A Decent Pick, Even if by Accident

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

My Fox column this week explains why John McCain made a not-bad pick for his running mate, in spite of himself.

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39 Responses to “A Decent Pick, Even if by Accident”

  1. #1 |  dave smith | 

    Bravo, Radley.

    I think (hope?) you are right that Palin may indeed be more of an “Alaska frontier conservative” than a neocon or national power conservative.

    If that’s true, and she does not morph, she may turn out to be the best person the mainstream parties can give to Libertarians

  2. #2 |  bozbob | 

    This is a woman who went after $27 million in earmarks for her small town, and also built a $15 million dollar publicly operated (and subsidized) sports complex as a small town mayor. She also claimed that the alaskan natural gas pipeline and the iraq war were “tasks from God”. It flabbergasts me that anyone could consider her a libertarian.

  3. #3 |  Mojotron3000 | 

    Radley, picking through that column, these are the points you make in her defense:

    -But perhaps she has learned from the experience
    -Palin actually has staked out unorthodox positions on a number of interesting issues (Alaskan secession, issued a proclamation in support of “Juror’s Rights”)
    -in the past she has said she also supports a defined “exit strategy,” an approach explicitly rejected by McCain
    -he could have done a lot worse than Palin.

    You claim that Alaska has a “traditional reverence for privacy and personal autonomy” but don’t show how she embodies this at all- in fact, the stories we’ve seen about Palin’s decisions (trying to fire the librarian over a censorship disagreement) lead one to believe the opposite. In fact, she strikes me as a creature of opportunity more than anything else, your mileage obviously varies but this column doesn’t do a good job explaining why she’s a “good pick” other than saying Lieberman would be worse.

  4. #4 |  bozbob | 

    “traditional reverence for privacy and personal autonomy” is a claim universally made by the red states as they line up at the federal trough. Alaska’s “personal autonomy” is a myth exposed by the fact that they recieve more federal money per capita than any other state in the country.

  5. #5 |  Cynical In CA | 

    The Sarah Palin Anthem by Living Color

    Look into my eyes, what do you see?
    Cult of personality
    I know your anger, I know your dreams
    Ive been everything you want to be
    Im the cult of personality
    Like mussolini and kennedy
    I’m the cult of personality

    Neon lights, a nobel prize
    The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
    You dont have to follow me
    Only you can set me free

    I sell the things you need to be
    Im the smiling face on your t.v.
    Im the cult of personality
    I exploit you still you love me
    I tell you one and one makes three
    I’m the cult of personality
    Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
    Im the cult of personality

    You gave me fortune
    You gave me fame
    You me power in your god’s name
    I’m every person you need to be
    I’m the cult of personality
    Look into my eyes, what do you see?
    Cult of personality
    I know your anger, I know your dreams
    Ive been everything you want to be
    I’m the cult of personality
    Like Mussolini and Kennedy
    I’m the cult of personality

  6. #6 |  Zeb | 

    I’m not too impressed. But she is a vice presidential candidate, so I guess the standard is not too high (especially next to Biden).

  7. #7 |  KBCraig | 

    the stories we’ve seen about Palin’s decisions (trying to fire the librarian over a censorship disagreement)

    This has been thoroughly debunked. Why keep repeating it?

  8. #8 |  j.d. | 

    I strongly believe Palin is a horrific pick for McCain, but I’m beginning to understand why he did so. The Republicans have embraced anti-intellectualism. It’s been a long time coming but it was bound for a person like her to be picked for one of the most important and esteemed offices on this planet. I can’t agree that she even amounts to a ‘decent’ pick.

  9. #9 |  Richard | 

    JURY NULLIFICATION.

    Does anyone seriously think we’re ever going to have a chance at having someone in the White House who supports that jury nullification? Get real, people.

    She may have “gotten religion” late in the game on earmarks and standing up to corruption, but the fact that she WON by doing so and is campaigning on it now means there will be no reason for her to turn her back on those issues. As Paris Hilton would say, I approve this VP pick because she’s hot.

  10. #10 |  Richard | 

    To be clear, I mean we’re never going to have ANOTHER chance at a pro-jury nullification candidate like Palin.

  11. #11 |  Mojotron3000 | 

    This has been thoroughly debunked. Why keep repeating it?

    Actually it hasn’t been “debunked” other than some people circulating a falsified list of books she tried to ban which HAS been debunked. What has not been disputed is that Palin asked the city librarian on 3 occasions if she would be all right with censoring library books if she was asked to do so; the librarian said she was not. A few months later she received a letter stating that she was going to be fired with no reason given. Are you disputing these facts?

  12. #12 |  jmf | 

    good point bozbob
    might i also add that alaska has a estimated population of only about 600,000 making it rank 48th in size (population wise) in the U.S.
    the fact that she enjoys %80 approval is a joke
    bottom line:
    very small state
    no unemployment
    no poverty
    nothing that a govenor has to work for (except sending lobbyists to washinton for earmarks)
    she is a fraud, a gimmick, a puppet, and a liar!

  13. #13 |  ktc2 | 

    I just see a fundy to fire up the GOPs base of raving fundy lunatics, and it’s working as expected.

  14. #14 |  claude | 

    After seeing some of the video clips of Palin, i dont see how anyone could claim shes good for much of anything, especially regarding the future of this nation. Its so nice to be voting for Bob Barr.

  15. #15 |  jmf | 

    bob barr is far from libertarian claude
    dont be fooled

  16. #16 |  claude | 

    Oh im not fooled. Hes not my ideal choice at all. Im well aware of his past votes. Im also well aware of his current positions. Lets be honest here folks… when was the last time the reason u voted for someone actually got accomplished after they were elected? Ever? These 2 political parties simply take their turn tightening the thumb screws on us citizens. Neither one of these parties ever undoes what the other party has done to us when they were in power. They simply take their turn bending us over.

  17. #17 |  bozbob | 

    Of course this is a fox news column, so Radley had to find some veneer, no matter how thin, to support the ticket.

  18. #18 |  Will | 

    Wow. Radley, ever since I saw McCain/Palin ads on your site, you have been talking up McCain/Palin.

    Libertarian? More like she wants to impose her views on others.

  19. #19 |  Radley Balko | 

    Of course this is a fox news column, so Radley had to find some veneer, no matter how thin, to support the ticket.

    Yes, because I have a long history of only writing columns that appease my neocon paymasters at Fox.

    Do some research, idiot.

  20. #20 |  Mojotron3000 | 

    Radley, you’re obviously in the pocket of Big [X], I’ve noticed all of your recent columns have a pro [X] stance, as well as the influx of banner ads (filthy lucre!) here you’re obviously paid for by the massive [X] lobby.

    Agitator readers, feel free to re-use this template for whatever pet issue on which you disagree with Radley.

  21. #21 |  Radley Balko | 

    Wow. Radley, ever since I saw McCain/Palin ads on your site, you have been talking up McCain/Palin.

    Yes, that’s it! I’m “talking up” the GOP ticket because of randomly generated Google ads!

    Seriously. This motivation-questioning is asinine. I’m not voting for McCain. I’m voting for Barr. I’d rather see Obama win than McCain. Are you incapable of discerning the difference between saying “McCain could have done worse” and “talking up McCain/Palin?”

    It’s not really even a subtle distinction.

  22. #22 |  ktc2 | 

    I suspect this would have come across as “damning with faint praise” in an oratory however in writting it just comes across as being far too kind.

  23. #23 |  j.d. | 

    JMF: I understand the prevalent feeling of Libertarians as against Bob Barr, citing his past votes and so forth. But there comes a point in time when a person will begin to realize the greater effects of what he is doing, see the greater picture of the party he is involved with. This election year can be described as what amounts to a political diaspora where libertarians and paleoconservatives have been forced or voluntarily left the GOP. I definitely believe Barr is a part of this movement away from neoconservative tyranny.

    This is a bit anecdotal, but I myself was a neoconservative for quite some time until 2006. It was then that I started reading this blog, Reason, Rockwell, Rand, Kirk, and dozens of other materials and began to realize myself that my involvement with the GOP and neoconservative politicking was unacceptable. You are right to hold against me my vote for Bush in 2004, and my past history of supporting the war before I began to understand the implications of instinctual, political, and faith-based foreign policy. But you may do so up until I jumped from the sinking GOP ship. Instead of castigating people like Barr, it would be beneficial if libertarians advocated disenfranchised republicans to do the same. To hold him out because he wasn’t a libertarian-by-birth is one thing, and another if you disagree with the views he has come to find as legitimate and rational. Even I disagree with one or two of his positions, but I’m not, for a second, going to criticize him for joining the LP.

  24. #24 |  jaimito | 

    “Are you incapable of discerning the difference between saying “McCain could have done worse” and “talking up McCain/Palin?'”

    Is the average American voter?

    Then again, the Cato Institute thought Phil Graham’s bill deregulating financial markets was awesome-sauce. How’d that work out for ya?

    I get the feeling at times you’re just trolling your own nation, kinda like Coulter and Malkin.

  25. #25 |  KBCraig | 
    This has been thoroughly debunked. Why keep repeating it?

    Actually it hasn’t been “debunked” other than some people circulating a falsified list of books she tried to ban which HAS been debunked. What has not been disputed is that Palin asked the city librarian on 3 occasions if she would be all right with censoring library books if she was asked to do so; the librarian said she was not. A few months later she received a letter stating that she was going to be fired with no reason given. Are you disputing these facts?

    No, and here are some more facts: no books were banned, under the old librarian or her replacement. If Palin intended to boot the old librarian in order to replace her with someone who would implement some kind of “Palin book ban”, don’t you think some books would have actually been banned?

  26. #26 |  Kid Handsome | 

    “Wow. Radley, ever since I saw McCain/Palin ads on your site, you have been talking up McCain/Palin.

    Libertarian? More like she wants to impose her views on others.”

    I’d say this site has certainly been much harder on Palin than Biden. Likely because she’s the new commodity, whereas Biden is old (bad, really bad, news). In fact, most of the libertarian sites I’ve read are similarly focused on Palin (no one likes the republicans) as opposed to Biden.

  27. #27 |  Kid Handsome | 

    It’s long past time for me to learn html tags. The above would make more sense if I knew how to italicize the quote.

  28. #28 |  Ginger Dan | 

    Several months ago I decided I would write in Ron Paul for president and since I’ve made peace with that decision, it really has been fun to watch the contest between McCain and Obama as an apathetic observer. Not that I’m surprised by candidate hypocrisy, but Palin has even less “experience” than Obama and I’m pretty sure McCain’s rhetoric was compromised of either “noun, verb, inexperienced” or “noun, verb, POW”. Of course, the whole “experience” argument is overrated as well, our current President was Governor of Texas, which is a part-time job, and before that was a part-time owner of a baseball team.

  29. #29 |  Mojotron3000 | 

    No, and here are some more facts: no books were banned, under the old librarian or her replacement. If Palin intended to boot the old librarian in order to replace her with someone who would implement some kind of “Palin book ban”, don’t you think some books would have actually been banned?

    “Palin book ban” is your phrasing, not mine. She asked how the librarian felt about censorship, didn’t like her answer (against it), fired her, and a huge ruckus was raised which caused her to reconsider the firing.

    Your argument about “no books being banned” isn’t necessarily applicable; just because you don’t have any cookies in your hand doesn’t mean that you didn’t have your arm in the cookie jar.

  30. #30 |  bozbob | 

    “Do some research, idiot.”
    OK:

    Here’s your first question for McCain:
    “- In your book “Worth Fighting For,” you write, “Our greatness depends upon our patriotism, and our patriotism is hardly encouraged when we cannot take pride in the highest public institutions.” You’ve also said that “national pride will not survive the people’s contempt for government.” Do you really believe that the government is the root of American greatness? Would we better off as a nation if people refrained from criticizing the government? Does patriotism require us to support our country, “right or wrong?”

    First remind people of his book promoting McCain, then polish up his “patriotism” credentials, then toss him a softball with an obvious answer.

    Compare to your first question for Obama:

    — In February, you said you might support vouchers and charter schools if empirical data showed that they improve education (some studies show that they do). Admirably, your position was, “I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn.” After pressure from the teachers unions, you quickly backed off from that position, stating that your campaign doesn’t support vouchers “in any shape or form.” What prompted that change? And if it’s important that we not “throw up our hands” and “walk away from the public schools,” why do you send your own kids to private schools?

    First you start off with a false premise (the best, most recent studies show that vouchers make little or no difference,) so your question is unanswerable- then you play up the ol’right wing “flip-flop” meme, then you take a policy question and twist it into a personal “gotcha” attack. You could of shown the deference you showed McCain and not brought his family into it, but you chose not to.

    Fair and balanced, my ass.

    PS. you have a lot of nerve telling me to do some research when you didn’t do the research on voucher programs. By implying that studies show that voucher programs are working better than the public schools you are misleading the public: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=721737

  31. #31 |  Tokin42 | 

    #29

    That makes absolutely zero sense. Let me see if I understand your argument…. Palin was so interested in censoring the local library she fired the librarian but yet never asked, suggested, or pushed any censorship with anyone.

