Archive for the 'Sarah Palin' Category

Jon and Stephen on Sarah and Sean

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Jon Stewart on the Palin “interview” by Sean Hannity:

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Stephen Colbert on the same:

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Mika Brzezinski Experiences Palin Fatigue
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Palin “Interviewed” by Hannity

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

In the interest of granting Sarah Palin equal time (to demonstrate her putzitude):

But it’s not just her; this isn’t about her.

It’s also about Sean Hannity. He’s a putz, too.

Palin’s ‘Message: I Care’ Video

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Watching Jon Stewart’s opening segment Monday night, I was struck by a powerful sense that here was someone who truly believed what he was saying, who was crafting his own words carefully and thoughtfully in an earnest effort to reach out to the millions he knew would be watching and give them something that would help them in a time of trouble, without (despite his closing quip) really concerning himself too much with what would be good for him personally.

I got an equally powerful sense while watching this next video, but it trended in pretty much the opposite direction:

Sarah Palin: “America’s Enduring Strength” from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

Maybe it’s because of the contrast between this video and videos in which Palin has actually been required to speak her own thoughts, unscripted, but I can’t watch this without being overwhelmed by the sense that here is someone reading words that others have written for her, striving to inject homey touches and heartfelt emotion that she doesn’t really feel, all in an attempt to manipulate anyone daft enough or emotionally needy enough to support her into taking her side against those big bad meanies who’ve been picking on her.

Ick. Even with the lip gloss and ex-beauty-queen looks, I find that really off-putting. I’d agree that she has a First Amendment right to say whatever ridiculous thing she wants to say. And then I, and others, have an equal right to say what we think in response. And my response in this case is: Wow. What a putz.

Daily Kos Poll of Self-Identified Republicans

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Clearly, I haven’t been doing enough to stir the pot of partisan name-calling lately. So here you go: The 2010 Comprehensive Daily Kos/Research 2000 Poll of Self-Identified Republicans.

Knock yourselves (or more likely, each other) out.

Drum on Palin on Oprah

Monday, November 16th, 2009

It’s been a while since I linked to a Kevin Drum item, and I see today that he’s having the same can’t-look-away mixture of abhorrence and fascination with Sarah Palin that I (and plenty of others, I’m sure) have been having:

So why is Sarah Palin so endlessly fascinating? The sex appeal that practically oozes out of every pore? Her perpetual family soap opera? A sense of besiegement and resentment so powerful it practically knocks you over every time she speaks? The fact that she actually seems to take pride in her complete lack of policy expertise? Her seemingly total lack of real self-awareness? The fact that she lies so casually it seems like she actually believes everything she makes up?

Yeah, I think that about covers it. She honestly doesn’t do much for me in the sex-appeal department, but the brazen lies make up for it. I’ve had a bit of a void in that area of my life lately.

Campbell Brown on the Anti-Palin Smears

Friday, November 7th, 2008

I’m not sure what I think about Campbell Brown. I’m generally unhappy with the direction CNN has gone in the last several years; the market has its own inexorable logic, I know, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it that a network I basically trusted back in the day is giving itself a gradual Fox News makeover. Even when I agree with the positions being presented, I still mourn the loss of actual journalism that goes along with the pursuit of loud, colorful, snarky ratings.

But that aside, I’ll say this for Brown: Several times now I’ve heard her make exactly the same “you liars need to be called on it” argument that I’ve made myself about some specific piece of high-profile B.S. As she did here:

Sarah Palin Campaign Art by Zina Saunders

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

This art by Zina Saunders is totally cool:

Definitely worth visiting her site (or her blog) to browse around.

Where To From Here?

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

It’s pretty much an immutable law of nature that political campaigns become uglier, not prettier, as election day approaches. The McCain campaign, in particular, has demonstrated that they’re willing to go really low way in advance. But that doesn’t mean they can’t descend further.

Still, knowing that from an intellectual standpoint is not the same as processing it emotionally. So I think I’m in for a series of mental shocks between now and November 4. A preview of things to come is this story in the Sunday Times of London: McCain camp prays for Palin wedding:

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

Yeah. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Besides increasing ugliness, the other thing I think I can safely predict at this point is increasing funny from Tina Fey’s Palin impersonation in SNL’s opening skit. Like the latest one, here:

I’m not sure how obvious it is for someone who didn’t just finish editing together an hour-long podcast of Palin quotes, but Fey’s biggest laugh line, toward the end, was essentially a word-for-word re-enactment of Palin’s scariest response in the real Katie Couric interview.

Sarah Palin’s America: Where the comedy writes itself. Podcast 29: A Sarah Palin Bestiary

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

I tried to resist, but like the Obama campaign, I was unable to prevent my narrative from being hijacked. So in the end I gave in and made Podcast 29 the All-Sarah Palin edition.

A recurring theme is how everyone (Sarah herself, Obama, me) can’t help likening her to various animals. By which I mean no disrespect; I think she’s a perfectly nice person. (Or pit bull. Or pig. Or post turtle. Or maybe, if you listen to the podcast and squinch your ears just right, a rabid skunk.)

Anyway, here’s a list of the content I ripped off for this episode:

Palin’s Small Town Values

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Who doesn’t support small town values, right?  Shucks even TIME magazine had an article about those small town values in the last issue.  Mom, apple pie, sock hops and Sunday socials.  When Sarah Palin quoted “a writer” about small towns in her acceptance speech, I wondered what writer?  The answer came from RFK Jr.  and the ever helpful wikipedia.  I am sure gwb’s speech writer chooses his words very carefully, right?


Interest in Pegler was recently revived when Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin quoted him in her acceptance speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity”, she said, a Pegler quote that also appeared in the book “Right From the Beginning” by Pat Buchanan. Rather than acknowledging Pegler by name, Palin merely cites ‘a writer’.  The speech was written by Matthew Scully, a senior speech writer for George W. Bush.

Following the Palin acceptance speech New York Times columnist Frank Rich elucidated the political significance of quoting Pegler. Mr. Rich noted that “Pegler was a rabid Joe McCarthyite who loathed F.D.R. and Ike and tirelessly advanced the theory that American Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe (“geese”, he called them) were all likely Communists.”  He pointed out that Palin’s use of a quote from “once powerful right-wing Hearst columnist Westbrook Pegler” was intended to send a subtle but unmistakable signal to far right wing supporters.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the son of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, expressed outrage about Palin’s quoting of Pegler in her speech.  Referring to Pegler as a “Fascist writer” and an “avowed racist”, he reminded readers of the fact that, when Senator Kennedy considered running for president in 1965, Pegler had expressed hope that ‘some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.’

Pegler’s campaign as a Fascist (or “pro-Nazi” or “antisemite,” etc.) seems to have begun in the late 40s, when Pegler’s column intensified its swipes at such leftist politicians as Henry Wallace and pro-Wallace journalists such as Ralph Ingersoll of New York’s PM newspaper.

There you have it.  Small town values like Pegler’s.  Where violent words beget violent deeds.  It is a lie to say that you are for decency when you include references from a fascist/anti-semite author in your GOP acceptance speech.  It is a lie to say you will represent all the people of these United States when this is your dog whistle shout out to the not-so-far right wing.  I am all for “honesty and sincerity and dignity” but I am beginning to suspect that some people may be severely lacking in just these crucial traits.   Obama continues to appeal to the angels of our better nature, but some people are driven solely by demons.

Palin Admits the Obvious on the Bridge to Nowhere

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly talks about the latest piece of the Sarah Palin/Charlie Gibson interview: her acknowledgment that she initially supported the Bridge to Nowhere, and only switched to opposing it (and kept the money and used it for other projects) when it had become a symbol of pork and Congress had cancelled it. More at Palin reverses course on bridge claim.

Benen writes:

Palin explained, “I was for infrastructure being built in the state. And it’s not inappropriate for a mayor or for a governor to request and to work with their Congress and their congressmen, their congresswomen, to plug into the federal budget along with every other state a share of the federal budget for infrastructure.”

