...pants on fire!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


About a week and a half ago I had begun composing a post on Sarah Palin.  I decided to table it.  The issue was putting me in a foul mood, as was politics in general.  For me, this is unusual.  To some degree, I have always been kind of a politics junkie.  Hell, I went door to door for Mondale when I was 13.  I am pretty used to the negative campaigning that has been the norm for the last few elections, so that doesn't really bother me.  

I don't know why this election seems different or why it seems to cheese me off more than usual.  One possibility is that I entered this race being mostly independent and undecided.  I have some major problems with the current manisfestation of the Republican Party and I have never had a problem voting for a Democrat even though I tend to lean to the right on many issues.  I was, and still am, impressed with the way Obama is running his campaign.  The same can't be said for the rest of the left.  

To many, Palin is a relative unknown, and for some reason this has fueled a ton of speculation.  This has ranged from outright lies (her daughter is really the mother of her baby) to leaving out important facts (troopergate).  I was working on a list when I found two others that were far more extensive.  One is from Chris of Rights, the other is from Explorations.  Some interesting points:

-Palin didn't cut money for unwed mothers.  She increased funding by 354%, as opposed to the 454% that was asked for.

-Palin doesn't support abstinence only sex-ed.

-Palin didn't say that the war in Iraq is a "task from God."

There are plnety of others.  More than usual, I have taken a wait and see approach when dealing with critiques of Palin.  Most seem to be seriously lacking in the credibility department.  I don't want to speculate as to why.  In the case of blogs like HuffPo and Daily Kos, they aren't trying to be unbiased.  The MSM is supposed to at least try.  The Volokh Conspiracy has a good entry on a biased story on ridiculously overblown "troopergate".  The 'gate' suffix has been so casually used that it has almost lost it's meaning.  Even if all the worst speculation was true, this doesn't even come close to Watergate.

In some cases, the media is just lazy or stupid.  Many of the debinked stories are ones where the reporters never even tried to contact all of the parties involved or even checked with reporters in Alaska.  In the stupid column, I will throw in co-host of the View, Whoopi Goldberg, with her suggestion that Sarah Palin was "very dangerous" because she wanted to "succeed from America."  Did you mean secede?  Anyway, that story has been debunked a while ago.  She also threw in a Nazi reference for good measure.

I will admit that I have some measure of respect for Sarah Palin.  I am not totally convinced that she is the best person for the job, but I also think that most of the critiques lack substance and take the focus away from the real issues.  It also makes me hard to takes these critics seriously if they aren't interested in debating the issues with facts and logic.  I know that the Right does it too, but that doesn't make it any more palatable.  That being said, it mostly seems to be coming from the left right now and that is too bad.  

29 comments:

Mr Furious 10:25 PM  

My first impression of Palin was that she was a force. I think she has created one, and energized the base, but she is not the player I thought she was.

She failed her interview with Charlie Gibson miserably, even after what amounted to 10 days of cramming.

She is NOT up to the job, but I am trying to keep my critiques
substantive. There are legitimate reasons to oppose her. I try to stick with those...

Smitty 10:37 PM  

I read the Chris of Rights stuff...and he has just as many holes in his broad claims of FALSE! Or PROJECTION! He found a couple of supportive blogs and quoted them. Because, you know, everything on the internets must be true.

Even reading the LA Times piece about hr stance on abstinence shows that she is at least an opportunist flip-flopper.

The same goes for his so-called debunking of the Bridge to Nowhere "scandal (term used loosely)." He says The worst you can say is that she was for it before she was against it. Well, bullshit. The Right nails Obama for less aggregious flip-flops every day. BUt this one? She campaigned for Governor on supporting the bridge (sure there were other parts of the platform, but for God's sake, she wore a fucking t-shirt supporting the damn bridge) and then backed-down after COngress pulled it.

I started to think Chris is a shill for the Right.

Smitty 11:11 PM  

More lies. The bridge, the police chief, the librarian, endangered species...did Chris of Rights fully vet his vettin gpiece? Or is he too a shill? Chris says she didn't lie, Andrew Sullivan says she did.

I'm sticking with the They-Picked-Her-For-Political-Reasons-And-Didn't-Check-Her-Out story.

