Sarah Palin

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Another Veep Loser Planning to Quit?

Back when the 2016 GOP nomination kicked off (a good 5 days before Mitt got around to losing officially), here’s one way Paul Ryan’s anonymous advisors envisioned insulating his Presidential ambitions from any damaging votes: quitting.

They say that if he fails, Ryan’s instincts will be to return to the House — he is running for re-election to his House seat at the same time he’s Romney’s running mate — and resume his role as Budget Committee chairman.

Some senior Republicans caution it might not be that easy.

If Romney loses, Ryan will be seen as a leading White House contender in 2016. He will be a national party figure even without being a top member of the House leadership. That could breed resentment among current Republican leaders and perhaps splinter coalitions within the already fractured GOP alliances at the top of the House.

A return also would make Ryan a leading target for Democrats. For the next few years, Democrats would lay traps in legislation, forcing him to take sides on measures that could come back to haunt him during a presidential bid.

That is why some of Ryan’s biggest boosters are considering whether it wouldn’t be better for Ryan to resign from the House.

Never mind the delusion that suggests Ryan would be that enticing a target for Democrats. It gave Ryan’s advisors an excuse to advocate he quit before he has to cast anymore unpopular votes.

As DDay noted, anonymous sources are floating the idea of Ryan quitting again, this time in context of being forced to cast an unpopular vote on the fiscal cliff.

Speaker John A. Boehner has tapped Mr. Ryan, who has returned to his post as the House Budget Committee chairman after an unsuccessful run for vice president, to help strike a deal to avoid big tax increases and spending cuts by the end of the year, and to bring along fellow Republicans.

“He helps us toward creating a product,” said Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, “and he helps sell the product.”

The test will be whether Mr. Ryan — who declined last year to sit on another Congressional committee charged with taming the deficit, in large part because doing so might have hurt his prospects for national office — can make the transition from House budget philosopher to governing heavyweight who can help negotiate a bipartisan deal and sell it to his colleagues.

[snip]

With his new muscle and increased respect from his colleagues, Mr. Ryan could conceivably scuttle any deal if he loudly opposes a solution that the speaker and the top Republican leaders embrace. But his conservative base might rebel against him if he were to endorse any deal seen as awarding too much to Mr. Obama and the Democrats, particularly on tax rates. Some Republicans think the pitfalls are dangerous enough that Mr. Ryan might consider leaving Congress altogether to work on his policy agenda without the inherent headaches of the Hill.

“He has to think about what he wants his role to be,” said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma. “Is he going to run in 2016, or run for something else in Wisconsin, or play a bigger role in the House? He’s going to play an outsize role here because of the national profile he now has, but on the other hand, this conference is quite happy to act independently.” [my emphasis]

The implication being that if he plans to run in 2016, Ryan can’t stick around and–with a vote in favor of a “Grand Bargain”–compromise his governing ideology by admitting does not support a functioning government. Elsewhere, the article notes how much fun he and his wife had visting her grandmother’s home in Iowa.

In other words, he clearly plans to run.

Which leaves the question whether he truly agrees with these anonymous and on-the-record sources advising him to quit if he plans to run for President.

I guess he plans to follow the successful path of President Palin, then, even if he can’t run a marathon as fast as she can.

I just wonder what his Hollywood reality show will be called.

Iran Embraces Bush Doctrine, Press Pulls a Palin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpJsQch9uZo[/youtube]

Among the many gaffes by Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign, her “In what respect, Charlie?” response to Charles Gibson’s “Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?” stands out as perhaps one of the biggest. After allowing Palin to flail about for a minute or so, Gibson finally explained it to Palin:

The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

Today, speaking to Iran’s Fars News Agency, the Deputy Head of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces for Logistic and Industrial Research embraced the Bush Doctrine on behalf of Iran:

General Mohammad Hejazi pointed to Iran’s latest strategy to embark on posing threats in response to enemy threats, and explained that the strategy means “we will no more wait to see enemy action against us”.

