Saturday, August 30, 2008

Limbaugh and Hannity on the Palin choice

Rush Limbaugh said that McCain's choice of Sarah Palin shows him to be a true maverick. That is just before he made the ludicrously sexist comment "We got the babe on our ticket." (So much for shattering any glass ceilings.) Sean Hannity interviews Karl Rove as the "architect" of the Palin selection. Both can't be right. Rove is the Republican party establisment, tied to George W. Bush. Doing what Rove wants is precisely not to be a maverick in today's Republican party. It is kowtowing to the "architect" of the dirty anti-McCain attacks that derailed his own bid for the Presidency in 2000.

If Palin was Rove's choice, then this shows that McCain is under the thumb of the Bush-Cheney wing of the party. His maverick status is forfeited.

Nor would the ascendancy of Palin to the Vice-Presidency shatter any glass ceilings. Palin didn't get the votes necessary to be nominated, the way Hillary Clinton nearly did. She got hand-picked by the Republican establishment. The Vice-President has as much of a job as the president permits him or her to have. John Garner, FDR's VP, said that job was worth a cup of warm spit. Only he didn't say spit, he said something else.

Comparing Palin's qualifications to Obama's is also absurd, at least at this point. Obama has executed a primary campaign, taken on formidable opponents within his own party, won the support of the Clintons for his general election campaign, and developed policy positions on the issues facing the President. He has also selected a running-mate. So we've seen him in action making presidential-type decisions.

In the coming weeks we shall see if Palin is capable of developing policy positions on the major issues of our time. Obama has chosen Biden, someone who is not only capable of assuming the presidency should Obama's heart stop beating, but someone capable of posing tough questions concerning the President's policies. Someone who will not be a rubber-stamp and a yes-man. The ability to choose people is the best sign of qualification for the presidency.

Palin may prove me wrong. She may prove that she is able to think seriously and independently about national issues. But I think the chances of the are about the chances of my mastering the nuances of string theory in the next week or so.


Jim Jordan said...

Limbaugh and Hannity remind me of old toothless ramblers at a sports bar. They dumb down the political dialog.

As for Obama's pick of Biden, I thought it was great...for the Republicans. Another old dinosaur who voted for the war. As a Christian, I could never vote for a platform that is pro-abortion and anti-marriage. My money will be on Palin as a good choice.

Shackleman said...

A Christian should not flaunt their Lord's namesake for purposes of political posturing. A Christian instead should live every day with her heart and mind ever striving to more perfectly live in the ways that Christ taught us to live. Let us be reminded then of what He said, and as you read these passages, be mindful and prayerful not only of abortion and marriage, but also of war, and poverty, and hunger, and AIDS, and genocide:

38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
--Matthew 5:38-48

Shackleman said...

Part II: The most important lessons given us by Christ:

3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
--Matthew 5:3-10

Jim Jordan said...

Agreed. My only question is, Is tyhis an either/or proposition.

Let us be reminded then of what He said, and as you read these passages, be mindful and prayerful not only of abortion and marriage, but also of war, and poverty, and hunger, and AIDS, and genocide:

I oppose the war (member of 'Out of Iraq' Bloggers), and, until I had to close my business, part of its mission was to feed the homeless, poor, and AIDS patients. Consistent with that is my opposition to abortion and the dismantling of marriage.

You can't love your neighbor and not protest his murder in the womb. What hypocrisy that would be!

Jim Jordan said...

Of course, Shackleman, from your meekness and humbleness I see that you won't be voting for any of these imperfect candidates. Do I have that right?

Latenter said...

Interesting stuff. Victor, what do you think of the connection between Obama's “so that America is once more the last, best hope for” (Lincoln wrote of) “all who are called to the cause of freedom” and CSL's the Poision of Subjectivisim?

It's a small slip; but would someone with objective morals make it? Could we level the allegation that Obama is one of the "mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst"?

No-one speaks about this anymore, but it seems both the other cornerstone (along with the AfR) of Lewis's work and a generally important issue. Clearly Obama would deny it, but CSL warns about the confusion of these types.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, sorry for going a little off topic here.

