The Ulsterman Report: Is President Obama Getting Punked by the Russians?

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

It is interesting to note that while it is the TSA body scan/search controversy that now rages in America, President Obama appears primarily focused on obtaining Senate approval for an updated START treaty – an ongoing agreement between the United States and Russia to further reduce their respective nuclear arsenals in the coming years.  Such reductions are widely supported by various European nations, and according to a recent CNN poll, the vast majority of Americans.  President Obama originally signed the treaty agreement with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev several months ago, with little mention or sense of urgency by the Obama White House for final Congressional approval since that time – until now.  Inside the Beltway prognosticators are not so quietly indicating that, following the “shellacking” Democrats and by default, the Obama White House, took in the November midterm elections, President Obama is now desperate to, in any way possible, appear “presidential”.  What better than to repeatedly invoke the name of great Cold War warrior Ronald Reagan, as Obama did just last week in his weekly address, while signing off on a new nuclear asenal agreement with the Russians?

To date, the American media has done little to report on the issue more than to state the delay of the START’s ultimate approval has been due to delays by Republicans.  This is not entirely accurate.  As the treaty worked its way through the Congressional review process, more than 30 amendments, many sponsored by Democrats,  were added to the original version signed by President Obama and Russian President Medvedev.  Perhaps most notable among these amendments was the attempted exclusion of the new START treaty from impacting America’s future missile defense system.  That’s right – President Obama had willingly signed off on an agreement that would have significantly reduced further development of a comprehensive missile defense system.  The very thing that had caused President Reagan over 20 years ago to rise from the negotiations table, look then Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in the eyes and declare “Nyet!”, was the very thing current President Barack Obama so willingly gave up – America’s right to have and share with its allies, a comprehensive missile defense program.  In essence, Obama gave up this nation’s right to more effectuvely defend itself from the very missiles he wishes to see reduced.  It is the kind of myopic, weak, and preening statesmanship that greatly increases international threats to America and its allies.

Another delay to the START treaty passage was the Russian Parliament’s recent revoking of the treaty themselves when an amendment to remove the missile defense system from the agreement was made by Republicans in Congress.  Just as they had done so in the era of Reagan, the Russians are now demanding the United States stop further enhanced development of its own missile defense system.  The Obama White House has said very little regarding this – instead only now offering up the oft-repeated implorations from the President to “pass this treaty now.”  

What appears most clear is that it is Russia now openly and aggressively demanding the United States concede to its demands, and enjoying an American president seemingly willing to accomplish just that.  At a time when President Obama is attempting to portray a figure of international strength, he once again is confirming the reality of his seemingly never ending penchant for weakness.


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Doctors Abandoning Medicare, It’s Going To Get MUCH Worse, Thank You President Obama

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Surprise, Surprise just as predicted by the medicare Chief Actuary, doctors are abandoning Medicare because of years of cuts in their pay which get locked in thanks to Obamacare.

Doctors across the country describe similar decisions, complaining that they’ve been forced to shift away from Medicare toward higher-paying, privately insured or self-paying patients in response to years of penny-pinching by Congress.

And that’s not even taking into account a long-postponed rate-setting method that is on track to slash Medicare’s payment rates to doctors by 23 percent Dec. 1. Known as the Sustainable Growth Rate and adopted by Congress in 1997, it was intended to keep Medicare spending on doctors in line with the economy’s overall growth rate. But after the SGR formula led to a 4.8 percent cut in doctors’ pay rates in 2002, Congress has chosen to put off the ever steeper cuts called for by the formula ever since. 

Every year congress passes a “fix” to protect the doctor’s meager medicare payments. A fix was an essential part of of the Obamacare bill, since it makes medicare an integral part of everyone’s health care, however it was cut out of the bill and was forced to be  treated separately because it made the Obamacare plan show a bigger loss.

This month, the Senate passed its fourth stopgap fix this year – a one-month postponement that expires Jan. 1. The House is likely to follow suit when it reconvenes next week, and physicians have already been running print ads, passing out fliers to patients and flooding Capitol Hill with phone calls to convince Congress to suspend the 25 percent rate cut that the SGR method will require next year.

Such temporary reprieves have increased the potential pain down the road, compounding not only the eventual cut but the cost of doing away with it for good, now estimated in the tens of billions.

The lobbying blitz by doctors also comes amid concern in Washington that Medicare spending is spiraling up so fast the nation can’t afford to boost it further by significantly raising doctors’ pay. And government analysts and independent experts suggest that although doctors could not absorb a 25 percent fee cut, the claim that they have been inadequately compensated by Medicare until now is wildly exaggerated.

