Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin and Experience

Since McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running-mate yesterday the Obama campaign has attacking the choice because she doesn't have any foreign policy experience. Experience is a somewhat more tricky thing to define though. I think we would all agree that there is such a thing as useful experience. For example, being a professional rugby player in New Zealand for 20 years would provide that person with plenty of experience, but almost none of it would be useful in running our country. So I decided to make some pretty pictures to illustrate the point that I'm going to make here. First, there are a few things to keep in mind. The numbers have been weighted. First off, if your name is at the top of the ticket, your experience is more worthwhile, because you will be the person immediately running the country. Foreign policy experience is fairly weighty on my scale, but there are definitley other things to take into consideration, so having a lot of it won't throw your numbers off the charts, but could help if you're lacking: Executive experience. Given that the candidates are fighting for the lead of the executive branch of our government I've given executive experience a moderately hefty weight also. So, where do we stand? Check the meters below.

First, the candidates at the top of the ticket

Now the veeps

And now, just to prove a point


Josh Baltzell said...

You are right. She was mayor of Wasilla Alaska: population 5470 in 2000 (Only a little smaller than Port Clinton!) from 1996-2002 and was Governor of Alaska (population 683k AKA Smaller than Columbus, OH.) for 21 months.

You can argue that you like her politics, but c'mon, better experience?

What would you say if she was a democrat? Be objective.

Anonymous said...

This would be laughable if meant as a joke; that's all this is. If you expect people to take you seriously, you can't be so blatantly biased. Where are the facts?

You also forgot to take into account the elephant in the room (though it turns out, he's really a donkey). One very important aspect, if not the most important aspect, of implementing foreign policy is that of the respect afforded you by those you are trying to influence. You can make all of the comparisons of experience you want, but when it comes right down to it, it's that respect that gets things done. Obama blows the other candidates out of the water.

Who we elect also says something about us as a people (and thus about the respect we do/do not deserve). I know this is a phrase the Obama campaign has used, but it's true: electing McCain is equivalent to electing Bush for a third term (even if it isn't so in reality, it is in the eyes of the rest of the world). The crazy thing is that the Republicans who regret voting for Bush are actually getting behind McCain! To steal the idea from one of the people speaking the DNC, it doesn't make sense (insert Einstein's definition of insanity here). By electing McCain, we tell the rest of the world we are insane! Are we, as individuals and as a nation, really lacking that much perspective?

By supporting McCain, you're saying you are ok with the 30 million in contributions he received from big oil; you're ok with the economy the way it is; you're ok with our education system being 20 somethingth in the world in math and science; you're ok with losing jobs to foreign nations; you're ok continuing a misguided war; you're ok with continuing under a misguided leader.

Supporting McCain for republican economics is also a joke. The truth is, more jobs and more higher paying jobs were created under democrats than republicans (we actually lost jobs and our salaries were cut an average of $2,000 over the last 8 years). Heck, under Clinton we had a BALANCED BUDGET!!!. You can try to make the argument for republican economics all you want, but to do so in face of the facts is, well, insane.

Then there is the moral debate, where most conservatives draw the hard line on voting republican. What a crock. Let's take a look at, say, the Bible. Look at Jesus' politics. Did he side with the conservatives (the people using his temple to get rich, similar to the republican's in the White House)? Did he say, "Let people fend for themselves."? Did he promote individualistic politics meant to make the rich richer? He was the health care for those who couldn't afford it; do you think he'd make it impossible for the poor to reach him? The truth is, conservatives are the furthest group from Biblical in these key areas; that is what gives conservative Christianity such a bad name; it is the definition of hypocrisy. It's like they can't see the forest for the few trees in the way (typically abortion and guns(very Jesus-like), issues to be debated later).

I know I can't expect to change your mind on these things, and vice versa. I just ask you to A) examine the big picture and B) be honest and factual with your arguments.

Josh Pollard said...

The main point that I'm trying to make here about experience is that while she hasn't been in office for a really long time, she has actually gotten things accomplished. Here are just a few of them:

As mayor she cut her own salary and reduced property taxes by 40%. Later she showed integrity by resigning her position on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in response to what she called a lack of ethics from fellow Republicans. She then filed formal complaints against two high-ranking, but corrupt, Republicans (keeping in mind that she is a Republican) causing them to lose their positions. She then beat the Republican incumbent governor in the primary on the way to winning the general election by an 8 point margin. She won the primary partially due to pointing out more ethical problems in her own party. As governor helped to unseat another corrupt Republican, this time US Congressman Don Young, then publically challenging Ted Stevens on his ethical problems. She passed a bill to increase taxes on oil company profits, is creating a sub-cabinet group to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alaska. She introduced an act to build a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope that received approval by all but one of the state's legislators.

Do I really need to keep going? You read the wikipedia article didn't you?

