August 30th, 2008

Palin: playing the inexperience card is a loser for the Democrats

It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. The Democrats and the Obama campaign are accusing Sarah Palin of being too inexperienced to be Vice-President.

This would be an excellent plan of attack—after all, she is relatively inexperienced for that high office— if it weren’t the case that Obama is clearly even less experienced, and he’s running for an office far higher.

If elected, it’s highly unlikely that Palin will have to serve as President, even given McCain’s age, which is really not all that advanced. But if Obama is elected, he will most definitely have to serve, and from Day One.

Democrats deal with this problem in one of two ways, or sometimes both. They ignore the elephant (donkey?) in the room by failing to mention the huge holes in the Obama resume; and/or they say that, with the Palin nomination, the same sort of contradiction is now present in Republicans who criticize Obama for his inexperience. The latter argument conveniently ignores the all-important fact that the Vice-Presidency is qualitatively different than the Presidency, as well as the fact that Palin’s somewhat meager experience is actually more relevant to an executive position such as POTUS than is Obama’s (unless you count the Presidency of the Harvard Law Review, which I don’t).

A wonderful (that’s sarcastic) example of the genre is this piece by Gail Collins in today’s NY Times. From it’s condescending and witless title (“McCain’s Baked Alaska”) to its snarky tone, it is typical in trashing Palin for being unprepared for the office and having been nominated only because of her gender—utterly ignoring the fact that this is pretty much the same argument that got groundbreaking former Democratic VP nominee Geraldine Ferraro into deep do-do with Democrats for daring to suggest the same about Obama’s race and inexperience.

Not smart. And it’s also not smart to assume, as Collins and others do, that Palin was picked solely to appeal to disaffected Hillary voters. There are plenty of other reasons, and they are good ones: she reinforces his maverick and reformer image, she is a charismatic and forceful person in her own right, she has more blue-collar appeal than Scranton-born Joe Biden, and she helps fire up the previously lukewarm Conservatives and evangelicals in Republican ranks. These pluses are formidable, and the Democratic Party ignores them at its peril.

54 Responses to “Palin: playing the inexperience card is a loser for the Democrats”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Note to Collins: Please take brain from jar and insert back in skull before engaging the keyboard.

  2. Kaba Says:

    Without a power base of her own Palin challenged the corrupt Governor, Attorney General, and senior Senator in Alaska and beat them all.

    After her election she challenged the consortium of big oil and beat them also.

    What have either Obama or Biden EVER done that is even close to that?

    Keep it up Dems! Challenge her qualifications and denigrate her many accomplishments.

    I can’t wait for the debate between Palin and Biden.

  3. LabRat Says:

    It increasingly seems that most liberals have not got the faintest idea what and how conservatives actually think.

    I have a few dyed-blue friends and folks on my regular-read list that I read for nonpolitical reasons, and seeing their reaction to Palin and their listing of reasons why she’s a disaster both for the country and for McCain, contrasted with the reaction I see on the right, even among folks well to the social right of me AND far out in the puckies of hardcore libertarianism…

    They have no idea how scared they actually should be. I’m pessimistic enough to think this could still be a disaster for the Republicans (Palin is one of the few politicians I actually like, but I admit I don’t know her as well as I should), but they’re not looking at where the hazards for them actually are. Not even close.

  4. TexExec Says:

    And Obama said McCain just doesn’t GET it?

    I also can’t wait for the debates between two empty suits and two well informed candidates each of whom walk the walk. Palin is gonna make Biden look silly. Obama avoids debates because he doesn’t have the depth of knowledge or strength of conviction to speak extemporaneously or debate.

  5. Trimegistus Says:

    My local paper in western New England headlined the Palin story “McCain Picks Rookie for Running Mate.” I don’t recall any headlines earlier this week about “Democrats Pick Rookie for Presidential Nominee.”

    I do miss the days when they at least pretended to be objective.

