The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Monday, September 01, 2008

Alignment with your own values...

In my way of seeing things, one of the worst mistakes people can make is taking actions opposed to their own values. It weakens them, and decreases their chances of success. There are two things about Sarah Palin's choice that would SEEM to be in this arena.

1) From McCain's POV. Hasn't he been hammering Obama for lack of experience, therefore placing experience VERY high on his priorities for serving in the White House? According to HIS (not my) values, Palin would seem an odd choice indeed. Weren't there tons of Conservative Republican choices with more experience, if experience is so important? And if it's not important, what has all his complaining been about? Either what he's been saying about Obama is BS, or his choice is BS--a tactical decision out of alignment with his own values. He can't have it both ways.

2) From Sarah Palin's POV. Again, excuse me...but I've thought that Family Values was enormously important from the perspective of Conservative women. I can just imagine her calling in to Dr. Laura, asking if she should take a job offer demanding travel and intense commitment 24/7 while she has a four month old Down's Syndrome child. Dr. Laura would think she was out of her #$%@ing mind. IF that actually represents a "Family Values" POV, then either Palin is acting WAY out of her values...or those are not actually her values. Can't have it both ways.

To accomplish goals in life, they must be in alignment with your beliefs, values, and positive/negative emotional anchors, or you cannot bring your full powers to bear. Self-sabotage is a powerful possibility. I think it likely that McCain's campaign just jumped the shark. There is almost no way that one or both of them will not make serious mistakes between now and November 4.

##

Personally, while Palin's choice makes me a bit uneasy (and I have to admit I would be about 70% as uneasy if she were a man whose wife had just given birth to a Down's Syndrome child. Yes, I'm an old-fashioned guy about stuff like that), the "Experience" thing strikes me as B.S.

If Palin had come from being governor, run for President, shone in 20 debates and countless interviews, stirred millions to donate to her, and crushed all opponents with the political machine she built from scratch...I'd pretty much say "you go, Girl!" and shake my head with amazement. In other words, her performance was demonstration of fitness for the job. If a local school-teacher did that, I'd think I was looking at an intuitive genius, just like someone with no football experience who simply shows up at a try-out, outshines everyone and ends up on the team deserves to be there.

I have to admit that I'm a "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" kind of guy, who believes that someone with sufficient judgement , integrity, intelligence and energy could surround herself with advisors who are "Old Washington Hands" sufficiently to get the job done. I think it's a myth perpetrated by professional politicians that one must be a career politician to do that job. So I think the answer to the first one is that her experience wouldn't be as much of an issue if McCain hadn't made it one. The issue would be her communication skills, management skills, intelligence, energy, integrity, etc...but it would seem that it makes a lie out of much he's been saying, and is a serious crack in his campaign armor. I just don't see how the two positions coexist, especially for a 72 year old man with cancer, making his most important executive decision.

Can you guys make sense of this for me?

##

So bizarre that Right-wing preachers were praying for Obama to get rained out, and now here comes Gustav, causing the RNC to cancel the first day of THEIR convention. Irony, anyone?

##

I think I've got Nicki's weight issue handled. On the physical aspect, a combination of I.F. and Kettlebell intervals has her losing two pounds a week. On the emotional side, it is increasingly clear that the weight is armor that she donned to protect herself while living in a small, somewhat redneck town where she was ostracized for her skin color. My error, and I refuse to let my darling daughter pay for it. But as she breaks that armor down (a requirement if she wants to act) she will need to have her "emotional kidneys" operating at high efficiency. Meditation or dream diarying...or standard diary work. I think I would suggest that last one.

##

That's one of the only things that I'm still tweaking about the 101 program is the processing of emotional detritus. I cannot overstate how important this is: if you are moving from one level of your life to another, you have to find a way to allow your old ego shells to dissolve. Unless the new levels of accomplishment already fit your self-image, you will batter against the walls until you break. There's an element of "camel through the eye of a needle" and "Moses not entering the Promised Land" about the inability to move an old ego shell through a new opening. This is the key brilliance of "Psycho-Cybernetics"--if your ego image is in alignment with your goals, values, beliefs, and emotional charges, you will automatically move in the direction of your desired ends. You don't even have to TRY. It just starts happening. You meet the person of your dreams. You start making more money. You get in better shape.

The trick is finding a way to align all that subconscious "stuff." Otherwise, you will change whatever you can focus your attention upon directly, while the rest of your life remains the same...or gets worse.

Ultimately, the goal of these actions is to make the day-to-day progress toward growth and health automatic, so that you naturally begin to ask the serious questions: "who am I? Why am I here?" These can be best addressed after you have mastered your basics--these are Master level questions. When people with major holes in one of the three arenas try to address these questions, it is almost as if they are hurrying toward death as an avoidance of dealing with life. I've seen this in people who can't seem to wait until they can use "I'm old" as an excuse not to care for their bodies, seek their dreams, or find love. "Stop pushing me. I'm old." That's the ego, willing to kill YOU to keep from dying.

This is another version of the same phenomenon as people who help others rather than help themselves. It is absurdly easier to TELL someone to do 100 pushups than to do them yourself. And oddly, we get a sense of accomplishment. I remember Swift Deer telling me that "helping other people is a form of self-pity." I don't know if I agree with that, or even if I completely understand what he meant, but it resonates somehow. It's like being Mom or Dad to all the other kids on the block, but ignoring your own children. Easy to be a "great guy" when you can send the little monsters home.

Another version of this is the people who don't have a healthy primary relationship with an adult, but try to say that their relationship with their children, pets, co-workers, students, etc. substitute for this. It's sad. In every one of these cases, they have control over the interactions that simply don't exist in an intimate relationship with a co-equal. When we avoid our own work, try to distract people from the objective reality of our results, it's like not looking out the car window to see if we are actually where the map says we should be. And then we wonder why we ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Heck, it's not MY fault!

Yes, it was...if you are an adult. If you're a child, it's the fault of your parents. If you're an adult, YOU did it. First be an adult. Then, wake the $#%% up. That's as far as most people ever get, or really ever want to get, before they die.

And the sooner you take those first steps, the more power you have in your life.

53 comments:

suzanne said...

the tiny url
I left in the comment stream
to your last posting
takes you to some unfavorable
commentary from the fundamental evangelicals. . .

