Palin's Foreign Policy Experience


Does it worry you that Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee talks about issues like gun rights and abortion and teaching "creationism" in school, but has no experience in foreign policy? What does her selection say to people in other countries about how U.S. politics works?

Posted by Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius on September 9, 2008 6:33 PM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (86)

Tom Wonacott :

MikeB

(Do you have any statistics on percentage of failed loans to illegal aliens?)

Victory was attained in three weeks against the Iraqi military, but the nation-building effort by the US was a dismal failure until the surge was implemented. The Iraqi people suffered greatly from this failure as did the US military. The increase in American forces exploited a fracture between al-Qaeda and the Sunnis.

What is success?

1. Stable government. The US Congress set a series benchmarks to judge the progress of the Iraqi government. Many of these goals have been attained but some have not. The benchmarks (including training the Iraqi military) are the first step toward building a stable Iraqi government and society.

2 Security. Providing security is the key to stabilizing Iraq. Training the Iraqi military to take over the responsibility of providing security to ALL the people of Iraq is critical to forming a stable society. There are far too many stories of the military being primarily Shia - leaving the Sunnis out - which is clearly not going to lead to a peaceful society.

3. Government that shares power. On a broader view, a democratic society is simply impossible at this point in time. I have learned that much since we invaded. I envision a society where the Iraqi government model is similar to the government in Lebanon, that is, power sharing among the Kurds, Sunnis and Shia. It will literally take years, in my opinion, to build trust between these three ethnic groups (without a military peace-keeping force).

4. Peaceful neighbor. A US “victory” includes building an Iraqi government that does not support terrorism, build nuclear weapons and limits Iranian influence. Obviously, this may be impossible if we completely pull out. For Iraq to return to civil war conditions, or become a terrorist client state of Iran would be a dismal failure for the US. Even for Iran to fuel a Hizbollah-type gorilla organization within Iraq (similar to Lebanon) could seriously destabilize Iraq and produce a failed state.

5. Protection of minorities. The Sunnis are the minority in the country, and they rely on the US for protection against the Shia majority (backed by Iran). The Sunni clearly don’t want us to leave just quite yet. In that respect, we serve as a peace-keeping force.

In short Mike, I envision us being in Iraq for many years if “success” is truly our goal. In my opinion, the US has given far too much blood to leave the Iraq to chance. We also have an obligation to the Iraqi people to help provide stability and security - since we literally screwed up their country to remove Saddam from power.

How realistic is this scenario? Probably not very considering the level of hate in this region of the world. We may have to settle for far less.

Shiveh :

Winning is not everything. It is what you barter in order to win that eventually will decide your fate. If you barter your basic values, you may win all the battles and still lose the war. Any Vietnam vet can tell you that. I have little doubt that our endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan will also share much of the same fate.

A society is healthy and excelling when the basic tenets of its structure are honored and followed by all groups involved in its progress. Fall of all Empires throughout history is a reminder that a society becomes sick and declines when groups of its people think they are so right in their assumptions that they need to lead by using any means and at all cost. Without honor, there is no leadership. The belief in absolute righteousness fosters an arrogance that throughout history has made many dictators of once freedom fighters.

200 Years of following these basic tenets has made America a great nation. We should be the ones that know winning without them is just a mirage.

MikeB :

Tom Wonacott - You are one of the more thoughtful conservatives here and I always enjoy reading your posts. The last one, however, points up the whole problem with the conservative take on the war in Iraq. You post that the surge has been a success. How? We cannot even define "victory", so how do we define "success"? "Victory" isn't much more than a John McCain campaign mantra that means absolutely nothing. We beat the Iraqi Army on the battlefield. That was victory. We shouldn't have gone into that country to begin with, but we did beat them. We could have/should have just declared "victory", then, and left. Instead, the NeoCons kept adding "stuff" - a democratic government (well, the Iraqi elected a democratic government and they told us to et out. And Iran has a democratic government...we just don't like it); "stability" and that is meaningless nonsense, how on earth do you define stability? By a lack of violence? We have a rate of homicide in this country that closely matches the number of people killed in sectarian violence in Iraq. So, are we not "stable"? Should we invite the EU, Russia, China, to send troops to "stablize" the situation here? "Success", "victory", are empty terms, not much more than hot air tossed about by this White House, the McMain campaign, and Fox News morons. I don't figure you for any of them, so please enlighten us!

Tom Wonacott :

Salamon

Many of the benchmarks laid out by Congress have been attained by the Iraqi government. As you point out, some have not, but, overall, the gains made in Iraq are too obvious to ignore.

The "surge" has been an unqualified success, in my opinion, but civil wars are not solved overnight, so you cannot expect the Iraqi government to solve every problem in one year. Only time and a great deal of effort will keep this country from sliding back into the violence that was pervasive only a year or two ago. Reducing the troop levels too quickly could result in a collapse of the government and a resumption of the civil war.

"So Obama was wrong to agree that the surge is succesful"

The Democrats invested in losing in Iraq simply for political gain. They hoped that the "surge" would fail, thus, only after it became painfully obvious that the surge was successful, Obama - and many of his colleagues - finally had to admit that they were wrong ( I don't recall hearing an apology for being wrong, however).

The surge has been a bitter loss for Obama and his supporters. I read several articles and editorials in the New York Times about Iraq that did not even mention the word "surge" simply because, I suspect, too much credit would go the hated George W. Bush for the success of the surge.

TT :

time for reality check for America and time for dealing with real issues, not just showy and hollow matters that trump substance.

chickc :

You guys better see this:

http://blogs4sense.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/sarah-palin-a-dangerous-choice/

Alaskan locals are showing how they really feel about her.

MikeB :

This is just absurd. The only people who really care about her position with regards to abortion or gun rights are the partisan fanatics from either poll. What everyone ought to be concerned about is her and McCain's and Obama's economic policies. Banks are collapsing, foreign capital (used to prop up our insane government and personal debt) is fleeing, and Lehman's bankruptcy will likely lead to the largest Wall Street sell off in history. Bank of America's absorbing Merrill Lynch amounts to their executives drinking anti-freeze, and you can count on BOA's demise within 6 months.

The problem is "free trade". Everyone knows it, but no one wants to talk about it. The results of "free trade" have been exactly the opposite of what we were told. The good paying jobs, the technical know how, our most basic production capacity, have disappeared. What we have kept are the lowest paying jobs. Worse, the predators that have used "free trade" to cause this mess have turned around and tried to wring the last few cents of profit from those least able to afford it in this country. And, I want it noted, those same parasites, those traitors to this county and humanity, are the sort most likely to support Palin and McCain. It take a particularly evil, self and country loathing sort of ghoul, to justify the sort of suicide Palin represents.

Salamon :

TOM:

When the surge was announced the conditions set out were:
reduction of violence
political settlement.

The first is achieved somewhat: the Awakening group was purchased by USA taxpayers before the Surge,
The shia resistence movement declared cease-fire so they stood down before the surge
The Ethnic cleansing of Bagdad and the blast walls to a certain extent eliminated the reasons for more bloodeshed

The second was not even approached, nevermind successful:
Government fighting the Awakening leadership.
No Provincial election law
No oil law
No SOFUS,

International perspective: China wins first oil contract - no USA oil company given contract.
China/Iran building power plants, while basic services are still unreliable after 5 years of USA REBUILDING

Militarily : no reduction in past surge to before surge military personel from the USA.
Most "coalition of willing" have withdrawn, or planning to in next 6 months.

Your SURGE GENERAL did not propose MEANINGFUL troop reductions, thus beliing the military success thereof.

So Obama was wrong to agree that the surge is succesful, what he should have said that the MSM propaganda on the surge was successful.

VICTORIA :
VICTORIA :

I watched Palin's interview with Charles Gibson last week. In it she stated that if Israel decided to bomb Iran, she wouldn't 'second guess' them, and would support them.

On Zakaria's GPS program today, he announced that Israel stated it would bomb Iran but would change its' mind if the right candidate got into office. (McCain)

I cannot see how her first foray into foreign policies has had anything other than a potentially disastrous effect.

daniel :

To Tom Wonacott from Daniel. Thanks for post. It helped me get things clearer in my mind. And yes I agree things will be interesting over the next couple months.

BobL-VA :

Tom,

I thought so. On one hand you're saying they are all alike and on the other you are saying your man is better. Spin, spin, spin, spin, spin.

Face it Tom, your candidate has turned into the same type of trailer trash you rale against.

Where's the moral character you love to talk about when you're candidate puts out an ad warning our citizens that Obama backs "comprehensive" sex ed for kindergarteners? All the time knowing full well this isn't the case. Is there no limit how low a republican will sink and at the same time try to make the rest of us believe it's about character?

Well, it is about character Tom. It's all about character and your candidate with that single ad proves he's devoid of it. What's the next ad Tom? Obama believes in having sex with kindergarteners? Then we can all watch McCain get on television to tell all of us he believes it true like he did over the sex ed plan.