Shackleman said...

Greetings, Jim Jordan,

I appreciate your reply and your thoughts. I admire your consistency also. For what it's worth, I would guess I share your views on the positions in question.

You say: "My only question is, Is tyhis an either/or proposition.".

I believe it is you who are suggesting an either/or proposition. Either the candidate is against abortion, or you won't vote for him. Either the candidate is against gay marriage, or you won't vote for him.

I wonder why "as a Christian" you don't take the position: "Either the candidate is against the war, or I won't vote for him." Or, "Either the candidate is for universal health care, or I will not vote for him."

Do you not see therefore that you may be using Christianity as a political wedge? Did I not just use your phrasing to support a different candidate than the one you are obviously supporting? Is it not therefore political posturing?

I admire your consistency on the positions themselves, however this "as a Christian" phrasing, used as political posturing, I find to be unideal if one is indeed a Christian.


You continue: "Of course, Shackleman, from your meekness and humbleness I see that you won't be voting for any of these imperfect candidates. Do I have that right?"

I think maybe you mistake *my* meekness for Christ's. Let us turn once again to the beatitudes as we ponder the place meekness and humbleness has amongst God's people.

As for me and my vote, there is no single issue or two that will decide who gets my vote. My soul aches for the aborted as it does the death of innocent Iraqis, innocent Americans and heroic soldiers. I distress over what is happening to the nuclear family in America at the same time I distress over rampant poverty in the richest country in the world. When I cast my vote, I will be casting it for a fellow sinner, regardless of whom I choose. Knowing this, I will consider *all* issues presently known, and all potentialities presently unknown, and cast my vote while being as mindful of their imperfections, as I am mindful of their intentions.

Shackleman said...

Bert Power,

I get the sense from your post that nuance (for lack of a better word) is equal to subjectiveness. I don't see it that way, and was wondering if you could clarify for me why you view it as such (if I've interpreted your post correctly, that is!).

I view the world to be rather complicated, with some tough questions that require a lot of thought. Things aren't so black and white to me. And while we search for and strive toward living a more perfect moral truth, does that moral truth need to be so clear cut and simple? Is there room for complication in your opinion?

Victor Reppert said...

Bret: It would be nice to get politicians to take stands on issues like moral subjectivism in the course of political dialogue. I don't see anything in Obama's comments that entail subjectivism offhand.

Jim: If you think correctness on abortion and gay rights are the most important tests for a President, then Palin passes with flying colors. But there are many moral issues today, and these are only two of them.

At least in their personal lives, it appears that Obama has been far more respective of marriage than has McCain.

If you accept no-fault divorce, then you taken the government out of the position of being the guardian of marriage as Christians understand it. Blatantly adulterous marriages are perfectly legal in America, even though Jesus explicitly condemns them.

Mt 19:9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

Jim Jordan said...

Note that I value all the points that Shackleman made. Nobody perfectly lines up with those principles (in politics, they never do).
In every political quiz I take I come up 60/40 in favor of the Democrats. That's one point per issue. However, some issues are greater than others. Abortion, at 40 million children lost, stands as a trumpcard of immorality that the Left gives freely to the Right. The bad outweighs the good.

Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Anonymous said...

And now we have the news that Palin's unwed, 17 yr. old daughter is pregnant.
What a soap opera.
Thanks for the entertainment, Mr. McCain.

Clayton Littlejohn said...

As a Christian, I could never vote for a platform that is pro-abortion and anti-marriage.

You don't say this explicitly, but what is it about the Obama-Biden ticket that makes them pro-abortion and anti-marriage? Neither Obama nor Biden support constitutional bans on abortion, but neither does McCain. (And, let's be honest, there's a world of difference between being pro-something and not making laws that ban it, or was Bertrand Russell pro-Christianity?)

I'm guessing that you equate anti-marriage with extending marriage benefits to more people than just heterosexuals, but that's again an issue on which there's no real divide between the candidates. McCain isn't in favor of amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Palin might be, but she isn't calling the shots. She's there to lure suckers. Obama isn't going to bat for same-sex marriage.

