Rich Lowry is reporting that "word" has it that the RNC convention may not start until Wednesday what with Gustav moving in. Maybe I'll be able to get rid of the extra Rally for the Republic tickets that I've got, as all of those delegates are trying to figure out what to do with themselves on Tuesday!
I'm in the midst of a break, so don't have time to say TOO much, but I'll just note this--WOW. Mike Rothfeld, political consultant, is leading us through Real Politics, and giving us a real education. Hope for the future, folks!
S.M. Olivia has a post up over at Mises discussing Sarah Palin's lack of experience:
Mrs. Palin, in contrast, has only an undergraduate degree from the University of Idaho - her fourth stop in an extended college career - financed partially through her winnings as a beauty pageant contestant. She is, as one Democrat told me yesterday, one step removed from white trash.
That brings up an interesting question. Will the democrats possess the ability to remain civil or will their condescension spew forth and hand Mrs. Palin the victim card?
Consider the following parade of major party vice presidential nominees:
In 1880, Republicans nominated Chester Alan Arthur, who until 1878 was the Collector of the Port of New York; he never held any elected office prior to his nomination. Arthur was elected and became president following the murder of James A. Garfield.
In 1892, Republicans nominated Whitelaw Reid, who never held elected office but had served three years as ambassador to France.
In 1896, Republicans nominated Garret Augustus Hobart, who last held elected office 15 years earlier as president of the New Jersey Senate. He was elected and served with William McKinley.
In 1908, Democrats nominated John Worth Kern, who last held political office in 1901 as city solicitor of Indianapolis, and whose only prior electoral success was four years in the Indiana Senate;
In 1920, Democrats nominated Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had served less than two terms in the New York Senate and seven years as the assistant secretary of the Navy.
In 1924, Republicans nominated Charles Gates Dawes, who never held elected office and who previously served one year as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Dawes was elected and served with Calvin Coolidge.
In 1936, Republicans nominated Frank Knox, a newspaper publisher from Chicago who never held any government office. (Knox later served as secretary of the navy.)
In 1940, Democrats nominated Henry Agard Wallace, who never held elected office but served seven years as secretary of agriculture. Wallace was elected and served with Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1972, Democrats nominated Robert Sargent Shriver, who never held elected office but served five years as director of the Peace Corps and two years as ambassador to France. Shriver's chief credential was his marriage to the sister of John F. Kennedy.
Interesting list there. Some became famous and some didn't. A roll of the dice. Although her lack of experience is cause for some concern, she has run several businesses which, for many "experienced" pols, is something they have NEVER experienced.
The lesson here is that, when you get right down to it, the only "qualifications" to be vice president are the ones actually stated in the Constitution: A natural-born citizen over the age of 35 who has resided in the U.S. for 14 years. Maybe the Framers should have required an Ivy League degree, but they didn't. And as I noted in a post here three years ago, the office of vice president was not exactly the result of careful planning; it was a last-minute addendum by the Framers to avoid having the Senate pick one of its own members as presiding officer.
In the past we've had many an experienced politician do absolutely horrible things. Wilson and FDR, for example, were both absolute economic dunderheads which allowed the formation of the Federal Reserve and a decades-long depression. Maybe the people who are worried about Mrs. Palin's experience are referring to a concern over whether she will tow the elitist/lobbyist/corporate line.
Wouldn't you hate to be John McCain and the RNC Convention planners right now? Hurricane Gustav, heading toward the Gulf Coast--at what appears to be catastrophic levels that could outdo even Katrina's force 3 years ago--looks to make landfall sometime during the early sessions of the RNC Convention on Monday and Tuesday.
What to do? The Convention is supposed to be the kick-off of the General Election campaign for the McCain ticket (well, Conventions are supposed to do that for ANY ticket). If you carry on as usual, you run the probably-high risk of looking cold and uncaring about the plight of those who are (or have been) getting hit with nature's fury. If you don't carry on as usual, you run the risk of losing the "convention bump" in the polls, and never being able to catch up to Obama's numbers.
Logistically, how do you "scale down" a convention enough to make it appropriately "concerned" about the plight of our fellow citizens without ruining the convention impact--not only for those in the convention hall who will be expected to be among the leaders who will get the job done in the fall, but also among those who might be tuning on television.
It strikes me that this is a particularly fine line to walk, and that the convention leadership doesn't have much time to make some big decisions--conventioneers are already, one assumes, beginning to arrive here in the Twin Cities. "Postponing" the convention doesn't seem to me a realistic choice--the Party needs to formally nominate the McCain ticket, and moving it to a point beyond this week seems eminently impractical, given the logistics of getting the thousands here and getting the venue set up. More likely--I would guess--would be some sort of compressed schedule, which would allow for some speakers, and perhaps an abbreviated version of the roll call and formal nomination. That would allow for some "volunteer work" by delegates--interspersed with other convention-related activities--during times when it seems most likely that the storm will be directly affecting those who will be hit.