Mike Ralls said...

>Can you guys make sense of this for me?<

It's already helped McCain in the polls. Bidden, by contrast, didn't and hasn't. That alone makes McCain's decision a better one (so far). Time will tell if she does good on the campaign trail, but her 80% approval rating in Alaska would seem to indicate that she's got some skills.

This isn't a bad article on it;

--

http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/08/mccain_and_the_ooda_loop.html

Then the next day, they announce Sarah Palin -- after a dozen head fakes. It's Romney. No it's Pawlenty. It's Romney again. Oh my God, it's Lieberman. Instead of the days and days of anticipation, followed by anxiety, followed by boredom, followed by even more boredom when Obama picked Biden, we get a real surprise -- and the air is sucked out of Obama's big day.

Now look at what this means to the running criticisms of McCain.
Age? Palin is young, beautiful, charismatic and strong. What's more, Biden is going to have to be very careful about an attacks in the vice presidential debate; he'll look like a misogynistic jerk, and then Sarah Barracuda will gut him like a trout. Smiling.

Hit too hard, and Hillary PUMAs they managed to attract back with the campaign's show of unity will flee in droves. Besides, the McCain campaign is all over it already. According to Real Clear Politics' Tom Bevan, "McCain senior advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer just said on Fox -- and I'm paraphrasing: I think the Obama campaign would have learned not to belittle women."
Experience? The Obama campaign has already tried hitting at Palin as inexperienced --- but every time they do so, they open themselves to the obvious retort: she's got more executive experience than Obama, and she's only running for Vice President.

Foreign policy? Again, she's been to Iraq as often as Obama has -- and she's got a son going there. Hugh Hewitt rightly points out "by reason of just her work with Canada, she's light years ahead [sic] Obama." The Democratic nominee has had his own problems with Canada in fact.

Corruption and pork? She got into office attacking corruption among Republicans in Alaska and turned down the famous "bridge to nowhere".

--

Again, having Dems bring up Palin's amount of executive experience just gives the Reps more time to make Obama's complete lack of executive experience an issue (Again, he's running for POTUS, she for VP. You can argue that voters _should_ demand the same experience for VP as they do for POTUS, but they just don't.)

Also, listing her accomplishments that she has done as governor (passed tax increase on oil companies, exposed corruption, passed a budget with large cuts) gives the Republicans a chance to ask what Obama has accomplished in the Senate. I know you're a big Obama fan, so can you name some of Obama's accomplishments in the US Senate? Can you name _anything_ he's gotten done in the US Senate? And he's for the _top_ spot.

Plus, it's assumed that McCain probably won't drop dead on day one. Having a couple of years as VP would be good training for the top spot.

Mike Ralls said...

>takes you to some unfavorable
commentary from the fundamental evangelicals. <

You can find any number of sub-groups who will dislike any decision. What matters in a national vote is the effect on mass groups, and the polls show that McCain has gotten a decent bump from Palin and one of the biggest of those bumps has been from Conservatives.

Kukulkan said...

I'm with Mike Ralls on this one. Sen. Obama's surrogates have been suggesting that Sen. McCain is too old to elect as Pres. of the USA. He's chosen someone young. Democrats cannot attack Gov. Palin's experience because she has more executive branch experience than the entire Democratic ticket (it's amusing to look at Sen. Obama's campaign's initial reaction to Gov. Palin and then to see the immediate about face once they realize how stupid it is to criticize her experience). She has actually accomplished things during her short term as Governor of Alaska. Sen. Obama has given stirring speeches and collected lots of money, but accomplished nothing in the Senate. Gov. Palin is a woman of integrity who says what she means (this subject to closer examination as time goes on). Sen. Obama says things that he thinks people want to hear. Just check out his history on guns. Finally, Gov. Palin is running as VP, where she presumably will have an opportunity to gain even more experience. Sen. Obama is running for Pres. with virtually no experience (a fact which Sen. Obama has admitted: "I think that … if I were seriously to consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now there may be some people who are comfortable doing that, but I am not one of those people." — Barack Obama, 2004).

On the other hand, Sen. Obama has been running on a ticket of change. He picked Sen. Biden as his running mate. That's not change folks. That's more of the same (using Sen. Biden's own words). Sen. Obama's choice of Sen. Biden dumbfounded me. Sen. Obama has been as successful as he has been because he energizes people; he's exciting and charismatic. Sen. Biden is none of these things. He's boring and predictable. The only thing that Sen. Biden brings to the table for Sen. Obama is that he has experience -- and I'm not sure this is a good thing for Sen. Obama since it highlights just how little experience Sen. Obama has.

Steve -- you are such a big fan of Sen. Obama that you are blinded to his faults. I was a fan of Sen. McCain in 2000, but am no longer a fan. Nevertheless, I think his choice of Gov. Palin is brilliant. I actually am beginning to think that he has a chance to win the election. I haven't believed he had a chance for a long time.

And Steve, I cannot believe that you believe a woman's place is in the home raising children. That's like saying a Black's place is working the fields. Moreover, you are criticizing her effectiveness as a parent without any knowledge about the care her children receive.

The biggest problem Sen. McCain has is that he does not excite the conservatives. Conservatives who are not excited won't go out to vote in the same numbers as Democrats (who are excited by Sen. Obama). Sen. McCain has given the conservatives a reason to get excited. Simply put, Sen. McCain addressed his biggest weakness.

Mike Ralls said...

>Sen. Obama has given stirring speeches and collected lots of money, but accomplished nothing in the Senate. <

I agree with the sentiment, but it's not literally true. "Accomplished about as much as an average Freshman senator" would be a more accurate statement. He's co-sponsored some bills, sat on some committees, added some amendments, and other routine stuff. It has not been a lot but it's not _nothing_.

Mike Ralls said...

>I actually am beginning to think that he has a chance to win the election. I haven't believed he had a chance for a long time.<

I always thought McCain had a chance.

Right now Obama's consistently running in the 44%-48% range, with at most a 1-4 point lead over McCain, in the Gallup polls and that has been the pattern for a couple of months now.

