By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Ron Fournier on the Palin pick

Last week I criticized the Associated Press’ Washington bureau chief, Ron Fournier, for writing what I thought was a dumb and partisan analysis of the Joe Biden pick. Fournier, as I noted, has an interesting history with John McCain, so I was wondering if he would be similarly harsh when writing about McCain’s choice.

To Fournier’s credit, his analysis of the Sarah Palin nomination is pretty tough. Granted, it would be hard for it not to be given its utter ludicrousness. But Fournier hits all the right notes, observing that McCain himself said just a few months ago that he was determined not to repeat George H.W. Bush’s Dan Quayle mistake of 1988 — and making it clear that he just did.

Personally, I think Fournier is wrong about Biden and right about Palin. But he was even-handed.

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Covering all the bases


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  1. O-FISH-L

    That didn’t take long. Classic example of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Palin is a ludicrous pick for VP? Even with more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined?Pray tell what makes Obama qualified, Dan.

  2. Nial Liszt

    Any more ludicrous than Geraldine Ferraro who had served just five years in the House as a member the Public Works Committee and the Post Office Committee?

  3. Brian Flaherty

    I disagree Dan. She has brought the Republican base together to the point where there people are downright giddy. Plus, she may appeal to rural/blue collar voters.

  4. bostonmediawatch

    Obama did what he had to do. That’s the same thing I said immediately after Bill Clinton’s speech in 1992. It was excellent. Stagecraft was great, speech was pretty good, I’d give it 85-90 on a scale of 100, Bill Clinton’s was probably 75-80. But of course, I want fuckin’ blood.However, Clinton was up an easy 20 points, and they weren’t Dukakis points, they were Brit/Irish punter points, although that was in the middle/end of July.Sarah Palin?AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!Thank fuckin’ god.Loved how she invoked September 11 into her speech twice, not September 11, 2001, but Septemner 11, 2008, the day her son supposedly deploys, let’s see if anybody fact checks that.I heard her speech on the radio while I was driving and judging by that, I would say it’s a good thing there’s T.V. and I hope she lets her hair down.I tune into “Three-Way Severin” every once in a while to gauge the nut factor, and he had no idea what to do with it, which is fabulous.McCain’s strategy is to use her for the hard right, particularly the jesus freaks. Hot pro-life librarian with a gun, that’s her profile.Their simplistic stratgy is that when Dems criticize her for lack of experience, they’ll just reflect it back onto their same complaint about Obama.Of course, the problem for them is that, experience or no experience, Obama established his T.V. gravitas last night. As far as experience, there’s work experience and there’s political experience.I’ll take a guy who worked his way through Chicago politics over a beauty (really?) queen who worked her way from the PTA to Mayor of 7,700-ville.The Republican Candidate for Vice President of the United States, Sarah Palin: “And my husband is a championship snow machine racer”Northern British Columbia, North Dakota, and Minnesota: “Oh ya?”Sarah Palin: “Ya!”Northern British Columbia, North Dakota, and Minnesota: “Ya!”Sarah Palin: “He was racing on September 11! Only 4,000 miles away from Ground Zero!Northern British Columbia, North Dakota, and Minnesota: “Ya. That wasn’t too good, that September 11…”Sarah Palin: “Ya.”They’ll send her into the Christian strongholds, but they are not going to be able to bring her up to speed on non-Christian shit fast enough.She’s going to have to go on the Sunday morning shows, by herself, probably right after the convention, and if the press is even barely sentient, she is going to come off as a fembot, ass-fuck herself by her own petard and get left for dead.And if the press doesn’t do the job, Biden should gently dissect her as you would a frog or a fruitfly.And who is this Darrah Murphy of the so-called PUMA?Jesus Christ, somebody get this woman some more of whatever drug she’s coming off of before she starts seizing.And get yourself ready next week for being called a commie fag junkie 24/7. It’s all they have, and it’s worked the last 2 times.Don’tcha wish you could say this on Ch. 2 ? 🙂

  5. Dot Lane

    “She has brought the Republican base together to the point where there people are downright giddy.”Wow, all that in just ten hours. Giddy even. Because, of course, the base was what McCain needs to win, not the center, unless you believe in your heart the fundies were going to sit out this election. I just don’t see how this does anything to improve McCain’s chances. All these brave faces from conservative commentators seems to be whistling past the graveyard.

