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A 45-year-old woman with five children is much less likely to have had time yet to learn everything about public affairs that one needs to know to be President than a 45-year-old man with five children.

In contrast, 69-year-old Nancy Pelosi, who also has five children, grew up marinated in politics (both her father and brother were mayor of Baltimore), but she didn’t run for office until her youngest child was a senior in high school.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Palin 
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The unmentionable issue regarding Palin is that a 45 year old woman with five children hasn’t had time to think through all the national and international issues a President needs to have thought about. Her five children have taken up too much of her attention. In contrast, Margaret Thatcher once told my wife that she was glad she had had fraternal twins so she could get having babies over and done with and get back to work.

If Palin were a man, there’d be a wife to deal with the kids, so the Governor could get back to thinking about about non-family, non-local topics.

This is all totally obvious, but nobody is supposed to mention stuff like this anymore.

By the way, 67-year-old genius Vice-President Joe Biden got off message on a talk show yesterday and basically told Israel it’s okay to bomb Iran.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Palin 
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John O’Sullivan has an interesting column in the Wall Street Journal comparing Sarah Palin to Margaret Thatcher, for whom he worked. He points out that:

Inevitably, Lloyd Bentsen’s famous put-down of Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate is resurrected, such as by Paul Waugh (in the London Evening Standard) and Marie Cocco (in the Washington Post): “Newsflash! Governor, You’re No Maggie Thatcher,” sneered Mr. Waugh. Added Ms. Coco, “now we know Sarah Palin is no Margaret Thatcher — and no Dan Quayle either!”

Jolly, rib-tickling stuff. But, as it happens, I know Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher is a friend of mine. And as a matter of fact, Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin have a great deal in common. …

Things like that change your mind about a girl. But they also take time, during which she had to turn her instinctive beliefs into intellectually coherent policies against opposition inside and outside her own party. Like Mrs. Palin this year, Mrs. Thatcher knew there were serious gaps in her knowledge, especially of foreign affairs. She recruited experts who shared her general outlook (such as Robert Conquest and Hugh Thomas) to tutor her on these things. Even so she often seemed very alone in the Tory high command.

As a parliamentary sketch writer for the Daily Telegraph (and a not very repressed suburbanite), I watched Mrs. Thatcher’s progress as opposition leader. She had been a good performer in less exalted positions. But initially she faltered. Against the smooth, condescending Prime Minister James Callaghan in particular she had a hard time. In contrast to his chuckling baritone she sounded shrill when she attacked. But she lowered her tone (vocally not morally), took lessons in presentation from (among others) Laurence Olivier, and prepared diligently for every debate and Question Time.

I can still recall her breakthrough performance in a July 1977 debate on the Labour government’s collapsing economy. She dominated the House of Commons so wittily that the next day the Daily Mail’s acerbic correspondent, Andrew Alexander, began his report: “If Mrs. Thatcher were a racehorse, she would have been tested for drugs yesterday.” She was now on the way to becoming the world-historical figure who today is the gold standard of conservative statesmanship.

This explains much of my lack of interest in the ongoing “How smart is Sarah Palin?” brouhaha. She’s not a plausible Presidential candidate until she wins re-election in 2010. Then, if Obama is in trouble, she could make a dash for 2012, or focus on 2016, when she’ll be 52. If she skips 2012 and a Republican wins two terms, she could run in 2020 when she’s 56.

What all this means is that she has the time to put herself through a lengthy educational process similar to the one Mrs. Thatcher undertook. If she succeeds in it, then she’s Presidential Timber. If she doesn’t, she’s not. In either case, I’m not going to spend a lot of time worrying at present about whether she is going to succeed or not. It’s Mrs. Palin’s career, not mine.

Another similarity between Mrs. Thatcher and Mrs. Palin is that when Miss Roberts, then in her mid-20s, first showed up on the political scene by putting up good shows in losing runs for safe Labour seats in the 1950 and 1951 elections, she was the best looking woman in politics. I’ve stumbled across recollections by conservative-leaning English gentlemen of a certain age — Alec Guinness, David Lean, and Kingsley Amis — of what a crush they had on the future Mrs. Thatcher. The thing to keep in mind about her is that she is extremely English looking, with the kind of looks that are rarely seen in America, so Americans can’t see what 1950s English saw in her.

