Campaigns/Elections

Are You Experienced?

Comparing Barack Obama and Sarah Palin's readiness to govern

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Praising John McCain's running mate the other day, President Bush made one of those comments that reveals more than intended. "Well, she's had executive experience," he said, "and that's what it takes to be a capable person here in Washington, D.C., in the executive branch."

He didn't notice the implication that McCain, a three-term senator, would be sorely deficient as president. Nor did it occur to the former chief executive of Texas that his administration has utterly failed to prove the wisdom of putting a governor in the White House.

Bush was echoing a favorite new theme of conservatives: that a politician of meager experience is ready to lead the Free World. Until recently, McCain and Co. were appalled that the Democratic Party would entrust the presidency to a young person with a thin resume. But since Sarah Palin joined the ticket, they have revised their view.

First, they dismiss the importance of experience. William Kristol wrote in The New York Times that McCain and Barack Obama "undoubtedly thought highly enough of their running mates to have confidence in their ability to take over their administration in case of incapacity or death. I think most voters will accept that basic judgment." If McCain says she can do it, who are we to doubt?

Second, they insist she has more and better experience than Obama, anyway. At the Republican convention, Rudy Giuliani lamented that Obama has "never run a city, never run a state, never run a business"—unlike Palin, who was a mayor before becoming governor of Alaska two years ago. Giuliani didn't mention what he said when he was running against McCain: "He has never run a city, never run a state, never run a government."

But the charge that Obama lacks the necessary background has some merit. Eight years in the Illinois General Assembly and four years in the U.S. Senate is pretty modest training for the most powerful job on earth.

Still, he has spent more time in elected posts than Hillary Clinton, and no one doubted her credentials. When he ran in 2000, Bush himself had spent only half as much time in elective office as Obama has.

The Democratic nominee's other jobs, such as teaching constitutional law, look like better training than, say, helping to run a baseball team. As for McCain's 26 years on Capitol Hill, wasn't it Republicans who used to say there was such a thing as being in Washington too long?

Preparation for the presidency requires more than occupying an executive position or spending decades on Capitol Hill. What makes Obama more ready than Palin? The obvious thing is what he's been doing for the last 18 months.

He had to develop and demonstrate a sure grasp of all the issues that present themselves in the Oval Office. He's been grilled about his voting record, his pastor, and his convicted former fundraiser. He's campaigned in 48 states and defeated a formidable opponent.

By now, he's made himself plausible—not necessarily desirable, but plausible—as president in a way that Washington veterans like Fred Thompson and Chris Dodd simply couldn't do.

We also know something substantive about Obama's judgment from his early opposition to the Iraq war. Contrary to Palin's claims, he has used his time in the legislature and the Senate to sponsor and pass some useful legislation, such as a tighter congressional ethics bill.

She, on the other hand, has never had to address issues beyond the borders of Alaska. Even on her signature issue, the bridge to nowhere, Palin changed her position from "for" to "against" only when it became politically advantageous.

Until being chosen, she had apparently never set out her views on the Iraq war, and she never spelled out her policies on the most pressing national problems. We don't know if she's ever thought about them. It's anyone's guess if Palin has any guiding philosophy.

Nor is McCain eager to let her tell us. Dan Quayle, widely ridiculed as an airhead when he joined George Bush's 1988 ticket, was answering questions from the news media the next day. But for two weeks after she was picked, the supposedly fearless Palin dodged interviews. At this point, voters don't know enough to gauge whether she has the brains or the temperament for the presidency.

Of course, McCain didn't either, and it didn't stop him.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  1. Got it. Palin’s decision on the Bridge was politically motivated, so it doesn’t count. Obama’s position on Iraq was clearly a sincere, heartfelt one, not merely an example of a party hack trimming his sails to the prevailing political winds from the base of his party, so it provides deep insights into his judgments.

    It is also my belief that Matt Welch should be fired.

  2. Chapman’s making the argument that running for president is good training for being president? Oh, come off of it.

    Teaching constitutional law is good experience? Maybe, but are Obama’s views on the law anything anyone who respects the constitution as written would want in someone making SCOTUS appointments?

    All in all, Obama’s and Palin’s political inexperience is at least comparable and that’s not a plus for Obama. He’s puthimself up for the top job, she’s only going for the #2 slot.

  3. Weekly Chapman FAIL

  4. Teaching constitutional law is good experience?

    Could be, let’s look at the record of what he’s published, his positions, etc. Oh, wait, never mind.

  5. As far as I’m concerned, Sarah Palin’s inexperience — as well as Obama’s — is a feature, not a bug.

    I can forgive Palin’s change in position on an issue such as the bridge. Isn’t it just obvious that one cannot accomplish anything in politics — including reducing the size and intrusiveness of government itself — unless one does “politically expedient” things often enough to survive?

    We make something between a leap of faith and an educated guess on Election Day. Sarah Palin is the first major party candidate for President or Vice President since I began voting in 1972 who has said the federal government is already too big. That tells me she has a clue. That makes her worth a vote.

