Tuesday, October 21, 2008

McCain's Choice: Where to begin?

You know, we don't report a great deal on McCain's Choice, but we have so much to choose from, I couldn't resist.

#1 - Governor, you're running for Vice-President...wouldn't it be nice if you ACTUALLY knew what the job entailed?


A Third Grader...A THIRD GRADER....asked this question.

If you can, catch the rerun of Hardball tonight. Tweety is BRUTAL when this comes up. He and Bill Maher are like, ' you gotta be kidding me'.

#2 - Government Money is WELFARE, SOCIALISM.....


From The Associated Press:

AP INVESTIGATION: Palin children traveled on state
By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writers Brett J. Blackledge, Adam Goldman And Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press Writers – 1 hr 18 mins ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business.

The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.

In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters' 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls.

Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor's children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.

As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters — Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 — by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor's schedule.

But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend.

Several other organizers said the children merely accompanied their mother and did not participate. The trips enabled Palin, whose main state office is in the capital of Juneau, to spend more time with her children.

"She said any event she can take her kids to is an event she tries to attend," said Jennifer McCarthy, who helped organize the June 2007 Family Day Celebration picnic in Ketchikan that Piper attended with her parents.

State Finance Director Kim Garnero told The Associated Press she has not reviewed the Palins' travel expense forms, so she could not say whether the daughters' travel with their mother would meet the definition of official business.

After Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain chose Palin his running mate and reporters asked for the records, Palin ordered changes to previously filed expense reports for her daughters' travel.

In the amended reports, Palin added phrases such as "First Family attending" and "First Family invited" to explain the girls' attendance.

"The governor said, 'I want the purpose and the reason for this travel to be clear,'" said Linda Perez, state director of administrative services.

When Palin released her family's tax records as part of her vice presidential campaign, some tax experts questioned why she did not report the children's state travel reimbursements as income.

The Palins released a review by a Washington attorney who said state law allows the children's travel expenses to be reimbursed and not taxed when they conduct official state business.

Taylor Griffin, a McCain-Palin campaign spokesman, said Palin followed state policy allowing governors to charge for their children's travel. He said the governor's office has invitations requesting the family to attend some events, but he said he did not have them to provide.

In October 2007, Palin brought daughter Bristol along on a trip to New York for a women's leadership conference. Plane tickets from Anchorage to La Guardia Airport for $1,385.11 were billed to the state, records show, and mother and daughter shared a room for four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House hotel, which overlooks Central Park.

The event's organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter.

Alexis Gelber, who organized Newsweek's Third Annual Women & Leadership Conference, said she does not know how Bristol ended up attending. Gelber said invitees usually attend alone, but some ask if they can bring a relative or friend.

Griffin, the campaign spokesman, said he believes someone with the event personally sent an e-mail to Bristol inviting her, but he did not have it to provide. Records show Palin also met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs representatives and visited the New York Stock Exchange.

In January, the governor, Willow and Piper showed up at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood Buffet, an Anchorage gala to announce winners of an earlier seafood competition.

"She was just there," said James Browning, executive director of Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, which runs the event. Griffin said the governor's office received an invitation that was not specifically addressed to anyone.

When Palin amended her children's expense reports, she listed a role for the two girls at the function — "to draw two separate raffle tickets."

In the original travel form, Palin listed a number of events that her children attended and said they were there "in official capacity helping." She did not identify any specific roles for the girls.

In July, the governor charged the state $2,741.26 to take Bristol and Piper to Philadelphia for a meeting of the National Governors Association. The girls had their own room for five nights at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for $215.46 a night, expense records show.

Expense forms describe the girls' official purpose as "NGA Governor's Youth Programs and family activities." But those programs were activities designed to keep children busy, a service provided by the NGA

to accommodate governors and their families, NGA spokeswoman Jodi Omear said.

In addition to the commercial flights, the children have traveled dozens of times with Palin on a state plane. For these flights, the total cost of operating the plane, at $971 an hour, was about $55,000, according to state flight logs. The cost of operating the state plane does not increase when the children join their mother.