You know what? That’s absolutely true. If a governor wants to go to Congress, hat in hand, and ask for pork-barrel infrastructure earmarks, that’s fine. But here’s the thing: Palin has spent the last two weeks insisting the exact opposite of the truth. It’s not “inappropriate” for Palin to ask for infrastructure money; it’s inappropriate to lie about it.

And as a practical matter, that’s what we’re left with — Palin reluctantly acknowledging to a national television audience that her single favorite talking point is demonstrably false. The anecdote that she used to help introduce herself to the nation was a lie.

The concession leads to two fairly straightforward questions. First, will Palin apologize for having misled voters? And second, are there consequences for a candidate seeking national office who gets caught in this big a lie?

More Fallows: Palin on the Bush Doctrine

Friday, September 12th, 2008

This is not just “gotcha”. Palin’s clear lack of familiarity with what “the Bush Doctrine” means tells us something about who she is, as James Fallows explains in the Palin interview.

But first, let’s go to the tape:

Here’s Fallows:

Each of us has areas we care about, and areas we don’t. If we are interested in a topic, we follow its development over the years. And because we have followed its development, we’re able to talk and think about it in a “rounded” way. We can say: Most people think X, but I really think Y. Or: most people used to think P, but now they think Q. Or: the point most people miss is Z. Or: the question I’d really like to hear answered is A.

Here’s the most obvious example in daily life: Sports Talk radio.

Mention a name or theme — Brett Favre, the Patriots under Belichick, Lance Armstrong’s comeback, Venus and Serena — and anyone who cares about sports can have a very sophisticated discussion about the ins and outs and myth and realities and arguments and rebuttals.

People who don’t like sports can’t do that. It’s not so much that they can’t identify the names — they’ve heard of Armstrong — but they’ve never bothered to follow the flow of debate. I like sports — and politics and tech and other topics — so I like joining these debates. On a wide range of other topics — fashion, antique furniture, (gasp) the world of restaurants and fine dining, or (gasp^2) opera — I have not been interested enough to learn anything I can add to the discussion. So I embarrass myself if I have to express a view.

What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues. Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the “Bush Doctrine” exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years.

As someone who has been noticing the disturbing similarities between Sarah Palin and George W. Bush, I also liked this part of Fallows’ piece:

A further point. The truly toxic combination of traits GW Bush brought to decision making was:

1) Ignorance
2) Lack of curiosity
3) “Decisiveness”

That is, he was not broadly informed to begin with (point 1). He did not seek out new information (#2); but he nonetheless prided himself on making broad, bold decisions quickly, and then sticking to them to show resoluteness.

We don’t know about #2 for Palin yet — she could be a sponge-like absorber of information. But we know about #1 and we can guess, from her demeanor about #3. Most of all we know something about the person who put her in this untenable role.

The point about Palin’s similarity to Bush is underscored by another part of her Gibson interview, a part that Fallows had not seen yet when he wrote the above:

Charles Gibson, the interviewer, asked her if she didn’t hesitate and question whether she was experienced enough.

“I didn’t hesitate, no,” she said.

He asked if that didn’t take some hubris.

“I answered him yes,” Ms. Palin said, “because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can’t blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we’re on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can’t blink. So I didn’t blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.”

She didn’t hesitate. She didn’t blink. Like George Bush before her, she doesn’t let concerns about her own preparedness or suitability for the task at hand get in the way of confidently and forcibly injecting herself into the center of things. But as we’ve seen with George Bush, that sort of self-confidence is not, in and of itself, a predictor of success.

Leadership, as I’ve said before, is not just having the courage of your convictions, a willingness to take a tough stand and stick with it in the face of nay-sayers. To qualify as a visionary leader, you have to do those things, and then be proven right by subsequent events. If that doesn’t happen, if subsequent events make it clear that actually no, it was those people who voiced concerns about your plan, over whom you ran roughshod in your zeal to provide “leadership”, who were right, then you aren’t a visionary leader. You’re just a stubborn doofus who will confidently lead anyone foolish enough to follow over the edge of a cliff.

