Friday, October 31, 2008

Countdown to Election Day: Six Reasons Why Sarah Palin is Not Qualified to be VP (part 4)

Reason Number Three: She Speaks without Understanding 

Conservative Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan, wanted Palin to succeed.  She had hoped that she would be a woman of substance, someone who could be an asset to the McCain ticket.  What she discovered after seeing her on a national stage was less substance than symbol, a person who "just says things" without the kind of understanding you would hope for in a candidate for high office. 

Noonan represents an interesting phenomenon: conservative columnists, often women, who have become Palin's harshest critics.  It's a phenomenon driven by a deep sense of disappointment that of all the highly qualified female candidates McCain could have chosen, he chose a woman of such little substance. 

Here's Noonan's devastating critique:


From the Wall Street Journal:

We have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite—a spender, to speak briefly, whose political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy, and whose foreign policy is shaped by a certain emotionalism, or a conservative whose principles are rooted in philosophy, and whose foreign policy leans more toward what might be called romantic realism, and that is speak truth, know America, be America, move diplomatically, respect public opinion, and move within an awareness and appreciation of reality.

But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things.

Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she's not a big "egghead" but she has brilliant instincts and inner toughness. But what instincts? "I'm Joe Six-Pack"? She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation—"palling around with terrorists." If the Ayers case is a serious issue, treat it seriously. She is not as thoughtful or persuasive as Joe the Plumber, who in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made. In the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn't, really, understand. This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn't seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts. . . . 

In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It's no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism.


A Halloween Horror Story

Here's a horror story to scare the little trick or treaters tonight.

Sarah Palin, a heart beat from the presidency

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dress Like Sarah Palin: What Could You Buy with Sarah's Clothing Budget?

This one is just for fun, but thoughtful at the same time.

Let's start with the facts. Verifiable, undeniable facts. Sarah Palin spent $150,000 on clothing and accessories for herself and her family. No one forced her to do this. She did it because she could.

The question is, what could you do with that money, money that represents more than an average American family would spend on clothes IN 80 YEARS!

To play the game - click on the picture:

Countdown to Election Day: What We Have Learned About Sarah Palin (part 3)

Top Six Reasons Why Sarah Palin is Not Qualified to be Vice President (much less president!)
Reason Number Four: She is a serial hypocrite. She can't be trusted.

The word "hypocrisy" comes easily to mind in reviewing what we've learned about Sarah Palin so far. It may be what is most definitive about her.

Here are a few examples:
  • Yesterday she launched into a tirade against Obama's supposed inability to meet a security threat, this, the most calming, thoughtful, steady-in-a-storm presidential candidate we've had for a long time.

And who is she? She is a person who touted her national security credentials on the basis of being governor of a state that borders Russia. Never actually met anyone from Russia. But there they are, right next door! She also went to the airport to send off a national guard contingent heading for Iraq. That qualifies her for "commander in chief."

America at crisis with Sarah Palin in the White House (horrors!) may signal the end of the free world. But we can't trust Obama . . .

  • She derides Obama (wrongly - as is true with most all of her accusations) of being a "socialist," when, in fact, she presides over the most socialist state economy in our country. But don't take my word for it. You can read it on Fox News: LINK.

The only truly socialist governor in our country attacks Obama for a socialism he has never espoused.

  • She touts her qualifications as a crusader against pork. But those who have watched her astonishing rise from small town mayor to governor of a small state, note that she has had her hand out for pork from the beginning. It's one reason she's been so popular. And then there's that bridge she was for before she was against.
She is against ear-marks except when she is for them.

Sarah Palin is a hypocrite. She cannot be trusted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Countdown to Election Day: What We Have Learned About Sarah Palin

Top Six Reasons Why Sarah Palin is Not Qualified for VP

Reason Number 5:  She doesn't Know Squat About the Things a VP is Supposed to Know

All we need here is a replay of the Katie Couric interview.  

If you didn't see it the first time around, here it is.  I warn you, it's painful to watch.  I dare bet, in fact, that you can't watch it all  the way through without putting your hands on your head or groaning out loud.  Can't be done. 

