Scary Sarah Palin & "Fiscal Conservative" Obama

Plus Clueless Thomas Friedman Praises Communist China's "Concentrated State Power"
Scary Sarah Palin
"Militantly anti-choice and evangelical, the 44-year-old gave birth to her last child five months ago. (There were complications - the child has Down Syndrome - a point that she brings up inexplaining her convictions.) Does she woo women, the disgruntled ex-Hillary supporters? That may be a tougher sell, given that she's bound to back the kind of Supreme Court justices who will remove abortion protections....Tough, independent, a feisty feminist - that's one image of the Republican pick. But there's also the echo of Dan Quayle. In Alaska, big dreams come to life quickly. They just as swiftly crash." -Reporter turned blogger Timothy Egan in an "Outposts" blog post of August 29.

So Now It's OK to use Barack Obama's Middle Name?
"Barack Hussein Obama, a freshman senator who defeated the first family of Democratic Party politics with a call for a fundamentally new course in politics, was nominated by his party on Wednesday to be the 44th president of the United States."- The lead sentence of Adam Nagourney's August 28 lead story.

"At the same time, [McCain aides] said they were trying to be careful about overreaching, noting that Mr. McCain has pledged to run a "respectful" campaign. They said Mr. McCain felt forced to distance himself from conservatives who sought to damage his opponent by using Mr. Obama's full name, Barack Hussein Obama...." - Reporter Patrick Healy, July 4.

They Really Don't Get Conservatives, Do They?
"If the Republican Party bills itself as the party of family values, what should we make of the fact that you rejected the name your parents gave you, their political affiliation and their religion?" - One of New York Times Magazine reporter Deborah Solomon's August 31 "Q&A" interview questions to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Wonder Whose Side She's On...
"Ms. Palin's speech came after Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York launched a withering attack on Mr. Obama as part of a relentless assault by Republicans arguing that Ms. Palin, the former mayor of a town of less than 7,000 people who has been governor of Alaska for 20 months, had a more impressive resume than Mr. Obama." - Elisabeth Bumiller at the Republican Convention, September 3.

Obama, "a Fiscal Conservative"?
"All of this raises the question of what will happen to the deficit. Obama's aides optimistically insist he will reduce it, thanks to his tax increases on the affluent and his plan to wind down the Iraq war. Relative to McCain, whose promised spending cuts are extremely vague, Obama does indeed look like a fiscal conservative. - From the August 24 magazine cover story "Obamanomics," by staff writer David Leonhardt.

Bin Laden Driver's "Impish Sense of Humor"
"The verdict in the first war crimes trial at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is in: One poorly educated Yemeni, with an impish sense of humor and two little girls, is guilty of supporting terrorism by driving Osama bin Laden. With credit for time served, the sentence is no more than five months. But the other, perhaps more important verdict - the judgment on the Bush administration's military commission system - is still out." - Reporter William Glaberson, August 10.

Should Palin Talk About Hubby's 1984 DUI in Her Acceptance Speech?
"But what about the business of Ms. Palin's complicated family: her feud with her state trooper brother-in-law, which sparked an ethics investigation; her husband, who was arrested on drunk driving charges 24 years ago; her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, whose pregnancy - and decision to get married to keep her baby - has prompted conservatives to rally around Ms. Palin as a woman who opposes abortion and practices what she preaches? Does she need to address all that? 'No,' Mr. DeLay said flatly." - Reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg's question to former House Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay giving Sarah Palin advice on her convention speech, in a Sept. 3 post on the Times' "Caucus" blog.

The New Traditionalism at the Times
"You know Jane, I think that the campaign was really calculating that the standard that was used for Chelsea Clinton and the Bush girls and now the Obama girls would be applied to the Palin family, which is that the kids are left out of it. But frankly I'm not sure that it will work this time, precisely because of what Jackie said, they've made a big issue of her personal life. She herself, Gov. Palin, has a new baby, and so one question that comes up, is this is a woman that has a lot going on in her personal life, she's got a new baby herself, her daughter's about to get married and have a baby, a lot going on there. I do think it's a fair question to ask how she will juggle those responsibilities. Maybe it's a question that wouldn't be asked of a man, as Steve Schmidt said, but it is a question that I think Americans will ask." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg in a "Political Points" podcast discussion with host Jane Bornemeier, September 1.

Clueless Friedman Praises Communist China
"China did not build the magnificent $43 billion infrastructure for these games, or put on the unparalleled opening and closing ceremonies, simply by the dumb luck of discovering oil. No, it was the culmination of seven years of national investment, planning, concentrated state power, national mobilization and hard work." - Columnist Thomas Friedman, August 27.

The Non-Partisan "Daily Show"?

"For all its eviscerations of the administration, "The Daily Show" is animated not by partisanship but by a deep mistrust of all ideology. A sane voice in a noisy red-blue echo chamber , Mr. Stewart displays an impatience with the platitudes of both the right and the left and a disdain for commentators who, as he made clear in a famous 2004 appearance on CNN's "Crossfire," parrot party-line talking points and engage in knee-jerk shouting matches." - Book critic Michiko Kakutani's August 17 profile of "The Daily Show," the Comedy Central program hosted by Jon Stewart.

"Conservative" Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh?

"Mr. Bayh, whose father, Birch, was a liberal Democratic senator and presidential candidate in 1976, has compiled a moderate-to-conservative record both as governor of Indiana from 1988 to 1996 and as senator since 1999." - Congressional reporter Carl Hulse, August 12. Sen. Evan Bayh's lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is 20 out of a possible 100 (12 in 2007), putting him well to the left of center.

The Most Liberal Senator Somehow "Eludes Ideological Labels"

"While running mates typically complement the presidential candidate, Mr. Kaine, 50, more replicates Mr. Obama. He is an inspiring speaker, a Harvard - trained lawyer who spurned corporate work for civil rights. He eludes ideological labels." - Reporter Kate Zernike, August 14. National Journal named Obama the most liberal senator in 2007.

"Radical Islamophobe"

"The best-selling author and radical Islamophobe talks about why moderate Muslims are irrelevant, the lessons we should have learned from Lebanon and dressing like a French woman." - Headline blurb over Deborah Solomon's August 17 Sunday Magazine Q&A with Brigitte Gabriel, author and opponent of radical Islam.