This is very low. Usually Democrats are 8-15 points ahead at this point in the cycle -- Kerry was, for example. In nearly all the election cycles in the last 40 years, the Democrat has been ahead at this point in the cycle; typically, peaking in August after the Democratic convention and then the race tightening. Democratic candidates almost always seriously underperform their polling numbers.

If you look at the last 10 elections, the Republican then came from behind to win in 7 of them. This was because, generally, a lot of 'independents' aren't actually independent; they are Republicans who don’t want to admit to being Republicans.

Looking at the three elections Democrats have won in the past 40 years, 1976, 1992, 1996, they all have something in common: they were a bit of a freak occurrence. Carter won, but even coming after Watergate he still didn't get 51% of the vote (no Dem has since 1964). In 1992 Perot split the Republican vote and Clinton slipped in with 43%. Come 1996 Clinton did six points better, but Perot was still around to suck 8.4% of the vote, and Clinton _still_ didn’t get a majority. And then even though the US was going through a time of great peace and prosperity, Gore still couldn’t get the majority of the vote.

I know you like him Steve, but I think that like clouds your judgment (especially since you haven’t really been interested in politics before him). If you look at it objectively, you’ll see that Obama is simply not doing very well in the polls compared to past Democratic candidates. This year a generic Democratic candidate for President slaughters a generic Republican (last polls I saw said by around 15%). Obama underperforms that by about 12%, and McCain over performs it by a similar amount. Statistically speaking they are running dead even, and that is, relatively speaking, horrible for the Democrats because they should be ahead. WAY ahead.

This is not given much play and is somewhat disguised because the media is so in the tank for Obama that even Bill Maher, said “there is a problem...with the media gushing over him too much.” The media are overwhelmingly drawn from the demographic in which Obama does do _very_ well, new-class information-management types with postgraduate degrees, so it’s not surprising that they love him but it can lead to have a distorted map of the actual situation.

But if you suck it up and look at the hard numbers at Gallup, he's within the poll's sampling margin of error. For a Democrat, that's not good enough. Not even close. He's simply not performing at the level a strong candidate would be. In fact, he's performing like a rather weak candidate, given a year in which the Republicans should be doomed, doomed, doomed.

Mike Ralls said...

The main problem is that Obama does well among people who were going to vote Democratic anyway; intellectuals, blacks, etc. But that's not the Democrats problem; their problem is with white voters, particularly working-class white voters, which is to say the most hegemonic group of America. 48% of American adults over 25 are working class white and no other group comes close to being that large (unless you count gender as a group) and their influence on the national level is further increased by them being concentrated in many swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The last time the Democrats won a majority of working class whites was in 1964, which is, not so coincidentally, the last time they won over 51% of the total vote. It was also the post-Kennedy-assassination election.

Note that 1960 was as close as 2000, and was probably won by fraud. Before that were two terms of Eisenhower; before that, Truman.

I would say that Democrats haven't really won a solid, non-freak-circumstances election since 1948, which is when the South began its breakaway from the party and the FDR coalition just wasn’t functioning any more (it began to fall apart in 1942, an election I’m writing my thesis on, by the way). The FDR coalition was fully dead and buried by the late 60's and the Democratic party has never really come to terms with that.

This election will be close; American elections in the modern (post-LBJ) era always are.

Michael Canfield said...

Gustav works in McCain's favor because it gives Bush and Cheney a face-saving excuse to stay away from the convention. Also it takes focus away from the convention in general which is good as it was bound not to compare well the spectacular job the Dems did. Also Gustav is supposedly going to hit north of N.O. and leave some with the impression there has been improvements in the way this country is run since Katrina.

Michael Canfield said...

Oh and also there's the talking point McCain surrogates gain from Michael Moore's insensitive "Gustav is proof that there is a God in Heaven" remark. Thanks for pitching in, dude.

Stephanie said...

Hmmm, I have to say I'm unimpressed with Palin. The fact taht she's anti-science, and wants creationism taught in schools is extremely disturbing to me.

Ditto her failure to support equal pay for equal work, her attitude on the environment, stem cell research, far-right position on abortion (by now everyone knows her high school aged daughter is pregnant, but that I don't hold against her), her objection not only to same-sex marriage, but to domestic partnership laws - and of course her ties to big oil companies among others.

Yes, she's popular in under two years in a very small, very conservative state, but its not enough based on the positions she supports to make me willing to take a risk with her. There's too much at stake in the next election - and in the US, we desperately need to up science education to keep up with the rest of the world, not replace it with religious dogma, among other issues.

I suspect she's seeing the bounce right now. She'll maintain it to some extent - regardless of how she fares in debates and so on, because the people she's energizing are those in the very conservative, fundamentalist base of the GOP. Those people were likely going to hold their noses and vote for McCain anyway.

Most of the women I've spoken to are turned off by her in the extreme, including several moderate Republicans. The only exceptions are a couple of very religiously conservative women in my office - but they were also touting her as the "historic first woman vice-presidential candidate" - not ralizing that Geraldine Ferraro was there first, a quarter of a century ago when we were kids.

Frank said...

Jeeze. Mike and Kukulkan covered just about every point I would have made and did so expertly.

I have a just a few points: It is true that Clinton never won a majority and the plurality he did win came by proposing a Center-right agenda. Obama has tried to move to the center, but his position shift has only caused confusion.

And I wouldn't say that most Independents are closet Republicans so much as they are Center Right. The so-called South Park Republicans. And don't forget there are still Reagan Democrats out there to whom McCain appeals more than Obama.

Mike also makes a good point about underperforming Democrats and where they need to be in the polls. But something else was brought out in the Primary: Obama himself underperforms to his own polling data. This caused a great deal of discussion among professional pollsters during the Primary. Whatever the reason for that, and assuming that trend holds in the general, which is likely, he'll have to poll even higher than the typical Democrat to win.

And then there is the Downs-syndrome element: Whats wrong with Sarah's husband staying home to take care of the child? I thought we were all liberated now?

And finally, I seriously doubt that anyone is going to get any mileage out of the fact that the 17 year old daughter is pregnant. It doesn't go to Gov Palin's values and too many working class people (not to mention people of every economic class) face the very same issue every day. Vilifying this girl is not going to play well on main street. Trying to attack Gov Palin for it is not going to make Obama or his team look like the "Uniters" they pretend to be. How the parents (and the campaign) deal with it will be instructive. But the girl is 5 months pregnant. The McCain campaign knew about it when he selected her. They already know how to handle it.

