Even I have to admit that reading too much of the left-wing blogs is not a balanced way to keep up with the news. I did see Sarah Palin give her acceptance speech, and she is a talented speaker, the crowd adored her, and clearly she speaks for many women and men who feel like their values have been ignored. And what a great word â€˜valuesâ€™. Kind of like â€˜faithâ€™. Uplifting but unspecific, so that everyone can assume that values means, â€˜people like meâ€™.
So getting down to specifics, has John McCain chosen a running mate who exemplifies his values and the agenda of his party? To start, letâ€™s look at that left-wing broadsheet, The Economist…
From pork to petrodollars
Sep 4th 2008 | ANCHORAGE
From The Economist print edition
Sarah Palinâ€™s home state is awash with money
JOHN MCCAINâ€™S decision to anoint Sarah Palin as his running-mate looks eccentric for many reasons. Not the least is economic principle. Thanks in part to Mrs Palin, Alaskaâ€™s economy is built on two things that Mr McCain has spent the last few years railing against.
The first is federal spending, especially the little-scrutinised grants known as earmarks. Between 1996 and 2006 per-capita federal spending in Alaska rose from 38% above the national average to 71% above. Scott Goldsmith, an economist, reckons a third of all jobs in the state depend on it. So needy are the citizens of the â€œlast frontierâ€? that the looming trial of Ted Stevens, Alaskaâ€™s senior senator and champion pork-rustler, for failing to disclose gifts is viewed not just as a political scandal but also as an economic threat.
Mrs Palin has been less single-minded in her pursuit of pork than other Alaskan politicians (which is, admittedly, setting the bar pretty high). But she can take credit for the other pillar of Alaskaâ€™s economy: windfall taxes. Last year she championed a tax hike on oil companies which is helping bring in huge sumsâ€”more than $10 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June, according to the companies that pay them. Suddenly flush, the state has promised $1,200 to every man, woman and child, ostensibly to cover the high cost of fuel.
In other words, if a President McCain keeps his promise and vetoes every bill that comes across his desk that contains earmarks it will be tough times in Alaska. From that radical rag, The Washington Post…
The senator from Arizona has made a crusade of battling pork-barrel “earmarks,” but the whopper here is the assertion that Palin opposed her state’s notorious Bridge to Nowhere. She endorsed the remote project while running for governor in 2006, claimed to be an opponent only after Congress killed its funding the next year, and has used the $223 million provided for it for other state ventures. Far from being an opponent of earmarks, Palin hired lobbyists to try to capture more federal funding.
Now, thereâ€™s been a back and forth as to whether Alaska is big (geographically), or small (population). So you canâ€™t make a direct comparison between a state with huge distances and a state like Rhode Island, where you feel put-upon if you have to venture out to Woonsocket. So Iâ€™m wondering if any interviewer will ask Governor Palin to outline the specifics of her earmarks, and why they are not like the bad earmarks her running mate will veto.
Todayâ€™s Providence Journal has a headine, â€˜Poll finds McCain gaining among those looking for changeâ€™. This to me is one of the weirdest things about the race. A long-term Republican politician running against the record of his own party. From a major newspaper of the decadent region of Appalachia, the Louisville Courier-Journal…
MITT ROMNEY (former Massachusetts governor): “We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin.”
THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.
With all the talk about â€˜changeâ€™ it would be easy to assume that the Republicans have been locked out of power for eight years, instead of running Washington. Itâ€™s like the good Republicans are promising to save us from the bad Republicans. And thereâ€™s good pork and bad pork. I hope someone will pin down Senator McCain to explain which kind of pork is nourishing and good for the Forth of July barbecue, and which kind is deadly, artery-clogging fat.