I'm guessing we disagree deeply about value, but what I can't fathom is that even if we agreed on the values I can't see any rationale that takes us from those values to a vote for McCain. He'll do nothing to promote them. It seems the very essence of irrationality to throw support behind Republicans when it's clear that they will never deliver what you want on abortion and marriage.

Jim Jordan said...

Clayton---You don't say this explicitly, but what is it about the Obama-Biden ticket that makes them pro-abortion..?

"Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it's never been more important to protect a woman's right to choose. Last year, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, and in doing so undermined an important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect women's health. With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women's fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. - Barack Obama

From CNN---Opposes same-sex marriage, but also opposes a constitutional ban. Says he would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment.

While McCain may do nothing to further the cause of life and marriage, he is not hostile towards them. I do agree with your final analysis that politicians prefer lip service to action. How many Republicans were going to get tough with Fidel Castro? They won the Miami vote. That was all that mattered.

Jason Pratt said...

Just passing through, but--

While I agree that Palin (for all her genuine earnestness at being governor of Alaska) is there to lure the suckers, let's be honest: Obama didn't "earn the support of the Clintons". The Clintons support him in order to keep their own Party ties going strong.

Bill's convention speech was typical on this point: so, eight years in the White House have taught him that Obama is definitely the man for the job, huh? So he was only kidding when he supported his wife's run?--and the mudslinging that accompanied _that_ campaign? (I admit, though, Bill can give a great speech. {wry g} And whatever else I may think of him, I'll give him credit on being tolerably competent as an executive officer and manager during his terms. I just get very tired of the rhetoric and hypocrisy on both sides.)

Jim S. said...

"Comparing Palin's qualifications to Obama's is also absurd..."

With all due respect, this statement is not true. The post they are applying for, the Presidency, is an executive position. Palin has 20 months experience as a governor, and two terms of experience as mayor of a small town, both of which were executive positions. Obama has about 36 months experience as a Senator, and two terms experience as a state Senator, both of which were legislative, not executive, positions. So Palin, running for the number two spot, has more experience than Obama, running for the number one spot. This is significant.

Victor Reppert said...

TCD: Of course, if you vote for McCain, you vote for someone at the top of the ticket who has exactly as much executive experience as has Barack Obama: zero.

Even though Palin's experience is executive, and the Presidency is an executive job, it is also a national job dealing with national issues. Alaska is not only a small state, it's a pretty atypical state.

If a new president entering the job knows clearly what he wants to do and is good at selecting the right people to help him or her do it, experience is not the issue that it might otherwise be. My problem with Palin is not her inexperience, it's the fact that she has never dealt with most national and international issues in any capacity.

Since the 1976 four new presidents have come in from governor's chairs as Washington outsiders: Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and GW Bush. Only one has ascended from the Vice-Presidency, and none has come from the Senate since 1960. This year we will elect the first senator for President since 1960, which in some ways is a step as dramatic as the first African-American president or the first woman President or vice-President. I'm not convinced that the "executive experience" that all of these possessed and JFK did not possess made them all better Presidents than JFK. Otherwise, "You are no John F. Kennedy" would not have stung nearly so badly when it was said to Dan Quayle.

Victor Reppert said...

Jim: The one-issue abortion vote is an interesting issue, one that I think I ought to turn to separately when I get the chance. With respect to gay marriage, I fail to see that not wanting to produce a constitutional amendment against gay marriage constitutes hostility to marriage. I think a better case could be made that no-fault divorce is a threat to marriage. I question the logic that thinks that the institution of marriage is threatened by extending the civil institution to lifelong committed gay couple while it is not threatened by keeping the civil institution open to "serial marriers."

Clayton Littlejohn said...


I think it's a tad misleading (to put it mildly) to say that protecting the right to choose X is the same as being pro X. (Russell is anti-Christian in a perfectly good sense, but did not think people lacked the right to adopt whatever silly views they wished.)

