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Just got off the telephone with my kid brother up in Alaska.  He and his wife are spending a week out in Homer on the beach in an RV with her daughter and son-in-law but took time out to give me his opinion on his governor.

Although raised in Chicago by a bleeding heart, left wing liberal (my father), his mother (my stepmother) was an Ayn Rand libertarian.  Poor Kenny, tends to be a moderate to conservative independent.  He has lived in Alaska since 1974 and owns a home in Wasilla and has, like most other Alaskans in Wasilla, met the Governor repeatedly.  Our cousin's husband went to school with her for years, etc.

Aside from the fact that she is very well liked and that she is very attractive, he touched on a few of the reasons Alaskans like her.

She is fiesty, and she has a special quality that appeals to people.  Powerful speaker, she did a bang-up job on Murkowski during the debates.  

Although people are surprised that she was able to hide her pregnancy so well, she is widely admired for keeping her Downs syndrome son.  (He thought the earlier rumors about Trig were ridiculous.)

Her separatist ties have been overblown although her husband may have been involved in "that stuff."

She has retained her popularity in Alaska in spite of the trooper gate, with most Alaskans focusing on the sins of the trooper instead of the abuse of power.

She is a really nice person but a determined political fighter.  Although her nickname the "barracuda" was earned in high school, it is still used, especially by her political opponents.

Ken was a little disappointed because he has come over to Obama in a big way (as he said, "the more I learn about him and hear what he has to say, the more I like him") and thought there was a chance for him to carry Alaska.  But with Sarah's overwhelming popularity the state was now almost a lock for McCain (all 3 electoral votes!).

Basically he didn't have anything to tell me that we all haven't heard elsewhere except the very strong warning not to under estimate her.  Her entire political career has been built on people not taking her seriously enough.  She was able to make Murkowski look bad in the Alaska gubernatorial debates, which nobody, including Murkowski expected.  Hopefully that was because they were debating Alaskan issues and that ability would not carry over to national issues.  

His emphasis on her hidden strengths was repeated numerous times as was the caution to not underestimate her or her abilities.  She is very appealing to low info voters.  

Originally posted to Susan Grigsby on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Powerful speaker" ? Really... (5+ / 0-)

    is that what they call that in Alaska?

  •  Low-info voters ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, njr, triv33

    read US magazine.

    It's the equivalent of losing Conkrite for this woman.

  •  Anybody else annoyed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    siberia9

    By the rollover Chevron Ad at the top of the page?  

    It keeps coming on and I have to keep turning it off.   Just because my mouse rolls over it.   Ugh.  

    STANDARDS!

  •  She could have pulled it off (5+ / 0-)
    if she had had more time to define herself before the scandal news started rolling in.  Now it's too late; the whole country thinks "scandal" when they hear the word Palin.

    They might like her up in Alaska, but I get the impression that they don't mind scandal up there unless it hurts Alaskans.  When Ted Stevens made a public appearance up there after his indictment, the crowd cheered for him.  Alaska first, indeed.

    Always good to hear a local opinion, though.

  •  This election will be decided (5+ / 0-)

    by people who get their news from late night TV, the supermarket check out line and morning radio shows.

    We'll see how it pans out.

    Experience required, ovaries desired.

    by bulldog on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:07:50 PM PDT

    •  Michelle Barnard just said on MSNBC (8+ / 0-)

      that people are telling her they're more comfortable with Palin because when Barack spoke Thursday night he used a lot of big words but when Palin spoke on Friday she used a lot of short, clear sentences and they felt like she was one of them.

      Is it really a selling point that a candidate doesn't challenge you intellectually??

      I'm embarrassed for my country sometimes.

      Please Donate to Barack Obama's campaign. Every $5 or $10 helps!

      by cishart on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:14:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup, me too (0+ / 0-)

        It explains why we get the leadership we've been getting.

        I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

        by lesliet on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:20:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This election may come down to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bethcf4p, cishart

        do we want to be treated as adults by our representatives or are we more comfortable when they treat us like idiots?

      •  Worked for the 'Pubs the last 2 elections. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        reklemrov

        Americans are not respected for their intellect.  If you have it, don't flaunt it.

        "War is the calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings". Harry Patch, age 109, WWI veteran.

        by skwimmer on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:24:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, that isn't what showed up in focus groups. (0+ / 0-)

        Run by Frank Luntz, of all people.  Very negative responses to the Palin choice.  