Of course the re-distribution of wealth progressive administration that runs our country today would say its exaggerated.

Among the top points of contention is the complaint by doctors that Medicare’s payment rate has not kept pace with the growing cost of running a medical practice. As measured by the government’s Medicare Economic Index, those expenses rose 18 percent from 2000 to 2008. During the same period, Medicare’s physician fees rose 5 percent.  

Regardless of their motivation, if doctors skew their patient base away from Medicare too drastically seniors’ access to medical care could be limited.

….But the American Medical Association cites a recent online survey that it commissioned in which nearly one-third of primary-care doctors said they are currently restricting the number of Medicare patients in their practice.

Linda Yao, of the District’s Foxhall Internists, has opted for the most extreme response – pulling out of Medicare. The group prides itself on keeping the number of scheduled visits low so that patients who need a last-minute appointment can be accommodated the same day. They also offer half-hour office visits, instead of the 15 minutes on which Medicare reimbursements are predicated. It makes for a white-glove experience for patients, but high overhead for doctors.

After 11 years of serving a patient base of whom as many as half were covered by Medicare, Yao concluded the numbers were no longer adding up. As of April, seniors with Medicare must pay their entire bill out of pocket or through supplemental insurance. So far, only 100 of her approximately 1,750 Medicare patients have elected to stay on.

Could doctors see more Medicare patients if they accepted lower incomes?

Perhaps, said Yao, 42.

But, “the whole system would need to change. … I graduated medical school $ 100,000 in debt. I worked 110 hours a week during my residency for $ 30,000 a year and sacrificed all through my 20s. And even now, you’re still seeing people all day, with meetings and paperwork at night, on top of the emotional side of worrying when the patients you care for aren’t doing well. This is life-and-death stuff. And I feel like that should be compensated.”

That’s the “good part” because its going to get a lot worse. Back in April the Actuary’s office  released a detailed report on the bill that was signed by the president, the report signaled an ominous future for medicare patients.

The report projects that Obamacare will drive doctors away from accepting medicare, and would expand insurance coverage to an estimated 34 million people who now lack it creating a demand for services that could be difficult to meet initially and could lead to price-increases, cost-shifting and/or changes in providers’ willingness to treat patients with low-reimbursement health coverage.

The Actuary estimated that within ten years 15% of all medicare providing doctors will become unprofitable as a result of Obamacare’s payment reductions. It also say the Independent Payment Advisory  Board has been given the impossible task of keeping medical costs below medical inflation. Though the report doesn’t officially say this the only way to make up that difference is to limit what is covered through rationing.  Many doctors to quit seeing Medicare patients entirely.

The alternative report says that the number of facilities that would become unprofitable will grow to 25% by 2030 and 40% by 2050 if the health reform law is implemented as written.

Read the full report here


President Needs to be Tougher with Other Countries: New Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee

November 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is best described as consistent without being predictable. The Republican ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, set to become its chair in January, was a thorn in George W. Bush’s side on Iran (she is more of a hardliner on the issue than any president has been) but recently indicated she’d be happy to team up with President Obama-with Ros-Lehtinen playing the “bad cop” in the classic routine.

“I think that the majority of our committee, that has yet to be named … will be able to help the president be tougher with countries,” Ros-Lehtinen told Reuters. “I think it strengthens the president’s hand.”

It’s not just Iran, of course, but North Korea, China, and anyone else Ros-Lehtinen believes have been pushing the U.S. and our allies around in the first half of Obama’s first term. She takes a tough line on Cuba as well-she was born in Havana, and her district (Florida’s 18th) includes Little Havana.

Ros-Lehtinen has led the House charge on Iran since the issue of the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons became a regular topic of public conversation during the Bush administration. In January 2006, the New York Sun reported that as Bush prepared to deliver his State of the Union address-which would mention the Iranian threat-“he will face some skepticism” by those who didn’t think the president had been doing enough to ramp up sanctions on Iran and to support opposition pro-democracy groups in the Islamic Republic. Perhaps the most vocal skeptic that night was Ros-Lehtinen, who had three weeks earlier introduced the Iran Freedom Act, which in that time had gathered 332 more congressional cosponsors.

The following year, Ros-Lehtinen introduced mandatory Iran divestment. In 2008, Ros-Lehtinen pushed the administration to investigate an oil deal between Iran and Venezuela. And in 2009, she criticized a nuclear deal between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates, calling for greater oversight and warning of the UAE’s cooperation with Iran.