  6. expat Says:

    Palin can say, “I, like anyone else, must seek adivice on many issues. In the case of the surge, my Democratic opponents chose to ignore the advice of a highly educated general who had spent time on the ground, knew our military capacity, and the nature of our enemies. Furthermore, General Petraeus always gave very measured descriptions of the situation and did not try to hide the difficulties we faced. I believe Senators Obama and Biden followed the wrong advice.”

  7. Dane Says:

    Vanderleun’s remark about the brain out of the jar got me laughing. It brought me back to the scene in “Young Frankenstein” . After he had animated the monster who just ransacked the place until they sedated him Gene Wilder asked Marty Feldman (Igor) the name of the brain on the jar he had brought back from the morgue. Feldman replied “Abbey” and Wilder said, “Abbey? Abbey who?” to which Feldman replied “Abbey Normal”

  8. FredHjr Says:


    Great way to answer a question about foreign policy and Iraq.

    People forget that Sen. Joe Biden has some very serious mistakes and short-sighted views that can be easily exploited and highlighted. Here are just a few:

    1. He agreed with Pres. Carter in cutting the Shah loose and installing Ayatollah Khomeini. So, Joe, how did that one work out?

    2. He approved of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, or at least disapproved of President Reagan’s attempts to dislodge them.

    3. He disagreed with President Reagan’s military buildup.

    4. He opposed the placement of our Pershing II missiles in Europe.

    5. He opposed using military force to eject the Baathist army out of Kuwait.

    6. He wavered on the project of ousting Saddam Hussein and turned against the war when the going was a little more chaotic than anticipated.

    7. He opposed the Surge Strategy in Iraq.

    8. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: He opposed the concept of ballistic missile defense when President Reagan and the Pentagon were proposing to undertake that project. He has consistently opposed the missile defense shield at every step of the way, and still opposes it, despite its success and promise.

    Timidity, appeasement, and narrowness of vision mark this man’s career. He’s a plagiarizing lawyer who is a boring speaker and not as good a debater as he fancies himself as being.

    Senator Biden is, overall, overrated in terms of “gravitas.” He was picked by the Obama campaign people because he pretty much agrees with Obama on cutting missile defense and just about every other program of advanced weaponry now underway or proposed.

    Sen. Biden would put the country at risk, along with our allies.

  9. Dane Says:

    Let’s face it Obama’s whole campaign has been based on change – Change We Can Believe In. But no matter how much street cred he has in Chicago he had not voter cred when it came to Washington experience. He was just about forced to choose someone with some credibility politically. But no one is more an “insider than Biden. Only two senators have serve longer than him Byrd from WV (D) and Inoue from Hawaii (D) and only one as long as him Domenici (R) from New Mexico who is retiring at the end of this term. So I don’t know about CHANGE.

    But one of the main democratic talking points will continue to be “her nomination takes the experience question off the table”. Unfortunately for them I do not believe the average American is gonna but that.

    More and more they “ethics” thing is going to come into play and I think there is more to come on the Ayers association (and others I bet) That is why the attempt to squelch that Repub TV Ad.

  10. John Says:

    McCain changed the whole mood of the country (both good and bad (for the dems) with this pick.

    GOOD for him!
    And yes, she is for real and Obama is in BIG trouble.

  11. kungfu Says:

    But doesn’t the lack of experience card now hurt the GOP more than the Dems because the Palin’s selection effectively neutralizes one of their chief arguments against Obama? If I was a Dem I wouldn’t say anything about Palin accept she’s a nice person and let the spotlight stay on McCain vs. Obama.

    Besides, I’m just wondering if we are making too big a deal about this. Which states will Palin bring in or lose for the GOP? When is the last time a running mate brought in or lost a state for the ticket? Did GHW Bush lose or win any states because of Quayle? Did Farraro lose or win any states for Mondale?

    Anyone got a history lesson for me?

  12. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    History lesson for kungfu:

    1960 – LB Johnson kept The South in the win column for John Kennedy. If interested in the details, read Teddie White’s “Making of the President 1960″. Said book is still one of the great PRACTICAL books on The American Political System in all its glory (I am NOT sarcastic here).