On the other hand, Thatcher had two major career advantages over Palin: a rich husband and fewer children. Mrs. Thatcher told my wife how lucky she was to have had fraternal twins so she could have a boy and a girl all at once and then get back to her career.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Palin 
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I haven’t been following this latest Sarah Palin Controversy of the Century, but let me see if have it straight: The governor of Alaska doesn’t actually own the kind of expensive clothes that look nice on TV, so the Republican National Committee paid for a quick dash through stores in Manhattan so she could be on the road under the spotlight for two months. (I also presume you’d buy much much than you’d be likely to wear because you aren’t sure what will work best, and you would just return the unworn items to the stores after Election Day.)

Exactly how is this different from whatever large sum the DNC paid so Barack Obama could have marble-looking Greek columns for his convention acceptance speech? Was he supposed to supply his own marble columns?

Isn’t everybody aware by now that it costs a lot of money to look good on TV? (If you didn’t realize that, check out BloggingHeads someday to see what actual people actually look like onscreen with no budget. It’s not a pretty sight.)

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Palin 
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Steven Erlanger writes in the NYT:

They value sophistication above almost anything, and so they regard their own hyperactive president, Nicolas Sarkozy, with his messy romantic life and model-singer wife, as “Sarko the American.”

But this year has been difficult for the French. Mr. Sarkozy has generally supported American foreign policy and has praised the United States’ openness and entrepreneurial verve. And the sudden emergence of Senator Barack Obama — black, and seen as elegant and engaged with the larger world — has sent many French into a swoon.

But the combination of two recent surprises — Gov. Sarah Palin and America’s terrifying financial meltdown — has brought older, nearly instinctual anti-American responses back to the surface.

These two surprises, one after the other, have refreshed clichés retailed under President Bush, confirming the deeply held belief of the French that the United States remains the frontier, led by impenetrably smug and incurious upstarts who have little history, experience or wisdom.

Even worse, from the French perspective, Americans are reckless optimists, incurably blind to the tragedy of life, to the weary convolutions of history and thus to the need for lengthy August vacations and financial regulations.

While the French see themselves as the heirs of urban revolutionaries, with a strong distaste for politicized religion, the American revolutionary spirit seems to them these days to come like a hurricane from the uncosmopolitan right — from the dry, dull flatlands of Texas ranch country or the emptiness of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Wyoming, and now from the odd sunset communities of Arizona and the bizarre bars, churches and hockey rinks of Alaska.

The financial meltdown also seems inevitably American, a product of the reckless audacity that the French pretend to abhor, but often secretly admire. But however careful France’s own banks may have been, the United States is so large and so dominant that the French are afraid of being hit with what one economist, Daniel Cohen, called the “toxic waste” of the scandal.

This year, mocking the candidates has become an industry, with the satirical puppet show “Les Guignols de l’Info” recently adding a squeaky-voiced Senator John McCain puppet to the jug-eared Obama model. In general, though, Americans are portrayed as Sylvester Stallone, lunky and thick-headed. Ms. Palin has been a kind of godsend.

The French know exactly what to make of her, said Frédéric Rouvillois, and that is the problem. Ms. Palin may be an American dream but she is a French nightmare, said Mr. Rouvillois, a lawyer and social historian who has just written a book titled “The History of Snobbery.”

“She’s a caricature of a certain America that hasn’t parted with its boorish ‘Wild West’ side,” said the impish Mr. Rouvillois, who has also written a history of good manners. “For the French snob, the only admissible American is from the East Coast, knows Henry James, is comfortable in French, a sort of European on the other side of the Atlantic.”

A little, yes, like Senator John Kerry. …

France, like most of Europe, is quite taken with the Democratic candidate, whom the French regard as a “métis,” politely translated as someone of mixed race, usually used for those of African colonial ancestry. Mr. Obama is seen uniquely as an American métis with global experience and antecedents in Africa, through his Kenyan father, not in slavery.

Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote in the magazine Le Point of Mr. Obama as a new type of American black politician.

“Obama is, certainly, black,” Mr. Lévy wrote. “But not black like Jesse Jackson; not black like Al Sharpton; not black like the blacks born in Alabama or in Tennessee and who, when they appear, bring out in Americans the memories of slavery, lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan — no; a black from Africa; a black descending not from a slave but from a Kenyan; a black who, consequently, has the incomparable merit of not reminding middle America of the shameful pages of its history.”

He goes on for a while, but you get the idea.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Obama, Palin 
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Here’s the full length version of the Sarah Palin article I wrote for The American Conservative a week and a half ago.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Here’s the opening of the Sarah Palin article I wrote last week for the upcoming issue of The American Conservative:

Why, in one uproarious week of American politicking that not even H.L. Mencken would have expected, has the once unknown Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, outraged roughly one-half of the country and overjoyed the other half?

What intrigues people about elections aren’t the platform planks. Deep down, political contests are about picking symbolic champions. Just as Barack Obama, recently of the Illinois legislature, has arationally excited tens of millions by his emphasis on his bloodlines, by his implication that national racial reconciliation is “in my DNA,” the overstuffed life story of the caribou huntress and mother of five (and soon to be grandmother at age 44) embodies the oldest boast Americans have made about their homeland: the fecundity of the frontier.

Compared to Obama’s much-lauded but tedious life, cautiously plotted in countless Chicago backrooms, the Alaskan-sized lustiness of Gov. Palin’s full-throttle biography comes as a delight. The way the only-in-Alaska factoids about her keep piling up, like in an Old West tall tale, always leaves me laughing.

Consider, for example, Palin’s husband Todd. What kind of man could be married to a woman so hormonally exuberant, with her dual archetypes straight out of a Camille Paglia reverie: half Alaskan Amazon, half Venus of Willendorf? Exactly the kind of man you’d expect: he works as both a North Shore oilfield roughneck and a salmon fisherman. He’s also won the state’s snowmobile championship, the 2,000 mile Tesoro Iron Dog race, four times, but only finished fourth this year because he had to ride the last 400 miles with a broken arm after being thrown 70 feet. Did I mention he’s part Eskimo?

I won’t give away the rest of my article, but veteran readers can guess how this all ties together with many of my long-time obsessions such as Affordable Family Formation. I’m always accused of having weird obsessions, but they seem to eventually turn out to be everybody else’s weird obsessions, too.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” blunder is a reminder that he needs to hire a jokewriter so he can poke some much-needed fun at himself. Over the last dozen days, the whole race has wandered off into old-fashioned American comedy (what could Frank Capra have done with a Sarah Palin character?), leaving the new-fangled Obama rattled.

Jeez, when somebody makes a joke about the the stupid job you had when you were in your 20s, you make a joke back. You don’t get all hurt, peeved, and self-righteous like Obama did about Palin’s little “community organizer” witticism. Maybe his “lipstick” line wasn’t aimed at Palin, but he ought to have expected that everybody would take it that way by now.

Obama’s Achilles heel has always been that his gimlet-eyed appraisal of human beings doesn’t extend to himself — he can’t keep from feeling sorry for himself. It seems like a hundred years ago that I called Obama “a close student of other people’s weaknesses, a literary artist of considerable power in plumbing his deep reservoirs of self-pity and resentment, an unfunny Evelyn Waugh…” (Waugh could never stop feeling sorry for himself that he was born into a merely affluent, respectable family rather than a rich, aristocratic one. Obama’s sad “story of race and inheritance” is more complicated, but still rather similar.)

That’s why Dreams from My Father reads like the Brideshead Revisited of law school application essays.

The GOP brain trust (if such an oxymoronic body exists) will sooner or later figure that out and try to spend the rest of the campaign poking and prodding Obama’s delicate self-image to see what happens.

