Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

Palin’s Trickle-Down History: George Washington

In the aftermath of the so-called “folksy word salad,” in which she described Paul Revere’s midnight ride. It seems Sarah Palin may have been giving history lessons to her supporters.

According to the British newspaper, The Telegraph, Peter Singleton is a lawyer and representative of the group Organize4Palin. He’s been going around Iowa trying to drum up support for the former Alaska governor. He believes that she is going to run. He said the thought of her staying out of the race was  “unthinkable” and likened Palin’s situation to that of George Washington saying:

“Can you see George Washington in 1776 sitting it out? Unthinkable. He wanted to be back on his farm but they said we need you to be president of the republic.”

I would just like to point out that no one was asking George Washington to be President in 1776. There wasn’t even a country for him to lead as President. To go even further, when the country existed under the Articles of Confederation George Washington did not serve as the Executive. It wasn’t until 1789 that George Washington became the first President elected under the Constitution.

Now, I have to admit that perhaps he just misspoke, but then I went to the Organize4Palin website and found a page detailing Palin’s views on issues. Under “American Exceptionalism” is a quote from a SarahPAC post:

Please remember we must learn about our past – our great successes, our bitter struggles, our enduring strength – in order to navigate through the challenges ahead so that we might remain a shining city on a hill and the abiding beacon of freedom.”—SarahPAC post(6/8/2011)

Not only is this coming from the woman who mangled Paul Revere, it’s being reposted by a guy who put George Washington in charge of a country 13 years early. That’s a great example of learning about our past to help us in the future.

Singleton claims he has never met Palin.  A claim I find interesting considering he is canvassing Iowa finding volunteers and supporters. However, it could be true. The Palin team should realize this is just another example of things that make Palin look like she isn’t qualified to lead a nation. If they truly aren’t associated with this guy, they should really try to shut him up.

On a side note, do you think this will get Wikipedia’s George Washington page shut down?

Will Palin “Roosevelt” The Republicans?

Sarah Palin has been making news lately. In fact, she’s been making a lot of news, and not in her normal fashion. For the past couple of years, we’ve all been dragged through the Palin’s lives. People watched the reality show. They voted for Bristol on “Dancing With The Stars.” Even I read the Men’s Journal interview with Todd. Sarah herself has offered all her views at any event for one hundred thousand dollars. She even appears on FOXNews so regularly that they built a studio in her house. Recently things have changed a bit. Now Palin is on the road.

The “One Nation” bus tour sent sparks flying through the political arena. What is she doing? Is this a prelude to a presidential bid? Why won’t she tell us? There are a few interesting things about this tour that may provide a glimpse at the future. First is her treatment of the media. People following Palin have complained about the lack of information they are getting. There are no public schedules, no real information at all in fact. Palin is not hiding her disdain for the mainstream media. She did do an interview with Greta Van Susteran. Otherwise, she’s basically told the media to screw off. Why are they surprised? With no information coming from the bus tour, there is still plenty of news coverage. It’s like the media is saying McDonald’s should be delivering cheesburgers to them even though they go through the drive-thru daily. All the while Sarah Palin is getting all the media coverage she could want and reinforcing her image as an outsider or does things her way.

She continued to enhance that image breaking unspoken party rules. She rolled into New Hampshire on the same day that Mitt Romney was going to officially announce his campaign. The Romney event was staged from start to finish, and all the good details were leaked to the press. It was a classic political event. Everything Palin is doing is the complete opposite of that. She’s reinforcing her “rogue” persona while stepping all over the toes of the Republican establishment. I think she preparing something big. Perhaps a once in a century event. Let’s start with a little history lesson, and no, it’s not about Paul Revere.

The election of 1912 is possibly the most successful campaign by a third party in American history. Incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft is campaigning for reelection, but there is another big Republican name in the race. Former President Theodore Roosevelt, unhappy with his hand-picked successor, is running for the Progressive Party after a failed campaign for the Republican nomination. In a unprecendented campaign, the incumbent President was basically a non-factor. Roosevelt received more popular and electoral votes. In the end, the split of the Republican vote propelled a former college professor and New Jersey Governor named Thomas Woodrow Wilson to the White House.

If all the votes cast for Taft and Roosevelt were combined the Republicans would have defeated Wilson. This is the effect Sarah Palin could have on this race. In 2000 it was suggested that Ralph Nader did the same thing. His impact was probably minimal in reality, but it was an extremely close election. Ross Perot had this kind of effect in 1992 when he gained 18.9% of the popular vote. Sarah Palin is poised to take up the mantle of the third-party candidate. She wouldn’t win the election, but she could effectively destroy any Republican chances of defeating President Obama.  People are fed up with the establishment. Congress’ approval rating has been staggeringly low for years. The Tea Party is continuing to make waves in national politics. All this is going on and Sarah Palin is being pushed from the media spotlight by an increasing focus on the presidential race. She started changing that with her bus tour. Palin gets all the media attention she wants. FOXNews will bend over backwards to put her on TV.

On FOX and in stump speeches is where Palin shines. People recently ran her through the ringer about her account of Paul Revere’s midnight ride. Live Q&A is not her strong suit. She’s not good on the fly. Her Paul Revere account could have been completely accurate and it would have sounded like gibberish. However, if you put her in her comfort zone she is the ultra-Republican. She can send out buzzwords and catchphrases with the best of them, and she seems like a normal person doing it. She appeals to a significant portion of the Republican party who hates liberals, and is tired of the old white male conservatives who have been running the party. She could steal enough of the vote to doom Romney, Pawlenty, or any of the others to a life of celebrity golf.

The real question is would she? Would Palin ensure a victory for Obama just to stay in the spotlight. I think history says she would. It also allows her the chance to show the establishment that she needs to be listened to. After the 2010 midterms, Palin took a credibility hit. She endorsed some candidates (like Christine O’Donnell) that cost Republicans some congressional seats. If she wants to get back to the table it might be worth it force an election loss for her personal gain. This election will mark the 100 year anniversary of the election when the Bull Moose Party cost Republicans the White House. So we have to ask, will the Mama Grizzly so the same. I think she will.

Two Stories: One Hilarious, The Other Ridiculous

I came across two stories at the LA Times website today.  You should read them both. The first talks about a Sarah Palin snafu at FOXNews. Come on FOX, you pay her a million dollars a year and don’t know what she looks like?

The second tells us about the ridiculous future of Bristol Palin. I hope it doesn’t make you cringe or lose total faith in the American public. It’s making me do both.

Wisconsin Legislature Attacks Firefighters and Police Officers. That’s A Good Idea.

I really can’t believe it. First, Wisconsin Republicans attacked the collective bargaining rights of teachers and municipal employees. That drew tens of thousands of protesters to Madison. They were smart to exempt firefighters and police officers from that bill. Teachers were an easy target. They don’t work the full year; they get decent benefits. Republicans easily painted them as freeloading public employees. They didn’t mention that teachers do one of the most important jobs in our country. They educate people. Nearly all of us went to a public school and based on that education have achieved great things. Public schools made it possible for people to work hard and succeed. Prior to nationwide public education you were taught by anyone availible. Most likely you ended up working in a factory for very little money. It is not surprising that thousands of protesters wound up at the Wisconsin Statehouse.

It is far more surprising that emboldened by their success dealing with teacher’s rights, Wisconsin Republicans are now taking on firefighters and the police. As the Associated Press reports, the Wisconsin legislature is trying to raise the amount of money police and firefighters pay for healthcare and pension benefits. They also are trying to strip collective bargaining rights over design and choice of healthcare plans. While cost may be negotiated, they can’t bargain for a better coverage plan. In other words, Wisconsin Republicans are trying to eliminate competition in the market. Interesting, if you consider the fact that Republicans constantly rave about the free market and competition.

What is really at stake here is much more important than ideology. Police officers prevent crime. It is that simple. If we take away incentives for people to become police officers then less people will do so. It will become harder for police departments to find qualified personnel. The same is true for firefighters. These people put their lives on the line everyday to help protect us. Just today a police officer died in Missouri. He was struck by lightning during the search and rescue operation in Joplin. This man was trying to find survivors of a deadly tornado in a dangerous environment. His courage like the courage of firefighters and police officers around the country, should be celebrated.