Personally, I believe as do many republicans that America is basically a conservative and somewhat reactionary nation. This probably suprises you, but I actually do believe it. I would have had a much more difficult time with this election were the McCain of old running instead of the new and unimproved version. John McCain used to be a person of integrity, but I see no evidence of that today. I could care less what Biden said about McCain 4 years ago since this isn't the same McCain of 4 years ago. Why don't we ask Joe Biden today what he thinks of John McCain? Hmmm...do you think the "endorsement" you speak of is still there after the vile falsehoods put out by McCain?

Face it Tom your candidate has turned into pond scum.

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

In fact I cannot think of a more ringing endorsement of his character and competence than Biden's recommendation in 2004.

See ya.

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

"...but from where I sit your candidate has some serious negative issues with character and competence heading the list..."

Dang, Bob, and I thought you were a straight shooter, but that sounds a little like "spin" to me.

How many positions do you suppose Obama has taken on Iraq alone? What is it today even? Eighteen month withdrawal or conditions on the ground? It took him months to even admit the surge worked (not to mention you).

He has flip-flopped on so many issues that there can't be any underlying principals in him. He tries to hide his liberal voting record. I think I would want to defend what I voted for.

How come Joe Biden recommended McCain to Kerry as his vice Presidential candidate in 2004? Think about that Bob - McCain is a REPUBLICAN. How often have you seen that?

Yes, McCain is digging in the dirt in this election, but when it comes to character (and he has displayed a lot in his life) and competence, there is really no comparison between Obama and McCain. You can't spin it any other way.

Enjoy your weekend. I'm going to a wedding in Portland, so I cannot get back to you until Monday.

BobL-VA :

Salamon,

Your point has merit.

Had you read or remembered my posts from 18-24 months ago you know this is an issue near and dear to my heart. I was in mortgage banking for 27 years and many of those at the executive level. Now I'm basically retired since there isn't enough left of the mortgage industry to work for.

The nationalize of Fannie and Freddie was a direct result of the Bush's administration anemic response to the original problems caused by sub-prime lending. The Bush administration intially took a hands off let the markets sort themselves out approach. I postulated at the time this approach was not going to work and would only lead to a financial crisis. The handwritting was on the wall and it was ignored.

The Feds needed to step in to prevent what we're witnessing today and they did not. All they had to do originally was stand behind the US Mortgage market and buy CDO's. This action would have allowed the Feds to shore up the real estate market, keep 100's of financial institutions solvent, alter the way business was done in the future and renegotiate with people whose loans were going into default. They choose not to do this and let the market correct itself until one financial institution after another either failed (Bear Sterns is an example) or is failing like Lehman, Wamu, Wachovia, etc., today.

The nationalization of Fannie and Freddie wasn't specifically for Russia, China, etc., but it certainly was an off shoot. We depend heavily on foreign investment and much of that has dried up since the US didn't stand behind it's financial products. This is an important point you brought up in your post. Also, it does our country absolutely no good to watch our financial markets collapse. The loss of jobs and investment opportunities hurts our society tremendously. The end result is the government take over of Fannie and Freddie, while it could have averted 18 months ago, became a necessity. Better late then never.

You are also very right on the fact this is a much more important issue then whether Palid is qualified to be VP or not.

Tom Wonacott :

Daniel

What wins elections? That’s really what this is all about. Winning is everything (and at all cost). No loser of a Presidential race ever selected a Supreme Court judge to my knowledge. Candidates and their hordes of advisers are focused on that simple task. The issues are just one aspect of a Presidential race. Character, leadership and experience are also important factors. How should charisma fit into the process (and I believe that falls into the category of “visualization“)?

Obama is a very charismatic figure - already embraced in many parts of the world. His charisma may have been the difference in defeating Hillary. McCain and Biden are not charismatic. It would be interesting to see what percentage of people in the world recognize Obama versus McCain. No one can dispute that McCain clearly is more experienced than Obama, and if that was the only qualification necessary to win the election, the race would be over. McCain may look good on stage with Palin, but next to Obama (at the debates), he will be clearly “outvisualized“.

The Presidential race is a complicated endeavor, but its simple as well. Up to 40% of voters will vote for the Republican and the same for the Democrats, so only 20% of the vote is up for grabs, and this will translate to victory or defeat in key swing states. As you mentioned, this becomes a “chess match” for those 20%. Biden was selected because he can “relate” to working people (an Obama weakness) and he is a foreign policy “expert” which is meant to alleviate our fears over his inexperience (hmm - another Obama weakness).

Palin is also charismatic. She was selected to draw disaffected women voters and unite the Republican party. She was selected also because of her record of reform - which is breaking down now. She was selected for entirely different reasons than Biden. She is also very inexperienced.

The polls now show - primarily because of Palin - that McCain leads Obama by about four points . That’s an eleven point shift since the Democratic convention. One poll showed that the selection of Palin caused a twenty point shift in white woman voters to the McCain side. The Democratic party is literally in a panic at this point over this swing - as they should be.

Anyone who believes that Palin is “just” the VP pick, doesn’t know politics, or is a Republican trying to downplay her importance. The Democrats understand that her selection - unchallenged - will cost Obama the election. A massive effort is on the way to discredit her. The New York Times ran an editorial this morning saying she is not ready to be President - as if she is running for President - and then called into question McCain’s judgment for selecting her (even though she has as much experience as Obama who IS running for President). You gotta love the New York Times and their balanced editorials.

With as little of foreign policy knowledge as Palin has, I don’t envy her task of debating Biden on national TV in three weeks. Can you imagine a foreign policy debate between Obama and McCain a year and a half ago (given that - today - Obama has 300 foreign policy advisors)? She has really only a month to prepare. This is where her selection by McCain - a gamble - could be fatal to his election. This is where what I considered to be a “brilliant” selection could break down. The electorate will pay attention to this debate. It doesn’t get much better than this in politics. Pressure anyone?

sara :

In current situation that U.S foreign policy has been engaged in global issues, i think the vice president whether she likes or not has to deal with foreign policy, therefor it's necessary for the nominee that has good potential in forein policy issues.

daniel :

How does American politics work? What is American politics?

I wish I could give a clear answer. To a foreigner no doubt U.S. candidates for president lately seem quite ignorant beings--beings totally ignorant when it comes to foreign policy.

But things are not so simple. Candidates for presidency have to appeal mainly to American voters. Furthermore candidates seem able to be safely shallow because really, and behind the wings, the country is run by thousands of experts in all fields.

We have shallow candidates trying to win the electorate to this or that party, but this and that party have been in existence for quite some time and really the public knows the main issues of this and that party.

The task of the candidates for presidency is just to convince us this way or that. It would be nice if candidates ran on strictly the issues, and it seems as if sight of the issues is totally lost when things are run like a celebrity circus, but the shallowness exists for a reason and is not a sign of total American ignorance.

American candidates can be so shallow that they appear only visually striking, and this plain visuality is such that it touches all Americans, reminds them of substantial issues. But the issues are not enough--the issues of themselves appeal only to an elite. In a sense the complex process of visually striking president versus the issues which should need no striking visuality is similar to problem of television versus the written word.

In the U.S. the written word, issues, etc. remain strong but are behind the scenes. On the table we have an increasingly celebrity type presidential run. To put it another way, the visual aspect is as if America is dreaming, and all participate in the dream. But there is always the consciousness of issues which outlasts any one president.

So we can expect presidential candidates to continue to be made in the image of what the public dreams rather than says until the day we are awake enough not to have to depend on visual footage. And the republicans seem to understand this better than the democrats although the Kennedys seem to have started this American trend.
Take Obama having chosen Biden as a running mate. It can be said that was an error because when Obama and Biden are on stage Biden looks like the one running for president. But if Obama had chosen Hillary what we have is a young black man next to a white woman. That conjures just as tricky feelings.

McCain of coursed aced things by choosing Palin. mcCain and palin look as comfy as husband and wife on stage. The trick is the correct visual and then to mount the substantial issues on top. But the images have to be correct first. What will the American dream LOOK LIKE over the next 25 years? How will the issues play out as the look of things change? If obama wins despite Biden having been the choice for VP we can say the public dreams of an integrated black white world and issues had better be stated to make it reality. If obama...All possible combinations of race, sex, etc. must be imagined for pres and vice pres and their outcomes must be charted for plausibility. Actually it could be obama/biden reminds people of those cop movies where white and black are buddy buddy (lethal weapon with Gibson/glover).

Imagine the rest. Make it clearer. In fact I could have everything wrong. I have been trying to understand my whole life what exactly American politics is and how it works--particularly the disconnect between obvious experts in fields and obviously ignorant presidents.

JOAODAROCHA :

COMO O NOVO GOVERNO ENTRENTARÁ ACRISE DOS BANCOS AMERICANOS ?


A cada dia estamos vendo que realmente o sistema financeiro estava auto regulamentado e disciplindo o comportamento dos mercados mundiais, praticando os abusos mais absurdos.

Quando realmente será que os Bancos Centrais ou qualquer uma outra entidade reguladora irá tomar conhecimento da realidade do mercado financeiro mundial ?