In one of his half-brilliant, half-wrongheaded insights, Spengler suggests:

“Combine a child’s response to serial abandonment with the perspective of an outsider, and Obama became an alien species against which American politics had no natural defenses. He is a Third World anthropologist profiling Americans, in but not of the American system.”

Sometimes, Obama reminds me of the persona Christian Lander invented for the narrator of Stuff White People Like: the mild-mannered but cold-blooded interloping observer/exploiter of upper-middle class Americans’ self-delusions and status anxieties. (Perhaps Lander had Obama in mind?) Those traits can take you a long way, but Obama may have to show a little more to go all the way.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Obama, Palin 
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I don’t have anything to say because I didn’t see the speech. I was too preoccupied with studying the psychodemographics of frolf (see below). (I can always catch up with it on Youtube, right?) So, have your say in the Comments.

By the way, the original speechwriter was apparently American Conservative contributor Matthew Scully, so if a few of the lines about Obama sound like they came from somebody familiar with my articles, perhaps they did.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Palin 
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A couple of writers for Slate get it (almost) about how the Palins are the exemplars of my theory of Affordable Family Formation:

Working-Class Hero: How the Palins’ enviable blue-collar lifestyle could help the McCain campaign.
By Adriaan Lanni and Wesley Kelman

But the pregnancy (which could help swing voters identify with Palin) threatens to obscure a seductive and misleading subtext in Palin’s biography that may play a key role in the election: the way she embodies the hope of a blue-collar life without economic insecurity.

Actually, the 18-year-old fiance looks quite capable of doing a man’s work and earning a man’s pay in the Alaskan economy. I have no idea if he, personally, will turn out to be a decent provider, but he’s got a strong back in a place where that’s worth something.

Palin’s background reminded us of an Alaskan we met several years ago. We had just moved to Anchorage for a temporary job in the state court system and struck up an illuminating conversation with a bricklayer while on a hike outside town. He made a surprising amount of money—he had moved to Alaska because its wages were so high. He also had enviable stretches of leisure: He worked long shifts during the short construction season, then spent all fall and winter riding his “snowmachine” (Alaskan for snowmobile), panning for gold—yes, people still do that there—and hunting and fishing. He exuded optimism; his life was good and he knew it, and there was no resentment of yuppies like us.

Palin’s family, warts and all, has some of the same features. Husband Todd’s two jobs—commercial fisherman and oil production manager on the North Slope—required little formal education and provide ample time off. Yet they pay extremely well. If you include the permanent fund dividend that Alaska distributes to its residents as a way of sharing oil tax revenues, the family made about $100,000 last year, not counting Sarah’s $125,000 salary as governor.

Mr. Palin’s income alone would put the Palins at about the same level as many well-educated, white-collar workers we knew in Anchorage. It is also enough money to enjoy a quality of life that is, at least to a certain taste, superior to what is enjoyed almost anywhere else, either in cities or in the countryside. Like the bricklayer, the Palins can hunt and fish in a place of legendary abundance. Their hometown may be a dingy Anchorage exurb, but it has cheap, plentiful land bordering a vast and beautiful wilderness, which is crisscrossed by Todd (the “Iron Dog” champion) and the Palin children all winter. (By comparison, in the Northeast many leisure activities are brutally segregated by income: Martha’s Vineyard vs. the Poconos, the Jersey Shore vs. the Hamptons.)

This free and easy life is radically different from the desperate existences depicted in Barack Obama’s speeches. The main policy thrust of Obama’s acceptance speech (and of both Clinton speeches) was that middle-class families, and particularly blue-collar families like the Palins, are in crisis because of stagnant wages, unemployment, foreign competition, and growing inequality. But these problems, which are a statistical fact, seem a world away from the Palin family.

This disjunction between the good life for many Alaskans and the not-so-good life for working-class families elsewhere suggests several strategies for the McCain campaign. Palin certainly has more credibility than McCain to attack Democrats’ economic policies. More subtly, Palin embodies a notion that Republicans can create a society like Alaska—where the culture has a heavy working-class influence, state taxes are nonexistent, economic prospects are good for people regardless of formal education, and bricklayers can make the same money as urban lawyers (and have more fun in their spare time).

