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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Sarah Cheney

This is from the NY Times opinion page, so expect the knuckledraggers to reject it out of hand, but they have it right on this:

Dick Cheney, Role Model

Published: October 3, 2008
In all the talk about the vice-presidential debate, there was an issue that did not get much attention but kept nagging at us: Sarah Palin’s description of the role and the responsibilities of the office for which she is running, vice president of the United States.

In Thursday night’s debate, Ms. Palin was asked about the vice president’s role in government. She said she agreed with Dick Cheney that “we have a lot of flexibility in there” under the Constitution. And she declared that she was “thankful that the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president also, if that vice president so chose to exert it.”

It is hard to tell from Ms. Palin’s remarks whether she understands how profoundly Dick Cheney has reshaped the vice presidency — as part of a larger drive to free the executive branch from all checks and balances. Nor did she seem to understand how much damage that has done to American democracy.

Mr. Cheney has shown what can happen when a vice president — a position that is easy to lampoon and overlook — is given free rein by the president and does not care about trampling on the Constitution.

Mr. Cheney has long taken the bizarre view that the lesson of Watergate was that Congress was too powerful and the president not powerful enough. He dedicated himself to expanding President Bush’s authority and arrogating to himself executive, legislative and legal powers that are nowhere in the Constitution.

This isn’t the first time that Ms. Palin was confronted with the issue. In an interview with Katie Couric of CBS News, the Alaska governor was asked what she thought was the best and worst about the Cheney vice presidency. Ms. Palin tried to dodge: laughing and joking about the hunting accident in which Mr. Cheney accidentally shot a friend. The only thing she had to add was that Mr. Cheney showed support for the troops in Iraq.

There was not a word about Mr. Cheney’s role in starting the war with Iraq, in misleading Americans about weapons of mass destruction, in leading the charge to create illegal prison camps where detainees are tortured, in illegally wiretapping Americans, in creating an energy policy that favored the oil industry that made him very rich before the administration began.

Ms. Couric asked Joseph Biden, Ms. Palin’s rival, the same question in a separate interview. He had it exactly right when he told her that Mr. Cheney’s theory of the “unitary executive” held that “Congress and the people have no power in a time of war.” And he had it right in the debate when he called Mr. Cheney “the most dangerous vice president we’ve had in American history.”

The Constitution does not state or imply any flexibility in the office of vice president. It gives the vice president no legislative responsibilities other than casting a tie-breaking vote in the Senate when needed and no executive powers at all. The vice president’s constitutional role is to be ready to serve if the president dies or becomes incapacitated.

Any president deserves a vice president who will be a sound adviser and trustworthy supporter. But the American people also deserve and need a vice president who understands and respects the balance of power — and the limits of his or her own power. That is fundamental to our democracy.

So far, Ms. Palin has it exactly, frighteningly wrong.

When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest, at first with heavenly shows - Othello
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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This one is from Bob Herbert, who is both liberal and Black, so expect frothing at the mouth from the knuckledraggers:

Palin’s Alternate Universe

Published: October 3, 2008
Sarah Palin is the perfect exclamation point to the Bush years.

We’ve lived through nearly two terms of an administration that believed it could create its own reality:

“Deficits don’t matter.” “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.” “Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere.”

Now comes Ms. Palin, a smiling, bubbly vice-presidential candidate who travels in an alternate language universe. For Ms. Palin, such things as context, syntax and the proximity of answers to questions have no meaning.

In her closing remarks at the vice-presidential debate Thursday night, Ms. Palin referred earnestly, if loosely, to a quote from Ronald Reagan. He had warned that if Americans weren’t vigilant in protecting their freedom, they would find themselves spending their “sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in America when men were free.”

What Ms. Palin didn’t say was that the menace to freedom that Reagan was talking about was Medicare. As the historian Robert Dallek has pointed out, Reagan “saw Medicare as the advance wave of socialism, which would ‘invade every area of freedom in this country.’ ”

Does Ms. Palin agree with that Looney Tunes notion? Or was this just another case of the aw-shucks, darn-right, I’m-just-a-hockey-mom governor of Alaska mouthing something completely devoid of meaning?