Um organismo que custa tão caro para qualquer Nação, como os Bancos Centrais, porque não previram a crise das Letras Hipotecárias e as maracutaias que estavam acontecendo no mundo financeiro ? Em apenas cinco anos, o mundo gerou uma elite de novos bilionários, através da valorização artificial dos ativos das empresas, mas garantiram a privatização dessses lucros, socializando os prejuizos.
E esses bilhões de dólares ganhos desonestamente ainda não foram devolvidos a quem de direito e os responsáveis também não estão na cadeia. Era um mundo intocável e cercado de Corrupção Por Todos os Lados. Mas está provado que tudo isso só existiu e está existindo, porque a maioria das Nações ainda estão sendo governadas por interesses de grupos privados restritos e não da sociedade. Ter pena dos Malandros e não ter pena dos contribuintes e que irão arcar com esses custos, embora não gerado ou usufruido dessa dívida. E a socialização americana continua em marcha acelerada e setor autormotivo continua cobrando, também, financiamentos privilegiados de mais de US$ 50 bilhões e a corrente vai prá frente …. Mas quem é capitalista, a china ou os estados unidos ?
—————————————————————–
A CRIDIBILIDADE NO MERCADO DE AÇÕES

Até que enfim, os dirigentes das multinacionais estão entendendo que as suas empresas não vivem um agem exclusivamente em função da mídia, que no médio e longo prazos, desmoralizam o mercado de ações.

Os investidores, no mundo inteiro, foram sugestionados através de propagandas enganosas, por balanços maquiados e por uma infinidade de outras irregularidades que não deveriam ter acontecido. Mas o grande problema, ainda é a gratificação absurdas para os COEs, calculadas com base em dados contábeis ficticios. Nunca se ganhou tanto US$ tão fácil e sem nenhuma penalidade judicial.

Salamon, NM :

PalinTOM and BOB:

While the argument about Ms. is interesting in your words, it marks the nadir of politics in USA.

When the current Government has to "nationalize" Fredddie and Fannie to molify Russia, China, Japan, EU etc, THEN the the issue is not Ms. Palin's or Mr. MCCain's foreign experience and or viewppoints, BUT THE INTERESTING ISSUE is whether the USA CAN AFFORD TO HAVE ANY FOREIGN POLICY!

At the rate the financial economy is collapsing [Lehman expected to die by Monday] the smaller banks in trouble due to cancellation of Freddie/Fannie preferred stocks. WAshington Mutual on its last legs, deficit exploding, balance of paymentsd getting ungodly large, the QUESTION IS WHERE THE MONEY FOR FOREIGN POLICY and for DOD coming from if the creditors get upset with USA Foreign BS - hyperinflation or depression?
I admit that the grandstanding in Canadian electioneering is rather laughable, it however, does not reach the ridiculousness of the last couple of weeks in USA land.

While I am aware that the choice you and your cohort mmakes on Nov. 4th will effect me, it is hardly as important to me, as it is for you and your compatriots.

So please get Zakaria and company to post important topics on this blog rather than minor spin on opinions of a small town girl.

BobL-VA :

Tom,

I missed this gem earlier, but it certainly is worthy of a response.

You wrote, "I think Palin - given the hatred exhibited by the Democrats toward her (already)"

Democrats hate Palin? I didn't know repubs were heavy drug users. Democrats haven't stopped laughing at her selection so we haven't got around to hating her yet. Give us time and we probably will given her politics, but right now it's just too humorous. I mean think about the irony. McCain runs around and rags on Obama for experience and then goes and taps Palin. Of course she doesn't have any experience so we get to watch the repubs trip all over themselves telling us how being the mayor of Moosehead qualifies her for the VP slot. It is funny Tom.

By the way how did you like your candidates performance on the View today? My best guess is Alzheirmer's is setting in. He couldn't remember Palin as both mayor and governor has utilized earmarks and he forgot Palin lost money selling the plane. It's becoming clearer by the day why he couldn't remember how many houses he owns. If elected thank god for the secret service or he'd never find his way back to 1600 PA Ave. Doesn't it just warm the cockles of your heart to know that if elected Palin is going to change and I quote, "republicans, democrats and washington," without being able to offer one specific. Now there's a candidate that really thought out this concept of change.

You can rag on Obama all you like and he probably deserves it, but from where I sit your candidate has some serious negative issues with character and competence heading the list.

BobL-VA :

Tom,

You are completely missing my point. I'm not the one claiming my candidate is anything to write home about, you are. All I'm saying is your candidate is absolutely nothing to write home about.

I agree the dems have a flawed candidate. Obama is no Hillary, but he did run a better primary then Hillary and won against overwhelming odds.

However, in a matchup between Barrack and John trying to sell your candidate as a good decent man is garbage. John McCain may be a lot of things, but his campaign has proven conclusively he is neither decent nor honest. All I'm saying it's hypocritical beyond belief to run a campaign any longer on character. There isn't any left. Whether you are John McCain or Barrack Obama you've sold your soul and your principles to be in the position you are in. Where's the character in that?

I'm more then willing to admit Barrack is light on experience (not that that really means that much in a presidential campaign. If it did Bush never would have been elected). I'm also willing to admit he wants to win at almost any cost. Are willing to admit McCain has sold his soul in this election and is slithering through the muck and the slime to win at any cost?

Tom Wonacott :

Daniel

I think visualization is an important point - a really good point in fact. Celebrity status (whatever that means), with the exception of Reagan, is overplayed, in my opinion, but helps a candidate achieve recognition. Some candidates gain recognition by becoming a lightning rod for the ticket such as Spiral Agnew and maybe Dan Quayle. I think Palin - given the hatred exhibited by the Democrats toward her (already) - could fall into that category.

The New York Times ran an article a few days ago about McCain hugging Palin on stage. That would certainly fall into the category of "visualization". Its interesting.

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

When are you going to figure this out Bob?

Obama, in affect, called the Clintons racist. Remember? Obama campaigned on "change" and unifying the country, but then jumped on the race card to turn the nomination in his direction. That's politics, Bob. Politics is a rough and dirty game - and it is certainly not confined to the Republicans. Did you read the New York Times front page this morning? One article is titled "Obama Plans sharper Tones as Party Frets" (read: they are losing ground in this election, therefore, they will start becoming more slimy).

The Democrats are no different than the Republicans - and to suggest otherwise is idiotic. I cannot remember a campaign that the Democrats DIDN'T pull the race card on the Republicans.

Obama is a "mirage" because he campaigned as an agent of change, a unifier - a different kind of politician, but he is the same old ambitious politician we all know and love. He will slime anyone who stands in his way - as he has already proven to the Clintons and will try to prove, as well, to McCain (in much the same manner as your quote from below).

Obama is a classic liberal Presidential candidate - doing his best to hide his liberal voting record. It really makes little sense. Why would you not defend and be proud of your voting record? Flip-flopping on issues is really just pandering for votes while giving up your principals for the election process. It didn't work in 2004 for the Democrats, and Obama has been greatly damaged by that label in 2008.

"I hope issues prevail. I hope the American people are smart enough to reject character assassination and slime. I hope McCain loses and goes back to the Senate. I hope Palid returns to Alaska and finally admits she fired the Public Safety Director because he wouldn't fire her ex-brother-in-law.

Your candidate was a POW over 40 years ago (which he can't stop talking about ad nauseum) but that hasn't translated into his being a good or honest person. Obviously, from the way he's running his campaign even the hogs would throw him out of the sty for being too dirty. He is a mean vile old man and you question Obama's character? Only in the alternative world of spin is this characterization possible."

Spoken like a true liberal - in full panic mode over an election that the Democrats should easily win, but now is in question.

BobL-VA :

Tom,

You're running a geriatric who runs ads accusing the opposition of comprehensive sex ed for kindergarteners and you call Obama the worst candidate the dems could have selected? That's not character Tom, that's pure slime.

What I find most revealing is your statement, "“THE REPUBLICANS CANNOT WIN ON THE ISSUES AND BARACK OBAMA IS A MIRAGE”

Hence it has to be about character for the repubs to win. Hmmm....does that sound a little bit familiar? When did a dem ever have the character to hold office according to any repub? Answer: never. It's really sad when a party can no longer run on issues since they are on the wrong side of them. It's really sad to have to admit your party is out of touch with what America is today and where it's going. All you have left is character? Now we're all supposed to believe that John McCain has more character then Barrack Obama? So we're supposed to vote for John knowing he's on the wrong side of the issues? Of course we are since issues don't have any meaning any longer. Only in the repub world is this the case.

Has anyone suggested maybe the repub's need to alter their positions so they actually can run on a platform and not merely engage in character assassination?

As far as Palin is concerning I can't stop laughing. At least Obama can trust Joe Biden to go campaign on his own. That's a lot more then can be said about Palin. She's on a six inch lease and isn't trusted not to harm McCains chances if let out on her own. Now there's an endorsement about how qualified she is. Of course the spin is "they make such a powerful statement together," Bullcrap.