Mrs. Smitty observed, however, and somewhat correctly, that Palin is not green. She is conniving.

And don't get me started on Chris's assesment of her time as CIC of the National Fucking Girls. Christian and I could be CIC of the Guard*** for all the "experience" it gave her. Granholm does not, in any way, get daily security briefings by the National Girls commander here in Michigan like Bush does in the White House. The Rs need to stop trotting that bullshit line out there, because it's a dead end. Nobody buys it except the true Kool-Aid drinkers who get the talking points.

***don't trust us with that responsibility. We'd either paint all their rifles pink, or go to war with Ohio just for old times' sake.

Mike 5:47 AM  

Steves, even if you're correct here (and Smitty seems to be making the case that you're not), aren't you somewhat "cheesed off" that Palin, too, keeps lying about her record?

Seems to me that your trying, trying real hard to find a reason you can pull that GOP lever in November.

If you wanna vote Republican, juts do it. But don't contort yourself into a pretzel.

B Mac 9:03 AM  

Here's my only problem with Sarah Palin:

She. Isn't. Good. Enough.

In the last 72 hours, what has she shown us?

a) She doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is.
This is easy stuff. The Bush administration has only taken a firm stance on one thing; we reserve the right to blow your ass up if you look at us funny.

b) She thinks that the solution to an economic crisis brought in by lack of regulation and oversight is to "get the government off the backs of private enterprise and let the market forces prevail".
Uh, Governor? Yeah, we tried that, remember? The invisible hand of the market punched us in the junk and took our lunch money.

c)The economy apparently needs "some shakin' up and some fixin'..."
Wow, if only Ben Bernanke had thought of that.

Bob 9:03 AM  

I wouldn't quote anyone from liberal blogs, Whoopi Goldberg or anyone else in or out of the MSM as a source of liberal opinion or as speaking for Democrats or Obama. The same should be said of conservative blogs seemingly speaking for McCain.

Did the coverage of Palin's personal stuff go over the top? Probably, but that is our pathetic media's fault, not a liberal conspiracy. The thing that the media really pounced on is not Palin’s problems, but Republican hypocrisy. The R’s have been telling everyone for years how to live their lives and raise their kids, so along comes Palin, whose family demonstrates that a lot of conservatives are pretty crappy parents too.

There is also plenty about Palin to report about - that doesn't include Kos's or the RNC's talking points - that disqualify her for the job.

We also shouldn't use obvious Palin-lovers like "Chris of Rights" for the sources either. I haven't even heard most of the rumors he is attempting to dispel on his site. He also shouldn’t be making all the items out as if they are an Obama attack. I did not look over all his sources, but I see one source, that he attributed to Obama, is actually an independent site about Obama – perhaps made by opponents that aren’t related to the campaign.

The thing about Palin is that all of the reasons that the McCain campaign is using as her qualifications, seem to be false. She “killed” the bridge to nowhere, after Congress did and then kept the money. Alaska doesn’t turndown anything, in fact on a per capita basis, they are the largest receiver of federal assistance in the nation. It’s not hard to be against the Republican’s in Alaska, when all of them seem to be a bunch of corrupt, pork barrel spenders. I think we will find she is cut from the same cloth as the rest of them.

Pete 9:16 AM  

G'morning all, occasional lurker here, just wanted to post some thoughts.

This all makes me think - why isn't there a reasonably *unbiased* source of information out there, especially on the Internet? As you noted, there are a whole lot of biased pundit sites out there. Heck, I'll even usually disregard completely any site that comes off as a personal blog hosted at a place like blogspot and such ("Chris of *Rights*", anyone?).

This doesn't just go for presidential politics, either. Even for things like the current Michigan bill involving stem-cell research, there seems to be little to no information that isn't presented by one side or the other. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough, but where can I find just the raw bill text and links to more information if I want to learn about the whole issue?

I guess my point is in this day of mass intercommunication, why is it so hard to find the truth? You can have opinions on facts and interpretations of actions, but at some point something or some even either is or isn't, or happened or did not happen. For any statement, rumor, etc., you should be able to link back to a *real* news article (none of this blog posting BS parroting a claim from another blog without references), or a video, or a transcript that proves one way or another.