    Us Old Folks also remember when the Democratic Party (Southern Wing) was the great racist entity in the United States…ever hear of the “State’s Rights”, kung fool?

  13. Toes Says:

    How many Germans came out to see Obama speak?

  14. kungfu Says:


    I know about the LBJ example, but besides that one are there others? I still think this is a McCain vs. Obama contest and neither Biden nor Palin are going to win or lose any states in this election.

  15. expat Says:

    Today, the Anchoress has a link (right below the videolink) to a half-hour IBD podcast with Palin. She is good.

  16. Occam's Beard Says:

    Kungfu, if Obama asserts that Palin lacks the qualifications to be VP candidate, McCain can reply, “I disagree. I think Ms. Palin has adequate qualifications to be Vice President – just like you.”

    Game. Set. Match.

  17. Toes Says:

    Geeze, how many 200k gatherings of Europeans do you need to concede the point? The guy’s talented. That stuff’s rare.

    I thought his acceptance speech was mostly ridiculous American exceptionalism, but, face it, his ‘one America’ stuff is badly needed. You guys totally lost your minds for years after 9/11 and the culture war’s still sucking your energy.

  18. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    I can also think of people who have single-handedly LOST an election for their party…you don’t have to be on the ticket to do that.

    How about “Rum, Romanism,and Rebellion”? “Kind Regards to Mrs. Davis – Burn This Letter”? Read Mark Twain on the Gilded Age for more practical examples.

  19. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    Fortunately rare…Adolph Hitler drew larger audiences with better rhetoric to boot.

    Watching “Triumph of The Will” brings that example to mind. First time I saw this in German class, two more minutes and I would have marched on Berlin.

    Not to mention one Benito Juarez Mussolini…

    Both products of European “Civilization”.

  20. Occam's Beard Says:

    Geeze, how many 200k gatherings of Europeans do you need to concede the point? The guy’s talented.

    Can’t go wrong with European leader worship.

    Also, 200 K Europeans = 0 votes in the U.S.

    Thank God.

  21. expat Says:

    Since I live in Germany, I am very aware of the kind of information most people get from their MSM. I am less than impressed by the 200,000 turnout. I think Madonna got 50,000 for her Berlin show and the people had to pay to get in.

  22. kungfu Says:

    Occam’s Beard,

    My point isn’t about Obama asserting Palin lacks qualifications. He won’t go there if he know what’s good for him. My point is now it makes it more difficult for McCain to mention Obama’s lack of qualifications, and he does need to go there. McCain says I’m the better choice because this rookie isn’t up to the job. Obama says if a rookie isn’t up to the job than why did you pick a rookie for your running mate.

    Also, what are the differences in qualifications for president and vice president? By picking Palin, McCain asserts she is ready to step in as president. How can he make that assertion and continue to attack Obama’s lack of qualifications.

    This is not game, set, match. I think it too early to know if McCain has scored anything with Palin. My gut tells me he’s lost a point.

  23. vdub Says:

    someone commented, “she challenged the consortium of big oil and beat them also…” not really. she may have told those boys that they have to play nice, but believe me (i have a sister who lives in alaska), she is ALL FOR OIL COMPANIES…she wants to do more drilling up there and several other places around the U.S. (no matter the consequences for animals and humans)…of course McBush is going to pick her – all the oil folks who contributed BIG MONEY to his campaign (the same ones who threw him to the wolves in 2000 in favor of their puppet GW) want to drill holes galore in this beautiful (for now) country of ours (even though it WON’T FIX A THING, it will just put more money in their already bulging wallets)…she is just the person who will let them drill away to their non-existent hearts content…and one last thing that i have to say – i am a republican, but i CANNOT BELIEVE that any woman in this day and age would be in favor of taking away another woman’s right to choose what she does with her OWN BODY…not even in the case of rape or incest…for most republicans, the right to choose is a RELIGIOUS ISSUE…last time i checked, we still have SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE… Obama/Biden ’08!