Here’s Ms. Palin during the debate: “Say it ain’t so, Joe! There you go pointing backwards again ... Now, doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I’m glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and God bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?”

If Governor Palin didn’t like a question, or didn’t know the answer, she responded as though some other question had been asked. She made no bones about this, saying early in the debate: “I may not answer the questions the way that either the moderator or you want to hear.”

The problem with Ms. Palin’s candidacy is that John McCain might actually win this election, and then if something terrible happened, the country could be left with little more than an exclamation point as president.

After Ms. Palin had woven one of her particularly impenetrable linguistic webs, Joe Biden turned to the debate’s moderator, Gwen Ifill, and said: “Gwen, I don’t know where to start.”

Of course he didn’t know where to start because Ms. Palin’s words don’t mean anything. She’s all punctuation.

This is such a serious moment in American history that it’s hard to believe that someone with Ms. Palin’s limited skills could possibly be playing a leadership role. On the day before the debate, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, made an urgent appeal for more troops, saying the additional “boots on the ground,” as well as more helicopters and other vital equipment, were “needed as quickly as possible.”

The morning after the debate, the Labor Department announced that the employment situation in the U.S. had deteriorated even more than experts had expected. The nation lost nearly 160,000 jobs in September, more than double the monthly losses in July and August.

Conditions are probably worse than even those numbers indicate because the government’s statistics do not yet reflect the response of employers to the credit crisis that has taken such a hold in the last few weeks.

Where is the evidence that Governor Palin even understands these complex and enormously challenging problems? During the debate she twice referred to General McKiernan as “McClellan.” Neither Ms. Ifill nor Senator Biden corrected her.

But after Senator Biden suggested that John McCain’s answer to the nation’s energy problems was to “drill, drill, drill,” Ms. Palin promptly pointed out, as if scoring a point, that “the chant is ‘Drill, baby, drill!’ ”

How’s that for perspective? The credit markets are frozen. Our top general in Afghanistan is dialing 911. Americans are losing jobs by the scores of thousands. And Sarah Palin is making sure we know that the chant is “drill, baby, drill!” not “drill, drill, drill.”

John McCain has spent most of his adult life speaking of his love for his country. Maybe he sees something in Sarah Palin that most Americans do not. Maybe he is aware of qualities that lead him to believe she’d be as steady as Franklin Roosevelt in guiding the U.S. through a prolonged economic downturn. Maybe she’d be as wise and prudent in a national emergency as John Kennedy was during the Cuban missile crisis.

Maybe Senator McCain has reason to believe that it would not be the most colossal of errors to put Ms. Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency.

He’s got just four weeks to share that insight with the rest of us.

When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest, at first with heavenly shows - Othello
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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This guy is from Harvard, and has an interesting perspective, I disagree on the Nukular stuff, but that's a small point:

Everything You Heard Is Wrong

Published: October 3, 2008

SINCE the vice presidential debate on Thursday night, two opposing myths have quickly taken hold about Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. The first, advanced by her supporters, is that she made it through a gantlet of fire; the second, embraced by her detractors, is that her speaking style betrays her naïveté. Both are wrong.

Let’s take the first myth: Governor Palin subjected herself to the most demanding test possible — a televised debate. By surviving, she won. As the front page of The Daily News of New York screamed this morning, “No Baked Alaska.”

But as a test of clear thinking, the debate format was far less demanding than a face-to-face interview — the kind Ms. Palin had with Katie Couric of CBS.

Why? Because in a one-on-one conversation, you can’t launch into a prepared speech on a topic unrelated to the question. Imagine this exchange — based on the first question that the moderator, Gwen Ifill, gave Ms. Palin and Senator Joe Biden — if it took place in casual conversation over coffee:

LISA How about that bailout? Was this Washington at its best or at its worst?