Two weeks ago, with the release of a report accusing North Korea of passing nuclear technology to Syria, Iran, and Burma, Ros-Lehtinen hit the Obama administration’s policy of “engagement” and offered another preview of what to expect from her committee come January:

Instead of continuing its failed strategy of seeking to engage the regime in endless negotiation, the administration must ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang. At the upcoming G-20 summit in Seoul, President Obama must persuade the heads of state to call for the imposition of new and effective U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea. In addition, the U.S. and other responsible nations must use every means at their disposal to apply pressure on Pyongyang, the first step being to re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Her advice obviously wasn’t heeded at the G-20, and two weeks later North Korea launched what the U.K. Telegraph called “the most serious act of aggression against civilians from Pyongyang since the bombing of Korean Air flight 858 in 1987. It was the first artillery strike on South Korean soil since 1953.”

As with Iran, Ros-Lehtinen has been all over every angle of the North Korea issue. In 2007, she called on the United Nations to cease all project funding in North Korea after it became clear the regime was subverting some U.N. funds while stealing others. When the Bush administration removed North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, Ros-Lehtinen accused the administration of not taking the threat seriously.

No members of the “Axis of Evil” are spared; when the Obama administration reopened diplomatic relations with Syria, Ros-Lehtinen accused them of “aiding an unrepentant regime” and “sending a signal that the U.S. will make concessions and seek dialogue regardless of what the facts dictate.”

Which brings us to the Middle East, where Ros-Lehtinen pulls no punches. When in June Obama unveiled a $ 400 million aid plan for the West Bank and Gaza, Ros-Lehtinen called it a “bailout of the Palestinian leadership” that “sends the message that standing in the way of peace and freedom can be quite profitable.” She had a similar reaction last year when Obama pledged to help rebuild Gaza after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead-a response to Hamas rocket attacks.

And when the Christian Science Monitor reported that the midterm elections gave important chairmanships to “several unabashed pro-Israel representatives,” the first name they offered was that of Ros-Lehtinen.

Ros-Lehtinen’s support for Israel and embrace of the embargo of Cuba recently resulted in a somewhat strange episode. In an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Fidel Castro thought he would see if he still had the ability to play Western media like a fiddle. He did. He said some nice things about Israel, and Goldberg bought it and helpfully transcribed the remarks.

This put the Israeli leadership in tough spot; they could call the comments what they were-a ridiculous attempt to manipulate public opinion by a man who has for decades vigorously supported the enemies of the Jewish people-or they could say something nice in response and try not to look contemptuous. They chose the latter.

Ros-Lehtinen was unimpressed, and let Netanyahu know; Netanyahu conceded the point to Ros-Lehtinen. Thus was squelched what Politico’s Ben Smith called “an unexpected diplomatic opening,” and Goldberg accused Republicans of not being quite as pro-Israel as they claim. But, as Seth Lipsky wrote in the New York Sun, Ros-Lehtinen was right all along:

Israel is a small, beleaguered democracy in need of all the help it can get. The exiled Cubans who have been holding out for democracy on their native island are logical allies. And vice versa. How tragic it would have been were Israel to have made a separate peace with the communist regime, all on the notion that a dictator who has for two generations oppressed his own people and joined in the war against the Jews had suddenly come down with a change of heart.

Ros-Lehtinen’s judgment is sound, her pursuit of American security tenacious. Look for those two qualities to separate the new GOP chairs from their immediate predecessors.

Big Peace

President elbowed in basketball game, gets 12 stitches

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

If you’re bracing yourself for the racist Limbaugh b-ball jokes, nasty (and/or racist) comments under pretty much any story on this online, and the Sarah Palin snide, you’re paying attention. Story from the Huffpo. President Obama received 12 stitches after suffering an injury during a basketball game, according to a White House statement: “After being […]
The Reid Report

Barack Obama Poll Trending Point to being a One Term President and Defeat in 2012

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Some one might want to tell Barack Obama it is not 2008 anymore.

Those who voted in Obama in 2008 have seem to abandoned him. As Byron York says, the coalition he led to victory in 2008 has frayed in just two years. Obama has downward polling numbers with independents, women, men, old, young and those in between. The One also has lower trending polling data with whites, Hispanics and even black.  If the trends continue, Obama will be a one term President and a One term “One-der”

We’re fast approaching the halfway point in Barack Obama’s term. With Nov. 2 behind him, everything the president does will be calculated to boost, or at least not harm, his chances of re-election in 2012. What’s not clear is whether he fully appreciates how badly the coalition he led to victory in 2008 has frayed in just two years. A look inside his poll numbers suggests that if he cannot turn around some key trends, he’ll be a one-term president.

