Category Archives: Vice-President

2008: The Unbroken Glass Ceiling

hillary_and_sarah1

by Diego Del Campo

Women in positions of power in the public sphere is still a relatively new, if slowly progressing sight. It’s become now conventional wisdom that 2008 was a year when women broke barriers in politics. Hillary Clinton was a serious contender to win her party’s nomination, and Sarah Palin became the first woman to be nominated as vice presidential candidate by the Republican Party. Yet, despite this progress, and the fact that Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House in 2007, the percentage of female representation in Washington D.C continues to grow at a glacial pace—increasing just 1 percent over 2006, to a total of 17 percent. Washington isn’t the only place where equal representation is at a stalemate.

By the end of 2008, 12 women will have worked as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. In Hollywood in 2007, women made up only 6 percent of directors and together “comprised 15 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films” (Lauzen 1). Taking all this into consideration it is important to analyze the role the media plays in reinforcing prevalent prejudices against women, important to ask why women is find it difficult to break through to top spots in government and elsewhere, and to what extent do our biases, acquired by us by our socialization (like watching or reading the news), contribute to the problem.  In June 2008, after Hillary Clinton lost the nomination, Katie Couric of CBS News made the following statement at the end of one of her shows:

“But like her or not, one of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life, particularly in the media. Many women have made the point that if Senator Obama had to confront the racist equivalent of an ‘Iron my shirt’ poster at campaign rallies or a Hillary nutcracker sold at airports or mainstream pundits saying they instinctively cross their legs at the mention of her name, the outrage would not be a footnote, it would be front page news. It isn’t just Hillary Clinton who needs to learn a lesson from this primary season; it’s all the people who cross the line and all the women and men who let them get away with it.”

Soon after the general election ended, and Barack Obama was elected president, an article published in New York magazine argued that the past election had actually reinforced prevalent gender stereotypes: the proverbial dichotomy of the “bitch” and the “ditz”–a dichotomy arguably codified in the media’s coverage of these two women, is prime example of what Couric described as “acceptable” sexism in the media.

Note and disclosure

There are numerous caveats to my analysis. One, it would be impossible to separate Hillary Clinton’s gender from the fact that she’s one-half of the Clintons, a political family that’s been on the media’s radar for nearly two decades. Similarly, separating Sarah Palin’s gender from the fact that she’s a conservative Republican would be problematic and somewhat of a distortion. Rather, I will try to focus more on the media’s coverage of these two women candidates and how the way they were covered contributes to the problem. Nonetheless, I neither make no insinuation that the media is solely responsible for each woman’s failure to win their respective elections, or that ALL of their media coverage was sexist—but rather a contributing factor. The “media” is a collective term for cable-new channels who generate 24-hour news cycles, to respected newspapers and blogs that bounce narratives off each other. The fact that I only focus on Sarah Palin in the general election isn’t an implication that Barack Obama or John McCain didn’t encounter discrimination because of race or age respectively.
Finally, in the Democratic primaries, I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Part one: Hillary Clinton

“That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, black and a woman proves, I think, that our society is not yet either just or free.” – Shirley Chisholm, first black woman elected to Congress in 1968

From the moment Hillary Clinton announced on her website that she was forming a committee to run for president, her prominent status among the other presidential contenders meant that in the media, she had a target painted on her back. Out of all the candidates that would eventually announce their respective campaigns, among them John Edwards who had been the vice presidential nominee the previous presidential election, Hillary was the one “dubbed” a front-runner based on the national polling the media conducted. The coverage Hillary Clinton received as “front-runner” in the year between making her candidacy official in January 2007 and the Iowa caucus on January 3, 2008 and the one she received once the primaries actually started was different outwardly in tone but nevertheless had the same effect of being dismissive at best, and seriously offensive at worst. In fact, by March 2007, barely two months into the campaign and with the first primary election still some nine months away, the bias in the media had reached a point where the National Organization for Women released an article detailing some of the instances they found offensive. Chris Matthews of MSNBC, who would become a repeat offender to the point of issuing an on-air apology, was a large part of the article:

“Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s talk show Hardball, has become notorious for his sexist remarks about Clinton. On Dec. 19, 2006, he charged that she was being coy about her political ambitions, comparing her to ‘a stripteaser saying she’s flattered by the attention,’ and on two separate occasions—Jan. 25 and 26, 2007, he referred to her as an ‘uppity woman.’ In the aftermath of the Congressional election on Nov. 8, 2006, he discussed her delivery of a ‘campaign barn burner speech,’ which, he suggested was ‘harder to give for a woman,’ because it can ‘grate on some men when they listen to it, [like] fingers on a blackboard.’ Not content to level his sexist criticism on Clinton alone, he continued his rant, wondering how newly elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi could ‘do the good fight against the president…without screaming? How does she do it without becoming grating?’ “

Other media narratives that stand out was coverage of Hillary’s appearance—namely a column by the Washington Post that reported on her showing cleavage in a speech she made in the Senate floor. Attention was also paid to Hillary’s laugh, or “cackle” as some of her detractors put it. But it was in the immediate run-up to and aftermath of the Iowa caucus (but before the New Hampshire primary), where Hillary finished in third place that some of the language became more nakedly biased to the point where it became a media frenzy when seemingly teared up when answering a New Hampshire voter’s question. Rebecca Traister of Salon opined “For many of these pundits, especially those who pander to a mostly white male audience, a nearly pornographic investment in Clinton’s demise is nothing new.”

By the time Hillary delivered her concession speech on June 7, 2008, some of the media’s coverage had turned from silly and sexist to borderline violent and misogynistic. Some cartoonists took to drawing Hillary as a slain beast or other variations. Worse, various commentators like NPR’s political editor Ken Rudin and even elected officials like Tennessee congressman Rep. Steve Cohen (D) likened her to the psychotic villain of the film Fatal Attraction. Though both men later issued apologies, the comparison was an especially stinging one since Fatal Attraction is considered by many feminists to be an explicitly anti-feminist film. The media’s tone had been so noxious that the Gloria Steinem-founded Women’s Media Center created a video (above) called “Sexism sells—but we’re not buying it” which compiled some of the highlights of sexism in the media coverage of Hillary Clinton. Steinem also appeared on CNN and echoed what she had said about women candidates at the beginning of the primary in a New York Times op-ed saying, “This country can no longer afford to choose our leaders from a talent pool limited by sex, race, money, powerful fathers and paper degrees. It’s time to take equal pride in breaking all the barriers.”

On CNN she pointed out:

“Clearly part of the problem is the misogyny in the culture at large and especially in the media. I mean, you know, no candidate in history has been asked to step down by the media. She was. The average time that it takes for a loser to endorse a winner in this situation is four months. Four months. She did it in four days, and look how she was criticized, you know, for not doing it the very same night. It’s outrageous.”

Steinem was referencing articles like Jonathan Alter’s of Newsweek, who in late February wrote a column arguing that it would be best for Hillary if she stepped out of the race then. (Hillary went on to win nine out of the next 16 contests.) Steinem also seemed to be referencing the uproar in the media when Hillary didn’t endorse Obama on June 3, the night most media organizations reported that Obama had amassed the amount of delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Part two: Sarah Palin

I say this with all due respect to Hillary Clinton…but when I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or you know maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think you know that doesn’t do us any good—women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country. -Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) in March 2008

