Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Sarah Palin Story Reminds Me of the Wild West

If this story doesn’t sink the Palin-McCain ticket, I don’t know what will. In fact, I think that she’ll have to forget about 2012 as well. From troopergate to tickettravelgate, with the governor’s spouse hanging around office meetings thrown in, many people must be hearing echoes of Bill Clinton’s saga. Me? I’m struck by the resemblance to those Westerns, where a strongman takes over an outpost, he and his people begin acting as if they own the place… In fact, I just read one of those the other day.

Alaska appears to be a frontier in more ways than one. Not that this doesn’t happen everywhere that a liberal democracy doesn’t exist, or fails to function properly.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, that's a two way street, you know.

If blatant lying about past associations with the felon Tony Rezko, lunatic racist Jeremiah Wright (20 years in that "church"), and dedicated domestic terrorist Bill Ayers (which would probably keep him from getting a security clearance)...

throwing 50 million dollars down the sewer in Chicago in his only executive experience to date to fund Kumbaya education and reject remedial algebra...

and choosing as a running mate a the Senate's bigglest chucklehead who repeatedly said he was not up to the job, called him the first "mainstream African-American candidate who was bright, clean, and articulate", and who thought President FDR appeared on TV in 1929...

isn't enough to sink the Obama-Biden ticket, then nothing will.

And for a guy who's spent so much time in Tokyo and New York, what would you know about the frontier?

OperationNorthwoods said...

Okumura-san,

Palin's dirt can't possibly be within an order of magnitude of McCain's or Obama's. The example in question is almost trivial; it's just that the nastier stuff isn't deemed respectable by the major media. Of course, that's one reason why they are dying.

Also, the corruption in Alaska is largely magnified because it's a one-party state, and has been for some time. The frontier aspect is probably not nearly as important. Think Chicago machine politics. Of course, there are exceptions, such as Japan, where one-party rule for 50 years hasn't led to decay.

Jun Okumura said...

It’s nice to know that this blog has a bipartisan (non-partisan?) readership. Let me address your points one by one. But first, let’s make one thing clear. I have always preferred to see Barack Obama in the White House, but that is not because I am one of those “grown men” “who pee in their pants to hear Obama speak”. Rather, it is because I believe that John McCain’s foreign policy is contrary to Japan’s national interests. I have see much since that lead me to believe that Mr. Obama will in fact be a much better administrator than Mr. McCain. But my initial choice (a silly word to use, since I, not being a U.S. citizen, do not have a real choice at all) was made before I could be sure.

Anonymous:

If blatant lying about past associations with the felon Tony Rezko, lunatic racist Jeremiah Wright (20 years in that "church"), and dedicated domestic terrorist Bill Ayers (which would probably keep him from getting a security clearance)

I too have been troubled by the way Mr. Obama first tries to talk around inconvenient elements in his personal history or more recent political conundrums. However, is it perceptibly worse than the bald-faced denials from Hillary Clinton or Mr. McCain’s self-hypnosis when in need of dissembling?
I am not troubled by two of his three associations per se (I won’t go into them since you should be able to find perfectly sober independents and even Republicans who will explain the issues involved for you), but the Tony Rezko association troubles me because of the obvious personal benefits that he derived from that relationship. I consider that to be a serious ethical failure. But an ethical failure is one thing, acts that would be cause for dismissal and possible criminal prosecution, i.e. use of public funds for personal gain, is another thing altogether.

throwing 50 million dollars down the sewer in Chicago in his only executive experience to date to fund Kumbaya education and reject remedial algebra...

I am not aware of this charge. In any case, you define “executive experience” too narrowly—and value it too greatly when it comes to the White House. And “Kumbaya”? I wouldn’t use that word to criticize a particularly wooly-headed version of liberalism unless you can make it really funny, if you know what I am saying. And you haven’t.

and choosing as a running mate a the Senate's bigglest chucklehead who repeatedly said he was not up to the job, called him the first "mainstream African-American candidate who was bright, clean, and articulate", and who thought President FDR appeared on TV in 1929...

