I attended university at a very liberal campus in the United States. I was around for Bush Vs Gore in 2000, and I remember when a woman rumored to be Al Goreâ€™s presumptive choice as Secretary of the Interior came to campus to speak. Iâ€™d estimate around 500 people showed up, mostly to heckle — for it was an environmentally charged campus and most activists saw Gore as a sell-out to industry. The talk, not well received in the first place, ended poorly when someone threw a salmon on the speaker, who was about seven months pregnant at the time.
Bush didnâ€™t spend much time in the state, but it was prime territory for Ralph Nader. A few weeks after the Salmon debate, one of Naderâ€™s most trusted flaks came to campus, where much of the student body was heavily invested in his campaign. I was surprised to find only about 20 people showing up to hear a bit about Naderâ€™s plans for the country and listen in as members of the audience debated the width of the Douglas firs that had been cut down in the state during the Clinton era.
On the eve of the truncated Republican National Convention, I find myself replaying the take-away messages from those talks eight years back: In the political arena, itâ€™s much easier to be against something — a candidate, a proposal, a law — than to support it.
Take the difference in debate from either side of the aisle during the Democratic Convention that just wound down and this weekâ€™s Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Or, should I say lack of sustained debate. Granted, the GOP gala was slow to get underway as opening ceremonies were pushed back a day because of Hurricane Gustav. Another buzz kill: George Bush, the first sitting President in 40 years who didnâ€™t personally attend the convention, addressed the crowd for eight minutes via video link from the White House.
A somewhat thorough perusal through the international blogosphere shows that very little discussion is presently taking place regarding the convention, Republican strategies to keep the White House or the worldview of Americaâ€™s right-of-center party. Instead, we get harsh rebuttals of Democrats and the Obama-Biden ticket. Even in conservative-leaning blogs, we have thousands of words regarding John McCainâ€™s VP choice Sarah Palin — and the announcement that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.
For some bloggers, it is just another scandal to add on to the others.
From Jordan, Hareega writes:
John McCain has appointed Sarah Palin as his running and right away the media started exposing dark pages from her past. She was arrested for a drunk driving 22 years ago. She used to be a member of a party that called for Alaska's independence from the United States. She abused her power as Governor to fire people from their jobs. There are too many scandals surrounding her that George Bush wished he had picked her to be his vice president.
For others, the media coverage of the issue reeks of the Pravda treatment.
From Sultan Knish:
The very same media organizations which for months refused to cover or even mention the story of a Democratic Presidential candidate's affair and illegitimate baby, threw all their efforts into covering the pregnancy of the daughter of a Republican Vice Presidential candidate.
The website of ABC News, as well as many others, reported the pregnancy as “Breaking News”. On Google News, both a hurricane which endangers the Gulf Coast and has set off a massive evacuation and the Republican National Convention, rank second to the major story that the daughter of a VP candidate apparently had premarital sex.
This isn't a double standard. It's not even bias anymore, the media is functioning as an arm of the Obama campaign and the coverage is as slanted as anything in Pravda. News stories about the election are simply the Obama campaign's talking points.
Political kids will be political kids, argues Skitz M. Jones at the Patriot Missive from Israel:
Joining the long list of kids who exhibit behavior thatÂ seems to goÂ firmly against the attributes their parents seek to portray to the world as a representation of their family and their beliefs, thereâ€™s pregnant 17 year old Bristol Palin, daughter of Republican Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.Â As-of-yet-unmarried and still a minor, some would see this as a potential problem for the Republicans, easy to target and make issue of…
But before anyone can speculate on how the Palinâ€™s are taking it and how it will be spun, too lateâ€¦â€¨
Theyâ€™re taking it just fine, and it actually plays well into Palinâ€™s political and ethical stances as a well pronounced pro-lifer.
The chickens have come home to roost, argues Egyptian Chronicles:
Sarah Palin is paying the price of the dirty game McCain and the GOP were playing with Obama and his African Islamic roots. It is not about her experience anymore , but her personal life. Experience is not an issue after all Obama wants to be a President where as he is always accusing of being inexperienced and that was among the reasons he chose Joe Biden.
Sarah is under huge fire now for her personal life. First there was a rumour that she did not give birth to her son Trig ,in fact he were her daughter Bristolâ€™s son , yes just like in Desperate Housewives when Bree pretended to be pregnant. This rumour made headlines yesterday across the Internet from news Websites â€œmostly Democratsâ€ to Gossip Websites !! It originated from the Daily Kos by the way.
From South Africa, a comment in a Times column linking Palin to a character from the early 1990s drama/comedy Northern Exposure:
I think McCain made a very wise choice. I like her, and everything she believes; circumferences morals, and God. I also think she makes Hillary look very meek. Look out Democrats; maybe you should be worried.
In other news, Israel Matzav, a self-professed Orthodox Jew living in Jerusalem is rebutting the argument that McCainâ€™s pick of Sarah Palin â€œsolves Obamaâ€™s Jewish problem.â€
And it is also correct that many Jews – especially the secular and non-observant ones (who make up the majority of the Jewish community) – are deeply concerned that overt displays of Christianity could be the first sign of the establishment of a state religion in the United States. He's also right that most Jews – even observant ones – are nowhere near as anti-abortion as Christian evangelicals and Catholics (Jewish law does allow abortions under certain circumstances, but they are few and far between). But the Jewish votes McCain was going to get – and can still get – are largely the votes of the observant and of those who openly identify themselves as Jewish, and not the votes of the secular and unaffiliated Jews who would be most bothered by the fact that Palin is a born-again Christian.
Where McCain and Palin can eventually make up much of what they have lost (Hat Tip: Hot Air) this weekend – at least when it comes to the Jewish community – is when it comes to Israel. Unlike Obama, who had a rich history of meeting with ‘Palestinian’ enemies of Israel, Palin is essentially tabula rasa when it comes to Israel, at least in the public sphere. From what little she has said of Israel in public, she is supportive of Israel and sensitive to our security needs, and by playing up that support and that sensitivity, McCain can ‘restore’ Obama's Jewish problem. While many Jews are knee-jerk Democratic voters, there is still a lot of mistrust of Obama in the Jewish community. One good Reverend Wright speech would be enough to reawaken it. But it may not even take that for McCain to carry Florida with Palin.
Finally, could Palin be a hacker?