Seemingly out of nowhere, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential nominee. Sarah Palin bursting onto the political scene was arguably a chance for the media to report fairly and accurately on virtually unknown candidate turned vice presidential nominee. Instead, like Steinem argued, sexist narratives seemed to spread virally from within the media. Within days of her announcement, liberal talk show host Ed Schutlz commented to his listeners that Palin had set off a “bimbo alert” and blogs like Daily Kos circulated rumors that Palin’s newborn son Trig, born with Down syndrome, was allegedly her daughter Bristol’s son, while blogs like the Huffington Post took to publicizing images of Palin (under the headline “Former Beauty Queen, Future VP?”) in a swim suit that alluded to her background as a participant in beauty pageants to make the suggestion that she wasn’t qualified to be vice president—a variation of Ed Schultz’s “bimbo alert” crack. Even people who were outwardly supportive of Palin, like CNBC’s Donny Deutsch, were so obssesive over her looks, that they came across as sexist, ignorant, and patronizing all at the same time:

Complicating matters, women organizations who had stood up for Hillary Clinton during the primaries, including Gloria Steinem herself, now for the most part disavowed Palin. The National Organization for Women (NOW) put out a statement that read in part, “Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman. Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women’s rights, just like John McCain.” WomenCount was seemingly the only organization to defend Palin against the sexist media treatment Palin was receiving. WomenCount, a politcal organization formed by Hillary Clinton supporters in the waning days primaries to at first to advocate for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and later to promote and support Democratic women candidates across the country, sent an email to supporters that questioned the media’s immediate criticism of Palin’s nomination, among them John Roberts of CNN who said, “Palin would not be able to focus on her job given her family distractions,” and columnist Sally Quinn of the Washington Post who wrote, “Of course, women can be good mothers and have careers at the same time. I’ve done both. Other women in public office have children…but…a mother’s role is different from a father’s,” which implies that unlike fathers, mothers ought to have more of a responsibility as a parent and by accepting the vice presidential nomination, Palin was being an irresponsible mother by placing her career ahead of her child.
WomenCount’s email statement read in part:

“The question came not just from members of the media but also from voters around the country who wrote in to news organizations and on blogs. The obvious retort is whether anyone would ask the same question of the father of a four-month-old with Down Syndrome and a pregnant teenager. We think not.”

Unlike Gloria Steinem, who would by and large sidestep the issue of the biased media coverage against Palin in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, WomenCount addressed the seeming paradox of progressive feminists standing up for Palin:

“Throughout the weekend, we have been asked about WomenCount’s views on Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee. It is important to distinguish between the broader issue of sexism and the ideology of an individual. WomenCount was born of the passion its founders had for Hillary Clinton’s clear view of social issues and progressive values. We cannot pretend that Governor Palin meets any standard of progressive politics or social values.
But regardless of the candidates’ ideology, we will work to stamp out sexism when we see it on the campaign trail. To paraphrase the words of one blogger who said it best over the weekend: We will defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because we like her or support her, but because that’s how feminism works.”

Needless to say, even though Palin slammed the media in her acceptance speech at the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, her subsequent stumbles in the media may have had the effect of silencing any or all allies she may have had across the aisle. Ironically, it was Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, who earlier in the year had criticized sexism in the media, that may have been the most damaging to Palin and her public image. Maybe because of the fact that she had spoken out against sexism in the media, Couric was the right person with the right sensibilities to interview Palin: Couric strayed from the superficial questions that plagued Hillary, like questions about her image or “likability,” instead Couric asked sensible questions like, “When it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?“ or “What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?”—Arguably easy questions that utterly stumped Palin as shown by her cringe-worthy responses and showed her to be, perhaps not the candidate best suited to be the next vice president. Unfortunately, like New York magazine’s Amanda Fortini said, Palin’s apparent lack of intellectual curiosity reinforced a stereotype as women as a “ditz.” Even in our own class, Palin was dismissed with terms such as “VPILF,” which reduced and belittled Palin to her looks.

