Sunday, August 31, 2008

Politicians Hunting continued

Two pics, one of Sarah Palin and daughter inspecting their massive tauntaun caribou kill, and John Kerry with some game bird he may or may not have shot himself.

Bolstering Palin's Cred

I agreed with Jonah Goldberg when he said Palin and McCain should lay off the whole "Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard". It sounds lame, and hearkens back to when Bill Clinton tried to pull the whole Commander of the Arkansas National Guard bit.

But "Tom W." wrote this to Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive (h/t J. Goldberg):
Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. It’s on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden's.


Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country's defense. Given Alaska's proximity to Russia, she may have security clearances we don't even know about.

Given Biden's position on the Foreign Relations Committee, Jimbo is rightly skeptical that Palin's knowledge rivals Bidens. But it probably does beat Obama's.

Oh, and then there's that whole $26 billion natural gas pipeline negotation with Canada too. Again, it's not setting the world on fire to negotiate with a friendly nation over a simple economic matter, but it's more than Obama has done.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Dems' Upside-Down ticket

There's a lot of fake hand-wringing over whether Palin has enough experience to take over if something happens to McCain. Yes, I think it is legitimate to ask the question, but it is absurd coming from the Obama camp, particularly when Palin's experience is comparable (or in some instances superior) to Obama's.

The real question: "Does Barack Obama have the experience to take over, if – God forbid – something happens to Joe Biden?"

As I mentioned before, it is not enough for a leader to have good advisors (assuming you want to call Joe Biden a good advisor).

The Democratic ticket is upside-down on experience. Question Palin's experience all you want, but our ticket is aligned correctly on that dimension. Our fall-back pick is as good as their number one. And your number two ain't so hot in my book either.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin - Authentic

Perhaps Sarah Palin's greatest asset - her authenticity...




Say "hello" to a good chunk of the blue-collar Hillary women.

Contrast that with...

About the Palin rumors

If the Veep pick ISN'T Sarah Palin then the McCain camp needs to shoot this down now. Over two hours of unrewarded speculation will be a terrible let-down.

If it is Palin, then this leak is awesome. To borrow a phrase - McCain, you magnficent bastard!

EDIT: I think I found the perfect theme track for Palin: "Barracuda" by Heart.

EDIT 2: Fox is confirming Palin as of about 10:30 Eastern. This had darn well better be true. A head-fake of this magnitude would be political malpractice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Be the first (only) one on your block!

The Alabama-in-between CafePress shop is up.

Cafe Press link

More designs to follow...

Ethanol Resistance in GOP platform

Stephen Spruiell reports at NRO's Corner blog that there is strong, new opposition to ethanol fuel mandates coming from the Platform committee. Food up, mileage down = bad.

I think this will resonate with the majority of voters who are paying attention, but we may suffer in marginal farm states. This is a politically risky thing to do, but it is also the right thing to do.

As a policy matter, I think we may end up merely freezing the mandates or cutting them back slightly . Removing them entirely will send a shock to the farm economy, but allowing them to grow as planned is unsustainable. As much as I'm a free-marketer, another part of being conservative is not making sudden swings in policy and to avoid introducing exogenous shocks to the economy. To suddenly kill the ethanol mandate will have unplanned repercussions. Some combination of freeze, reduction, or phasing-out would be preferable. A compromise might also include a mandate for flex-fuel capable vehicles, which would create a potential market for biofuels if/when they become economical, and therefore an incentive to develop the technologies that might allow biofuels to become viable.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is Biden the new Cheney?

Several others have already drawn the analogy that Biden is Obama's Cheney - the old guy with experience who is supposed to be the steady hand in times of crisis. Ultimately though, Obama is at the top of the ticket, and it is Obama whom we must assess.

Machiavelli - The Prince, XXII
The chosing of ministers is a matter of no little importance for a prince; and their worth depends on the sagacity of the prince himself. The first opinion that is formed of a ruler's intelligence is based on the quality of the men he has around him. When they are competent and loyal he can always be considered wise, because he has been able to recognize their competence and to keep them loyal. But when they are otherwise, the prince is always open to adverse criticism; because his first mistake has been in the choice of his ministers.

The Prince, XXIII
For this is an infallible rule: a prince who is not himself wise cannot be well advised...

...[G]ood advice, whomever it comes from, depends on the shrewdness of the prince who seeks it, and not the shrewdness of the prince on good advice.

It's an open question whether Biden will be good council to Obama. But ultimately it is Obama's wisdom that really counts.

It's probably a bad sign that I'm sick of Biden already. Is it November yet?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Romney Edging Palin at NRO poll

Romney is currently leading over Palin in the NRO poll 971 to 906. Nobody else is even close. I know Palin has sort of a cult following (myself included), but I'm surprised that Romney is so strong. It's almost like K-Lo is sitting at her desk pounding the Romney button between sips of coffee. (I kid. Sort of.)

NRO Poll

This isn't your average online poll - you need to go to the trouble of giving them a valid email address in order to minimize tampering. This will also have the effect of magnifying intensity since ya don't just go giving out your email address to every little web-app in the world.

"Past Due" my arse!

Look, I understand that I'm on every Republican direct mail list known to man. I subscribe (or previously subscribed) to conservative periodicals. I'm involved in my local party. I even donated a very small amount to an ultimately disappointing Presidential candidate. So I understand that I'm going to be swamped with direct mail.

But the RNC takes the cake on this one...

Today I got a piece of mail that blew my mind. A bright yellow envelope with the words "PAST DUE" printed in stark red from the RNC.

Chairman Duncan, you are not "DUE" anything. Your partisans are DUE some actual conservative governance.

This presumptuousness is a very poor communication strategy.

EDIT: Photo added (Welcome Grapevine readers!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Palin ahead at NRO poll

EDIT: 676 782 National Review Online readers can't be wrong! (Updated Weds afternoon. Romney creeping closer.)

NRO Veep Poll

Go Palin!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saddleback Roundup

First, I think Rick Warren deserves some credit for having a more informative and well-planned forum than the vast majority of major media organizations are capable of putting on. That's not to say it was perfect - Warren refrained from aggressive follow-up questions and it was clear that Warren was handicapped by having to ask identical questions of both candidates, but it was pretty good.

McCain did very well, and if he performs at this level of competence until November he has an excellent shot at winning.

Some criticisms of Obama's answers:
  • Haven't we been hearing about how the Democrats are committed to reducing the number of abortions for some time now? "Safe, Legal and Rare" goes back at least as far as Bill Clinton. And if there's an undeniable moral and ethical gravity to the abortion question, then what exactly is that moral element? What does it mean, to borrow Teresa Heinz-Kerry's formulation, that abortion is a "something" rather than a "nothing"?
  • How many women with unplanned pregnancies discuss abortion with pastors or spouses? Come on now.
  • If gay marriage is to be a state issue, then why shouldn't opponents be concerned about the full-faith-and-credit clause?
  • Should Catholic charities be able to perform the public function of placing adoptions if they discriminate against gay couples?
  • Elaborate on "sacrifices".

As I alluded to earlier, Obama skated by on these issues because Warren was not interested in following up. In my estimation that was the greatest flaw of the Saddleback civic forum.

Edit 08/18/08 - I don't want to hear anything more about how the "cross in the dirt" story is fabricated. There is at least one first hand witness that McCain has told the story in the 70's.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Preying on Republicans' wishes

At the risk of echoing a potentially misguided TPM report,..

I get all sorts of junk political mail asking for donations despite the fact that I've donated less than $100 in my entire life to political candidates (other than rubber chicken dinners for my county Republican committee). Recently I got one for Deborah Honeycutt, an African-American physician running as a Republican against an incumbent Af-Am Democrat in Georgia's 13th district.