Just look at the exit polls from 2008, which reveal the demographic contours of Obama’s support. Compare those with Gallup’s weekly analysis of the president’s approval rating, drawn from multiple polls broken down by age, gender, political philosophy, and the like. Throw in some insights from the midterm elections, and the mix shows a dramatic deterioration in Obama’s 2008 support. “His majority coalition is not there,” says Republican pollster David Winston. “What he put together, at least in the way he put it together, just isn’t there.”

Take a look at those that Obama won in 2008, if the trends continue, Obama will lose. What a shock that Obama has lost ground with so many polling demographics, as if the 2010 midterm elections and the political carnage at the hands of the Democrat party was not a noticeable mark.

  • Start with voters who call themselves independents. Obama won 52 percent of them in 2008; now, according to Gallup, he is at 42 percent.Obama’s party as a whole fared even worse among independents in the midterms, losing them to Republicans by 19 points. 
  • Next, women. In 2008, Obama won 56 percent of female voters. Today, he’s at 49 percent.
  • Even younger voters, a key part of Obama’s coalition, are peeling away. In ’08, Obama won 66 percent of voters 18-29 years of age. Now, he’s at 58 percent.
  • Obama has dropped 5 percentage points among voters in and around middle age, and 8 percent with voters above 65.
  • Then there are white voters. In ’08, Obama won 43 percent of whites. Now, he’s at 37 percent.
  • He won 67 percent of Hispanic voters in 2008; now, he’s at 58 percent.
  • Even support among black voters, a bedrock for Obama, has ticked downward; after winning 95 percent of blacks in ’08, he’s now at 89 percent.

 It would appear that Obama has lost ground with all groups except those with graduate degrees.

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Scared Monkeys

Son Of Elderly Man Charged With Threatening President Blames The VA

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The son of an elderly South Carolina man who told a Veterans Affairs nurse that he wanted to kill the President says the VA failed his father.

Michael Stephen Bowden, 78, was arrested last week after a VA nurse asked him if he has suicidal thoughts and he responded, “Yes, I would like to shoot the President, then myself.” He repeated the threat to law enforcement when they showed up at his house.

His son, Kerry Bowden, tells TPM that his father was crying out for help, and that he was never a real threat.

“He was clearly acting out to get help. … Rather than get him that help, they [the VA] made it a law enforcement issue. They passed the buck,” Bowden said. “They’re now making him out to be a terrorist.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs was not immediately available.

According to Kerry Bowden, his father goes for monthly checkups at the VA to check on medication that thins his blood. In April, he says his father told a nurse he was having suicidal thoughts.

But the VA, he says, did nothing. The clinic didn’t contact Bowden’s family. His family had noticed he was having mood swings after going on a certain blood pressure medication, Kerry Bowden said. “He’d get aggressive all of a sudden, fly off the handle, get really upset about the smallest of things,” Bowden said. But they had no idea he was having suicidal thoughts. If they had known, Kerry Bowden said, they would have taken him to the hospital.

And when he repeated the suicidal thoughts this month, with the added threat to President Obama — who’s “not doing enough to help African-Americans,” the elder Bowden said — the VA nurse called the Secret Service.

But it was the Secret Service, Kerry Bowden said, which has treated him and his family well.

“We cannot say enough good things about these people,” Bowden said about the law enforcement officials who have been involved.

His father is now in Spartanburg County Jail, charged with threatening to inflict harm on the President and awaiting transfer to a federal facility to undergo a 45-day psychiatric evaluation, Bowden said.

It’s bittersweet, he said, that his father will finally get the help he needs.


President Obama injured

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) – Apparently no good deed goes unpunished for President Obama, who was trying to make sure he didn’t get a flabby belly after Thanksgiving but wound up with a fat lower lip instead.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the President received a dozen stitches after getting hit with an errant elbow during a Friday morning basketball game with White House aide Reggie Love and some unidentified family members at the Fort McNair military base in Washington.

A senior administration official said the cut was not caused by Love, a former player for Duke University who serves as the President’s personal assistant, but the official was still checking for more details on who caused the accident.

“After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player’s elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the President received 12 stitches today administered by the White House Medical Unit,” said Gibbs. “They were done in the doctor’s office located on the ground floor of the White House.”

Aides said Obama was given a local anesthetic while receiving the stitches, and doctors used a smaller filament. That increases the number of stitches needed to patch up the tear, but it makes a tighter stitch so that the President’s scar on his lower lip should be smaller.

Obama frequently plays basketball, works out on a daily basis, and was undoubtedly playing Friday to work off some extra Thanksgiving calories. An official White House menu showed that in addition to turkey and the usual trimmings, the First Family dined Thursday on six different pies – including apple, sweet potato, pumpkin, banana cream, cherry, and huckleberry.

Asked by CNN if the unidentified “opposing player” will be getting a presidential pardon, a top White House aide just laughed.

CNN Political Ticker

WaPo’s Cohen Says Palin Can’t Be President of Black, Hispanic America

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The left’s obsession with Sarah Palin is sure to reach a fever pitch as her new book, America By Heart, debuts this week.  As if Americans haven’t figured it out yet, mainstream liberals and some liberal Republicans can’t stand her.  So desperate are they to attack her that they’ve seized on an excerpt from the book to play the racism card.

A Tuesday column in the Washington Post by Richard Cohen embodies this anti-Palin mania when he wrote that Palin, “could not be the president of black America nor of Hispanic America.”

Why, you may ask?  Well Cohen says she cares more about, “grizzlies than she does about African Americans.”  Now surely Mr. Cohen would have some rock solid proof before he accuses Palin of not caring about ethnic groups?  His “evidence” seems to be summed up in a quotation from the boom regarding First Lady Michelle Obama’s statement that her husband’s success warranted for her “the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.”

So using Cohen’s warped logic, Sarah Palin writing negatively about a woman who said she was never proud of her country automatically means she’s racist.  Cohen doesn’t just claim Palin misquoted Obama, he goes farther claiming that in the days of segregation, “If they were driving to Washington, they slowed down and stopped where the sign said “colored” – and the irritated Palins of the time angrily hit the horn and went on their way.”

This is by any measure outrageous.  Using Cohen’s logic, the mere fact that he’s criticizing Palin is proof that he doesn’t care about women, or possibly a misogynist.  It shows how desperate folks are to demonize her and the pure, unadulterated disdain they have.  No rational thinker could make that jump except if you truly despise someone.

Cohen finishes up by playing the tired refrain of questioning Palin’s brains, “It’s appalling that Palin and too many others fail to understand that fact – indeed so many facts of American history.”

In reality, what’s appalling is that a major paper in this country would allow Mr. Cohen to defame a possible Presidential candidate.  Many Americans think it’s appalling when a man who usually crusades against “hate” is rotten with the same animus for Sarah Palin.  Mr. Cohen needs to take off his blinders of hate and come back to the real world.

Big Journalism

Sarah Palin Insider: On Running for President and Bristol Palin in Dancing with The Stars

November 26, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

With thanks to our anonymous source known only as Xanadu. We have transcribed the tape you sent us but have removed sensitive portions which could inadvertently ruin the chances for talentless dancer Bristol to win Dancing with the Stars. We are well aware that without the Tea Party supporters multi voting for”the heffalump without a wiggle” would not win.

Image via Wikipedia Todd Palin told to be quiet by Sarah and Bristol Palin

The Second Tape from the Sarah Palin Insider known as Xanadu

Sarah Palin: (singing out of key before she is rudely interupted)

Bristol Palin: Mom, Mom, Mommy?

Sarah Palin: What is it this time Bristol?

Bristol Palin: Mommy don’t talk to me like that or I’ll say something cruel about you on Dancing with the Stars

Sarah Palin: I won’t take kindly to threats like that Bristol. You mutter another and I’ll phone the Tea Party and have them stop their telephone voting campaign for you.

Bristol Palin: You couldn’t stop them now Mommy, they all love me, so there!

Sarah Palin: They love me Bristol. Any love they have for you is because you were born in marriage and came from my unmentionable.

Todd Palin: They love both my girls the same

Sarah and Bristol Palin (together): Shut up Todd/Daddy

Sarah Palin: All I have to do is give an interview, wearing my shorts, cry and say “if Bristol wins she will be in danger of becoming a big head. I beg people not to vote for her. I’m voting for Brandy myself as she is by far the best dancer. This is what Tea Party people do, they vote for the best candidate to do the job. The best dancer should win Dancing with the Stars and Bristol is actually the worst dancer of the series. Voting for Bristol will make the Tea Party look stupid”

Bristol Palin: You have rehearsed that speech Mommy. How could you?

