Monday, July 6, 2009

Palin Agonistes

The NY Times can't seem to find conservative op-ed writers, other than Brooks, who can "think" outside of their reality-challenged bubble. Please note that "think" is in quotes, because the word does not have a reliable definition in this instance.
Dougj: Poor Palin

If you haven’t read Douthat’s song of Sarah in today’s Times, you’re in for a real treat. He blames Letterman and comes up with this doozy:

But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

This ideal has had a tough 10 months. It’s been tarnished by Palin herself, obviously. With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues, she’s botched an essential democratic role — the ordinary citizen who takes on the elites, the up-by-your-bootstraps role embodied by politicians from Andrew Jackson down to Harry Truman.


Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.

But her unhappy sojourn on the national stage has had a different moral: Don’t even think about it.

For now, let’s put aside the fact that Andrew Jackson was a successful general before running for president and the fact that Harry Truman had served in various public offices for 20 years before becoming president. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who can tell you what papers they read. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who don’t wink their way through job interviews. There are plenty of ordinary Americans who don’t sound like computer-generated speech.

Nothing annoys me more than the conservative myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be a moron. Although it’s probably just a corollary of the myth that to be an ordinary American you have to be conservative.

  • here's the guy Douthat replaced at the Times:

    Think Progress: The ‘Kristol Ball’ plots Palin’s long-shot path to the White House.

    This morning on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol reaffirmed his “contrarian” take on Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) recent decision to quit. The “Kristol Ball” argued that Palin is now “all in” for a “high risk” presidential run. Depending on her “talents and abilities” Kristol used a strained comparison to President Obama to lay out Palin’s winding road to the White House:

    KRISTOL: Everyone said [Obama couldn't] compete with people with these long records. … He seems to have gotten President. I don’t think it is foolish for Palin to think, “You know what, if that’s the world we live in now where people don’t value — maybe correctly — experience in years of experience in Washington, or two terms counts more than two and half years as Governor of Alaska. Maybe she thinks she gets out there and becomes a leader of the conservative movement, and then a leader of the Republican Party, and then conceivably a nominee of the Republican Party, and then conceivably a president just as Obama did.

    Watch it:

    Kristol has been particularly unreliable as of late, and has been extremely poor in predicting the likely success of would-be presidential candidates. In 2006, he declared that “Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single democratic primary.” Earlier in the program, Karl Rove expressed a less charitable view than that of Kristol, saying, “[E]ffective strategies in politics are ones that are so clear and obvious that people can grasp it. It is not clear what her strategy is.”

  • Yglesias: In Defense of Neo-Con Bashing

    Greg Djerejian offers up something of a mea culpa and something of a defense against Jeff Weintraub’s charge of “rather tiresome ritual ‘neocon’-bashing which is becoming too much of a reflex in some quarters.”

    It’s actually true that neocon bashing is a bit on the tiresome side. That said, I think it really has to be understood as a vital social necessity. Adherents of a deranged and sociopoathic “neocon” conception of America’s role in the world continue to be tremendously influential in our society. They have columns at The Washington Post and dominate the foreign policy coverage on Fox News. They have The Weekly Standard and Commentary and a healthy slice of The New Republic. And most important, as best as anyone can tell their ideas remain utterly dominant in the Republican Party. Their intra-party critics like Colin Powell, rather than winning intra-party arguments seem to be simply drifting out of the GOP coalition.

    This is a dangerous situation. In the United States, the opposition party is always one ill-timed recession or political scandal from taking power. So a set of ideas that dominates one such party is something you need to keep a watchful eye on, no matter how marginalized that party may seem at any particular moment.

Paul Begala: Sarah Palin Turns Pro

I wish Hunter S. Thompson had lived to see this.

As Hunter said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Sarah Palin makes Mark Foley, the congressman who sent filthy emails to pages look almost normal. She makes David Vitter, the senator who was hanging out with hookers, look almost boring. She makes Larry Craig, caught hitting on a cop in a men's room, look almost stable. She makes John Ensign, the senator who was having an affair with a staffer, look almost humdrum (and compared to the rest of the GOP whack-jobs, he is). And she makes Mark Sanford, the governor with the Latin lover, look positively predictable.

It was an almost impossible mission, but in resigning from office with 17 months to go in her first term, Sarah Palin has made herself the bull goose loony of the GOP.

Let's stipulate that if there is some heretofore unknown personal, medical or family crisis, this was the right move. But Gov. Palin didn't say anything like that. Her statement was incoherent, bizarre and juvenile. The text, as posted on Gov. Palin's official website (here), uses 2,549 words and 18 exclamation points. Lincoln freed the slaves with 719 words and nary an exclamation; Mr. Jefferson declared our independence in 1,322 words and, again, no exclamation points. Nixon resigned the presidency in 1,796 words -- still no exclamation points. Gov. Palin capitalized words at random - whole words, like "TO," "HELP," and "AND," and the first letter of "Troops."