The “Palin is a ditz” media narrative continued, unfortunately, all the way from shortly before the election, when news broke that the Republican National Committee had spent $150,000 on Palin’s make-up and wardrobe to after the election was over, when anonymous McCain staffers told the media that in her debate prep against Joe Biden, Palin had allegedly claimed to not know that Africa was a continent and not a country, and also that she reportedly didn’t know the signing members of NAFTA. Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first woman to be nominated for vice president in 1984, appeared on Fox News shortly before the election to talk about the similarities (and differences) between how she was treated and how Palin was being treated by the media:

Said and Done

In the end, I don’t think, like I said before, that the media was the only reason Hillary and Sarah lost in their elections. But, as some of the clips show, there is an accepted and pervasive bias against women that slows the progress of women everywhere. Even today, I’m still not sure why Sarah Palin’s preparedness was questioned from day one on the basis that she had barely served two years in her term as governor, in way that Barack Obama’s preparedness arguably wasn’t questioned when he announced his candidacy, since at that time he had also barely served two years in his term as senator. As it turned out, there was a mountain of difference between Obama and Palin’s preparedness, as shown by their respective bodies of knowledge, but still, I would have liked for the media to have made more of an issue of Obama’s experience, if indeed experience was a litmus test of sorts against which Palin did not measure up.


I would also hope that in the future, women candidates are respected more and held to the same standard that every other candidate is—a woman shouldn’t have to sound tougher just because she’s a woman. Additionally, we shouldn’t be too dismissive of women who point out the problems the media sometimes has in reporting about women. As the clip above shows, an observation Katie Couric made both in her CBS newscast and in her acceptance of an award at a journalist’s association, earned her the top spot on Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Persons in the World.” It troubles me that even within the ideological circles we sometimes wrap ourselves in, there’s still an outward prejudice against women—Olbermann’s show is praised by liberal blogs like Daily Kos, where he is a contributor, and Huffington Post. Even with all the progress Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin have made toward the acceptance in the public sphere of a woman running for the top positions in government, that “highest and hardest glass ceiling” remainsl unbroken. As we continue to progress, hopefully we’ll have learned lessons from what each woman’s campaign and not allow sexism to control–in any way–media coverage of other women candidates.

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Filed under American Electorate, Democratic Party, Media, Palin, Republican, Vice-President, Women Voters

I Told You So

By Stephen Noriega

I posted the blog on September 15th, 2008. It was right after the GOP convention, when everyone loved her. I said this was the worst pick for the John McCain campaign. Now I get to say, “I told you so” with pride, annoying volume and belligerent indignation.

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Photo by The National Inquirer, distributed 2008

It came to pass quickly, Senator McCain, that your only path to winning an election was doing things that may damage you further than this campaign. Governor Palin took John McCain places that he will regret. In the heat of this contest, with veneers of anger shrouding the obvious, McCain fell into the Palin trap of off-message rants and poisonous speeches designed to illicit fear and xenophobia, not optimism or hope©.

Governor Palin made it quite clear that she wished to be an active, policy-making Vice President. This is simply a continuation of a modern trend. Starting with Richard Nixon and his ambassadorial skills, the Vice President has slowly become more important. Al Gore was often criticized for taking an excessive role in helping Clinton with policy issues. Dick Cheney took the office to a whole new level, holding secret meetings, being in charge of entire policy realms and showing a true disdain for Congress and even the voters.

Did McCain really want a powerful vice president with whom he could barely get along? Sarah Palin did not answer the third grader’s question incorrectly. She meant that she wanted to have power and influence over the Senate. Perhaps Sarah Palin is not ignorant about constitutional issues, at least compared to most other people. Sarah Palin has been an executive of larger and larger offices and she saw this as a path to even more political clout. She will certainly not be another Thomas R. Marshall (considered the laziest Vice President under Woodrow Wilson). She wanted to be another Dick Cheney. Perhaps she knows painfully little about the Constitution. This is even more frightening than a politician’s ambition. With the clothing scandal, she may end up being another Spiro Agnew, constantly messing with McCain’s authority like Agnew did with Nixon until being pulled asunder by a petty transgression. (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oew-edwards-lichtman5-2008sep05,0,5935217.story)

It is not just Palin’s eye on power that had McCain in a bad way because of her. Palin is a politician, and politicians seek power. That is what they do. But Palin couldn’t even follow the talking points of the campaign. McCain must have developed serious reservations about how she will follow policy talking points once comfortably in Washington, D.C. When the issue of Palin’s clothes emerged as a thorn in the campaign, everyone tried to stifle the nano-scandal and move on. Not Governor Palin. She continued to defend the $150,000.00+ makeover.