Sarah Palin: It is like when I go a hunting, I always watch my back.

Bristol Palin: But Mommy I wouldn’t do anything to harm your plan to become the first woman president of the United States of America. That would make me even more money and I might be able to win the British Dancing with the Stars next year too!

Sarah Palin: Oh Bristol, I truly love you. I know you’ll win Dancing with the Stars and when you do I’m going to announce that I’m running to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States of America

Bristol Palin: I pray to God every night that you will win.

Sarah Palin: Good girl Bristol. Now, down to the important business of becoming President of the United States of America.

Todd Palin: I had a thought about that it was

Sarah and Bristol Palin (together): Shut up Todd/Daddy

Sarah Palin: Where was I?

Bristol Palin: Something about precedent?

Sarah Palin: Nearly right Hun but not quite. The business of becoming President of the United States of America. Should I get new frames and what dress should I wear to make the announcement? Do you think I should wear my shorts?

So, according to the Sarah Palin Insider, Sarah Palin has decided she will seek the Republican nomination and she wants to be the first female president of the United States of America. If only she can decide what to wear!

Image via Wikipedia The Palins doing as they are told by their boss Sarah Putin Palin



Serious question: Who actully wants Sarah Palin to be President?

November 25, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

American democracy is a wonderful thing. Anybody who qualifies under the Constitution – natural born citizen aged at least 35 years – can run and be chosen by the Electoral College as President of the United States. As a result, all sorts of oddball characters have run for President over the years. And some have garnered remarkable followings until their supporters grew bored or disenchanted. Many have stood in as protests against some perceived Other bearing down on them.

But most such supporters recognize that their vote for, say, George Wallace in 1968 or, for that matter, Henry Wallace in 1948 (Progressive Party candidate running well to the left of Truman), are little more than protest votes.

But I’m not convinced at all that Sarah Palin’s supporters view her as a mere protest vote against whatever real or imagined foe is out to get her. I think the 20% of Americans – 40% of the GOP primary electorate, roughly – that want Sarah Palin to be President really do want Sarah Palin to be the President of the United States.

Now, I understand her cultural appeal. She is the classic Reverse Elitist. She takes all the exclusive pretensions of cultural elitists, reverses them, and holds her crowd to be the only people who should matter culturally and politically. Her ilk has had broad support for many, many years.

But do these voters, who presumably vote for one of the two conventional candidates every four years actually see her as fit for the Presidency like they presumably saw, say, the Bushes or Reagan?

Think about it. Not only is she comically uninformed on the basic issues of the day; that one can ask seriously whether or not her North Korea gaffe was a mere slip of the tongue and not genuine ignorance over who is who on the Korean Peninsula should disqualify her immediately. But she actually quit the one executive job she ever held – Governor of Alaska. Alas, she can’t be held up as some sort of tough and gritty fighter – a mama grizzly in her imagination. Nor can she claim to be an impoverished and struggling mom, considering her scads of wealth following on her book tours.

She is the classic American Idol candidate. It isn’t just that she lacks experience. It’s that she lacks anything approaching the sort of character that her own conservative and Republican backers supposedly cherish in a strong leader. She doesn’t have “resolve.” Her values are self-evidently skewed. She is utterly unserious on just about every policy discussion out there.

Every conservative and Republican I know dismisses her. They don’t necessarily “hate” her. In fact, most conservative Republicans I know think of her the way I think of Al Sharpton – an occasionally amusing demagogue who is utterly unfit for the Presidency. My conservative friends, of course, don’t see Sharpton as amusing at all – just as I don’t see Palin the slightest bit funny. But we all agree that America would be horribly served if either of those two buffoons were to ever occupy the White House.

Even the Tea Party is ambivalent about her. My guess is that it’s the educated and libertarian wing of the Tea Party that sees her the way my conservative Republican friends do. So that leaves the ignorant – same as the genuine Sharpton backers on my side of the aisle.

But even among them: do they REALLY want Sarah Palin to President? Or is she just, in the end, a cultural icon who fights their fight in the broader media world?

I don’t know how you could poll this question. But I do wonder, anecdotally, if there really are large numbers of people who would take comfort with the reality of Sarah Palin in the White House.

Needless to say, my guess – and hope , for the sake of American democracy (at the risk of concern trolling…) – is that most of the powers that be in the Republican Party know this and will make damn sure that she is not the party’s nominee in 2012.

The Moderate Voice

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