If it were possible to make healthcare and retirement benefits free to all public employees, then we should. It’s not possible, but we should make these benefits cost as little as possible. A simple fact about government is often ignored. Without government, society as we know it wouldn’t exist. You can trumpet the benefits of private enterprise all you want, but without government to keep it in check we would be worse off.

Sarah Palin recently said she believes any mandate from government is bad. She was loosely referring to the “individual mandate” in President Obama’s healthcare law. She wanted to stir up some anti-government sentiment. That’s something Mrs. Palin is quite good at. She’s counting on the notion that people won’t think too hard about her statement. In reality, a “mandate” is just a law or regulation that requires someone to do something. Mrs. Palin seems to think these are all bad for America.  I’d like to provide a couple of examples to the contrary.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938: This is a law that limits the amount of time a person can be required to work in a week without additional compensation, establishes a minimum wage a person can be paid and restricts

The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990: A law that ensures people with physical and mental disabilities are not discriminated against in various ways. Signed into law by a Republican President.

I could go on and on, but let’s also mention that their are government mandates that say you can’t kill someone else, take somebody else’s stuff or yell “fire” in a crowded theater. That last one isn’t just a mandate, it actually restricts the 1st Amendment.

I don’t understand this anti-government zealotry. I know Sarah Palin is taking advantage of it, but what I don’t understand is why so many people buy into it. We are so willing to blame government, and so slow to blame business. We are so eager to think that public employees have such a great deal, but slow to realize that it is the corporate culture that keeps that great deal from so many of us. We seem to be so afraid of hurting the economy that we vote for policies that do not benefit us. There was a compromise over raising taxes for the wealthiest Americans by 3%. Enough Americans thought that a 3% increase in a few peoples taxes would actually hurt the economy substantially.

If we continue to assault the poor, and middle class, we will only harm America. Firefighters, police officers, and teachers aren’t getting rich, but they are providing the most essential services. We should remember that.

Independent Kansan: Post-Rapture Edition

That’s right baby, we’re back. I don’t know if everybody is still out there. Maybe some people were whisked away to Heaven, but it wasn’t me and it wasn’t you. The post-Rapture “Hell on Earth” doesn’t seem to be taking place. So I have made the decision to return to a life of speaking my opinion to anyone who will listen and boldly trying to restore some common sense to the world.

It might be worth noting that a few hours after the supposed beginning of the end, a tornadic thunderstorm did roll through my little piece of this planet. I don’t know if God was sending me a warning shot or what.

I guess I should give you a preview of whats to come. Tim Pawlenty is running for President. Mitch Daniels is not. Sarah Palin, apparently raised some money and bought a house in Arizona. People seem to think that maybe she’s setting something up. We still have to raise the debt ceiling, pass a budget and while we are fighting about all of that, the President has called on Congress to reform federal education law this year.

I had got an email on Friday that posed some interesting questions. This is what it said:

“I wonder what the following conversations / planning meetings were like?

Democratic leadership planning on how to take advantage of the new Democratic Majority after the Rapture.  (assuming our Republican friends are taken, and the gay loving, baby killing, welfare spending democrats are left all alone.

Republicans planning how to carry on if their most vocal base goes to heaven.  (Safe assumption that if they got themselves elected to congress they will not be making the trip) How can they stay in office without their Christian conservative supporters.  Did the republican party circulate forms “in case of rapture, please donate all of my money to the Republican party?”
Special thanks to Mike for allowing me to use this. I assume he won’t mind. The point of all this is that there is no shortage of things to talk about, and as the world seems to be continuing on, so must we. Thanks to all my readers. I hope in the “Post-Rapture world” I can continue to provide a voice of civility in a world of madness.

Who Will The Republican Party Pick?

As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, I see the field narrowing very quickly. Let’s start with who’s in and who’s not. Haley Barbour said he isn’t running. Rep. Mike Pence, whose named was tossed about, would rather be governor of Indiana. Personally, I think Pence is making the strategic calculation that Obama’s going to win and the election in 2016 will be much easier with some executive experience under his belt. From what I’ve heard and read, I don’t think Sarah Palin will really get in race. I don’t think Mike Huckabee will either. Donald Trump is obviously making waves, but even if he gets in the race he won’t last long. He’s just playing on the right’s dislike of the President. He hasn’t put forth any real ideas. Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman seems to be in the field, but I don’t see him winning. The “he worked for Obama” argument will kill his campaign. Rick Santorum isn’t an unlikely choice, but his appeal to social conservatives isn’t going to separate him from the pack. I think Santorum could prove to be a valuable running mate for some of the other candidates. While any of these folks might get in the race I don’t think they really have a chance.

