Word is just now beginning to spread that John McCain has selected Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election. There are few people more enthusiastic about the Sarah Palin vice presidential choice than I. She is the face of a new generation of Republicans devoted to fiscal responsibility, ethical accountability in government, and common sense policy making. She lives a staunchly conservative lifestyle, but reflects the notoriously unique flavor of the state of Alaska with her affinity for mooseburgers, snowmobiling and selecting uncommon names for her five children. And, of course, she’s a woman (if you care about that sort of thing).

Palin has proven that she is independent-minded and driven by a strong moral compass during her term as Alaska’s first female governor (and also its youngest). She is the answer to every accusation Democrats have made against Republicans for decades, and promises to render them almost speechless in their attempts to assail her character. She is also a fearless public speaker who has tangled with Congressional Democrats before in her call for them to approve drilling in her state. She balances the ticket well by countering McCain’s age with her youth and, just as Obama said of Biden, she is sure to offer constructive criticism of McCain’s policy choices should they win the White House.

However, Republicans should be aware of what potential issues this choice brings with it. Palin does not show the promise of adding any critical swing states to McCain’s coffers apart from her home state of Alaska (contributing a paltry 3 electoral votes). Furthermore, unlike Romney, she is not a proven economic guru, which many pundits insist that McCain needs on his ticket for a win. She is a relative newcomer, having served only about a year and a half of her first term, and she has not been properly introduced to the American public, who I think I can safely say are stunned by the choice. These are critical downsides to the Palin choice that I think have the potential to harm McCain come November. While I believe that she represents the new direction that not only the Republican Party but the country needs to take, politics as usual may show this decision to be folly.

In order for Palin to pay off, the McCain camp will need to ensure that she is fierce but graceful under pressure as they enter the final months before the election. My thoughts go particularly to her debate with Biden, in which she can do well if she sticks to her strengths of fighting establishment corruption (to which Joe Biden's Congress has played home), but only if she is able to parry his notoriously aggressive style.

Whatever may come, however, I applaud Senator McCain for showing this kind of courage.

For more on Governor Palin, see The Children Of The Revolution article
"The Bizarrobamas", posted on August 27, 2008.



The time has come to take the stump and expound upon a systematic (albeit brief) examination of why fiscal, not social, conservatism will be the de-facto direction of the (real) Republican party, and I'll even throw in a provocative conclusion to boot, joy!

Firstly, the economic slump we are experiencing currently is undoubtedly not nearing an end any time soon, and likely will continue to spread before it gets better. This, of course, is the clearest argument for the Republicans redefining themselves, at least on the short-term, around economic - not social - issues. While the Dems will retain the ability to play the racial and socioeconomic cards that they have nurtured since FDR, any serious Republican candidate for higher office will have to make concessions on welfare, medic-are/aid, healthcare, and all the other nanny-state programs that warm our hearts at the expense of our dignity. What this means is that Republicans will have to define themselves as providing similar solutions in ways that are budget-minded and economically friendly. While this is not a new game, it will no longer be acceptable to talk about low taxes and restrained spending, then turn around and blow the nest egg on loony social programs (see: GWB). Candidates will be held accountable to a greater degree for their actions, and over the next four to six years, most issues will be painted in terms of the net economic effect on the "average American". This is not to say that there is not ample room for lies and deceits (Obama's claim that his deferred tax hikes actually 'lower' taxes four times more than McCain – fuzzy math if it ever existed). The point being that the focus will shift to the pocket of the average American in a way we have not seen in the past thirty years.

Secondly, I believe that among all Americans, and by that I mean the preciously small percentage who actually vote, read real news, and breathe through their noses, that there will be a greater scrutiny of where money is coming from, and where it is going. This will mean louder calls for a smarter tax system on both the business and domestic fronts, as well as swifter and fiercer retribution against candidates that are pork-hungry. This will be a primarily Republican phenomenon, as the Dems are unlikely to retreat from their voodoo claims that, like a money-draped phoenix rising from the ashes of our spent economy, high taxes and social handouts can stimulate the economy back into a boom-cycle.

