Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Frankly, I'm disgusted with modern politics...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the left started out the weekend by spreading the rumor that Sarah Palin was "covering up" for her daughter, launching the speculation that Mrs. Palin was actually pretending to be the mother of her daughter's child. In fact, it turns out, that the 17 year old daughter is pregnant and unwed.

I cannot count the number of people that I know that have faced similar family problems. Fortunately, they didn't have their private family matters splashed all over TV, newspapers, and the Internet. Since when does this particular private family matter have any bearing on the public debate? I might be able to buy it if there was some discrepancy between the Palin's words and deeds. But to me, actions speak louder than words and the young woman is "doing the right thing" and taking responsibility for the child. Apparently, the father, is doing the same. Case closed.

But this heinousness of this diatribe from the left, the hatefulness, and the disregard for even the minimal civility due another human being leads me to wonder if there isn't a bigger systemic problem with the way our political and public figures are treated.

I know, somebody is saying "Hey, these folks signed up for this." It's the same argument that the "Hollywood" types make regarding the paparazzi. But since when did being someone who is "in the public eye" mean that you no longer get to have any privacy at all? Does offering to do public service come with the requirement that you can't have personal problems, family crisis, or errors in judgment? If so, then we really are in a bunch of trouble. All of us falls short, some more than others, and none of us are perfect.

I am aching to have a real debate on the important issues that are facing the country. To me, matters of war and the global threat from nuclear proliferation; poverty, energy, and the economy; trump whether or not the children of our political figures are having personal problems. Moreover, unless there is some suggestion that the Palin's are mis-using their official resources, I cannot find a circumstance that requires the media to make this information public, and certainly not in the spiteful, hateful, and unnecessary ways that the leftist blogosphere and some media outlets (New York Times, in particular) have in an effort to discredit Sarah Palin.

In my view, we need to get to a place where we can actually make judgements about competency based on experience and stated positions on issues of import and not on some nebulous politics of personal destruction that have infected our public discourse. When did it become necessary to not just defeat your opponent, but to personally and professionally destroy them? How long can we sustain self-government in an environment where every foible, every decision, and every personal problem, becomes fodder for the blogosphere?


Casey said...

Give me a break. She was the one who thrust her daughter into the national spotlight, after having accepted the VP slot without having been properly vetted by McCain.

Call it shaedenfreude or karmic appreciation, but I don't mind this at all. It's adequate payback for the "Obama is a Muslim and his wife is an America-hating-terrorist-Black Panther" BS that's been going on for months with the full complicity of the MSM.

Have you actually looked into this Palin pregnancy stuff? It is pretty fishy. No matter -- the ethics investigation is bound uncover other unsavory tidbits about the Commander of the Alaskan National Guard.

Thanks for letting me rant.

-The OTHER Contrarian

The Contrarian said...

Hey, Casey. Rants are always welcome here. After all, we have to listen to GonzO all the time.

You might remember that I said, at the time, the stupid attacks on Obama were unfounded. I do think that some of his associations are suspect. It concerns me greatlly that he seems to have a more than passing relationship with Bill Ayres and Bernadette Dohrn. I think that's a legitimate line of inquiry. It matters who one associates with.

What doesn't matter is that Mr. Palin, while in his late teens or early twenties, got a DUI. What matters even less is that Mrs. Palin went fishing without a license. (Which, I understand is not quite accurate. She apparently took over a license from a relative and didn't get the name changed. So there was a license, she just didn't get the name changed over in a timely fashion.But, that's another argument.)

I am not convinced that she wasn't properly vetted. In fact, the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that they knew all this stuff, and when the stupid pet tricks over at the Daily Kos took the bait, they released it all in dribbles to make the media look as stupid as they do, knowing that the left just can't help themselves from jumping on it, and the voter demographics that McC/P are reaching out to would be incensed and galvanize support for the ticket. Which is exactly what is happening.

No less than Mika Brzezinski, certainly no right-wing nut, has decried the shamelessness of the MSM on the Palin thing.

Being the husband of an accomplished, professional woman - and the father of a daughter with two BAs and a JD - I can personally attest to how big a deal this is. Neither my wife, nor my daughter are hard core right-wingers. But both are impressed with the Palin pick and upset about the lack of respect and civility on the left toward her.

One last point. It shouldn't be about "payback" as that is the problem. It seems that it is no longer enough to prevail on the battlefield of ideas, but rather to destroy your opponent's personal and professional credibility. That was the point I was trying to make in the post.

Thanks for commenting!

Casey said...

Rational and well-articulated points. I'll have to recalibrate my assumptions about the "other side!"