Kukulkan said

it's amusing to look at Sen. Obama's campaign's initial reaction to Gov. Palin and then to see the immediate about face once they realize how stupid it is to criticize her experience

Yeah, but the about-face didn't work. People are still propagating the argument. People like Steve, in fact. So they can no longer take it back and every time it is repeated it just does more damage.

That is why I pointed out that their initial reaction was flubbed. And that flub will be a costly mistake.

Steve Perry said...

Executive branch experience? In Alaska? A state with a population about equal to one middling-sized U.S. city?

Please. Beeing mayor of Podunk, AL outweighs being a five-term U.S. Senator? That is as silly as anything coming out the Mad Hatter's tea party.

The woman has five kids. Not to sound paternalistic -- though somebody apparently needs to -- since her husband is out fishing and she's running for VP, who is taking care of them? Especially that baby?

If ever the term "family values" meant anything to the R's, it sure doesn't any more using this as an example.

You got a pregnant teenage daughter and baby with Down's?

You or your husband needs to be passing by the house now and then.

Frank said...

Stephanie

Hmmm, I have to say I'm unimpressed with Palin. The fact taht she's anti-science, and wants creationism taught in schools is extremely disturbing to me.

Except, she does not want creationism taught in school. You know, attacks like these are so easily disproved and you have to remember that these attacks get heard by people who are on the fence. And when they look into it, and find out it's crap, this does not help you candidate.

In fact it hurts.

There are many real policy differences Democrats have with Palin. Why they are not sticking with these instead of propogating easily dispensed with made up allegations is truly puzzling to me.

So here's something for you from Oct 2006

In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

"I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum."

She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum.


Look, Stephanie, she has been Governor of Alaska for two years. Show me where she has proposed having the State put creationism in school. She said, if elected " she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum."

It's easily checked so, has she?

Frank said...

Executive branch experience? In Alaska? A state with a population about equal to one middling-sized U.S. city?

See what I mean? The Obama campaign can not take it back.

Alaska's GSP is the fifth largest in the nation and has the 6th largest per capita income.

And this with the lowest individual tax burden in the United States.

It's going to take a lot for the Obama campaign to expunge this line of argument and embed a more successful one.

Marty S said...

Frank: You have really made my day amusing. Here is a link from an anti Palin email I recieved from moveon,org demonstrating she supports teaching creationism in schools.

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=17737&id=13661-10173090-1Mj0_Jx&t=3
Oh my its the same story as your link. I guess you and moveon.org didn't come away with the same conclusion from the same story.

Steve Perry said...

I don't think it'll take much to expunge this argument. I expect that the general perception is that there are more bears than people up in Alaska, and that being mayor of a small city or governor of a state with fewer people than Rhode Island gives you the chops to sit across the table from the Russians ...

Kukulkan said...

Steve Perry:

"gives you the chops to sit across the table from the Russians"

Umm, Steve, where do you think Alaska is in relation to Russia? She probably has more experience dealing with Russians than any other two governors combined.

Actually, you forgot to put the negative in your sentence, so what you actually said is that being the mayor of podunkville gives one the chops to bargain with the Russians. But, I got your intent.

Kukulkan said...

Steve Perry:

"Beeing mayor of Podunk, AL outweighs being a five-term U.S. Senator? That is as silly as anything coming out the Mad Hatter's tea party."

Maybe you missed it, she upgraded from Mayor to Governor.

Anonymous said...

Steve Perry asked:

"The woman has five kids ... who is taking care of them?"

One of her "kids" is serving in Iraq as a U.S. soldier. He's taking care of himself and you too.

The others are less grown-up, but only the youngest one of them has Down's, and Palin's husband has been that child's primary caregiver since her job became more-than-full-time.

I.e., she's proven she has the ability to raise strong children, and married to a man who has no problem helping her.

And you think attacking her mothering skills is going to win you the election? Rock on, dude.


--Erich Schwarz

Kukulkan said...

Ok, so I'm watching Anderson Cooper 360 tonight, and Anderson Cooper asks Sen. Obama how he responds to the observation that Gov. Palin has more executive experience than Sen. Obama. Sen. Obama's response is priceless: "I have a campaign with 2,500 people and a budget of $12 million." (paraphrased). That's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"Weren't there tons of Conservative Republican choices with more experience, if experience is so important?"

Probably. However, the voters have made it pretty clear that they don't consider experience important -- otherwise, they probably wouldn't have supported Obama as the Democratic candidate for President.

McCain's chosen to pick a VP who has pretty much the same traits Obama has: young, energetic, charismatic, inexperienced.

If that ends up costing McCain the election, your point about it being "one of the worst mistakes" he could make will be well taken. If it instead flips the votes of the Hillary supporters, and energizes the previously-tepic evangelical base (who tended to hate McCain), so that McCain wins the election ... then, however much you may dislike McCain's having picked Palin, it won't exactly have been his "worst mistake".

" I would be about 70% as uneasy if she were a man whose wife had just given birth to a Down's Syndrome child... I can just imagine her calling in to Dr. Laura, asking if she should take a job offer demanding travel and intense commitment 24/7 while she has a four month old Down's Syndrome child."

Palin's husband's been the primary caregiver of their fifth child, so that she'd be free to keep up her job and the campaign. Given that the guy's an Alaskan Inuit oil worker, I doubt this reflects some lack of masculinity on his part. So what's the problem, again?

--Erich Schwarz

Steven Barnes said...

