Give me a Constitutional law prof any day
Palin may be no Dick Cheney in that she's less likely to be a behind-the-scenes puppetmaster than he has been for the past eight years, but Palin does pull McCain toward the dark side in several ways.
I focused in on two things Palin said. First, she mocked Barack Obama for wanting to read terror detainees their rights. She had quite a lighthearted take on the fact that Bush-Cheney have been willing to make an unconstitutional grab for power, and have wanted to deny detainees basic legal rights including habeas corpus, a foundation of English Common Law even older than the U. S. Constitution. Palin may be eager to dehumanize detainees, but what would she say to the more than 400 men who were released from Guantanamo without being charged, often after years of detention?
Habeas corpus may sound like an arcane legal principle, but I encourage you to listen to the award-winning episode of This American Life, "Habeas Schmabeas 2007," that explains it really skillfully--what it is and why it matters to all of us.
Palin's attitude in her speech last night ties in with disturbing recent development of McCain voting in favor of waterboarding, the interrogation procedure that most people agree is torture. McCain was the last person most people thought would approve the use of torture, but it looks like we can't count on that.
(Another show to listen to: the Fresh Air interview with investigative journalist Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side who explains that the U. S. harsh interrogation techniques were derived from outdated tortuous interrogation methods originally designed primarily to extract FALSE confessions from prisoners.)
Second, Palin slammed Obama for not using the word "victory" when talking about the Iraq War. You know who else doesn't use the word victory when talking about the war? General David Petraus, who is in charge of the whole U. S. military action. Personally, I respect Petraeus, whom I believe is doing his best to find resolution to the tragic, incredibly complex situation that has resulted from the U. S. invasion of Iraq. Steve Coll discusses "The General's Dilemma" in his profile of Petraus in the September 8 issue of The New Yorker.
I would hope that most thinking people would realize by now that ending the conflict in Iraq is not about declaring victory. You can't win an occupation.
I happen to think that Barack Obama is an extraordinary candidate, but even if he was just okay, I'd support him because of his expertise as a Constitutional Law professor. After the past eight years, it would be a welcome relief to have a President who respects the Constitution, rather than constantly trying to find ways to undermine it.