    Even if I have to take McCain as part of the deal, I want to advance Palin’s career.

    Obama’s legislative history (with the possible exception of the law he co-sponsored with the McCain ally Tom Coburn) tells us that his response to problems is more government. Everything I know about his current platform and his history of community organizing reinforces that threat.

    Very Possible It won’t Last ’til February, but that’s my current thinking. After the election we should all revert to skepticism, remembering that it’s the same government, different fleas.

  6. jkp

    No, the problem with Palin’s “bridge to nowhere” narrative isn’t that it’s politically motivated, it’s that it’s bullshit. And she continues to repeat the lie that she “told Congress, ‘no thanks'” even after everyone (except for the morons who think BO’s “lipstick on a pig” thing was sexist) knows it.

    Peter K.

    I seem to recall Ronald Reagan saying “the federal government is already too big” in just about every campaign speech he made. It was certainly the central theme of the ’80 campaign.

    Not that anything happened to reduce the size of the FedGov on his watch.

    Which leads to the question, “we should believe any politician’s campaign promises…why?”

  7. MJ said it, but it bears repeating. According to Chapman,

    What makes Obama more ready than Palin? The obvious thing is what he’s been doing for the last 18 months.

    Right. Running for office is much more important than actually being in office.

  8. Obama is the one running for president – not Palin.

    As for the “bridge to nowhere” issue – Obama voted for it so his campaign has no room to talk.

  9. There are at least two reasons that Palin’s experience shouldn’t be an issue.

    First, as someone noted in an article on here, a fresh face from outside Washington is a good thing in and of itself. Washington experience is nothing to be touted.

    Second, she will be VP, not president. So she will immediately get the best experience possible.

    Besides those points, releasing Dan Quayle to reporters was a huge mistake. I see know problem with giving her a crash course in whatever she needs to know about, when every other candidate was able to develop talking points outside the spotlight. Keeping her away from the media helps them avoid gaffes. Also, the media set themselves up for this. By firing on all cylinders last week, they allowed the McCain camp to say they weren’t releasing her until they were sure the press would treat her properly, not engaging in media bias. And for once, they have a good point.

  10. That is, “no problem.”

  11. Obama voted for it so his campaign has no room to talk.

    The only time Obama has talked about this has been to point out that she’s a liar.

    Actually, I don’t actually recall Obama saying anything about it, but his campaign and other surrogates have.

  12. Incidentally, did BO vote for the earmark or just for the routine spending bill that contained it (and many others).

    We already know that BO is a big tax and spend liberal. Of course he voted for it.

    Palin campaigned on the bridge, she lobbied for Federal funds for the bridge, she took the funds and spent them on other projects after the bridge was cancelled. She’s lobbying for another 200mil this year.

    Gee, why am I not convinced she’s our “make government smaller” savior?

  13. As for the “bridge to nowhere” issue – Obama voted for it so his campaign has no room to talk.

    What Issac said, *but also* trying to tie a legislator to a specific earmark because he voted for the entire appropriations bill is slightly asinine. It demonstrates either a crass disingenuous bent or a certain glaring naivete about how budget bills are passed.

  14. Hey, I have an idea: maybe we can have 10 more Palin posts about exactly the same shit every fucking time! Oh wait, we already do.

  15. I know this has been said before, but I’ll say it again, “Where are the naked Palin pics?” If they don’t show up on Hit N Run, I’m canceling my subscription!

  16. Same arguments, different day.

  17. Obama was on letterman last night. It was all about Palin.

  18. Horatio Hack strikes again…….who gives a shit about experience when one (obama) would have us living in a quasi socialist state, while the other (Palin) would have us living in a theocracy…..go thing we got this experience thing sorted out

  19. Obama has campaigned in “48 states?” Which two did he skip? I know he’s from Hawaii…

  20. I equate Obama and Palin to rookies.

    Last year, Dustin Pedroia won the starting 2nd base position in Spring Training, and held it all year. He was a rookie, and all year, everyone thought of him as a rookie. Rookie of the Year, but still a rookie.

    Then they had the September call up, and all of these players who’d spent the year in AAA ball joined the roster. There were some really talented guys, like David Murphy (who’s now with the Rangers). When they came up, all of a sudden, Dustin Pedroia stopped looking like the new kid. You could see the difference.

  21. OW my eyes! It burns.

    Oust Steve Chapman AlReady!

  22. “We already know that BO is a big tax and spend liberal”

    And that, of course, makes it physically impossible for him to be superior to anyone on earth who isn’t.

  23. Is this article a joke? It reads like it was dictated to Chapman at gunpoint by a goon-squad from the DNC. It has no real analysis and simply repeats the campaign propaganda coming from the Obama campaign ever since Palin was announced. Am I supposed to be informed or swayed by this? Because all I get out of it is a sense of embarrassment for the writer.

  24. sarah palin Tits

    or GTFO

  25. Even on her signature issue, the bridge to nowhere, Palin changed her position from “for” to “against” only when it became politically advantageous.

    Even on her signature issue, the bridge to nowhere, Palin changed her position from “for” to “against” only when it became politically advantageous.

    [cough, cough] FISA telecom immunity. [cough, cough]. Excuse me, I appear to have something stuck in my throat.

    Don’t worry, I will not vote for McCain/Palin. Still, the bridge to nowhere (1/4 billion in pork) vs FISA with telecom immunity excusing illegal violations of your privacy and likely covering up crimes by Bush administration officials.

    Which of these issues bothers you the most?

  26. Obama is still against telecom immunity. He was presented with a large bill containing provisions he liked, and provisions he didn’t like.

    Rather different from working for, then against, a specific earmark.

  27. Which of these issues bothers you the most?

    Good point.

    But for what it’s worth, for me it’s not really about busting on Palin for lying, it’s questioning why they continue to lie after being exposed. Are they that stupid or is it that they think the people are that stupid?

    Oh wait, never mind, I know the answer to that.

    Gilbert Martin

    Since the choice seems to be “tax’n’spend liberals” or “borrow’n’spend conservatives” I wonder if it matters.

  28. Chapman fails again, I dont even know where to start.

    Clinton had the necessary experience? Did anyone think that?

    Teaching con law is better experience than running a baseball team? I just flat out call bullshit on that. Hell, in 1992, despite Bush’s 4 years as Pres, 8 as veep and years in the cia and elsewhere and despite Clinton’s 376 years as governor of Arkansas, Perot clearly was the most experienced candidate for the job. Thats right, Im claiming that running a major business is better experience than actually having served a term as president.

  29. “””Sarah Palin is the first major party candidate for President or Vice President since I began voting in 1972 who has said the federal government is already too big. That tells me she has a clue. “””

    In 2000 Bush ran on a limited government platform. How did that turn out.

    A clue doesn’t mean crap in the political world, and it’s often deceiving.

  30. In 2000 Bush ran on a limited government platform. How did that turn out.

    No he didnt. He ran on compassionate conservatism- which screamed bigger government.

  31. Actually, Bush ran on both small government and compassionate conservatism, and nobody called him on it, because Al Gore invented the internet.

  32. lmnop,

    *but also* trying to tie a legislator to a specific earmark because he voted for the entire appropriations bill is slightly asinine. It demonstrates either a crass disingenuous bent or a certain glaring naivete about how budget bills are passed.

    Or a 3rd possibility – a higher standard. If you hold with the standard that voting for a bill that has even one unconstitutional clause in it is a violation of your oath, for example, then by a similar standard, a legislator who voted for an omnibus bill is voting in favor of EVERYTHING inside it.

  33. joe,

    I called him on it. In 2000.

  34. “He’s been grilled about his voting record, his pastor, and his convicted former fundraiser.”

    Grilled? You can’t be serious. Obama has skated through 18+ months of running for President and we’ve yet to have one serious mainstream investigative reporting piece on his ties to Rezko.

    I didn’t realize Reason was a place for liberal writers to parade around dressed up like libertarians. As long as this guy is writing here, this place IS NOT a libertarian haven.

  35. Obama is still against telecom immunity.

    Not that it matters, of course. When push came to shove, he didn’t filibuster, but went along with the crowd.

    Which is kind of the knock on him, at the end of the day. He has yet to show real leadership, the kind where you get out in front and make a difference on something. That’s hard for Senators to do, of course, not to mention freshman Senators, junior state legislators, academics and community organizers, which is pretty much sums up his resume.

    At the end of the day, I think a lot of the unease with Obama arises from the way he has spent his career in a lefty/lib professional bubble. All those “present” votes in Illinois. All those months not in the Senate because he was campaigning. The carefully managed list of non-controversial bills he put his name on. The total absence of out-of-the-lefty-lib box positions, not to mention academic scholarship that could be scrutinized.

    The one issue he took a high profile on was the surge, and on that he was just wrong. There’s just not a lot to counterbalance that one bad call.

    I really think the original plan was to get him a little seasoning this cycle, so he would be ready to move up in due time in eight years, or possibly be the VP candidate. I suspect the Dem Plan A from a year ago may have been a Hillary/Obama ticket, which would have been very hard to beat. Harder than Obama/Biden, anyway.

    He would have been a much stronger candidate in eight years, but right now, his resume is just light for the top job. This is looking to me like a classic case of the Peter Principle, with Obama getting that one promotion too many.

  36. joe,

    Off of this topic, I dont know how closely you follow the money markets as opposed to the polls, and which you weigh as more accurate, but if you havent noticed, McCain passed Obama on intrade this week.

    I havent seen any of the other trading markets, so I dont know if it across the board or not.

