The WALTHER REPORT
By Tony Walther
I have to admit I don’t know what is going on with the oil out of Iraq. I read a story on CNN online Saturday morning and saw one report elsewhere as well that said China has all but finalized a $3 billion oil deal with Iraq. Why do we send troops to fight and die for Chinese oil?
A few months ago it was announced that western oil companies would be allowed to go back into Iraq. I don’t know what the status on that is and could not readily find out on the web. My newspapers and nightly news and even all-day long cable news tell me nothing either.
But I’ll just have to get back to that later. Meantime:
You only had to see how John McCain acted as Sarah Palin, newby politician and first-term governor of Alaska, introduced herself as the old man’s vice presidential pick in his quest for president to realize why he chose her to be a heart beat away from the top job.
At least that’s the conclusion I am coming to. He stood there right next to her the whole time – looking pleased and a little nervous at the same time. When she said something good about him or something that pleased the crowd he would smile and give a little wave to the audience.
You’ve heard of big shots surrounding themselves with yes men, well McCain seems to have found himself a yes woman. Oh sure, I know that she is supposed to be a maverick, and she may well be. In fact she may turn out to be so much so that McCain will be sorry for his choice. But I think he just didn’t care for the other male picks and maybe thought they might give him competition or even be too weak to help him, or be on the wrong side of some issue. (In fact I am now hearing that he was all set to announce Joe Lieberman, the turncoat Democrat, now independent in name, but Republican really, as his running mate. Tested it, didn’t sell among evangelicals.) But I suspect that McCain is enough of a male chauvinist to feel more comfortable with a nice young woman who will be spunky, yes, but adore him too, and make daddy look good. That is just a hunch.
I originally blogged that he made a bold move in choosing a woman to counter the fact that the Democrats had created history by nominating a black man, Barack Obama, for president. At the same time I noted that McCain is going after disaffected Hillary Clinton voters. Palin made that plain in her speech, talking about the 18 million women (Hillary voters) who “shattered the glass ceiling.”
Now I’m getting the feeling that many woman think it is an insult to pick a woman who does not seem to have the experience for such high office, in fact the highest office, being as she would be (and did we say this before?) a heart beat away from the presidency.
I still think he made a bold move and I think it is still too early to tell what it will get him. It could be the best move he could have made or the worst. He must be a gambler. In fact, I now recall reading that he is indeed a “compulsive gambler.” That’s just what I read. I can’t verify that. I read that in, among other places, a blog by Stephen C. Rose in the Huffington Post on Aug. 18. I’m not trying to make an issue at this time of his gambling, just trying to suggest, though, he may not be risk aversive (that could be significant, especially in foreign relations, war decisions).
The hardest group on women in politics are other women. I suppose it might be that they don’t want one of their own messing up and ruining it all for other women.
Some of the polling suggests that more women are questioning Palin’s readiness than men. One male friend of mine, who describes himself as conservative, said he was pleased that she is reported to be conservative and added “she’s the best looking candidate I’ve seen…”
Meanwhile, the latest Gallup poll I read on electoral votes (the most important measure) showed Obama with 281 votes and McCain with 257, with 270 needed to win. Now that was my interpretation of a poll I saw on the online New York Times site on Saturday and I split the undecided giving each man half. I know nothing of the actual science or required calculations of professional polling, but the idea here is that the race is close. I’m sure I am right in that.
From what I have read on Palin so far, she is hard right wing with a maverick twist. So McCain does even more than he did at the Saddleback mega-church in Southern California a couple of weeks ago when he kowtowed to the close-minded zealots of Christian fundamentalism. And now he has taken the no-experience issue he had against Obama off the table and maybe alienated many women in the process, but picked up others (no pun intended).
Sarah Palin may well be a fine and decent woman who given time could effect a lot of positive change in government, maybe sticking with Alaska for a while longer for starters, but I have to feel after some reflection that choosing her as his vice president was a cynical and irresponsible move by McCain. And I have read that he only met her once and made what amounts to a snap overnight decision. Is this a hint or example of his decision-making process? We all need to be concerned, very concerned.
And what about this experience thing? George W. Bush was first elected president some eight years ago, with basically no experience (he had been governor of Texas, but they have some strange system there they call the “weak governor”), but we were assured he had experienced folks to help him.
Barack Obama comes to us with little experience and a thin record, but he has Joe Biden.
Why is it we elect the inexperienced? Why don’t we elect the people who are supposedly there to help the inexperienced? Is it really a beauty contest? And what was ever beautiful about George W.?
I know, I get caught in my own words. I blogged the time before last: “do we really want experience?”
Yes, one would think so. But the only one at the top of the tickets with measurable national and international experience is McCain.
And now I really go into a ramble…
Way back When George H. W. Bush (the senior one) was running for re-election (unsuccessfully) the joke on Saturday Night Live was that he kept saying “Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf.” Then this time around Joe Biden quipped that every sentence that Rudy Giuliani uttered contained only three things: “a noun and a verb and 9/11.”
McCain of late takes to answering tough or uncomfortable questions with, “let me tell you about the time I was shot down over North Vietnam and spent five and a half years in a hole.”
Mr. McCain, we know you’re a hero, now please stick to the issues at hand.
A little clarification and amplification:
– What I am reading now is that the scandal (if it is that) against Palin is that she forced out the Alaska director of public safety and her or her family and/or associates tried to get a state trooper, a former brother-in-law, fired, supposedly over a custody battle. She claims the force out of the director of safety was not related to the trooper thing. You can read about that yourself and should.
– Also, I think more to be cute than anything, I blogged that Bill Clinton when he was trying to get everyone to hush up before his convention speech (stop, stop, stop), that he “doth protest too much.” Now on second thought, I have to admit that at the time I thought he looked like he sincerely did not want to waste time with endless applause (and when can you tell if he is sincere?). And a couple of talking heads on TV said as much, that is he felt pressured to get said what needed to be said. So I promise to not be cute again (unless I can’t help it), especially if it misleads – that’s not my intention. I was just pre-disposed to think he never minds being the center of attention.