While Democratic policy tries to help blue-collar workers by making it easier for them to attend college and get office jobs—that is, by encouraging them to cease to be blue-collar—Palin’s Alaskan story offers hope from within the blue-collar culture. She validates the goodness of life in rural America because she has embraced a particularly exotic, turbocharged version of this life. Her biography, bound to be emphasized by Republicans, thus makes a powerful appeal to one of the country’s most decisive constituencies.

The rub, of course, is that however genuine it may be, Palin’s family life may not be possible outside Alaska.

The bottom line is supply of land vs. supply of labor. That’s always been America’s big advantage, but John McCain, of course, will never get it. Ben Franklin did get it, way back in 1751:

“For People increase in Proportion to the Number of Marriages, and that is greater in Proportion to the Ease and Convenience of supporting a Family. When Families can be easily supported, more Persons marry, and earlier in Life. … Europe is generally full settled with Husbandmen, Manufacturers, &c. and therefore cannot now much increase in People. … Land being thus plenty in America, and so cheap as that a labouring Man, that understands Husbandry, can in a short Time save Money enough to purchase a Piece of new Land sufficient for a Plantation, whereon he may subsist a Family; such are not afraid to marry… Hence Marriages in America are more general, and more generally early, than in Europe.”

Franklin then pointed out the policy implication of this simple logic: don’t flood the country with foreigners. McCain will never, ever figure that out.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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A female reader calls my attention to a minor article about Bristol Palin’s fiance attending the GOP convention on the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, a fairly minor big city newspaper. And yet, in the ten hours that the article has been up on the SF Chronicle’s website, it has garnered (let me check the latest) well over 1000 comments. This story isn’t some exclusive scoop for the SF Chronicle — they just took it from the AP feed, so it’s reasonable to guess the same scale of reaction is happening nationwide.

My reader adds:

I’ve never seen anything quite like it. BTW, I get comments w/ my five, but, let me “wear” my baby in a bjorn carrier w/ my four in tow and strangers make scenes…

Offhand, the only political whoop-te-doos that I can recall to compare to this in frenzy were Monica Lewinsky and Anita Hill. Hmmhmhmm, what did they all have in common?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Fertility, Palin 
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Over at The American Scene, the always sensible Noah Millman returns from the Labor Day Weekend to make some sensible comments about Sarah Palin: e.g., she might have made a better Keynote speaker, like Obama in 2004, than VP candidate. (By the way, though, how often do you think Democrats have kicked themselves since 2004 that they didn’t let themselves get carried away at that convention and nominate Obama for Veep by acclamation back then, instead of what’s his name, that loser with the hair? John Kerry might be President today.)

But Noah then added this postscript, after he realized that we’re in the middle of a full-blown national freak-out over the various Palin Pregnancy stories, true and false, that have obsessed attention since he left for the weekend.

UPDATE: You know, I wrote this post, and made my little points, and then I started working back through some of the comments (not on my posts, actually – I haven’t gotten back that far, and I’m not sure I will). People are seriously losing their minds here, in a way that I’ve never seen before on this site. And not just people who have obviously wandered over here for the first time: regular readers are going off their rockers. I’m really not sure what we all ought to do about this. I wrote a little sermonette but I just deleted it because I can’t imagine anyone who’s gone off their rocker reading it and doing anything but getting angrier. I’m open to suggestions on what to do. Myself, I swear my next post will about Canadian theater.


And here’s the fundamental reason underlying all the rage on one side and amusement on the other over Sarah Palin: it’s all about … female fertility.

Human beings have extremely strong emotions on the topic of fertility. It’s an obsession — look at the celebrity gossip columns these days. The who is sleeping with whom stuff bores people now compared to the pregnancy news. Thus, celebrities auction off rights to pictures of their new babies for millions, even though all newborns look alike. The top breeding stock parents — Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt — were looking to snag something like $6 million for the exclusive rights to the first photos of their twins.

