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11 Days ’til the Election: A Study in Contrasts

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A friend passed the following onto me yesterday. I added the Harry Truman quotes, not just because Gramps McCain fancies himself a Harry Truman incarnate, but because they seem applicable.

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What folks were doing 11 days before the election….

 

Obama?  Visiting his grandma, of course.

Biden?  Going to the reddest parts of the country, the parts Democrats
aren’t supposed to even think about, let alone campaign in.
(http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/biden-makes-rare-appearance-in-w-va/?scp=2&sq=biden&st=cse)

McCain?  Begging.
(http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/24/dont-give-up-hope-mccain-tells-supporters/)

Palin?  Testifying.
(http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/2008/10/24/D940VJB80_palin_troopergate/index.html)

And Teddy Kennedy, who *should* be in bed resting after his surgery
and radiation?  Trying to save the American healthcare system.
(http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/2008/10/24/D940VRE01_kennedy_health_care/index.html)

It’s a nice study in contrasts, I think.

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America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. — Harry Truman

 

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Written by canarypapers

October 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Wynken, Blynken & Nod: A Lullaby for Palin, McCain & Bush

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Wynken, Blynken and Nod
(with deepest apologies to Eugene Field) 

Wynken and Blynken are four beady eyes,
And Nod is a wooden head.
Their crooked smiles feed such sweet lies, 
We’re left drowsy and overfed.    
So shut your eyes and hear their prayers
For wonderful things-to-be,
Of wars and wells and polar bears  
That sink in a melting sea.
Or open your eyes and boot these three: 
Wynken,
Blynken,
And Nod.

 

I play to win. I do whatever it takes to win. If I have to fuck my opponent to win I’ll do it. If I have to destroy my opponent I won’t give it a second thought.John McCain, spoken before a gathering of GOP operatives at the National Republican Senatorial Committee where McCain outlined his campaign strategy in his Senate race

Senator Obama has always believed that the best antidote to smears and lies is the truth.Jen Psaki, Obama campaign spokeswoman

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The Truth vs. “Whatever it Takes”

Joe Biden was right when he said, “past is prologue.” Anyone who liked Bush’s campaign tactics in 2000 has surely liked the integrity with which the Bush-Cheney Administration has run our country over the past 8 years. Similarly, anyone who likes John McCain’s 2008 campaign tactics, and likes a governor who thumbs her nose at court orders during an ethics investigation, and likes a VP candidate with a deplorable First Amendment record, who forbids media access, also surely liked the past 8 years, and would surely like the the style of a McCain-Palin Administration.  By the same token, anyone who has appreciated the integrity with which Obama and Biden have run their campaign would surely like the integrity of an Obama-Biden Administration. Past is prologue. The challenge for Americans over the next 31 days will be to not fall for the bullshit, the lies and the fearmongering that got us into this predicament in the first place. Because, make no mistake: it’s about to get real ugly, real fast.

We could as easily hear that Obama bites the heads off kittens for breakfast, as we might hear that Obama runs with terrorists [EDITOR’S NOTE: believe it or not, I wrote this before hearing about Sarah Palin’s “Obama-palling-around-with-terrorist” smear, linked to below] , he is a terrorist, or that his children are terrorists. They’re gonna “ramp up” (to use Sarah’s idiom) the fearmongering and try to scare the hell out of us, the same way Bush-Cheney have been doing for the past 7 years. They’re gonna accuse Obama of things I can’t even guess or imagine, but you can be sure the smears will be peppered with words like Muslim, Islamic extremists, weakness, naiveté, appeasement, un-American, unpatriotic, socialism, terrorists, 9-11, jihad, black militant, mushroom clouds and WMDs, not to mention William Ayers, Tony Rezko and Rev. Wright. The McCain team is gonna say horrible, reprehensible things. 

And they’ll do reprehensible things, too, like trying to trick voters into screwing up their votes. The GOP and the McCain campaign are already doing this in some places (see links, below), targeting their efforts toward blacks, Hispanics and other other ethnicities, as well as the victims of home foreclosure. The ultimate irony is that they are now trying to paint Obama with the same brush, accusing him of their very tactics. Like McCain said: Whatever it takes. It’s only gonna get worse. And if world events go to hell someplace on the map, that’s gravy for McCain, because he can pull out his tough-on-terror persona. It’s gonna be a rough ride, folks. If you have any extra money, fight the smears by donating to the Obama campaign or the Democratic Party. If you hear a new smear, you can either report it or get the straight poop at Obama’s “Fight the Smears” page.  

