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Some thoughts on Sarah Palin

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain‘s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate is fascinating any way you cut it.

Palin is extremely popular in her state, enjoying approval ratings that’ve ranged as high as 80 to 90 percent. In a state beset by other Republicans’ scandals, she has made ethics and earmark-slashing — even her fellow Republicans’ earmarks — the cornerstones of her administration. Palin opposes abortion choice; supports capital punishment; opposes same-sex marriage but issued a veto which effectively granted benefits to same-sex partners of state employees; and is a lifetime National Rifle Association member. She’s a mother of five, the eldest of whom is in the Army and scheduled to ship out to Iraq next month, and the youngest of whom was born just this April with Down syndrome.

However, the Alaska Legislature — where Republicans control the state House and a bipartisan coalition runs the state Senate — has hired an investigator to probe whether she or her aides improperly pressured the Public Safety Department to fire her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper who’d been in a divorce and child-custody battle with the governor’s sister; Palin fired the department’s commissioner in July, but said it had nothing to do with her sister.

A chief GOP criticism of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama — who was a state Senator for seven years and now a U.S. Senator for less than four — is that he’s too inexperienced to be president. Yet McCain has picked a running mate who’s younger than Obama and whose experience consists of four years as a citycouncilman and six as mayor of a town of 6,700 people (roughly two-thirds the size of Emeryville for all us East Bay folks), and now less than two years as Alaska’s governor.

Clearly part of McCain’s calculus in choosing Palin is the hope that she’ll attract female voters — be they Democrats, independents or Republicans — who are still irked that Hillary Clinton didn’t win the Democratic nomination. And in trying to pull those Democrats and independents, he’s putting faith in the idea that gender will trump policy in these voters’ hearts and minds. Perhaps he’s also hoping that having a 44-year-old running mate will balance voters’ concerns about his own age (again, happy 72nd birthday, Senator).

The Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President blog — launched in late February 2007, less than three months after she was sworn in as governor — is beside itself with joy.

Thoughts, anyone?

Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Sarah Palin | No Comments »

Wednesday’s DNC video highlights

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., moves to halt the roll call and nominate Barack Obama by acclimation:

Former President Bill Clinton:

2004 Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.:

And I’ll update with Joe Biden‘s vice-presidential nomination acceptance speech — and his special unannounced guest — as soon as clean clips are available…

UPDATE @ 10:17 P.M.: Here we are:

Posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Democratic Party, Elections, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry | No Comments »

Tuesday’s DNC video highlights

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio:

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner:

And I’ll add Hillary Clinton as soon as I find a clean clip…

UPDATE @ 9:22 P.M: Here she is, in three segments:

Posted on Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
Under: Barbara Boxer, Democratic Party, Dennis Kucinich, Elections, General, Hillary Clinton | No Comments »

Oakland Clintonite lauds Michelle Obama’s speech

Oakland attorney Meredith Brown, a Hillary Clinton delegate to the Democratic National Convention, sent me a dispatch in the wee hours of this morning saying she was extremely impressed with Michelle Obama‘s speech Monday night: “Michelle made us love her. People cried and cheered as if Michelle was running for president. Now we, as Democrats, delegates, women and mothers are invested in the Obama family.”

Read Brown’s full report, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Elections, Hillary Clinton | No Comments »

An Oakland Clintonite at the convention

Oakland attorney Meredith Brown, the Democratic National Convention delegate whom I quoted last week as hoping Hillary Clinton would be Barack Obama‘s vice presidential pick, is now in Denver and sent me some early observations a few minutes ago: “Hillary supporters at the convention are concerned that the Republican Party is interpreting strident support for Clinton as a rejection of Obama. Many women are recounting experiences with reporters questioning their proud display of the Hillary tee shirts that they have worn for the last 8 months.”

Her full report, after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 25th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, Hillary Clinton | No Comments »

Hope springs eternal for Hillary loyalists

While covering state Controller John Chiang’s speech to the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club today, I was chatting with club vice-chairwoman Meredith Brown; she’s about to ship out to Denver as a first-time delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

She’s a Hillary Clinton delegate from the 9th Congressional District, and she said she’s still hoping to see Clinton picked as Barack Obama‘s running mate.

“18 million votes, man,” she said. “And ideologically, they’re not far apart… It’s more of a personality difference. Whoever he can’t woo, she can woo… We need them both.”

But my money’s still on Evan Bayh. We’ll know soon.