“Given this strategy, we will make use of all our means to protect our national interests and hit a retaliatory blow at them whenever we feel that enemies want to endanger our national interests,” Hejazi noted.

Despite Iran clearly stating a version of anticipatory self-defense, articles describing these comments from Reuters and the New York Times both fail to mention the parallel of this position with the Bush Doctrine. (As of this writing, the Washington Post does not appear to have written an article on Iran’s comments.)

When Iran says they endorse the Bush Doctrine, Reuters and the New York Times respond, “In what respect, Mohammad?”

Killer Drones Coming To America!

Like all new fads that start overseas and eventually make their way here to the US as the next “new thing”, drones are on their way to our friendly skies. From AP via Google News:

Unmanned aircraft have proved their usefulness and reliability in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now the pressure’s on to allow them in the skies over the United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been asked to issue flying rights for a range of pilotless planes to carry out civilian and law-enforcement functions but has been hesitant to act. Officials are worried that they might plow into airliners, cargo planes and corporate jets that zoom around at high altitudes, or helicopters and hot air balloons that fly as low as a few hundred feet off the ground.

On top of that, these pilotless aircraft come in a variety of sizes. Some are as big as a small airliner, others the size of a backpack. The tiniest are small enough to fly through a house window.

Exciting! Cops want to use them to catch speeders, monitor traffic and track suspects (that is pretty much all of us). Border Patrol and Sheriff Joe Arpaio want to use them to chase down the brown (skinned that is). Fed Ex wants them so they don’t have to actually pay pilots. And the NSA wants them to spy on “suspicious” people (like the writers on this blog). Hey, it’s all good; what’s the loss of a little privacy when it comes to protecting America?

There is a tremendous pressure and need to fly unmanned aircraft in (civilian) airspace,” Hank Krakowski, FAA’s head of air traffic operations, told European aviation officials recently. “We are having constant conversations and discussions, particularly with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, to figure out how we can do this safely with all these different sizes of vehicles.

Excellent! Because I will feel a lot better when the DOD and DHS have the “civilian airspace” saturated with their freaking drones; won’t you? Of course you will. And we are on the way there too. From Government Executive:

The Homeland Security Department expanded the use of unmanned drones along the U.S.-Mexico border this week, flying for the first time this sort of advanced technology in west Texas.

The Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle is providing support to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help interdict drug smugglers and detect people trying to enter the United States illegally, key lawmakers said.

Texas lawmakers have been clamoring for years to have an unmanned drone assist in border security operations, but the move had been delayed by bureaucratic wrangling between DHS and the Federal Aviation Administration. Drone flights along the Southwest border had been limited to regions in Arizona and New Mexico.
……
By putting eyes in the sky along the Rio Grande, we will gather real-time intelligence on the ground to augment the good work of federal, state and local law enforcement….

Well, so drones are here among us, at least those of us near the Mexican border; and they are here to stay. Government drones are going to be ever more pervasive and ubiquitous throughout the entirety of the country if the law and order types in the federal, state and local governments have anything to say about it. And they will have their say; count on it. Swell, eh?

So, with all of the Afghani, Pakistani and Iraqi wedding parties that have been taken out by US Predator drone strikes, how long before they hit one of our precious wedding celebrations right here in the homeland of the good old “real America”? What will the NeoCon wingnuts say when it hits their own chosen ones?

[Incredibly awesome graphic by the one and only Darkblack. If you are not familiar with his work, or have not seen it lately, please go peruse the masterpieces at his homebase. Seriously good artwork and incredible music there.]

You Think Alberto Gonzales Knows There’s Not a “Department of Law”?

Let’s hope so, because Texas Tech just hired Gonzales to teach what appears to be a PoliSci course. (h/t Wonkette)

Alberto Gonzales, who resigned as the Bush administration’s embattled attorney general nearly two years ago, has lined up a fall-semester teaching spot at Texas Tech University, the university confirmed today.

Gonzales, who was Gov. George W. Bush’s lawyer and Texas secretary of state before joining Bush in Washington, will be working in the university’s political science department, teaching a “special topics” course on contemporary issues in the executive branch, according to Dora Rodriguez, a senior business assistant in the department.

Maybe Sarah Palin can use her soon-to-be-abundant free time and go learn how the guy running the Department of Law can protect the President from any legal consequences for his actions.

One important detail: note that Texas Tech is not employing AGAG to teach law. I guess in this day and age, even Texas schools want to avoid having John Yoo problems.

Pre-Coffee Deep Thought

If Emmett Sullivan, the judge that is considering vacating Toobz Stevens’ conviction because the government withheld critical information also demands the government free Aymen Saeed Batarfi, a Gitmo detainee from whom the government withheld exonerating information…

"To hide relevant and exculpatory evidence from counsel and from the court under any circumstances, particularly here where there is no other means to discover this information and where the stakes are so very high . . . is fundamentally unjust, outrageous and will not be tolerated," Sullivan said, according to a transcript of the hearing.

"How can this court have any confidence whatsoever in the United States government to comply with its obligations and to be truthful to the court?"

[snip]

"The sanction is going to be high," he said. "I’ll tell you quite frankly if I have to start incarcerating people to get my point across I’m going to start at the top."

…Does that mean Sarah Palin will call for a special election to let Batarfi run for elected office? Or, at the very least, will Palin allow Batarfi to settle in Alaska, since Palin is so convinced that prosecutorial misconduct equates to innocence on the part of the accused?  

Don’t Be So Fast to Refer to Palin’s “Son-in-Law”

A number of people in the blogosphere have pointed out that Governor Palin–or more accurately, her daughter Bristol–has been palin’ around with drug dealers. Remember Levi Johnston, the guy they trotted out as a prop at the Republican convention as the father of Bristol’s baby? Well, his mom got busted yesterday; reports suggest she had a meth lab in her house (don’t forget, Wasilla is Alaska’s crystal meth capital).

Well, that’s fascinating enough. But I’m just as fascinated by the absence, in ADN’s reporting, of any mention of an imminent wedding.

Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, the Wasilla 18-year-old who received international attention in September when Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, announced their teenage daughter was pregnant and he was the father. Bristol Palin, 18, is due on Saturday, according to a recent interview with the governor’s father, Chuck Heath.

[snip]

Levi Johnston sat with Bristol and the rest of the Palin family in St. Paul, Minn., during Gov. Palin’s speech to the Republican National Convention, and he joined the family on the stage afterwards.

When Levi was rolled out in early September, it was always in the context of an upcoming wedding.

In other words, I’m not convinced there’re still plans for Sarah Palin to become Levi’s mother-in-law (emphasis on law, here). Don’t tell me the claim they were getting married was just a politically convenient claim?

Well, in any case, for those of you who had "Charlie Crist" in the politically convenient marriage pool, you may now collect on your earnings. 

Obama and the Guvs

hall_hp.jpgIn a really smart move, Obama is quickly pulling together a meeting between him and the nation’s governors (and always the master of theater, he’s holding it at Independence Hall in Philly).

President-elect Barack Obama is meeting with nearly all the U.S. governors in Philadelphia next Tuesday to discuss how the economic crisis is crimping states and their budgets.

Nick Shapiro, a spokesman for the Obama transition, said the meeting will provide an opportunity for Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden to talk with state chief executives about "the unique challenges facing our states." The discussions are being hosted by National Governors Association Chairman Ed Rendell and Vice Chairman Jim Douglas.

Douglas said 40 governors and governors-elect plan to attend the group discussion, which was put together just in the last few days, at the city’s famed Independence Hall.

"It’s short notice, some grumbled, but virtually everyone has cleared his or her calendar," said Douglas, the Republican governor of Vermont.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, running mate to Obama’s Republican opponent in the presidential race, Sen. John McCain, also planned to attend the gathering, her office said.