Above all, remember: No matter how convincing the package, a hoodwink is still a hoodwink is a hoodwink….

 

 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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Huffington Post: Why the Debates Won’t Matter (Hint: It’s a Felony)

Huffington Post: Can Obama’s Ground Game Beat GOP Vote Robbing?

The Michigan Messenger: Lose your house, lose your vote

Huffington Post: Dems Sue GOP for Voter Suppression; Republicans Answer with Claims of Lies and Fraud

Wisconsin State Journal: Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, “…eligible voters could be disenfranchised and the state could face a post-election ballot-counting frenzy similar to Florida’s after the 2000 presidential race.”

The Michigan Messenger: Wisconsin Hotly Contested — Allegations of Voter Fraud Surface

Progressive Future: Stop Voter Disenfranchisement Before it Starts

Huffington Post: Fox News, GOP Tag Team Obama with Voter Fraud Smear

Huffington Post: Goo-Goo America

Booman Tribune: McCain Campaign Enticing Voter Fraud?

ABOVE: This 90-minute video from 2006, titled, “American Blackout” chronicles recurring patterns of voter disenfranchisement witnessed in the 2000 and 2004 elections, while following the story of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who not only took an active role in investigating these election debacles but also found herself in the middle of one after publicly questioning the Bush Administration about the 9-11 terrorist attacks. This history of voter disenfranchisement takes us back to the passage of the Voters Rights Act of 1965, which gives some perspective on how hard-fought are these rights that have been painfully robbed during the last two elections. An excellent, eye-opening film — pertinent to October 2008 — and well-worth the time spent watching it. Here, again, Joe Biden’s warning bears repeating: Past is prologue.

Note: If the above video malfunctions, it is available in 9 parts here on YouTube

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FOOTNOTE: 

A Brief History of the McCain-Palin Campaign:

Nothing from nothing leaves nothing

First, McCain tried to run on a thinly-disguised clone of the Bush-Cheney platform, which went largely unnoticed during the fracas of the Obama-Clinton primary season. By late summer, with the Republican Convention looming, the poll numbers showed that Americans were taking real notice of the Bush-Cheney McCain platform. The success of the Democratic Convention, plus Obama’s sage choice of a running mate only compounded McCain’s sinking numbers. In a desperate move to fill his platform with something/anything new, the McCain team hijacked Obama’s platform of hope, change and service. Simultaneously, and in a similar spirit of desperation, McCain threw Palin on the ticket, thinking beauty might trump brains. His choice of a running mate proved to be an utter failure in every possible regard, except one: she is, like McCain, a consummate liar. This was a good thing because, having lost the coattails of the Bush-Cheney legacy on which to ride, their platform was empty, save a few old war stories and tall fisherman’s tales about maverick feats. Between the two of them, there were enough lies to give the appearance of having legitimate records on which to pontificate during their speeches. But this, too, failed, as “the google” gave the public ready access to the facts. Having finally used every possible resource (except for the truth) the McCain-Palin campaign decided to abandon all pretense of running a presidential campaign and to, instead, spend the next 31 days destroying their opponent, in the hope (a funny word, in this context) of scaring the voters back into their camp.

More on this:

Washington Post and Huffington Post (October 4th) McCain Planning “Fiercely Negative” Campaign in Final Days

Huffington Post: (October 4th) Palin says Obama “palling around” with terrorists

Jewish Exponent: Don’t Fall for the Extremist, Anti-Obama Smear Campaign

Sarah Palin: A Drunkard’s Dream

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of being interviewed on Indie Talk’s’ “The Blog Bunker” on Sirius radio — a nifty show that whets & feeds the appetites of political bloggers, junkies and newbies alike. (p.s. Kudos and thanks to Alexandra and Joe!) Anyway, it struck me as odd that I could experience stage fright in the absence of a stage. I was also surprised to discover I have something in common with Sarah Palin, besides my ability to mangle the English language in front of a world audience. I now know, first-hand, how Sarah Palin must feel after an interview. Oh, the things I would do differently, if I had it to do all over again.  