The organizer of an American Heart Association luncheon on Feb. 15 in Fairbanks said Palin asked to bring daughter Piper to the event, and the organizer said she was surprised when Palin showed up with daughter Willow and Bristol as well.

The three Palin daughters shared a room separate from their mother at the Princess Lodge in Fairbanks for two nights, at a cost to the state of $129 per night.

The luncheon took place before Palin's husband, Todd, finished fourth in the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race, also in Fairbanks. The family greeted him at the finish line.

When Palin showed up at the luncheon with not just Piper but also Willow and Bristol, organizers had to scramble to make room at the main table, said Janet Bartels, who set up the event.

"When it's the governor, you just make it happen," she said.

The state is already reviewing nearly $17,000 in per diem payments to Palin for more than 300 nights she slept at her own home, 40 miles from her satellite office in Anchorage.

Tony Knowles, a Democratic former governor of Alaska who lost to Palin in a 2006 bid to reclaim the job, said he never charged the state for his three children's commercial flights or claimed their travel as official state business.

Knowles, who was governor from 1994 to 2002, is the only other recent Alaska governor who had school-age children while in office.

"There was no valid reason for the children to be along on state business," said Knowles, a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. "I cannot recall any instance during my eight years as governor where it would have been appropriate to claim they performed state business."

Knowles said he brought his children to one NGA event while in office but didn't charge the state for their trip.

In February 2007, the three girls flew from Juneau to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. Palin charged the state for the $519.30 round-trip ticket for each girl, and noted on the expense form that the daughters accompanied her to "open the start of the Iron Dog race."

The children and their mother then watched as Todd Palin and other racers started the competition, which Todd won that year. Palin later had the relevant expense forms changed to describe the girls' business as "First Family official starter for the start of the Iron Dog race."

The Palins began charging the state for commercial flights after the governor kept a 2006 campaign promise to sell a jet bought by her predecessor.

Palin put the jet up for sale on eBay, a move she later trumpeted in her star-making speech at the Republican National Convention, and it was ultimately sold by the state at a loss.

That left only one high-performance aircraft deemed safe enough for her to use — a 1980 twin-engine King Air assigned to the public safety agency but, according to flight logs, out of service for maintenance and repairs about a third of the time Palin has been governor.

I'm telling you, there's a whole lotta folks in Alaska who are quietly taking notes on all this. They're just filing things away for a future date.

#3 - I guess Alaska's money wasn't good enough, because now we've learned that the RNC has spent ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS on the wardrobe of McCain's Choice.


From Politico.com:

RNC appears to shell out $150K for Palin fashion
By JEANNE CUMMINGS | 10/21/08 7:47 PM EDT

The Republican National Committee appears to have spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

Politico asked the McCain campaign for comment, explicitly noting the $150,000 in expenses for department store shopping and makeup consultation that were incurred immediately after Palin’s announcement. Pre-September reports do not include similar costs.

Spokeswoman Maria Comella declined to answer specific questions about the expenditures, including whether it was necessary to spend that much and whether it amounted to one early investment in Palin or if shopping for the vice presidential nominee was ongoing.

“The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent," she said.

The business of primping and dressing on the campaign trail has become fraught with political risk in recent years as voters increasingly see an elite Washington out of touch with their values and lifestyles.


Not Governor Common Woman?

It couldn't be.

$150,000 since late August?

Am I being snarky if I say...um, I would have never thought it, because, well, she didn't look like it.

#4 - The Albatross Around McCain's Neck

From the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll:

a)Fifty-five percent of respondents say she’s not qualified to serve as president if the need arises, up five points from the previous poll.

b) More voters have a negative opinion of her than a positive one. In the survey, 47 percent view her negatively, versus 38 percent who see her in a positive light.

That’s a striking shift since McCain chose Palin as his running mate in early September, when she held a 47 to 27 percent positive rating.

c) Now, Palin’s qualifications to be president rank as voters’ top concern about McCain’s candidacy - ahead of continuing President Bush’s policies, enacting economic policies that only benefit the rich and keeping too high of a troop presence in Iraq.

From the latest Pew Poll:

Sarah Palin appears to be a continuing - if not an increasing - drag on the GOP ticket. Currently, 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin, while 44% have a favorable view. In mid-September, favorable opinions of Palin outnumbered negative ones by 54% to 32%. Women, especially women under age 50, have become increasingly critical of Palin: 60% now express an unfavorable view of Palin, up from 36% in mid-September. Notably, opinions of Palin have a greater impact on voting intentions than do opinions of Joe Biden, Obama's running mate.

He put Country Last, and now it's come back to bite him - GOOD.


Andre said...

Hey Rikyrah,

I just a wrote a post somewhat similar to this where I actually offered a partial defense of Gov. Palin. From my eyes, her being an unqualified, blithering idiot is not where I take the most exception with her. As much as I try to avoid quoting Whoopi Goldberg on anything, she made a good point in saying that the only people truly qualified for the Office are the people who have already been there and done that. So I don't fault Palin for clearly being out of her league.

What DOES bother me is the fact that she makes NO POINT to learn the position she's seeking. Rather than showing what I call the "intellectual curiousity" needed to be an effective VEEP, she's keeping herself in the dark about important political issues; while staying folksy and Hockey Mom-ish for her constituents. The chick has zero substance and it doesn't seem to phase her.

Truthiz said...

"What DOES bother me is the fact that she makes NO POINT to learn the position she's seeking."

@Andre- If I may?

I'd like to modify your comment just a bit so that it reads:

"What DOES bother me is the fact that she makes NO POINT to learn ANYTHING about ANYTHING."

No doubt, it's been said a million times by now_I've certainly been saying since about 2 weeks after the pick_Plain is a walking and talking DISASTER!

Sure McSenile and the Rethugs can try to sell this "cow pattie" any way they want. But all the new clothes and cosmetics in the world won't cover-up the stench eminating from the McSenile/Palin campaign!

Moreover, given all that's been revealed about Palin since McSenile pulled her UNeducated and ignorant azz from Alaska and tossed her onto the national stage as his last minute pick for VP (I still can't believe he was that cynical)_tells me more about HIM than it does about her.

She's pathetic_DANGEROUS_but pathetic

McSenile is ruthless and a TOTAL digrace!

rikyrah said...


this is the FOURTH TIME - on camera - that she's been asked WHAT A VICE PRESIDENT DOES.

She doesn't know.

And as Fareed Zakaria so aptly put it:

It's not just that she doesn't know the answers to the questions...


I will remain elitist as I say:

I watch her, and it's like a My Name Is Earl - Politics Style - come to life.

unmitigatedword said...

The thing is: I think she knows the questions. She just doesn't know the answers...and doesn't make it a point to learn them. I think that's a major reason why why I'm offended by her as a legitimate VEEP candidate. (1) If she was anything close to being black, nobody would take her seriously and (2) She continuously demonstrates that she doesn't have respect enough for the position to sit down and learn what it is. Being inexperienced is one thing. Being dumb is something else. But being willfully dumb is something COMPLETELY different.

Even with Slick Willy; he didn't necessarily have the "experience" (by some people's estimation) to be president. But what he lacked in experience, he made up in knowledge. What he lacked in knowledge, he made up in intellectual curiosity. Like him or not (I'm rollin' with the "not liking him" crowd), Bill Clinton was an intelligent cat. I mean, the dude was a frickin' Rhode scholar. The same applies to Sen. Obama. Unqualified by some measurement (however ridiculously defined being "qualified" is by some people); but he definitely makes up for it with sound judgement, superior knowledge, and the admirable ability to learn what he doesn't know.

Gov. Palin on the other hand, is none of the above. She's inexperienced, a dimwit, and has no interest in learning things.