This brings me to the four that I think are most interesting Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Herman Cain. I don’t think Bachmann has a real shot at the nomination, but if she runs she could influence who does. She’s very popular with the Tea Party. Appealing to the Tea Party is going to be important to get both votes and money. I think you’re likely to see the support of American’s For Prosperity and similar groups going toward the most Tea Partyish candidates. This is why gaining her endorsement (and Sarah Palin’s) could be important. It might also make her a choice as a running mate, but she comes with baggage. Her Sarah Palinesque style and “slightly off-camera” speech delivery along with the fact that she was a Democrat who volunteered for Jimmy Carter, might make her not worth it.

Mitt Romney is often called the front-runner these days. Romney is charismatic and presidential looking. He’s a decent public speaker. He does have issues though. He is the former governor of not only a blue state, but perhaps the bluest of them all. Massachusetts has only fallen to Republicans four times since 1928. “Romneycare” will be a stumbling block. I believe 2012 will feel a lot like 2008 for Mitt Romney.

Tim Pawlenty is the quintessential Republican candidate. He’s a former Governor which is important. Only three sitting senators (Warren Harding, John Kennedy, and Barack Obama) have been elected president. James Garfield is the only member of the House to be elected president. The others were primarily governors. Americans seem to like the idea that governing a state is much like governing the country.  He’s a devout Christian, has a record of fiscal conservatism, and is one of the few Republicans that will appear on the Daily Show. The fact that he will go into an environment that obviously disagrees with him will help him gain some independents. If Republicans want to defeat President Obama, Pawlenty is their best chance. However, there is one candidate that brings something different to the table.

Herman Cain is an unusual candidate, and I think he may actually put up a fight. He has no political experience. That could work to his advantage as he faces an electorate largely disillusioned with politics. He is a successful businessman, and many people feel that an experienced CEO would make an experienced Executive. On top of that he’s an African-American who has a better chance of connecting to that community. The President enjoyed what would appear to many as an exotic childhood. He was raised in Hawaii and spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. Herman Cain, however, is a black, Christian man from Georgia. He attended Morehouse College, and was the first person in his family to earn a degree. Herman Cain has more in common with many black people than the President. He provides the Republican party with an opportunity to show that they are diverse and represent the interests of all Americans. That paired with the fact that drawing the votes of disillusioned, working class African-Americans who are begging for a reason to believe in the American Dream could spell doom for Democrats.

It is very early to be speculating about the next election. Polls from this far out are almost always wrong, but Republicans are at a crossroads. They can choose to remain the establishment that they have been, or follow a new more conservative path. The best part of this choice is that it will lie with the people who support the party. Establishment Republicans could not be happier if the status quo is maintained. Their constituents may have a different opinion. Interestingly, I hope the status quo is maintained. If I have to choose between the Republican I know, and one who may be far more conservative, my choice is clear.

So There’s An Imaginary Forest. . .

Really, there’s an imaginary forest. This forest has trees and plants, but no animals, nothing that can hear, except you. Suddenly a wind picks up and a huge tree starts falling to the ground. Now think, if you weren’t there did it make a sound?

How long did it take before you said, “Of course.” Not very long, I’m guessing. It isn’t such a simple question though. Let’s talk a little about our sense of hearing. Hearing is an example of mechanosensation, meaning that our hearing organs, the ears, are interpreting the movement of molecules around us and sending that information to our brains. Sound is a wave, which means it is not a physical object. It is really just energy that causes molecules to vibrate. They bump up against other molecules and transfer that energy. That happens countless times until some of those molecules bump up against your eardrum. That information is then translated into nerve impulses that shoot up your auditory nerve to your brain. Then you hear something. This happens extremely quickly and is going on constantly. So a tree falls and vibrates the world around it eventually those vibrations make it to your ear and you think “I think a tree is falling.” Hopefully you look around to make sure it’s not falling on you. People usually argue that sound waves are still sent out even if no one is there and so the tree still makes sound.