See What Sarah Hath Wrought

This may be the most disturbing video to come out of this election campaign - McCain supporters whipped into a frenzy of hatred. One can only wonder if we would be seeing anything like this if McCain had made a different choice for VP candidate. I don't think so. Sarah Palin has been McCain's attack dog. She has helped the dark side of the American psyche to rise to the top of a bubbling stew of now overt racism. And she's done nothing to tamp it down. McCain hasn't done much about it either as he is now so desperate to get elected that anything goes.

Countdown to Election Day: What We Have Learned about Sarah Palin

Call this the highlight reel, a chance to go over what we have learned since Sarah Palin made her astonishing appearance on the public stage as John McCain's running mate. We've got six days. Each day I'll put up something we've learned that underscores what was apparent from day one: this woman is not qualified to be vice president much less (God forbid!) president.


Reason Number Six: She abuses power for her own gain

Evidence: Highlights from a letter from woman who has known her since high school.

From Alaska:  The Palin Letter

A note to all by Anne Kilkenny
Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the
last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in
common: their gender and their good looks. :)



I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian
because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally

grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power
further her personal agenda,
as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her,
she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top
cop has the ring
of familiarity about it.
He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him,
but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he
wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help.
The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor.
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens.
Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the
“bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.


Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness.
Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected
member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.

Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Do You Know When Sarah Palin is Lying?

Of the many endearing traits of Sarah Palin that have been revealed to us in the two months she's been in the public eye, none is less attractive than her penchant for lying. And I'm not just talking about little white lies. I'm talking about the kind of whoppers that deserve a whole bar of soap.

What's most unnerving is how good she is at it; the kind of good that says "red" is "yellow"so convincingly that people actually believe it. She's sure got a lot of Republicans fooled. They not only listen to her lies. They repeat them as though they came straight from the mouth of God.

Her biggest whopper was when she was confronted with this:

For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 2952.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 2952.110(a) provides

“The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust.”

to which she responded with this:

"Well, I'm very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that."

Then, confronted with the evidence of her excessive expenditures on clothing and accessories to the tune of 150,000 which broke down like this:

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August."

she responds with this:

"It's kind of painful to be criticized for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported," said Palin, saying the clothes are not worth $150,000 and were bought for the Republican National Convention.

She's also been telling some whoppers about Obama. True, they come mostly from her Republican handlers. But she says them with such relish that you know she's speaking from her heart.

There's the one about Obama being a Marxist (which was convincing enough that a dim-witted local TV reporter fed it back to Biden who was so astonished that he could only say: "Are you kidding?"). And, of course, the one she's been repeating over and over and over again: "He's paling around with terrorists!" (notice the plural). Even McCain found that whopper to be over the top. "Well, you know. Sometimes things get exaggerated in
a campaign."

Politicians, we're told, do this kind of thing. They lie. But this is the big leagues; humongous, hit em out of the ballpark lies; all told with such a straight face that some commentators have wondered if she isn't pathological.

The richest part of all this is to hear lying Sarah Palin say that Obama can't be trusted. Not her. Obama. He can't be trusted.

Which for some reason brings to mind that old lawyer joke:

How do you know when Sarah Palin is lying?

Her lips are moving.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Former Reagan Official Jumps Ship Because of Palin

It is now clear that Sarah Palin has become radioactive to the McCain ticket. McCain himself continues to defend her, blaming the press for her troubles (as though the New York Times forced her to spend $150,000 on clothes or use her governor's office to fire a police chief). But the evidence is mounting that she has become a huge liability to McCain.

The latest proof of this may be the most damning. According to the Michigan Messenger , former Reagan Justice Department official, Charles Fried, who served on McCain campaign committees, has voted for Obama by absentee ballot. When asked why, he made it clear that Palin was the reason. He couldn't vote for McCain because of Palin.

Here's the story:

Shocking endorsement of Obama by conservative legal titan Fried

By Ed Brayton 10/26/08 7:26 PM

In perhaps the most significant Republican defection yet, former Reagan Justice Department official Charles Fried, who had previously endorsed McCain and served on committees for the McCain campaign, has announced that he voted absentee ballot for Obama.