It seems like a place like wikipedia would be the perfect solution. Compile a list of truths, and cite references for each. Peer review it. Peer review the sources. Pledge to be unbiased, or at the very least present your bias open and up front.

Maybe there's something like this already out there? Or maybe here's my new website idea!

Smitty 9:22 AM  

It seems like a place like wikipedia would be the perfect solution

Sorry, Pete, but wiki has already been nailed as biased and full of innaccuracies. Peer review can only go so far, if the peers you are talking about are not subject-matter experts.

I guess the best thing to do for now is duke this stuff out on blogs...

Pete 9:36 AM  

Right, but my point is that the bias should be able to be limited if everything being contested can be cited back to legitimate references. Display both sides of the story, with references to back them up, with commentary of those references' bias if needed. Then let the reader decide.

I'd still rather have the multiple-peers of wikipedia and it's ilk (bias or no) than the single-user bias of political blogs.

B Mac 9:52 AM  

Bias is all relative. I know people who think that Fox News is actually fair and balanced. And I have friends who swear by the Huffington Post.

Bob 10:29 AM  

Pete-

Here is a link to the bills which would allow stem cell research in the state:

http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2007-HB-4616

The link will provide links to the bill texts themselves as well as a nonpartisan analysis.

Keep in mind, the package at the link above has substantial differences from what you will see on the ballot in November. The ballot doesn't remove the prohibition on therapeutic cloning. I will have to find a link to that language.

As far as finding a source that shows "both sides". I don't think that exists, but if it did, it would still have flaws. Listing the positions of both sides doesn't necessarily find the truth.

Sopor 1:19 PM  

Hehe... Pete, you're so idealistic! An unbiased source of information? HAH!

But to the point of Palin... I, for one, couldn't give a rat's ass less about her. She's the VP candidate of an evil bastard whom I would rather see rot in hell than run this country. I can't imagine that she could be WORSE than McCain, so I'm willing to ignore her for the time being.

steves 7:20 PM  

I certainly wouldn't consider Chris or that other site to be the absolute truth, but they offer a counterpoint to the lefty blogs that have been attacking her. The Volokh Conspiracy is certainly a credible source, IMO, and the authors there do a good job of checking their facts.

Palin supported the Bridge and they didn't. So what? You certainly can't say that she hasn't pissed off some of the party elite in her state, which is the picture I get from firends from Alaska.

Even reading the LA Times piece about hr stance on abstinence shows that she is at least an opportunist flip-flopper.

Fine, then say that. There are hundreds of bloggers and reporters that have been saying she supports abstinence only and suggesting that she will somehow make this natiopnal policy of she is the VP (I have no idea how).

Steves, even if you're correct here (and Smitty seems to be making the case that you're not), aren't you somewhat "cheesed off" that Palin, too, keeps lying about her record?

1. Sullivan is not the end all source of truth. He makes some good points, but I hardly call his claims conclusive. I certainly never made the claim that everything against her is a lie, only that a substantial amount is less than truthful.

2. I am not looking for an excuse. I still don't like McCain and even if I were 100% behind Palin, it wouldn't make him palatable.

3. I am an independent, for the most part. I would like useful information for making decisions and most of what I am getting is not helpful.

4. Most here are die hard Democrats and aren't going to vote Reoublican no matter who is picked as a VP. A round of Kool aid on the house.

The R’s have been telling everyone for years how to live their lives and raise their kids

I would hardly say that they have a monopoly on telling people how they should be and how money should be spent. Oh please.

steves 8:01 PM  

I should also note that I do not believe anyone here has engaged in baseless reports on Palin. The arguments here have been substantive. Mr. F., this also applies to you. I haven't read anything on your site that I didn't find credible.

steves 8:18 PM  

This all makes me think - why isn't there a reasonably *unbiased* source of information out there, especially on the Internet?

There are some decent sources of relatively unbiased information. FactCheck.org does a pretty good job and seems to go after both parties consistently. Here is their take on some Palin rumors.

I don't think there are any ubiased sources of information. Some are worse than others. I have more to say on this, but I think it will try and expand it into it's own blog topic.

steves 5:33 AM  

More lies. The bridge, the police chief, the librarian, endangered species...did Chris of Rights fully vet his vettin gpiece? Or is he too a shill? Chris says she didn't lie, Andrew Sullivan says she did.