  6. Brian Flaherty

    bostonmediawatch you are a pompous, East Coast, elitist snob. I read your blog all the time but it just got deleted from my favorites. You’re an angry guy my friend, I am glad I got to know the real you.

  7. Brian Flaherty

    Correction – I think I had my blogs messed up. I was thinking of bostonradiowatch. Perhaps it is the same guy but either way I stand by my statements.

  8. O-FISH-L

    Brian, you can tell by the emotional excitability of bostonmediawatch, Dot Lane and even Dan Kennedy himself that the libs are apoplectic over Palin. It’s fun to watch!Palin’s supposed lack of experience is not a weakness but a clarion call to Obama’s zero experience. Voters will yield the VP some time to get adjusted but as Biden said, the presidency is no place for on the job training. Here we have a PTA mom against a “Community Organizer” dad!Smartly, however late in the day it was, Obama and Biden silenced their mouthpieces who were bashing Palin and now they’ve issued a joint statement praising her. They realize they have a problem on their hands and their buying time to try to solve it / dig up dirt. Apparently the rest of the flock didn’t get Obama’s memo yet.

  9. mike_b1

    fish, step back from the ledge, my friend. Old Man McCain’s entire argument against Obama boils down to 1) he is half-black and 2) he is inexperienced (as if being hit in the head every day for five years makes you presidential, but …). By nominating Palin, who has no experience doing anything but milking babies, it takes away Old Man McCain’s foundation. He just handed the Democrats a huge Christmas present.The proof will be in the donations. You think they were as dry as his shriveled old head before this, just wait. Romney was the only guy bringing in money. You really think he’s going to bother now?

  10. Nial Liszt

    I’d be careful on an OBAMA/BIDEN bumper sticker. There seems to be something subliminal there. Hmmm, change one letter and add a sylable…

  11. Dot Lane

    Apoplectic? Well, I guess you’re the guy who thought Obama sounded like a Republican so you obviously don’t read people well. I’m *baffled* by his pick, which makes no particular sense except for shoring up his conservative base. I’m not sure why I should particularly be interested in Sarah Palin. A venn diagram of Hilary’s supporters views and Palin’s views doesn’t seem to have much overlap, unless you’re saying that a woman would just naturally vote for a woman.

  12. Dot Lane

    “Brian, you can tell by the emotional excitability of bostonmediawatch, Dot Lane and even Dan Kennedy himself that the libs are apoplectic over Palin. It’s fun to watch!”Oh, wait, I see. Women are naturally hysterical, even though their comments in this thread might be fully rational.

  13. Dan Kennedy

    The population of Danvers is 25,000, or nearly three times the size of the town of which Palin was mayor. I don’t want the chairman of our board of selectmen to run for vice president, either.We’re going to be hearing a lot about “experience” in the days ahead. Let me throw out a different name for your consideration. I would argue that John Edwards was the least qualified candidate for president or vice president in modern times. (Except for Palin.)Edwards was a one-term senator who ran for president because he couldn’t get re-elected to the Senate. He served slightly longer in the Senate than Obama, but that was literally his only elected office, whereas Obama had had long service as a legislator in a large state.Yet even though his experience was occasionally an issue, I don’t recall it ever being held up as disqualifying. Why is that?

  14. Nial Liszt

    “Yet even though his experience was occasionally an issue, I don’t recall it ever being held up as disqualifying. Why is that?”Because he was a Dem and held the correct PC positions, same as Ferraro.

  15. Dan Kennedy

    Don’t be ridiculous, Nial. The reason we’re here tonight is that Obama’s experience has been debated endlessly from the moment he began his presidential campaign.

  16. acf

    O fish thinks that Palin’s lack of experience will reflect well for McCain against Obama’s zero (his word, not mine) experience. I don’t think so. All it says is that if the McCain people want to attack Obama that way, finding someone with far less, says nothing about his decision making putting her a heartbeat away from the boss’ chair.

  17. mike_b1

    If President Runner Up in Beauty Contest doesn’t wake you up in a cold sweat, nothing will.As Kris Kristofferson wrote, “Maverick is just another word for hit in the head everyday for five years.”