  37. Obama is still against telecom immunity. He was presented with a large bill containing provisions he liked, and provisions he didn’t like.

    joe, you’re so cute when you carry water for the Dems while disregarding how dirty it may be.

  38. Obama and Palin are both rookies.

  39. Coolidge, like Jackie Robinson a few years later, was both Rookie of the Year and MVP.

  40. Um, before someone beats me to it, Jackie won his MVP 2 years after his Rookie of the Year – he finished 5th in the MVP voting that year.

    Sigh. Accuracy would have made it a better analogy.

  41. I didn’t realize Reason was a place for liberal writers to parade around dressed up like libertarians.

    Where have you been for the last decade or so?

    Reason libertarianism = Nick Gillespie’s preferred policy positions + some occasional mumbling about Hayek – any clue as to what libertarianism actually is.

  42. I believe you, robc. I’ll be a lot of Reason readers did. Smarter than average bunch, and they pay closer attention.

    J sub D,

    I didn’t think is was such a complicated point, but I’ll explain it again for you.

    Imagine if there was an Omnibus Children’s Vaccine and Feeding Your Granny to a Tiger Act in Congress. Barack Obama comes out against feeding your granny to a tiger, and in favor of vaccinating children. He tries to get the Tiger part removed, but fails, so he votes against the bill, and it fails. Later, it comes up again. Once again, he’s in favor of vaccinating children, and against feeding your granny to a tiger. He tries to get the tiger part removed and fails again. This time, he votes for the entire package.

    As opposed to Sarah Palin. When the bill first comes up, she is an enthusiastic supporter of feeding your granny to a tiger. She lobbies hard to make sure that language is included in the bill. Later, when it comes up a second time, she realizes that it politically unwise to support that position, so she flip-flops, and now argues against feeding your granny to a tiger. But not only that – she also travels around the country bragging about how she’s always been against feeding your granny to a tiger, and led the opposition to including that language in the bill.

    Barack Obama’s position on the issues didn’t change; Sarah Palin’s did. Barack Obama accurately and honestly described his position on those issues; Sarah Palin did not.

    I appreciate your vapid, content-free response, as it gave me a great chance to expand on my point. Thanks.

  43. Obama is still against telecom immunity. He was presented with a large bill containing provisions he liked, and provisions he didn’t like.

    Uh, yeah…one of those provisions being telecom immunity, which he ended up supporting.

    It’s all kinds of great to be against something in your head or “really believe it in your heart” or whatevs, but he voted for it. He supported it when it matters.

  44. Obama and Palin are both rookies.

    Yes, that’s my point.

    Evan Longoria and a relief pitcher who started the season in Double A ball, went to Triple A in July, and got called up to the major leage roster in September are both rookies, too.

  45. This time, he votes for the entire package.

    Meaning that he changed his mind and feeding your grandmother to a tiger doesn’t really concern him all that much.

  46. I just want to voice my support for Steve Chapman. There was nothing wrong with this article and it makes some good points. Get off your high horses.

  47. joe,

    I favor assassinating anyone who voted in favor of feeding granny to a tiger just in order to get children vaccinated. 🙂

    Was that supposed to be a pro-Obama argument?

    Really, you couldnt come up with a better analogy than that? Getting some minor good passed by committing a major atrocity? Is that really the Obama way?

  48. joe,

    I believe you, robc. I’ll be[t] a lot of Reason readers did.

    Then why did you use the phrase “nobody” then? Is that really what you think of us?

  49. one of those provisions being telecom immunity, which he ended up supporting.

    See “Omnibus Vaccinating Children and Feeding Your Granny to a Tiger Act.”

    but he voted for it.

    No, he didn’t vote for IT (telecom immunity). When IT (telecom immunity) was up for a vote, he voted against IT (telecom immunity). When a larger bill, containing IT and a bunch of other things, was up for a vote, he voted for that.

    If there was no record of a politician’s position on one item in a large bill, it is fair to say he supported each item in that bill. That’s not what happened here. We don’t have to try to divine Barack Obama’s position on telecom immunity from how he voted on the larger bill; we know that he was against it. Not in his head, on the floor of the Senate, in the official record, when IT was the item being voted on.

  50. “Gilbert Martin

    Since the choice seems to be “tax’n’spend liberals” or “borrow’n’spend conservatives” I wonder if it matters.”

    It matters if the “tax” part of the tax and spend means more money coming out of MY wallet.

  51. Was that supposed to be a pro-Obama argument?

    It’s supposed to be an accurate argument. Perhaps that, rather than the partisan implications, would be the best place to start when evaluating a statement someone makes.

    Honestly, can’t you people ever think of anything beyond Republicans and Democrats?

  52. joe – you wonder why you’re thought of as a spintastic hackmaster. You shouldn’t.

  53. Then why did you use the phrase “nobody” then? Is that really what you think of us?

    Yes. People who are smarter than average and pay close attention are a minority, and libertarians are a minority of that minority.