Fried also asked that his name be removed from McCain campaign literature. One of the primary reasons: Sarah Palin. From an article in the New Republic:

This week, Fried announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot. In his letter to Trevor Potter, the General Counsel to the McCain-Palin campaign, he asked that his name be removed from the several campaign-related committees on which he serves. In that letter, he said that chief among the reasons for his decision “is the choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis.”


Sunday, October 26, 2008

A View of Palin from the Other Side of the Atlantic

Do you wonder what Europeans think of Palin?  Here's one perspective from the UK where the attempt of some to compare her to Margaret Thatcher is dismissed out of hand.  So is the idea that there is anything about her that qualifies her for VP.  Sarah Palin is, according to this commentator, "the last kind of potential leader America or the rest of the world needs."

Here's why:

Sarah Palin: the Character Question Should Rule Her Out

by Iain Martin 

In Christine Toomey's profile of Sarah Palin  there is a short passage which gets to the heart of the doubts so many have about the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate.

"There is a high body count of people who have dared to disagree with Sarah Palin, shown a reluctance to do her biddingn her eyes, failed to support her wholeheartedly – among them some who say they too have been hunted, carved up and cast aside along her path to power. These people warn, as do even her closest friends and family, that in Palin’s eyes there are no grey areas, no room for doubt. There is only right or wrong, black or white, “good or evil”. Her father Chuck’s word for it is “stubborn”. One of her friends calls her “dogged”. If Palin believes something to be true, it is – no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway her, and everybody else had better believe it too."

If you like Palin the description makes her sound like Margaret Thatcher, only a little tougher and armed. But that section - "If Palin believes something to be true, it is – no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway her, and everybody else had better believe it too" - is damning.

All the evidence suggests she lacks any curiosity about ideas, others and the outside world. In these dislocated times, of economic crisis and multiple threats on the foreign policy front, that is the last kind of potential leader America or the West needs.

Thatcher, to whom some Republicans want to compare Palin, was intellectually curious, otherwise she would not have made the journey from the fairly bland small c conservatism which she advocated in the 1950s, 1960s and first half of the 1970s. She was open to new thinking. She became stubborn, or too dogged, only after she had turned around her country's economy and altered its standing in the world - not before.


Weekend Update: The Latest Scandals and Other Related Palinical Nonsense

Here are a few of the latest scandals and other juicy tid-bits swirling around Champagne Sarah Palin.  Stay tuned for updates:

From the AP:

AP INVESTIGATION: Palin pipeline terms curbed bids

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sarah Palin's signature accomplishment — a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 — emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.



.Palin wrongly suggests Congress bans oil exports

Published: Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, touted by GOP presidential candidate John McCain as his expert on energy, seemed to have problems Thursday explaining whether the government bans oil exports - especially from her state's North Slope fields.


From Fox News: 

Alaska’s Biggest Paper Backs Obama

ALBUQUERQUE - If it were up to the nation’s newspapers to decide, Barack Obama and Joe Biden would win in a landslide. According to Editor & Publisher - a journal covering the newspaper industry - the Democrats are favored over their GOP rivals by editorial boards 147 - 57 with just nine days until E-Day.

So it was really no surprise when papers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The LA Times came out for Obama for president — but the Anchorage Daily News? Governor Sarah Palin lost the endorsement of her hometown paper - Alaska’s biggest newspaper


Saturday, October 25, 2008

A New Nickname for Sarah Palin: Rogue Diva

Sarah Palin has had a lot of nicknames.  Already in high school she earned the name,  Barracuda.   With what we have  learned about her petty vindictiveness in the troopergate affair, we now know why.  

Palin herself claims the title "hockey mom" even though what it suggests has more or less been blown out of the water by the revelation of  her "polo mom" taste in clothing.  ("But she did it for charity," whines the McCain campaign.  Which sounds a lot like the Republican platform - it's a trickle down wardrobe!)   This suggests a new name:  Champagne Sarah Palin.