Originally when I heard Palin was going to be meeting with Obama, I thought it just an elaborate excuse for Sasha and Piper to get together discuss their recently more sophisticated fashion tastes.  But this move is much, much smarter than a sleep-over between Sasha and Piper.

Consider that most observors believe that Republican Governors (including, but not limited to, Palin, Jindal, Pawlenty, Crist, and Utah’s Huntsman) will set the new direction for the beleaguered Republican Party. These governors are increasingly the leaders of the Republican party, not John Boehner or Mitch McConnell.

And Obama has seen to it that–as one of their last orders of business before the holidays, and therefore one of their last orders of business before the new Congress–they will meet with the President-Elect to tell him about how important infrastructure investments and loans to cash-strapped states will be to the nation’s economic recovery. What Governor, after all, Republican or Democrat, doesn’t love getting federal funds to spend in their state?

Obama is soliciting support among the Republican party’s rising leaders for the massive stimulus package that will arrive on Congress’ lap at the beginning of January. He’s doing so just in time for these Governors to give their Congressmen and Senators an earful over the holiday cocktail party season. 

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Palin Suggests She Doesn’t Want Uncle Toobz’ Seat

She notes that she didn’t do too well under the "white hot" spotlight of DC.

MATT LAUER: Let me talk about your future. There is a possibility that, in the state of Alaska, there will be a special election. If Ted Stevens goes back the Senate, and his colleagues decide to banish him, then the state of Alaska has to come up with a new senator. And it is conceivable that you could run for that seat. Are you interested?

SARAH PALIN: I’m not planning on that.

MATT LAUER: That’s a good politician’s answer. Most people say, "I’m not planning on it." But the people of Alaska said, "You’d be the right person"?

SARAH PALIN: No, I’m not planning on it because I think the people of Alaska will best be served with me as their governor. Making sure that we are prudently spending the tax dollars. That we are making sure that our resources are being developed responsibly and ethically. And all those things that are a part of my agenda as governor. I think the people of Alaska appreciate me where I am today as their governor.

MATT LAUER: But wouldn’t there be some sense that you’d just seen what it was like in the White House spotlight. And doesn’t some part of you, I mean, I read an article about you that said you’re pretty ambitious. Doesn’t some part of you want more of that?

SARAH PALIN: You know, when you talk about that white hot spotlight– that’s not really attractive to me. Because, again, you know, you gave some examples of– look what that white hot spotlight

MATT LAUER: It’s a double edged sword.

SARAH PALIN: …does to one’s family, you know. And does to one’s credibility and record and word. So that’s not the attraction to me. The attraction is where can I best serve people whom I work for and am accountable to. Right now I am accountable to the people of Alaska. They hired me as their governor. I’m blessed to have the opportunity that I have to serve them as governor. It’s a great job. I love it. [my emphasis]

Shorter Sarah: I’m going back to Alaska where I can hide my incompetence, ethical issues, and ignorance behind my pretty face. Also.

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Update on the Underwear Audit

Sarah Palin engaged in a bit of parsing when asked last week whether RNC lawyers were coming to audit the clothes she scammed the RNC out of. Rather than denying the claim outright, she insisted the RNC lawyers weren’t coming to her house. [exchange starts at 3:00; my transcription]

Reporter: Does the RNC have lawyers coming up to look at the clothes, inventory the stuff?

SP: The RNC’s not coming up, nobody’s coming up to look at anything. There is an inventory of clothes being done so that the RNC is held accountable for all the dollars that were spent, but … Who said that attorneys were coming up to my house to pick up clothes?

Reporter: I think the NYT reported that, the LAT.

SP: The NYT evidently is wrong, because it’s not … it’s not happening. Nobody’s told me that they’re coming to my house to look through closets … to look through anything. [my emphasis]

Note how far Palin’s parse–"coming to my house"–is from what the NYT said.

Republican National Committee lawyers were likely to go to Alaska to conduct an inventory and try to account for all that was spent.

And from what the LAT said.