MICHAEL You know, I think a good barometer here, as we try to figure out has this been a good time or a bad time in America’s economy, is go to a kid’s soccer game on Saturday, and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, “How are you feeling about the economy?”

Lisa would flee. (This was, in fact, Ms. Palin’s response.) In a conversation, you have to build your sentence phrase by phrase, monitoring the reaction of your listener, while aiming for relevance to the question. That’s what led Ms. Palin into word salad with Ms. Couric. But when the questioner is 30 feet away on the floor and you’re on a stage talking to a camera, which can’t interrupt or make faces, you can reel off a script without embarrassment. The concerns raised by the Couric interviews — that Ms. Palin memorizes talking points rather than grasping issues — should not be allayed by her performance in the forgiving format of a debate.

The second myth about Ms. Palin is that her accent is contrived, or that it reveals laziness or ignorance on her part. Certainly, Ms. Palin cranked the folksiness dial to 11 during the debate: she dropped more g’s, reverted to “nucular” after being teleprompted during the Republican National Convention to pronounce it “new-clear,” and salted her speech with cutesy near profanities like “darn,” “heck” and “doggone.”

But it would be unfair to question the authenticity of her accent or to use it as a measure of her intellect or sophistication. The dialect is certainly for real. Listeners who hear the Minnewegian sounds of the characters from “Fargo” when they listen to Ms. Palin are on to something: the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in Alaska, where she grew up, was settled by farmers from Minnesota during the Depression.

And no, “nucular” is not a sign of ignorance. This reversal of vowel-like consonants (nuk-l’-yer —> nuk-y’-ler) is common in the world’s languages, and is no more illiterate than pronouncing “iron” the way most Americans do, as “eye-yern” instead of “eye-ren.”

Nor is Ms. Palin guilty of laziness in “dropping g’s,” because there is no such thing as “dropping g’s.” The sounds at the end of “nothing” and “nothin’” are different consonants (linguists call them “eng” and “en”), one produced with the tongue on the gum ridge, the other with the tongue on the soft palate. We just spell the second one with two letters. We all flip between “eng” and “en” in our speech, though lower-class speakers do it more, and everyone does it more when the conversation is more casual. It’s the output of an informality dial that all of us, regardless of accent, twiddle as we tune our speech to the circumstances.

And twiddle it she did. Ms. Palin, for instance, pronounced her “ens” more conspicuously in the debate than in the Couric interviews, a part to emphasize that she was one with “everyday American people, Joe Six-Pack, hockey moms across the nation.”

The impression fits with the overall theme that Ms. Palin and Senator John McCain have been trying to advance: that expertise is overrated, homespun sincerity is better than sophistication, conviction is more important than analysis.

Being able to see Russia from Alaska, then, means you have an understanding of foreign policy; living in an Arctic state means that you have an understanding of climate change. In Mr. McCain’s case, it means, as he wrote last month, understanding technology policy because he flew airplanes in Vietnam and being concerned about the oceans’ health because he served in the Navy.

Much could also be written about Senator Joe Biden’s gaffes and what they reveal about him. In the meantime, voters judging Ms. Palin’s performance should focus on the facile governing philosophy that is symbolized by her speech style, not the red herrings of accent or dialect.

Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard, is the author of “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature.”

When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest, at first with heavenly shows - Othello
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 07:52 AM
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If I wanted to read editorials from the NY Times, I'd pick them up from the floor of the subway restroom. Thanks, but I'm interested in your ideas on BWOT, not the Times.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest, at first with heavenly shows - Othello
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bottomline1 View Post
If I wanted to read editorials from the NY Times, I'd pick them up from the floor of the subway restroom. Thanks, but I'm interested in your ideas on BWOT, not the Times.
Then what's your's?

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-05-2008, 09:32 PM
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^ pretty much the same as Cheney's. It's called "fascism".

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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