  54. joe,

    While your 10:35 post is correct, it also tells us the relative importance of telecom immunity to Obama. While he opposed it, he obviously didnt consider it that important an issue. He didnt oppose it a outrance (to borrow a phrase I learned from the late WFB). Some people consider it that important an issue. Obama is not one of them.

  55. I know my arguments are particularly effective when people can’t even voice an objection on evidence or logic before assuring me that they must be wrong because I’m teh partisan.

  56. It’s supposed to be an accurate argument.

    Cool, I now know that Obama will commit horrible atrocities in order to get children vaccinated.

  57. When you say yes to an omnibus bill, it’s apparently ok to really, really believe that some provisions of it shouldn’t be there. But still vote for them…or something…

  58. robc,

    Wouldn’t you have to look at what else is in the bill, and Obama’s positions on those items, before deciding how strongly he opposed it?

    Noting that A outweighs B tells us nothing about B’s weight, unless we know A’s weight.

  59. Sarah Palin is the first major party candidate for President or Vice President since I began voting in 1972 who has said the federal government is already too big.

    That’s not true. That’s not even close to true. That’s…false.

    That tells me she has a clue.

    No, that tells you that her handlers opened the GOP playbook to page one and said “say this.”

    That makes her worth a vote.

    Fair enough. It is worth “a” vote. I just hope the millions of other votes are cast for rational reasons.

    Even if I have to take McCain as part of the deal, I want to advance Palin’s career.

    Yeah, that makes sense. All those people in the Middle East who are likely to die when McCain invades, they’re just collateral damage to the goal of helping a VP candidate. All questions of American foreign and domestic policy should take a back seat to this cult of personality.

    If you want to advance Palin’s career, move to Alaska.

  60. When you say yes to an omnibus bill, it’s apparently ok to really, really believe that some provisions of it shouldn’t be there. But still vote for them…or something…

    No, not “or something.” When the Omnibus bill comes to the floor, you get an up or down vote on the whole thing. You don’t get to vote nuance, you don’t get to cast an essay. There’s a little button marked “Yes” and little button marked “No,” and you push one of them.

    That’s the difference between a Senator and an observer.

  61. People criticized Ron Paul for sending on earmarks to committe and then voting against the bills they are contained within.

    That is much better to me than voting for a bill that contains bits you oppose.

    I dont understand you people who think the 2nd is okay and the 1st is wrong. Really, wtf? Im okay with it if you think both are wrong or both are okay. But if you defend the latter and criticize the former, your logic is screwed up.

  62. R C Dean is voting for McCain.

    True or False: this demonstrates his suppport for McCain-Feingold.

  63. robc,

    Senator A votes to include language mandating that your mother be fed to a tiger be included in the bill, then votes against the whole bill.

    Senator B votes to strip the language about feeding your granny to a tiger, but when that fails, votes for the whole bill.

    Which one of these people supports feeding your granny to a tiger?

    Now, is it legitimate for someone who doesn’t want to feed your granny to a tiger to say that Senator B didn’t weigh the issues appropriately? Sure. It is not legitimate to say that he supported feeding your granny to a tiger.

  64. joe,

    Noting that A outweighs B tells us nothing about B’s weight, unless we know A’s weight.

    You did notice my use of “a outrance”. It tells us something about B’s weight.

    Using your analogy, I would vote against the “Turn the US into libertopia and feed joe’s granny to a tiger” bill. Without having ever met her, I value your granny’s life more than living in the society I most want. If I voted for that bill, it would absolutely tell me something about B, that I dont really value life.

    Whether telecom immunity should be that important, I dont know, you are the one who compared it to granny->tiger.

    What Obama’s vote says is that opposition to telecom immunity wasnt near the very top of his list of priorities (the rest of the bill really wasnt that important).

  65. Can we just split the damn job in two already, like every other country on earth?

  66. joe, didn’t you once post something like, I’ll support immunity for telecom execs, in exchange for testimony against government officials! With anger and effusive outrage for the illegal wiretapping done by the Bush administrantion?

    I don’t recall the “unless it’s part of a larger FISA bill. Even one that can wait while while the congress gets it right. Then immunity is acceptable”.

    My bad.

  67. Senator A votes to include language mandating that your mother be fed to a tiger be included in the bill, then votes against the whole bill.

    That is analogous to the Ron Paul situation. He never votes to include the earmarks in the bill. He merely passes all* requests on to committee. I blame the committee for putting the tiger policy in the bill.

    *you know, except the silly ones, like this would be

  68. See “Omnibus Vaccinating Children and Feeding Your Granny to a Tiger Act.”

    All I know is, Granny got fucked either way.

    “Now, person A didn’t mean to run Grandma over with a reindeer, it was just an unintended consequence. Person B aimed for her wittle granny head with malice aforethought (I know he did, because I dislike him personnally), so person A is my choice!”

  69. That is analogous to the Ron Paul situation.

    Put the appropriate NOT in there. Duh.

  70. BTW, those annoying little “unintended consequences”?….Being able to foresee them and to persuade others of the true course of an action is part of that pesky little thing called “judgement and experience”

    Joe, as I’ve stated numerous times, McLovin’ is decidedly a douche, but you gotta quit trying to get me to vote for the turd.

    Shills gives me da chills

  71. I also know this is beating a dead horse, but, this kind of shit is why we need a line-item veto, and an end to omnibus bills.

    Reminds me of another sporting analogy: That of performance enhancing drugs. If you have players who have learned to “game” the system, then the only way to keep things clean is to make the rules tougher to end-run.

  72. Sure. It is not legitimate to say that he supported feeding your granny to a tiger.

    Except he voted for it. What definition of “support” are you going off of?

  73. R C Dean is voting for McCain.

    Actually, no (and in no small part because of M-F, as well as my oft-repeated characterization of him as an authoritarian a-hole).

    Seeing as my state is going McCain by a big margin, I’ll vote big-L Libertarian to preserve their ballot access for the next go-around.

    True or False: this demonstrates his suppport for McCain-Feingold.

    Even if I was voting for McCain, it would demonstrate nothing about my support for M-F. Because I would not be casting a vote, in whole or in part, for M-F; McCain is not an omnibus bill that includes M-F, and McCain is not campaigning on a platform of pushing to get M-F passed.

    Now, if M-F was part of his platform, you could argue that by voting for McCain I was also voting for that. But its not, and I’m not, so you can’t.

  74. Change me, Obama.
    Change me hard and call me Michelle.

  75. The change in Reason’s editorial policy is just sad. This was the magazine that was supposed to be unabashedly about free minds and free markets, and today its writers are shilling for a man who wants to implement the biggest expansion in government since the new deal.

    Obama wants every teenager to spend 50 hours a year doing service for the state.

    Obama wants huge new federal controls on health care.

    Obama wants to raise taxes dramatically.

    Obama wants to engage in wholesale industrial policy.

    Obama wants the federal government to build low-income housing across the country.

    And the list goes on. In the meantime, the governor from the most libertarian state in the union, a woman who supports jury nullification, who cut 500 million in spending with vetoes, who is strongly supporting the 2nd amendment, and who has been described as an “uncompromising believer in free markets for health care” and a strong advocate of transparency in government and smaller government in general, is being torn apart in the pages of Reason on the grounds that she’s not tied closely enough with Washington politics.

    It’s an amazing spectacle. This magazine is crashing and burning.

    By the way, her speech last week was the best articulation of free market principles since Reagan was on the scene. She basically repeated his mantra that government isn’t the solution – it’s the problem. She trumpeted the good judgment of individuals, and decried the bad judgment of federal politicians. She said government is too big, has too much control, and meddles where it shouldn’t. It should have made libertarians ecstatic. And yet, the comment threads on Reason, filled with self-proclaimed libertarians, read like Daily freaking Kos. Truly unbelievable.

    I guess libertarianism has been co-opted by the angry, anti-war left.

  76. I still cant figure out which two states Obama campaign skipped. Is this news?

  77. “Steve Chapman compares their levels of experience-executive and otherwise.”

    Ok, I guess I’m immature, but this sounds like Chapman is implying sexual stuff here. Anyone?

  78. If campaigning around the country and teaching about the Constitution are solid qualifications for the presidency, why didn’t Chapman support Michael Badnarik in 2004?

    The Palin pick was a brilliant move by the McCain campaign, not only because it suckers in the conservative base which was unhappy with McCain, but because it raises the experience issue to a higher level, making people reconsider how little experience Obama has.

  79. who gives a shit about experience when one (obama) would have us living in a quasi socialist state, while the other (Palin) would have us living in a theocracy

    Sigh. As a standard issue lefty lib promising to raise taxes, spending, and general government intervention in he economy, I guess “quasi-socialist” is probably not completely out of bounds, although it probably is somewhat contentious.

    I admit to a conflict of interest here, as under Obama’s announced tax plans, he plans to take from $20 – 30,000 a year more out of my pocket, so on that basis alone I have a hard time not applauding any attempt to kick him in the nuts.

    But what on earth has Palin done to make anyone think she wants a theocracy? Banned any books? Pushed any abortion restrictions? Anything? Anyone?

  80. I guess libertarianism has been co-opted by the angry, anti-war left.

    It sure seems that way sometimes.

  81. J sub D,

    I never said I supported Obama’s vote. I think it was the wrong vote. I don’t think there’s anything in the FISA bill that’s so important as to justify telecom immunity.

    My point was to refute a point you made – the Obama’s change on this is comparable to Palin’s on the Bridge to Nowhere.

    The two would be comparable if, after leading the earlier filibuster, he saw that his position on telecom immunity was a political loser, then voted for telecom immunity in committee, then championed it on the floor, THEN went around telling everyone that he had always been opposed to the bill.