"And Steve, I cannot believe that you believe a woman's place is in the home raising children. That's like saying a Black's place is working the fields. Moreover, you are criticizing her effectiveness as a parent without any knowledge about the care her children receive."
##
No, I said that I was a little more likely to feel that a woman should stay home with a handicapped child than a man should. Not much, but a little, and took responsibility for that being an old-fashioned attitude. What I said was that IF Dr. Laura represented a conservative approach to family values, then there is a pretty bad disconnect there. I'm not sure she does, but THAT was pretty much my thought on that.
##
Obama underperforming at the polls? There is some question as to why? With 5-15% of white voters (depending on state) ADMITTING they wouldn't vote for a black man? Please. Don't pretend not to know what a chunk of that's about. I'm not saying that's the only factor--it is perfectly reasonable to think his resume thin, or dislike his personality or politics. But if you don't state the obvious, it makes you look willfully oblivious.
#
I have zero problem admitting I haven't followed politics much, before this cycle. I don't think I'm ignoring the fact that Obama hasn't been in Washington long--I just don't put as high a value on that as some of you do. It would be perfectly reasonable to discount my opinion on that account, I accept that. But I don't think I'm blind to flaws here. It's more a matter of finding certain personality traits extremely valuable, and I see those in Obama.
#
The next weeks will determine whether I have my head up my ass about this, and please feel free to remind me of what I said, but I see a SERIOUS problem for McCain in this choice. I won't back away from this, and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

Steven Barnes said...

Oh...and trying to get some kind of knee-jerk rise out of me by equating slavery with women caring for their children is kinda absurd. Men didn't decide women would bear children and make milk. Nature did. Technology in the form of birth control and breast pumps is freeing them from that cycle. Good. But slavery is one group of people taking an otherwise independent group of people and forcing them to work totally against their will, with a result that they and their children's life-spans are decreased. If you don't see the difference, try this: I know LOTS of educated, intelligent women who like the idea of bearing children and staying home to raise them. To my knowledge there is no instance of a free black presenting himself to be a slave. Try a different tact.

Mike Ralls said...

>But if you don't state the obvious, it makes you look willfully oblivious.<

Being "black"* is going to hurt him in getting white votes in the general election. I know I've said that before in other blogs, but if I've never said that before here, let me state so now.

But again, being Democrat is also going to hurt him in getting white votes in the general election. Again, no Democrat in the last 40 years has gotten the majority of the white vote and they were all white dudes.

* In case I haven't said this here before; I don't consider recent African immigrants to America, and their descendants, to be part of the same group as the descendants of slaves. The two groups are too dissimilar in quantifiable data (income, crime rates, marriage patterns, etc) to put them together, IMO.

> It's more a matter of finding certain personality traits extremely valuable, and I see those in Obama.<

And you're perfectly free to do that in you personal voting decision. The problem comes when you assume that too many people share your beliefs in what is valuable, and that warps your map when you try to predict how other voters will judge things.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/08/experience-key.html

"The survey of almost 1,250 registered voters showed that the vast majority have no doubt McCain is qualified for the White House. Asked if the Republican had the right experience to be president, 80% said yes (with only 14% saying no).

By contrast, close to a majority -- 48% -- said Obama lacks the experience for the job (with 44% saying yes)."

--

Experience is a huge problem for Obama. Even if it doesn't matter to you, it matters to a whole bunch of people who will be voting.

>I see a SERIOUS problem for McCain in this choice. I won't back away from this, and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong.<

Fair enough. Let's define the terms though;

If the McCain-Palin approval rating drops 4% or more in the next 2-3 weeks you were right. If not, you were wrong and you'll do a serious reexamination of your political map because it seems out of line with reality. If it does drop, I'll do the same because then mine will have seemed to be out of line with reality. Sound good?

Ethiopian Infidel said...

Although I was inclined to vote for Obama before, I'm definitely going to now. NO WAY IN HELL will I EVER vote for an avowed Creationist, i.e. Palin. IMHO, embracing Creationism declares one mentally unfit for (presumably) cognitively demanding jobs such as holding the most powerful position on Earth.

Having vented my disdain for Palin’s “beliefs”, I do recognize some cleaver strategy behind McCain’s choice. Picking Palin possibly secures much of the Alaskan vote, which is somewhat disaffected with US politics, as evidenced by a small but vocal Alaskan independence movement. Although a small constituency, having Alaska in the pocket might prove decisive during a 2000-style electoral deadlock. Further, her Creationism will play well in conservative and heartland circles.

Finally, Palin’s family farce introduces some nice electoral levity. First the Candidate of Inclusion who belonged to racist Church. Now the Champion of Chaste Christianity with an unwed, underage pregnant daughter.

Politics makes for the best comedy.

Althea said...

No offense to your gender, but I'm surprised more women have not commented.

Re: Palin and McCain: I agree 100% with what you said Steve. When I read about Palin, I thought, "in his heart, McCain cannot possibly believe Obama is too inexperienced." The Republican analysts and strategists have to spin everything toward their own ends, I get that. But you said it: McCain's choices forced the GOP to scream from the mountaintops: "BUT OBAMA'S INEXPERIENCED TOO!" Why would you put your party through that?

On the Bristol Palin issue: as the daughter of teenage parents who were forced to marry because of me, a political independent, and someone who thinks McCain is a decent guy, again, I thought "why?" You knew this girl was pregnant when you picked her mom as your running mate. It just doesn't seem like good judgement.
If it works, it works. But it doesn't jibe with me.

And I know I'm about to write something controversial, but racial and sexual politics are very real. If one of Joe Biden's underage daughters were pregnant, the RNC would be having a field day.

If one of Obama's underage daughters were pregnant (at 17, not the ages they are now), not only would every conservative Christian minister have preached a sermon about it this coming Sunday, but the ugliness of racism would have bubbled over.

When I read articles like this one:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/01/palin.evangelicals/index.html
I want to vomit. It's spin. I get that. But it's also transparent.

Stephanie said...

"I don't think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn't have to be part of the curriculum."

She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum.

Look, Stephanie, she has been Governor of Alaska for two years. Show me where she has proposed having the State put creationism in school. She said, if elected " she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state's required curriculum."

Actually, she answered a questionnaire for a conservative voter's organization where she answered in the affirmative, so yes. And I'll try to find that reference and link it - I have to actually work this morning.

But no, it's not a non-issue - the correct answer from any politician is that religion gets taught in a church and science gets taught in the public schools. Period.

Where it's an issue for you or not, it's one for a lot of voters that won't simply be answered by a snide response in a blog commentary telling me I'm unreasonable for bringing up an issue I am concerned about - and which I've seen enough evidence to bother me about.

For me, and many, many other voters, it's a serious issue - what she means by debate on the issue isn't a teacher saying "no, creationism is a religious issue," and explaining why - were that the case, then it truly wouldn't be an issue.