Balloon Juice quotes Sullivan, who quotes an Alaskan newspaper. Even a cursory search shows other articles by Alaskan papers that back up Chris and show that many of these issues are still being hashed out.

We also shouldn't use obvious Palin-lovers like "Chris of Rights" for the sources either.

Why not? People on this blog have quoted from left wing "shills". I wouldn't use one as a primary source, but if they link to other credible articles, I see no problem. I wouldn't contend they were the absolute truth, but they at least can be the basis for a discussion.

He also shouldn’t be making all the items out as if they are an Obama attack.

He didn't. If anything, he seems to be attacking the press.

She “killed” the bridge to nowhere, after Congress did and then kept the money.

Like Palin's comments on the Bridge, this is not entirely true. The specific earmark for the Bridge was killed, but Congress was going to give them the money to use however they wanted. She decided that spending on the Bridge was not a good use of the money.

Mike 6:53 AM  

I am an independent, for the most part.

Me too

I would like useful information for making decisions

Me too.

most of what I am getting is not helpful.

This is where I think you're hiding the ball somewhat (maybe from yourself). I'm getting the same coverage as you (from biased sources on left and right, with drips and drabs from the supposedly neutral middle) and I have no doubt whatsoever that she's singularly unqualified, dishonest, and horrendous on her policy decisions and philosophies.

I don't need Kos or Olbermann to tell me that. I can form that opinion (and have) by watching the facts that Fox News chooses to slobber over, as well as her own words in interviews and on the stump.

steves 7:32 AM  

This is where I think you're hiding the ball somewhat (maybe from yourself).

I doubt it. I have seen plenty of spin from her and the Republicans, but no more so than what is coming from the Democrats. I try and filter some of it through FactCheck and both sides have misrepresented the other.

As for her policies, I have read them. Some are good and some are bad, as are some of her positions. There are some that I agree 100% and some that I am the opposite. That being said, I still seem to hear more on tanning beds, DUI's, her appearance, etc.

Chris Of Rights 7:40 AM  

Actually, quite a few of my links are to news stories themselves (not op-eds, but news stories). And most of the ones that aren't are to blogs that are summarizing a news story. I figured my readers would prefer that in those cases to trolling through the entire article themselves. However, the links are all there.

As for the Bridge to Nowwhere...no one...not a single person, not even the AK Democratic party disagreed with the idea that she killed it until it became a campaign issue for Obama.

And it's completely true. There's no possible way to spin it otherwise. Saying that Congress killed it (as Gibson did) is flat out wrong. Congress still sent the money to AK, but Palin elected not to use the money for the bridge but for other infrastructure items.

There's no possible way to spin that other than she killed it.

B Mac 9:23 AM  

I think the general point is that people get a little tired of candidates being "before it before I was against it".

She fought for the earmark. She campaigned on the earmark and the accompanying project. She bemoaned the furor over the project as irrelevant and inappropriate. And then she kept the money.

With this story, she's trying to sell the idea that she supports a government that only spends what it needs, not what it has. But when they said, "here's an extra $233 million, Gov", she spent it. Once the bridge became politically unrealistic, she found other projects.

THAT'S why people are a little teed off. If she'd picked a side (EITHER side), life would be good. But like my father used to say, "Once you tell your story, stick to it. Because no matter how unrealistic the original may sound, once you change your story, the wife will know you're lying"

Chris Of Rights 10:58 AM  

Oh, that's ridiculous. Politicians aren't ever allowed to change their minds?

Note that I have not criticized Obama on any of his "flip-flops", nor did I really criticize Kerry very much on that. Personally, I think as a legislator "flip-flops" are unavoidable, due to all the different riders/amendments that get attached to various bills. You may support everything on a bill except for some totally unrelated amendment and then feel forced to vote against it.

Also, there's always political gamesmanship done to prevent "vulnerable" candidates from having to take a controversial position on a bill, and that also sometime results in "flip-flops".

And, sometimes, people do honestly change their minds for various reasons that aren't political at all. (ok, that's rare, but it happens)

The question in my mind is, did she kill the bridge? And there's no possible answer to that question other than "yes".

Now, you may feel a different question is more important. That's your right.