I wish the interview had been a dress rehearsal, and I could do it again today, because (aside from wishing I could edit out the 100 or so times I said, “you know”) there are a few things I wish I had said. Mostly, I wish I’d brought up the oh-so-boring topic of voter fraud and disenfranchisement, which makes moot the quaint idea that our votes have anything whatsoever to do with electing the president. I wish that — while I had a captive audience — I’d mentioned the vile tactics and trickery being used, as we speak, by the McCain campaign and the Republican Party to commit voter fraud — a campaign that is even more dishonest, reckless and reprehensible than their presidential campaign, if such a thing is possible. 

But I also wish I’d been more clear in my criticism of Sarah Palin during our discussion of the poll numbers. More to the point: I wish I’d been more succinct in my criticism of the national stupidity that could embrace a candidate like Sarah Palin. Because — make no mistake — Sarah Palin is not the problem. The polls make this clear. The problem is that 40-something percent of Americans say they would actually vote for a candidate like Sarah Palin.  

Presidential Politics: Dancing with the Stars meets American Idol (p.s. How do I phone in my vote?)

We touched on this in the interview, when I griped about the media’s paparazzi-style coverage of this campaign (pure fluff and controversy — which, before the Wall Street crisis, was 24-7 Sarah Palin) with a dearth of substantive coverage on the actual issues of this campaign. The network ratings mirror the polls, which make clear that this is exactly what the American public wants. Interestingly, these same numbers are reflected within the tiny realm of this very blog. People read about Sarah Palin, almost to the exclusion of anything else.

 

As evidence, my own posts on Sarah Palin have been read 1300% more than ALL of the following topics COMBINED: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, George Bush, John McCain, Aafia Siddiqui, Bruce Ivins/anthrax, patriotism, the truth about the Bush Administration on illegal torture, detainment, secret prisoners, the desecration of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, propaganda, wiretapping and spying on U.S. citizens, 9-11, the Iraq War and Afghanistan wars, Georgia-Ossetia, plus all the covert U.S. wars throughout the world. Granted, many of the readers are people like me: incredulous, horror-striken, praying for some god-out-of-the-machine turn of events that will put an end to the nightmare-specter of a McCain-Palin presidency.     

 

If I were a business, I’d be out of business, without Sarah Palin.

So it only makes sense that the media would cover Sarah Palin to the near-exclusion of everything else. This is why we don’t see substantive, in-depth coverage of the actual issues. This is why we don’t see longer clips of speeches, or more in-depth discussions with the candidates. This is why the media has not played a real role in forging a national dialogue on the issues. This is why most Americans — if asked — would be hard-pressed to actually explain the platform issues of their chosen candidate. Such topics make people’s teeth hurt.

In yesterday’s interview, I said that most Americans actually know very little about their candidate of choice. John McCain, for example. Most Americans — if asked to tell everything they know about John McCain — would be hard-pressed to offer more than, “He was a POW and he’s a maverick.” If asked for specifics on his platform and his legislative record, they’d draw a blank. The same is true for Obama, except for the lies, which the media have abrogated their duty to correct. Too, I’d hazard to guess that most Americans know more about Sarah Palin’s ex-brother-in-law than they do about Joe Biden.

A newer, “betterer” America: diplomacy is wimpy and real people don’t use big words.

This is a direct result of the “dummying-down” of our national dialogue over the past 8 years. It’s gotten so bad that the candidate who brings actual presidential qualities to his candidacy is jeered as being elitist. The candidate who has consistently shown a level-headed, nuanced, intelligent and unwaveringly deliberate and methodical approach to addressing the serious problems we face as a nation, is seen as being weak. He’s called ‘professorial,’ as if this were somehow a bad thing. Meanwhile, the candidate with the erratic, kamikaze approach to problem-solving, who consistently lies, distorts the facts, fearmongers, bullies, blusters, and shows a flagrant ignorance of the facts, and can’t even debate the issues with a leader of his own country without losing his temper and saying “horseshit” (or worse) is seen as being strong. The candidate who brought us Sarah Palin is seen as being the better-known quantity…. Hmm.