Even people in the McCain campaign revolted. Anonymous rats, stinging with bitterness of being in the wrong campaign, started to take shots at the candidate with the anxious ears of the press wide open.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone… She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.” (CNN – 10/2008)

Palin has shown sides of this in the media view. Instead acting humble, especially after some disastrous interviews with infamous soft-ball-throwers like Katie Couric, Palin went on the offense. She spewed venom at rallies that incited the lunatic fringe of her party with never a speck of clarification or apology. When McCain saw the potential destructive nature of this, he voiced his disapproval of the personal hatred campaign, something an honorable person does. Palin apparently never got the memo.

With each bumble, misunderstanding of history, petty scandal and word of aggression, Governor Sarah Palin demonstrated how she was the worst pick the McCain campaign could have made. This is not about gender. This is not about politics or political agendas. This is about a person who did not deserve, because of a lack of competence, any consideration of such an importance office.

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Filed under American Electorate, McCain, Palin, Republican, Vice-President

Humor and the Election 2008

Humor is a huge part of life, and now it has become a large part of the 2008 election.  From the many television shows Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the Late Show with David Letterman have been weighing in on the election through their humorous comments and reporting.  They are keeping people interested in the election, and might have an effect on this election, to what extent we will have to wait and see.  One thing is for sure, these jokes sure do make the people smile. 

 

Here are some of the top jokes:

Jay Leno, ““President Bush spoke at a campaign rally in support of John McCain. They raised millions and millions of dollars, most of which will be used to repair the damage of President Bush supporting John McCain at a campaign rally. So it’s kind of a wash”

David Letterman, “”And how about last night on all the major television networks, Barack Obama has a half-hour infomercial TV special. I mean, thank God. It’s about time this guy got some media coverage, don’t you think?” 

Bill Maher, “Sarah Palin was asked a question by a third grader and she got it wrong. She apparently still does not know what the vice president does … She says he or she runs the Senate. No, not in this country. You know I would never accuse George Bush of being a bright man, but when he was elected, at least he knew which building to show up to.”

Here are some video’s about the candidates:

This one is from The Colbert Report about Barack Obama

 

 

Here is a video from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart about John McCain

 

 

Lastly, here is a video from Saturday Night Live about Sarah Palin

 

 

This type of commentary on the election, and the candidate’s are changing the normal format of reporting, and it’s a refreshing breathe to the constant political ad’s played on the television.  They have held interests in this election, and have had the country laughing with them.  With the strong emotions on both sides of the parties’ voters, it is important for the lighter side of the election to be displayed, and I think that in this election these shows have done just that.  Although it is unclear what the effects of these humorous remarks will be, we do know that they sure have made this election fun!

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Filed under McCain, Media, Obama, Vice-President

“That one”… (you know, the black one)

A Polemical Essay by: That Girl

I’ll say this: I don’t think John McCain is racist. But he sure knows how to hang with the worst of them.

With a Bear Market currently mauling a little china shop known as the Global Financial System and McCain’s less than spectacular performance in demonstrating the urgency of the economic meltdown (outside of suspending his campaign for a few hours while negotiating alternative debate dates -> a stunt that smelled more like a steaming pile of politics than the cool breeze of “Maverick” it was intended to ostentate), it seems the McCain campaign feels it has little choice but to pander to the lowest common denominator of their party by resorting to tar-slinging tactics (read: mud-slinging with a racist adhesive).