      •  But did he? (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe I don't remember clearly, but I thought Obama spoke in a way that just about anyone could understand.  "Ownership society means you're on your own," etc.  My impression was that this was one of the speech's strengths - easy to understand and easy to remember.

        I will admit if I'm wrong, but I'm (overly?) sensitive to the unfair charge that Democrats talk over the heads of voters.  It feeds into the whole "elistist" nonsense.

        •  Truth doesn't matter. Just perception. (0+ / 0-)

          Barack is an academic elitist who uses big words. Republicans are plain folk.

          Americans are idiots.

          How's New Zealand? Becoming an ex-pat is holding more and more appeal.

          Please Donate to Barack Obama's campaign. Every $5 or $10 helps!

          by cishart on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:51:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perception vs. Reality (0+ / 0-)

            So, this is just one of those "some people say" that Barack is too brainy?

            I think we need to challenge the Michelle Barnards of this election to come up with hard facts to support this nonsense.  

      •  That floored me, (0+ / 0-)

        do voters actually not want someone smarter than them?
        Barnard also said there will be a backlash from moderate and right women because supposedly women on the left are criticizing her lack of mothering focus with the young son.
        Who the hell is she talking about?
        So is there a contingent of liberal women saying she should stay home to care for her infant while there is a right wing women fighting for her to be able to not care for the children?

        Upside down,isn't it?
        I question Barnard on this allegation. I have a hard time believeing that a bunch of liberal women are jumping on her for not staying home and vice versa.

        •  It's a strawman argument. (0+ / 0-)

          I think she was talking to the Republicans who are tuned into MSNBC for the convention coverage.  I haven't heard anyone bringing up the mommy wars except Barnard.  At least not for the last 20 or 30 years.

    •  Wrong. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bethcf4p, Sassy, Darmok

      This election will be decided by the un-polled and so far un-counted throngs of people flooding into the Democratic party.  

      That being said, Do NOT underestimate Sarah Palin.  There is a perky appeal and I believe it.  The low information voter is just that:  someone with low information who votes.  

      They want to make this about identity politics, so be it:  let's make it about the identity of the empty ugliness of Republican rule.  Of the dangers of Republican governance, of the consequences of their hatred for actual governance but a craven greed for all the money and power that flows to them through an increasingly squeezed middle class.  

      Let's truly make it about identity, people.  Not whether or not Sarah Palin would be fun to have lunch with, but the dangers of republican rule.  What have we really learned about her over the last five days?  That she is as classic a Republican as we'll ever see.  She is the poster child for their failed, lying, power-hungry, power-abusing policies.  Who crawl into our bedrooms and private, personal choices, and then demand privacy when it's convenient for them.  

      Fine.  I'm ready to have this argument.  It may be the best thing that's happened to the campaign.  We have our facts and issues to support us, but we MUST make this about the image of devastation wrought by Republicans.  

  •  thanks. it is important not to (7+ / 0-)

    underestimate her. that woman does know how to fight and be charming.  it won't be an easy debate when it comes to personality (and that's what people look at often enough).  

    if people look at substance, she should fail. but that can be covered up, depending on how the moderator and joe do.  

    •  And Gwen Ifill as moderator does not inspire ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bethcf4p, siberia9, cishart

      ... confidence. I think Joe will do fine, but expectations for Palin are going to be so low that she will get major points just for showing up.

      •  Let's change expectations. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        philimus, Darmok, siberia9, Susan from 29

        If she was so effective against Murkowski, let's get that out there.  Let's pass it along what a wonderful debater she is.  

        And let's also expect all of our candidates, no matter their gender or color, defend themselves and their policies.  Expect it of her.  

        Really -- push what a great debater she is.  Hard.  

        •  exactly which is why (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          philimus

          i keep pushing the idea that she's smart and savvy.  i hate the posts and diaries that make her out to be a dumb idiot.

          she may not know her american history, but she does know alaska and energy (although not science it seems).  she couldn't have gotten to where she is without being smart about politics.  (although it would seem that she's a little over her head right now.)

    •  From what I've seen, she's a terrible speaker. (0+ / 0-)

      I watched the video of her speech to a religious organization in June, and she was really bad. Didn't finish sentences, was incoherent at times (ran out of ideas), and repeated herself. And her voice was "off" somehow and grated slightly. It was an impromptu speech, however, with no teleprompter, so she may do better with a rehearsed speech.

      As an aside, she irritated the hell out of my wife by dropping all her "Gs", as in rollin', goin', droppin', etc.