Now key McCain aides are calling her a "diva" who is raining on their parade.  Even worse, she's a "rogue" diva, completely out of control.  (Don't say we didn't warn you!)

That's what a piece that just appeared on CNN claims.  Palin is "going rogue."  And it's causing some bitter in-fighting in the Republican party.

Here's the piece from CNN:

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) -- With 10 days until Election Day, long-brewing tensions between GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin and key aides to Sen. John McCain have become so intense, they are spilling out in public, sources say.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday.

Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue."

A Palin associate, however, said the candidate is simply trying to "bust free" of what she believes was a damaging and mismanaged roll-out.

McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls -- recorded messages often used to attack a candidate's opponent -- "irritating" even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan.

A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Sarah Palin, Hypocrite

In recent interviews Sarah Palin has decried the abuse she has taken from the press over such things as her $150,000 wardrobe and the troopergate scandal. It's because she's a woman, she says, that she gets such negative press. She's "hurt" that they would treat her that way.

But then she turns around yesterday and says this about Obama's associations with Bill Ayers and Dr. Jeremiah Wright in an interview with the scurrilous Sean Hannity:

"What did those characters see in Barack Obama? Why would they have wanted to be associated with him?"

Note what she's insinuating here, that there must be something wrong not with Obama's policies, but with his character. It is character assassination of the most vile form. A man she labels a "terrorist" another "anti-American" are attracted to Obama because they see something of themselves in him. And then she repeats the canard that is patently untrue - that Obama launched his campaign in Ayer's living room as though Ayers himself was behind it.

So what are we to assume here? That it's OK for Sarah Palin to traffic in character assassination and National Enquirer-type slander, but not for the press to take a critical look at her own behaivor? Are we to do as she does - simply dismiss the finding of the investigative body that shows without a doubt that she was guilty of abusing her governor's office, or ask no questions about why it was necessary for her to use Republican campaign funds to buy an extravagant wardrobe for herself and her family while claiming middle-class angst?

The Obama campaign has studiously avoided engaging in the kind of spurious, slanderous attacks Palin and McCain have used to try to discredit their opponents. They have not questioned her character, even though there is good reason to do so. In fact, the one time Obama was asked to speak directly to the question of whether or not he felt Palin was qualified to be president, he did what he could to praise her. Her response has been to find more ways to slime Obama.

There is no reason whatsoever for anyone to feel sorry for what the press has done to Sarah Palin. If anything they've been far too lenient. It's time they took off the kid gloves to expose what she is really about -- pure, unbridled self aggrandizing power.

James Dobson Interviews Sarah Palin

This is not necessarily put up to be critical of Palin, but to give another perspective on who she is. It's an interview she recently did with James Dobson on his radio program that came under the radar screen of the main stream press.

It's in two parts below. Check it out and draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Polls

Since I got off topic on the last post, I need to follow up with this.  

Despite what you've heard about a couple of polls showing McCain making a move on Obama, they are not at all representative of what all the other polls are saying. 

Remember - trust the numbers.


The Latest Polls: Oct 23, 2008

Poll Date Sample MoE Obama (D) McCain (R) 

Spread RCP Average 10/16 - 10/22 – – 50.1 42.6 Obama +7.5

CBS News/NY Times 10/19 - 10/22 771 LV – 52 39 Obama +13
Rasmussen Reports 10/20 - 10/22 3000 LV 2.0 52 45 Obama +7
Gallup (Traditional)* 10/20 - 10/22 2384 LV 2.0 50 46 Obama +4
Gallup (Expanded)* 10/20 - 10/22 2299 LV 2.0 51 45 Obama +6
Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby 10/20 - 10/22 1208 LV 2.9 52 40 Obama +12
Hotline/FD 10/20 - 10/22 769 LV 3.5 48 43 Obama +5
FOX News 10/20 - 10/21 936 LV 3.0 49 40 Obama +9
ABC News/Wash Post 10/19 - 10/22 1335 LV 2.5 54 43 Obama +11
IBD/TIPP 10/18 - 10/22 1088 LV 3.0 45 44 Obama +1
GWU/Battleground 10/16 - 10/22 1000 LV 3.1 49 45 Obama +4
NBC News/Wall St. Jrnl 10/17 - 10/20 1159 RV 2.9 52 42 Obama +10
Associated Press/GfK 10/16 - 10/20 800 LV 3.5 44 43 Obama +1
Ipsos/McClatchy 10/16 - 10/20 773 LV 3.5 50 42 Obama +8
CNN/Opinion Research 10/17 - 10/19 764 LV 3.5 51 46 Obama +5
Pew Research 10/16 - 10/19 2382 LV 2.5 53 39 Obama +14