But "debate" among the creationism culture warriors means treating the two issues as if there were equal, and that somehow intelligent design or whatever the buzz word of the day is on the subject is as legitimate a theory as evolution. That's not debate - it's preaching versus science, and it has no place in a public classroom.

It is a very real issue - I want to know, from her mouth - exactly how she feels on the subject. And I do not believe that someone who thinks it's acceptable to fight out the science-religion debate in the public schools by treating one groups set of beliefs as equal with science is someone who needs to potentially rise to the highest office in the country.

I've lived through seven plus years of an administration that has no respect for science, I don't want to repeat it - and when a potential veep suggests a favoritism for personal religion over science, that bothers me.

It's not "propagandizing" - it's a serious issue - if it's not for you, well, that's your decision, but don't use the rhetorical trick where you belittle me because I find it worthy of concern.

When she says "I don't believe creationism should ever be taught in a public school science class" then I'll take the issue off the table. But as long as she's "open to debate" - sorry, but no deal.

Steve Perry said...

"One of her "kids" is serving in Iraq as a U.S. soldier. He's taking care of himself and you too."

Um, I heard he wasn't there yet. And when he gets there, he sure as hell won't be taking care of me -- I didn't send him, don't believe he ought to be there, and don't think he is going to be protecting me or anybody in this country from any danger we didn't create by going there.

Being a mother seems to be one of those "family values" the R's like to blather on about. Electing to run for national office with a special-needs child and a pregnant daughter at home, and exposing that daughter to the glare of the media spotlight doesn't sound to me as if she is putting her children first. It sounds to me as if she is putting her own ambition first, and I got no problem with it, as long as nobody tries to dress it in the beauty of motherhood.

I wouldn't do that to my pregnant and unwed teenage daughter if I had one. Would you?

Anonymous said...

Steve Perry wrote:

"... I heard he wasn't there yet. And when he gets there, he sure as hell won't be taking care of me..."

Your original claim was, as far as I can decipher it, that Palin was somehow neglecting all five of her "kids".

My point is that she's in fact raised at least one of them so that he's clearly a self-sufficient human being capable of undertaking obligations to the whole U.S. that may get him killed, and that by inference, she's probably done a decent job with her younger children as well.

Would you like to explain why you disagree?


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

Steve Perry wrote:

"... Electing to run for national office with a special-needs child and a pregnant daughter at home, and exposing that daughter to the glare of the media spotlight doesn't sound to me as if she is putting her children first. It sounds to me as if she is putting her own ambition first..."

So you're in favor of feminism -- as long as women don't actually do anything controversial while they actually have, you know, families?

There's a really nasty side of my character that hopes you're confused enough to say that often, out loud. It'd help win McCain votes.

There's another side of me, trying to approximate a decent human being, that hopes you have a sudden Blinding Flash of the Obvious, and redirect your political energies to some other talking point that isn't so absolutely guaranteed to make you and the rest of Obama's supporters look like sexist Neanderthals.


--Erich Schwarz

Charles said...

@Erich

Sometimes, for the sake of the children that we choose to bear and raise, our own needs and ambitions have to be put aside. There's only so much time in the day, and only so much energy in our bodies, and our children that we brought into the world not of their own accord deserve that of us- father and mother. That's just the bluntly honest truth.

Anonymous said...

Are you as critical of Biden for not resigning to take care of his two critically injured kids who were in the same car accident that killed their mother and sister?

Steve Perry said...

Hey, Erich --

Your deciphering skills leave something to be desired. You leap to conclusions that are wrong.

What I disagree with is the talk-the-talk versus walk-the-walk reality that those who hammer at us with the term "family values" often seem to espouse.

If you want to claim the high moral ground, you have to show you have a right to be there.

I repeat my question: Would you do this to your pregnant, unmarried teenage daughter? Hold her up to the light this way? If you would, we don't have anything else to talk about. You aren't my kind of people.

What do I disagree with? I don't see that her children have altogether demonstrated any remarkable abilities as you seem to believe. Joining the Army doesn't take an intellectual giant, nor does getting pregnant at seventeen indicate any great grasp of what it is like to be an adult. They may turn out to be wonderful people, and more power to them if they do, but they haven't shown enough of that for me to agree about what a swell mother Palin is. Evidence is not the plural of anecdote.

I didn't say a woman couldn't work outside the home. I said that when you pretend to be one thing and are a different thing, there is a disconnect.

She was a bad choice for McCain. All the spin in the world isn't going to fix it. She isn't going to be the wind beneath his wings, she's going to be an anchor dragging behind him. She doesn't have the chops to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. My opinion.

As for Biden and his choice to go to the Senate after his wife and child's death and the injury of his sons?
I wouldn't have gone that way myself. Then again, his kids are grown and seemed to have turned out pretty well.

Palin's kids are still in flux.

Frank said...

Charles

Sometimes, for the sake of the children that we choose to bear and raise, our own needs and ambitions have to be put aside. There's only so much time in the day, and only so much energy in our bodies, and our children that we brought into the world not of their own accord deserve that of us- father and mother. That's just the bluntly honest truth.

I wonder have you seen the NBO miniseries John Adams, or read the biography by David McCullough?

I mention this because John Adams had to take significant time away from his wife and family to help forge this nation. This is realistically portrayed in this series.

He had to spend months in Philadelphia to attend the Continental Congress, much of it spent just traveling because, you know travel was slow and arduous back in the day.

During the War, he was sent to Europe to gain vital support for the Continental Army. The trip to and from Europe alone took months.

When he was appointed Ambassador to Great Britain, both he and his wife had to go, leaving the children in the care of others.

He loathed his time away from home (in sharp contrast to Ben Franklin).

He spent a lifetime in service to his country at great personal sacrifice, as did all the Founding Fathers, but he (and they) felt his duty to his country, and to the ideal it represented was greater.

Today, travel alone is faster. Communication is faster.

I'm just sayin'.

And why is it that a woman spending time away from the family to serve their country is more vile than a man doing it?

I thought Democrats were the enlightened ones.

I'm not surprised Hillary had so much trouble against Obama.

Kukulkan said...

Steven:

I call BS. You have misrepresented what you said and what I said.