Our country is suffering from a fatal disease. While the pathology is as invasive and malignant as any cancer, I would liken it more to alcoholism: we are determined to self-destruct by our own hand. Maybe this is a good thing. As any former gutter drunk could tell you, you have to hit utter rock bottom before you get desperate enough to change. Lucky for us, I suppose, we’ve almost arrived.

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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Related reading:

Huffington Post: Why the Debates Won’t Matter (Hint: It’s a Felony)

John McCain’s Rage: The Loser in the Debate

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Any old fool can start a war. It takes a real leader to stop a war before it begins.

No one else seems to be saying it, so I will. McCain was scary last night. And I don’t mean ‘scary’ in the strong-on-foreign-policy, ain’t-no-one-gonna-mess-around-with-this-guy  sense of the word, but scary, as in, this guy’s like a ticking bomb, and he’s gonna blow any second.

One doesn’t need a degree in the behavioral sciences to have noticed that McCain’s body language betrayed him last night, conveying an easily-provoked rage that spiked intermittently throughout the debate. His head, in particular. At several points during the debate, such as when Obama enumerated flaws in McCain’s foreign policy record (see video), McCain’s face physically drew-up and hardened, like a coiled fist. At one point, his entire face literally rippled with rage, the muscles in his jowls hardening like marbles under his skin. His pupils grew beady and jittery — looking almost deranged — while he waited his turn to respond. And respond, he did, his voice quavering (feebleness, fury or fatigue?), his mouth curled into a snarl, his pointed tongue darting out like a serpent as he spoke.    

I’ve seen this before. Anyone has, who’s ever witnessed ‘what McCain does’ when he’s crossed (see videos, below). When you hear from his Capitol Hill colleagues that McCain has a short fuse, that he’s a hot-head, this is what they’re talking about. Disagree with McCain, piss him off, and you are not only persona non grata, but you will likely find yourself in his crosshairs for the next few years. McCain is nothing, if he’s not vindictive, which makes moot any attempts to tally points between the debaters last night to see who came out on top. In both domestic and foreign policy, the clear loser was John McCain, as his rage simply got the better of him. 

If the diplomatic needs of the United States were limited to only bluster and bellicosity, or to, on occasion, staring down a fellow world leader and being able to reduce the dialogue, from start to finish, into seeing 3 letters in his eyes — K.G.B. — then McCain would be our man. Were the world a schoolyard, we could, perhaps, comfortably turn loose the scrappy schoolboy with the angry little man complex, his arms and fists perpetually poised to deal a blow. But on the world stage, we need a leader whose hands are as open to exchanging a handshake as they are to displaying the strength of a hardened fist. 

We need leaders of sound temperament, whose experience includes a history, past and present, of pragmatic, clear-thinking and foresight: leaders capable of nuanced thought in a world that is rarely black or  white, but is nearly always a mix of the two, with myriad shades of gray in-between.  We need a leader who can conduct a debate with a colleague — a fellow leader in his own country — without struggling so hard against his own personal demons, without struggling so hard to keep from detonating. For this was McCain’s fatal flaw last night: as his rage consumed him, his body language betrayed him — making hollow any claim he could verbalize on owning the character and temperament necessary to being a great president. As his rage won, John McCain lost the debate. And, in the end, it was this that defined the real difference between the two candidates: It is one thing to SAY that you own the temperament, character and good judgement to be president; it is another thing, entirely, to SHOW that you own those qualities.

Any old fool can start a war. The last thing this country needs is an old warrior whose worldview is tainted with old, unresolved rage. We do not need a leader who sees the world through the lens of a blind rage, ever on the verge of rearing its ugly head.

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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ABOVE: McCain grows angry, sarcastic in discussion w/George Stephanopoulos on health care in April 08

ABOVE: NBC news report in March 08, detailing McCain’s anger in exchange with reporter

ABOVE: McCain during a committee hearing with families of Vietnam MIAs, who were seeking declassification of Vietnam documents, believed to contain information on their loved ones, who never returned home from war. Body language: Although this hearing took place 15 years ago, again, we see the body language as McCain seethes and writhes with anger, taking his glasses on and off, repeatedly shoving them into his pocket.  His facial expression at 5:37 on the video is not only scary, it is grossly inappropriate and unbecoming for a man serving a position of authority on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. 