This election has a long way to go and both sides will have ups and downs between now and election day. In the end I hope reason trumps failed policy. I hope issues prevail. I hope the American people are smart enough to reject character assassination and slime. I hope McCain loses and goes back to the Senate. I hope Palid returns to Alaska and finally admits she fired the Public Safety Director because he wouldn't fire her ex-brother-in-law.

Your candidate was a POW over 40 years ago (which he can't stop talking about ad nauseum) but that hasn't translated into his being a good or honest person. Obviously, from the way he's running his campaign even the hogs would throw him out of the sty for being too dirty. He is a mean vile old man and you question Obama's character? Only in the alternative world of spin is this characterization possible.

daniel :

The lack of foreign policy experience by Palin is deplorable but the problem of such is not confined to the right wing. The left has the same problem this year (Biden an expert?).

In fact it seems more and more that U.S. politics is coming to depend on visuals and that substance can be penned in later by experts advising pres. and VP.

I see things as having run somewhat like this: Obama leading over McCain because obama is visually striking (in the pattern of many crossover artists and athletes). Then obama goofed by chosing biden because visually biden looks like he's running for pres. (when the two are on stage it looks as if obama is VP--bad casting as someone in the wash. post remarked).
Then McCain chose palin--and they look great together on stage (no doubt as to which is running for president).

The GOP grasp that the visual aspect of things is most important of all in running for an election these days. There are plenty of experts that can advise on the issues after the votes come in. Obama can still win, but he had better pull out all the stops, really use those oratorical powers. Also Biden had better keep low key. The republicans on other hand do not need to keep palin low key--just keep her from saying dumb things. Republicans will no doubt keep trying to reinforce the visual aspect of things in guiding McCain/Palins behavior.

Interesting how this election has turned out. What I want to know most of all is exactly how much power the pres. and vice pres. have. How can power be given to people who are more and more figureheads, celebrities? What is the role and balance of power between pres. etc. and the experts behind the scenes. More and more does it resemble film in the sense that behind the scenes we have directors no one sees and the object of both political parties is to compete for best film of reality. We have actors in starring roles and behind the scenes directors guiding everything.

To Tom Wonacott. Good posts. In retrospect it does seem as if the dems should have gone with Hillary for VP. The repubs choosing palin after obama chose biden has all the look of a classic chess move. Obama will have to step up to counter this move--really take control of things.

mohammad allam :

We were not expecting her name for the post of Vice-president.
Now were are thinking that may be American start to think to give a chance to feminism to come in fore front in world politics.what is irony that the talkative American for woman rights has not given any woman so powerfull to be in line of Head of state.with this ,there is message for the world that American care for feminism.
Other hand in present time world power politics many woman are Head of the state.And to understand better to the motive and have a repu with other woman head of state she would be better to be president.
Another reason is that most of the world people are very much against the image of man power like George Bush.Now American policy may give a new and cute face to world to gaze and forget the past and change the image of American administartion.
And in the last one can say that may be the power equation has changed and Republican wants an upper hand to win the 50% of the American woman vote on the issue of feminism.may be this prove to be decisive on this front.

Sead Numanovic, Sarajevo, Bosnia :

I do not think madam Paulin's foreign (non)experience counts in this US elections. She is portraited as a small town houswife taking good care of her familly and business.

she is a tipical american women. she cares about familly values, fights with every-day life issues and does not care about foreign policy. it is man's job. and - man is McCain.

right?

Independent :

Ms. Palin has enhanced the reputations of such politicians as Dan Quayle and George W Bush, who seem enlightened experts on all serious issues, compared to her foolish ideas about foreign policies. According to an article currently at this website, she believes Iraq was involved in 9/11, a notion long discredited and even abandoned by the president. Ms. Palin in her comments this evening on ABC seems to support the idea of going to war with Russia over Georgia.

Her ideas about creationism and climate change are clearly misguided, as well as anti-scientific. Embarrassing sure, but not as important as displaying such ignorance about basic foreign policy issues and advocating a reckless, possible World War III.

Shiveh :

Tom Wonacott

Thank you for your honest response. Maybe some other time we'll debate why Rovian tactics have a place in American politics.

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

Your post reflects the typical level of frustration that Democrats exhibit today as Obama slides in the poles. This post also ranks up there with the “marine at the wall” and “political shill” post of yesteryear for being entirely obnoxious. I stand behind every word I wrote - whether you believe it is spin or not. I don’t really care.

Can you remember back a couple of months, Bob? I wrote:

“THE REPUBLICANS CANNOT WIN ON THE ISSUES AND BARACK OBAMA IS A MIRAGE”

“…Because the Republicans will lose a debate purely on the issues, I expect the Republicans to attack Barack’s inexperience, his liberal voting record, his associations (Wright, Bill Ayers, etc.) and attendance for twenty years at a black liberation theology church that will call into question his character and ability to unite the country. The Republicans can only win by painting Obama unfit for the most important job in the world - and they will try.”

And in the same post:

“…After questions surfaced about past associations and his church, Hillary won eight of the last fifteen primaries. These are not Republican voters questioning Obama, nor is it racism. Its electability. Recent national poles indicate that Hillary does better against McCain than Obama (column in the New York times). There is little doubt that had all this come out a year ago, Barack would not be the nominee...”

Spin Bob?.

First of all, the Democrats may have selected the WRONG nominee for President. Second, Barack Obama may have selected the wrong VP and lost a golden opportunity to unite the party. In addition, the Republicans have out maneuvered the Democrats every step of the way in the 2008 Presidential election including running a very effective ad campaign, and selecting a woman for the VP position. To top it off, McCain is far more qualified than Obama to be President. Painting McCain as a continuation of Bush is effective, but may not be enough. The Democratic strategy will now be to discredit Palin in the same way the Republicans set out to discredit Obama (although Hillary did most of the job herself). Female voters may decide this election so that is a smart strategy.

In an effort to secure the nomination, Obama alienated one half of his party. He played the race card against the Clintons (and Geraldine Farraro). Now that is a win at all cost gamble. No one seriously believes that the Clintons are racist, but that is politics today. Democrats and Republicans are no different. When the polls show a candidate behind, the candidate will do what he can to reverse the trend. Obama tried to inject race into the Presidential campaign as well (remember the “he doesn’t look like me” remark? - or something like that).

Obama is the worst candidate I’ve seen in recent memory - or ever? Don’t get me wrong Bob, he could be a very good President because he is very smart, but he is a lousy candidate. Why else would this election be so close in a year that the Dems should win in a landslide? The answer is that, to date, the Republicans have succeeded in making this election a referendum on Obama - not the issues. You can’t blame the Republicans. The Democrats failed during the nominating process, in my opinion. In addition the Obama campaign has made some obvious gaffs.

Tom Wonacott :

Shiveh

I appreciate your response. If I honestly view my post, I think I was just analyzing the Presidential race from a Republican point of view (kind of like Fox News). That's all. That includes the attacks on her faith, family and inexperience at the national level - the latter being entirely fair to attack.

Why have the Republicans done so well (so far) in a year that they shouldn't?

Don't misinterpret my fair and balanced approach, I really want the Republicans to win. The way the Democrats used the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, the NSA etc. for political gain insures I will not vote Democrat for many years - under just about any circumstance.

Shiveh :

Tom Wonacott

You are referring to a part of your post that is a wish for the gamble to pay off. The following is a better example of her celebrity status in your party:
“Conservatives have circled the wagons around the new VP nominee, and potential party star.”
I called her a celebrity woman because your party has made her into a celebrity to deflect the attention of the voters from issues that are vital to our well-being. What part of my remark was sexist? Calling her a woman? Or calling her a celebrity?

Let’s stop nit-picking and talk about the core of our differences here. I have an old fashioned belief structure. I believe in doing what is right and fair even if I’m hurt by it. I believe in the common good and I’m a sucker for chivalry. I’ve been reading your posts for a couple of years and I know that you have a strong value structure. But you did not let it bother you when writing about the Republican campaign choices. And that bothered me. Forget tactic and strategy for a moment and concentrate on our core belief in what we call moral behavior, and in what used to be called manly before manly became sexist and tell me if what you described still fits.

Tom Wonacott :

Shiveh

I called Sarah Palin a celebrity woman? Hardly. Just like the rest of you, I know very little about her. This is what I said:

"The inexperience of Palin is a political gamble. Over the next two months, Palin will need to stand up to intense scrutiny by the press and others, and prove that she can take over for McCain if he wins the election. Palin will need to answer questions concerning domestic and foreign policy in an intelligent and consistent manner. She will be under intense pressure."

Does this sound like I'm looking for a celebrity woman? This is a realistic look at what she will have to prove if McCain is to win the election.

Its hard to believe that you would refer to Palin as a celebrity woman. On what basis? I don’t mean to offend you, but that is an extremely sexist statement. Besides, the “left” made her into a celebrity. Just what are Obama's qualifications? Remember, he is running for President. There is a lot of difference between President (makes the final decision) and the VP. I was fifty before I even knew what a VP did.

I have never hidden the fact that I am a Republican. Of course I approve of uniting the party - and especially the religious right. Yes, I believe her selection (on the surface) was an incredibly smart move. Maybe that reflects the kind of decisions McCain will make as President? If it was a bad decision, he will lose the election - as he should.

