- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2008

Surprising turn

“This campaign has taken a surprising turn since the Democratic convention. Everybody is still talking about the Republican vice-presidential nominee,” Jay Cost writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“Who would have predicted this just two weeks ago?” Mr. Cost asked.

“When I say everybody is talking about [Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin], I mean everybody. It’s not just that Palin has excited the Republican base and intrigued the press corps. She’s also gotten the notice of Barack Obama. The Democratic nominee has singled Palin out for criticism on earmarks in general and the ‘Bridge To Nowhere’ in particular.

“This is peculiar. Typically, a presidential nominee does not criticize his opponent’s veep. This becomes doubly peculiar when we consider that just a week ago the Obama campaign indicated plans to ignore Palin altogether … .

“The reason for the change must be what the ABC News/Washington Post poll found - a huge swing toward McCain-Palin among white women.”

Prisoners of dogma

“The gigantic, instantaneous coast-to-coast rage directed at Sarah Palin when she was identified as pro-life was, I submit, a psychological response by loyal liberals who on some level do not want to open themselves to deep questioning about abortion and its human consequences,” Camille Paglia writes at www.salon.com.

“I have written about the eerie silence that fell over campus audiences in the early 1990s when I raised this issue on my book tours. At such moments, everyone in the hall seemed to feel the uneasy conscience of feminism.”

Miss Paglia, who is pro-choice, added: “It is nonsensical and counterproductive for Democrats to imagine that pro-life values can be defeated by maliciously destroying their proponents. And it is equally foolish to expect that feminism must for all time be inextricably wed to the pro-choice agenda. There is plenty of room in modern thought for a pro-life feminism - one in fact that would have far more appeal to [Third World] cultures where motherhood is still honored and where the Western model of the hard-driving, self-absorbed career woman is less admired.

“But the one fundamental precept that Democrats must stand for is independent thought and speech. When they become baying bloodhounds of rigid dogma, Democrats have committed political suicide.”

Congress and cars

“For a sum small compared to their revenues but large in relation to their market caps, the Detroit auto makers were all over the two conventions,” Wall Street Journal columnist Holman W. Jenkins Jr. writes.

“Their lobbyists had something to sell - a plea for $50 billion in federal loans. Congress practically owes us this money, Ford, GM and Chrysler argue - because Congress slammed us with new fuel mileage mandates that will cost us $100 billion to meet.

John McCain caved. The White House is in the process of caving. Barack Obama didn’t need to cave. But before rushing to pass the legislation, there’s an easy way to save $50 billion or whatever part of these loans wouldn’t be paid back: Just repeal the fuel economy rules.

“It must infuriate the auto makers how readily their critics attribute their problems to their own incompetence. Then how to explain that GM is thriving in Europe, selling small cars that get lots of miles per gallon? Buick is among the biggest selling brands in China. GM is running away with Latin America.

“The Big Three’s problem, to be blunt, is North America. They should have pulled out long ago.

“Not only did history saddle them with a UAW labor monopoly that their foreign competitors have managed to avoid. Even that might not have been fatal had Congress not enacted its ‘corporate average fuel economy’ rules in the 1970s.”

Obama’s mistake

“Now that the conventions are over, it is evident that the battle of John McCain is over (McCain won) and the battle of Barack Obama will determine the outcome of the election,” Dick Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.

“Now that McCain has definitively, and I suspect irreversibly, separated himself from George Bush, he has become an acceptable alternative to Obama for voters seeking change. The question now is whether Obama’s extra quotient of change - or the different direction that change will take - is worth the risk of electing him,” Mr. Morris said.

“Obama was wrong to invest so much in the Bush-McCain linkage. Any candidate can define himself at his convention. And if McCain chose, as he did, to use the gathering to distance himself from Washington and from the Bush administration, there was really nothing that Obama could do to stop him. He should have focused very specifically on McCain himself and taken shots at specific votes and bills that he introduced. Now, after the massive exposure McCain got at his convention and the demonstrable commitment to change embodied in the selection of Sarah Palin, it is too late.”

Dreams of Sarah

“I rarely remember my dreams, but for the past week, GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has been haunting me. Night after night, she appears in my dreams, always as a scolding, ominous figure,” Slate editor David Plotz writes at www.slate.com.

“When I mentioned my Palin dreams to Slate colleagues, they volunteered their own.”

One colleague, Mr. Plotz writes “dreamed she was at a fashion show and Palin served her creme fraiche on little scooped corn chips.”

Another offered this: “‘In the Sarah Palin dream I keep having, she has superhuman powers but is not really a person at all. In fact, she is more like the weather with glasses and an up-do, pushing clouds around and pitching lightning bolts.’”

Mr. Platz went on to invite readers “to send us their dreams about Palin. E-mail them to [email protected] We will publish the most interesting.”

  • Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]
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