Gov. Palin's official announcement that she is resigning as chief executive of the great state of Alaska had all the depth and gravitas of a 13-year-old's review of the Jonas Brothers' album on Facebook. She even quoted her parents' refrigerator magnet. (Note to self: if one of my kids becomes governor, throw away the refrigerator magnet that says: "Murray's Oyster Bar: We Shuck Em, You Suck Em!") She put her son's name in quotations marks. Why? Who knows. She writes, "I promised efficiencies and effectiveness!?" Was she exclaiming or questioning? I get it: both! And I don't even know what to make of a sentence that reads:

*((Gotta put First Things First))*

Ponder the fact that Rupert Murdoch's Harper Collins publishing house is paying this, umm, writer $11 million for a book. Ponder that and say a prayer for Ms. Palin's editor.

I'm no latter-day Strunk & White, just a guy who was struck by Palin's spectacularly rambling and infantile prose. It bespeaks a rambling and infantile mind. But perhaps not. Perhaps this is all a ruse. Perhaps Gov. Palin wants us to believe she's an intellectual featherweight who is slightly shallower than an actor on High School Musical. Maybe she's trying to throw us off the trail.

Naah. A lot of people thought that about George W. Bush. He couldn't be so block-headed, they said. He couldn't be as childish and churlish as he came off. Oh yes he could. And so, too, might Ms. Palin be as vapid and puerile as her inane statement suggests.

We will know. In the fullness of time (and I predict, not much time) we will know. Again and again in her statement, Gov. Palin returned to the nettlesome ethics inquiries that have been visited upon her since she signed on to be John McCain's running mate. No doubt they are annoying. But does anyone believe that's why she's resigning? No, there's more to this story. And Ms. Palin's resignation only increases the chances that we will all know the rest of the story soon. Or, as she might put it:

We will all KNOW the "rest of the Story" *((SOON!))*

digby: Tea Service
I hate to say it, because it's so pathetic, but the tea party movement is actually finding a coherent theme that may just resonate over time, even though it is a perfect example of the rubes being useful idiots for the aristocrats:

Concerned about taxes, bailouts, government "pork," and rising deficits, thousands of Americans will spill out in cities from Atlanta to San Francisco this weekend, as part of a "Tea Party" movement that began earlier this year in protest of the economic stimulus bill.

The recent NY Times poll showed that by far the most important issue to Americans at the moment is the economy, followed by jobs and health care. Unfortunately, the problem with the economy isn't defined and neither is the solution, so the teabag message may very well speak to that broad concern for a lot of people.

But what's interesting is the the melding of the traditional populist messages with the usual elite obsessions with deficits. The bailouts have made that work and it could be quite potent if they can find a way to market it right. If the right can successfully meld concerns with bailouts for the rich with concerns for deficits --- which is actually another bailout for the rich --- they will have a message that serves their purposes grandly. They can blame the Democrats for failing to restore the economy by serving the wealthy (which, frankly, is true, but no less true of them, of course) while at the same time putting in place all the pieces necessary for their successors to also serve the wealthy. If they can wrap it up in a down home, grassroots "movement" package, all the better.

Update: There were lots of signs against cap and trade, as if any of these people have the slightest clue what that means to them or why they should care. Like other obscure pet wingnut slogans such as "tort reform" and "secret ballot," this one seems to have really captured their imagination.

And then there's this funny person who apparently thinks he's really getting off a zinger:

It's possible that it's an ironic infiltrator, but I doubt it. These people really do believe Sweden is a hellhole.

Update: Apparently, this lovely stuff was also heavily featured again, so it looks like we're in no danger of having the teabaggers being taken too seriously any time soon.

  • Duval GOP In Controversy Over Obama/Hitler Comparisons At Tea Party

    The Republican Party of Duval County is backing away from their promotion of an event that featured numerous controversial comparisons of President Barack Obama with German Dictator Adolf Hitler. The event, a Tea Party held at the Jacksonville Landing on July 2, was organized by the First Coast Tea Party. However, the Duval County Republican Party promoted the event with e-mails that stated “Paid by Republican Party of Duval County.” Duval Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry also broadcasted live from the event on the party’s weekly radio broadcast hosted by AM 1320.

    The event, which was attended by Florida State Representatives Lake Ray, Charles McBurney and Mike Weinstein and Florida State Senator Stephen Wise, drew about 1,000 people to the Jacksonville Landing. Local party officials were on stage, along with numerous members of the Jacksonville business community, including Jay Fant of First Guaranty Bank.

    While partisan rhetoric at any rally is expected, controversy has arisen over numerous signs that were prominently displayed at the gathering, including two that featured Barack Obama in Nazi garb. One sign, in fact, had altered Obama’s appearance to resemble Hitler. Other signs compared ACORN, the community organizing group accused of voter registration irregularities, with the SS—the Nazi organization responsible for enacting the Holocaust and the group responsible for most of the crimes against humanity committed by the Third Reich.

    Several local GOP activists privately expressed shock that elected officials would be seen at any event that featured comparisons of Obama with Hitler. What surprised some of them the most; however, was the fact that the Duval County Republican Party would feature pictures from the event—complete with Obama/Hitler comparisons—on their Facebook fan page.