  24. kungfu Says:

    Looks to me like Obama is playing it just as I expected. Here’s an excerpt from his upcoming 60 minute interview:

    “What do you think of Senator McCain’s vice presidential choice? And how does it change the dynamics of this campaign?” Kroft asked.

    “Well, I don’t know Governor Palin, I have not met her before. I had a brief conversation with her after she was selected to congratulate her and wish her luck – but, not too much luck! – on the campaign trial. And she seems to have a compelling life story. Obviously, she’s a fine mother and a up-and-coming public servant,” Obama said. “So, it’s too early for me to gauge what kind of running mate she’ll be.

    “My sense is that she subscribes to John McCain’s agenda. And ultimately, this [election] is going to be about where I want to take the country and where Joe Biden wants to take the country, and where John McCain and his running mate want to take the country.”

  25. Gail Says:

    Well, folks, here’s a note from a friend who’s a MoveOn member (she has no idea I’ve gone over to the Dark Side, and passed it on trusting that I’ll Pass It On. And so I am: to you lot.)

    “Dear MoveOn member,
    Today is John McCain’s 72nd birthday. If elected, he’d be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for “inexperience,” here’s who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


    Who is Sarah Palin? Here’s some basic background:

    She was elected Alaska’s governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage.1

    Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2

    She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. [actually, she worked for STEVE FORBES]3

    Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.[NO, she said she thought it would be nice if all views were discussed in schools, and never proposed it as part of the science curriculum]4

    She’s doesn’t think humans are the cause of climate change.[A lot of meteorologists don't, either]5

    She’s solidly in line with John McCain’s “Big Oil first” energy policy. She’s pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won’t be ready for years. [She's right about that.] She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6″

    So there you have it. The outlines of the Soros Shock Troops’ campaign against Palin. They’ll whip up as much hysteria as they can.

    I don’t know her position on abortion other than that she’s generally against it. I disagree with her on that. But I don’t think that, if elected, she’d have any say or campaign to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

    They stampeded me with this issue in 2000: they convinced me that Bush would shred women’s rights. But it’s eight years on–and here we all are, rights intact.

  26. Gail Says:

    One more thing about the 200,000 Germans showing up “to hear Obama”: the media downplayed OR carefully didn’t mention it at all, but … there was a Free Rock Concert before he even spoke, and that’s what all those people were there for.

    For pete’s sake.

  27. Kaba Says:

    vdub Says:

    August 31st, 2008 at 12:12 am
    someone commented, “she challenged the consortium of big oil and beat them also…” not really. she may have told those boys that they have to play nice, but believe me (i have a sister who lives in alaska), she is ALL FOR OIL COMPANIES…she wants to do more drilling up there and several other places around the U.S. (no matter the consequences for animals and humans)…

    Try again. You’re simply wrong on this. Palin IS in favor of developing resources. However, after her election she forced the three largest oil companies, Exxon, BP, and ConocoPhillips to renegotiate a deal that would be much more advantageous to to the citizens of Alaska and also require that smaller producers also have access to the pipeline. I refer you to a Business Week article titled “Palin No Pushover on Pipeline”. Google it!

    She does favor developing ANWR. But so do the vast majority of her citizens. That is why she maintains an 80+% approval rating there.

    And for your information ANWR is not a northern vacation retreat. It is 2,000 acres of barren, uninhabited and uninhabitable waste land.

  28. Toes Says:

    I guess you guys do need more than one 200K event to concede that Obama has a rare speaking talent.

  29. Gringo Says:

    I guess you guys do need more than one 200K event to concede that Obama has a rare speaking talent.
    Obama didn’t do that well in the m
    While Obama may be good with prepared speeches and teleprompters, operating without them he comes across as an “ uh.. um…” flubber. Without teleprompters and prepared speeches he often comes across as an ignorant fool who knows much less than he claims to know.

    “But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You’d actually save just as much!”

    Utter nonsense, considering all the onshore and offshore drilling and exploration possibilities in both Alaska and the lower 48 that exist.