Finally, (here's the provocation), I think we may see, nay, already are seeing the slow emergence of a three-party system. While it may not ever take hold in presidential elections where the stakes are perceived by both parties as being too high, I would admonish all readers to be on the lookout for a schism in the Republicans that significantly reshapes voting habits. While one clan moves towards a more libertarian, economically conservative stance, the other will adopt a hybrid of moral authoritarianism, compassionate (read: expensive) domestic policies, and hawkish Zionist foreign policy. This camp will steal a good number of more hawkish Democrats, forging the remaining Dems as a party defined more by foreign policy than social mores, particularly in terms of big domestic spending, eliminating unilateral engagement rights, and formalization of NAFTA into a more robust political umbrella to counter the EU. What will we be left with? Why, Socialists, Fascists, and Libertarians – much like the political system that existed in America prior to the Great Depression, and like we see in many European countries today (though with their own odd local flair, of course). I know which line I'm signing on, what has yet to be told is to what extent the schism will spread, and how the details of the party platforms will fall into place.



The campaign of Barack Obama for president has shown us a lot about ourselves as a nation and, perhaps more pointedly, the American news media. Of course depending on whom you ask, you may get some very different answers to exactly what it has shown us. I, for one, have taken away the story of a young, fresh-faced, first-term United States Senator lacking the necessary experience and maturity to govern this country getting farther than perhaps anyone else with his qualifications has ever gotten, strictly on the power of marketing. It is the ultimate demonstration of pageantry in politics, of style over substance; an empty suit that Americans have poured their own beliefs and ideas into and rejoiced when the hollow, non-committal rhetoric it has spouted in reply does not clearly contradict them. Taking what I’ve learned from this election season, I believe firmly that we could run our cars on the words “hope” and “change,” considering how far they’ve taken a campaign with nothing whatsoever to offer to Americans except for more radical left-wing liberalism.

Whether Barack Obama will win the White House no one can say for sure. I believe that ultimately he will not. However, his story begs the question: what could someone just as young and fresh-faced achieve if they were a candidate of strong substance and concrete ideas that played with the average American (that is to say, more conservative)? Taking the Obama lesson and applying it to future campaigns will be critical for both parties in the election cycles to follow. But those with the most to gain from it would be the Republicans, who continue to suffer from an image problem, chiefly stereotypes that the Democrats have successfully exploited for years (the rich, old, white, racist Republican). Indeed, the Democrats have campaigned exclusively on identity politics for the past few decades.

The Republican Party has raised a whole new generation of candidates that serve in various elected offices that will assume leadership in the years to come (how soon will be determined by whether McCain is elected and how many terms he serves). These “Youngblood Republicans” are not what their name might suggest; they are not moderates, they are fiscal and social conservatives (far more disciplined conservatives than the current crop in Congress). Some aren’t even that young, but nevertheless are relative newcomers that have reinvigorated the Republican Party, which has grown stale after more than ten years of success. The greatest strength that these Youngbloods have is that they are committed to teaching their constituencies about the core values and principles of their party, and they have lived those values in their careers and elected office. Their records show that they clearly adhere to these values, and perhaps most importantly their values are shared by a majority of Americans.

You may have heard of some of these up-and-comers before, and if you haven’t yet you’ll see a few of them at the Republican National Convention soon enough (at least three of them are scheduled to speak). I’ve selected four individuals that should be watched closely.

Matt Blunt, Governor of Missouri

Blunt was elected Governor of Missouri in 2004 at age 33. He is the youngest person ever to hold the office. He ran on a platform to enact tort reform, reduce spending and improve conditions for business. He has kept all of his promises, reducing spending in Missouri to one of its lowest levels in recent history and successfully passing legislation to curb frivolous lawsuits. He has received an “A” rating from the libertarian Cato Institute and is the only United States governor to do so.