Now, the Breeding Wars have moved into the political arena. Barack Obama launched his Presidential run at the 2004 Democratic convention by devoting the first 380 words of his speech to describing in great detail the two stocks from which he was crossbred. His message is that by uniting in his DNA the two races, he will end the racial conflict that has long plagued this land. (Noah should take a look at Henry VII’s speech ending Shakespeare’s “Richard III” for the classic expression of the logic of dynastic merger, in this case between the Lancasters and the Yorks.) Obama left out the part about his mom being 17 when she got pregnant and his father already being married with a kid and another on the way.

Palin has horned in on all that subliminal symbolism with her own. She’s had five kids while shooting caribou (a picture of her and a daughter standing over a huge beast she shot is the LA Times most emailed article of the day even though it’s not an article, just a picture) and throwing the crooks out, and now she has a 17-year-old daughter who is pregnant and will marry a handsome hockey player.

The Blue Whites are alarmed and outraged to be reminded that the Red Whites can afford to outbreed them and are outbreeding them. Modern people tell themselves they don’t care about stuff like that, but they do, oh, they do.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Palin 
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From the indispensable

Sarah Palin knows the location of DB Cooper’s body because she threw him from the plane.

Sarah Palin can divide by zero.

Global Warming doesn’t kill polar bears. Sarah Palin kills polar bears, with her teeth.

Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.

Russia sold Alaska to America because Sarah Palin would not bow to autocracy.

Alaskan wolfpacks give Sara Palin first dibs on their kills.

Sarah Palin will give birth to the man who will lead humanity’s war against the machines.

Sarah Palin drives a Zamboni to work.

Sarah Palin begins every day with a moment of silence for the political enemies buried in her yard.

We’ll never know who would win a cage match between Chuck Norris and Sarah Palin because no cage ever constructed can hold her.

The Alaska governor’s instant ascent to Frontier Folk Hero explains much of the unhinged rage among Obama supporters. They’d been fantasizing about their genetically nuanced man of the future, their political Tiger Woods, when suddenly they get blindsided by a figure seemingly out of America’s buried past, a joyously comic tall tale character in the tradition of Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Annie Oakley, Mike Fink, and Paul Bunyan.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Palin 
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I haven’t checked any out of these shocking rumors being heavily flogged by anti-Palin parties such as Andrew Sullivan and Daily Kos for factuality, I just want to give you my impression of how they’ll strike average Americans (especially average American women):

- Palin was already pregnant when she got married two decades ago!

Let’s see, you’re saying the beauty queen/point guard and the oilfield roughneck/Bering Strait fisherman couldn’t keep their hands off each other, got pregnant, got married, had lots more kids, and are together 20 years later? Wow, that’s the most appalling thing I ever heard.

- The governor didn’t really just have a baby at 44, it’s actually her teenage daughter’s, but she’s raising the baby as her own!

Gee, that never happened before in the history of the world … except that’s how Jack Nicholson, Bobby Darrin (see Kevin Spacey’s nice biopic “Beyond the Sea”), Thomas Sowell (in a slightly more complicated version), and a quite a few less famous people were brought up. It lets the inexperienced teen finish her education and find a husband unencumbered by another guy’s kid. The girl escapes being a “single mom” while maintaining a close relationship as an “aunt” with her child, as her experienced and better-financed mom oversees raising the kid. I’m not saying it’s the only or ideal way to handle such matters, but more than a few people have chosen it as the best solution in a difficult situation. Indeed, it might help get Palin off the hook with the more maternal women who are uncertain about her going on the campaign trail so soon after having a baby.

As I said, I haven’t checked into the facts regarding these rumors. I’m all in favor of as many people as possible checking out rumors as soon as possible (in sharp contrast to Barack Obama’s 20-year-relationship with Jeremiah Wright, which the media paid almost no attention to until March 13, 2008 when the primaries were largely over). What I am saying is that a lot of Primarily Political People are clueless about how most people think.

Overall, what we can say for sure about Palin is: she Has A Life. In contrast to undersexed Hillary Clinton’s cautious, cramped biography, Palin’s life story just makes you feel sorry for poor Hillary.