The past few days have seen a noticeable shift in political maneuvering from the McCain camp with concerted attempts to not only link Obama with domestic terrorists:

… but allude to foreign terrorist alliances by virtue of his middle name:

… which has been conspicuously added to both Palin’s:

… and McCain’s introductions of late:

Add to this tack a solid Southern Dixiecrat base still smarting over that whole Civil War thing:

Comparative Analysis -> These maps demonstrate correlate divisions between Red/Blue states of the 2004 Election Cycle and the Secessionist/Unionist states of the Civil War...

Comparative Analysis -> These maps demonstrate correlate divisions between Red/Blue states of the 2004 Election Cycle and the Secessionist/Unionist states of the Civil War. Coincidence?

… and it’s not exactly surprising that hatred toward a black presidential candidate would rear its head so ugly and quick in America…

**********

By now, we’re all more than likely aware of the incendiary campaign rhetoric and subsequent malicious comments produced by angry Republican mob participants over the course of the previous few days…

(Listen for “treason” @ 0:31 seconds):

(… and “kill him” @ 0:13 seconds):

… and McCain’s lukewarm attempt at backpedaling:

“[Senator Obama] is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared about as President of the United States,” he said, before adding: “If I didn’t think I would be one heck of a better president I wouldn’t be running.”

… as the McCain camp signaled its refusal to alter its strategy by actually defending these bigots:

“Barack Obama’s assault on our supporters is insulting and unsurprising.

[snip]

“It is clear that [he] just doesn’t understand regular people and the issues they care about. He dismisses hardworking middle class Americans as clinging to guns and religion, while at the same time attacking average Americans at McCain rallies who are angry at Washington, Wall Street and the status quo.” (emphasis mine)

What.

This seeming lack of concern on the part of the Republican campaign for the historically proven consequences of such rhetoric and obtuse approval is nothing short of inexcusable and frankly, boggles the mind.

These supporters aren’t “regular people”. They are the most unhinged elements of our society. They can’t be “angry at… the status quo”. They are the status quo: white, bible thumping social conservatives spoiled on eight long years of flaunting moral superiority like an American badge of entitlement, pointing to “traitors of the war” while requiring the greatest restriction of civil rights since that guy McCarthy invented his own “ism” -> all in the name of waging a righteous Crusade to “democratize” “terrorist” nations.

So, while these particular Republican supporters may also be frustrated by “business as usual” in Washington and on Wall Street, make no mistake: if they’re pissed, at the end of the day, it’s because their brass-balled, hegemonic endorsements are shriveling like so many raisins in the sun.

The problem with the Republican ticket is this: the position of the Presidentcy of the United States, at all times, (but especially times like these) requires a greater moral compass than those currently demonstrated by either the Republican presidential or vice presidential nominees in practicing their “Win at all costs” campaign philosophy. Worse, by activating, harboring, and comforting the most unacceptably radical elements of our society by political means, the Republican Party has effectively condemned all social progress made since the Civil War in advancing Equality, Opportunity and all those other novel concepts given lip service by the GOP when speaking of the Constitution.

Is John McCain racist? I don’t believe so. But he walks a perilous line:

John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

… when [your supporters] scream out “Terrorist” or “Kill him,” history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

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Filed under Democratic Party, McCain, Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Palin, Republican, Uncategorized, Vice-President

The Last Month of Dirt, aka What Will Stick?