Prior to his election as governor, he served as Missouri’s Secretary of State from 2000-2004. He served in the United States Navy and was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom. He remains in the Naval Reserve, so if he is called up to service during his term he would have to transfer his powers to the Lieutenant Governor.

Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana

Jindal began his term as Governor in 2008 after serving in the US House of Representatives since 2004. He is the youngest sitting governor in the US. The American-born son of Punjabi Indian immigrants, he grew up Hindu but converted to Catholicism in his teens. Jindal is a strong fiscal and social conservative who has made education his platform. As he is still in his first term as Governor, his existing record comes from his term in Congress.

Jindal voted to make the PATRIOT Act permanent and supports a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. He has a spotless voting record on abortion and is staunchly pro-life. He supported an end to the moratorium on offshore drilling and is highly regarded by advocates for the Second Amendment.

Much speculation surrounded Jindal during McCain’s vice presidential selection, however Jindal himself announced that he would not be on the 2008 Republican ticket. He will, however, speak at the Republican National Convention.

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska

Palin was elected Governor in 2006, following a stunning upset in the primary when she unseated incumbent Republican Governor Murkowski. She is the first female governor of Alaska. Palin ran on a platform of eliminating pork-barrel spending and enacting ethics legislation. She is widely respected as an incorruptible reformer and an energetic leader. She is a member of the organization Feminists for Life, which is a pro-life women’s group. While she opposes same-sex marriage, she holds a more liberal perspective on homosexuality in general. She is committed to fiscal responsibility and enjoys an over 90% approval rating.

Palin is a former beauty pageant contender and basketball player. Her son Track (her children all have VERY unique names) joined the Army at eighteen and is currently training in the Infantry for future deployment. She is also a lifetime member of the NRA.

Her name has also been floated as a possible vice presidential pick to steal away already disenchanted Hillary supporters and bring conservative gravitas to the ticket. She is set to speak at the Republican National Convention this year.

Michael Steele, Chairman of GOPAC and Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor

Michael Steele is the sitting Chairman of GOPAC, the Republican political action committee, and from 2002 to 2006 was the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. In 2006 he ran for the United States Senate but lost to Democrat Ben Cardin in a hard-fought election. Despite the loss, Steele has remained politically prominent due to his commitment to promoting conservative ideals via his work with GOPAC. He spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention and is slated to speak again this year. He was at one time considered for the Chairmanship of the GOP, but Mel Martinez was eventually selected.

Steele began life as a Democrat and was the son of a widowed laundress who chose to work at minimum wage levels rather than live off of the government dole. He joined the Republican party in his teens, however, and eventually became Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party in 2000. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University and owns a legal consulting firm.

He favors repealing the death tax and favored a moratorium on the federal gas tax in Maryland, though he is a proponent of Affirmative Action as well.




"We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War." These words, uttered today by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, are but simple truth. Russia is not afraid of a new cold war, and is posturing so that the blame falls on the West if (or, more likely, when) this becomes reality.

Strategically, it is well placed. A new Cold War will not look like the old one, but rather become a deeper, richer creature. With Russia reaping energy windfalls, successfully splitting up European countries in negotiating with them (see Germany and Poland), no working or real cyberterrorism treaties, and the United States Army overcommitted in its current operational theaters (let alone strategic posturing with China), the old bear is in a pretty good spot. Economic and Information warfare will be the new theaters, and International society will start to really strain under the weight of outdated World War II-era organizations.

The biggest disagreement (all of this being proxy batt
les over the main question) is whether a state's sovereignty is absolute, or limited. US entry into Yugoslavia broke the existing norms which preserved a state's boundaries as absolute, enforcing a settlement on what had been a sovereign entity. Single-handedly bringing Kosovo into the international community set a dangerous precedent, one which Russia is intent upon rubbing in the West's noses. Russia's main interests are whether it can merge with Belarus to form a new state, and whether Chechnya or Ossetia/Abkhazia provides the rule of secession. China's interests align with Russia's here, with Tibet and Taiwan being the most obvious examples, but the Uighur provinces in the northwest equally valid (not to mention providing an interesting Muslim complication).

