James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Posts Tagged ‘John Murtha’

Palin for president? Who’ll give her a hand?

Posted by James McPherson on February 8, 2010

2010-02-07-palinhandsmaller1.jpg     2010-02-07-palinhandclose.jpg

You have to “hand” it to Sarah Palin–she does know how to stay in the public eye, in large part by bashing the same masochistic media that have made her a media darling. I’ll miss hearing what John Murtha had to say about her (though, on a side note, I don’t think Dems will suffer near as much as Pennsylvania does from the loss the perhaps-corrupt pork king Murtha, despite his willingness to be blunt when others in his party cowered).

Yesterday, on her favorite media outlook outside of Facebook, Palin suggested that she might run for president in 2012. That probably sent yet another chill through scared Republicans and overly paranoid Democrats, while raising the hopes of folks like me. I’d place big money on Obama’s teleprompted speeches over whatever folksy, disjointed ramblings Palin might generate, and the opportunity to hear more from Palin–while watching her split Republicans even further–might make the next presidential election season more interesting than the corporate-funded semi-downer I now expect.

And what do you want to bet that if she runs, “populist” Palin will be heavily funded by the oil companies and insurance companies that now continually shaft her Tea Party constituency, a constituency that worries more about Obama birthplace conspiracies and fictional national security concerns than about how they’ll take care of their child if the kid happens to contract a serious illness?

Right now Palin gets a high percentage of her donations from small donors. But if she should ever been seen as a credible candidate, I predict that Big Oil and Big Pharma will jump to the top of the list.

Next day: Chris Cillizza offers an interesting take on Palin and her use of soundbites.

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Democrats’ best VP choice–and when Obama should name him

Posted by James McPherson on June 20, 2008

Having offered my suggestions for John McCain a couple of days ago, I’ll now do the same for Barack Obama. It seems appropriate especially because of recent articles listing possibilities that include John Edwards, Al Gore, Sam Nunn, John Murtha and Ted Strickland. The Huffington Post and others have handicapped other top prospects, including western governors Janet Napolitano, Brian Schweitzer and Bill Richardson.

I doubt that Edwards or Gore are serious possibilities. Edwards has already failed in an attempt to be VP, and generated no more enthusiasm in this year’s presidential bid. Gore has been there, done that, and is more influential outside of office than he would be as Obama’s second banana.

Hillary Clinton is the obvious favorite of many who seek the so-called “Dream Ticket,” and it’s good that (as announced this morning) she is going to campaign with Obama, but she brings too much baggage for the “change candidate” that Obama claims to be. Besides, I think she’d be a better choice as secretary of state or perhaps attorney general, moving to the Supreme Court as soon as there is an opening (probably about two days after Obama takes the oath of office, if he’s elected). Of course conservatives couldn’t be told that she’d end up on the court before the election, or that would become their major talking point for the coming months.

Napolitano and her Kansas counterpart Kathleen Sebelius offer other strong female leadership possibilities, and both have succeeded in dealing with Republican majorities. Unfortunately neither helps counter Obama’s biggest perceived weakness–a lack of knowledge or experience in foreign policy.

Nunn and Murtha are better options in this regard because of their military experience, but Nunn has been out of the game for so long that few people outside of Georgia likely remember who he is, and Murtha is viewed by too many as a crank and/or a flake. If Obama were to go that route, a better choice would be Virginia Senator Jim Webb or retired General Wesley Clark, who is well known because of his own presidential bid four years ago. He also might help swing disgruntled Clinton supporters because he was a leading figure in her campaign.

The popular and conservative Southerner Webb would be a good choice (though it might cost the Dems a hard-won Senate seat in the long run) and Richardson may have the widest range of applicable experience of anyone available. Unfortunately, Richardson is unable to do one thing that my top choice can do: attack the Bush administration (and its continuation under McCain) in a credible, logical manner while not turning off listeners.

My preferred candidate, Joe Biden, happens to be stronger on both foreign policy and bipartisanship than McCain, and would reduce the exotic feel of the Obama campaign (something a woman or Richardson would be less able to do). Biden loves cameras, and performs well in front of them. Occasionally verbose, he has become increasingly adept at breaking policy into sound bites. More importantly, for a vice presidential nominee (and perhaps especially with Obama’s efforts to maintain niceness), Biden has no qualms about going on the attack when necessary.

If Obama chose Biden as VP, Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and Republican Chuck Hegel as Secretary of Defense, the administration would likely be both functional and well repected. Of course the Senate would suffer greatly.

Whomever Obama chooses, he should name his running mate by mid-July. That would give the team plenty of time to make the rounds of talk shows and to hone their message throughout the dog days of summer, peaking just in time for the Democratic National Convention Aug. 25-28

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »