most popular Republican politician in the country

Tod Lindberg, a WEEKLY STANDARD contributing editor and Hoover Institution fellow, is editor of Policy Review.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/556rvcjg.asp?pg=2

Give ’em Hell, Sarah: Sarah Palin, Harry Truman & Elitism in American Politics

THE WEEKLY STANDARD -09/22/08 – By: Steven F. Hayward

Give ’em Hell, Sarah – Like Truman, a natural-born executive 

Lurking just below the surface of the second-guessing about Sarah Palin’s fitness to be president is the serious question of whether we still believe in the American people’s capacity for self-government, what we mean when we affirm that all American citizens are equal, and whether we tacitly believe there are distinct classes of citizens and that American government at the highest levels is an elite occupation.

It is incomplete to view the controversy over Palin’s suitability for high office just in ideological or cultural terms, as most of the commentary has done. Doubts about Palin have come not just from the left but from across the political spectrum, some of them from conservatives like David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, and George Will. Nor is this a new question. To the contrary, Palin’s ascent revives issues and arguments about self-government that raged at the time of the American founding and before. Indeed, the basic problems of the few and the many, and the sources of wisdom and virtue in politics, stretch back to antiquity.

American political thought since its earliest days has been ambiguous or conflicted about the existence and character of a “natural aristocracy” of governing talent. If the ghosts of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are watching the storm over Palin, they must surely be revisiting their famous dialogue about America’s governing class. Adams’s widely misunderstood argument that there should perhaps be an explicit recognition and provision for an aristocratic class finds its reprise in the snobbery that greeted Palin’s arrival on the scene.It’s not just that she didn’t go to Harvard; she’s never been on Meet the Press; she hasn’t participated in Aspen Institute seminars or attended the World Economic Forum. She hasn’t been brought into the slipstream of the establishment by which we unofficially certify our highest leaders.

The issue is not whether the establishment would let such a person as Palin cross the bar into the certified political class, but whether regular citizens of this republic have the skill and ability to control the levers of government without having first joined the certified political class. But this begs an even more troublesome question: If we implicitly think uncertified citizens are unfit for the highest offices, why do we trust those same citizens to select our highest officers through free elections?

In his reply to Adams, Jefferson expressed more confidence that political virtue and capacity for government were not the special province of a recognized aristocratic class, but that aristoi (natural aristocrats) could be found among citizens of all kinds: “It would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society.” Jefferson, moreover, trusted ordinary citizens to recognize political virtue in their fellow citizens: “Leave to the citizens the free election and separation of the aristoi from the pseudo-aristoi, of the wheat from the chaff. In general they will elect the really good and wise.”

Today’s establishment doubts this. The establishment is affronted by the idea that an ordinary hockey mom–a mere citizen–might be just as capable of running the country as a long-time member of the Council on Foreign Relations. This closed-shop attitude is exactly what both Jefferson and Adams set themselves against; they wanted a republic where talent and public spirit would find easy access to the establishment.

Part of what bothers the establishment about Palin is her seeming insouciance toward public office. Her success with voters, and in national office, would be n affront and a reproach to establishment self-importance. Anyone who affects making it look easy surely lacks gravitas and must not grasp the complexity or depth of modern political problems. Partly this is the self-justification for establishment institutions and attitudes, but partly it represents the substantive view that the size and complexity of modern government require a level of expertise beyond the reach of ordinary citizens. Some of the doubts about Palin are doubts about self-government itself.

 

So far no one has picked up on the significance of Palin’s invocation of Harry Truman in her convention speech. Her reference was more than just a bridge to a heartland-versus-Beltway theme. Truman, recall, was the only president of the 20th century who was not a college graduate. Less than two months after abruptly taking over from FDR with no preparation, Truman wrote his wife Bess describing his quick progress in taking the reins: “It won’t be long before I can sit back and study the whole picture and tell ’em what is to be done in each department. When things come to that stage there’ll be no more to this job than there was to running Jackson County and not any more worry”.

In retrospect it is clear that Truman “got it.” He didn’t need any more “experience” to master the job. “Well I’m facing another tall day as usual,”he ended that letter to Bess; “But I like ’em that way.”

Ronald Reagan evinced the same attitude toward office as Truman and Palin. In fact, on closer inspection, one can hear in the criticism of Palin the echo of the same kind of complaint made against Ronald Reagan throughout his political career. Never mind that he’d been governor of California. That this graduate of Eureka College–where?–had made his career in Hollywood, a place as exotic and peculiar as Alaska, was decisive with the establishment. “Reagan’s election,” John P. Roche, a former head of Americans for Democratic Action, wrote in 1984, “was thus an 8-plus earthquake on the political Richter scale, and it sent a number of eminent statesmen–Republican and Democratic–into shock.” It wasn’t only liberals who found Reagan incomprehensible. “No previous president of the United States,” Rowland Evans and Robert Novak wrote shortly after Reagan’s election in 1980, “had so bizarre a preparation for political office.”

John Sears, whom Reagan had unceremoniously fired from his campaign in 1980, later put his finger on a key aspect of Reagan’s strength, “Since the primary prerequisite for handling the presidency is to ignore the immensity of it, a president must find the confidence to do so in self-knowledge.   .  .  .   Reagan knows himself better than most presidents and has kept his identity separate from politics. Reagan knows who he is and therefore he possesses the first prerequisite for being a good president.”

In his third summit meeting with Gorbachev, Reagan wondered aloud what would happen if the two of them closed the doors to their office and just quietly slipped away: “How long would it be before people missed us?” Can one imagine Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton (or John McCain for that matter) wondering such a thing?

For Truman and Reagan the key ingredient to successful statecraft was simplicity. “I say there are simple answers to many of our problems–simple but hard,” Reagan liked to say; “It’s the complicated answer that’s easy, because it avoids facing the hard moral issues.” Churchill wrote that he immediately liked Truman when they met for the first time in Berlin in 1945 because he could see that Truman possessed the “obvious power of decision.” We can see already from Palin’s record–unseating a governor of her own party, delivering a long-blocked pipeline deal–that she shares this trait; another six years in the governor’s office isn’t likely to tell us anything we can’t already discern if we don’t let status bias get in the way.

Reagan and Truman forced their way into grudging acceptance and eventual recognition by the establishment through genuine and hard-earned political success, and Palin too will have to prove herself. She shows signs of sharing their humility, power of decision, and simplicity toward self-government.

In her first innings, Palin has offered a unique display of the capacity that John Adams described as the essence of a “natural aristocrat” in America: “By an aristocrat I mean every man who can command two votes–one besides his own.” Here Adams was reminding us of the centrality of substantive persuasion in political life, something Republicans haven’t been very good at of late. The talking heads of the establishment deprecated Palin’s debut. “Sure, she gives a good speech, but  .  .  .” They should be saying to Palin, “Welcome to the aristocracy, governor.”

Steven F. Hayward is F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counter-Revolution, 1980-1989, to be published in early 2009.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/552kbtvz.asp?pg=2

Governor Sarah Palin: Her Accomplishments As Governor of Alaska

Doctrinaire Conservatives Beware 

THE WEEKLY STANDARD

by Fred Barnes
09/22/2008, Volume 014, Issue 02

Conservatives are rushing to crown Alaska governor Sarah Palin as the new Ronald Reagan. And indeed there are similarities. Like Reagan, Palin has a dazzling star quality and an appeal to voters outside the conservative orbit. But there’s another likeness to Reagan that conservatives may find a bit off-putting. She governs as a pragmatic conservativewith heavy emphasis on the pragmatic.

Palin, John McCain’s vice presidential running mate, is a strong social and religious conservative. She opposes abortion and gay rights and, as an evangelical Christian, believes in a God-centered universe. But these matters are neither her top priorities as governor nor even her second-tier concerns. Her social conservatism has been muted.

Instead, her agenda since being elected governor in 2006 consists of oil and gas, taxes, and ethics reform. “Just look at the bills she put her name on,” says John Bitney, her policy director during her first year as governor. “They speak for themselves.” The bills involved a new arrangement for building a natural gas pipeline, higher taxes on oil companies, and new ethics rules covering the governor’s administration and the legislature.

Those were her major initiatives. Next on Palin’s list of priorities were maintaining the solvency of the pension program for teachers, cutting spending in the state’s capital budget, and assuring that parents who home school their children aren’t discriminated against by state regulations.

Palin has frequently voiced her support for anti-abortion bills requiring parental consent for girls under 17 and outlawing partial-birth abortions. “Alaskans know I am pro-life and have never wavered in my belief in the sanctity of every human life,” she declared in April.

But she refused to introduce the pro-life measures in a special legislative session last spring devoted to the gas pipeline. “These issues are so important they shouldn’t be diluted with oil and gas deliberations,” she said.

Later, she declined to call a separate special session to take up the abortion bills. Her reasoning: Pro-lifers had failed to persuade her the bills could pass the state senate. Nor would she intervene to pressure two Republican senators who opposed the legislation to change their minds. Palin isn’t willing “to jump out in front of the bus on things that aren’t moveable” in the legislature, says state Republican chairman Randy Ruedrich.

Palin’s conservatism, like Reagan’s, has never been in doubt. When I talked to her last year, she described herself as “pro-business and pro-development.” The Anchorage Daily News said the spending cuts she imposed in 2007 “may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history.” Of course, Palin is also pro-gun.

When she attended a governor’s conference in Washington last February and was interviewed on C-SPAN by Steve Scully, she endorsed “across the board” tax cuts because Americans “know best” how to spend their own money. Palin said she’s “committed” to making Alaska “more of a contributing state and less reliant on the federal government.”

Her biggest task as governor has been to start construction of the gas pipeline to the lower 48 states. She tossed out the sweetheart contract her predecessor, Republican Frank Murkowski, had reached with three oil companies and negotiated a new deal with a Canadian company. The goal, she said, is “to feed hungry markets in our state, reduce energy costs, help secure the nation, [and] flow that energy into hungry markets across the nation. That’s my mission.”

Her record as governor hardly qualifies her as a doctrinaire conservative. She proposed a graduated tax on oil as the price soared, then signed a bill passed by the legislature that set the new tax rate even higher. Reagan, by the way, cut taxes in 1981 and raised them the next year.

 

Why did Palin push a pipeline and favor a tax hike? Bitney says the answer is simple: Alaska needs more energy as older oil fields become depleted, and the pipeline will generate jobs and revenue. As for raising taxes, Palin follows the command of the state constitution to get the maximum benefit from the state’s natural resources.

Bitney says Palin never instructed her gubernatorial staff to “go after abortion” or any other issues of concern to social conservatives. In a campaign debate in 2006, she said that both evolution and creationism should be taught in public schools. “You know, don’t be afraid of education,” she said. “Healthy debate is so important and so valuable in our schools.”

The next day she thought better of her comment. “I would not push the state board of education to add creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum,” she said. But there shouldn’t be “a prohibition against debate if [creationism] comes up in class.”

As governor, Palin has appointed a commissioner of education and nine members of the state board–without applying a litmus test on creationism or evolution. And there’s been no effort, either by Palin or her appointees, to add creationism to the curriculum.

Palin’s most celebrated actpractical conservatism was killing the notorious Bridge to Nowhere in Ketchikan. She had endorsed it in a gubernatorial campaign debate, but changed her mind after being elected. By then, the project had become a symbol of wasteful spending, and the congressional earmark with money for it had been rescinded.

But the three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation–Ted Stevens, Lisa Murkowski, and Don Young–still favored the project. Their expectation was that Palin would keep it alive with federal highway funds and state money. She refused.

The anointing of Palin as the new Reagan is surely premature. Let’s say she’s a potential Reagan. Like him, Palin has focused on a few big issues, while allowing others popular with conservatives to fall by the wayside. This brand of pragmatic conservatism worked for Reagan. It’s worked for Palin too.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of

THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/553oxoax.asp?pg=2

 

Policy Experts Speak Out – Palin Was Right On Bush Doctrine, Washington Post Reports

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 13, 2008; Page A01  

 

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin seemed puzzled Thursday when ABC News anchor Charles Gibson asked her whether she agrees with the “Bush doctrine.”

“In what respect, Charlie?” she replied.

Intentionally or not, the Republican vice presidential nominee was on to something. After a brief exchange, Gibson explained that he was referring to the idea — enshrined in a September 2002 White House strategy document — that the United States may act militarily to counter a perceived threat emerging in another country. But that is just one version of a purported Bush doctrine advanced over the past eight years.

Peter D. Feaver, who worked on the Bush national security strategy as a staff member on the National Security Council, said he has counted as many as seven distinct Bush doctrines. They include the president’s second-term “freedom agenda”; the notion that states that harbor terrorists should be treated no differently than terrorists themselves; the willingness to use a “coalition of the willing” if the United Nations does not address threats; and the one Gibson was talking about — the doctrine of preemptive war.

“If you were given a quiz, you might guess that one, because it’s one that many people associate with the Bush doctrine,” said Feaver, now a Duke University professor. “But in fact it’s not the only one.”