Europe is the big player here. Whether it votes to continue expansion and (more importantly) consolidation of power into a federal structure not unlike the United States Constitutional model will shore up the major players. If the EU succeeds, look for more unified negotiations with Russia (but also concessions, due to energy needs). If it fails, look to Russia continuing to meddle in European affairs, further poisoning the European experiment.

America, on the other hand, is fundamentally unprepared for this new Cold War. Unable to match Russia's proxy brinkmanship with a legitimate military threat (boots on the ground - nuclear war between great powers is still unlikely), it will lose face and prestige throughout the world. Economically, the US is very fragile, and losing opportunities to build and strengthen economic and diplomatic relationships with countries all too willing to work with Russia or China (and for fewer political concessions). America does not have the power to protect its allies from internet attacks, or itself from the disruption of its satellites.

This will not necessarily lead to World War III, but much as Athens saw its allies move under the protection of Sparta during the Peloponnesian War, there will be a restructuring of the world order. Where goes Europe, so goes the world.



populist (pop·u·list): a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people

The American political system has been the playground of populists since its beginnings at the Second Continental Congress of 1775. The most recognizable and successful practitioner of this most revered political rhetoric is Andrew Jackson, whose “Grassroots Campaign” of 1828 won him the presidency and was immediately followed by a raucous public inaugural party at the White House that earned him the nickname “King Mob.” While times may have changed, this tried and true method of politicking is alive and well today in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Few people batted an eyelash when the McCain and Obama campaigns first began slinging populist jargon. For McCain, who has always had a penchant for playing to the center, it was the “kitchen table” speech about middle-class husbands and wives trying to figure out how they were going to make ends meet in the current economic downturn. For Obama, it’s been the vague “hope” and “change” mantra that has come to define his run for the White House. Appealing to the common man, especially in troubled economic times, seems to be important to most presidential candidates. However, this exercise of political routine was turned into a hilarious farce when a journalist asked John McCain last week how many houses he owned. When McCain responded by saying he wasn’t sure and that he’d check with his staff, everyone knew that the Obama campaign would latch onto the gaffe like a blood-thirsty tick. And true to form, they’ve been hammering McCain on it ever since.

Obama delivered a speech retelling the incident to his supporters, concluding that John McCain in fact owns seven houses and therefore has no idea how to relate to the common man. Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia was quick to follow with a speech of his own criticizing McCain’s wealth and prosperity. And on Saturday, shortly after being officially named as Obama’s vice presidential choice, Joe Biden cheerfully added his two cents, saying “Your kitchen table's like mine, you sit there at night after you put the kids to bed and you talk about what you need, you talk about how much you're worried about being able to pay the bills. Well ... that's not a worry John McCain has to worry about. It's a pretty hard experience, he'll have to figure out which of the seven kitchen tables to sit at."

Not seeing the humor yet? The punchline here is that both McCain and Obama’s net worth is valued in the millions. While McCain’s wealth vastly overshadows Obama’s at $25 million to $2.5 million (thanks to his wife’s beer distributorship), Obama is not a pauper by any stretch of the imagination, and has also taken housing-related flak for the purchase of his Chicago home at great discount from convicted felon Tony Rezko. The laugh is watching these two play a rhetorical game of “Who’s The Poorest Rich Guy?” It’s probably one of the most hilarious demonstrations of how much of their own bull these guys end up actually believing when they’re immersed in campaigning for over a year. Two sitting members of the United States Senate, one of the most privileged and pompous American institutions apart from the office they’re both currently seeking, are trying to convince the American middle- and lower-class that they’re one of them! My advice to the both of them is to remember that we live in a republic; we don't necessarily elect people like us, we elect people for us. That means that we (should) understand that it's okay to send sickeningly rich people to Washington as our representatives, just so long as they represent us appropriately.