What makes you believe Obama selected Biden for the good of the country? I would suggest to you that he just didn’t want to have Bill and Hillary in the White House (I wouldn‘t either), none the less, it may turn out to be a fatal mistake. That's his decision and he will have to live with it.

Shiveh :

Tom Wonacott,

In your post you describe and approve of the way McCain pandered to the religious right, disaffected democrats and women in general without any consideration for what the nation may need from a VP at a pivotal point in our history. You put down Obama’s decision to go with a person that he thought was best for the country because pandering to Clinton’s supporters would have given him a better chance to win an election. You mention how McCain changed a campaign that was concentrating on issues by turning the spotlight and media attention to a celebrity woman and show it as a smart move.

Let me make this short, the proof is in the pudding. Read both your post and my response again and if it helps you, review what caused the sub-prime meltdown and our Auto manufacturing debacle, you just might see what I’m talking about.

Tom Wonacott :

Shiveh

Thanks for the post, but you will have to be more specific. I'm not sure what you are talking about. Trust me, I don't mind being singled out. That's the purpose of the site - to discuss issues like elections.

Thanks

Shiveh :

Tom Wonacott

Tom! I’m going to use your post to point to a crisis of immorality that is ruining this country. So please accept my apologies in advance for singling out a friend's post for emphasizing what I despise.

Devious tactics and strategy, lacking all safeguards of morality and without a foresight into our mutual well-being as a nation, deployed to just win the task at hand in the immediate future, is the degenerative sickness that has polluted the minds of many of our educated managers in the fields of industry and politics. Read your post again Tom and see how well you are describing this culture that devote of righteousness, so devilishly tries to reach its ambitions by ALL means and at ANY cost.

The managers of our corporations forced to show improved profits on every quarter to increase the stock value of their company, are using these same tactics to our economic peril. Our political process is shamelessly dishonest. The home of the brave is run by opportunist hacks and you wonder why I’m angry? Why aren’t you? Why the tactics you described in your post do not bother you? Do you still want people of honor and chivalry at the helm or any calculating two-faced politician that supports your pay check for the next 4 years will do?

Left or right, up or down! do not concern me. It is the future of this country and the troubles that we are leaving for the next generation that makes me shiver.

D.D. Sawyer :

Sarah Palin is not running for president of the hockey team booster club or the PTA – she is on a national ticket as a candidate for Vice President of the United States. Her qualification as a hockey mom will be meaningless in the face of a world crisis. Lies – not half truths or some other euphuism – about her record and accomplishments further diminish our nation’s credibility at home and abroad. Her obvious lack of education, exposure and experience will provide no expertise, advice or counsel to a President. We really don’t know Sarah Palin and by keeping all of us at bay with fictitious homespun stories about her prowess as a seller on EBay and feigned righteous indignation on just about everything else, does not address her positions or knowledge of the profound issues that face this country. Governance is VERY serious business and we should treat it as such. Let us all be less concerned about a pig in lipstick and very, very wary of buying a pig in a poke.

Salamon, NM :

What worries me most is that Mrs. Palin in her short career in politics has never seen any financial problem with regards to the town/state where she operated.

When the USA is in serious [almost fatal - had to nationalize Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to placate China, Russia etc] finacial difficulties, this woman has excelled in living beyond her polity's fiancial strrength -- the extreme amouint of earmarks to her small town. Simila issue arose in the state with respect to the Bridge to Nowhere, a project which she found most exciting [til she changed her mind as a VP candidate].
In the next four years the USA needs leadership which understands the strugglers of middle class and poorer segments, which can see that living on credit cards or money from DEUX EX MACHINA is not the way to run a nation.

The greatest problem for the next P/VP will be to keep the multipolar world happy, without causing major upsets among nations which underwrite the USA econonomy. Were such rising powers [or established powers] to loose confindence in the USA [as the USA has lost confidedce in Lehmans, Freddie and Fannie, the banks etc] the economic consequences will be most drastic and devastating for the nation and her citizens, for the choice will be: HYPERINFLATION OR EXTREMELY HIGH INTEREST RATE - where both processes would destroy the middle class and even some of the moneyed mebers of the elite.

So good luck USa, make the choice you wish to puruse and AFFORD

dnjake :

The fact is that most of the people worried about Sarah Palin's foreign policy experience have no intention of voting for John McCain. Most people thinking of voting for John McCain are not particularly likely to worry much about Palin's foreign policy experience one way or the other.

If you want to worry about experience, Barack Obama is the place to start. Aside from an elite education and skill as a quick study for David Axelrod's marketing campaign, it is hard to find just what experience Obama has to justify his candidacy for President. The fact is that neither Obama nor Hillary Clinton have much in the way of foreign policy experience that could allow anyone to rationally judge their ability to deal with the potentially life and death decisions of national security.

I might wind up voting for John McCain with the first Republican vote of my life. If I do, I will be somewhat concerned about the possibility that Palin could have to face the very large challenge of taking over as President. But I would also remember Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson.

Harry Truman was a failed businessman who made his way in politics through the Kansas City political machine. He became Vice President through a backroom political deal and was never included at all in Roosevelt's important activties. He had to take over as President cold turkey in very troubled times and did a pretty good job of dealing with them.

Lyndon Johnson was probably the most politically experienced Vice President of all time. When he had to take over, he did use the occasion to pass very important legislation on civil rights. But all that political experience did not help him avoid making the worst political decision of my life in getting us deeply into Vietnam.

Roism007 :

Yes it worries me about Palin's issues.

Ever since the fooling that Bush/Cheney did to the Americans in the past 8 years, electing someone with similar credential would mean that history is repeating itself

Just like Bush, MCain is moving the country into a nation of dumbwits by talking about pigs and lipsticks 55 days before election instead of real issues such as economy,health and overall situation in the country today.

Watching the dumbification of American for past 5 days by Sara Palin with the lies she has told and the crowd cheering her lies, makes me think that the downfall of the American Empire as we knew it in the 20th century has began. Similar to the fall many other empire in our human history, it all starts with the person on top.

Bush laid the foundation stone for the downfall and now watching Palin and McCain build on that downfall with talks of attacking a sovereign country such as Iran, unneccessary drilling of the coast and incompetent dealing with Russia, etc.

Its like watching a darken city run by a blind king

Lionel Roger :

Presidential elections don't really matter any more, at least to any significant extent. Its more a media circus for the benefit of the Tv networks and the Advertising industry. Domestic and Foreign policy is now being run by a rogue Dept. of Defense that respond only to the needs of Corporate America and a Neo-con, pro-Israeli cartel. Any Presidential choice with unrealistic expectations of drastically changing this stranglehold on our Legislative, Exececutive and Judiciary Branches will face this reality within a few days of the swearing on Jan. 1st. Given that these Congressional members run limitless terms and are unresponsive to any call for Campaign reform, its unlikely this Legislative ankylosis for the resolution of key issues will be pushed forward any time soon, short of a massive voter revolt. And in America, we don,t revolt anymore-passivity has become the norm. Congress does not represent the people-we have a Marie Antoinette Government: " Let them eat cake". It is not a coincidence that people have gotten used to voting for the personal traits in a President rather than for the serious solutions for our national problems he brings to the table. The American people already know these cynical pre-election promises will be censored and thrown out by the Corporate Dictatorship behind Congress.

Anonymous :

Sarah Palin and Foreign Policy Resume.

Sara Plain can spell Gordon Brown correctly under 10 second, Queen Elizabeth Alexandra Mary under 15 seconds, Prince Charles Philip Arthur George under 20 seconds and John Sidney McCain III under 5 seconds.

Thats all that is needed in US to be qualified as a foreign policy expert.

Therefore Sarah Palin is a foreign policy expert.

Concerned unaffiliated Christian voter :

Gov. Palin's religious views, and her advocacy of them through policy, deeply troubles me. Her certainty of the infallible righteousness of her interpretation of God and His views is unsettling, and is even more worrisome based on how she has weaved these views into her decision-making. Although she is plucky, charming and charismatic, Gov. Palin does not strike me as being tolerant, and tolerance and humility (though I suppose it is impossible to be humble as a politician) were perhaps the most important teachings of Christ. They are also the two most prominent virtues over which Americans have lost much credibility around the world--our foreign policy, and by extension our people, is most commonly accused of being intolerant and arrogant.

And for its impact on foreign policy, how can someone who so clearly fails to understand the debate and multiplicity of views in Christianity be trusted to advocate or make policy that needs to understand the debate and multiplicity of views in Islam? We cannot hope to isolate and neutralize the extremist minority of voices in Islam that would seek to do us harm with the approaches advocated by the extremist minority of voices in Christianity.

Ken :

Palin does scare me... she has no foreign policy experience and seems out of touch with the rest of the country. I feel much more comfortable with Biden's ability to sit down across the table from a head of state to have a serious conversation. Palin doesn't have the experience a diplomat we now need to represent this country.

Palin needs to finally read the job description for a VP, the version Cheney wrote.