The real question is, while Sarah Palin was doing all of this, what was Obama doing? Nothing. And he certainly hasn't done anything to show that he isn't just a democrat party sheep. He's done nothing to go against his own party for the better of his constituents, while Sarah Palin clearly has.

If I'm being completely honest, if Sarah Palin's name were on the top of the ticket, I'd still much rather have her than Obama in the Whitehouse. Because if I had to choose between a governor who has accomplished much in two years, and a senator who's done nothing, not even holding meetings for the sub-committee that he chairs, I'd take the governor.

I think that response, which is much longer than I thought I would write, answers both of you on this specific topic. I'm not going to respond to the huge list of other topics that Paul brought up because I like to keep my specific posts on topic. I'm sure I'll have future posts that will specifically cover many of those issues though.

Josh Baltzell said...

I am going to try and stay on topic since you complain about me overcomplicating issues (Thought I think in many situations you oversimplify.)

I want you to admit the insane amount of bias in this post. Then reconsider whether or not something like this actually represents your attitude towards politics. Because it looks like gibberish propoganda from a PAC. You would have been much better off posting your last comment than this.

Just look at Biden vs McCain's chart. How did McCain get to 10 in 21 years in the senate, but Biden only got to 5 in 35 years? I hope Biden can stay in the senate for just 35 more years to get to that coveted hash mark next to 10.

Anonymous said...

Man I have to say that with this absurd post and absolutely no objectivity, I'm convinced of one thing...this blog is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Huge lolz at these comments.

But really, you guys keep on making fun of a former small town mayor, that'll go over real well with voters.

And Paul, with due respect, your summation of Christianity is baffling and ridiculous, as is your understanding of what the free market is- the free market assumes a base level of morality which includes private charity; it cannot work in a moral vacuum. And even Barack Obama himself has stated that faith based organizations are very effective.

Like most people who like to be critical of conservative Christians, you confuse what Jesus instructed as to how we treat our fellow man as individuals with government policy. Let me quickly thumb to the pages which deal with universal health care... hmm, maybe they are in the apocrypha?

I do believe St. Paul said something about people needing to work if they wanted to eat, though.

As for this respect issue- a leader cannot possibly be respected if our allies do not believe they will be supported and our enemies believe they won't be stopped.

In any case, it would have been nice for Josh to share his metrics, but whatever- Palin is a terrific pick for the GOP, and for America.

Josh Baltzell said...

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

I have never seen such insane bias. How did we go from 2 years of calling Obama inexperienced to here? It baffles me.

Anonymous said...

Alright. My apologies for not staying on topic. A head's up, my comments to Josh are on topic, to Rob address those things that Rob addressed.

I think you need to reread both Obama's and Palin's wikis.

At Columbia, Obama's specialization was foreign relations. He serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was the chairman on the Senate's subcommittee on European Affairs, made several official trips to various areas...

I never said anything against the nomination of Sarah Palin. It was smart to do. My argument is that the post is biased and not close to being representative of the truth in relation to experience.

Yes, calling out your fellow Republicans for doing something wrong is the right thing to do. So what. She did the right thing, yes, that's all well and good. Does that give her experience? If you look at it more closely, she actually got rid of people in her way to holding the position she now has. All of her experience seems to relate to Alaskan oil and Natural Gas. She also says global warming is not related to human causes...What? Then there's the whole "bridge to nowhere" fiasco. How about the fact she's being investigated for abuse of power? That's experience, I guess.

You're right about Obama, though. He doesn't have that kind of experience. While Palin was working for big oil, he was in the trenches of Chicago, running non-profit's and helping people get their lives together.

In an earlier blog you state that Biden is arguably one of the most experienced Democrats with regards to foreign policy. He's been "on the map" since 1972. Yet in THIS post, he gets an "experience level" ranked less than Palin. What???? You can't be serious. This post can't be taken seriously.

Rob. First, sorry this is so long; you got me riled up a bit.

Your misunderstanding of my comments is apparent. You're limiting of Jesus's love is atrocious.

You imply that I make a statement against faith based organizations. You imply that I don't think they work. In actuality I said no such thing and that couldn't be further from the truth; I support several financially, including one which gives expecting mothers alternatives to abortion.

You also imply that we have a "free market" economy and that it has a fundamentally moral base. I think you'd have to be living in denial to think such a thing. If you look at what companies do to their employees, what insurance companies do to the insured.... That moral base that you claim is NECESSARY for a free market to work just isn't there.

Next you get into Jesus's teachings, individualism and government. This is hilarious. First point. If I'm not supposed to take Jesus's teachings to government, why is abortion an issue with conservatives? That, after all, is said to be faith based. I think we can agree it's certainly not scientifically based.