I find myself thinking about political conservatives’ grumbling about the dangers of school programs that try to teach all children that they have value, to foster a self-esteem that is disconnected from actual objective accomplishments. I wonder what role such programs might have played in the early psychological development of people like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. Does such teaching create an environment in which an insecure person can seize on aggressive self-promotion, the nurturing of an out-of-control, outwardly projected self-confidence, as a tool to rise above those with greater abilities but less hubris?

I think it’s probably not the schools’ fault. I think it’s more likely that it’s the parents that are to blame. Again, I’ve written previously about my belief that Bush’s personality defects were probably the result of a really awful upbringing at the hands of an over-achieving, inaccessible father and a vicious, unloving mother. I don’t know anything about Sarah Palin’s upbringing, but if it turns out that she faced similar challenges as a young child, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Here’s a batch of snarky video clips. Consider this my tribute to the restraint the Obama campaign has been showing in not sinking to McCain’s level:

Fallows on the Media on Hillary’s Lies vs. Palin’s

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

James Fallows is interested by the contrast between the mainstream media’s treatment of the Hillary Clinton “hail of Bosnian bullets” lie, and Palin’s “no thanks on those Bridge to Nowhere funds” lie: A controlled experiment.

Good stuff.

Everything I Can Think of to Say About Sarah Palin

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Give the Mayberry Machiavellis running McCain’s campaign credit: They’re willing to go for it. They play the game with gusto.

Sarah Palin, based on the little bit of video I’ve watched, is fairly bright. Like Obama and Biden (but very much unlike the current iteration of McCain) she can speak in front of the camera without cue cards. She’s inexperienced, yes, but she has the potential to surprise anyone in the Obama campaign who assumes she’s going to be a pushover, and that all they have to do is point and laugh in order to make the case that she has no business being McCain’s veep.

Yes, she’s got that “troopergate” scandal hanging around. Yes, she’s outside the mainstream in terms of her views about teaching Intelligent Design in public school science classes and denying abortions even in cases of rape and incest. Yes, she apparently doesn’t know jack about all those serious foreign-policy issues that the McCain campaign has been claiming Obama doesn’t know enough about.

None of which really matters. She’s only the veep. This country’s voters were willing to put Dan Quayle a heartbeat away. Don’t tell me a sharp, cute, former state-champion point guard can’t clear that bar. She can.

What the Palin selection is about is just this: Changing the subject. When I walked into work on Friday, the day after Obama arguably destroyed the McCain campaign on the last night of the Democratic Convention, no one was talking about Obama. Everyone was talking about Sarah Palin.

Mission accomplished.

Even if it comes out, as seems likely, that Palin has lied publicly about her role in the troopergate thing, and her role in the repurposing of the Bridge to Nowhere funds, and even if she commits a headline-grabbing gaffe every day from now until November 4, she’s a win from a political standpoint. Because she’s changing the subject.

As long as we’re all watching and listening to and talking about Sarah Palin, we’re not talking about the slam-dunk case Obama made against McCain Thursday night. We’re not talking about how McCain represents a continuation of the Bush presidency. It’s style over substance: See? I’m willing to choose a hot little firecracker like Sarah Palin as my veep. I’m not a stuffy old dude who has sold out his principles to ally himself with the forces of darkness in a last, desperate grab for the brass ring. I’m a maverick. I’m different. People are talking about me. (Well, about her.)

Not about that other guy.

I’d like to think it’s not going to work. I’d like to think Obama is too smart to fall into the trap of talking about Sarah Palin’s lack of qualifications.

Do you remember the vice presidential debate when Lloyd Bentsen absolutely eviscerated Dan Quayle with that “you’re no Jack Kennedy” line? Here it is in case you’ve forgotten:

All you Obama supporters who are gleeful at the prospect of going after Sarah Palin, watch that clip. You’re not going to get anything better than that. (Actually, you’re not going to get even that. Sarah Palin is no Dan Quayle.) And then remind yourself who won that election.

Do not be distracted by Sarah Palin. She’s a sideshow. She’s a misdirection. She’s a wave of the magician’s hand to get you to look right while he’s loading up his sleeve on your left.

I’d like to think the trick isn’t going to work. But I’ve got grudging admiration for the people who tried it.