      -6.38/-3.79::'A man is incapable of comprehending any argument that interferes with his revenues.' Descartes

      by skrymir on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:29:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  is there a link of that? (0+ / 0-)

        because everything i've seen her in, she's been really smooth.

        obama drops his "g's" all the time too.  it's just how people talk.  better to find fault with her on her issues and how she presents them.

  •  Able to leap... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    magnus, Darmok

    tall glaciers in one bound. Especially after they've melted...

    Founder and CFO, The Giddiyap Society.

    by Trotsky the Horse on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:09:59 PM PDT

  •  Debates (7+ / 0-)

    She was able to make Murkowski look bad in the Alaska gubernatorial debates, which nobody, including Murkowski expected.  Hopefully that was because they were debating Alaskan issues and that ability would not carry over to national issues.  

    Hopefully the Obama campaign (and Biden) will study those tapes.

    Please Donate to Barack Obama's campaign. Every $5 or $10 helps!

    by cishart on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:11:08 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the info... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, baffled, RadioGirl, Susan from 29

    I agree, we must not take her lightly.  She was picked for a reason, and she will appeal to the fundies... and will proabably appeal to the low information voter as well, especially if she holds her own in the debate and is perceived as being "picked on" by the media.

    Obama has it right, use nothing on the family issues.  Stick to the facts.  

    •  I think she was picked because McCain is a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bethcf4p

      maverick, and he is hot for her.

      Honestly. I think he picked her in a fit of defiant maverickness,thinking that not only was she hot stuff but that he'd get women, PUMAs, libs, fundies shored up.

      It was a gamble, like most things he does.

      "Angry, incurious, gambling addict, 72, who doesn't understand the economy, seeks leadership position. Phone only."

      by kate mckinnon on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:13:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Repub power structure was going to fight him. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kate mckinnon

        Fight him on the convention floor if he picked Lieberman or Ridge.  So this is not a mavericky choice, it's a caving to power choice.  

        And are we hearing about the REAL disunity in the Republican party?  God, we heard enough manufactured Democratic disunity that didn't exist.  

    •  I suggested to my brother that she will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RadioGirl

      not be the issue, McCain's judgment in choosing her, with so little vetting, will become the issue.

      Just like troopergate isn't about the trooper, it is about the abuse of power, the choice of Sarah Palin, not Sarah Palin, should be what the discussion is about.

  •  Good diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Tybalt, RadioGirl, Susan from 29

    Steve Clemons at the Washington Note has a post up warning about people underestimating Palin.  It's great fun tearing her to shreds in the media, and it's a good way to spend the Republican convention.  But next week we have to get a little more serious and realize that McCain is down but by no means out.  

    •  True but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weasel

      As long as this continues, I have no reason to believe why it won't she becomes an incredibly drag on the McCain campaign.

      If this constant harping on her lack of qualification, etc. continues, McCain will never be able to get his message out.

      Personally, I want to see her get the nomination and then be forced from the ticket.  My guess is that it will be something related to the abuse of power accusations that will be the final straw that breaks the McCamel back.

      John McCain: A Myth, Not a Maverick

      by oxfdblue on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:15:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  another good reason to take her down NOW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RadioGirl

    I don't want to see her turn out better than the low expectations.

    The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction must be plausible.

    by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:14:32 PM PDT

  •  Alaskan are first to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rumour95

    how dreadfully unqualified she is for the white house. I don't think this pick means Alaska goes to McCain.

    McCain/Palin Incontinence and Incompetence 2008

    by mattk on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:17:53 PM PDT

    •  I agree... (0+ / 0-)

      ...too many people are ready to put Alaska in the McCain column, but Obama's campaign is going strong here...seven offices open so far...McCain has ZERO

      "They're very good at negative campaigning. They're not so good at governing." Barack Obama Thanks to BarbinMD for pointing this out!

      by Rumour95 on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:21:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Political theater...or distractions, day 5 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lenzkrafterz

    I live in Alaska...I diaried about her last week, look it up under my name...not here to pimp my diary.  After thinking about the nomination for one day, I came to the conclusion that this was a distraction, and that Sarah would withdraw before the end of the RNC convention...that was before all the stuff about the baby/pregnant daughter came out.
    The main purpose of naming Sarah was to engage and revitalize the base...and she can graciously bow out saying she needs to focus on issues at home (family, State, etc.) and then McCain can name his real choice for VP and be all "well, sorry, I tried..." to the base.

