Monday, September 01, 2008

Running mates

(I’m starting to get US election fever.)

John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as running mate is intended to promote a blend of ‘experience and youth’. But looking at Palin’s brief career (18 months as Governor of a state with a quarter the population of Chicago) and then pictures of the two of them together, there’s a danger that it will come across as ‘decrepitude and inexperience’.

Barack Obama chose veteran Senator Joe Biden as his running mate – the adjective commonly used about him is ‘scrappy’. The man relishes a good poltical fight in a way that Obama appears not to.

I’ve heard it said that Biden simply won’t be able to use his standard knockabout approach against a much younger woman in the VP debates. Setting aside that this is pretty patronising to Palin, who presumably is no innocent, in perception terms there’s some truth in this. But it doesn’t matter: Biden’s feistiness is on the ticket for the purpose of taking McCain down, while Obama gets on with looking presidential and unifying.

However, Biden has far more knowledge of foreign affairs than Palin – as long as he can wield it against her without sneering, he should do pretty well in debate.

On the other hand, Biden has a long record of Senate votes and speeches that the Republicans will certainly trawl for ammo. And Palin could play very well as an outsider who wants to clean up politics. Although there is the small matter of the investigation into her. By contrast, the biggest scandal of Biden’s 35-year career appears to be that he plagiarised Neil Kinnock in a 1987 speech.

Then there’s the fact that Palin is a woman, and a lot of Democrat-leaing women were dismayed that Hillary Clinton didn’t get the nomination. Their votes could well be up for grabs.

Clinton should, very quickly, say something like:

I congratulate Sarah Palin on getting John McCain’s vote. We need more women in politics, and I’m glad that she feels a woman can make it all the way to the vice-presidency. But I don’t believe in democracy by quota – I earned my votes in the primaries on my own merits. People who voted for me believed in my values, my vision for America.
And now I stand fully with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, because I support their values and their vision. As a woman, I wouldn’t want there to be – just a heartbeat away from the presidency – someone who was so ideologically anti-choice, even in cases of rape and incest. I’d rather have as vice-president the author of the Violence Against Women Act –and if that happens to be a man, I won’t hold it against him.

It also occurs to me that if Palin does mention how she’s carrying the torch for women in Clinton’s absence, Biden could shoot back: “Governor, you’re no Hillary Clinton.” (Although, at time of posting, 680 other people on Google have already thought of this…)


Chris said...

Couple of points.

1 - in debates, it's often about the expectations game. Palin doesn't have to beat Biden's knowledge, just hold her own. In that circumstance, the only people who should be building Biden up are those who want a win for Palin.

2 - the firing of the state trooper thing. It's not just that he was divorcing her sister (which makes her sound like she was out for petty revenge), it's also that he was a piece of shit

The trouble between Wooten and the governor's sister broke into the open after an alleged incident in February 2005 [before she was govnerner]. Palin told an internal affairs investigator that she overheard on a speakerphone Wooten arguing with her sister and threatening to kill their father. Fearful for her family members' lives, Palin said she drove to her sister's house and watched the argument through a window.

"Wooten's words were, 'I will kill him. He'll eat a [expletive] lead bullet, I'll shoot him,' if our father got the attorney to help Molly," Palin said in an e-mail she wrote in August 2005 to the chief of the state police. "I heard this death threat, my 16-year-old son heard it (Track Palin), Molly heard it, as did their small children. Wooten spoke with his Trooper gun on his hip in an extremely intimidating fashion, leaving no doubt he is serious about taking someone's life who disagrees with him."

Again, I think this isn't something that should be brought up so much if the intent is to harm Palin - people will empathise with her even if she did act improperly once they hear the full story.

Finally, Hillary's response was 'We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin's historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.' Which is pretty much what you wanted, no?

Double finally, in the context of how the meme of this is going to be an incredibly vicious election because of the Republicans, look at this.

Triple finally, no the 'Governer, you're no Hillary Clinton' line is not, imo, a good idea (especially with Biden's past plagairism :). Amongst other things, it reminds her supporters that Hillary wasn't picked for VP, ie 'That's right, Senator. I'm here. She's not'.

Anonymous said...

Violence Against Women Act Becoming a Liability for Biden

Senator Joe Biden proudly proclaims that he was regularly and severely beaten by his older sister as a child and as an adolescent. This is the same sister that raised his two sons after his wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident.

Biden has often claimed that the Violence against Women Act is the greatest achievement of his career. He also claims that a woman cannot be a perpetrator of domestic violence, despite the fact that hundreds of studies show that women commit acts of domestic violence as often as, or more often than men. Many studies also show that lesbian women physically attack their intimate partners at least as often as heterosexual men.

As a result of Biden's Violence against Women Act, the federal government pays states to create laws effectively requiring that men be removed from their homes and families without even an allegation of violence, with no legitimate standards of evidence, when a woman makes a claim that she is afraid.

Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Bar Association (1999), has said "the facts have become irrelevant... restraining orders are granted to virtually all who apply. Regarding divorce cases, she states "allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage". According to Epstein, who is also a former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, restraining orders are doled out "like candy" and "in virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had."

State restraining order laws are starting to fall because they're unconstitutional. The federal law behind them, written by Joe Biden, is likely to fall as well, not because it isn’t popular, but because it is clearly unconstitutional.

Supporting Documentation

Here are some of the facts regarding Biden's abuse at the hand of his sister. During senate hearings held on December 11, 1990, Biden testified to the abuse.

This recent CDC study indicates that women between the ages of 18 and 28 initiate reciprocal violence against their intimate partners about as often as men. It also indicates that women initiate non-reciprocal violence against their intimate partners more than twice as often as men.

Here is a link to a bibliography of over 200 studies indicating that women are as violent as men in their intimate relationships:

According to the US Department of Justice, women also abuse, neglect and kill their children at significantly higher rates than men. Here’s some of the data on child homicides.

Research clearly indicates that lesbian battery is at least as common as heterosexual battery.

Cathy Young reports on the Elaine Epstein quote and the broader issue at here:

and provides in depth analysis here: