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October 30th, 2008
03:36 PM ET

Call him John the careless

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/28/palin.jpg]
George F. Will
Op-Ed Columnist, The Washington Post

From the invasion of Iraq to the selection of Sarah Palin, carelessness has characterized recent episodes of faux conservatism. Tuesday's probable repudiation of the Republican Party will punish characteristics displayed in the campaign's closing days.

Some polls show that Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain's saddle than his association with George W. Bush. Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin's never having attended a "Georgetown cocktail party" is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents "are in charge of the United States Senate"?

She may have been tailoring her narrative to her audience of third-graders, who do not know that vice presidents have no constitutional function in the Senate other than to cast tie-breaking votes. But does she know that when Lyndon Johnson, transformed by the 1960 election from Senate majority leader into vice president, ventured to the Capitol to attend the Democratic senators' weekly policy luncheon, the new majority leader, Montana's Mike Mansfield, supported by his caucus, barred him because his presence would be a derogation of the Senate's autonomy?

Perhaps Palin's confusion about the office for which she is auditioning comes from listening to its current occupant. Dick Cheney, the foremost practitioner of this administration's constitutional carelessness in aggrandizing executive power, regularly attends the Senate Republicans' Tuesday luncheons. He has said jocularly that he is "a product" of the Senate, which pays his salary, and that he has no "official duties" in the executive branch. His situational constitutionalism has, however, led him to assert, when claiming exemption from a particular executive order, that he is a member of the legislative branch and, when seeking to shield certain of his deliberations from legislative inquiry, to say that he is a member of the executive branch.

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Filed under: 2008 Election • John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. raven - wyoming

    When Bush was re-elected in 2004 I came very close to leaving this country for good. I lost a good deal of faith in my fellow Americans. Bush is a crook, short sighted, liar, who has choosen to kill many of our best and brightest in a war that had nothing to do with 911. It terrifies me that we could elect McCain / Palin to office. Senator McCain while completely deserving of respect for his service to this country, he just doesn't seem to get it. Good grief picking Gov. Palin as a running mate proves that. She is no more capable of running this country than Joe the Plummer. McCain also believe in the worst President this country has ever had and has supported him all the way. This cannot be good! Obama all the way!!! Not to mention that Joe Biden in eminently qualified to run this country if needed. And he knows what a Vice President is suppose to do!!!

    October 31, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  2. Kannan

    Palin mentioned in a speech yesterday that Obama plans to cut military funding, which is a LIE. On the contrary, it was McCain who stated clearly in two of the three debates that military spending would be the first thing he cuts if he becomes president.

    Sarah Palin is not competent enough to get her facts straight before she gets up on stage.

    It is very irresponsible on the part of McCain to pick her as his VP candidate. Right there, it is clear that he is not putting his country first.

    This is a plea to my fellow Americans to do the right thing and vote for Obama-Biden on Nov. 4.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  3. Susan

    Was McCain careless early in his primary campaign when he hastily spent all his campaign funds on extravagance and bad managent? YES, IMO

    Was McCain careless in his hasty last-minute pick of Palin, apparently without vetting her from all we have since found out from her ethics violations to her lack of knowledge, education and understanding? YES, IMO

    Was McCain careless in hastily suspending his campaign when the economy was in crisis the night before a key debate? YES, IMO

    Was McCain careless in hastily canceling on Letterman saying he HAD to IMMEDIATELY go to DC, only to go on another show? YES, IMO

    Was McCain careless in letting Palin interview unprepared with any sufficient and necessary knowledge and then equally careless in not letting her interview after that? YES, IMO

    Was McCain careless in the way he sicked Palin, his pundits and even his own rhetoric fear mongering and smearing and exaggerating and manipulating facts to paint his opponent false as everything from a terrorist to a socialist? YES, IMO

    Sounds like McCain's middle name should be CARELESS! Case closed!