BELOW: The veterans advocacy groups and individuals leading this effort believe that John McCain stonewalled their efforts in order to avoid declassifying documents that would also reveal to the public unknown or unbecoming aspects of John McCain’s own history in Vietnam. This is discussed in the video, below, by some of those family members and veterans who have spent many years fighting to have the documents and information declassified. 

BELOW: But why listen to me? Listen to what Pat Buchanan and others — including McCain, himself — were saying, just this past spring.

SEE ALSO OUR RELATED POSTS ON McCAIN:

John McCain in Crisis Mode: Throw Hot Potatoes, Hope Someone Else Gets Burned

The Rise and Fall of McCain-Palin: A Shakespearean Tale of Junked Mavericks and Junkyard Dogs

The Emperor’s Old Clothes: The 3 Fatal Flaws of the McCain Doctrine

John McCain and the Snake Oil Express Take Wall Street by Storm

Monkeys with Molotovs: The Gutter Politics of McCain, Palin, Rove & Co.

SEE ALSO:

Huffington Post: Angry Video

Written by canarypapers

September 27, 2008 at 9:42 am

Alaska Women Reject Palin: Couldn’t make the trip? See the rally here!

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The good folks at Mudflats were kind of enough to let us share, vicariously, in yesterday’s “Alaska Women Reject Palin” Rally.  It’s gratifying to know that a healthy number of Alaskans, women and men, from young to old, who have enjoyed front row seats to Palin’s politics over the past several years (and survived) are willing to lend their voices with the rest of the world, as we reel in the shock & awe of over McCain’s reckless decision to choose Sarah Palin.

Golly gee…. Seeing the footage of his rally gives me hope that maybe, maybe our country won’t be hijacked, after all, by this profoundly unqualified, corrupt, lying, self-proclaimed maverick of a politician and her increasingly unscrupulous sidekick. Some of us out here have been feeling pretty dismayed and disgusted with the whole mess, avoiding the news, checking out travel brochures and the like to see if there are any uncharted islands left on which to set up camp, should the worst happen come November 4h. Thanks, Mudflats, for sharing this ray of hope!

Here’s one video of the rally. Said to be the biggest political rally ever in the state of Alaska, an estimated 1400-1500 people gathered to protest Sarah Palin’s candidacy. You’ll also see glimpses of pro-Sarah protestors, too, who were on hand to lob ugly, incendiary epithets at the anti-Palin group. There are several more videos, below. Be SURE to also check out Mudflats photo gallery of the rally. It’s awe-inspiring. Maybe Margaret Mead was right: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

This last video is from an anti-Palin “polar bear protest” that took place earlier this month.

 

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Coverage of this rally is relatively scant in the national media (gee, that’s surprising, isn’t it). Here’s what I could find, below. You’d be doing your patriotic duty to share the videos, news and links as you’re able, otherwise, the rally will be like so many other things going on in this country — those proverbial trees falling in forest, with no one to hear.

USA Today

The Anchorage Daily News

Op-EdNews.com

HULIQ News

KTUU News, Alaska

Washington Post

United Press International

The Australian

A REVIEW OF THE BIG SPEECH: When is a little knowledge dangerous? When it’s Sarah Palin.

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The talking heads are unanimous: Sarah Palin gave a command performance last night. Truly, she did — if you’re the sort who likes your scripts well-delivered, on-cue, by a skilled actress. Our local theatre group has many such talents.