Sutter :

First of all, we don't have to automatically assume she knows nothing about the world since the only time she has traveled to another country, other than Canada, was to visit Alaskan National Guard troops in Iraq. We also don't have to assume that the proxinity of Alaska to Russia boosts her national security credentials or knowledge of the world (there's no evidence she has dealt with Russian officials; I doubt her predecessors had, either). What's important are her curiosity about the world, her knowledge, and her ability to understand the feelings of people of other countries, cultures and religions, including people who disagree with the U.S. The go-it-alone attitude of the Bush Administration wasted the worldwide sympathy and backing we had after 9/11. So far, Palin has not given us much to go on.

Erica Butt :

The Lipstick on the pig - I would love bacon.

EricaButt :

The Lipstick on the pig - I would love bacon.

Carole Cameron Shaw :

You have missed the boat, Tom W. I am not left-
wing, but an evangelical Christian. I raised
five children who are now grown and have eight
grandchildren. Although my husband died pre-
maturely, the difference between mothers and
fathers became quickly apparent in our lives,
and fathers do not make good mothers; nor vice-versa. Failure to recognize this reality
has produced a lot of miserable, disconnected
youth.

Tom Wonacott :

Carole Cameron Shaw

"To promote the election of a young 44 year old mother of five children, including a special needs infant, to the second highest office in the land, is like asking a college freshman biology major to perform multiple by-pass surgery on an endangered heart patient. Aside from the pending sacrifice of
the common good, are there any Christians left who might care as to what will happen to the Palin children if their mother is off trying to run the world?"

Classic left-wing sexism. A father with five children can be the VP, just not the mom.

James R. Cowles :

You betcha it bothers me big time, Fareed. It bothers me that Sarah Palin would be a heartbeat away from the presidency, should McCain win the election. But even in advance of the election, it bothers me -- in some ways even more -- for what it reveals about McCain's judgment. McCain is 72 years old, or would be at his inauguration, and he chooses someone for VP who, in the event that -- God forbid -- McCain dies or is incapacitated, is no-way-no-how qualified to be president. Obama showed much better judgment with the Biden pick. Would to God McCain had done the same. With a resurgent Russia, an intractable Iran, 2 wars in progress, the economy going down the toilet, North Korea reneging on the nuclear deal, and 80 percent of the American people saying the country is headed in the wrong direction -- we need a real president, not a hockey-mom-in-training. That McCain evidently could not see that, or, seeing it, chose to ignore it, does not speak well of him. JIM

Carole Cameron Shaw :

To promote the election of a young 44 year old mother of five children, including a special needs infant, to the second highest office in the land, is like asking a college freshman biology major to perform multiple by-pass surgery on an endangered heart patient. Aside from the pending sacrifice of
the common good, are there any Christians left who might care as to what will happen to the Palin children if their mother is off trying to run the world?

Concerned Citizen :

My husband is Canadian. He and his family are flabbergasted by the choice of Palin. However, it confirms something they, and many others in the world, already think, and that's that this country is dumbing down.

I used to think McCain would be a decent choice (not my first choice, but still decent), till he picked Palin. Wow. In this globalized world, she's an extremely poor VP candidate, and an obvious attempt to pander to the right wing and to women. This is embarrassing.

RTGreenwood :

Would we be talking about the foreign policy experience of Tim Kaine if he had been selected as VP? (He has none.) Why aren't we talking about Barack Obama's foreign policy experience? (He has none).

rwhite :

The answer can only come from Governor Palin herself via her responses to foreign policy questions presented to her via a non-partisan, non-scripted, non-teleprompter assisted venue. It will be interesting to see how many such venues she is permitted to endure. As long as keeping her under wraps is working, (read "celebrity over substance") it is doubtful the Republicans will consent to many.

BobL-VA :

Tom Wonacott,

Come on Tom, don't you ever get sick of shoveling out the same old recycled republican rhetoric? Are you really so cynical about American politics that truth and facts no longer have any meaning? Is it really all about spin?

Your post was just about pure spin. And no, spin is not an admirable quality in spite of what Karl Rove thinks.

The picking of Palin had to objectives. First, McCain needed to pander to the conservate base that doesn't like him. He was successful at this. The second objective was to shake up a campaign that wasn't doing well. He has been up to this point successful at this. The risk he took in selecting her to shake up the campaign was sooner or later she would have to meet the press and the opposition. So far McCains campaign has made a concerted effort to shield her. This shielding isn't to protect Palid, it's to protect McCain.

Your assertion that Palid was a brilliant strategy move is premature to say the least. It has been a good tactical move, but it hasn't been tested enough to bestow upon it, "strategic." We'll find out in 8 weeks whether it was strategic or not.

Your man McCain just put out a TV ad accusing Obama of voting for comprehensive sex ed for kindergarteners. Talk about misleading and slime. This one rises to a new level. What ever happened to the "Straight Talk Express?" What ever happened to the politican who danced to the beat of his own drummer? I'll tell you exactly what happened to him. He wants to win and he wants to win at any cost. It doesn't matter to McCain any long how low he has to sink, how much he has to lie, whether or not he has to pander to the right wing conservative base he doesn't even like or who he has to step on. That much is very obvious. I'm not convinced Obama is that much different in this regard. That's the state of American politics. It's no longer a "gentlemens" game (please excuse the male reference). It's just vile, misleading, sell your soul to win politics and your man is no exception.

It's becoming increasing hard to look at this campaign and not become cynical about American politics. What's to like anymore? We don't run on issues. They don't mean anything to politicans any longer. We have offically crossed the line where it's all about spin.

If there ever was an election that should be a no brainer this one is it. Iraq has not gone well, there were no WMD's, BinLaden is still spedunkling it, we never committed enough forces to Afghanistan to have a chance at stablizing the country, our economy is in terrible shape, we torturing people, ah, the list just keeps on going on. When you look at the history and the facts GW has been an abomination. The repub party has shown hands down it's a divider and not a uniter. Maybe that's why Bush has a 30% approval rating. Of course these 30% also still wander around the midwest to see Elvis concerts at 7/11's.

I'll leave you with this. What's the difference between a politican and a pig? Nope, it's not lipstick. It's a pig at least has a chance at having some morals. Hence, I don't know what the flap was about over Palid and the pig reference Obama used the other day. If anyone should know that equating a politican to a pig only diminishes a pig it should be Obama.

Mjinga :

I really need to know what "foreign policy knowledge" is or means. I am saying if Obama can learn and earn approval by the media about foreign policy knowledge by going to Iraq, Germany and France in one week why would it be so difficult for Mrs.Palin to do the same.

I have not heard or read anything where Obama has made anything of substance regarding his foreign policy stand. If it were a GPO nominee who had Obama's nonexistent exprience in anything we would be hearing about it all day long. "Oh! he has Senator Biden to rely on when it comes to foreign policy issues" is all we hear from the media. If anybody was ever complete on anything why do we have advisors? We are electing a president where we have a choice between Obama and McCain take your pick.

The media and Democrats should stop making this election a contest between Obama and Palin. By the way if it were I would still not want the media to tell who to vote for.

Tom Wonacott :

PG

The surprise selection of Sarah Palin for VP was a brilliant strategic move by the McCain camp. She is charismatic, feisty and, apparently, fearless. - and already hated by the angry left (who realize her selection could cost them the election).

1. McCain not only unified the Republican party, but generated huge excitement within the party’s conservative base - a critical component to winning the election. Conservatives have circled the wagons around the new VP nominee, and potential party star. Although McCain had gained on Obama leading up to the Democratic convention, the safer selection of Pawlenty or Romney would have produced the standard all white male (boring) ticket which probably wouldn’t have generated much excitement nationally - especially among women voters.

2. McCain hoped to pick up disaffected women voters alienated by the Democratic nomination process and VP selection. Obama campaigned on unifying the country, but split the Democratic party on racial and gender lines when he pulled the race card on the Clintons - the most successful Democratic President since Kennedy (and America‘s first “black President“). This may have helped Obama win the nomination, but could cost him the general election. He gambled when he left Hillary off the ticket. An Obama-Hillary ticket could have unified the Democratic party, and probably pulled in many independent women voters. Instead, Palin (at least initially) has drawn women voters to the Republican side just as McCain hoped (at least a 10 point swing among white women since the convention). This is a very bad sign for Democrats.

3. The Palin selection took the spotlight off of the Democratic convention and the highly publicized Obama speech. She has drawn tremendous media attention. A case in point, for example, is the PG question!

The inexperience of Palin is a political gamble. Over the next two months, Palin will need to stand up to intense scrutiny by the press and others, and prove that she can take over for McCain if he wins the election. Palin will need to answer questions concerning domestic and foreign policy in an intelligent and consistent manner. She will be under intense pressure. It took over a year of (torturous) flip-flopping by Obama for him to reach a comfort level with the issues and he still changes his mind regularly i.e., panders to the voters (taxes, drilling for oil, etc.).

