Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Blogs are Alive, with the Sound of Palin . . . .

Truly, Sarah Palin has come a long way. When she ran for vice president, she frequently became disjointed and garbled when she departed from her prepared remarks. Now the prepared remarks are incoherent, too.
The timing of Palin’s announcement was extremely peculiar. Not only did she interrupt the plans of TV newscasters to spend the entire weekend pointing out that Michael Jackson is still dead, she delivered her big news just as the nation was settling into Fourth of July celebrations. You’d have thought she didn’t want us to notice.
Kurtz (TPM): Shorter Palin: Real Winners Quit

Perhaps the best part of Palin's announcement today:

Life is too short to compromise time and resources... it may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out.

Quitters stick to it. Winners quit.

Marshall: Nothing Suspicious About That

Andrea Mitchell says sources close to Gov. Palin say she is now "out of politics for good."

From a few hours before the announcement, we have . . .

Dougj: Baby steps?

Jonah Goldberg has “a letter to Sarah Palin” column that I find interesting because it touts the importance of policy knowledge, but only for getting elected:

Second, peddling a few platitudes and truisms about free markets and limited government is no substitute for really knowing what you’re talking about. Yes, you can talk well about the stuff you know — oil drilling, energy, etc. — but beyond your comfort zone, you fall back on bumper-sticker language that sounds fine to the people who already agree with you but is useless in winning over skeptics.

President Bush had the same problem you do, which is why there’s a hunger for Republicans who can effectively articulate and sell our policies and philosophy. That’s why the wonks have the upper hand. Mitt Romney, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, and other hands-on types are what the party wants and, frankly, needs.

Note that the emphasis is on articulating and selling, not on understanding and implementing. But even if Jonah still doesn’t believe that the reality of policy is important, at least he now accepts that the electorate does and thinks that Republicans should put forward candidates who at least give the appearance of understanding this reality.

I think that represents some kind of progress.

John Cole: Just Weird

For those of you who have not seen Palin’s presser, here it is via Paddy via Taylor Marsh at the Political Carnival:

That was rambling and disjointed even by Palin’s low standards. When I was watching it, it reminded me of a COPS episode, when they are are talking to a guy accused of stealing aerosol paint from a hardware store, and the guy swears he didn’t steal any paint, and yes it is all just a big coincidence that he has a circle of silver paint around his mouth and nose, and yes, it is an even bigger coincidence that there is a paper bag with silver paint in it and no he has no idea why there are empty silver cans of paint in the bag seat of his car and oh, hey, by the way, do you have a light, buddy, and better yet do you gotta smoke?

It was manic. I have no idea what is going on, but this was just bizarre. And what makes me even more convinced she is just done, we have this:

If Palin wants to run in 2012, why not do exactly what she announced today? It’s an enormous gamble – but it could be a shrewd one.

After all, she’s freeing herself from the duties of the governorship. Now she can do her book, give speeches, travel the country and the world, campaign for others, meet people, get more educated on the issues – and without being criticized for neglecting her duties in Alaska. I suppose she’ll take a hit for leaving the governorship early – but how much of one? She’s probably accomplished most of what she was going to get done as governor, and is leaving a sympatico lieutenant governor in charge.

And haven’t conservatives been lamenting the lack of a national leader? Well, now she’ll try to be that. She may not succeed. Everything rests on her talents, and on her performance. She’ll be under intense and hostile scrutiny, and she’ll have to perform well.

All in all, it’s going to be a high-wire act. The odds are against her pulling it off. But I wouldn’t bet against it.

That was Bill Kristol, and that is as good as a kiss of death.

All sorts of speculation going on, but who knows? I’ve never understood her to begin with, I won’t begin to try now.

hilzoy: There's Something About This I Just Don't Understand ...

Anderson Cooper interviewed Sarah Palin's spokesperson tonight. He asked what Sarah Palin would be doing next. Here's her answer:

"STAPLETON: OH, everything under the sun that you can possibly think of.

And what she has said and what she did say in her speech was, just alone, getting out there and working with candidates and for candidates to get the right people in office who have those same ideas and ideals, and energy independence and who will work for stronger national security and more support for..."

I see. Sarah Palin resigned as Governor so that she could help people who share her "ideas and ideals" get elected to political office. Maybe if she works really hard at it, she could even get one of them elected governor.

Oh, wait ...