    TOTALLy political theater...I predict she will bow out in the next 24, hours, well, considering the time difference...21 hours...

    "They're very good at negative campaigning. They're not so good at governing." Barack Obama Thanks to BarbinMD for pointing this out!

    by Rumour95 on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:18:31 PM PDT

    •  What we forget.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29

      ....is the choice has rallied the Democratic base, too.  Just like Hillary would have rallied the Republicans, Sarah Palin is rallying us.  

      Sure, we were all rallied after the convention anyway.  But thank God, no complacency now.  

      It's going to be fine, I think.  

  •  Dems - and DKos in particular - must NOT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    underestimate Palin and the GOP machine.

    Basically he didn't have anything to tell me that we all haven't heard elsewhere except the very strong warning not to under estimate her.  Her entire political career has been built on people not taking her seriously enough.  She was able to make Murkowski look bad in the Alaska gubernatorial debates, which nobody, including Murkowski expected.  Hopefully that was because they were debating Alaskan issues and that ability would not carry over to national issues.  

    His emphasis on her hidden strengths was repeated numerous times as was the caution to not underestimate her or her abilities.  She is very appealing to low info voters.

    Ann Richards tried that with W, and lost 46 percent  to 53 percent, despite spending 23% more than the Bush campaign.

  •  The "low info voters" (0+ / 0-)

    will be affected by that "US" mag cover, in the grocery-store lines. Glad to see it.

    All the news that scares us silly: postapocology.com

    by mwmwm on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:22:41 PM PDT

  •  Father of baby speaks - I'm an Alaskan Redneck (0+ / 0-)

    The boyfriend of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter describes himself as a "redneck who likes to snowboard and ride dirt bikes.''

    The description appears in a profanity-laden entry posted by Levi Johnston in his MySpace account. The entry was made private over the weekend, but not before several media outlets published parts of it.

    Johnston, 18, is believed to be the father of Palin's 17-year-old daughter Bristol's baby. On Monday, Palin revealed that the unwed Bristol is five months pregnant.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/...

  •  Axelrod needs to get videos of the Alaskan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    governor debates for review. Also, the republican's will set the bar really low for Palin's VP debate so she can only be perceived as doing well.

  •  Betting that things will be a tad different (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    codairem

    when the United States takes a long hard look at her.
    As for her husband being th eonly one involved in the the AIP, she was also a member so her not being "involved" as your brother stated is incorrect.

  •  Remember this though... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    The American people, aside from Alaskans, are being introduced to the Sarah Palin of the media, the one on the tabloid covers. When she finally emerges from the undisclosed location, most people will already have an opinion of her. Low information voters may not care about politics as much as we do, but the scandals they see on TV and in magazines are stuff of Hollywood.

    She is going to have to be EXTREMELY different from the media construct if she is going to be able to overcome those first impressions. With her tossed hairstyle, cheerleader grin, and Marge Simpson voice, I don't think she is going to be able to sway most non-fundie voters. A few who already were planning to vote for McCain might find a justification to ignore her, but people who are undecided or leaning toward Obama probably won't find a reason to move McCain's way by listening to her.

    I have heard many differing opinions on the debates for the Alaska governor race. Some say she did well, others say she looked foolish and small townish. I don't know very much about Murkowski, but I imagine he is not Joe Biden. And no matter how much of a crash course they give her in the next month, I doubt she will become an expert on anything. Her energy policies, her strong point, are based on oil, not on alternative sources of energy and most Americans want to see other sources.

    I doubt she will sway that many folks to McCain other than the fundies. Yes, its good not to get complacent..We need a solid win for Obama. But I think the punch from the Right will come from somewhere else rather than Sarah Palin.

  •  That's true for everyone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    Point well taken. But remember, what works at a local election won't necessary play the same at a national one. Almost everyone who ever made it to the semifinals -- Mondale, Quayle, Dukakis, Dole, you name it -- had won debates and elections to get to where they are.

    Also, Biden is not Murkowski. He's sharper, and doesn't have a ton of corrupt baggage to hide from.

    In the end, Palin's negatives might, just might be forgotten, and it'll be purely about Obama vs. McCain. But for now, the endless soap opera is shutting off McCain's last good opportunity to define himself to a large audience on his own terms.

  •  She's locked up the KKKarl Rove (0+ / 0-)

    vote.

    I'm Exxon John and I approve this message---McCain's Scumbags

    by Obamacrat on Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 04:08:49 PM PDT

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