    Consider how Obama did with the Rick Warren sponsored talk with McCain. Obama didn’t come across that well: unable to take a definitive stand. Get away from the prepared speech format, and Obama comes across as a deer in the headlights, unable to think on his feet.

    I also refer you to my post of August 29th at 10:11 pm which provides links of Obama playing the race card.

    Hitler was also a good speaker. If you think this is an unfair analogy, I refer you to the storm-trooper shout-them-down tactics Obama supporters used against Kurtz’s radio appearance on WGN radio in Chicago. As the Obama campaign suggested that people call in, it cannot claim innocence. If you wish links, I will provide them.

    In deciding for whom one should vote, the ability to deliver a good prepared speech is far down the list.

  30. Gringo Says:

    My apologies for the following:
    Obama didn’t do that well in the m

  31. Mitsu Says:

    kungfu is right: This pick does significantly constrain McCain in terms of his attacks on Obama. In terms of Palin’s objective qualifications, naturally I disagree with Neo’s well-written observations, and I really don’t think this is mere partisanship. While it is true that Palin has had “executive” experience, the fact is that Obama has been involved in policy issues at a much higher level for much longer than Palin. Being a state senator from Illinois, he had to concern himself with state-level policy issues and has been doing so since 1996; Illinois has 13 million people. Palin was mayor of Wasilia, a town of about 8,000 people. Obama’s state senate district alone had about 200,000 people. The entire population of Alaska is less than 700,000 people. Palin has never run for national office before, and has never concerned herself with national policy issues. Obama ran for Congress in 2000 (though he lost the primary election), spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and has been a significant national political figure. Yes, both are inexperienced, but I think Obama has significantly more experience and time thinking about and working on national political issues than has Palin, by a large stretch.

    Regardless, however, I doubt the Democrats will use this against Palin for obvious reasons, but McCain will have difficulty playing inexperience against Obama, one of his main attacks. I’ve read quite a bit of consternation amongst some conservatives over Palin’s inexperience, as well, so even if Obama doesn’t attack Palin over it, this will likely discomfit some potential McCain voters. One woman commented that she was a San Diego Republican who listened with admiration to Obama’s speech, and while she was having her morning coffee with her Republican friends the next day, nearly spit her coffee out when she heard McCain’s choice.

    Did McCain really choose Palin because she was the best possible VP candidate he could have chosen? Obviously not. He chose her to pander to women. And I think this does reflect negatively on his judgement. Political triangulation or sober reflection over the issues? Seems to me McCain is doing identity politics this time, not Obama.

  32. Howard Says:

    Oh stop whining Democrats … for the past year, you’ve been trying every trick in the book to shove an inexperienced, empty suit, Barack Hussein Obama, down the throats of Americans. Sure, maybe you sweetened the bad taste by adding pretty speeches, big swooning crowds, and fireworks … but, you still tried to shove him down our throats, at every opportunity. Democrats, it was a lot easier to highjack the primary election than it’s going to be with the general election. Looks like America is going to elect McCain/Palin for President and V.P.. And, that means: No Wright, no Farrakahn, no Ayers, no Rezko, no mean Michelle, and, NOBAMA !!!

  33. Occam's Beard Says:

    kungfu, I understood your point – I just don’t accept it. The VP is in essence the understudy to the President, and only steps in under extraordinary circumstances. Whoever plays under A-Rod in the Yankees’ farm system isn’t now up to A-Rod’s standard, or he’d be in the big leagues now.

    And your point applies a forteriori to Obama himself. If Palin is not well qualified to be a VP candidate (which I accept), then Obama is hopelessly unqualified to be a Presidential candidate, since Palin and Obama are roughly comparable, in my opinion. I would not come down on Biden/Obama for inexperience, but Obama/Biden is a joke. Obama is attempting to be the Orson Welles of politics; start at the top and work his way down.

    While it is true that Palin has had “executive” experience, the fact is that Obama has been involved in policy issues at a much higher level for much longer than Palin. Being a state senator from Illinois, he had to concern himself with state-level policy issues and has been doing so since 1996; Illinois has 13 million people.