The media and Democratic Party have relentlessly attacked Palin and her family since her nomination. This has produced a backlash of sympathy from women voters. The Democrats need to attack her on the issues or face certain defeat. On the issue of religion, the left has already made a spirited and bigoted attack on her Christian faith.  Christianity is one of the favorite targets of the left.  If you pray for guidance, you must be a kook. Fortunately, this is not Europe, and we are, by and large, a religious country.  Notice that Democrats over the last few years have been trying harder to portray themselves as more spiritual (who‘s buying that one?). The Democrats are now operating in panic mode because they recognize that Palin has turned this election (for the moment), and they have no answer. They will most certainly “pray” that Ms. Palin has a bad interview this week.

The good news for the Republicans is that Palin will be learning on the job as the vice President. The other good news is that Obama has probably less experience than Palin - and he will learn on the job from day one - as the President of the US.

The question that PG poses about Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience is valid, but Obama is not directly running against Palin. We are voting for either McCain or Obama to run this country. How does their foreign policy experience compare? A no brainer.

Finally, I oppose mandatory teaching of creationism in school - as does Sarah Palin. Palin is pro life and supports the second amendment. I suspect she is not alone on those issues. A little fear-mongering by Zakaria and Ignatius?

John T :

While Sarah Palin has limited or no experience in foreign affairs, what experience does Obama have? Neither of the two have any. Obama's time in the Illinois Senate is no qualification. The actions of the Illinois legislature has been laughable for years, and bitterly partisan.

At least Palin has had the nerve to stand up to the Republican machine in Alaska. Obama is a puppet of the Daley machine. Why has the main stream media given Obama such a free ride on his connections? Why has no one mentioned the Obama $1M earmark for the University of Chicago shortly after Michelle (who went from the office of Mayor Daley to the U of C) got a 160% raise at the U of C, shortly after Obama was elected to the US Senate? Does this all not seem a bit suspicious?

Nikonicus :

Her selection highlights the Republican strategy of symbolism over substance. Her lack of experience and need to prepare for even routine interviews has kept her to canned stump speeches. When I see her on the air I think of "take your daughter to work day" with McCain standing in the background, beaming like a proud papa.

I'm looking forward to her stepping out of her choreographed comfort zone into the real world.

www.nikonicus.net

Yousuf Hashmi :

Having no experience in foreign policy in my view is a positive asset.

If she is intelligent, able to communicate having good knowledge of world issues then she can learn fast and become a good president.

She will not be a prisoner of her past experience and can bring fresh ideas in to its foreign policy.

US is talking about the change and out side US we also like to see a change. A new approach a new message a new vision.

Sarah Palin is not a very known figure out side
US. But She must be having some magic to become the top boss of Alaska. If got an opportunity she can deliver.

Anonymous :


I think that since Russia is across the Bering Sea from Alaska and Govenor Palin has never even met Vladimir Putin that this shows she has foreign policy experience. Also being able to call the National Guard into action, all 4,500 of them,
to stop a Russian invasion is pretty impressive.
In addition, we don't have to worry about Governor Palin's sex(Am i being sexist by even mentioning she has a sex?)as an issue. As Governor of Alaska, she makes sure, her husband Todd is emailed on all Sarah Palin's correspondence. Todd even sits in on meetings regarding official Alaskan State business with other elected officials and civil employees, from the municipality to the state; a man's point of view is always at hand.
For someone to suggest that Todd Palin really runs the state of Alaska would be silly. Todd is part native Alaskan and after all Alaska is a woman's state. It would be unusual for a man to be Governor there. Only a woman would be taken seriously in Alaska.

Lou :

Yes,you're absolutely right that I am concerned about Palin's foreign policy since she has none. Reasonable people in other nations have to be convinced that Americans are, indeed, the anti-intellectual, backwoods rubes they have long suspected we are.

dbruce :

Question I’d like to see discussed on the PostGlobal Iranian website (assuming the person who posted it is not immediately thrown in prison):

Does it worry you that you can’t own a gun, decide if you should or should not have an abortion, teach evolution in school and the Islamofacist regime running Iran has little experience in foreign policy? What does this say to people in other countries about how Iranian politics works?

Used Cars and Politics :

About 2 months ago, I bought a used car: a cherry red convertible. I gotta be honest, I didn't do much research before buying. I only test drove it once before making a commitment to buy, and it was made by an obscure manufacturer that nobody really ever hear of before. But, at first blush, I was in love with this car. It looked so pretty on the outside. Professional paint job, smooth finish, great curves, and a confident, although perhaps pretentious, feel to it. My rival in the neighborhood had just decided against buying a convertible and instead bought a reliable pickup truck. Certainly, my rival made a more practical and well thought out decision, but where was the 'splash'? I wanted the headlines in the neighborhood! I didn't admit this at the time, but the fact that my rival opted against the flashy choice made me feel as though I simply HAD to pick the convertible.
The first few weeks were like a honeymoon. Heck, you could say I was 'energized' to drive it. But suddenly, almost on a daily basis, things have been falling apart. Turns out, my convertible has an oil leak. As time passes, more and more oil drip drip drips out of the car. The engine stalls out on the highway, almost as if it has no experience with being driven over 60 mph. The interior computer malfunctions when I turn on the radio and the AC at the same time... perhaps multitasking so many responsibilities at once overwhelms the motherboard. I asked the manufacturer for a copy of the owners manual, but they are stalling and acting as if the information is classified. What are they hiding? And now, the roof is stuck in the closed position. So, in reality, this isn't even a real convertible at all!! Needless to say, I made a horrible decision for me and my family. While my rival in the neighborhood enjoys using his pickup to accomplish daily chores, my convertible stays parked behind my garage. But, I think I made the right call when I decided to give my "convertible" a name: Sarah Palin.

spiderman2 :

If there is one single reason why the U.S is not safe from foreign attacks is because of the idiots who live here. Just read their idiotic comments.

voter :

Sarah Palin and McCain are so bad they will leave us all wishing Bush and Cheney were back in office.

spiderman2 :

The U.S is a great country because of it's Christian Values. The Dems are the worst protector of our security. Al Queda trained here in the U.S to fly planes under Bill Clinton's nose.

Palin has good Christian Values so therefore she would make a good commander in chief.

One reason why Bin Ladin tried to burn the White House with jet fuel is because of Bill Clinton's immorality.

Susan E. :

I suspect the American public will shortly be reassured by the powers in the GOP, who will tell us that Mother Sarah will be schooled in foreign policy by "experts" and should the sad occaision arise and she be required to assume the mantle of president, the shadow government that has run our foreign policy during the Bush years will be at her right hand to tell her what to do. Wasn't this how we were reassured about W's lack of foreign policy experience? I think they called him a "CEO President." We were told he'd surround himself with "good people" and rely on them to guide him.

And didn't THAT work out just swell?

OldUncleTom :

Sarah Palin's thoughts on foreign relations?

I have no idea... does she have any?

BobL-VA :

I love easy questions.

"What does her selection say to people in other countries about how U.S. politics works?"

Answer: Nothing they already know they don't work.


American politics aren't working even at a base level today. Anyone watching the American political scene knows it's about winning and winning only. The Straight Talk Express must have hit a really big pot hole since not one staight word has come out of McCain's camp in the last 3 months. For a guy who is on record as not liking GW very much he certainly has abandoned his prinicples to emulate Bush and at the same time tell everyone he's different. Palin fits right in. While she runs around spouting the earmarks are horrible rhetoric she's guilty as sin of soliciting them from the time she was mayor of Moosehead. Oh, and my personal favorite, "I said thanks, but not thanks," to the government for the bridge to nowhere. Hmmm, for it. Took the money. Spent some of it on the project and some of it on other projects. Didn't have enough money left to finish the project and Congress was in no mood to send Alaska anymore money to build a bridge for 50 people so the State would have had to have footed the bill. Then all of a sudden she's against it. FLIP FLOP. Fits right in to McCain's Circular Express. (the days of the straight talk express are gone)

Least anyone think I'm just bashing the repubs let me heap a little bit on Obama. First he was for Federal Funding on his campaign and then he was against it. His rational was the repub's will play dirty and I need the money to counter their dirty tricks. Maybe a little truth here, but get real. Obama has been raising money at a rate where he would be taking a real budget hit if he accepted it. Which is fine, but don't say we need federal election funding and then turn around say I have other reasons not to accept it. It's kind of hard for Obama to call McCain a hypocrite after Obama reversed himself on campaign financing. On top of this we have Obama running around trying to tell everyone Mccain is GW. John McCain certainly is a lot of things, but he's not GW. Hence, Obama like McCain is willing to sacrifice prinicple and moral authority to win.

This brings me right back to Sara Palid. (misspelled on purpose due to lack of experience). Sara was simply a political accomodation for McCain. She could deliver the whacko conservative base that didn't think much of McCain. Yes, McCain is guilty of pandering to this base which is also on record as having said they are a distraction to the work that needs to be done. However, that didn't matter he wants to win so if he had to pick a right wing nut job like Palid he would. Principles and morals be damned. It's all about winning and any foreigner who doesn't already know this will figure it out by the end of this election cycle.