Reporting from Phoenix — Sarah Palin left the national stage Wednesday, but the controversy over her role on the ticket flared as aides to John McCain disclosed new details about her expensive wardrobe purchases and revealed that a Republican Party lawyer would be dispatched to Alaska to inventory and retrieve the clothes still in her possession.

This is a classic Palin denial: denying something that was not alleged (except, arguably, by my pithy title), while not denying the main point of the allegation.

And, as it turns out, Palin and the RNC are still haggling over what is where and who owns what.

Palin and John McCain’s campaign faced a storm of criticism over the tens of thousands of dollars spent at such high-end stores as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus to dress the nominee. Republican National Committee lawyers are still trying to determine exactly what clothing was bought for Palin, what was returned and what has become of the rest.

Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, said his daughter spent the day Saturday trying to figure out what belongs to the RNC.

"She was just frantically … trying to sort stuff out," Heath said.

[snip]

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The New Landscape in Alaska for the Wasilla Wonder

Back when I argued that Palin would probably not be the Republican candidate for President in 2012, I noted how much the landscape had changed for Palin in Alaska.

That’s true, first of all, because the exposure of the campaign will bring some unanticipated setbacks to her.

[snip–note, I cut out a prediction that the personnel board investigation might be damning, which turned out to be dead wrong]

At the very least, her claim to be a reformer in Alaska won’t fare well.

Then there’s the fact that she’s got at least two more years as governor before 2012–and there is no evidence that she is any more competent at governing than George Bush. So long as oil prices remain where they are, she’s going to have a difficult time meeting the increased needs of an inflation-wracked Alaska.

Here’s a really good inventory of the ways in which life for Sarah will change in Alaska. My favorites:

4 The Legislature

Palin’s two-year record was much dissected during the presidential campaign. Some Alaska lawmakers complained she was disengaged at times. Democratic allies who helped with her priorities are now unhappy with her new national partisanship and the campaign’s meddling in Troopergate. Her unhappiest critics have been Republicans who resented how the "maverick reformer" painted dissenters as part of the "good old boy" network.

Back in Juneau, she’s likely to face a new source of friction: budget-cutting tensions due to declining oil revenues.

[snip]

Palin also has work to do with some of her constituents. Big anti-Palin rallies in Anchorage during the campaign were unprecedented — Frank Murkowski never stirred that kind of passion. Coming home to vote in a Carhartts jacket shows she’s thinking along those lines. (Or was she buffing her small-town, anti-fashion image for a national crowd? More second-guessing.)

5 The natural gas pipeline

With the nation sliding into recession and state oil revenues plunging, the gas line seems more important than ever to Alaska. Crossing the next big pre-construction hurdles would give Palin a big achievement to trumpet.

But there are plenty of perils in the next two years. The looming challenge involves the so-called "open season" — persuading the oil companies, through tax incentives, legal pressure or superior poker strategy, to commit to ship their gas reserves through the line.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel Wonder what would happen if all these WH attackers were charged as terrorists?
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emptywheel @Krhawkins5 Under the radar: possibility a different Senator, w/better opsec, is much more apt to do something like that.
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emptywheel Man, every outlet is budging in on @AliWatkins' turf now.
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bmaz @ryanpatrick177 @JoshMBlackman No, that is my point.
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JimWhiteGNV Was that John Madden or Shrek?
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emptywheel @MasaccioFDL Or Kitties. Or this week, one and the same.
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emptywheel @brianjbowe Spouse is a legal immigrant who entirely missed today's speech who is far better versed in Fritos culture than I. So maybe not
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emptywheel @p2wy Surely that means you're pregnant?
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emptywheel @eljefekenney I can't answer that. I apparently have been blocking out 4 weeks of those ads.
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emptywheel Think my evening is going to end w/an announcement that winner of ArtPrize Dallas 2016 gets an unlimited supply of Frito Chili Pie.
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emptywheel @JimWhiteGNV And yeah, given your otherwise excellent appreciation of food the Fritos are surprising. @McElweeWhite
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emptywheel @JimWhiteGNV Sounds like cowboy etiquette @McElweeWhite
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