    Please. Obama was one of 59 state senators, introduced zero significant legislation. Basically, he was along for the ride, and kept his head down legislatively. Zero leadership shown, zero visibility, in short, a zero.

    When a tough issue arises, the Commander-in-Chief can’t vote “present.”

  34. Occam's Beard Says:

    I guess you guys do need more than one 200K event to concede that Obama has a rare speaking talent.

    So did Richard Burton. So does James Earl Jones. Your point?

    My point: He’s got nothing to say.

    I’ll concede Obama would be a great newsreader on CBS – finally a position for which he is actually qualified. Katie Couric should be sweating bullets.

  35. Toes Says:

    I’m not saying Obama’s experienced, just that oratory and vision should be factored into his assets.

    I do think it’s bizarre that he’s a candidate. Step back from all this partisan bs and consider how screwed up it is that your nation — of what, 300 million? — can’t forward four senior, wise candidates to lead just two political parties.

    What gives?

  36. Occam's Beard Says:

    Oratory sans substance is worthless.

    As for Obama’s vision, I’ll need a letter from his optometrist. Vague, vacuous, vapid vaporings (how’s that for alliteration) don’t make it. Ted Kennedy’s stump speech used to feature the line “We must move forward together!” How does Obama’s really differ?

    As for your latter point, it’s a good news/bad news situation. The U.S., uniquely in the world, has really attempted to create a level playing field for all. (What other country would even remotely consider electing a leader from a minority race? Not even Sweden would contemplate that. As for Britain, France, Germany, or God help us, Japan – forget it.)

    That’s the good news. The bad news is that we’ve gone a bit overboard, so that belonging to a minority group has actually become a virtue, because many will go out of their way to show support and thereby to prove that they’re not prejudiced. Hence Obama.

    I don’t think U.S. electoral candidates are any worse than those of any other country, it’s just that the election here matters more. McCain v. Biden would be a perfectly reasonable choice, in my view. Obama, not so much.

  37. Toes Says:

    C’mon Occam, if Obama’s vision had no traction you guys would be choosing between McCain and Clinton. Maybe millions of Americans (the Democrats) are just stupid or gullible, right?

    I laughed through a lot of that acceptance speech, then checked out the reaction at Daily Kos, and read posts of people weeping; one guy stood up to salute his television set. I’m going to hazard a foreigner’s solution here: increased funding for public education, and legislation to restrain media consolidation. Basically, whatever it takes to raise the level of political discourse and calm the culture wars.

  38. Occam's Beard Says:

    C’mon Occam, if Obama’s vision had no traction you guys would be choosing between McCain and Clinton. Maybe millions of Americans (the Democrats) are just stupid or gullible, right?

    Of course millions of Americans are stupid and gullible:

    Exhibit A: lottery ticket sales
    Exhibit B: rent to own
    Exhibit C: consolidation loans
    Exhibit D: tattoos

    It’s not just Democrats who are stupid, of crouse, but (I suspect) the stupid and gullible are a disproportionately likely to be Democrats. For example, I would guess that Jerry Springer’s viewers and contestants are overwhelmingly Democrats. Would you dispute that guess?

    Millions of people of any country are stupid and gullible. Look how many Europeans still believe in socialism, despite seeing its results with their own eyes. Stupid and gullible to believe that a system that has never worked, on any scale, anywhere, anytime, in any country, and that has brought misery wherever attempted, holds great promise and just needs to be tried again. Now that’s weapons-grade stupidity and gullibility.

    Re Obama, you’re confusing “vision” with “image.” Obama certainly has done a masterful job of marketing his image, but then so did Britney Spears, Madonna, and Ricky Martin. But he has no vision, any more than any of them do, if one excludes self-aggrandizement as a vision.

    The young (and, dare I say it, the female) are very susceptible to appeals to emotion. Obama has whipped these people up into an emotional frenzy reminscent of those generated by the Beatles’ first American tour, and with appeal to the same demographic groups.

