SNL Skits on Paterson Tasteless, And Not Funny

Normally I don’t have much sympathy for politicians who are ridiculed on comedy shows like Saturday Night Live, but I did find the segments above to be in poor taste, and not very funny. The New York Post and The New York Times also report that New York Governor David Paterson has strongly objected to the manner in which his blindness was portrayed.

The most offensive segment was at the end of Weekend Update, while Amy Poehler was saying good-by on her final appearance on the show. Fred Armisen (playing Paterson) was shown wandering around in front of the camera appearing disoriented while Poehler was talking.

…Paterson and advocates for the visually impaired didn’t appreciate stock blind jokes that had Armisen pretending to be disoriented and wandering aimlessly.

“I can take a joke,” Paterson told reporters.

But he called the SNL spoof a “third-grade depiction of people and the way they look” that could lead others to believe that “disability goes hand-in-hand with an inability to run a government or business.”

The real disability displayed is the inability of Saturday Night Live to present a consistently funny show. While they have had a number of good moments during the campaign, most of which I have posted here, the jokes during most of the show have not been very funny. Resorting to making fun of the blind is a poor substitute for real comedy writing.

Finally Getting Rid of Pete

The Hill has picked up a story in the local newspapers yesterday that my Congressman, Pete Hoekstra, plans to retire at the end of this term. They raise the possibility that he might be planning to run for governor in 2010 when Jennifer Granholm is prevented from running again due to term limits. Many people in both parties are already being mentioned as possible candidates and Hoekstra will not have an easy time winning the Republican nomination. He might be willing to gamble on this as opposed to remaining in the House as a member of the minority party.

Among the reasons I’d be happy to see Hoekstra go was his discredited claims to have found evidence of WND in Iraq in 2006.

Several Democratic blogs are encouraged by the possibility of winning another seat in 2010, often citing this portion of the article:

The battle to replace Hoekstra could give Democrats an opportunity to contest another Michigan congressional seat. His district, based on the shores of Lake Michigan, gave President Bush 60 percent of the vote in 2004, but John McCain won just 50.8 percent of the vote in 2008.

Chances will certainly be better if they don’t have to run against an incumbent, but this seat will still be hard to pick up. Democrats did well in the Congressional races nationally for two cycles but unless Obama and the Democratic Congress are extraordinarily popular in 2010, odds are that the Republicans will regain some seats in the next off year election.

It is far too soon to predict what will happen in two years but I suspect that limiting McCain to 50.8 percent of the vote in a state he was not contesting by the end is hardly a sign that this Republican area will go Democratic in a House race. Hoekstra won reelection with 62% of the vote despite the weakness at the top of the Republican ticket.

Predictions based upon the odds for a generic Democrat versus a generic Republican might not hold up should the Democrats manage to run a far better candidate than the Republicans (keeping in mind that this area is generally happy with most Republicans).

Supreme Court Rejects Second Case On Obama’s Citizenship

The conspiracy theorists who claim Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen might not have a case, but like most conspiracy theorists they are not likely to give up their argument. One week after the Supreme Court declined to hear one case they rejected a second. CNN reports:

The Supreme Court has dismissed a second emergency appeal questioning Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president because he had dual British-American citizenship at birth.

The justices without comment on Monday refused to intervene in the November 4 presidential election, dismissing the claims of Cort Wrotnowski, a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut.

In his appeal, Wrotnowski claimed that because Obama’s father was a Kenyan-born British subject, the president-elect does meet the Constitution’s requirement that the president be a “natural born citizen” of the United States. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. His mother was a U.S. citizen, born in the United States.

Many legal analysts questioned Wrotnowski’s argument.

“The law has always been understood to be, if you are born here, you’re a natural born citizen,” said Thomas Goldstein, founder of the Web site and a lawyer who has argued numerous cases before the high court. “And that is particularly true in this case, when you have a U.S. citizen parent like Barack Obama’s mother.”

I previously commented on these claims in posts including here and here.

Candidates And Support For Their Running Mate

There has been a lot of attention paid to John McCain’s statement on This Week that he would not necessarily support Sarah Palin if she runs for president in 2012. CNN describes the exchange:

Sen. John McCain said Sunday he would not necessarily support his former running mate if she chose to run for president.

Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” McCain was asked whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could count on his support.

“I can’t say something like that. We’ve got some great other young governors. I think you’re going to see the governors assume a greater leadership role in our Republican Party,” he said.

He then mentioned governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah.

McCain said he has “the greatest appreciation for Gov. Palin and her family, and it was a great joy to know them.”

“She invigorated our campaign” against Barack Obama for the presidency, he said.

McCain was pressed on why he can’t promise support for the woman who, just months ago, he named as the second best person to lead the nation.

“Have no doubt of my admiration and respect for her and my view of her viability, but at this stage, again … my corpse is still warm, you know?” he replied.

While it is hard to see anyone in their right mind endorsing this candidate, it is hardly shocking that a candidate might not support their former running mate. Al Gore did not support Joe Lieberman in 2004. John Kerry did not endorse John Edwards in 2008.

While ideally a vice presidential choice should be for someone qualified to be president, other political factors are often involved–far more in the case of Palin than in general. Even should the vice presidential candidate be qualified to be president, a presidential candidate might balance the ticket with a running mate with views different from their own. Even if Palin had the intellectual qualifications to be president, it might also make sense that McCain would prefer someone from a different wing of  the party to be the 2012 candidate as opposed to his running mate.