Saturday, September 13, 2008

Working hard has me Sleepless South of Seattle

I can recall my Old Daddy waking up really early as he aged even though he worked hard and was surely tired. I surely hope that's not my lot in life. I'm beat! I've been putting in twelve to fifteen hour days regularly these last few weeks trying to get our "Training Room" squared away. As one of The Chairborne, a Keyboard Commando of sorts, I'm surely stressed and yet I'm also worried about the future. Surely we need changes in the direction of this country and our world.

While I'm rather certain Obama/Biden would govern as a centrist set at best as they face a long hard slog in trying to salvage all the Bu$hCo and the last thirty years of increasingly conservative governing has wrought, I am perfectly terrified of what McCain/Palin might bring us. I'm also concerned that adding Palin to the ticket might help reduce gains in Congress although I'm still confident we'll pick up some seats. Those down ticket races are critical in running up some numbers that would make it easier to govern in the face of oppositional politics that the Republicans are masters of and the fact that Democrats are hardly as disciplined as those from the right.

Yet I'm mostly worried about how the McCain/Plain team might govern. Certainly Huggy Bear has gone right and picked up "talent" from Bu$hCo for some time. Palin's prep team is built on bedrock Bu$hies! St. John's temper, age, capacity, .. have been noted multiple times here. Yet choosing Governor Palin for his running mate says pretty much all that needs to be said. Bob Herbert is right that She's Not Ready. He writes
Ms. Palin’s problem is not that she was mayor of a small town or has only been in the Alaska governor’s office a short while. Her problem (and now ours) is that she is not well versed on the critical matters confronting the country at one of the most crucial turning points in its history.
The NYT's Editorial Pages also share Gov. Palin’s Worldview where I'll share much of what they opined.

It was bad enough that Ms. Palin’s performance in the first televised interviews she has done since she joined the Republican ticket was so visibly scripted and lacking in awareness.

What made it so much worse is the strategy for which the Republicans have made Ms. Palin the frontwoman: win the White House not on ideas, but by denigrating experience, judgment and qualifications. ...

But that is not what troubled us most about her remarks — and, remember, if they were scripted, that just means that they reflect Mr. McCain’s views all the more closely. Rather, it was the sense that thoughtfulness, knowledge and experience are handicaps for a president in a world populated by Al Qaeda terrorists, a rising China, epidemics of AIDS, poverty and fratricidal war in the developing world and deep economic distress at home.

Ms. Palin talked repeatedly about never blinking. When Mr. McCain asked her to run for vice president? “You have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission,” she said, that “you can’t blink.”

Fighting terrorism? “We must do whatever it takes, and we must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.”

Her answers about why she had told her church that President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq was “God’s plan” did nothing to dispel our concerns about her confusion between faith and policy. Her claim that she was quoting a completely unrelated comment by Lincoln was absurd.

This nation has suffered through eight years of an ill-prepared and unblinkingly obstinate president. One who didn’t pause to think before he started a disastrous war of choice in Iraq. One who blithely looked the other way as the Taliban and Al Qaeda regrouped in Afghanistan. One who obstinately cut taxes and undercut all efforts at regulation, unleashing today’s profound economic crisis.

In a dangerous world, Americans need a president who knows that real strength requires serious thought and preparation.

Via FireDogLake, Ian Welsh shares The United States Can’t Afford 4 More Years of Ignorance and here's just a portion:

Now the standard response to this is to scream "elitist". Screw that. When did it become fashionable in the United States to be incompetent, unable to speak in a complete sentences and not just ignorant of how the world works but proud of it? This isn't an "education" issue in the sense of credentials. Heck, I personally don't even have a bachelors degree. I don't hold lack of formal education against anyone.

But I do hold not being willing to learn how to do their damn job against them. This isn't mostly about Bush (he's running out of time to bungle the job further). It isn't mostly about Palin (though she's only a very old heartbeat away from the Presidency). It's about John McCain. This is a man who touts his foreign policy expertise as his strongest point. He says he knows how to win wars. But the number one requirement for winning wars is understanding the enemy and, as noted, John McCain doesn't even understand the difference between a Sunni and Shia. Just doesn't know. Can't learn even after being publicly humiliated by not knowing. The US has been at war in a country where there is a huge amount of violence between religious groups, and he doesn't know anything about it? How can he credibly get up on stage and say he's the better candidate on foreign policy?