Not that I was going to donate, but my curiosity was piqued. I went to the FEC website to see how the fundraising was going. Much to my surprise, very well! $2.8 million (almost all of it from individuals) versus $690,000 (the vast majority of it PAC money) for the incumbent Congressman David Scott. An odd discrepancy for a "majority minority" Cook "D+10" district.

Wouldn't that be great?! A black, professional, female Republican Congresscritter!

What does she have to show for it? Just under a quarter million in "cash on hand" with $131k in debt to boot. Turns out that most of those donations are plowed back in to direct mail fundraising.

The direct mail firm is preying on the hopes and wishes of Republicans across the nation who want so desperately to be more inclusive and long for the chance to show African-Americans that we want to embrace them. Nearly three million dollars from the pockets of Republicans who believe in the promise of "the Democratic party's worst nightmare".

But unfortunately this looks like money down the rabbit hole. All the more sad when one considers that the money could have been used on a viable race.

Erick at Peach Pundit has differing thoughts, saying that the TPM report was just trying to marginalize the direct mail fundraising mechanism that has worked so well for Republicans. He may have a point about the margins involved in direct mail and the new campaign finance reporting regime, but I still think this stinks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Take My Back Yard, Please!

"That Pelosi woman is nuts. We want her to allow drilling. They can drill in my back yard if they want to. I want plain coal, I want gas and oil everywhere we can find it."

Those are the words of an average citizen in Texas. Heck yeah. From your mouth to God's ear.

Rep. Hensarling gets a gold star this week for extra effort.

H/T - The Corner

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why Big Oil loves Obama

Anybody who is unfortunate enough to be on an RNC email list knows that employees of the Biggest of the Big Oil Companies have given more money to Obama than to McCain. (Never mind that the companies themselves cannot give money to any candidate, contra Obama's tv ad.) Indeed, the oil industry as a whole is notably more supportive of McCain, but those connected to Exxon, Chevron, and BP gave more to Obama.

But people who care to know this sort of thing already know it, so I'm not breaking any news here. The important question is "why?"

Why in the name of all that is holy would Big Oil donate to Obama?

My theory is that the very biggest of the big oil companies want higher-priced oil and they know Obama's policies will bring it. They have massive reserves, but Exxon in particular has been reluctant to do more exploration. The easiest way for such a company to make more money is for the price of oil to magically levitate.

Who is donating to McCain? Among them, those connected to Koch Industries, Valero, Marathon, Hess, ConocoPhillips, and Occidental. What's different about this grouping? Valero, Marathon, and Hess in particular have significant refining businesses that use oil as an input. Koch too is involved in several industries that use oil as an input. These companies suffer if oil is extremely expensive.

Those who benefit from expensive oil and restricted exploration donate to Obama. Those who benefit from less-than-stratospheric oil and those who want to do more exploration donate to McCain.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dude, where's my irony?

Anybody else see the irony of this recent cover of USA Weekend Magazine?

Miley Cyrus on USA Weekend

It's hard to ignore people who... oh, say... get their pictures plastered on the cover of the thingie in my Saturday newspaper.

Also, Blogger ate one of my previous posts on Obama... not sure if I'll try to reconstruct it or not.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

PA Congressional Fundraising of the end of June. Minus a few real sleepers. Incumbents labeled with an asterisk.

I'll cut to the chase, the moral of the story is give money to Lou Barletta, and Hackett if you have some extra jingle.


Melissa Hart has over $600k in the bank but Altimre has two and a half times as much. I don't think she'll pull this one out, but it's not impossible.


Patrick Murphy has a lot of ammo to try to keep the seat Democrat. Gerlach should be able to bring this one home for us again.


Hackett is burning through his ample cash to knock off Carney and take this seat back for the Republicans and he may pull it off. Lou Barletta needs money in order to keep up his poll numbers. This is one we can pick up!

The Murtha-Russell race is much closer than one would imagine, particularly given all the problems that have plagued the Russell campaign from the very beginning. That race could be a sleeper-surprise, and I'd love to see some real polling there.


It's a shame Gilhooley has so little money. We've neglected that district way too long.