View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pawlenty - yawn. How about Palin?

The scuttlebutt for the last couple of days is that John McCain has picked Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty as his running mate - a choice I think would be a mistake. (Pro-life, but dull, not popular in his state, the bridge collapse issue that could be thrown in his face.)

But the latest buzz is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Think of the spark such a choice would provide for the campaign - it would knock Obama out of the headlines.

She's staunchly pro-life and a reformer, young (44), energetic (hunts and fishes, runs marathons), athletic (led her high school basketball team to the state championship), and attractive (even won a beauty contest!). Her husband is a champion snowmobile racer who is part Native American. They have five children,
the latest born just this year with Down Syndrome. Her oldest son is in the Army and will be deployed to Iraq in September. I think this family can match up to the Obamas in the all-important "cute kids/nice-looking family" competition. The son in Iraq would trump Biden's son being deployed.

The only knocks appear to be a couple of ethical probes that actually may be politically motivated by foes trying to hit back at her for some of her actions to out corruption. Even if untrue, the media might focus on that. In addition, she has little experience (a charge the GOP has certainly aimed at Obama), and might be attacked for that. And in choosing a woman, McCain might be accused of pandering or trying to go after the Hillary voters.

We'll know later this morning. Maybe.

[UPDATE: There are news reports that neither Pawlenty nor Romney will be the VP choice, and that a private plane flew from Alaska to Dayton, where McCain is expected to announce his VP choice. Hmmm.]

UPDATE: News sources are confirming it's Palin. Wow. That's knocked Obama out of the spotlight. Even the Obama Fan Club at MSNBC has been forced to talk about her.



Anonymous Clare said...

So does this mean you're more likely to vote for McCain now?

Although I'm not likely to waver in my support of Obama, I'm glad that at least either way this will be a historic election.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of the hardcore "Hillary or nothin'" voters will be staying home or voting for Cynthia McKinney in states where the Greens are on the ballot.

I've never understood the appeal of a candidate having nice kids. Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR all spawned some pretty dysfunctional families and did OK.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

anon - of course, having nice kids does not work agaisnt a candidate, right?

As for the Hillary voters, I think you are right. Most will not vote for a ticket with Palin on it. But McCain doesn't need most - just enough "hockey moms" with pro-life inclinations (including Catholics), hunters, etc. to tip Ohio, Pennsylvaia, West Virginia and Michigan his way. The election is going to be close (unless someone makes a big mistake), and just a few tousand votes swinging one way could make a difference (think of Florida in 2000!).

6:07 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Clare - Obama is going to carry New York no matter how I vote. I can't vote for him, but I don't know yet who I will vote for.

If I lived in a battleground state, the addition of Palin would certainly make me look at the GOP ticket more closely. I would have to know more about her and her positions and see her in action first. I will say that some of McCain's tactics and misrepresentations of Obama's postions in recont weeks trouble me. (Of course, Obama has also been distroting what McCain has said.)

I would urge you to look carefully at your support for Obama. Campaign promises about heralth care, taxes, energy, etc. are one thing, but will he be able to deliver in office? Based on experience, I have doubts. I also doubt that McCain will be able to deliver on most of his promises.

BUT abortion is a major issue with me and which one gets elected can have an impact. Obama is the most extreme pro-choice candidate a major party has ever run. And Biden is a hypocrite on the issue. I know people counter with the illegal invasion of Iraq and say that Obama will get us out but so will McCain. That "100 year" charge is a distortion of what he actually said.

Look at it this way. In the five plus years of the war and occupation, an estimated 95,000 - 100,000 U.S. and coalition soldiers and Iraqi civilians have been killed. That's approximately how many babies are being aborted each MONTH in the U.S. Both are wrong, but on sheer scale, the abortion issue trumps Iraq.

The only real issue in this campaign is which President will appoint more justices. Obama would likely appoint justices who would keep abortion as is - killing 100,000 babies a month. McCain would likely appoint justices who would allow restrictions and limits, thus reducing the number of abortions. Overturning Roe is a possibility, though not a sure thing. And even if the Court did overturn Roe, abortion would still be legal in a number of states, including NY, which would still allow abortions on a broad basis.

Still, under Obama/Biden - 100,000 deaths a month.

Under McCain/Palin - somewhat less. I think it's safe to say that eventually they would save more lives than have been lost in Iraq.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Clare said...


I cannot be a one issue voter. I'm sorry. I understand your stance on this, but I cannot in conscience vote for a party that has so completely and utterly disregarded human rights, the environment, the economy as it stands for the average person, and health care.

I, personally, also cannot vote for a third party, because I would feel that I was throwing away my vote. I realize we live in a state that will overwhelmingly go for Obama, but I have to be responsible for my own actions, and I cannot in conscience vote for a third party. If I saw a fire blazing, and hundreds of people were running towards it to put it out, I would not want to stand by and watch or walk away. I'd still try to grab a bucket and do my part to put it out, because I would feel guilty for doing anything else. I want to give the Democrats their mandate if possible, so that real change can be made. I don't think they're going to magically fix everything, but I do think that they're going to do a significantly better job than another 4 years of Republican adminstration could possibly do.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Even if it's a single issue involving more than a million lives annually?

There are other reasons not to support Obama - but the abortion issue trumps them all.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Clare said...

Well, lack of health insurance alone affects more than 45 million people in the US, and how many deaths and shortened lives can be attributed to that? How many people have died and will continue to die due to the US's agressive policies abroad and our support of repressive and abusive regimes in other countries? We have no idea how many people will die due to the flooding and climate changes that are coming from global warming.

So yes, even though its an issue affecting over a million lives a year, I can still refuse to vote based solely on one issue.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Just to look at one issue you raise -

Health care is an important issue. I actually support universal health care - something that neither McCain nor Obama (unless he has changed his plan) advocate.

Obama's proposals are for much more extensive coverage, granted. But McCain's proposals do address the 45 milllion you cite.

Here's from McCain website:

A Specific Plan of Action: Ensuring Care for Higher Risk Patients

John McCain's Plan Cares For The Traditionally Uninsurable. John McCain understands that those without prior group coverage and those with pre-existing conditions have the most difficulty on the individual market, and we need to make sure they get the high-quality coverage they need.

John McCain Will Work With States To Establish A Guaranteed Access Plan. As President, John McCain will work with governors to develop a best practice model that states can follow - a Guaranteed Access Plan or GAP - that would reflect the best experience of the states to ensure these patients have access to health coverage. One approach would establish a nonprofit corporation that would contract with insurers to cover patients who have been denied insurance and could join with other state plans to enlarge pools and lower overhead costs. There would be reasonable limits on premiums, and assistance would be available for Americans below a certain income level.

John McCain Will Promote Proper Incentives. John McCain will work with Congress, the governors, and industry to make sure this approach is funded adequately and has the right incentives to reduce costs such as disease management, individual case management, and health and wellness programs.

From a "Business Week" article: "For the sickest Americans who would find it hard to buy affordable coverage in an open market, McCain wants the states to form risk pools, or what he calls Guaranteed Access Plans. He also said there would be "reasonable limits" on premiums, and federal assistance for those below a certain income level.

McCain's campaign staff said the proposal would cost about $10 billion a year in reduced federal tax revenues and subsidized coverage for the poor. The plan's costs would be offset, in theory, by reduced government payments through Medicare and Medicaid for emergency room use by the uninsured, increased use of information technology, and adoption of best-care practices for chronic illnesses."

Note the "federal assistant for those below a certain income level"
and "subsidiized coverage for the poor."

So, McCain does address the concern you raise. It may nopt go as far as either one of us woudl like, but the 45 million would get more help under either President - assuming of course either one of them can get even parts of theri palns through given Washington entrenchment and the lobbyists.

But even under McCain there would be fewer death related to poor health care coverage.

And that comes on top of the abortion deaths he would help to reduce.

So, if both get what they want, McCain's proposals in these two areas combined would result in far fewer deaths than Obama's proposals.

5:55 AM  

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