    While the party has stated that they did not officially “plan” the event, the fact that they heavily promoted it and featured the controversial pictures on their website, has left them open to the ensuing controversy.

Attaturk: F(l)AIL
Truly, it Never Gets Old

I was in St. Louis over the 4th with a couple of friends about a block west of the arch. The hotel was as congested as could be. But there was one individual I noticed as the various guests took advantage of the free breakfast gruel.

A solitary person wearing a blue t-shirt that said "Tea Party Patriot." I know this will come as a shock, but she was easily in her 60s and white. Try not to fall over in surprise. The next day, the friend I was with noted that the same person was there again showing off her vast wardrobe -- as the "Tea Party Patriot" shirt was red.

This was supposed to be the big "Tea Bagging --the other ball" and she was the one and only person I saw.

And loneliness was de rigueur (ooh, look French) all over the place.
  • It was more than the heat that had people hot under the collar this Independence Day at Southfork Ranch...Organizers billed the gathering as the largest tea party in the nation, saying crowds could reach 50,000...
  • As the event kicked off at 3 p.m., only a smattering of people had gathered in the grassy field in front of the stage.
Oh well, there's always flag day (or apparently, April 20th), maybe they can get J.R. Ewing to show up?


    Duval County Republican Executive Committee (DCREC) Chairman Lenny Curry issued the following statement today in response to a blog-generated controversy regarding the DCREC’s role in the First Coast Tea Party held on July 2nd.

    A few people who attended the Tea Party carried signs which compared Barack Obama to Hitler and suggested his policies were fascist in nature. Among the hundreds of photos of the event posted to the Duval GOP’s facebook, three included pictures of those individuals and their offensive signs.

    A local blogger, Abel Harding of JaxPoliticsOnline, created a post which seemed to suggest that the Duval Republican Party had sponsored or paid for the event (they had not) and that those elected official and party leader who attended were somehow directly endorsing the homemade signs held by a few extreme individuals.

    Chairman Lenny Curry’s full statement on the matter follows:

    “The DCREC had no role in the planning, organization, agenda, invitees, or speakers at the Tea Party. The DCREC merely used its extensive e-mail list to help promote awareness and participation in the event as a service to its members. The DCREC’s e-mail included a “paid for” disclaimer which is required by state law regarding political communications. That disclaimer accompanies all of our communications and did not concern sponsorship of the event in question mentioned in the e-mail.

    The DCREC does not condone racism or anti-Semitism in any form or fashion. While these types of behavior occur in small numbers — and which are present in all political parties and cross all socio-economic lines - they should not, will not, and are not tolerated by the DCREC.

    Unfortunately a few agenda-driven bloggers have taken the actions of a few individuals holding controversial signs who were present at the Tea Party and construed them to represent the views and beliefs of myself, elected officials present at the Tea Party, the DCREC, Tea Party organizers, and the thousand or so honest, hard-working people who were in attendance at the Tea Party.

    I believe Tea Party officials made the right choice in not bringing further attention to those few people in attendance holding inappropriate signs by forcing them to leave or to put their signs away. Refusing them entry into this event or calling them out for their ridiculous signs would have given them a larger platform than they deserve.

    As the philosopher Voltaire once said, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.’ I believe in this principle and I support the actions of the Tea Party organizers for allowing Free Speech to prevail.

    Like most Republicans and concerned Americans, I don’t have a problem with Barack Obama or the Democrat party; we have a problem with their policies and the tax and spend ways with which the Democrats are leading our country. Our children’s future is one saddled with debt, a growing federal bureaucracy, and out of control government spending. While our party has responsibility for some of these conditions, remaining quiet about them now because we had a role in the past would be short-sighted and foolhardy.

    As with most of my fellow Americans at the Tea Party, we wish to see a brighter day for America that includes fiscal restraint, and a smaller but more responsive government.

    I regret that a few political opportunists have taken an event with an important message and attempted to muddle that message with lies and false charges.
    The Duval County Republican Executive Committee is open and inclusive to all Americans who share our vision without regard to race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We have too many important issues to address to become bogged down in false charges made by a few rabble rousers.

    My door remains open to those who wish to discuss the important issues of the day based on facts and good ideas.”

  2. Lenny Curry has balls!

  3. Like a wounded animal, Liberal attack when threatened or wounded. Olbermann and the rest of these Liberal blogs ARE LIARS.

    The "Paid For" at the bottom of the email is required by state law on all correspondence from a political party. They emailed a notification of the tea party happening not financially supporting it.

    Lets face it liberals your scarred, your president is loosing approval and your policies down right stink.

    Rock them back on their attack mode heels Mr. Curry. Good job!

    If i were you liberals I would focus on getting ready for 2010 and 2012 because the Republican are coming and we are going to take this country back.

    BTW: Thank you Mr. Obama for helping promote the Republican party, you have done more to help us then Bush did over the last 8 years.