You said:

"I have to admit I would be about 70% as uneasy if she were a man whose wife had just given birth to a Down's Syndrome child."

I responded:
"Steve, I cannot believe that you believe a woman's place is in the home raising children. That's like saying a Black's place is working the fields. Moreover, you are criticizing her effectiveness as a parent without any knowledge about the care her children receive."

You came back with:

"I said that I was a little more likely to feel that a woman should stay home with a handicapped child than a man should. Not much, but a little"

and:

"Oh...and trying to get some kind of knee-jerk rise out of me by equating slavery with women caring for their children is kinda absurd. Men didn't decide women would bear children and make milk. Nature did. Technology in the form of birth control and breast pumps is freeing them from that cycle. Good. But slavery is one group of people taking an otherwise independent group of people and forcing them to work totally against their will, with a result that they and their children's life-spans are decreased."

I never said that Blacks should be slaves. That's what you brought to the table. I said rhetorically that they should be working in the fields. Using your evolution argument, nature gave Blacks skin that is naturally better with prolonged exposure to the sun than Whites. That's not what I had in mind when I referenced the fields. I was referring to the fact that more Blacks are employed in menial/physical tasks than Whites. I believe that Black individuals belong in whatever job their abilities and desires allow them to achieve. So do women. If you have some evidence that Gov. Palin's children are deprived, please refer us to that evidence. If you don't have any such evidence, stop criticizing her on those grounds. And, finally, one of the bedrock conservative principles is that parents (and not society) are the best judges of what is best for their children. Accordingly, unless I see some pretty damning evidence of the inadequacy of the care given to Gov. Palin's children, I will not criticize her on those grounds. Just as I place absolutely no "stigma" on Vice Pres. Cheney because his daughter is lesbian (I used the quotes as a clue that I don't actually find anything wrong with homosexuals).

You never said a "little bit." You said that you would feel about 70% as uncomfortable. Which absolutely indicates that you believe women have a much greater responsibility to be at home taking care of children than men. If Nicki (apologies if I mangled the spelling) becomes a successful actress and marries a competent cinematographer and then gives birth to a child with Down's Syndrome, would you prefer she give up her higher paying career than her husband?

Charles said...

@Frank

Does the mini-series talk about if his children were special needs children? Because that is the case that I was talking about, i.e. Sometimes, for the sake of the children that we choose to bear and raise, our own needs and ambitions have to be put aside. This is a part that you quoted but seem not to have paid attention to. And I never singled out men vs. women in what I set forth. And, let me get this straight... you're comparing Palin to Adams? And the situation the country is in now to then? That's a laughable and rather disingenuous comparison. And lastly, to conclude that someone is republican, democrat, libertarian, liberal, conservative, or otherwise from one post is rather short sighted and narrow minded.

Anonymous said...

"Would you do this to your pregnant, unmarried teenage daughter? Hold her up to the light this way?"

I think, after watching the poor behavior of the Left in this situation, I would consider myself morally obliged to go against its wishes and its threats by making the decision to pursue public life. The alternative would be to allow my moral and political decisions to be held hostage by the willingness of my political opponents to use my daughter as an emotional hostage.

Nor is this an issue peculiar to right-wing politicians, as far as I can tell. Al Gore's son's marijuana abuse got held up to the light by his father's political prominence; I don't know many people who would argue (whatever they might actually think of Gore's politics) that Gore should have dropped out of public life because of that.

A decade earlier, Chelsea Clinton became an object of (vile and stupid) abuse by people on the Right, for reasons as insufferable as her physical appearance, simply because her parents took political positions and had political careers unacceptable to the Right. Again, I don't know of very many Clinton supporters who'd have found that an acceptable reason why the Clintons shouldn't have pursued their political ambitions.

So what are you arguing for here, Mr. Perry? That feminism is OK as long as no woman actually undertakes a publically controversial career while she actually has children?

Or are you only so stringent with women whose political views you dislike?


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

Steve Perry wrote:

"I don't see that [Palin's] children have altogether demonstrated any remarkable abilities as you seem to believe."

Is there some statement of mine, anywhere, that you would like to actually quote, in which I have ever claimed they had "remarkable abilities"?

What I have said is that Palin's oldest "kid" has in fact shown himself to be willing and able to undertake the duties of a grown man, and to put his own life at risk for his society. What I've gone on to note is that it's at least reasonably likely that Palin's children aren't simply the neglected kids you seem to think they are.

What I've gotten in response to that point is stuff like this:

"Joining the Army doesn't take an intellectual giant, nor does getting pregnant at seventeen indicate any great grasp of what it is like to be an adult."

So, the criterion now is that Palin should have produced at least one "intellectual giant" in order to be qualified for the Vice-Presidency? Or that her family not merely practice evangelical Christianity but actually be sinless and infallible?

It really looks to me like you can't actually make a sane case for what you originally wanted to argue -- that Palin was being a poor mother -- so you're now reduced to this: deriding the intelligence of her oldest son, and sneering at one of her daughters for having fallen into a situation that is hardly unheard-of among young heterosexual human beings.

Keep up that sort of sneer and I really do think you'll be doing your bit to lose Obama the election. Is that how "your sort of people" want to behave?


--Erich Schwarz

Steve Perry said...

"I repeat my question: Would you do this to your pregnant, unmarried teenage daughter? Hold her up to the light this way?"

Didn't want to pick that one up, hey?

I didn't think so.

You can be an apologist for McCain and his running mate all you want, and you can try to twist what I said likewise, but you're wasting your time -- and mine.

I got your number. We're done here.

salina said...

da$%. Many of the comments here reek of a desperation to find ANY reason to be anti-Obama, even if it means intentional and blatant misinterpretations or convincing yourselves that Palin is a great choice. lolllol Some of you are TOO funny and sheeple like to be disturbing, lol. Since we're picking sides, lol, a special Shout out to Steve (great blog), Steve Perry, Althea, Marty, Ethiopian Infidel, and Stephanie! lol

Anonymous said...

Steve Perry wrote:

"'I repeat my question: Would you do this to your pregnant, unmarried teenage daughter? Hold her up to the light this way?'

"Didn't want to pick that one up, hey?"

