Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Judgment

Just what we need: Another person in the White House who is bored by details and thoughtful decision making, and instead relies on his gut; another friggin’ putz who refuses to “negotiate with himself.”
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was not subjected to a lengthy in-person background interview with the head of Sen. John McCain's vice presidential vetting team until last Wednesday in Arizona, the day before McCain asked her to be his running mate, and she did not disclose the fact that her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant until that meeting, two knowledgeable McCain officials acknowledged Tuesday.
Selecting a running mate is often the first chance a presidential candidate gets to show his or her ability to make sound decisions as an executive. And it appears that McCain made his decision (if it was indeed his decision) after, shall we say, a limited vetting process. How else does a woman who is being investigated for improperly firing a public safety officer who refused to help her carry out a personal vendetta and whose husband belonged to a political party that advocates Alaska’s seceeding from the United States wind up as the vice presidential candidate of the Republican party?

Boy, The Base must really hate Mormons, huh?

Regarding Palin’s pregnant 17-year-old daughter, it, like any personal issue relating to a candidate or a candidate’s family, is immaterial unless it demonstrates some inconsistency with the candidate’s public positions or voting record. I don’t think her daughter’s pregnancy is relevant to Palin’s competence as an elected official, but I do think it speaks to McCain’s ability to make sound decisions, because his VP pick shines a spotlight on the fact that a woman who opposes sex education (“explicit” sex education. I have no idea what that is, but I know what kind of images are conjured up in people’s minds by the combination of the words “explicit” and “sex,” and it’s not something that normal people would considered appropriate for minors) in favor of abstinance education has a pregnant, unwed teenage daughter. It’s kind of awkward when your VP pick is an example of policies backed by your supporters (and the nominee herself) not working. But don’t worry, Republicans will treat this the same way they treat all facts that don’t support their worldview: They’ll ignore it. At least until Palin “withdraws her name from consideration" in order to support her daughter and her family as they prepare to welcome their newest addition.

And to be clear, I wish Palin’s family, especially her daughter and her grandchild, nothing but the best.

Here’s another fun fact about the Republican VP nominee and mother of a pregnant teenage daughter: As governor of Alaska, Palin cut funding to support teen mothers.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.

According to Passage House's web site, its purpose is to provide "young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives" and help teen moms "become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families."
Check out the changes Palin made to the bill:

That’s hardly the only reason to call Palin’s judgment into question.
Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.
Yes, that Ted Stevens.

The reason campaigns vet possible VP candidates so closely is to avoid situations like this. If McCain couldn’t be bothered to do his homework now — before he’s elected — what reason is there to believe that he will bring careful consideration and thoughtful examination of details to important decisions as president?

UPDATE: More on Palin’s questionable judgment.
Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.
Personally, I’m not comfortable with someone like this so close to the presidency.

UPDATE 2: Interference to delay a potentially politically damaging report.
The Alaska state senator running an investigation of Gov. Palin says the McCain campaign is using stall tactics to prevent him from releasing his final report by Oct. 31, four days before the November election.

"It's likely to be damaging to the Governor," said Senator Hollis French, a Democrat, appointed the project manager for a bi-partisan State Senate Legislative Counsel Committee investigation of claims that Palin abused her office to get the Alaska public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, fired.
I can see why McCain bristles at suggestions that his presidency would be four more years of Bush, because they’re SOOOOOOO different.

UPDATE 3: Perhaps the Palin selection didn’t come from McCain after all.
Last week, while the media focused almost obsessively on the DNC's spectacle in Denver, the country's most influential conservatives met quietly at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis to get to know Sarah Palin. The assembled were members of the Council for National Policy, an ultra-secretive cabal that networks wealthy right-wing donors together with top conservative operatives to plan long-term movement strategy.
If true, this raises the question of, if he wins, McCain would ever leave important decisions to someone else.

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