Tag Archives: sarah palin

Politics

Sarah Palin doesn’t suck on the Factor

Last week, Sarah Palin made an appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s show ‘The O’Reilly Factor‘ as part of her Going Rogue promotional tour.  Although I didn’t catch it live – fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) I don’t get Fox News – I did have a chance to read a ‘rush’ transcript of the interview.

Surprisingly, Palin wasn’t completely terrible.  She demonstrated a modest grasp of a variety of topical issues, from health care reform to Russia’s involvement in suppressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  I don’t necessarily agree with her views, but at least she sounded as though she holds some.  Her ability to communicate them, however, was less impressive, and I’m starting to think that her limited vocabulary and inability to form coherent sentences is really what’s holding her back.  Have a look at this particularly interesting response:

O’REILLY: Do you think that [Obama] wants to change the country into an entitlement society?

PALIN: We’re going to see, depending on his cap and tax bill that he will no doubt support coming out of Congress, that the health care bill, whatever that’s going to cost us and whatever the answers are there to all of our questions about the health care, we’re going to see, if he decides that he can kind of shift gears, change course, and move us back to more of a free enterprise, free market principles that built up this country, then my answer to you is going to be no, he’s not hell-bent on changing the capitalist society that we are. But if he is stubborn about this, then my answer to you is going to be well, his actions speak louder than our words, and yes, he’s going to change our capitalistic society.

You get a rough idea of what she’s trying to say, despite her stunningly poor grammar and syntax.  If she learned to speak in short, declarative sentences, rather than meandering, scattered ones, Palin’s appeal would surely broaden.  To be fair, though, her recent extended Iran/Iraq flub suggests that perhaps her grasp of policy is indeed as weak as her opponents suggests.

Interestingly, O’Reilly was also less generous with Palin than I would have expected.  At a couple of points, he seems to question her responses, and presses her (if ever so gently) for clarification.  It’s hardly hard-hitting investigative journalism, but at least it’s not the obvious fawning Fox New seems to have a reputation for.  Here’s one such exchange:

O’REILLY: Honest, do you think he’s honest?

PALIN: I think that he has told us some things in the campaign. I think that he’s told us some things early on in his presidency that have not come to fruition. He was all about positive change, and I think a lot of Americans are believing that the change that he’s ushering in isn’t necessarily positive.

O’REILLY: Well, he says it is. I’m — you’re a conservative, so you don’t like it, but…

PALIN: How — positive in terms of creating debt for our children?

O’REILLY: No, but he says, you know what the arguments are. I mean, he says that, look, a lot of Americans can’t afford health insurance, the insurance companies are out of control, I’ve got to get them under control. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. You know, that’s his point of view.

PALIN: Let’s get the health care problems under control then. But let’s use free market, results-oriented, patient-centered solutions to do that. Tort reform, he’s not embracing any of those ideas. Getting rid of the waste and fraud that he insists today, if we would just get a handle on that, we could pay for this one point.

O’REILLY: Well, he says he’s going to get rid of the waste.

PALIN: Let’s do it right now then.

Politics

Updates on the female candidates – Elizabeth May and Sarah Palin

I post this using the plural because I want to cover developments in both the Canadian and American elections.

Canada

In Canadian Politics, quite a lot has changed in the last few days.  Elizabeth May, the only female leader of a national political party will now be allowed to enter the TV debates, despite earlier reports.  Originally, the leaders of both the NDP and the Conservative Party had opposed the inclusion of May in the televised debates.  Stephan Dion, the Liberal Party leader, comes off looking very well after being the only major leader to openly support her inclusion.

The general public seemed quite upset, especially with NDP leader Jack Layton.  Intense pressure from supporters resulted in Layton backing down.  Once that happened, Harper immediately changed his tune and removed his opposition to May’s inclusion as well.  This will mark the first time the Green Party is included in the televised debate, and is a major shift in the Canadian Political landscape.  The big “fear” from the Conservatives and the NDP is simply that her and Dion will team up and represent some of the same platform points.  It’s a bit unfounded, because the NDP also shares many of the same platform points as both the Liberals and the Greens, and yet no one is worried about t heir inclusion.

America

In other news, Sarah Palin continues both to impress and anger at the same time.  She is also a pretty strong public speaker, but her speeches so far have been laced with more than a few examples of inflamatory rhetoric, and also more than one lie.

The big one?  Her purported opposition to the “Bridge to Nowhere”.  She claims she said “thanks but no thanks” to Congress when they offered her $200 million dollars for this bridge.  However, local politicians from both major parties have come out against this.  The truth of the matter is that she was a major supporter and lobbier on behalf of this earmark, and once the money was received and the political winds changed, she changed her mind and said “no”.  But then she kept the money. That’s right.  This Yahoo! News article has much more information on some of the fiscal scandals plaguing her.  The other big issue is her opposition to a Federal oil profits Windfall tax (which Obama supports), while in her state she has done just this.  Alaska has had a major oil tax, but Palin rejigged the whole thing to make the state receive more of the income.

There is also a growing fear of Palin’s theocratic tendencies.  While faith in politics has been a major factor in American politics for the last two elections, here it becomes even more curious.  Over and above the accusations of Obama being a secret muslim, there are more serious accusations about Palin.  Juan Cole of Salon.com has written a scathing article.  Here’s a short piece: “But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God’s will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.

Cole goes on to compare Palin’s positions on abortion with a variety of Islamic countries, and notices that herr position lines up nearly identically with that of Iran.  Cole even notes that Tunisia allows abortion in the first trimester, while Palin vehemently argues it is always an “atrocity”. She’s also let it be known she doesn’t believe that climate change is man-made, which is diametrically opposed to the views espoused by both the Obama campaign and her own running mate, John McCain.

Despite these…questionable attitudes on certain subjects, Palin has been a huge source of strength to the McCain campagin.  As a staunch conservative, she has re-energized an unimpressed Republican base and has been a great source of funding for McCain.  Obama’s campaign has actually begun to fall behind in terms of fundraising in the weeks since she has been announced.

For a more detailed (and sligtly more balanced view) of Palin and some of her policies, check out this Newsweek article.

Conclusion

Overall, two strong women are participating in national politics in North America.  This is less of a “big deal” in Canada, which has already had a (albeitly short-lived) female Prime Minister.  However, this is still something to be proud of.  In both countries, this is likely to be one of the most interesting and engaging political races in modern history.

Politics

Best. Presidential. Race. Ever.

This morning, as I was recovering from the greatest live speech I’ve ever witnessed – political or otherwise, I thought the ’08 presidential race had reached its emotional peak.  And then I visited Slate.com, and learned that John McCain had picked little known Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.  McCain may not be my favourite politician, but the man clearly knows how to raise the stakes.  Palin is a stunning (pun intended), risky choice, and has added an entirely new twist to an already riveting campaign.

Just think of the new narratives, the fresh angles Palin offers the media.  Will she renew lingering doubts among Democratic supporters about Obama’s refusal to even vet Clinton as a vice presidential option?  Will her inexperience force McCain to stop attacking Obama for the same?  Will she falter in the spotlight?  How will she do against Biden in the vice presidential debate?  What about her support for drilling in ANWR, a plan McCain opposes

Indeed, Palin makes this race more exciting than I thought it could be.  In the span of a single summer, the Republicans and Democrats have completely altered the shape of American presidential politics.  Just four years ago, both slates were composed of affluent, middle-aged white men.  But in about two months, the White House will either be occupied by a black president or a female vice president. 

To qoute Terrel Owens, get the popcorn ready!