Can anyone imagine Barack Obama making this mistake? Not knowing? Of course they can't. Say what you will about Obama, but he's curious, he's knowledgeable and if he needs to learn something so he can do his bloody job, he goes out and learns it.

And that's what it's about, being able to do the job. Being responsible for the economy (which McCain admits he doesn't understand) as well as foreign affairs, in which McCain is also clearly out of his depth.

He's ignorant. And if he wanted to learn, if he was willing to learn, well in the five bloody years the US has been at war in Iraq, he'd have managed to pick up the difference between a Shia and a Sunni.

Bill Clinton was famous for staying up all night reading not just the entire report (ie. not only the "executive summary", which should be labelled "for lazy idiots who don't care enough to do their job right") but also the appendices. Strangely enough, the US economy did well under him, the US was mostly at peace, and the one war he chose to fight he won with zero losses.

Can you imagine McCain or Palin doing all that work to understand exactly what was going on? Not just handing things off to advisers, but actually learning about what is happening? Actually taking the time to understand then making their own decisions? Playing different advisers with different opinions off against each other, then making the final call, not just on their gut, but because they actually understands the situation well enough that they could write the report now if they had to?

What makes this all the worse is that Team McCain/Palin will continue the Bu$hCo tradition of making shit up. Michael Cooper and Jim Rutenberg of the NYTs file McCain Barbs Stirring Outcry as Distortions that sums up the latest coverage of the fact that Huggy's handlers are lying liars.

As Ian hinted above, cries of "elitist" are a standards response from today's Republican Party. Add in "liberal media" allegations pushed back by the message machine of the right, willing to bend, twist, distract even via the pages of the allegedly liberal press such as demonstrated by this morning's WaPo puff piece from Michael Abramowitz titled Many Versions of 'Bush Doctrine': Palin's Confusion in Interview Understandable, Experts Say. Relying on Condi's buddy Philip Zelikow and other conservatives to bolster his claims the closest Abramowitz came to finding a Lefty was Zbigniew Brzezinski and he's hardly a DFH. And what did Big Zig have to say? Here's the exact writing from the WaPo:
... he thought there was no "single piece of paper" that represents the Bush doctrine, but said several ideas collectively make up the doctrine, including the endorsement of preventive war and the idea that there is such a thing as a "war on terror."
It seems rather clear that pre-emptive war is the foundation doesn't it? The right can count on Charles Krauthammer coming to the rescue but it isn't like Michael Abramowitz hasn't "erred" on the side of the neo-conservatives before. Returning to Charlie K, a "psychiatrist-turned-award-winning-pundit" that is himself a neoconservative intellectual, he writes
In doing so, he (Charlie Gibson) captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.
While the right often gets away with having the establishment attack the establishment, I do tire of the claims. I've covered the so called liberal media angle before, for instance how conservative columnists dominate the field, yet I'd missed Guardians of Power: The Myth of the Liberal Media. It's on my wish list now however. "Corporate media" is I'd argue more accurate. Or "lapdogs" perhaps?

I'm still cautiously optimistic for Obama/Biden yet some swing states are tightening and while the GOP can't govern worth a damn they surely can campaign. If in fact Obama/Biden will push back, fight when attacked wrongly, take the initiative rather than play defense, ... but mostly embrace Progressivism/Populism then they can close the deal. Otherwise, I fear I'll have many more sleepness nights. John Gunn

UPDATE ~ Late evening of the 13th - Reading this NYT's piece on Sarah Palin will likely have me sleepless again this evening. I'm almost thinking she's Bu$h 2.0 given the reports of her governing style up in Alaska.

UPDATE ~ Early morning of the 14th - MoDo's fretting too. She closes with, "Like W., Sarah has the power of positive unthinking. But now we may want to think about where ignorance and pride and no self-doubt has gotten us. Being quick on the trigger might be good in moose hunting, but in dealing with Putin, a little knowledge might come in handy."

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