Dougj: Crazy like on Fox

It’s time to face the awful truth: the right-wing blogosphere’s reaction to Sarah Palin’s resignation has been disappointingly sane. There are two notable exceptions, however. First, we have Atlas Shrugs:

6:40 pm: The diseased and utterly morally left at work again (I talked of this very evil here, earlier this week) – photoshopping Palin family pictures here. Do you believe this represents America? (hat tip Dave)

Bear in mind, this is not the first time they have made fun of and photoshopped Trig. And these are not fringe blogs. These are some of the biggest blogs in the left wing blogosphere. (Wonkette, Tbogg, Firedoglake etc.)


4:30 pm: My take? If Palin is anything like I think she is (know she is), Obama’s treasonous presidency is responsible for this. She, like all patriotic Americans, is shocked by what is happening. Obama is destroying this country. She knows it. We all know it. We need a leader. She is answering our call.

She did not quit. She is going to get into the fight to save America. Watch what happens.

This is a pitch perfect example of post-wingnuttery in that it stirs up all kinds of images but makes no actual sense.

And here’s Mary Matalin (via via):

Ms. Matalin joked that despite her own initial inside-the-Beltway reaction of surprise, shoppers at her local WalMart in the Shenandoah would be whooping “hoo-rahs” because of Ms. Palin’s continued popularity among conservative voters.

These are probably the same whooping “hoo-rahs” I heard in my predominantly Democratic neighborhood when Eliot Spitzer resigned.

Kurtz (TPM): Go Crazy, Folks

We've rounded up the Top 10 Sarah Palin videos we've posted on the site since her selection as McCain's veep last year. These are the most-viewed clips of her stumbles and bumbles and of the coverage surrounding her -- in all their viral loveliness.

Kurtz (TPM): From Crazy to Shrewd In One Hour

At 4:06 ET, when news first broke that Sarah Palin was resigning the governorship, Fox News got Palin's Svengali, Bill Kristol, on phone who said he was "real surprised" by the decision. "[Y]ou know when I first heard it I thought that's a little crazy, giving up the governorship for a year and a half," Kristol told viewers.

What a difference an hour makes.

At 5:06 ET, Kristol posted on the Weekly Standard website: "If Palin wants to run in 2012, why not do exactly what she announced today? It's an enormous gamble - but it could be a shrewd one."

Is it a huge gamble or a shrewd move? Kristol leaves himself a big out there.

Late Update: Fox is coming around, too. A little while ago, Stuart Varney said, "Let's get back to this resignation," before pausing to correct himself. "Not the resignation but stepping aside from the governorship."

Josh Marshall (TPM): Surreality Only Beginning

As David noted below, many commentators have taken little more than an hour to proceed from slack-jawed bewilderment to belief that Sarah Palin's unexplained resignation may be a political masterstroke.

For the moment there's no clear evidence of or explanation for some massive political or scandal bombshell that would have driven Palin from office. And it can be difficult not to allow the preposterous to become credible when many supposedly rational people are saying it.

But logic and common sense seldom fail as a guide to understanding politics. And the idea that Gov. Palin just up and decided for no reason in particular to resign her office little more than half way through her term, with a hastily assembled press conference and a rambling and histrionic speech, is just too silly for serious consideration. Another sign of the confusion on the inside are the comments reporters are getting from supposed Palin insiders. Palin insiders told Andrew Mitchell that Palin was "out of politics for good." But she told the Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association that she's resigning to campaign for more candidates in the continental US, work on her book, all with an eye to gearing up for her run for president in 2012. Call me cynical but it seems hard to reconcile those two explanations.

As with her speech itself, the tell is that the decision was apparently so rushed and sudden that there was not enough time to come up with a plausible cover story or to get out the word about what it was.

It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Either Palin is resigning ahead of some titanic scandal (which should emerge in short order if it exists) or her resignation was triggered by an even more extreme mental instability than we'd previously suspected.

Kurtz (TPM): No Quit in the Hagiographers


Rod Dreher, Dallas Morning News, Sept. 7, 2008:

She's a fighter, this one. And worth fighting for. Come what may in November, we now know what the future of the GOP and the conservative movement looks like.

Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 4, 2008:

Sarah Palin may come from the backwoods of Alaska, but she has the heart of a street fighter.

Jim Wooten, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sept. 3, 2008:

Republicans want a fighter. I do believe they have one in Gov. Sarah Palin.


David Brody, CBN, today:

Oh and by the way, the last time I checked, her nickname is "Sarah Barracuda." Palin is a fighter.

Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton, quoted by the AP, today:

Palin remaining as governor is not good for Alaska, given the "political bloodsport" by her critics, Stapleton said. Stepping down is a "fighter's move," Stapleton said, essentially Palin stepping around political barriers in her way and pursuing her vision.

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