This debate may ordinarily be little more than cocktail chatter for the foreign policy establishment, but political blogs were buzzing yesterday over Palin’s entire interview with Gibson, including the confusion about the doctrine. Liberals said it was yet another case of Palin’s thin grasp on foreign policy, while conservatives replied that she handled herself well by putting the question back on Gibson.

After she asked Gibson to clarify what he meant, the anchor pressed Palin on whether the United States has “a right to make a preemptive strike against another country if we feel that country might strike us.”

“Charlie,” Palin replied, “if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.”

The campaign of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama directed reporters to online commentary about the exchange. “What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues,” journalist James Fallows wrote on TheAtlantic.com. “Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the ‘Bush Doctrine’ exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years.”

Conservatives ridiculed such reasoning. “What a bunch of nonsense,” Andrew C. McCarthy wrote on National Review Online. “Peanut gallery denizens like me, who don’t have states to run and who follow this stuff very closely, disagree intensely among ourselves about what the Bush Doctrine is.”

Outside foreign policy experts offered different reads on the question. Richard C. Holbrooke, who served key posts in both the Clinton and Carter administrations, said he saw the 2002 National Security Strategy of the White House as the critical statement of a Bush doctrine. (The White House staff member who helped draft the 2002 document, Stephen E. Biegun, now serves as Palin’s foreign policy adviser.)

The strategy document itself articulates the principle as follows: “The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction — and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”

According to Holbrooke, “the core point is that the Bush people were extremely proud of it and they presented it as a historical breakthrough.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091203324_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2008091203408&s_pos=

“With Surrogates Like These” – A Conservative Commentary on the Obama Campaign Strategy; By FOX New’s Andrea Tantaros

September 12, 2008

For a candidate who has made the concept of change the hallmark of his entire campaign for President of the United States, Barack Obama has mobilized an echo chamber that is reflective of anything but. Policy positions aside, this crucial juncture calls for surrogates who will highlight and bolster the reform message, not negate it.

Webster’s defines a surrogate as a substitute for oneself. If that’s accurate, why is the “agent of change” turning to the same stable of Democratic spinners?

When it was time to pick a Vice President, a commitment to one’s skill set, a partner and a mouth piece, the pick was…Joe Biden? Not only is Biden the furthest thing from change, he is also one word away from the political equivalent of a Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction.”

 

Politicians are prone to word, not wardrobe, malfunctions. And Biden is a repeat offender. Just this week, rather than laud Hillary for her achievement, he admitted Obama should have picked Senator Clinton instead. I couldn’t agree with you more, Joe. And after that sentiment everyone can see why you’re right on this one. Can’t wait for the debates.

When the wheels started to come off Barack’s bus thanks to Sarah Palin’s epic rise with American females he ran to…Hillary Clinton? Let’s get one thing straight. Biden was right. But a symbol of change she is not. Obama dispatched her anyway. She wasn’t good enough for the ticket but she was good enough for a cat fight? Putting a political institution like Hillary, as popular as she may be, to go a few rounds with a peripheral prize fighter like Palin only contrasted the change verses experience argument to Obama’s detriment. To her credit, Hillary was much too smart to take the bait.
Next in the change conga line? None other than Bill Clinton. You know it’s bad when the Obamas are dispatching Bubba. Unpredictable, often off message and a relic of our country’s political past, Clinton adds no refreshing shift in direction and runs in direct contrast to Obama’s alleged “different kind of politics.” Bill is damaged goods from a primary season of Days of Our Lives drama and hits rewind as a reminder of the scandal plagued 1990’s.

When it comes to really profound political friends and allies, we can’t forget the epicenter of political change and diversity: Hollywood. The sprinkles on the icing have been the immergence of Democratic deities like Matt Damon who recently compared Sarah Plain to a bad Disney movie. If Palin equals Disney then Obama’s film genre is Ben Affleck: grossly over hyped, hard to follow, anemic on substance, and poised for a disappointing ending.

McCain, on the other hand, has looked mostly outside of the beltway for his motley messengers: Huckabee, Romney, Rudy, and best of all, Sarah Palin.

Obama interpreted the Webster’s meaning precisely. If surrogates are a substitute for oneself, his team is a clear indicator we’re not poised for change you can believe in, but more of the same we should run from.

Andrea Tantaros is a Republican political commentator, media consultant and former Press Secretary to the House Republican Conference. For more click here

http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/09/12/atantaros_0912/

%d bloggers like this: