And, also, remember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. So it's not as if she doesn't understand what's at stake here.
Are people aware just how totally oil-dependent is Alaska's economy, and how unusual in taxation?
Alaska neither has a state sales tax nor an income tax, and gives a dividend check to each citizen every year (~$1000, I think).
50% of state revenues come from
In addition, at least as of 2001, AK got more from the Federal government than it contributed, i.e., some of the rest of us (like CA, who provided the most $$) subsidized AK. It's not completely obvious why we do that...
See Table 2.
It must be an interesting experience to run a state where the government sends checks to people who pay minimal taxes, and where more money comes back from Federal government than is sent.
The most depressing thing about this gambit is that Republicans seem to be buying it.
Yesterday, a very good friend of mine from high school and college, who happens to be very intelligent but also pretty conservative politically, actually tried to make the argument with a straight face (well, actually it was on the telephone; so I don't know if he had a straight face, but he sounded serious) that Palin's foreign policy experience should be taken seriously because the closest nations to Alaska are Russia and Japan.
I wish I were kidding, but I'm not.
He also tried to convince me that less than two years worth of executive experience running a state is enough to qualify her for the Presidency. I really, really had to restrain myself from a hardcore slapdown. I value this friendship too much, but I have to admit that it's become more difficult. I've changed politically, becoming far less conservative and much more centrist, and he hasn't.
I meant to say "the two closest nations other than Canada," of course...
And once upon a time I thought well of John McCain.
The man's lost quite a lot of respect points from me in the last eight years. And the rate of decline in respect points has become nearly exponential this year.
Orac "I meant to say "the two closest nations other than Canada," of course..."
Aw, jeez. They're on to us. Cancel the invasion, eh.
That's right, let them take us for granted. They'll never know what hit them, eh?
Their biggest trading partner in the world and half the time they seem to think that we are their 51st state.
I'm miffed, I say. Miffed. Pardon the strong language.
Sorry, I think it's more often than 50%.
My usual rules, which I've often tried out on Canadian friends:
1) Canada is indeed more different from the US than most US citizens think [because indeed, it's viewed as kind of a 51st state].
2) But Canada is indeed less different than the US than many Canadians think [because, on a world scale, it's all North America, and one often has to look closely to be sure which side of the border you're on.]
3) But, if we were going to do it over, more sensible countries wouldn't be split North/South, but East/West (just as New York knows that California is LaLaland, Toronto knows that about B.C. :-)
More thoroughly, one has The Nine Nations of North America. ]
(We spend 2-3 weeks/year in B.C. and pay taxes on ski property up there, and my wife did her MS at U Waterloo, so we figure we can kid...)
4) However, I'm not sure how much of Alaska is really part of the same "Ecotopia" that we inhabit.
You're a keen observer, John Mashey. More than a little truth in each of your points.
Count me as one of the Canadians that have noticed that it is kind of hard for non North Americans to tell us apart. (I'm going to assume Mexicans can spot the difference as easily as any Texan, for instance.)
Those little Canadian flags on back packs can be seen as evidence that Canadians know how similar we appear. Smacks a bit too much of unwarranted pride, for me. Especially the relish with which some Canadians tell stories of Americans being advised to get such a flag before travelling, so they will be treated better.
What really gets our attention is displays of American ignorance about us. The Family Circus cartoon once had the little girl asking "Where's Canadia, mommy?" It was only a few months before it came out that my kids came back from a music fest in Oregon, telling of an American boy who tried to make a jibe about Canadia. It was a funny way to lose a bragging contest.
Every year, we attend a Canada Day Picnic in a local park, organized by the Digital Moose Lounge, whose slogan is
"We out the Eh! in the USA"
Constant exposure helps (but also, I've been in Canada dozens of times on business and maybe ~15 trips to ski or other vacations. We are very fond of B.C., no matter what Toronto thinks, but actually, we see Toronto folks at Big White all the time, and they're OK.
but back to Sarah Palin.
As usual, "the first reports from the front are wrong", but there surely looks like a massive failure of vetting in this case, not A good Sign, if even a small fraction of the blog reports have any truth to them.
Sarah Palin fits McCain's style, she took on ethic violations by such people as Randy Ruedrich, who was Republican state chairman. She had a budget, the biggest line item veto in Alaska's history.
Now we go to Joe Biden, lots of experience in foreign affairs, but nothing else like the economy. He's there to be the aggressor, and to give Obama advice. Sarah Palin has more experience than both these guys put together as far as dealing with a budget. The Republicans unlike the Dems have an order of importance. The less experienced is VP rather than P.
Conservatives have embraced her, but some have not, questioning the pick.
Nice to see you can so ably defend Cindy McCain's claim that being close to Russia counts as foreign policy experience and didn't stoop to dodging the issue totally.
Yes, that is sarcasm.
Sarah Palin has more experience than both these guys put together as far as dealing with a budget.
And here are some details of her dealing with budget in her previous incarnation as small-town mayor.
Face it, the right is struggling mighty hard to justify McCain's choice.
I don't know how experienced you are with political history, but there are two kinds of "reformers" often seen:
1) People who fight a corrupt organization, at least partially from the outside, typically over a long time.
2) People who work inside the organization, but then see a way to take it over by exposing those at the top, but continue on with similar behavior, but with them in charge. This often happens when the corrupt top gets unpopular enough. I.e., "reform" or "change" is a way to take over.
In some ways, John McCain has (or used to) fit 1), at least with regard to earmarks. But which flavor do you think Sarah is?
a) She did a terrific job bringing earmarks to Wasilla.
She hired Steven Silver, an Abramoff buddy. She borrowed money to build a $15M hockey stadium.
b) Between Mayor and Governor, she worked for Stevens' 527, i.e., as close to the heart of it as you get.
c) She was all for the Bridge to Nowhere, until it became clear it was a liability, but took the money anyway, and they're still apparently building the road that leads to the (non)-bridge, I think.
Good points, I believe what Palin accomplished in Alaska is extremely rare. In her speech at the RNC convention, she brushed over a bit about bringing down the power structure (special interest groups).
Palin is rare because she didn't have any political interest group like most do, who backed her and helping her make it to mayor and governor. She is about as close to the average person as I have ever seen.
I'm not sure if you are aware, but there might be more change than just the White House. It appears people are liking more and more political figures who are not established into the power structure. For example, Joe Biden ran against Obama saying he didn't have the experience, he lost...Hillary who ran against Obama had more experience, but she lost.
I think part of the reason why McCain picked Palin was because of the trend he was seeing regarding Obama.
1) See section on ethics. She hired Steve Silver, a buddy of Abramoff's, to lobby for Wassila for earmarks. She worked in Stevens' 527 for ~2 years, that's as close to being in the belly of the beast as I've seen.
She knocked out the most unpopular governor they've had in a long time, somewhat by accident. If you want to learn more of the real workings of AK politics, try Mudflats.
2) Are you familiar with the "reformer" Huey Long of Louisiana, or the Bush administration's Monica Goodling? [for different reasons]
History is useful.
3) Do you *want* an average person running the country?
When you need a surgeon for a life-or-death operation, do you look for an average one?
4) I've often liked McCain [whether I necessarily agreed with him, but I do think he's at least sometimes tried to do the right thing for the US], would certainly have preferred him to Bush in 2000, but the real problem here is what it tells me about his decision-making, which is simply *terrifying*. If this important a decision gets made with as poor vetting as is clearly happened, it is very scary.
5) I'm accustomed to having intelligent, competent female politicians around who don't spend their time trying to fire people who won't ban books or who simply disagrees with them, or "looks at her sternly".
As it happens, the SF Bay Area has strong female politicians: both Senators are here, as is the Speaker of the House, and my Rep. Anna Eshoo is really terrific. She runs town meetings where she mostly answers questions, shows comprehensive knowledge, says "she doesn't know" when she doesn't know, and anyone's question she doesn't get to gets an email from her. Of course, these are all (D), so not relevant to McCain.
But, if McCain actually wanted to look for moderates, Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins (R-ME) seem pretty good, and if he wanted someone more right, at least Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is serious.