    Education won’t affect the phenomenon; it’s not ignorance that drives the religious fervor, it’s stupidity and naivete, leavened with the powerful desire of members of the susceptible groups to run with the herd. As for the foreigner’s solution, do recall that 200,000 Germans behaved in exactly the same way.

  39. Toes Says:

    Nah, Occam, you’re being too partisan. What about the bizarre Evolution ‘debate’? Hilarious stuff.

    Education basically trains people to be critical thinkers. I know you conservatives are allergic to ‘public’ [x],[y],[z] service, but in the case of education it’s never made sense to me. It’s not the kid’s fault that the parents are losers. Pay taxes and fund some decent schools! Educated citizens will expect substance from politicians and from media, and both would respond, in time.

  40. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    Oratory is the technique…what counts is the content.

    Both Hitler and Churchill were great orators in their native languages. I think the phrase “in their own languages” is critical. Churchill famously mangled French (by his own admission…and his accent: Mon Dieu!) while Hitler never showed any interest in any foreign language aside from German.

    This single language probably helps the orator…and the absence of a teleprompter type device made the impact stronger. Indeed, in the case of both men, the final portions of their orations are still the most quoted.

    What is striking about BHO is his complete flubbing absent a prompt. Both our orators in this example mostly memorized their remarks – Hitler even memorized gestures!

    McCain does turn out better in a classic debate (the TV debates are ridiculous compared to the classical “Resolved: that…” format) I think largely because of his “Yessur, Nosur, Noexcusesur” training. As in Boxing, a short powerful punch is always the most effective.

    As in these blogs, a short and concise note is always the more effective. So with oratory: those that go on and on only resonate with the Amen Corner and The Choir…already convinced (like the Laugh Track in bad sitcoms).

    I have spoken!

  41. Occam's Beard Says:

    Education basically trains people to be critical thinkers.

    Correction: Education should train people to be critical thinkers. But doesn’t, when the educational establishment is dominated by social engineers.

    The U.S. spends more per pupil than almost any other country, but has less to show for it. (Note that school systems here are funded locally, from property taxes, with some top-up funds from the Federal Government, so please don’t quote government funding figures to dispute my assertion.)

    The problem is that our school system suffers from a severe infestation of leftists. For example, my kids’ school has large sign near the entrance saying “Every student is a winner.” That attitude is the problem, because the teachers’ union refuses to accept that the race is to the swift. The teach to the bottom of the class, not the top, and resist separating the able from the not so able. (Because to do so would look like they chose the students on the basis of race.)

    So the kids all feel good, no winners, no losers, it’s a Michael Moore’s view of Saddam’s Iraq. Competition is streng verboten. Not a recipe for high academic achievement.

    But, having said all that, we still garner the vast majority of Nobel Prizes, have rejected aristocracy, appeasement, fascism, and socialism, unlike (ahem) some, so I guess we’re not that dumb.

  42. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    Schools are well enough funded now…what is lacking is discipline and knowledgeable teachers. Private, charter, and parochial school does just as well as the public school with an less than average expenditure per pupil.

    And the well funded Grotelsex schools (eg Phillips Exeter, Choate, and the like) tend to wipe out the whole group.

    I point out that the public school system that spend the most dollars per pupil is the Washington, DC system. They also have some of the worse scores in competitive exams in the USA.

    In this case, Money Ain’t Everything…pal

  43. Toes Says:

    (Because to do so would look like they chose the students on the basis of race.)


    If there’s a liberal infestation among faculty in education it’s because conservatives are drawn to professions with higher wages. Conservatives really made their own bed in this case.

    Even if you’re brainwashed with lefty values, that stuff’s content, not method. You still gain critical thinking skills through the education. You recognize a shallow speech as a shallow speech.

    Funding issues aside, I don’t see an alternative to education in fixing the issue of shallow political discourse. Without it, citizens are disarmed by clever and subtle media manipulators.

  44. Occam's Beard Says:

    If there’s a liberal infestation among faculty in education it’s because conservatives are drawn to professions with higher wages.

