View Full Version : Hitchens on the embarrassing GOP Ticket

10-14-2008, 11:33 AM
McCain lacks the character and temperament to be president. And Palin is simply a disgrace.

By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Monday, Oct. 13, 2008, at 10:44 AM ET

I used to nod wisely when people said: "Let's discuss issues rather than personalities." It seemed so obvious that in politics an issue was an issue and a personality was a personality, and that the more one could separate the two, the more serious one was. After all, in a debate on serious issues, any mention of the opponent's personality would be ad hominem at best and at worst would stoop as low as ad feminam.

At my old English boarding school, we had a sporting saying that one should "tackle the ball and not the man." I carried on echoing this sort of unexamined nonsense for quite some time—in fact, until the New Hampshire primary of 1992, when it hit me very forcibly that the "personality" of one of the candidates was itself an "issue." In later years, I had little cause to revise my view that Bill Clinton's abysmal character was such as to be a "game changer" in itself, at least as important as his claim to be a "new Democrat." To summarize what little I learned from all this: A candidate may well change his or her position on, say, universal health care or Bosnia. But he or she cannot change the fact—if it happens to be a fact—that he or she is a pathological liar, or a dimwit, or a proud ignoramus. And even in the short run, this must and will tell.

On "the issues" in these closing weeks, there really isn't a very sharp or highly noticeable distinction to be made between the two nominees, and their "debates" have been cramped and boring affairs as a result. But the difference in character and temperament has become plainer by the day, and there is no decent way of avoiding the fact. Last week's so-called town-hall event showed Sen. John McCain to be someone suffering from an increasingly obvious and embarrassing deficit, both cognitive and physical. And the only public events that have so far featured his absurd choice of running mate have shown her to be a deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses but easily trained to utter preposterous lies and to appeal to the basest element of her audience. McCain occasionally remembers to stress matters like honor and to disown innuendoes and slanders, but this only makes him look both more senile and more cynical, since it cannot (can it?) be other than his wish and design that he has engaged a deputy who does the innuendoes and slanders for him.

I suppose it could be said, as Michael Gerson has alleged, that the Obama campaign's choice of the word erratic to describe McCain is also an insinuation. But really, it's only a euphemism. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear had to feel sorry for the old lion on his last outing and wish that he could be taken somewhere soothing and restful before the night was out. The train-wreck sentences, the whistlings in the pipes, the alarming and bewildered handhold phrases—"My friends"—to get him through the next 10 seconds. I haven't felt such pity for anyone since the late Adm. James Stockdale humiliated himself as Ross Perot's running mate. And I am sorry to have to say it, but Stockdale had also distinguished himself in America's most disastrous and shameful war, and it didn't qualify him then and it doesn't qualify McCain now.

The most insulting thing that a politician can do is to compel you to ask yourself: "What does he take me for?" Precisely this question is provoked by the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin. I wrote not long ago that it was not right to condescend to her just because of her provincial roots or her piety, let alone her slight flirtatiousness, but really her conduct since then has been a national disgrace. It turns out that none of her early claims to political courage was founded in fact, and it further turns out that some of the untested rumors about her—her vindictiveness in local quarrels, her bizarre religious and political affiliations—were very well-founded, indeed. Moreover, given the nasty and lowly task of stirring up the whack-job fringe of the party's right wing and of recycling patent falsehoods about Obama's position on Afghanistan, she has drawn upon the only talent that she apparently possesses.

It therefore seems to me that the Republican Party has invited not just defeat but discredit this year, and that both its nominees for the highest offices in the land should be decisively repudiated, along with any senators, congressmen, and governors who endorse them.

I used to call myself a single-issue voter on the essential question of defending civilization against its terrorist enemies and their totalitarian protectors, and on that "issue" I hope I can continue to expose and oppose any ambiguity. Obama is greatly overrated in my opinion, but the Obama-Biden ticket is not a capitulationist one, even if it does accept the support of the surrender faction, and it does show some signs of being able and willing to profit from experience. With McCain, the "experience" is subject to sharply diminishing returns, as is the rest of him, and with Palin the very word itself is a sick joke. One only wishes that the election could be over now and a proper and dignified verdict rendered, so as to spare democracy and civility the degradation to which they look like being subjected in the remaining days of a low, dishonest campaign.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair.
Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2202163/

10-14-2008, 03:10 PM
Hitchens is a pompus douchebag, a liar, and a hypocrite.

Palin displayed plenty of political courage standing up to Murkowski. She blew the whistle on a crooked pipeline deal and ran against him after he dismissed her concerns. And he was a powerful member of her own party. The "bizarre" religious and political affiliations have been debunked and I have a feeling Hitchens knows this but doesn't care. She was never a member of the AIP and she supported Forbes, not Buchanan. Evangelical churches are not bizarre, but Hitchens is a bigot who openly hates all religion. And the claim that "experience" is a sick joke in Palin's case is not only false, but downright comical considering that she has more experience than Obama and is running for a lower position.

10-14-2008, 05:05 PM
I see you your slanted liberal Slate journalist (he really writes for Vanity Fair...wait...Vanity Fair?) and raise you a real AP article:


McCain offers new economic plan

By Steven R. Hurst
Associated Press

POSTED: 10:40 a.m. EDT, Oct 14, 2008

WASHINGTON: Bidding for a comeback, Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Tuesday set out a new plan to ease the economic pain of middle class Americans swept up in the country's financial chaos, as polls showed voters turning to Democrat Barack Obama for leadership in the financial turmoil.