Many of the professional women in my orbit (my wife among them) have the opposite feeling about Palin, and not only because of her ultra-conservative leanings. They find the apparent tokenism of the pick to be offensive, and I understand why.

If we can agree that the kids and family life are off the table, can we put some other stuff on? Like her attempts to ban books at the Wasilla library, and the multiple firings?

I do think that we on the left(ish) side of the political spectrum underestimate Palin at our own risk. However, McCain ran the entire first half of the campaign as a referendum on Obama, and now the whole thing seems to be a referendum on Palin.

Tricky political calculus, if you ask me.

The Contrarian said...

Point well made. I agree the issue of banning books is legitimate. I would be interested in knowing what "books". (e.g. Hustler Magazine or Of Mice and Men?) There's a distinction that reasonable people can argue about what belongs in a public-funded institution.

Personnel actions are fair as they pertain to her public administration. No argument there.

"Tokenism" is a harder sell for me. I can accept that the women in your life might feel that way. However, I have found myself lately asking the question: Would I think or feel the same way if Sarah Palin was Steven Palin, all other things being the same?

I don't honestly know. I'd like to think that I would. What I see in the selection of Mrs. Palin is an articulate, accomplished, and talented woman. We can disagree about her positions and ideology, to be sure, but I do not think that anyone - man or woman - would not respect someone who is in his or her forties, has raised a large family, ran a business, been a Mayor (whether of a city of 9,000 or 900,000), been a statewide elected official (trust me when I tell you, it's tough to run a campaign in 11 counties in Indiana, let alone in the largest State in the Union), and has now been selected to be the second most powerful elected official in the free world,and not agree that these are significant accomplishments.

One thing that I have learned is that experience comes in different modalities. The lessons one learns from those varied experiences transfer into skill sets. Those skill sets create a predictable matrix for decision-making. So, any decision can be reached by application of the matrix.

Can we agree that when someone applies their experience, beliefs and values consistently that you can get predictable outcomes? If so,then it does not make any difference what gender someone is in that process. Of course the actual experiences may be/are different, but the skill sets that develop are not.

So, I have a harder time accepting her selection as a "token" to women. I see it as a partnership. Palin clearly shares many of McCain's ideological and administrative views. While I have never met her, she seems to me no shrinking violet.

I completely agree with you that the McCain campaign has spent far too much time and effort trying to make the campaign a referendum on Obama's lack of experience. I would make the same argument for Obama, that I made above for Palin. While he has different experiences, he clearly has some impressive skill sets. I argue that the policy positions and the associations he has are what should be the debate.

There is, in my view, nothing wrong with partisanship. People should stand for something. The relentless rush toward mediocrity that we have now is the biggest part of the problem, in my opinion. Neither side has had a fresh idea or an original thought since the Contract with America.

No one could be more disappointed in and frustrated with the Republicans than I am. I drank the Kool-Aid early and often when we were doing the Contract With America. I see that same enthusiasm in Sarah Palin and I find it exhilarating. In my humble opinion, that's not tokenism - it's a home run!

So, there you have it. My turn to rant a little.

Casey said...

Is the fact that AK is the physically largest state in the Union somehow germaine to the discussion, or is it a verbal canard?

One question the McCain surrogates seem to have difficulty answering is whether he would've tapped Palin had Hillary been Obama's VP choice. This cuts directly to the heart of the "tokenism" debate. The inability of anyone in the campaign to address it belies a cynical political move. THis is also borne out by emerging facts regarding McCain's selection process.

While I can possibly admire Palin's energy and commitment to professionalism and child-rearing, I cannot overlook her glaring lack of experience (and interest) in matters beyond her home state. That's great for a small-town mayor, but unsettling when looked at through the lens of a potential POTUS.

Palin has professed ignorance on our MidEast entanglements, and you'd have a hard time convincing me that any interest in geopolitics. Obama, at least displays the intellectual curiosity (not to mention a certain worldly je ne sais quoi utterly lacking in Palin.

then there's her ACTUAL political positions/history, which I can't imagine will inspire voters beyond the "Jesus rode a dinosaur" contingent and those mouth-breathers whose sole source of political info is FOX News and mass e-mails about sundry liberal bogeymen.

All one has to do is look into the audience of the Dem convention vs. the GOP rally to see the "two Americas." One represents inclusion and the future, the other fear and the past.

You want to talk about the coronation of Obama as some messianic figure? How bout the endless Reagan worship that goes on down Republican way?

See, we've got our Reagan now. Th pendulum is swinging back. You can't fight the future.

If you're truly that tired of the GOP, we've got room for you.

Casey said...

I'll leave you folks alone now, but I wondered if you'd seen this yet:

Noonan, Murphy trash Palin on hot mike: 'It's over'