Sarah is to be commended for her seamless delivery of this one-man act, peopled as it was with such a diversity of characters: plucky, all-American hockey-mom of five (being unfairly persecuted by the elite liberal media) who rose to be mayor of Wasilla (a small town, whose size is being disrespected by the elite, liberal media), and who then rose to become governor of Alaska (a state which, if you elect Sarah Palin,  promises to give us cheap gas and oil, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and staunch terrorism everywhere), whereby she proved her skills as a maverick politician, bucking a corrupt, good-old-boy system to restore truth and transparency to Alaskan politics (pay no mind to the man behind the curtain) and will do the same for the corrupt, good-old-boy system in Washington (which is run by politicians whose job skills pale in comparison to hers) because, for one thing, she represents ‘real’ Americans, (not those bitter, unpatriotic ones who aren’t proud of their country in both good and bad times, such as when that country lets its citizens fall, en masse, through the cracks into joblessness and financial despair, while paying $16 billion per month for two wars, while its leadership has become the scorn and ridicule of the world, for its lawlessness and bullying) not those liberal, elist democrats, who know nothing about fiscal responsibility, and just want to spend, spend, spend and run our lives through big government (that’s $140 per bitter household, per month, to fund the two wars) and, for another thing, she is better qualified to be vice-president than Barack Obama and Joe Biden rolled together (her qualifications, by now, should be self-evident to all, unless you’re with the liberal, elitist media) and, plus, she can ‘hold her own’ against the big boys (careful on your attacks, angry elitist liberals, or they’ll pull the sexism-card) as we saw in the sarcastic, condescending, disrespectful attacks she so skillfully waged, and with such relish, on Obama and Biden (as their class act — evidenced in the constant, outward respect they’ve shown for Sarah and her family this week — was lost on her, which I guess makes Obama and Biden weak on terror), proving that Sarah Palin is therefore tough enough to stand up to the terrorists and terrorist nations in the world (how, exactly, do you pronounce all these crazy Islamic terrorist words?)  and ready to carry the maverick mantle with her running-mate, John McCain (did I mention he’s a POW?) all the way to the White House, where she is prepared, on day one, to be vice-president, a mere heartbeat from the presidency (“What is it, exactly, that the VP does every day?”)

The problem is — the same as it was before she delivered her speech celebre — Sarah Palin can only aspire to *act* as if she had command of the facts, can only aspire to *act* as if has the depth of experience to qualify her to competently hold high office, can only aspire to *act* presidential. And she can only aspire to maintain this act, so long as there is a crew of players behind the scenes to arrange the sets and feed her the lines. 

This was the very problem from which George Bush (and, by extension, all of us) suffered for the past 8 years. He brought to the White House a college degree in business, a term as governor, and a set of ideals borrowed from his father. He brought little else in the way of credentials, unless you count his bull-headed insistence that he knew what he was doing, despite his profound ignorance of constitutional law and political science, and a perplexing lack of curiosity over the goings-on in his administration. Here, he was ready-made to be the very leader he became: a hapless, button-eyed puppet to a man named Dick Cheney who did, indeed, own an impressive command of the facts — not to mention a shrewd eye for business, as CEO of a corporation whose life blood is war and oil, and a shrewd team of lawyers, such as David Addington, who exploited and tinkered with the the Constitution to give Dick Cheney unprecedented power.

The State of the Union

In the wake of this malignant tinkering, our government body, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights have undergone radical changes over the past 8 years, the likes of which most Americans are unaware and would be incredulous to believe. In the course of this change, the checks and balances in our Constitution — designed to protect us from such an invasion from within — were exploited by Cheney and Addington to render powerless any attempt to cut such a malignancy from the government body. When people say that Dick Cheney is the most powerful man in the world, it is no hyperbole. And when people say that Dick Addington is the most powerful man you’ve never known, they are not kidding. For evidence, one need look no further than the powerlessness of our lawmakers on Capitol Hill, despite that some have fought tooth and nail to stop this seemingly unstoppable force that has undermined our Constitution and our democracy.

The video, below, gives about as succinct an example as you could find. Here, in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing this past June, committee members sought answers to a simple question: “Could our president order the torturing of the children of terrorist suspects, or the live burial of terrorist suspects, to extract information?” In the skilled hands of Cheney attorneys, Addington and Yoo, it is possible to dodge answers and stonewall the hearings, through clever semantics, legal “sleights of hand,” and stalling to run-out the clock on the 5-minute time limit on testimony. Most Americans are oblivious to the existence of such hearings, which makes all the more concerning the blind acceptance many Americans have extended to Sarah Palin’s thin credentials. This shows a lack of understanding, an ignorance of the real-time issues a president confronts in the course of his or her job — issues that are layered in myriad nuances, that require specific skills and depths of experience. These credentials are sorely lacking in Sarah Palin. Her ridicule of Barack Obama during her speech, when she jeered that he is the sort who would stand up for the rights of terrorist suspects, demanding they be read their rights, reveals a proufoundly dangerous way of thinking for a leader of a democratic society. Granted, there are many, many Americans who would advocate and cheer-on the hanging death of terrorist suspects, without due process or a trial to prove or disprove their innocence. Those who believe it is fair for an innocent human being to be punished for the actions of others, are no different from those very terrorists we claim to abhor.