The unanswered question, though, is whether, being a woman, Palin has too much of a life to have mastered her career skills enough. With a male executive with four or five kids, like, say, Mitt Romney, nobody worries about whether his having a life means he can’t also rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics. We just assume that he has a wife who takes care of domestic concerns while he focuses on his career. But with a female executive with such a rich home life, can she really have been devoting enough of her attention to public life?

But, of course, while that’s a good question, it’s also a sexist one. I look forward to Obama and Biden trying to figure out how to handle it.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Palin 
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Scott McConnell at @TAC provides a helpful analogy:

“John McCain’s never seemed to me to merit his “maverick” moniker, but the Palin pick is clear evidence of an independent spirit. He met the women only in February, barely knows her, yet was clearly sufficiently smitten to disregard all professional party insider advice and the heavy neocon lobbying to choose Joe Lieberman, Bill Kristol’s pick to ensure Americans will be fighting Mideast wars in perpetuity. Watching McCain camp followers react to the choice is a bit like seeing the middle aged heirs of a very rich man feign pleasure when they learn Daddy has decided, very late in life, to marry a woman he just recently met, who happens to be forty years his junior.”

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Palin 
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Gov. Palin on her morning commute to the state capitol in Juneau.

Right now, Sarah Palin appears to have some of that Balanck Slate magic that propelled Obama to the nomination working for her, too (in contrast to the overly-familiar Joe Biden, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1954 when he was 11.) It’s not just that he’s from Hawaii and she’s from Alaska. Here’s somebody that nobody knows much about, but who has an interesting story, and everybody can seize on whatever bits and pieces they hear about her that they like and make up a little story about who she must be.

In particular, she appears to have completely won the hearts of the Nerd Vote with her Tina-Fey-in-the-NRA image — pretty girls with big guns, just like in all the movies.

On the other hand, let me point out, she was a journalism major …

The Ambler of British Columbia (from whom I stole the stock photo and caption above – where he got it, I can’t say) has this to say about his neighbor to the Northwest.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Palin 
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Palin’s record in turning out the corrupt, nepotistic old guard in Alaska will allow her to legitimately go after Obama’s role as a facilitator of the Rezko-Blagojevich corruption in Illinois. With the whole world to choose from, Obama chose to become a Chicago politician, and not one of those Quixotic reformers who pop up there intermittently, such as the former junior senator from Illinois in 1999-2005, Republican Peter Fitzgerald. Obama’s predecessor was dumped by the local GOP after one term because he insisted on bringing federal pitbull prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) to town, who has since sent to prison Republican governor George Ryan, bipartisan fixer Tony Rezko, and, maybe someday, current Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich.

Obama sure hasn’t made that mistake of using his federal power to help clean up Illinois.

When you understand Illinois politics, Obama’s emphasis on “bipartisanship” takes on a sinister air, since in Illinois the central faultline undermining the commonweal is not Republican vs. Democrat but Politician vs. Public. As ex-Sen. Fitzgerald told John Kass of the Chicago Tribune:

“In the final analysis, The Combine’s allegiance is not to a party, but to their pocketbooks. They’re about making money off the taxpayers. And all these guys being mentioned, [in the Rezko trial] they’re part of it.”

Obama’s ostensible cause was not “fixing the broken politics” of Illinois, but getting a bigger cut of the boodle for his race. Obama’s indoctrination in Saul Alinsky’s cynical “Rules for Radicals” left him no room for Fitzgeraldian idealism. Alinsky taught that you must question people until you discover their self-interest, then you go from there. In reality, of course, Obama mostly just succeeded in promoting himself. The abstemious Obama appears to have been less interested in money than in the power he could garner as the clean face of the Combine, covering for allies like legislature godfather Emil Jones and Richie Daley (whom Michelle went to work for in the early 1990s). His most obvious slip-up was bringing Tony Rezko in on his mansion purchase, which I would guess was done for Michelle, who is far more materialistic.