By: Jet Peterson
Now that we have reached the last month of the campaign season, the mud-slinging is increased.  The old claims and the old relations are being dug up to create a guilt by association. Barack Obama has been in associations with the domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. John McCain has associations with Keating. Both are old relations with loose validity and both are being used to create an association to the candidate and the bad guy.  John McCain is being associated with financial corruption and the down fall of the financial system currently. Barack Obama is being associated with domestic terrorism and the dangers in the world. These are the last efforts to go to our deepest fears, and that the candidates are the demons that are ruining our fears.  The only thing that we can actually do is be rational and pick out what we really want out of a candidate, not what they’ve done in the past or who they have met with.  This is not a time for fear mongering but for deep discussion on who we want to lead the country for the next 4 years. The following are the videos each campaign has been slinging at each other with hopes that they will stick and scare us into voting the other way.  Its important to evaluate each of them, but not be stuck in the rhetoric 
The Obama campaign put out the following video describing the relation of John McCain with Charles Keating.
Here is CNN’s truth squad giving its fact checking on the video and the overall campaign opinion on it. It found that overall the Obama campaign was truthful in describing McCain’s involvement in the Keating scandal of the 1980’s.
It is fair to note that John McCain was involved only slightly, and was accquited of any illegal activity, and was only repramanded for his poor judgement on pushing that legislation that held back the regulations on the Savings and Loan group. 
Here is the video of the American Issues Committee defining Obama’s relationship with Ayers, and Ayers’ involvement in terrorism.
Here is CNN’s Truth squad giving its evaluation on Obama and his involvement with Ayers or the actions that Ayers took place in. They found that the claims were false.
Fox News presented another count of his involvement with Ayers in the Chicago School group.  It shows more clearly what happened with Obama and Ayers in that group, and how they are related. Here is that video on Fox with Stanley Kurtz.
Its fair to note that the relationship that Ayers and Obama has is mostly political due to the highly left politics in South Chicago.  Left politics in South Chicago is far left, and the machine is focused on Ayers and Wright. 
The last bit of bad past relationships that are being dragged up is the relationships of the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. Here is the Special Comment by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Keith brings up Sarah Palin’s association with the Alaskan Independence party, and a guest Minister at her Alaskan church known for leading a Witch Hunt in Kenya.
This kind of mud-slinging will only worsen politics for this last month before election day. When these sort of ideas are dug up just to deface the opponent it only hurts us as citizens that will live under this individual for four years. Making it so that we can’t trust out leaders doesn’t do anything to help us when they are elected. In crises trust is needed in our leaders not finger pointing and over developed allegations. So I am hoping that Americans will look past all of the dirt and elect the next president not on the dirt, but on actual beliefs that the person they picked is the person that is best for America.

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Filed under McCain, Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Palin, Vice-President

Don’t Blink, Wink!

In Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson, she said we must not blink when it comes to foreign affairs and issues of domestic security.

However, it appears that winking is just fine. 

Ok, Sarah. I understand that you have no idea what you are talking about and you are trying to recapture your falling star but do you really need to resort to winking compulsively during a formal debate? Maybe she was trying to play cutesy but she appeared to lose complete control of her facial expressions. Those winks were not natural despite claims that they were just a part of her easy nonverbal communication skills. As New York’s Village Voice said, she has a “Tourette’s like inability to control her winks.”

CNN produced a great video with all the comments made about Palin and her wink which I could only find on The Raw Story http://rawstory.com/news/2008/CNN_Winking_Sarah_Palin

Again, I realize that there is plenty of legitimate issues heavy information out there for the American public to access but I worry that the majority of American voters will laugh and comment on Sarah’s antics instead of diving into these issues. The comparison of her to a cocktail waitress is frighteningly true. She is treating this campaign like a coed eager for tips. We’ve heard all about lipstick and now excessive winking, what’s next a little flash of the thigh?

She dances her way out of and around questions in her vain attempt to connect with the American public through generalizations like “Joe Six Pack and Hockey Moms” and says that she and Todd have always been part of the average middle class family which is simply untrue. To run for office and win you need a name and a lot of money. She didn’t just appear out of thin air to save Alaska and then America. She plays the outsider card more than Gore talked about his lock box but the truth is she may be new on the scene but she is certainly as dangerous as any other “insider.” 