Americans wave the flag as vigorously today as they did 8 years ago, even as the democracy over which that flag unfurls has become a shadow of its former self. Constitutional law may not be as sexy as mooseburgers, assault rifles and hockey moms but, when it comes to maintaining a democracy, the Constitution has proven itself to be indispensible for over 200 years. What this country needs, first and foremost, is a strong leader with an eye toward restoring our moral compass, and with the knowledge, experience and ability to work with our other lawmakers to restore our Constitution. Without this, the flag we honor represents a democracy that no longer quite exists, except in myth. 

Substance vs. Subtext

There are many in this country who felt a certain gratitude this past May, when Sen. Obama announced one of the goals he intends to accomplish during his first 100 days in office: “I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution.” Being a Harvard law school graduate, and serving as the president of the Harvard Law Review, and teaching constitutional law for 12 years affords him the credentials to not only aspire to such a task, but to undertake it with some competency. Indeed, some would rightfully claim that the six years Obama served in the Illinois State Senate, followed by nearly 4 years in the U.S. Senate, only add these credentials. There is little doubt that he would receive a wide round of applause from his fellow lawmakers in Congress for undertaking this necessary and most patriotic task to restore our Constitution to its pre-Cheney integrity. This is but one step, and a tiny one at that, given the enormity of change our country has seen over the past 8 years — change that could never have taken place in the open, but which thrived in dark secrecy, which is why so few Americans appreciate the urgency of what lies before us.   

Sarah Palin said it best near the end of her speech: “For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words.”

Sarah Palin may very well be a woman deserving of a mother-of-the-year award and an award for the most popular governor in the country. She would make an inspiring spokesperson for pro-lifers, and a powerful role model for business women everywhere. She needn’t be vice-president to deliver Alaskan oil to the American people. She needn’t be vice-president to address the ongoing need to erase sexism in this country. She can develop this role in her current position as governor of Alaska. 

But Sarah Palin is not ready to be leader of this country, particularly as we emerge from such a dark chapter in the history of our democracy. She gives a great speech, but owns such a shallow command of the facts, as to be dangerous. Here, Sarah Palin is ready-made to be just the leader she’s being groomed to be: a walking, talking PR campaign, whose job is to deliver scripted pep talks, to inspire the uninspired into believing there’s nothing wrong with this country that can’t be fixed with some good old-fashioned, Sarah Palin-style Alaska politics because, godknows, there surely couldn’t be millions of others out here who, given license, could parade out onto a stage and speak with such authority over events of which they know next-to-nothing, thereby insulting an entire country of thinking, intelligent people — men and women alike, but especially women, and most especially those women truly qualified to the vice-presidency. I’d like to think, anyway, that few would embarrass us, as she did, by the cheap relish she enjoyed while hurling the sarcastic, condescending insults she was scripted to wage at her opponents. 

I Feel a Gag Order Coming On

In this vein, we are going to see, in the coming days, the media coerced into silencing the voices of dissent against Sarah Palin. Or, at the very least, softening the criticism. After all, she’s a woman. The media will comply, of course. After all, they’re a business. They’ll bend over backward to avoid getting stuck again with that damned sexist label and being shut-out by the McCain campaign. Maybe 10, 20 years down the road, women will rise again, demanding not only the same rights as men, but the same treatment and the same expectations. For now, chin up, America. Sarah’s got your back. The show must, the show will go on. And, with your help, Sarah Palin is ready to step into George Bush’s shoes and reprise the role of hapless, albeit more glamorous, button-eyed puppet to the Cheney agenda for war and oil, rot and ruin. The American public believes otherwise at their own peril.

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by Mantis Katz, for the canarypapers

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