    He didn’t do that. His position on telecom immunity has been consistent throughout, and he never lied about it. Palin not only changed her stance on an issue – not a vote on a big bill containing things she liked and disliked, but on the specific issue itself – but is now travelling around the country, saying that not only are we at war with East Asia, but we have always been at war with East Asia.

  82. joe, keep carrying those buckets.

    Here’s how you deal with lying politicians and retain credibilty.

    Obama went back on his word and screwed the pooch on that one and I’m pissed. He’s still the best candidate for POTUS, but that still pisses me off.

    See my reaction to Ron Paul newsletters for a real life example.

    “But, but, but, It was part of a bigger bill” (that had no urgency whatsoever), is just fanboy BS.

  83. “I guess libertarianism has been co-opted by the angry, anti-war left.”

    Well isn’t anti-war (more anti-interventionism) one of the bigger parts of libertarianism? Along with personal rights and government spending?

    At the end of the day both parties are going to spend a lot of money – no matter what is said during the campaign. Whether it is on war or on welfare.

    Both parties will try to limit personal/civil rights. . . anti-choice or anti-gun or. . .

    The Magazine is fine. Just because it doesn’t agree with what some on here think, doesn’t mean it is failing.

    While the article shouldn’t compare Palin and Obama straight up, I do think Palin’s ability to be POTUS needs to considered since she would be a mere 73 year old heart beat from taking over the office. And by all accounts she is not qualified.

    Finding someone that isn’t part of Washington is fine in a Utopian society, at the end Washington still exists and will take decades for it to change. A cold turkey treatment isn’t going to happen or work.

    At the end I’ll probably vote for Obama. I’d rather spend money on the people here if I had to choose and I’d rather not be on the cusp of intervening with every global incident.

    Plus if Bill Clinton taught us anything, government spending can be handled by democrats if done correctly.

  84. How will Palin, as VP, institute a theocracy? Obama doesn’t seem very secular either.

  85. joe,
    You are actually quite incorrect about Palin’s position on the bridge. If you actually read/see the governor debates you will see that her support for the bridge amounted to “well, we’re getting the money, might as well build it.” After congress lifted the earmark, so the money was no longer required to be spent on the bridge, she went against the established state party leaders and killed the project. And then spent the money elsewhere where it was needed.
    In 2005 Coburn introduced a bill that would have taken the money from the Bridge to Nowhere project and given it to Louisiana to repair the bridges destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Both Obama and Biden voted against it, helping to kill the bill. It was not an omnibus spending bill.

  86. Mr. Simple,

    It’s not that simple, sorry.

    It was more…we better hurry up and build it while we can still get the money from the feds.

    She did support scaling it back a bit.

    The lie, btw, includes the line “if we want to build the bridge, we’ll do it ourselves.”

    This after she has already taken the money to build the thing and placed it in the general fund to buy other stuff.

  87. Puuulease. He tightened ethics reform? He came out against the war in Iraq when he had nothing at stake? She had her entire career at stake when she showed the cojones to rewrite the oil industry’s contract with Alaska -something that the last 40 years of governors, with actual cojones, were afraid to do.

    The first time Obama faced a controversial decision in his career, he wimped out. Never forget FISA.

  88. check this link for a different take on Obama’s community organizer background.
    http://www.utne.com/Politics/2008-09-08/Obama-the-Organizer.aspx?blogid=30&utm_source=iPost&utm_medium=email

    PS – sorry, don’t know how to put it into html

    r

  89. I’m a member of the anti-war Left, and I think Obama sucks. I’m starting to think he actually does suck more than McCain, and considering the likely Democratic Congress would pass all of Obama’s entitlements and regulations without so much as a second glance, I think libertarians need to be very concerned.

    He said tonight at the service forum that his goal was to make government “cool.” That is scary, scary, scary. The government is a tool that has historically oppressed the poor and minorities, funded corporations, crushed small businesses, launched wars and damaged the environment beyond belief. I don’t believe making it bigger makes it “cooler”, especially considering it swings towards more authoritarian politicians from time to time who use the expansive government infrastructure to violate individual liberties. Even if Obama were preferable to McCain on foreign policy and maybe some social issues, his vision of government isn’t even remotely skeptical.

    Reason is doing itself a disservice by not presenting a balanced attack on both sides. Both candidates are terrible for liberty, and Obama should be equally or possibly frightening to all libertarians (including those of us on the anti-war libertarian Left). He’s selling socialism to America with an uplifting message and smiling face, which is in my opinion as contrary to progress as it is to liberty. I think Matt Welch’s book is creating an editorial bias at Reason to selectively exclude harsher criticism of Obama (lest it makes McCain look more preferable).

  90. Typo:
    possibly MORE frightening to all libertarians

  91. Come on, you mention she ran a “baseball team” but nothing about owning a small business? How is that not in fact more valuable practical experience than teaching constitutional law?

    And the article seems to confuse the whole executive/legislative branch thing….

