You have to laugh; otherwise you’d scream

Palin refuses to say that she will vote against Ted Stevens, her political mentor and now a convicted felon.

Sarah Palin refuses to say whether she plans to vote to re-elect a convicted felon to the Senate, because she believes in the secret ballot. No, seriously:

But she does say that if Stevens is re-elected he would resign, allowing a special election. That seems to be a signal to her supporters to vote for the felon instead of the Democrat in the race.

Oh, yes: Palin makes a liar out of Tucker Bounds.

Learn-something-new-every-day Dep’t: Sarah Palin’s First Amendment rights

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

I’m glad we have a hockey mom to teach us civics. Not only didn’t I know that the Vice President runs the Senate, I didn’t even know that the First Amendment is there to protect officials from criticism by reporters.

Of course, I don’t feel too bad about my ignorance, since Jefferson (who said that he’d rather have newspaper but no government than government with no newspapers) seems to have shared it.

How do you think Sara Palin feels about her ignorance? More important, how do educated independent and Republican voters feel about it?

Clearly, Larry Eagleburger had it right the first time: not only is Palin not ready to be President now, she never will be ready. But, consistent with his political principles, Eagleburger decided to retract the truth and replace it with the politically correct lie.

Now that Sen. Stevens is a convicted felon …

… what does Gov. Palin have to say about their long political association? Does she support him for re-election? So far, she hasn’t been willing to say.

… what does Gov. Palin have to say about the man who made a commercial for her when she ran for Governor two short years ago? At latest report, she hadn’t decided whether to endorse this notorious porkmeister and crook for re-election or not, in what would have been (had he been acquitted) a close race.

Palin’s only post-conviction comment was that she was “confident that Senator Stevens will do what’s right for the people of Alaska.” That was after Stevens proclaimed his innocence and declared that he was still a candidate for re-election. She ignored reporters’ questions about whether she would vote for her old mentor.

Now that’s what I call a maverick reformer.

I youda ast me, I could toldja

McCain staffers whining about Sarah Palin: “She is a diva.”

A McCain staffer, whining about Our Sarah:

She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.

Note that this must be sheer frustration; it can’t be political calculation. After all, who chose Palin in the first place?

“A sweetheart deal”

The AP looks at Sarah Palin’s pipeline deal.

Yes, that’s one way to put it when a firm gets a $500 million subsidy for trying to build a pipeline on a route where it hasn’t secured – and probably can’t secure – right-of-way, with no commitment to actually build a pipeline, when the same firm four years ago was willing to go ahead with no subsidy. And when the bidding process is rigged to exclude other bidders.

“Our Sarah” may live to regret John McCain’s decision to put her on a ticket. The higher a monkey climbs

Incitatus kicks over the traces

Palin flunks basic civics.

Everyone is having a good time laughing at the $150,000 Hockey Mom for misunderstanding basic civics:

A vice president has a really great job, because not only are they there to support the president’s agenda, they’re like the team member, the team mate to that president.

But also, they’re in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it’s a great job and I look forward to having that job.

Of course, aside from presiding on ceremonial occasions and showing up to cast tie-breaking votes, the Vice President’s role as President of the Senate is entirely nominal. The Vice President does not help write legislation or determine the flow of Senate business. (LBJ thought that he could, as Vice President, continue to exert some of the influence he had accumulated as Majority Leader, but the Senate barons politely showed him the door.) It’s either funny or scary that John McCain chose a running-mate with such a vague idea about the actual operations of the legislative process.

However, liberals being liberals, and intellectuals being intellectuals, Brad DeLong raises a question: couldn’t a Vice President, admittedly in contravention of custom, exercise the powers of a presiding officer to choose whom to recognize to speak or make motions, and to make parliamentary rulings even in defiance of the Parliamentarian’s advice?

It seems to me that the clear answer is “No,” unless a majority of the Senate wanted to go along.

The Constitution makes the Vice President the President of the Senate. But what powers the President of the Senate wields (except for the tie-breaking vote) depends on the Senate Rules, and the Constitution also provides that each House of Congress makes its own rules.

Given the VP’s Constitutional role as President of the Senate, the Senate rules couldn’t make it that the President Pro Tem presides if the VP is present. However, since the VP has no Constitutional claim to preside over any committee of the Senate, I suppose that the Senate, like the House, could have a Committee of the Whole with different rules than the same body meeting as the Senate proper; for example, those rules could put the President Pro Tem in the chair. And the Senate Rules could certainly establish an order in which Senators were to be recognized, and assign to the Parliamentarian the task of ruling on points of order.

(Could the Vice President, in defiance of the Senate rules, occupy the chair and obstruct business? I suppose so. But that would be a usurpation, not an exercise of Constitutional power.)

So it seems to me that Palin doesn’t have even a colorable claim to have been right. To “preside over” is simply not to “be in charge of.” And the response of Palin’s defenders that she was simplifying for a grade-schooler doesn’t pass the giggle test. What Palin said wasn’t a simplification, it was a flat-out mistake, like thinking that Paris is the capital of Germany.

More to the point than her having been wrong (which happens to all of us), it seems clear that Palin couldn’t participate cogently in a discussion of the question.

“Unqualified”? Masterful understatement.

Sarah Palin, dressed for failure

… to the tune of $150,000 in clothing and make-up paid for by the Republican National Committee.

at the expense of the RNC.

After all, how can you be a real, genuine, hard-working, down-to-earth, non-elitist, middle-class American without $150,000 worth of clothing and make-up paid for by someone else?

Question for campaign-finance experts: Does she get to keep the swag after she loses?