Revisiting 2004: Assessing the Polls

This represents a diversion from the normal topic of this blog. But it struck me that with all the back and forth on the polls - one suggesting McCain gaining, most not, that it would be good to re-visit an assessment that was done after the last presidential election. What they found is that a majority of the polls - the same ones that are showing Obama with commanding leads - were essentially correct within the margin of error.
But don't take my word for it. Check out it out below. And note, if you will, how close it was. The difference now is that Obama is polling far ahead of where Bush was at this time. Believe the numbers.

From the Pew Research Center:
November 23, 2004

Pre-Election Polls Largely Accurate

Lessons From Campaign '04

Facing an array of new and difficult challenges, the pre-election surveys performed fairly well in predicting the outcome of this month's election. Once again, the final surveys by most national polling organizations fell within the margin of error, in spite of widespread concerns over rising refusal rates, "missing" cell-phone-only voters and supposedly flawed likely voter screens. In the wake of such a demanding election, there are a number of lessons to be drawn from the performance of the polls in Campaign '04:

Follow the Data. The campaign showed the dangers of making a priori judgments about voter opinion. This concern arose, most notably, with the practice of weighting polling data to meet predetermined parameters of party identification. Until recently, this approach has been mostly used by partisan pollsters but it also has been adopted by some media polling organizations.

As we noted in an earlier commentary, weighting results on the basis of party in the same manner that pollsters weight data to meet demographic parameters is misguided for a number of reasons (see "Party Affiliation: What It Is and What It Isn't," Sept. 23, 2004). It represents a fundamental misreading of party identification, which is an attitude that changes over time and not a demographic characteristic.

The election exit poll underscored the problems inherent in weighting by party. According to the exit poll, the electorate had equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats (37% each). That represents a change from the past three presidential elections, when Democrats held a slight edge in party identification. Consequently, pre-election surveys that adjusted the partisan composition of likely voters to the exit poll results from 2000 would have misrepresented the partisan make-up of the actual electorate.

Follow the Data (Part II). Among the staples of conventional wisdom in this campaign was that, in an incumbent election, voters who are undecided in the late stages of the race break overwhelmingly against the incumbent. Historically, this so-called 'incumbent rule' has proven to be predictive.

But this year's exit poll showed that Kerry had only a modest advantage among the late deciders. Among those who decided in the final three days before the election, Kerry led by 53%-44%. That was a far cry from what many analysts and pundits had predicted. Pew's analysis of undecided voters for its final pre-election estimate which was based on statistical modeling and follow-up questioning of the undecideds predicted they would break about evenly with a small advantage for Kerry.

This proved more reliable than history in gauging their intentions. There is no doubt, however, that predicting the vote among the undecideds and estimating the final outcome are among the most formidable challenges confronting pollsters.

Cross-Pressured Voters Are Hard to Read. The national polls were fairly stable during the summer, with most showing the race about even or Kerry with a slight to modest lead. But in the wake of the GOP's successful convention in late August, voter opinion was less stable and much harder to track. Similarly, the polls fluctuated after the three presidential debates; most polls showed Bush with a lead, though they differed over its size.

Much of the movement in the polls came among cross-pressured swing voters. These voters, who still comprised about 14% of the electorate in Pew's final pre-election survey, were not happy with the president yet still could not comfortably support Kerry. And they wreaked havoc with the polls, as Pew Research Center Director Andrew Kohut observed in the New York Times (Oct. 21, 2004):

"The round of national surveys taken after the third presidential debate indicates that the polls are not going to give us a clear picture of who will win the election until the final days of the campaign, if then. This is not because polling no longer works it's because voter opinion is highly unstable."