Tess :

Palin's lack of foreign policy experience says the same thing about her (and us if she is voted into office) as her outreach to other, non-white, non-Christian people - WE DON'T CARE. Ignorance is Bliss. IGnorance is the All American mantra. All we have to know is that God Loves USA and no one else. This is, after all, what an American Theocratic state believes.

Citizen of the post-American world :

Here is what the selection of a Sarah Palin may lead to at an accelerated pace.

“America has been heading - for some time, and is heading right now - toward less and less world power, less and less influence… and if American foreign policy continues in the way it has been - that is aggressive and violent and uncaring about the feelings and thoughts of other people - then the influence of the United States is going to decline more and more. This is an empire … that is crumbling - an empire that has no future ... [This is] leading to more and more discontent and home, so I think the American empire will go the way of other empires and I think it is on its way now.

If there is any hope, the hope lies in the American people… [It] lies in American people becoming resentful enough and indignant enough over what has happened to their country, over the loss of dignity in the world, over the starving of human resources in the United States, the starving of education and health, the takeover of the political mechanism by corporate power and the result this has on the everyday lives of the American people…

I think all of this may very well build up into a movement of rebellion… whatever hope there is lies in that large number of Americans who are decent, who don't want to go to war, who don't want to kill other people... And when people organised, and when people began to act, when people began to work together, people began to take risks, people began to oppose the establishment, people began to commit civil disobedience. Well, then that hope became manifest ... it actually turned into change… My hope is that the American people will rouse themselves and change this situation, for the benefit of themselves and for the benefit of the rest of the world.” ***

*** Howard Zinn, “US 'in need of rebellion'”

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2008/09/20089814415795791.html

oldhonky :

Sarah Palin's Foreign Policy Experience is an oxymoron.

Patrick Huss :

Eight years of the amateur hour are more than enough. We need change. We need real change. We need real change now.


"What does her selection say to people in other countries about how U.S. politics works?"

This just reaffirms that American politics requires very little mental exertion from the citizens. Religiosity and unsophisticated analysis overwhelmingly dominate common sense and deliberate policy research in the minds of the electorate. In short, it proves to the rest of the world that we may be powerful, but we are still fundamentaly stupid. Scary isn't it?!

Luigi :

Governor Palin's has certainly made the presidential race more exciting, and she should be congratulated for her rapid political ascent. However, the question at hand is her qualifications for the job of Vice President of the USA. Given Senator's McCain's age and previous medical history lead me to believe that there is a reasonable probability that she may become president in the next 4 years, if the Senator should be elected President. With the significant economic and political turmoil in our country and the world (we have been witnessing a financial meltdown, unstable Pakistan, Afghanistan, a newly assertive Russia, etc.), I see little evidence that would support the claims for Governor Palin being able to handle the job. In addition, given her documented record, she clearly has some extremist views (Creationism, Earmarks, Personal indulgences at public expense, etc.) which are difficult to reconcile with the average mainstream voters.
With the limited time to the election, I would suggest that the best line of defense is to make a quantitative and methodical case against her values and judgment based on the documented evidence we have at hand. There is no need to place any emphasis on personal attacks, which would only tend to elevate her status.

Patriot3 :

In our form of Republican Fascist government, it really doesn't matter who the figurehead Number 1 and Number 2 are. What matters is that they follow orders and do what they are told.

JBE :

Yes.

PALIN IS UNQUALIFIED TO SERVE AS VICE PRESIDENT

PALIN IS UNQUALIFIED TO BE A 72 YEAR OLD MAN'S HEARTBEAT AWAY FROM THE PRESIDENCY.

PALIN IS NOT EDUCATED ENOUGH TO SERVE AS VICE PRESIDENT.

PALIN IS NOT EDUCATED ENOUGH TO LEAD WITH OUR ALLIES.

THE PALIN FAMILY WERE MEMBERS OF THE US-HATING, SECESSIONIST "ALASKA FIRST PARTY" (AKIP)

Palin is completely unqualified for the job McCain's BAD JUDGEMENT selected her for.

I thought McCain said "country first". Not "Pander to the wing-nut right, first" By selecting an unqualified running mate based upon her genderand religion McCain has proven he is in the pocket of NEO-CONS, put special interests and a desire to win over the needs of America, and thus he himself is unqualified to serve.

An Alaskan :

Foreign policy? Are you serious. The only foreign policy experience Palin has is when Europeans get off the cruiseships in Alaska.

As an Alaskan, I can assure you that the vast majority of people up here do not believe she is fit to serve as VP of the United States. She brings a lot of baggage with her, which I would hope does not represent the American "family". If it does, God help us.

As a native Virginian who got the call of the wild decades ago and moved to Alaska, I implore you to dismiss this woman and her Karl Rove induced rhetoric, and vote for the candidate who will best represent us in the White House.

omop :

Whats to worry?

AIPAC gave Ms. Sarah the seal of approval. So did the Rev. John Hagee, Pat Robertson, the Kabballah elders in Beverly Hills, California, and the man who will be on top of her John McCain.

Having been endorsed by the above why would the rest of the world care whether Ms Sarah has experience in foreign policy or not? The present President of Iran never had extensive experience in foreign policy and he still is in power.

In any case there is no need to worry about the lady moose killer from Alaska. According to already scripted scenarios come mid-2011 she will be the one on some flight deck of an aircrat carrier in either Norfolk, or San Diego under a banner flashing "We're Number 1 and we're ready to Rapture".

Pogo :

The Sarah Palin project leaves no doubt the utter disdain the gop has for the American voter. I can surmise its the gop version of enlisting a pop star candidate. Very little is known on the governoers abilities except that her state sits on a sea of oil and limitless revernues. Unlike the lower 48 that if someone standing on the nations highest building and they stacked 100 hundred dollar bills they would still need trillions more to satisfy the national debt. IUO's and not one of the candidates is talking spending reductions. Earmarks fine but that only a minsiscule fraction of the budget.

Shiveh :

Me worry!? Why? Is there anything still unclear about this farcical presidential campaign? I’m long past worried. I’m angry; disappointed; frustrated and hopeless.

Republican’s have proved to me without a shadow of doubt that elections in America are a game best left to professional gamers to play. They have proved twice and are proving for the third time that the majority of the voters in this country are easily deceived. They are just game to be played by professional hacks.

How else could McCain flip to get the votes of the republican base and then flop to attract the still undecided (clue-less) vote and be successful at it? How else would Sara Palin be even considered as a world leader if McCain supporters could distinguish between “reality TV” and a presidential election? She believes this world was created just 5000 years ago and yet we expect the clueless Palin to lead in the fight against global warming! And why is Obama acting like he has already lost? Is the election already decided?

The democratic process in the US is not a respectable process anymore. It is a ploy to let the people with power stay in charge at any cost in order to run the herd to any corner they wish. And the herd is enjoying it.

It is a shame that I’ll be leaving my burden to my son.

iggy :

The U.S. is not what is was in the eyes of the world anymore. We have lost a very valuable advantage, and I do not know if we will ever get it back. The Bush antics over the last 7 years were bad enough, NOW an America Gots Talent show is running for the GOP VP slot with a Grandpa type running for POTUS.
THis country is better than that, I hope, I pray because I'm too old to move to another one now!

Phil :

she is a pathetic choice for VP...and the fact that she has not faced the Press....and the fact that the Press is accepting this is beyond belief.

The press should be demanding access, and she should be answering some tough questions...where is the press instead? Reporting on the pig with lipstick non-sense...instead of focusing attention on her qualifications and her misrepresentations...and all the per-diem money they have reaped.

Dan Conley :

Experience in foreign policy? I'd settle for an OPINION about foreign policy. She's only expressed a couple contradictory thoughts about Iraq publicly. Anything else she's said about foreign policy relates to a natural gas pipeline.

By the time she emerges from the bubble and starts talking, she will have miraculously embraced all of John McCain's foreign policy views. Then people like Charles Krauthammer will declare he oh-so-serious, when in reality she could believe ... anything. And she could be President as soon as Jan. 21, 2009.

Anyone still believe that the Republican Party actually cares about our national security? The GOP is an organization designed to win elections by whatever means necessary, with no interest in finding qualified, sensible candidates.

Citizen of the post-American world :

I do not feel worried. As a citizen, I feel deeply humiliated.

This is no endorsement of the person who recently said this, but after all someone said it well in advance: "America, ... we are a better country than this."

Today, one can read, in "Stars and Stripes": "Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the panel (House Armed Services Committee) that... he is not convinced the coalition is winning, (that) it is critical that other federal agencies provide much needed additional civilian support in Afghanistan, including for provincial reconstruction teams. Without a broad interagency approach, Mullen warned, "no amount of troops in no amount of time can ever achieve all the objectives we seek. And frankly we are running out of time.""

May we, in the months ahead, run the risk that a Sarah Palin be called upon to lead this country as commander-in-chief, in critical situations such as the above?

It is sad that Raymond Carver be no longer around to publish his anticipatory "Little Sarah and the Red Button".

Would Ray Bradbury oblige us by writing it?

"America, ... we are a better country than this."

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.