Chicago politics is a combination of the boring (the scams are mostly nickel and dime stuff, just done over and over) and the seemingly bizarre (e.g., the brother of Richie Daley, the brother of Tony Rezko, and the son of Elijah Muhammad teaming up to fraudulently get a $10 million minority set-aside contract from Southwestern Bell for pay phones in Cook Couny jails). Illinois represents the triumph of post-everything politics: at the highest levels, race, religion, ideology, character, being a terrorist, endorsing the Manson murders, none of that means anything as long as you are an insider with clout and are willing to play ball.

Obama played ball. The media have paid little attention to it, but Chicago politics are a huge part of the Obama story.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Obama, Palin 
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McCain’s choice for Veep of the young lady governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, seems, initially, like a good way out of the box of Romney (who would make a decent President but a poor VP candidate) vs. Lieberman. As I always say, there are 300,000,000 million people in this country, more than a few of whom would do better than the usual suspects. Of course, I’m just trying to wave my hands around here without looking too idiotic, because I have only the dimmest idea who Sara Palin is.

Having now read her Wikipedia article, she certainly sounds energetic. Although, with five kids, she may have a little too much on her plate, even for somebody who appears to be a force of nature. She’s definitely the anti-Cheney, the complete opposite of the Washington insider. Symbolically, she seems like an excellent choice — a sterling representative of a young, healthy, energetic, honest grassroots conservative America, the living embodiment of the fact that Affordable Family Formation is the bulwark of the GOP.

The McCain strategy here appears to be to play to Us vs. Them feelings, with Republicans portrayed as the core of America — the married couples, people with a life — while portraying the Democrats as the marginals — singles, elites, gays, underclass, etc — with the Democrats as the Party of Dying Alone.

Whether Palin will actually turn out to be a good campaigner, much less a good President, is totally beyond me.

One thing I am competent to comment on is that I hear her husband, who works for the oil industry in the winter and is a fisherman in the summer (Alaska fishermen are staples on all those “America’s Toughest Jobs” reality shows, so that will make killer visuals), is 1/8th Yu’pik , which offers you the chance to one-up the Stuff White People Like crowd in terms of minority sensitivity. They will want to correct your gaffe of calling him part-Eskimo and explain that nobody is allowed to say “Eskimo” anymore. Everybody who is anybody must say “Inuit.”

Sorry, but that’s just the majority imposing their cultural hegemony on the minority.

A s I wrote in 2002, you can tell those Canadian-symps:

The official handbook of the 3-year-old Canadian Territory of Nunavut says, “A word of advice, please don’t call Inuit here “Eskimos.” They’ve always called themselves Inuit, or ‘the people’ in Inuktitut, their native tongue.”

The confusion over “Eskimo” vs. “Inuit” illustrates the paradoxes that accompany the many attempts these days to change the names of ethnic groups.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “Many Americans today either avoid this term (Eskimo) or feel uneasy using it.” For example, a Web site of the University of Wisconsin School of Education advises teachers, “There are no ‘Eskimo’ people.”

That would come as a surprise, however, to thousands of Yup’ik-speaking Eskimos in Western Alaska who much prefer to be called “Eskimo” instead of “Inuit.”

Why? They aren’t Inuit.

Steven A. Jacobson, a professor at the Alaska Native Language Center (of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks), told United Press International, “Yup’ik speakers say, ‘We’re Yup’ik Eskimos; our relatives in northern Alaska, Canada and Greenland are Inuit Eskimos; they aren’t Yup’ik, and we aren’t Inuit, but we’re all Eskimos.’ Yup’ik speakers prefer to be called ‘Yup’iks’ … and — in contrast to Inuit in Canada — don’t mind the word ‘Eskimo,’ but they do not like to be called ‘Inuit.’”

“Eskimo” remains the only word that describes all the physically and culturally quite homogenous groups that extend from the Siberian side of the Bering Strait to Greenland. The American Heritage Dictionary sums up, “While use of these terms (‘Inuit’ and ‘Yup’ik’) is often preferable when speaking of the appropriate linguistic group, none of them can be used of the Eskimoan peoples as a whole; the only inclusive term remains Eskimo.”

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: 2008 Election, Palin 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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