    Nope. Many teachers now are women who are providing a second income, and who like the hours and the summers off (when their kids are off too).

    Also, the more an organization or city becomes known for something, the more it tends to move in that direction (witness, e.g., San Francisco and homosexuality; when I grew up there, it was tolerant of homosexuality, but not known for it. But now…) The environment becomes hostile to those who do not subscribe to the prevailing ethos.

    Content is method all too often with lefty pedagogy. Lefties exhort a non-judgmental viewpoint, all perspectives, all cultures, all values are equally valid. (Which is obvious nonsense, but never mind.) So rather than critically assess the merits of …well, anything…students are taught to accept…pretty much everything. “Everyone has his own reality” is the mantra.

    Critical thinking is the last thing such educators want to teach (even were they capable), because it entails making judgments – a lefty no-no. (See lefty defenses of Islamic cultures; for example, that today by Naomi Wolf.)

  45. neo-neocon Says:

    Good Old Charlie: Churchill practiced his speeches but used notes when he gave them—however, in his notes, he even scripted things such as hesitations and slight stammers. The Last Lion, by William Manchester, is one of the best biographies ever written, and it contains a great deal of information about how Churchill wrote and delivered his speeches.

  46. Toes Says:

    Content is method all too often with lefty pedagogy.


    Wow, your schools must suck. You’re not describing anything I’ve experienced.

  47. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    Most schools do suck, especially inner city public schools. Kids transferring to the suburbs (most of the time their parents move out of the city for educational and other reasons) are typically two or three grades behind their suburban colleagues.

    If they stay at the same level, they literally can’t read books written up to their grades level…i.e. although nominally in the sixth grade, they can only read and comprehend books designed for fourth graders, or even third graders.

    And – as I said above – these are the districts that do spent a total (local plus state plus federal) funds greater than the vast majority of school districts.

  48. don Says:

    But doesn’t the lack of experience card now hurt the GOP more than the Dems because the Palin’s selection effectively neutralizes one of their chief arguments against Obama?

    No. Palin has about the same amount of experience as Obama, but she has executive experience and he doesn’t (count the Senators who have become President since Ford). Further, she has real accomplishments. He doesn’t.

    The Republican VP candidate is more fit to be President than the Democrat presidential candidate. Highlighting this hurts the Democrats.

  49. Toes Says:

    Oh, she has executive experience.


    You’re either equally upset about Palin’s lack of experience or you’re a transparent hypocrite, and you know it.

  50. Occam's Beard Says:

    Let’s talk lack of experience. Can Obama even find the Senate mens’ room without asking directions? He doesn’t have the qualifications to be a Chicago alderman, if you don’t count his experience as a bagman for the Chicago political machine.

    And let’s reiterate the obvious point: Palin is a Vice Presidential candidate, who may or may not ever become President, whereas the Messiah is a Presidential candidate, and would certainly become President if he is elected. They’re roughly comparable in experience, but Palin at least is pro-American, whereas Obama is whatever Obama is.

  51. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Hey, kungfu, which part of she helps fire up the previously lukewarm Conservatives and evangelicals in Republican ranks do you need explained?

    This pick gets even overtly hostile to Johnny Mac voters such as myself back on the Straight Talk Express and be happy about it. That’s huge.

    But if McCain is even the least bit saavy, he’ll make it a “McCain/Palin v. Reid/Pelosi” campaign. The “Do Nothing” Congress needs to be excoriated by the electorate for not doing their jobs.

  52. Thomass Says:

    Toes Says:

    “but, face it, his ‘one America’ stuff is badly needed. You guys totally lost your minds for years after 9/11 and the culture war’s still sucking your energy.”

    Sooo, electing the most leftwing member of the Senate will bring us back togeather? Nope. Keep the change.

  53. Occam's Beard Says:

    “but, face it, his ‘one America’ stuff is badly needed.

    Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Obama?

  54. Toes Says:

    Occam, this is for you with hugs and kisses:

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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