Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin Vague on Terrorists

This is something that bugs me, the idea that somebody who kills people at random, who bombs a public building, is not a "terrorist" if the building happens to be an abortion clinic. There has been a lot of talk lately about one of the Presidential candidates "palling around with terrorists," and accepting that statement requires not only a certain interpretation of the term "palling around," but also a certain interpretation of the word "terrorist."

I don't expect our corporate media to actually ask a question about this sort of thing, but Brian Williams at MSNBC did. He interviewed Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin about her interpretation of the word "terrorist." Check it out (transcription from FireDog Lake).
Brian Williams: Back to the notion of terrorists and terrorism, this word has come up in relation to Mr. Ayers -- hanging out with terrorist – domestic terrorists. It is said that it gives it a vaguely post uh 9-11 hint, using that word, that we don’t normally associate with domestic crimes. Are we changing the definition? Are the people who set fire to American cities during the ‘60’s terrorists, under this definition? Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist under the definition?

Sarah Palin: There is no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was um one who sought to destroy our US Capitol and our Pentagon -- that is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or um facilities, that uh, it would be unacceptable -- I don’t know if you could use the word terrorist, but its unacceptable and it would not be condoned of course on our watch. I don’t know if what you are asking is if I regret referring to Bill Ayers as an unrepentant domestic terrorist. I don’t regret characterizing him as that.

Brian Williams: I’m just asking what other categories you would put in there. Abortion clinic bombers? Protesters in cities where fires were started, Molotov cocktails, were thrown? People died.

Sarah Palin: I would put in that category of Bill Ayers anyone else who would seek to destroy our United States Capitol and our Pentagon and would seek to destroy innocent Americans.

Did that clarify anything for you?

The Weather Underground, which Bill Ayers belonged to, was a group back in the Sixties and Seventies who bombed some government buildings and banks, mostly in response to events in the Vietnam War. I would call them terrorists. I would also call somebody who bombs abortion clinics a terrorist, but you won't find that word in a news article, they won't be included in government terrorism statistics. I would call a rightwing militia unit sworn to fight the federal government, say to support a state's secession, a terrorist group. Some of Williams' other examples are good, too, the Sixties and Seventies saw a lot of violent demonstrations, riots, fires, the National Guard murdering American citizens, lots of crazy stuff was going on back then, including the Weather Underground's rampaging. In our vernacular, we don't usually even call the Oklahoma City bombing "terrorism," we call it a "bombing," and it is unusual to hear the perpetrators of that attack referred to as terrorists. I'm not sure that using the word makes the world any easier to understand or deal with.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not the only thing she's vague on.

"In an interview on NBC Nightly News that aired yesterday, Brian Williams asked Palin: "Governor, are you a feminist?"

"I'm not gonna label myself anything, Brian," said Palin. "And I think that's what annoys a lot of Americans, especially in a political campaign, is to start trying to label different parts of America different, different backgrounds, different...I'm not going to put a label on myself."

But label herself is just what she did last month in an interview with CBS's Katie Couric, who asked her if she considered herself a feminist. Her answer was an unabashed, "I do."

October 24, 2008 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Opie and Andy, and the Fonz speak out.

October 25, 2008 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrea-not anon
I guess if the title was about something she wasn't vague about...
Both the New Yorker and the NYT have interesting articles on the McCain campaign- re:Palin this week.

October 25, 2008 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter what he said, the Ron Howard clip is amazing. He's still got Opie and Richie down cold.

Andreary, the NYT has completely abandoned journalistic integrity this election cycle.

Here's the opposing view:

"It's always darkest before it goes totally black. This is one of John McCain's favorite remarks, ascribed (apocryphally, it seems) to Chairman Mao. Well, with 10 days to go before the election, it's getting pretty dark out there.

Still, we hope for a McCain-Palin victory, for the sake of the country. And also for the pleasure of seeing the dejection of the mainstream media, the incredulity of the leftwing triumphalists, and the humiliation of the pathetically opportunistic "conservatives" who've been desperately clambering on board the Obama juggernaut. We're proud to stay off that juggernaut. We're proud, in our modest way, to stand with John McCain and Sarah Palin against it.

An Obama-Biden administration--working with a Democratic Congress--would mean a more debilitating nanny state at home and a weaker nation facing our enemies abroad. We, of course, have confidence that the nation would survive such an interlude, and we would even hope that a President Obama might adjust course from the path he's advertised, especially in foreign policy. But the risk of real damage is great, especially when compared with the prospect of a tough-minded center-right McCain-Palin administration that could lead the country sensibly through these difficult times.

Reading the endorsements of Obama in the liberal media should strengthen the determination of all believers in American self-government and greatness to fight this election campaign to the end. Time magazine's Joe Klein tells us that Obama "seems a grown-up, in a nation that badly needs some adult supervision." To the contrary, we are a nation of adults. We don't need the "supervision" of a conventionally liberal and totally untested junior senator whose most impressive lifetime achievement has been the construction of an effective narrative about himself.

But wait. Obama does have one great achievement. He's run a good campaign. The New York Times tells us, "After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States." And how has he proved this? "Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change."

The "challenges" Obama has met have been political and electoral. He's met them well, and we'd be the first to pay tribute to his disciplined and effective campaign. Still, is this "proof" of a capacity to be president? Obama has run the most impressive campaign by a non-incumbent since George W. Bush in 2000, and by a non-incumbent Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Do the Obama acolytes want to hold up the Bush or Carter administrations as models for the proposition that a good campaign translates into a good presidency?

We also hear a lot of squeaking from rats deserting the McCain ship about Barack Obama's exemplary temperament. So what? If he'd had his way, Obama would have lost the war in Iraq--with equanimity. He would have been calm, cool, and collected as U.S. interests were sacrificed and U.S. honor besmirched. Neville Chamberlain also had a fine temperament and a good intellect. Joe Biden, by the way, has neither. But he did--much as he now wishes people to forget it--support the Iraq war. These days, he can barely be bothered even to mention Iraq. Oh well, start a war, lose a war. Gotta move on.

John McCain didn't move on. He helped to win the war. In a fine article on National Review Online last week, Byron York reported on a moment at a McCain rally:

"I just gave John McCain my Purple Heart," Marine Sgt. Jack Eubanks told me a few minutes after McCain finished a speech at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Virginia, Saturday. "I said, 'I want to give this to you, sir, as a reminder that we want you to keep your promise to bring us home in victory and honor, so it will mean something.' "

The 22-year-old Eubanks has been injured twice in Iraq. He's now teaching Marine recruits at Quantico--and walking with a cane. York explains that Eubanks saw remarkable progress in Iraq between his 2005 and 2007 tours and is concerned that it might all be for naught. "I think Obama's just going to pull everyone home as soon as he can, despite what's going on over there," he told York. "I just don't want it to turn into another Vietnam or worse where everything we fought for, and all my buddies who died over there, it was just for nothing."

We would hope that Obama might be more responsible with respect to Iraq as president than he was as senator, now that the surge he opposed and derided has worked. But hope is all anyone can do. And in dealing with other foreign threats, he'd more than likely follow his natural inclination--reflexively liberal, post-nationalist, timid to a fault.

If Obama wins, we wish him well. But for now, we can only echo the words of the 30-year-old Abraham Lincoln. On December 26, 1839, responding to the confident prediction of one of his political opponents "that every State in the Union will vote for Mr. Van Buren at the next Presidential election" and that Lincoln's opposition to the Van Buren forces was therefore bound to be in vain, Lincoln responded:

"Address that argument to cowards and to knaves; with the free and the brave it will effect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. .  .  . The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. .  .  . Let none falter, who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if after all, we shall fail, be it so."

As it happens, the Whig ticket Lincoln supported won that 1840 election. So might, against the odds, the party of Lincoln win this year."

October 25, 2008 11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If You were The Boss... which team would you hire?

With America facing historic debt, multiple war fronts, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, skyrocketing Federal spending, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc. etc., this is an unusually critical election year.

Let's look at the educational background of the candidates and see what they bring to the job:

Occidental College - Two years.
Columbia University - B.A. political science with a specialization in international relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

& Biden:
University of Delaware - B.A. in history and B.A. in political science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)


United States Naval Academy - Class rank 894 out of 899 (meaning that, like George Bu sh, McCain was at the bottom of his class)

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire to lead the most influential nation in the world?

October 26, 2008 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the team headed by the someone with some meaningful experience on the national scene? We are going to have to make some tough choices in the next couple of years and we need a President who can make those choices without being afraid to make a few people mad. McCain has decades of experience and has proved time and again he fits this mold. Obama has always tried to be all things to all people and follow sheepishly along with the party leadership. If he wins, the consequences won't be pretty.

Wow! Degrees in political science and law. Not really that uncommon.

Here's one thing that is uncommon:

If Obama wins and serves a full term, it'll be the longest he has ever held a job.

How many Presidents of the past would that apply to?

October 26, 2008 9:18 PM  

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