  18. Nial Liszt

    If this is the worst decision since the Greek Welcome Wagon at Troy, then the Dems have nothing to worry about in November. But if they lose this one, then a major examination of their direction is in order.We are not talking about electing the King of Cambridge or the Monarch of Massachusetts here. All she has to do is pull in 10% of the PUMAS and mission accomplished.I caught the three majors tonight and she actually got a fair shake.She came across as Ms mom at home and in control at the Office. There will be a connection here. She also is probably no worse than +5 in a hoops game to 21 against Barack.

  19. mike_b1

    If only it were that simple, nial. What Old Man McCain, who is clinging to life anyway, is saying to the electorate is, “Vote for me, and this is the person who will be your president when I keel over in 18 or so months.” We’d really be electing her. At any time in the past two years, did you ever consider Palin for president? Ever give money for her campaign? Ever hear of her? And now you want to make her the most important individual in the world?Right.

  20. bostonmediawatch

    “Correction – I think I had my blogs messed up. I was thinking of bostonradiowatch. Perhaps it is the same guy but either way I stand by my statements.”Who really cares if you invade the wrong country, as long as you stand by it, Brian? Stay the course, man, save face at all costs…

  21. O-FISH-L

    Former Clinton aide Dick Morris said it best yesterday in detailing why voters accept that the Vice-Presidential candidate will be less experienced than the Presidential candidate.”The qualifications for student are different than the qualificationse for teacher.”The Democrat ticket is upside down.

  22. Tony

    A few quick points: If you count overall combined life experience, John Edwards was as qualified – if not more qualified – than Barack Obama in 2008. Edwards had trial lawyer experience – longer than Obama’s, owning your own business experience – longer than Obama’s, Wall Street experience – Obama has none, Senate experience – the same as Obama’s, grassroots organizing experience – longer than Obama’s, and lastly, the growing up with virtually nothing experience – as long as Obama’s. The fact that you have never liked the man, Dan, is not lost on your readers and is no reason to shirk his real life experience which is a lot more than Obama’s. While Obama may have made grand speeches to out of work steel workers after Harvard Law, I challenge anyone to compare this to anything Edwards did for people who were down and out with nothing, as noted in his book, “Four Trials.” Second, the Palin pick is pretty interesting overall. I’m not going to speculate whether this was the best or worst move right now. That remains to be seen. Gut reaction says it has both positives and negatives. After hearing the announcement yesterday, I blogged it as “McCain and the MILF,” which is how I initially perceived the pick. I think I was the first to coin this term but whatever.Thinking about it in the deeper context though, there is a lot more to her than “Quayle in a pantsuit.”When she was first floated months ago, there were a bunch of stories about her background as a city councilor, mayor, and now governor. She seems to have short stints of things she has done, and then moved on – or up – to other things. There wasn’t much written about her journalism background at the time but now they are talking about that too. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of “breaking stories” to her background. She has a journalism degree, she was a sports reporter, etc. But I wonder if her journalism training is where she got her tenacity to fight corruption within her own party. That fits in with McCain’s background of going after – pounding into the ground, if you will – small points within the budget, within his party, etc. That all said, McCain really needed to do something dynamic with his pick. We all kinda realized that. Choosing just another white guy – Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Ridge, etc. – was not going to do it. Choosing this woman, at this time, was a pretty dynamic choice.While the Democrats and the media are kinda pooh-poohing the gender thing, they need to be careful about this. I’m willing to bet that Palin puts a good chunk of Hillary 18 million voters – especially the middle-aged, white, WalMart women, the backbone of her base – in play. Despite what some may think, these women are not Kool-Aid Democrats or social liberals. They don’t support gay marriage and they’re iffy on abortion. Many of the women who voted for Hillary in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, etc., all places McCain needs to be competitive, fit this description. Palin is not going to be able to draw Hillary women who are the latte voters, small S socialists, and education fanatics. They will all swallow the gender issue with the Obama/Biden ticket and hope for the best. But the others? They’re in play.

  23. mike_b1

    Keep dreaming, Tony. You say don’t generalize the Hillary supporters, then turn around and do the same. They were for her because of her platform and her gender. If if were just about her gender, why is Clinton a dirty word in the south?

  24. bostonmediawatch

    “I blogged it as “McCain and the MILF,”I’d leave out the F, she’s obviously fertile.Other than that, I guess the only thing I’d ask about her sex life is how come she only has 5 children, rhythm method?Did McCain vet her medical records to see if she ever used birth control?Maybe Cheney’s office took care of that assignment.