Second, if you concede that point and I'm allowed to bring in my beliefs and Jesus's teaching into the White House, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if A) I'm supposed to treat every individual some specific way and B) our country is made up of a bunch of individuals that C) I should treat everyone in our country that specific way. Conservative's already do that with some things (abortion, hearings on music lyrics etc), they just ignore the things that might cost them financially, which is both greedy and hypocritical.

In other words, you can't have it both ways. It's either we support the right to life for all, including those who can't afford health care, or you don't. Any combination is hypocrisy.

If you reread Matthew and find all of the times it's mentioned that when Jesus went somewhere He healed all of the sick, how can you say He wasn't the embodiment of what universal health care intends? You're right, he doesn't say explicitly, "have universal health care." Aren't there specific passages condoning slavery? How about women praying without a covering on their heads going to hell? So, you tell me; do we simply go by what it says or do we go by what it means within the context of a society?

My favorite part is the part where you insinuate that the situation someone is in is their own fault (the people needing to work if they want to eat comment). WOW. That is similar to Jesus walking around and pointing to people that were poor, sick and paralyzed and saying "he must have done something to deserve that." It's ludicrous, conservative thought and takes St.Paul's comments out of context.

In regards to the respect issue: why don't you read about Obama's and Biden's stances on finishing the wars, taking a hard line against Russian aggression in Georgia and rebuilding our army?

McCain's stance on the issue is like his school experience: do just enough to get by (and finish 894th of 899). If we don't have to set a deadline for withdrawal, why do it?

I'm sure I'm going to hear it after this one...

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin way well be what conservatives are looking for in the V.P position and I can and do completely agree with for the basis of this insane post; sorry, doesn't hold any freakin' water. Not a drop.

Biden is given a lower experience rating than Palin!?! Complete bull. Period. McCain does have more experience than Obama and than one is absolutely true but the rest is of this is just right wing bias.

Also, about the the posts of what would Jesus do... Let me just say that none of you have any idea what he would do or what he would say. Use the Bible for a basis for argument if you want to waste time arguing about something so insane, but not a single one of you have any idea and that is the truth...that is, unless one of you has talked to Jesus lately about health care and the like...I doubt it...although he may be speaking at the RNC, because Jesus after all IS a republican.

All in all, let's just get off of that topic.

Josh Pollard said...

two things are very clear after reading all of the comments:

1. no one got the fact that i was trying to be somewhat humorous with the graphs. I know that this claim looks a little a nuts, which is exactly why i made the cheesy graphics. I was hoping that those would clue you all into the fact that I was just trying to have a little fun. Apparently I failed miserably on that front.

2. no one read what I wrote, they only looked at the graphs. in my text describing the graphs I said that the numbers were weighted for certain characteristics.

So here is how I came up with the numbers, that again, were supposed to be kind of funny. I mean c’mon guys, I’m judging experience on a scale of 1-10!

McCain vs Obama:
McCain gets 4 points for real experience. I wish it was higher, but he doesn’t have executive experience. He gets 1 point for….my bias  And I give it a two-times multiplier for being the name on the top of the ticket. So 5 x 2 = 10.
Obama gets 0 points for not really ever doing anything significant. He does still get the two-times multiplier, but two times 0 is still 0.

Biden vs Palin
Lets start with Biden, its easier. He gets 4 points, just like McCain for having pretty similar experience. Again, he doesn’t have any executive experience, so that’s why its not any higher. Unfortunately, because his name is at the bottom of the ticket he doesn’t get the two-times multiplier, so his number stays at 4.
Palin gets 2.5 points for what she has done in office. She’s done some important things, but hasn’t been around long enough to get this number up higher. She does get a two-times multiplier though because all of her experience is at an executive level. So 2.5 x 2 = 5.

Yes, all of this is a little ridiculous. I’ll admit that, but like I said, I was trying to lighten this place up a little. Instead it totally backfired.

Does that help clear things up at all?

Josh Baltzell said...

Your mom totally backfired.

Josh Pollard said...

LOL! awesome!

Anonymous said...

Straying slightly off topic...

Too bad she's not running for president. I find her acceptable, whereas I cannot vote for either McCain or Obama with a clear conscience.

Anonymous said...

In the spirit:

Thought you might appreciate this.

Josh Pollard said...

lol very nice!

OT said...

I love the post.

I guess any executive experience counts (even if you run up $20 million in debt, charged citizens for staying in your own home, attempt to charge women for their own rape kits, and support the bridge to nowhere before it becomes politically untenable to do so). With that kind of executive experience, I'll take my chances with the blue.

I am curious to see where Sarah Palin stands on the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which allows the President to deem any citizen an enemy combatant, be held indefinitely and be denied access to a lawyer while they endure sexual and religious torture and waterboarding in Guantanamo Bay. Seeing as how neocons like William Kristol pushed McCain to pick her, we will probably see her push to dismantle the Constitution further if she and McCain are elected.