Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

The Way of the Hockey Mom: Sarah Palin Doesn’t Blink

There is an old Zen Buddhist parable about a monk watching a young Samurai in a duel. A child is standing nearby with a large, scary mask hanging over his shoulder. The Samurai notices the child just before he dispatches his opponent. He turns to the monk with pride after his battle, but the monk says in disgust, “You’ll never be a Samurai. You saw the mask before you saw the child.”

It was the first thing to come to my mind when I saw Sarah Palin, McCain’s vice presidential pick, take the podium when he announced her candidacy. She sees the child before she sees the mask. She sees the awakening moment and steps forward to the duty at hand before she see experiences the fear that the new encounter will bring. She is fearless.

In her ABC interview yesterday she said she had no doubts in her ability to be vice president, adding that she’d answered McCain directly when he asked her.

Vote for McCain's Biggest Lie About Barack

Enter my "first of the campaign" contest to choose the biggest lie McCain has told about Barack Obama. Only direct factual claims by McCain that are clearly false can qualify. We are not looking for disagreements, we are looking for bald-faced lies such as McCain's claim that Barack called Palin a pig, that Barack would raise taxes on Middle Americans, and that Barack favors comprehensive sex education for kindergarteners.

Choose your favorite lie, and even better, bring a lie that I've forgotten to center stage that I can include in a forthcoming column in The Hill newspaper. Here are the first 12 John McCain lies that I am entering into the contest. I look forward to your comments and any additional lies you can enter yourself.

Service and Citizenship

John McCain and Barack Obama each talked for an hour last night in a wholly appropriate and inspiring evening of television on the idea of service.

Both senators seemed at ease with the questions even though they many of them were fairly conceptual. Neither seemed to be answering the questions as though it was an opportunity to score a political point, recite a talking point, or appeal to a specific constituency. It was a welcome respite from the hyper-partisan tone of the past few weeks. A lot of credit goes to Judy Woodruff and Richard Stengel for maintaining the dignity of the day and the event.

Both candidates spoke about service with an earnestness that reflected their own personal experience with service. It was obvious that either an Obama or a McCain administration will give a greater priority to service than the Bush administration (they both also remarked that it was a disappointment that President Bush didn’t ask more of citizens after Sept. 11, 2001).

It’s the States that Matter Most

There’s no question the post-convention bounce Republicans enjoyed exceeded insider expectations, even mine. And as the days out on the hustings drag on, and Sarah Palin heads back to Alaska, several in Washington are wondering: Just how long is the shelf life on the McCain-Palin lead?

Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll today shows the race again in a dead heat, tied at 48, including leaners. But even if the other nationwide polls are accurate, and John McCain has a 2-to-3-point lead, it doesn’t really matter unless those national numbers start translating into McCain pulling ahead of Obama in key battleground states.

Sen. Obama was right yesterday when he said that, on a state-by-state analysis, he’s looking pretty good on the path to the presidency; consider that in order for McCain to win, he needs to hold all of the states that went red for George Bush. That means states like Iowa need to vote Republican this year, but that’s not likely, given McCain’s deep and vocal opposition to ethanol, the lifeblood of Iowa farmers.

On Civility, Sarah and Gender

Amazing how quickly our U.S. presidential election caught fire following Sen. John McCain's appointment of Gov. Sarah Palin as his VP nominee. It's fantastic to see the excitement, and we're certainly not hearing any pundits this season say that the American people are "apathetic" about the political process. It's alive!

Say what you will about the candidates, the American people are involved in this election. But let's stop for a second to consider the noise about gender. During her yearlong run for the White House, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) battled the gender issue incessantly. Her gender became a constant topic of conversation. One would think we'd moved beyond it.

Sexism? Really?

Loyal readers know I am loath to wade into discussions of women or women's issues, but it seems I have been scratching my head so much in the last week I may soon go bald.

So, apparently the entire news media and the Democratic Party are sexist. Could someone explain this to me? I know I am inviting the wrath of womankind here, but I didn't understand it when Hillary Clinton cried foul on this at the end of her campaign and I don't understand it now. Watching Palin-mania unfold, I was struck by a contradiction that rendered the word "sexist" pretty meaningless.

Winning, Not Whining

Oct. 11, 2003. The Red Sox and the Yankees. The pitchers that day were two of baseball's best, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens.

It was nasty. When Boston's Martinez threw at a New York batter's head, Clemens came back and fired at the next Boston player.

It quickly turned into a literal brawl. Both sides realized that if they backed down they had no chance of winning.

To show you how juvenile a fan can be: It was exquisite ... one of my favorite games, ever. To show you how shameless a writer can be about sports metaphors, it is easy to compare it to that other great rivalry.

Biden Pulls a Biden

"And quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me."

And there you have the words that might well haunt Sens. Obama and Clinton until the end of the presidential campaign.

Out on the stump the other day, Joe Biden was speaking of his "close friend" and colleague, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). At one point in his remarks, Sen. Biden (D-Del.) noted that Clinton was qualified to be president and very qualified to be vice president. And then Sen. Biden did what he is perhaps best known for: put his foot in his mouth.

How in the world could the current vice presidential pick note that Sen. Clinton would have been a better pick than himself? He could think that, believe that, but to say it in public before a microphone? Unreal.

Penguin vs. Barracuda: Sarah Palin’s Egalitarian Revolution

Boston-bred actor Matt Damon is appalled that a rural “hockey mom” could even be considered for the presidency. A very popular, nationally syndicated political cartoonist presents her in the Oval Office astride a moose. What is sending terror through the hearts of urban Northeast liberals, a terror felt more deeply than that felt by Karl Rove, Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda, is that the common people of the heartland, the people who listen to George Jones and go to the Church of God and wear Hush Puppies, have found an attractive and capable candidate who fully represents them: Sarah Palin.

As The Washington Post’s Marc Fisher reports on McCain and Palin in Centreville, Va., yesterday, eight working mothers went together to see her because she is “just like us.”


Yesterday, I cited in my blog. It's been called to my attention that reports that the cited material is inaccurate. My blog was clearly a satire, set in the future, and makes a satirical point — but my point is blunted by the source I used. That is the danger of the Internet. Apologies.