    For shame Reason, for shame. Should I just go read Kos or Huffington instead?

  92. Well isn’t anti-war (more anti-interventionism) one of the bigger parts of libertarianism? Along with personal rights and government spending?

    I question the fundamental assumptions you are making.

    You equate war with personal rights. You confuse government spending with local control.

    Libertarians will support war when it is necessary in order to keep together a society so that it might remain Libertarian, or at least people might remain free to make that choice.

    In the larger scope of things, I support helping other countries reach stability to the point where the citizens there have the option of deciding to be Libertarians themselves. To the extent you are able to help your neighbor, you do so – that is why local control works, that is why real world Libertarianism works, and that is why some intervention in the global neighborhood is needed from time to time instead of looking the other way while the metaphorical government husband beats the metaphorical wife populace nightly.

    Obviously you cannot help everyone. But neither does this mean you should help no-one – including yourself.

  93. It’s an amazing spectacle. This magazine is crashing and burning.

    A-yup. And it is sad because there isn’t much on the table for alternatives.

    I guess libertarianism has been co-opted by the angry, anti-war left.

    Most days around here, you’d have to conclude that.

    But there’s still some interesting controversy from time to time, and you can still pick up something here and there from the threads.

    And once in a very great while, there’s actually more than one or two people around here who aren’t just angry leftists.

  94. Oops, got a little carried away with those things.

  95. Reason is doing itself a disservice by not presenting a balanced attack on both sides.

    I’ll drink to that. On net balance the drift around here usually comes out implying that Obama is the lesser evil.

    That, if we be reasonable, is just not the case.

    McCain is slain, already. How about let’s get *serious* about the other corner of of this boxing match?

    That way we can all merrily be much more glum about our future. Because we’ll know just how right we are.

  96. btw, this Steve Chapman guy’s gotta go. Matt, I can remember when you used to write much better stuff.

    I mean, when you find a steaming pile out in the pasture, at least stir it up good with a stick. This article doesn’t even touch it (eeewwww!!!!).

  97. Palin’s inexperience is unacceptable whereas Obama’s inexperience is fine. The reason is that Palin is a woman, plain and simple. All the other excuses are crap.

  98. Just saying …

    Even if I have to take McCain as part of the deal, I want to advance Palin’s career.

    See “Omnibus Vaccinating Children and Feeding Your Granny to a Tiger Act.”

    robc:

    Some people consider it that important an issue.

    You mean, like McCain?

    R C Dean:
    On banning books and abandoning libertarianism for theocracy, and on restricting abortion

  99. And that wasn’t even hard. Are you guys so desperate to maintain the status quo that you are willing to ignore your own previously-stated principles? Look through your lipstick-colored glasses all you want … it’s still a pig.

  100. Running for president… is enough experience gathering… to be president? If I run for president, will I then be able to make the claim that I am thusly qualified for the position? lmao.

    Then again, as a Senator, Obama is undoubtably more involved with national issues to a degree that Gov. Palin, at least based on her role as governor, can’t touch. I can’t speak to her actual personal involvment relating to national issues and self-education.

    I can’t wait for the veep debates. We may actually have a better insight into what this woman believes on national issues, so long as the failure of a moderator that is Wolf Blitzer doesn’t get the nod.

    The biggest shame here is that Barr is such an inept individual, that perpetuating the duopoloy in voting for the “lesser of two evils” may be less of an evil than voting for Barr.

    Yikes…

  101. Fuck it. I’m still writing in Ron Paul.

  102. If you want a really good take on the Palin story check out the Sam Harris column in the Sept 3 LA Times. Here’s part of it :
    McCain has so little respect for the presidency of the United States that he is willing to put the girl next door (soon, too, to be a grandma) into office beside him. He has so little respect for the average American voter that he thinks this reckless and cynical ploy will work.

    And it might. Palin’s nomination has clearly excited Christian conservatives, and it may entice a few million gender-obsessed fans of Hillary Clinton to vote entirely on the basis of chromosomes. Throw in a few million more average Americans who will just love how the nice lady smiles, and 2009 could be a very interesting year.

    Anybody who has sat on a jury knows just how goofy this thng can get.

  103. Another aspect of Palins experience untouched by the original article, is that Palin had to negotiate with the Canadian government to get the pipeline deal done. What international negotiations has Obama been a part of, much less led?

  104. What she’s been campaigning for two weeks and hasn’t talked to the press? Two weeks and hasn’t just done a little Q and A. Yes there both rookies but hey you know if she was treated like every other male candidate she would but exposed in about a minute. Who out there thinks she’s smart? Really? Do you call a squirrel smart cause it can get into a bird feeder. This site is called Reason. Not Pragmatic or Committed or Dogmatic. She repeats the same crap whether its true or not. Shame on you John McCaine for making the political conversation about this. When he was on the “View” it reminded me of Bogey in the Cain Mutiny blathering about “the strawberries”

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