Posted on Thursday, August 21st, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, Hillary Clinton | 1 Comment »

Dianne Feinstein won’t be at the convention

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been laid low by an ankle injury and won’t be able to attend the Democratic National Convention next week in Denver.

Her statement:

“Last Friday — the day before the Lake Tahoe Summit — I slipped and broke my left ankle while I was on a walk with Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher on the Meeks Bay Trail in the Tahoe forest.

“My doctor has advised me not to travel in the short-term, and so, regretfully, I am unable to attend what will surely be an historic convention in Denver.

“I was very much looking forward to chairing the California Delegation, and I offer my best wishes to California’s delegates in this vital nomination process.”

Hmmm. A noted Hillary Clinton endorser suddenly can’t make the convention… but, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a broken ankle is just a broken ankle.

Posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
Under: Democratic Party, Dianne Feinstein, Elections, General, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

Bark Obama, meet John McCanine

For all you collectors of obscure political paraphernalia, dog owners, or both, Fat Cat Inc. of North Hills, Calif., is offering presidential campaign chewy toys.

From the news release:

These three Political Animals are just what the doggy constituents in our country are beggin’ for. Choose from Bark Obama, John McCanine and Capitol Hillary. We’ve included a briefing on each candidate’s political platform below to help with voting!

Bark Obama – Tell your mama, it’s Bark Obama! Ready for a friendly debate with your doggy, but tough enough for even a few, uh, nips at the heels, Bark’s just the ticket to change up your dog’s outlook on playtime and politics. Woof!

John McCanine – Seriously, folks…Go ahead and talk about THIS elephant in the room. Guaranteed to start some good ol’ fashioned doggy droolin’ debates, there’s no need to be conservative with this flyboy at playtime.

Capital Hillary – Even if you don’t support her Bill, don’t try to deny the frenzied thrill your dog’s gonna find on Capitol Hill…ary! Perfect hair, sensible shoes…and she’s fully loaded with a perky little squeaker – it’s enough to keep just about any dog giddy all the way through election time.

Any ulterior political motives behind these? Probably not. Fat Cat Inc. – founded by husband and wife John and Anne Lika – was acquired last year by Bamboo, the pet-care division of baby-product manufacturer Munchkin Inc. I don’t see that the Likas; Amy Osete, the Munchkin vice president in charge of marketing for Bamboo; or Munchkin President and CEO Steven B. Dunn have given any money to any presidential candidates this cycle (although Dunn did give $1,000 to U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, in March — betcha he’s having second thoughts now).

Posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, Hillary Clinton, John McCain | No Comments »

JibJab: “Time for some campaignin’”

I’ll be on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California” tonight discussing the McCain, Clinton and (virtual) Obama appearances in the Bay Area this past week. But honestly, instead of having me on the show, they probably could just air the latest clip from those clever guys at JibJab:

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Chillin’ like Bob Dylan. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Posted on Friday, August 1st, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, Hillary Clinton, John McCain | No Comments »

Hillary’s back, neither gone nor forgotten

Hillary Clinton will be making her first big Bay Area appearance since dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination this Thursday morning, as she addresses the national convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. (Al Gore is speaking there Wednesday, but that’s completely closed to the press – what gives?)

Later Thursday, she’ll be feted at a private “unity” fundraiser in Los Altos Hills, organized through Barack Obama‘s campaign and aimed at retiring her campaign debt; the requested contribution is $500. Former Menlo Park Mayor Gail Slocum had this to say in announcing the fundraiser on Obama’s blog:

“I was originally an Edwards supporter/fundraiser, and I’m keeping the big picture strategy in mind here for electing Barack: The RNC and McCain have about a $40 million advantage over our side’s combined funds on hand as of the end of June. Without the strongest possible enthusiastic support from Hillary’s and all the candidates’ fundraising and organizing leaders over the next 3 1/2 months, we will not realistically be able to run a winning 50-state Presidential campaign (as well as widen Dem margins in Congress). I am also mindful that Hillary’s debt is owed to many small business people who provided campaign services. Finally, Hillary has kept her promise to support Barack and urge her supporters to do so too, and this is a concrete way to say thank you. We need unity now to win and show McCain that they can’t divide us this time.

Plus, on a more personal level, I plan to bring our 9 year old daughter to meet Hillary and witness personally the remarkable leader who made women’s history this year and has already influenced our daughter’s perspectives greatly “Mommy, WHEN I’m President, I’ll…”).

Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards | No Comments »