I would hope that both of them would take a lesson from the fate of this decade’s most famous populist, John Edwards (net worth = $29.5 million), that you should be careful what you wish for. He is now the most common and nauseating creature in politics: the hypocrite. McCain and Obama would do well to leave the extolment of commonness to William Shatner and Pulp, who tell us what being common is really all about (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRPa0GhxGUs).



As soon as the word hit the streets that Senator Joe Biden of Delaware was Barack Obama's Vice Presidential choice, I immediatley knew that the Democrats' White House chances were all over. That isn't to say that Joe Biden single-handedly derailed Obama's campaign, but with Obama's sagging poll numbers and loss of steam, most were expecting the announcement of his running mate to re-energize the race and catapult him back into a strong lead. Any astute observer of the media blitz that followed should have picked up on the lack of orgasmic delight with which it was covered as compared to preceding Obama campaign proclamations. And so I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one who saw the end for Barack at 3AM on Saturday morning.

There are two distinct problems with the Biden choice that, while I'm sure the Obama campaign took into account during their rigorous vetting process, are in fact a kiss of death for their presidential aspirations. The first and most serious is that fact that Biden was, as he has always been, a plain-spoken and singularly fierce opponent of Barack Obama's during the early Democratic primaries. The second is his affliction with "foot-in-mouth" disease, a chronic ability to undercut himself with embarrassing and very public gaffes.

While campaigning against Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, Biden, along with the other contenders, was one of the most vocal critics of Obama's complete lack of experience and repeatedly said that he was not ready or right for the White House. Said Biden "I think he can be ready, but right now I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training." I've been hearing arguments that this is a particularly mild criticism, however, the fact that it vocalizes precisely the same doubt that a large number of American voters have about Obama is damning. And in politics, it doesn't matter how long ago you said something. When it's repeated over and over again in campaign ads, it becomes an issue you must defend yourself on constantly. Of course since Saturday, Biden has become part of Team Obama and is beginning to testify before large crowds about his born-again conversion. But this just makes him look like a flip-flopping sycophant, and I guarantee you that he'll be confronted with his primary season Obama criticisms at every press conference and interview. While Obama has said that he was looking for a vice-presidential pick that would give him honest advice and even voice disagreement with his policies, this will not serve to soften the impact, no matter how many times the media desperately recycles that statement. This is solid-gold fodder for the McCain campaign, and they've been running with it since Saturday. A campaign ad reminding America of Biden's statements hit the air immediately in an effort to blunt the fanfare surrounding the announcement (see it here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF7Q0ghdTn4). By all appearances it is having the effect McCain intended. The argument can be made, however, that McCain will encounter the same obstacle if he taps Romney as his VP. While I agree to a certain extent, the big difference here is that Romney never said McCain wasn't ready or qualified for the office of president, he just said he was more ready and qualified.

The "gaffe-factor" should never be underestimated with Joe Biden either. After all, he has joined a superficial campaign that, in lieu of substance and good ideas, is entirely about words and looking good on television. His most famous Obama-related verbal impropriety came off to most Americans as condescending and flat-out racist. In February of 2007, he remarked "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." Perhaps one of the most idiotic campaign statements made since Walter Mondale's proud announcement that he would raise taxes as president, it is made all the more unfathomable by the fact that Biden said it the day that he announced his own run for the presidency. In a single day he managed to alienate Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Carol Mosely Braun, and their vast networks of allies even as he endeavored to win their support. But we can go back even further to Biden's first run for the White House in 1988, when he was forced to drop out after plagiarizing comments made by a British politician. Yikes. The list goes on and on and will get longer and more auspicious in the months to come. As vice-presidential candidates have historically had the duty of serving as the ticket headliner's attack dog, he is in a position to irritate and offend a much wider audience, which is the last place Obama should want him. It will, however, make for great television, which is ironically the only thing the Obama campaign has had going for it.