Anyway, if you think that if McCain were elected he'd let Palin have her say on issues having to do with abortion, same sex marriage, or any other issue that is getting the social conservatives excited, you'd be sadly disappointed. He'll try to use her and people like you to get to office and he'll do exactly what he's done for marriage and abortion once in office. He'll do nothing. He doesn't care about abortion. He has little regard for the institution of marriage in his private life and no record that I know of for defending marriage in his public life.

SteveFed said...

He'll try to use her and people like you to get to office and he'll do exactly what he's done for marriage and abortion once in office. He'll do nothing.


Don't you think McCain will at least get a pro-life, or strict constructionist judge elected to the bench during his term??

Re-read the quote from Obama above in jim jordan's comment. That is what is at stake.

Clayton Littlejohn said...

Yeah, I just reread the quote from Obama. I'll just repeat myself. There is nothing in McCain's record that suggests that he'll look for a justice that will help the conservative Xians with abortion. He's against the human life amendment. He's not against using the social conservatives that have for too long thwarted his political ambitions. (Hello, thanks to the social conservatives, he lost to Bush. You think that doesn't bother him? You think he's a forgive and forget kind of guy?) Once he's made it into office, he's done with the social conservatives. There's nothing they could do to him once in office. He'll spend his days dealing with Dems.

But, suppose I'm wrong. You know what? Nothing changes. The Dems will be in control of both chambers. There's no way that they'll let McCain appoint a strict constructionist or someone who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

You know what the X-ians who supported the Repubs can do now? They can predictably vote for McCain and yet again send the Repubs the message that they really will far for it (again). They can get behind Obama and send the Repubs a message. Meanwhile, they might actually get something accomplished that doesn't have to do with abortion and same sex marriage.

I know, it's better to squander votes supporting someone whose gaming you than actually get something done. Vote Republican again.

Jim Jordan said...

Clayton--They can get behind Obama and send the Repubs a message.

Didn't they do that in 2006 by electing Dems to Congress?

I still don't see how voting for someone categorically opposed to you is better than someone who may do nothing for you or do it very slowly. Rat poison gets more done than Chips Ahoy, but I'll stick with the latter, thank you.

I did not say I was a one-issue abortion voter. It is by far the weightier issue that breaks the first rule for a leader, "Do no harm", in a big way. Even if Obama was promising to soften his stance on abortion, but he even dropped "rare" from the "safe, affordable, and rare" mantra in the new platform. Abortion is a profoundly Darwinian position. It is not Christian, and, no, if Obama continues to be Mr. Abortion, then I won't vote for him.

Clayton Littlejohn said...


Do you actually believe there will be fewer abortions if McCain is elected or is this just a symbolic gesture? Fwiw, I doubt abortion rates will decrease with McCain. If you can't decrease the rate of abortion, the least you could do is get behind a candidate that will do things about, say, poverty and the environment.

Obviously, this depends on what you think a purely symbolic gesture is worth. I think they are worthless at best. More likely, the prop up people whose policies typically are quite bad and reward them for lying to you about their willingness to use political power to end abortion. But, if that's what you want to do, that's your business.

Victor Reppert said...

I think Clayton makes a legitimate point. Let's think about what it will take to outlaw abortion. First, we have to add a justice to the court with just the right legal philosophy to seriously consider overturning a 35-year-old precent like that one. Now you can't ask potential justices how they will rule on cases, so you have to go by overall legal philosophy. This has all sorts of implications about how the Constitution will be applied to many cases which have nothing to do with abortion. OK, so
Roe finally gets overturned. Then I take it whatever laws were in place back in 1973 would go back in force, but then I seriously doubt that many states will go for a blanket ban on abortion. So how many real babies will it save. As many babies as would be saved by, let's say, health care reform?

We have two parties, the majority of one says they don't like abortion and want it outlawed, and the other side says they want it to be safe legal and rare. But it is not rare. Most pro-choice people seem to me to be what I would call "soft pro-choice," they think abortion a moral tragedy, one they would like to see as little of as possible. It looks as if the soft pro-choicers and the pro-lifers could team up to work on making abortion as rare as possible. I can't help thinking that interest in appearing ideologically pure to their "base," on both sides of the aisle, is keeping the abortion rate higher than it would otherwise be.