This turned out to be the case. Pew and Gallup had similar pre-election results before making their final estimates Pew showed Bush with a three-point lead among likely voters (48%-45%), while Gallup had Bush up by two points (49%-47%). The CBS News/New York Times survey also showed Bush with a slight 49%-47% advantage.

Although the three polls ended up in pretty much the same place, they all got there differently. The Pew survey showed Bush gaining some ground since mid-October, while Gallup showed Kerry gaining over the same period. The CBS News/New York Times survey showed voter opinion as more stable. Consequently, one could draw very different conclusions about the direction of the race by looking at these polls over the last few weeks of the campaign.

State Polls: Helpful But... The number of horse race polls has been rising for the past several elections, and this year brought an increasing number of polls in the battleground states. Facing a difficult political terrain by definition, all of these states were closely divided the state surveys had varying degrees of success.

In Michigan, for instance, most of the final week polls showed Kerry with a slight advantage. Of the six polls conducted between Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, the website RealClear Politics found that, on average, they showed Kerry with a 3.5% lead; Kerry won Michigan 51%-48%.

By contrast, the polls did not fare nearly as well in Florida, which Bush won by a fairly comfortable margin (52%-47%). Four polls conducted in the campaign's final weeks had Bush ahead anywhere from a point to as many as eight points; three others showed Kerry leading, with Fox News showing Kerry with a five-point advantage. The main shortcoming of the state polls is that typically they have small samples. But even some that had sizable samples missed the mark in Florida. The highly diverse make-up of the Florida electorate may present special challenges to polling.

Cell Phones: Not a Major Problem Yet. Throughout the campaign, pollsters were frequently asked about the potential bias created by the fact that cell phones are not reached in telephone surveys. A growing number of people, especially young people, are believed to be relying solely on cell phones for phone service.

The exit polls indicated that approximately 7% of all voters are cell phone-only; this group skews heavily toward younger voters, with about half of them (48%) falling under age 30. But although cell-only voters were somewhat more Democratic than the electorate as a whole, the difference was relatively small. Cell-only voters went for Kerry by a margin of 54% to 45%, compared with Bush's 51%-48% advantage among all voters. This difference, and the relatively small size of the cell-only group, was not large enough to create an error in pre-election poll estimates.

Moreover, young voters with and without cell phones were virtually identical politically, suggesting that young people reachable by conventional land-line service remain representative of their cell-only counterparts. About one-in-five (19%) voters under 30 years of age indicated they relied solely on cell phone service. These voters favored Kerry by 58%-41%, close to the advantage he had among the rest of this age cohort (56%-43%).

Champagne Sarah Palin Doesn't Know what a Vice President Does!

This is great TV. Chris Matthews, one of the few talking heads who doesn't represent the Darth Vader side of Republican politics, takes on sorority queen, McCain spokesperson, Nancy Pfotenhauer (have you ever noticed how many of these sorority queens the McCain camp has working for it? The party of Joe Six Pack is packed with privileged rich kids with perfect skin and teeth making their appeal to the "middle class" one of the greatest scams ever unleashed on this country) over Champagne Sarah's taste in clothes and apparent inability to grasp exactly what it is she might be doing in January.

I will say it again: Sarah Palin is a joke. Makes me almost feel sorry for people like Pfotenhauer who have to defend her. Almost.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Champagne Sarah Palin

Here's what the Press is saying about Champagne Sarah's $150,000 wardrobe.

But she feels your pain . . .


$150000 Wardrobe for Palin May Alter Tailor-Made Image
New York Times

Expensive Wardrobe Goes Against McCain-Palin Story Line
Washington Post

Palin's Spending Spree Sheds Light on Campaign's Priorities
ABC News

Did Palin really need 150k for a new wardrobe?
Christian Science Monitor, MA

Hillary Designer: Palin Spending Strange
CBS News, NY - 3 hours ago

Fashion Experts on Palin's $150000 Wardrobe
The Weekly Standard

GOP spent $150000 in donations on Palin's look
The Associated Press

Palin's New Clothes Augur Tax Troubles
Huffington Post, NY

If You're Feeling Tempted to Vote for McCain/Palin

Here's a couple of delicious videos that nees to be passed on to as many people as possible.

Hilarious . . . . but maybe not so hilarious.

From: Partnership for a McCain-free White House

Sarah "I'm Just a Hockey Mom" Palin Spends $150,000 on Clothing and Accessories this Month Alone!

This just in from the New York Daily News.

Turns out that the same Sarah Palin who wants us to believe that she's just a normal down home, struggle-to-make-ends-meet, working class, hockey mom, Joe Six-Pack-loving kind of gal, has been on a clothes shopping spree since she was chosen as the VP candidate. And the Republican National Committee has been picking up the tab. All $150,000 of it!

for clothing and accessories for herself and her family. In one month. From some of the ritziest stores in America. The kind that Joe the Plumber would never shop at.

But she feels your pain, so that's OK. Whatever this woman wants, get it for her. She feels your pain.


Here's the story from the New York Daily News (not that liberal rag from the same city):

RNC spends thousands on dresses, make-up for Sarah Palin & family

Updated Wednesday, October 22nd 2008, 6:25 AM

WASHINGTON - Lipstick isn't the only difference between America's top hockey mom and a pit bull.

Sarah Palin also has a spectacular new wardrobe, and Republican campaign donors picked up the breathtaking tab.

The Republican National Committee spent $150,000 on clothing and accessories for the vice presidential candidate and her family since early September, according to a report by the Politico Web site.

At Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Manhattan and St. Louis, the RNC paid for $49,425.74 in Palin apparel, the report said, citing financial disclosure records.

There also was a $75,062.63 shopping spree at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, where the Palins stayed during the Republican National Convention last month; $9.447.71 at Macy's in Minneapolis; and $5,102.71 at Bloomingdale's in New York.

That much cash can buy a closet full of the pumps, hot red leather jackets and form-fitting business suits for the Alaska governor to wear on the stump

Another $4,716.49 on hair and makeup came from the GOP while wooing "Joe Six-Pack" to vote for John McCain, the records showed. And more than $5,000 went to a men's store and a baby clothing store.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sarah Update: 1) Another Scandal 2) More People Get it: She is NOT qualified to be president

Here's the latest on the most under qualified candidate  ever to grace a presidential campaign.

We start with the latest scandal:  more proof that this woman has been treating the governor's office like her own personal fiefdom.  

From ABC News:

AP INVESTIGATION: Palin charged state for children's travel, later amended expense reports


The Associated Press


Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor's children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.

As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters — Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 — by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor's schedule.

But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend.



From NBC News:

Finally, more people are getting it. She is NOT qualified to be  president, much less vice president. Governor maybe . . .   well, I'll have to think about that. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sarah Palin: Governor of the SOCIALIST State of Alaska

Last year Sarah Palin and her family got a check for over $1500 per person from the state of Alaska. What did they do to earn that money? Nothing. They got it simply for being Alaskans. It's their share of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend which assures that all Alaskans get a cut of oil company profits.

That's at least part of what made Sarah Palin such a popular governor, the way she coerced the oil companies into spreading their wealth .It's socialism on a scale unknown in any other part of the United States.

Which means she was for it before she was against it.

Here's the point: Sarah Palin who is on the circuit decrying Obama's socialist agenda has been presiding over the biggest and most blatant socialist hand-out in American history. McCain applauds her for "taking on the oil companies," but, in fact, what she did was tantamount to extortion - holding them hostage for increased oil revenues that she could distribute to her fellow Alaskans as welfare whether they needed it or not.

The only socialist agenda in America right now is Sarah Palin's.

I believe that's called hypocrisy.



Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend

The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program was created by state legislation in 1980 to share the wealth of the Alaska Permanent Fund with the people of Alaska. The original program was to give each adult Alaska resident $50 for each year of residency, but this was challenged in court by Ron Zobel and payments were put on hold. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the program unconstitutional, and the legislature authorized equal dividend payments to all people who had lived in Alaska at least six months. In 1989, the Legislature changed the residency requirement to 24 months, but that was challenged in court and dropped to one calendar year, which is still in effect.

The first dividend payment was $1,000 per person. The next year, the payment dropped to $386.15 and fell to an all-time low of $331.39 in 1984. It climbed the next year to $404.00 and enjoyed fairly steady growth to peak of $1963.86 per person in 2000. Low oil prices and a stock market recession caused the dividend to drop to $919.84 in 2004. The 2005 amounts will be announced in October. (2008: $3,200/person)

The dividend payments are based on a five-year average of the Permanent Fund's earnings, which helps to stabilize the dividends as the stock market and oil market changes from year to year.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation has pushed in recent years for a change in the fund's management style to a Percent of Market Value approach, which is used by many other trust fund management agencies. Changing the fund's management approach requires a state constitutional amendment. This will also affect how dividends are calculated and is a subject of controversy in Alaskan politics. (See the article on the Alaska Permanent Fund.)

See Also:


From the Jackson Free Press:

Palin's Alaska: Funded by Oil Profits Tax

If Sarah Palin gets past this press cycle and remains the Vice Presidential nominee on the GOP ticket, there might be one interesting item from her brief tenure as governor of Alaska that would be worthy of discussion on the national stage -- her state's windfall profit sharing from oil leases. It turns out that every person who has lived in Alaska for over a year gets a $3,200 payout from the government thanks to taxes on oil companies; a family as large as Palin's would receive over $22,000 a year.

Sure, you'd be hard pressed to live off that. (Some might try.) But who wouldn't mind that scratch just because you live in an oil-rich state?

No wonder she is popular with voters in a state whose residents pay no income or sales taxes but are blessed with state coffers rolling in cash at a time when all other states are suffering. Indeed, when the oil companies pay more taxes to the state of Alaska, they get to write that off against their federal tax obligation, leaving the rest of us to make up the shortfall.

But wouldn't it be -- I don't know -- communism to take money from the oil companies and give it to citizens? Not according to Governor Palin. When John McCain says that she "took on" the oil companies as governor, what he means is just that -- she raised taxes on oil companies.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spreading the Wealth??

They're at it again. One more item to add to the growing list of distortions and half truths and, yes, LIES.

Earlier Palin accused Obama of "paling around with terrorists." Not "terrorist", but "terrorists." And not a "terrorist" that is on any list of "terrorists", but a "washed up old '60s radical" who is now a noted educationalist. Not exactly a lie, but about as close  as you can get.

Then came the troopergate report with it's  undeniable condemnation of Palin's abuse of office. Her response? To deny it. "I'm so glad I was vindicated," she said.   This was a bald faced lie. But she says it with such a lack of guile that the press lets it slide on by.

Now, she and McCain are on the trail claiming that Obama is a socialist who wants to "spread the wealth." They base this on the Fox News expose of Obama speaking to "Joe the Plumber" (who isn't - another lie).

Well, now it turns out that Obama wasn't suggesting this at all. The clip that Fox News used was a carefully edited attempt to smear Obama (surprise, surprise). And the McCain/Palin team carried the Fox football.

"He wants to spread the wealth!" they say. "He's a socialist. No, he's a Communist!" And the red meat crowd eats it up.

But here's what he actually said. Socialism? Not even close . .

From The New York Times:

“My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s going to be good for everybody,” Mr. Obama said, according to the transcript, adding that plumbers are better off when there are more customers who can afford to hire them. “And right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody, and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” Mr. Obama said.

Sarah Palin Yuks it Up on Saturday Night Live

Just one word for Palin's appearance last night on SNL:


Almost made me feel sorry for her sitting there while the SNL folks folded into a rap everything she has said or done that disqualifies her for national office. Embarassing, but also revealing.

But then, her story is ready made for SNL.

Sarah Palin is a joke.

The Sarah Palin Rap:

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