  25. Tony

    I’m not generalizing; I’m guessing, based on actually experience with voters over two decades. Everyone assumes all of Hillary’s votes are a lock for Obama. I don’t think that is a safe assumption. In fact, there is exit polling data that kinda proves otherwise. In most of the big primaries Hillary won, there was very serious doubt about Obama’s ability to lead. In those states I mentioned – none of them southern – Hillary voters tend to trend more moderate to conservative than liberal. Sure, I would bet that 60-70 percent of Clinton’s vote stays with Obama. But I would bet as much as 30-40 percent is in play.Go by your local WalMart sometime. Find a Hillary supporter. Then, ask her what her position is on abortion and gay marriage. I think you’ll be surprised by the answers. WalMart is anti-union, predatory capitalists. True liberals don’t shop at WalMart. So …Kerry won 51 percent of the female vote compared to Bush’s 48 percent. If McCain/Palin hold Bush’s male vote and gain a few thousand female votes here and there, McCain/Palin win. Obama’s convention bounce wasn’t that big compared to other historical bounces. Admittedly, I’m guessing. We don’t know how Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Bob Barr affect the race. Since I’m not a partisan, I can look at all the data with an open, admittedly jaded mind. This is what I’m seeing.

  26. O-FISH-L

    Kirsten Powers, an Alaskan herself, nails it in her NY Post column today. I submit to you the last three short paragraphs.===”The other potential trap is luring the Obama campaign onto the “experience” field. The early conventional wisdom says McCain’s pick was boneheaded because it takes the experience issue off the table. But it seems that it has done the opposite: The importance of experience is the topic of the day. The more Democrats complain about this, the more Republicans can turn it on them and say, “If you are so concerned about the amount of experience of the vice president, what about the top of your ticket?” Obama’s argument thus far has been that experience isn’t what counts; it’s judgment. By attacking the Republican woman relentlessly on this issue, Democrats are undermining their own man.” –Kirsten Powers, NY Post

  27. acf

    I just had a bizarre flash regarding the announcement of Palin choice as Veep. Huffington Post is reporting that Alaska’s two top papers have come out questioning Palin’s fitness as the Veep choice. In a reliably red state, it’s somewhat surprising to hear this from two of their papers so soon. Is it possible that her name was announced because it was so off the wall that it would suck all the oxygen out of Obama’s post convention period, and that a surprise maneuver would occur at the convention leading to the real nomination? Have there been any strange statements or maneuverings among the previous ‘likely picks’ since the announcement, positioning them for a surprise move next week? This could be a reason to insist on keeping the R Convention on schedule, regardless of the hurricane warnings across the Gulf Coast. I know this is a strange thought, but I thought I’d put it out there.PS Dan: The first days after I registered and logged into the system to allow me to post here, I only had to do so infrequently. Now I have to do it every day, and a couple of times, so far today. Is this a decision on your end, or is something happening on my end?Al

  28. mike_b1

    Tony, you are mixing lots of numbers there, and not correctly, I might add. You may not be partisan, but you are also not a statistician. Please try harder next time.Thank you.((()))o-fish, you got the argument backwards. The Democrats haven’t argued Obama and the experience issue. They’ve argued McCain and the lack of judgment issue. Oh, and the economy, which according to Bush/McCain is just dandy. Which it always is, when you can’t remember how many houses you own.Duh.

  29. Steve

    Mike and Tony – let’s ignore Clinton voters per se, and just talk about the support Obama has among Democrats. Before the convention, that was running around 80%, which is 10% lower than Gore and Kerry, for whatever reason. If Obama convinces that 10%, it’ll mean a 4% bump in the polls, because the portion of the electoral identifying as Democrat is around 40%.It’s possible the bump we’re seeing for Obama after the convention (4-8%) is largely made up of these Democrats. I haven’t seen a post-convention poll broken out by party identification.(The figures I’m using here are just from memory, but I think they’re pretty accurate.)

  30. mike_b1

    Steve, it’s the Clinton voters that would in theory give Obama that bump. You can’t ignore them.

  31. Dan Kennedy

    Mike and Steve: Frank Rich today points to this analysis showing that, just before the convention, Obama’s support among Democrats was actually slightly better than was enjoyed by Kerry and Gore at a comparable moment.

  32. mike_b1

    That’s the data we’ve been looking for. Good find.

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