    October 31, 2008 at 10:23 am |
  4. Sue, Billerica, MA

    What worries me most about McCain is exactly his carelessness. He obviously didn't vet either Palin or Joe the unlicensed plumber, and makes you wonder who he will pick for his cabinet and supreme court appointees. I always worry about politicians at the end of their careers and if President is more for the accolades and for prosterity and if they will have the energy and patience needed to both do a good job and stay healthy and endure. I think we need politicians in midlife like Kennedy was, Clinton was and now Obama is that are full of ideas and energy and able to see things in the light of THEIR times.

    And the careless way McCain and Palin throw smears at Obama, and this McCarthy witch hunting tells me neither of them DESERVE to win. If the are going to try to destroy Obama's so far good reputation because he was at a party with a sixty's rebel even though Obama has repeatedly said he did not know who he was at the time and deplores his actions in the sixties but he is reformed and a respected professor and citizen in Chicago where Obama has to not discriminate against the citizens he represents if they are not doing anything illegal, and now this Palestinian professor he went to a luncheon party for, when Obama has repeatedly stated that he is proIsrael. Does this mean that no American can be in the same room with anyone that is Arab for from what I have heard most Arabs even Arab Americans are concerned for the Palestinians? And what about both Bush Sr and Jr, they both PAL around with SaudiArabians and most of the 911 terrorists were from Saudia Arabia and that country is proPalestinian, so does our president and his father our expresident pal around with terrorists and proPalestinians and does doing so make them both antiAmerican and antiIsrael as McCain and Palin are accusing Obama of? Of course not, you can love Israel and support Isreal and still have concern for Palestinaians and be a good Christian neighbor, colleeague and even friend to someone Arab Muslim who is proPalestine... and maybe if we fostered that kind of open heart, we could help bring peace to the troubled middle east and truely help our friends and allies like Isreal.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:58 am |
  5. Jackie in Dallas

    McCain and Palin represent, in my mind, the old style Huey B. Long, Tammanny Hall style of politics, most recently exhibited by our current President and Vice President. But this is no longer the early to mid 1900s, it is the first decade of a new millennium.

    Maybe, along with background checks and security checks, the US ought to give each candidate for President and Vice President a high-school level test on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, with bonus questions on the Declaration of Independence thrown in. If you can't pass with at least a score of 70, you should be barred from running. That might weed out some of the Cheneys and Palins from the tickets....

    October 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Cheney has blurred the duties of the VP of the US. I'm not surprised that Palin doesn't understand the duties with Cheney as her mentor. Hopefully, when Obama takes over the duties as President he sees fit to have the Bush Administration prosecuted for their acts against this country and the world. The Constitution was compromised.......really forgotten during the past 8 yrs. On Tuesday the people of this country will rise up and elect Obama for the change we need.

    October 30, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  7. adriano

    I have just one question:
    Is John McCain + Sarah Palin running to be Barack Obama's GUARDIAN or to lead the US ?
    I don't hear them discussing issues all they do is to dig up dirt regarding their opponent . This DUO should " GET SMART" . Are they the new version of Maxwell + 99 ?

    October 30, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  8. ivan trograncic (trogi)

    Take care...to improve the quality...of the borning moment...of any futur american child. Because from the begining of the world...we were born without any prepared step of the standard of life. It is not the same if You are born in the grass, without food and your parents in problems how survive...in a nondevelopped State. Therefor, any child born in USA should have a starting package that can assure a modern State like USA. The material-service package may be under activation of the USA official foundation. John, I hope You will be with Sarah, people that will improve that "start into life for any child born in USA ". FRB – Trogi

    October 30, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  9. Susan in NC

    WHERE are her medical records? She truly may be a heartbeat from the Presidency (Heaven forbid!) - with the possibility of a recurrence of Sen. McCain's cancer (as a cancer survivor myself, I know the odds), do we not have a right to know her medical condition?

    October 30, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  10. rotto rutter ralf

    Palin cuts property taxes 40% for people of Wassila and hires a lobbyist to go to Washington DC and get federal tax dollars to make up the difference. While this might make her popular in Alaska I would rather see my tax money go to a strong, efficient, effective government not be redistributed to Alaska and the national debt. I can see socialists from my house- and in my Mirror.

    October 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  11. Gail Braxton, Palmer, Alaska

    Palin's folksy speech is fading but her tan is improving.

    October 30, 2008 at 4:44 pm |