During a swing through Pennsylvania, McCain, the 72-year-old Arizona senate veteran, called for the elimination of taxes on unemployment benefits, lowering what the government takes from seniors as they draw on retirement accounts and accelerating tax deductions for people forced to sell assets at a loss in the troubled market.

Looking toward Wednesday's third and final presidential debate, Obama produced his own new plan on Monday, calling, among other ideas, for a 90-day moratorium on home mortgage foreclosures and tax breaks to business that create new jobs.

U.S. voters go to the polls in three weeks amid the worst economic uncertainty to grip the country in decades. Retirement savings are at risk in the gyrating stock market, the values of homes — the foundation of middle class economic security — are sinking, tens of thousands of homeowners face foreclosure and unemployment has been moving relentlessly upward.

McCain's candidacy has slumped under the weight of growing voter anxiety about the country's economic future, in part because of his inescapable links with unpopular fellow Republican President George W. Bush.

New polling, meanwhile, held more discouraging news for McCain.

Surveys in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota showed McCain losing ground.

In Michigan, a Quinnipiac University poll for The Wall Street Journal and the Web site of The Washington Post showed Obama leading his opponent 54 percent to 38 percent. Earlier this month, McCain announced he was pulling staff and advertising out of the traditionally Democratic Michigan, ceding the state to Obama.

The same poll in Wisconsin put Obama ahead by 8 percentage points, 51-43, before the second presidential debate. The margin grew to 17-point spread after the face-off, 54-37.

In Minnesota, the Quinnipiac survey for the Journal and the Post Web site had Obama with a 51-43 percentage point lead before the last debate, with the spread climbing to 51-40 after the confrontation.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll showed Obama with a 10 point lead, 53-43 percent, among likely voters with an even larger 2-to-1 margin among voters who put the economy as the top issue in the campaign. And the most recent Gallup Poll tracking survey showed Obama up by 10 points, 51-41. Polls show Obama now leading in enough states to be within reach of the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory.

McCain acknowledged his difficulties on Monday but vowed a comeback. He is starting that drive Tuesday with what his campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said is a plan to help "those most badly hurt: workers, homeowners, savers and seniors."

Obama was taking Tuesday off to prepare for coming debate. His running mate, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, was meeting voters in the key battleground state of Ohio.

McCain and his No. 2, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, were in Pennsylvania, one of the few Democratic-leaning states where the Republican is still aggressively campaigning although polls show Obama with a solid lead.

Under criticism from fellow Republicans, McCain reset his campaign strategy yet again with a new stump speech Monday that eased back on harsh attacks against Obama while at the same time delivering some of his toughest criticism so far of Bush's economic policies.

"We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. The hour is late; our troubles are getting worse; our enemies watch. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now. We have to fight," he said at a rally in Virginia, a normally reliably Republican state that he has been forced to defend this year.

Virginia hasn't voted for a Democratic president since 1964. McCain held a second rally Monday in North Carolina, which hasn't voted for a Democratic White House candidate since 1976.

In an interview with CNN, McCain was asked about his campaign's recent tactic of attacking Obama for his association with William Ayers, a founder of the radical Vietnam War-era Weather Underground, which was responsible for bomb attacks on federal buildings.

Obama has denounced Ayers' radical past and actions, which occurred when Obama was 8 years old. The two men subsequently served together on the board of a Chicago education foundation and live in the same neighborhood. Ayers hosted a small get-acquainted coffee for Obama when he first ran for public office in Illinois.

"The fact is that Senator Obama was not truthful in telling the American people about his relationship. Very frankly, Dana, I don't give a damn about an old unrepentant terrorist, but what I do care is telling the truth to the American people," the Arizona senator said in response to a question from CNN correspondent Dana Bash.

His fortunes battered by the U.S. financial crisis, McCain initially sought to distract attention from his perceived weakness on the economy by attacking Obama. Running mate Palin accused the Democrat of "palling around with terrorists."

The latest shift in the campaign appears to have grown out of the realization that the assaults were not hindering Obama's rise in the polls. The changed tone was stark.

"The national media has written us off," McCain said. "But they forgot to let you decide."

"What America needs in this hour is a fighter," he said, adding that he knows Americans are worried about the direction of the country.

"I know what hopelessness feels like. It's an enemy who defeats your will. I felt those things once before. I will never let them in again," McCain said, a clear reference to his 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. "I'm an American. And I choose to fight."

Pending the rollout of fresh proposals on Tuesday, the veteran Arizona senator renewed pledges to cut taxes, freeze federal spending, renegotiate distressed mortgages to help middle-class homeowners. He also vowed to bring more experienced leadership to the White House, because "the next president won't have time to get used to the office."

In his final campaign appearance before the debate, Obama told voters in Toledo, Ohio, a struggling working-class city in a state that could be critical to Obama's presidential hopes, that his new proposals could be enacted quickly, either through the government's regulatory powers or legislation that Congress could pass in a special session after the election. He put the cost at $60 billion over two years.

10-15-2008, 04:39 AM
Hey, McCain reset his campaign strategy again. How often would the man need to reset his presidency?

What he should do is fire Sybil as an adviser

10-15-2008, 10:13 AM
Hey, McCain reset his campaign strategy again. How often would the man need to reset his presidency?

What he should do is fire Sybil as an adviser

Obama is on about metamorphisis #5 during his presidential campaign. McCain is allowed to change a couple times, too...