I half-agree with you here. I think that Joe Biden is overrated as a statesman and leader. But think of the alternative.

And for a guy who's spent so much time in Tokyo and New York, what would you know about the frontier?

As much as I know. But how would you know that Tokyo (or New York or 1950s Quebec or 1980s Brazil) isn’t as frontiery as Cleveland, Ohio (which I hasten to add is just as nice a place to live as Tokyo or New York), where you’ve lived your whole life, or more so?

You understand, don’t you, how anonymity further debases a rhetorical (and thus devoid of substance) question?

OperationNorthwoods:

A pox on both houses? Are you a libertarian of the highest order or what? Mr. McCain’s membership in the Keating Five was disgraceful; Mr. Obama accepting favors from the Rezkos is disturbing. Then there are the Vice Presidential candidates. But as a former government official, I take the misuse of public funds more seriously than the ethical lapse of accepting favors from someone can use the access to his personal advantage. Happily for you, Americans have the privilege and duty to vet these ambitious, charismatic, energetic… imperfect, flawed fellow citizens who seek your trust.

Finally, to anonymous and all others who were offended by my post: I give my assessment of the effects of the latest revelations on the Palin-McCain ticket as well as on Ms. Palin’s prospects for 2012. I’d much rather hear a convincing refutation of those points than a reflexive your-kettle-is-blacker-than-mine retort. Anger is sometimes necessary, but it’s never enough.

Anonymous said...

Dude,

Few of your women readers, if there are any, will be offended by Palin taking the kids along. There is not a working mother out there who hasn't taken the kids where they were not invited; who is constantly faced with the dilemma of how to be with her children and do her work; and who doesn't doesn't bend the rules to do so.

It is time for rules and attitudes to change. Unless the workplace makes financial and cultural adjustments it will continue to be very difficult to be a professional woman. It is clear that the "first dude" was not around much nor up to the job of being a wife. And maybe that is the real story here.

And when you go to give a speech, spend a long day at a conference, and then pump breast milk on a plane home, get back to me...

Jun Okumura said...

Anonymous: I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are or have been a working mother, in which case you make a very good point—on your own behalf. But Ms. Palin’s children were not all two-, three-, four-year-olds, unable to take care of themselves while, say, Ms. Palin went to watch Todd Palin participate in a snow sled race. I can speak from personal experience in a North American environment that children smaller than hers can be left to be taken care of by a babysitter or to care for each other while their parents are away for short periods. Or by the father, if a working mother must take leave of her children. That’s exactly what one of my female readers, an international lawyer, has been doing for years. In fact, she could be you, except she would tell it to my face if she thought so instead of commenting anonymously.

I agree; the burden in less fortunate families falls disproportionately on the female partner. But that’s not what the supermom myth of Sarah Palin was cut out to be, nor did the realities of her situation fit that profile. She took advantage of her circumstances for her personal benefit, and her family’s, not the kind of lesson you want to give to your kids. She took them with her because she wanted to. She charged it to the state because she could. Then, when the world closed in on her, she altered the records. That is wrong. Surreptitiously taking advantage of your circumstances is not how you change the world.

It is probably not a coincidence that you and the other anonymous use the same argument, namely: How can anyone who hasn’t experienced something have a meaningful opinion about it? You see, anonymity breeds carelessness. Don’t you realize how meaningless and weak that fallback position is—as well as how incredibly harmful it would be if we adopted it as a working principle in real life?
Incidentally, the world, contrary to my expectations, has by and large failed to take note of this, instead, wrongly in my view, to focus its attention on the $150,000 Palin wardrobe. It’s lie the Jean Shaw movie in Elmore Leonard’s La Brava, where the character she plays, a murderess, is convicted for a crime she did not commit.