As I've already written as a direct answer to that very question:

"I think, after watching the poor behavior of the Left in this situation, I would consider myself morally obliged to go against its wishes and its threats by making the decision to pursue public life. The alternative would be to allow my moral and political decisions to be held hostage by the willingness of my political opponents to use my daughter as an emotional hostage."

Is that clear? Or was it too hard to understand?

If it was too hard for you, here it is again in simpler language:

I would go into politics, knowing full well that it would expose my teenage daughter to public abuse, not because I was happy about that exposure, but because the alternative would be to let my political and moral decisions be controlled by swine.

The sort of people who think that attacking a teenage daughter is acceptable political tactics are, simply, swine.

It was vile when the Right did it to Chelsea Clinton, and it's equally vile now that faux-enlightened men of the Left are indulging themselves in this behavior towards Bristol Palin now.

Given such poor behavior by both the Right and the Left, "holding up" one's adolescent or young adult children "to the light" is probably an unavoidable byproduct of anybody deciding to be in public life. It happened to Al Gore's marijuana-smoking son and it happened to Chelsea Clinton for no offense at all other than being the daughter of Bill and Hillary.

Did those previous instances also go over your head?


"... you can try to twist what I said ..."

Sir, the only person here who has manufactured bogus quotes and then not had the honesty or courage to defend or retract them is ... you. Unless you can actually show any point at which I've in fact claimed "remarkable abilities" for any of Palin's children. I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.


"... you're wasting your time -- and mine."

On the contrary, this has been a highly informative dialogue for me. I now know more about the Left than I ever dreamed I'd know.

I feel like I've just looked underneath a particularly worm-infested underside of a particularly slimy rock, but as P.J. O'Rourke said, "Whenever I do anything particularly stupid, I can always call it a 'learning experience.'"


--Erich Schwarz

suzanne said...

erich said:

this has been a highly informative dialogue for me. I now know more about the Left than I ever dreamed I'd know.

I feel like I've just looked underneath a particularly worm-infested underside of a particularly slimy rock. . .

gee, erich
this points up
the problem of generalizing
and the use of absolutes

even I know
some conservatives
(thinkers)
I admire

and as I've read about Palin
it appears
not all conservatives
are happy
about McCain's selection
of her as his running mate. . .

and it also does appear
that she was not
thoroughly vetted
before the announcement. . .

Obama has been pretty clear
about not making
an issue
of the daughter
saying he will dismiss
any staffer who does

there are issues
other than morality
to this campaign
and I do find it
demeaning
that McCain would think
just any woman would do
as a sop to women voters
(and I have a high opinion
of women and what they can do)

salina said...

well said Suzanne, it's an affront to women and an insult equivalent to throwing bread crumbs.

Josh Jasper said...

Erich, it wasn't just "The Right" who did it to Chelsea, it was in part, John McCain.

So we know he's swine by your definition.

Anonymous said...

Josh Jasper wrote:

"Erich, it wasn't just 'The Right"' who [publically insulted] Chelsea [Clinton], it was in part, John McCain."

"So we know he's swine by your definition."

To the degree he participated in that or condoned it: absolutely yes.

As somebody here pointed out, adulthood is when you actually admit both that moral standards really do matter -- and that your own preferred clique, faction, party, nation, or race is guilty of at least sometimes breaking them.

That's why I went to pains to explicitly cite the Right's obloquy of Chelsea: it disgusted me 10 years ago, and still disgusts me now to remember.

And to the degree McCain promulgated it, yes, he was being a pig. I hope since then he's thought better of it.

Meanwhile, it's 2008, the current herd of Gadarene swine are on the Left, and I've had a learning experience. Too bad Jesus isn't around to perform an exorcism, but them's the breaks.


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

Suzanne wrote:

"gee, erich
this points up
the problem of generalizing
and the use of absolutes"


Here, I'll quote from a fine essay by Steven Dutch:

"All stereotypes have at least some basis in fact."


Note that Dutch says "at least some basis", not "a complete basis". Note also his point about "wiggle room", and about how this pretty much does apply to both sides of the U.S. political spectrum.

I'm happy to discuss substantive moral criticisms of the Right, having myself tried to make quite a few at various points of my life. I am flatly uninterested in being told that such criticisms -- based as they inevitably are on generalizations -- are only applicable to the Right, while the Left consists solely of a myriad precious individual ungeneralizable snowflakes.


--Erich

Josh Jasper said...

Erich - "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno."


- John McCain.

Anonymous said...

Josh Jasper quoted:

"'Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno.'"


"- John McCain."

It was vile when the Right did it to Chelsea Clinton, and it's equally vile now that faux-enlightened men of the Left are indulging themselves in this behavior towards Bristol Palin now.


--Erich Schwarz

Josh Jasper said...

Erich, who among the left are you talking about? I've heard a lot of buzz, but no names other than "anonymous blogger" or some smalltime blog.

Anonymous said...

Josh Jasper wrote:

"... who among the left are you talking about?"

Try www.dailykos.com, a Left Web site of some notoriety. Or just turn on your TV and actually listen to the commentary on CNN and similar networks. It was pretty ridiculous this weekend, although maybe you managed not to notice.


--Erich Schwarz

Josh Jasper said...

Oh, well if you're going to cite dailykos, you might as well cite little green footballs as a representative view of the right. It's an open blog, so pretty much anyone can blog to dailykos.

I don't own a TV. They'll eat your brain.

Anonymous said...

Josh,

I would be happy if it was really the case that dailykos.com was as marginal as you say it is, but it's one of the most popular sites on the entire Web -- I suspect it represents more of the Left than either of us would like.

Like you, I don't own a TV or watch one at home. But I was out of town over the weekend (to attend a friend's wedding -- what a wonderful, sane contrast to the weekend's news), and travelling means hotel rooms, and hotels mean TVs, and...

I was just reminded, reading elsewhere, of one pleasing exception to what's been bugging me: Barack Obama himself, who said that Palin's family should be completely off-limits. I have to assume that he meant that sincerely, having himself grown up with a non-traditional family life. Good for him.


--Erich Schwarz

Josh Jasper said...

Erich - popular yes, but as I said, it's a open membership site. Like the Free Republic on the right.

If you want good and representative left wing reporting, try Talking Points Memo.