While her support is dwindling, this woman still has a very real chance of holding one of the highest offices in our country, if not in this election than the next. She is not your mom, she is not the PTA volunteer who brought you cookies and lemonade, she’s not even a relatively harmless small town mayor. She is dangerous. I’ll even give her more credit than I originally did. I still think she is dumb but she has learned to play the game, or has found a Rove, a Palin’s Brain if you will. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times said it best in his editorial, Palin’s Kind Of Patriotism.

“How in the world can conservative commentators write with a straight face that this woman should be vice president of the United States? Do these people understand what serious trouble our country is in right now?”

If our commentators and pundits don’t even understand what trouble our country is in or can’t freely express the plight than maybe we deserve Palin. Heck, she can name Joe Six Pack Secretary of the Treasury, since apparently Tom Brokaw isn’t McCain’s pick and bring along every hockey mom and third grade teacher in Wasilla to fill her ridiculous cabinet. If we truly vote a charming everyday person into this Disney movie goes bad reality than we can’t complain. Besides, we’ll be too busy putting on our lipstick and winking to notice as the beauty queen and salmon fisherman take over and change everything. 

And what about Hilary? Is it because Hilary was running for president and somehow we see vice-president as much less important? When Hilary cried she was attacked for being too emotional but when Palin tears up we somehow find her more appealing? The little journalist who called sexist need to reexamine their claims, as John Stewart showed in his clip the Sarah Palin Gender Card. 

We shouldn’t be proud of electing a VPILF. We should look at the issues, look at the candidates, consider how elitism has become a bad word and then decide.

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Filed under Media, Republican, Vice-President

Playin’ the Palin Game

By Heather Ellerbrock

She is like Hurricane Katrina; loud, confident and will come into your house without even blinking an eye. She is Sarah Palin and for the last six weeks, we have all been caught up in Palin Maina. Her “popularity” is so intense that instead of hearing ‘Sarah Who?’ we are making jokes that this is a presidential race between Obama and Palin. Outlets other than mainstream media (see Saturday Night Live) are making her even more intriguing to Joe 6-Pack with their late night skits that although make fun of her, keep her popular. We must ask ourselves, is her superstar status along the likes of a one hit wonder?

When John McCain chose his Vice Presidential running mate, there was an immediate infatuation with Sarah Palin. Who was she? What was her experience? What does she stand for? All of us ran toward the Palin train grabbing with hooks. Within the first two weeks of her introduction, McCain’s choice gave him exactly the thunder he needed. After her convention speech, 60% of Republican voters were more enthusiastic than usual about voting compared to only 42% the week prior and 39% prior to the announcement of Palin. This effect however did not last long.

About a month after her RNC speech, Palin began losing ground with a conservative base that had welcomed her with open arms. Kathleen Parker, a writer for the National Review and a known conservative, reversed her support for Sarah Palin in an article titled “Palin Problem”. “When Palin first emerged as John McCain’s running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood…It was fun while it lased. Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons…Do it for your country.

Although the infatuation has ended, her “popularity” is by no means gone. Even today, five weeks after Sarah Palin entered our lives her spotlight, although not as bright, is still shinning alongside the economy, the war in Iraq and Bush’s low approval ratings. Only this time, more Americans are concerned rather than excited. As Op-Ed comlunmist Roger Cohen perfectly puts it,  “I wonder, after the lying and the dead of the Bush Administration, in the midst of the wars, in the face of 760,000 lost jobs, is Palin’s offer of a “little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street” enough?”.

From the moment she clouded Obama’s acceptance speech to present day when, in the midst of an economic crisis, you can still turn on the TV or open the newspaper and there will be an article about her, it is clear that her spotlight has not gone anywhere. It has always been argued that even bad press is good press. As Frazier Moore with Associated Press states, “You’d hardly know the Democrats have even chosen a presidential candidate, judging from late-night comedy monologues. It was Republican John McCain and…his vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, who claimed most of the jokesters’ attention.” Who’s the celebrity now?

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Filed under Media, Obama, Republican, Uncategorized, Vice-President