However, if you're going to criticize her for being for it, then that same criticism must be leveled at Obama and Biden who voted for it every time, even when Coburn offered an amendment to instead send the money to Katrina relief.

steves 11:20 AM  

Thanks for your comments Chris. I agree that the flip flopping isn't that big of a deal in most cases. I thought the Kerry flip flopper comments were petty at the time. I do think she needs to discuss gov't spending in reagrds to Alaska, as they tend to love getting federal funds.

B Mac 11:39 AM  

The bridge is only peripherally related to my point.

I don't care if people change their minds. In fact, I think it's healthy when someone re-evaluates their position on important issues. My two points are as follows;

1) If you change your mind, you can't try to convince me that "this was your position all along". If John McCain were to say, "yeah, I thought about it, and though I voted against the tax cuts in '01, I think they are vital to our economic security in '08", that'd be fine. Even admirable. But don't try to convince me that "I've always been for the tax cuts".

2) There's a difference between changing one's mind on issues and changing one's mind on principles. If you're running on a platform of being someone philosophically opposed to earmarks and pork spending, it is VERY relevant to discuss the candidate's view on earmarks and pork spending. In other words, is this a hard-and-fast moral absolute, or something you're come to 'believe' more recently (like, in the last month).

Bob 1:14 PM  

"4. Most here are die hard Democrats and aren't going to vote Reoublican no matter who is picked as a VP. A round of Kool aid on the house."

Actually I was considering voting for McCain had Clinton won/stole the primary. I was considering a blog post on this at one time.

I wasn't considerign McCain because I would have been a disgruntled Obama guy, (like the PUMAs) in fact, I began this year as an Edwards supporter.

The thing was, as soon as Clinton started running as the white people's candiate, she lost all respect from me. The one thing worse than a Republican is a racist, so I would have looked strongly at McCain over her.

Thankfully, I didn't have to cross that bridge. At the time, I was considering the old McCain, not this new whacky, crazy version of McCain. Dodged that bullet.

steves 7:45 PM  

Fair enough, Bob. I shouldn't make assumptions. I also didn't mean the die-hard Democrats as an insult. I have nothing but respect for most Democrats.

Mr Furious 11:22 PM  

Chris is right that while Congress removed the earmark that required the money go to the bridge, Palin then could theoretically have chosen to use those funds to build the bridge anyway and didn't.

But that project was dead and buried politically and a national embarrassment before she faced that "decision."

Palin and McCain are now running around that she she shot that bridge dead in the face of incredible opposition—when what she really did was akin to closing the lid on the coffin after the funeral.

Chris Of Rights 7:36 AM  

I disagree. I think most Governors would still have used the money for the bridge. Her two Senators clearly desired that.

But, that's completely my opinion, and I don't have any clear-cut evidence to support it.

However, if the issue was "dead and buried politically" why was the money still sent to AK? Sounds more like "duck and cover" to me. Congress wanted to get Stevens his earmark, but wanted to avoid the political fallout. If anyone, I'd say that the real deceivers here are Congress, which is no surprise. When it comes to pork, no one can deceive like our politicians on Capitol Hill (and I direct that criticism at BOTH parties).

And I don't believe that Palin has ever claimed to have always been against it. In fact, in today's 24 hr news world, it would be ridiculous for her to attempt to claim that.

Am I a Palin shill? I don't think so. She was who I was hoping McCain would pick as his running mate, but I admit that she's not without her downsides. I just personally believe that her upsides outweigh the down. Time will prove me right or wrong.

Of course, you can say that about all the potential VP candidates on both sides. If there was one who had no downsides, then the VP selection process would be pretty short.

Chris Of Rights 7:41 AM  

And I've never claimed that they were Obama attacks. I've made it very clear that almost all of the attacks come from old media and places like DailyKos. I believe there's only one Obama quote on the entire post, and that's his dig at her for being a small town mayor.

If you haven't heard of all of the attacks, that's good. Most of them didn't go anywhere. But when I heard of one, I investigated it and put up what I found. I tried to stay ahead of the curve when possible, which means that I responded to attacks that went nowhere. I don't consider that a failing.

Besides that, the post has now established itself as having a reputation for dealing with every thing that comes up. If you hear something and want the details on it, you come to my site, because you know, no matter how big or small, that I will probably have covered it.

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