The presence of sound waves isn’t the question, however. The real question is what is the very nature of sound. Is sound something that exists in the environment? Or is it merely our brains interpretation of something in the environment? Does the physical sensation of sound exist outside our heads or is it created by our brain? Imagine if humans lacked a sense of hearing. We could still discover sound waves in the environment. We could make machines that would detect them. We might still call them sound waves, but they wouldn’t mean the same thing to us. If we lacked a sense of hearing it would fundamentally change the way we think of sound, because our brains would not interpret that information the same. In essence, sound as we know it would not exist. So is the “tree in the woods” question really so simple? Should you have answered so quickly?

The “tree in the woods” question is perhaps not important in our lives. People certainly have more important things to worry about. The nature of sound and hearing doesn’t usually make the top 5. What’s the problem with that? The problem is that we answer so many important questions with the same quick, “of course.” Questions about government, politics, education, any number of important things get brushed aside and we just believe what we repeatedly hear. That’s why FOXNews can say the President is spending $200 million a day on an Asia trip and people believe. “Do politician’s waste our tax dollars? Of course.” We can be convinced that teachers have easy jobs and are overpaid. “Teachers only work 9 months a year, of course they’re overpaid.” We don’t demand thorough arguments and answers, so we don’t get them.

When I was a child I dreaded hearing one of my say four words. “Because I said so.” I hated it, because it was simply not an answer. I’ve always asked questions and I wanted a real answer but sometimes “because I said so” was just easier. For example, my mother would tell me to put on my coat. I would ask why, and she would say “because I said so.” She could have said, “It’s the middle of winter and if you don’t put on your coat you’ll have hypothermia before we reach the car.” That would have taken much longer I  would’ve needed an explanation of what hypothermia was. She went with brevity instead.

I only mention this because we are getting “because I said so” arguments and we’re responding with “of course.” The new Republican budget was unveiled recently. In a video Rep. Paul Ryan, showed that his budget would avoid a debt crisis. How? Well he had a graph and he said so. He doesn’t want people asking too many questions. We are being force-fed a mantra that tax cuts for the rich will create jobs. Republicans say it so often I’m beginning to think they have a “millionaire tax cut” button. Why do tax cuts for the rich create jobs. Because they said so. You could argue that the people who really create jobs are consumers, because they buy products and services thus creating demand for more products and services. This in turn employs more people to manufacture and sell those products and to provide those services. Virtually all of those consumers are not wealthy. So perhaps cutting taxes for them would make more sense than cutting taxes for the rich. You could make that argument. They would rather you didn’t. I’m amazed at the number of people who just assume the “tax cuts create jobs” argument is  true without taking the time to think about it. This brush-off by the public is how we ended up with “death panels.” Sarah Palin hopped on FOX and did some “golly gee Democrats want to kill old people,” number and we were off to the races.  Pres. Obama might not be a citizen. Why? Donald Trump says so. He said so multiple times so it must be ultra-true. These questions are far more complicated and take far more attention than we are willing to give. Yes, people are busy. They have families, and jobs and any number of things to do, but we are at the beginning of the next presidential campaign. If we want real leadership, we have to demand it.

I wrote 402 words about the tree in the woods question. Imagine how many more words could be written about taxes, healthcare, and education. All of these discussions are going on in the federal government, and state governments. In the movie “Uncle Buck” there’s a scene where Macualay Culkin is asking rapid-fire questions of his Uncle Buck. Buck (played by John Candy) tells him he asks a lot of questions. Culkin replies, “I’m a kid. That’s my job.” When did we quit that job? When did we become so disillusioned that we decided it wasn’t worth asking anymore? We need to take up that job again, but it won’t work if we just accept any answer. So we have to ask, How many “because I said so” arguments are we going to accept before we ask for real answers? How many times are we just going to say, of course?  I used to think that Americans were just apathetic when it came to holding government accountable. I was wrong. We just don’t want to take the time to really examine the questions. So, I’m extending an invitation. It’s to a rally. A rally where we start asking the tough questions and demanding real answers. Where is this rally? It’s on your computer, in you living room, in your statehouses, or an imaginary forest. It’s anyplace where we know that sound exists because we make sure that people can hear us.