While on the general topic of Gustav, for those who are Ron Paul supporters, keep Dr. Paul and his family in your prayers. It looks to me like the area of Texas where they live could get some of the hard weather at the end.
I’m posting to this blog for the first time from a room in a lovely Motel 6 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, only a few minutes from the Earle Brown Heritage Center, the site of the Campaign for Liberty’s “Real Politics Campaign School” on Sunday and the “Liberty Leadership Summit” on Monday, both of which I’ll be fortunate enough to attend (in addition to the Rally for the Republic on Tuesday and other miscellaneous C4L events around the Twin Cities). I also happen to be just one floor and several rooms away from Laura, your beloved blogmaster(istress). [Full Disclosure: I happen to be her youngest--and favorite--brother.]
Along with Laura, I hope to be able to give my perspective of the Campaign for Liberty events over the next few days. How many times I will have the opportunity/ambition to post remains to be seen, I guess, but Laura wanted another voice on the blog to give their two cents on the happenings and since I’ll be with her most of the time these next few days, it looks as though I won’t be able to come up with a lame excuse about why I cannot do so. While I’ve voted Libertarian in every Presidential election in which I’ve been able to cast a vote and have always had a more than passing interest in politics, the Ron Paul campaign (and now the Campaign for Liberty) is certainly the most I’ve ever been involved with for a national candidate (and I must confess that I wasn’t a die hard sign holder either—while monetarily supportive of Paul from the beginning of his campaign, I don’t feel as though I got real involved until my county and state conventions this summer, long past the time when his support seemed to peak).
Anyway, you may be hearing from me in the near future and, for those who read the blog frequently, I just wanted to briefly introduce myself.
As everyone knows now, John McCain made the rather surprising move yesterday in selecting the sitting one term governor from Alaska, Sarah Palin. Governor Palin is by all accounts probably the most 'libertarian' Republican that was being considered for the spot and might be the most prominent libertarian Republican leader in the party itself (aside from SC governor Mark Sanford).
As has been pointed out by Laura in the past, our political system is one in which coalitions come together within one of two parties to rule unlike the parliamentary system in which different coalitions form their own parties and then 'share power.' The role of minor (or third) parties like the Libertarian party in this country has always been to splinter a coalition from one of the two parties usually weakening its more natural 'home'. Of course, by splintering off votes and support the role of minor parties is often to pull the major party's views more in line with these constituents.
For instance, as a local example in Michigan during the early 1990s the Libertarian Party ran a US Senate candidate who garnered nearly 5% of the vote running on the issue of gun rights. The state GOP had become very soft on the 2nd amendment bowing to the gun control crowd with their regulations and restrictions. The state GOP quickly became 'tough' and began vigorously defending the gun rights in the state legislature. This drove down the Libertarian vote totals but solidified the defense of gun rights within the GOP (and the state).
The decision to pick Sarah Palin really brings the conservatives into the fold with what is a much stronger choice than Romney would have been. The VP slot in this case has been used to give conservatives and libertarian Republicans a reason for hope that the party is not completely lost. Time will certainly tell what the ultimate impact of this choice has been but it is a severe blow to the Barr/Root Libertarian ticket which was set to capitalize on snatching away conservative votes from the GOP.
The Libertarian ticket has made no play for the 'left' vote to this point and unless they change their anti-war message to its prominent talking point, they will continue to play just to the 'right' and probably not too successfully. The Libertarian party chose a former conservative in the hopes of growing the party substantially and it looks as if the McCain campaign - intentionally or not - will have quashed the LP's plans.
I can say personally that the idea of Palin, at first glance, is very positive and makes a vote for McCain much more palatable. Her vague support of Ron Paul and his politics is another positive and one wonders if she has much knowledge of Austrian economics, the federal reserve or supports his foreign policy ideals.
There is still much to be flushed out of her beliefs but one must assume that she at least tacitly approves of the action in Iraq and the PATRIOT Act to run beside McCain. These would obviously be a huge negative for Ron Paul supporters and constitutionalists but only time will tell where she really stands.
And now, if the McCain campaign wants to really set the world on fire, it would send Palin over to the Rally in Minneapolis for a surprise visit and impromptu speech to the crowd there. It is quite possible that she could rally the Campaign for Liberty crowd to work to help her spread a truly conservative agenda. It would be the ultimate olive branch from the McCain campaign and could radically change the face of grassroots support that might mobilize against Obama/Biden.
And maybe if she sat down with Ron Paul for a short learning session she might become an important ally in the future for libertarians. Anyway, if Barack has taught us anything, it is that one can hope. Right?