    You have to know by now that the librarian was removed along with a variety of city officials after Palin took office which means you’re a hack. You’re well within your rights to drink the kool-aid but don’t treat the rest of us like we’re morons when we don’t.

  32. #32 |  xyz123 | 

    well, ya must be doing *something* balanced, balko. not only do you have people like me smashing you for your obvious bias towards obama – which i won’t be doing anymore since you’ve stated that you favor the guy – (although how a “libertarian” can make a leap favoring a government-loving statist is beyond me)(starting with the obvious fact that, over the last 100 years, that democrats have thrown…what? 50? 100? americans into prison for every *1* the republicans have)(but i digress) …

    but now you have the *lefties* smashing you for your obvious bias towards **mccain**, which is evident in the fact that, of your 20 posts on the republican vice-presidential nominee, you’ve only bashed her on 17 or so. and haven’t mentioned “hunter biden”, or what he does for a living, even once.

    *tough* crowd, dude! maybe it’s time for more “cops gone wild” posts? still, you can always claim ‘fair and balanced’ if everybody’s mad at ya, right?

  33. #33 |  old | 

    If I got to ask Pallin a few questions, I would ask about the Pentecostals; Why does her church speak in tongues but not handle snakes? Do the members of your church have enough faith to speak in tongues but dare not test their faith handling snakes for fear their faith would be found lacking? Do you really believe that the Jews have brought terrorism on themselves? Then segue into Politics; And how about America? What about much of the eliminationist rhetoric voiced by many Americans, and some politicians? Will Alaska secede from the union? Didn’t the south try that? How did that work? And lastly, who wrote the pledge of allegiance?

  34. #34 |  Radley Balko | 

    #30 — There are several other studies showing that vouchers have had a more positive effect.

    And you really are a moron. You took the first two question I asked about Obama and McCain for comparison, and ignored the remainder of the column. Did you just not read the part where I asked McCain about his wife’s painkiller addiction? Or to defend his wife’s fortune?

    My columns for Fox attack the right more than they attack the left by about a 3-1 margin.

    By the way, what is the “obvious answer” to that first question? I can guarantee you that my answer to that question isn’t the same as McCain’s.

  35. #35 |  Mojotron3000 | 

    Tokin42, you obviously don’t understand my argument- “Palin was so interested in censoring the local library she fired the librarian but yet never asked, suggested, or pushed any censorship with anyone.” is not correct. She asked the librarian several times about censoring books, the librarian refused, shortly thereafter she was fired with no reason given. The townspeople (good, small town folk at that) saw what happened and raised a big stink which caused Palin to undo the firing.

    Where have I treated anyone here like a moron? You’re calling me a hack, misstating my arguments, and accusing me of “drinking the kool aid”! If you want to discuss the other firings feel free, but it doesn’t change the facts I’ve laid out here.

  36. #36 |  Andrew Williams | 

    I bet you’re having 2nd thoughts about that column now.

  37. #37 |  supercat | 

    She asked the librarian several times about censoring books, the librarian refused, shortly thereafter she was fired with no reason given.

    The librarian says that Palin asked about banning books. What record exists of Palin having asked such a thing, other than hearsay from the librarian (who, having been fired, might have an axe to grind)?

  38. #38 |  Mojotron3000 | 

    Supercat:

    “Palin herself, questioned at the time, called her inquiries rhetorical and simply part of a policy discussion with a department head “about understanding and following administration agendas,” according to the Frontiersman article.”

    She admits she did it. Some of the stories (can’t link here for some reason) mention other people in attendance (Anne Kilkenny is one) who verify that she asked at least once in a public meeting. But this library thing is a minor part of the big picture; by itself it’s not a big deal, but in conjunction with Monegan’s dismissal and some other things (loyalty tests?!?!?!) and the lack of any substantial record to the contrary it looks like someone who cherishes loyalty above competency or playing by the rules. And I’ve had my fill of that.

    If Radley’s original premise is “McCain could have done worse” I agree, although it’s looking like even I might have to eat those words with each new development.

  39. #39 |  bozbob | 

    Your original version of the fox column used the words “it has” been shown that vouchers … . You only changed it to “some studies show” after you were called out on it. To your credit you changed it, but the question is still misleading.

    “And you really are a moron”. I went through the Ayn Rand stage, but I grew up.

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