Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An aging Tina Fey impersonator

QOTD, Greg Sargent, finds men thinking with their little buddy:
One other suggestive finding: Palin has significantly higher favorability ratings among men (48%) than among women (39%), and only a third of women think she’s qualified to be the first female president.
QOTD2, Anne Laurie:
The Sarah cut-n-pasting a word salad of political talking points and half-remembered celebrity tropes, seasoned with pageant-queen nods and tics, was not a politician or a writer or even an entertaining racouneur—she was a silly, self-involved, aging Tina Fey impersonator.
DougJ: Shadoobie Shaddegg

Obviously, we can’t hold Congressmen to the same high standards as late night comedians:

On the House floor last night, Media Matters points out, Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) made his case against holding trials for 9/11 suspects in New York City, directing a question to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I saw the mayor of New York said today, ‘We’re tough. We can do it.’ Well, Mayor, how are you going to feel when it’s your daughter that’s kidnapped at school by a terrorist?” Shadegg said.

I’m kind of surprised they haven’t used the “if it was your child strapped to that ticking bomb” argument in favor of torture more, to be honest with you.

  • Atrios adds, Grand Old PantsPoopers: There was always a duality to the Republican chest-thumping, but I'm actually missing the days when they all had fantasies of personally thwarting major terrorist attacks with their cheetoguns. Now it's all WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH.
Smooth Like Remy: "I Don't Care About The Constitution"
Bill O'Reilly finally says what and other right wingers really think about our Constitution.

The more these dumbasses rail against putting KSM and other terrorists on trial here in federal court, the more they are going to reveal the venal cowards that they really are. It will be interesting to see if Bill O'Reilly tries to walk back his denouncement of the document that he and his cohorts claim to be upholding the values of night after night.

Think Progress: ‘Teabagger’ was an Oxford Word of the Year finalist.

In February, when conservatives began protesting against President Obama with tea parties, the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel photographed a protester carrying a sign that declared, “tea bag the liberal Dems before they tea bag you!!” Soon after, the term “tea bagger” became a ubiquitous and often derogatory handle for right-wing protesters. Now, Mediaite reports that the term “teabagger” was a finalist in consideration to be the New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year:

In a press release touting “unfriend” as the word of the year, the New Oxford American Dictionary may have unwittingly made a more controversial move than the New Oxford American Dictionary pretty much ever does.

No, it wasn’t another cutesy tech neologism: they included “teabagger” as one of their Word of the Year finalists.

According to the release, they define “teabagger” as “a person who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as ‘Tea Party’ protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773).”

Richard Cohen:

Finally, the Institute for the Study of Sarah Palin will mull what she represents. She has a phenomenal favorability rating among Republicans -- 76 percent -- who have a quite irrational belief that she would not make such a bad president. What they mean is that she will act out their resentments -- take an ax to the people and institutions they hate. The Palin Movement is fueled by high-octane bile, and it is worth watching and studying for these reasons alone.

It may be asking too much of Bush to put his money into something useful instead of the standard presidential monument of self-aggrandizement. This, though, is his chance: Study Sarah Palin. If she's a comer, then we're all goners.

Eugene Robinson:

No force on Earth can stop Sarah Palin from becoming our very own "lite" version of Eva Perón -- a glamorous and tragic legend, minus the tragedy. Eventually, some clever composer will write a blockbuster musical about her life and times. Stage directions will include: "SARAH fires gun. MOOSE dies." [...]

True believers will not mind. Palin's unconventional trajectory and unkempt mind are seen as authentic, in the sense that we all know people who've had ups and downs in their lives and who couldn't point to Kazakhstan on a map. Her success to date represents a triumph of authenticity over accomplishment. In the final analysis, I believe, that's not enough to make her president. But others seeking the 2012 Republican nomination underestimate her at their peril.

Toward the end of her life, Eva Perón gave a famous speech in which she vowed, "I will return, and I will be millions!" Sarah Palin, our Evita, has returned -- and she will make millions.

Another political gamble for Palin Nov. 16: Rachel Maddow reviews highlights of Sarah Palin's interview on "Oprah" in the context of the half-term governor's political trajectory.
Sully: The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin XI, Ctd: Asking The Girls

This topic has come up before, and is, in fact, Odd Lie XI. But in the unedited version of the Oprah love-fest, we get yet another version of the story about her asking her children if she should run for vice-president. Here's her latest statement broadcast today:

"This time, there wasn't a family vote. Other steps in my political life, I've polled the kids, and I have abided by some of the results of the polls that the kids have partaken in. This time, no."

This is what she said last fall:

"It was a time of asking the girls to vote on it, anyway. And they voted unanimously, yes. Didn't bother asking my son because, you know, he's going to be off doing his thing anyway, so he wouldn't be so impacted by, at least, the campaign period here. So ask the girls what they thought and they're like, absolutely. Let's do this, mom."

I just want to reiterate the details of the first story. We even find the result of the girls' vote: it was unanimous. And we discover that Track was not polled. But none of this happened at all.

This is not a faulty memory, since the event took place very soon before her first lie about it. And a year later, her memory remembers the truth. So it was a delusional fantasy, or something she thought sounded cool, and had done on previous occasions, so she said it because she figured no one would ever know the truth, so why not make it up?

It was demonstrably untrue at the time, mind you, because we had a contemporaneous document giving a full history of events which proved that logically she had to be lying. And no one in the media, apart from the Dish, ever called her on it.

This is why I will not relent. A person who could have been president told lie after lie after lie in a campaign and the media simply let the fantasies stand. We have no way of knowing what is true or false in her series of statements, and she is never questioned by the media to get at these endless inconsistencies and untruths. Since when does a politician get away with this? And what does it say about our democracy if she can?

Think Progress: Sarah Palin Rejects GOP Senate Candidate Mark Kirk’s Plea For An Endorsement

Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a candidate for Senate in 2010, wrote a memo to Sarah Palin requesting that she endorse him during her visit to Chicago for the Oprah Winfrey Show. The Post noted that “Palin’s endorsement [of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman] helped force state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) from the race” in the NY-23 special election, and that Kirk’s memo is “tangible evidence of the power of Palin’s endorsement in a Republican primary.”

The memo is also tangible evidence of Kirk’s willingness to dramatically switch positions in order to gain political power. Last year, Kirk panned Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) selection of Palin as his running mate, telling the Chicago Tribune, “I would have picked someone different.” Asked about Palin’s qualifications for office, Kirk said, “Quite frankly, I don’t know.”

However, it appears that Palin has rejected Kirk’s request for an endorsement. Recently, Kirk told ThinkProgress that he had been expecting her endorsement once she visited Chicago:

TP: How about Sarah Palin? How close are you to getting her endorsement?

KIRK: We sent a memo detailing the race, and she’ll be coming in to Chicago shortly.

Watch it:

However, Palin visited Chicago last week to tape an interview with Winfrey and made no mention of Kirk. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal noted that Kirk was “unsuccessful” in his bid for an endorsement, despite his detailed memo.

Facing a competitive challenge from businessman Patrick Hughes in the Republican primary, Kirk is attempting to veer to the right. After voting in favor of cap-and-trade clean energy legislation during the summer, Kirk quickly changed his mind and told tea party activists that he would vote against the same bill in the Senate. Speaking to another assembly of conservative supporters in April, Kirk suggested that people should shoot Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) for raising taxes.

Sargent: Sarah Palin Tanking Among Moderates, Independents

This isn’t terribly surprising but it’s noteworthy: Whatever successes Sarah Palin is having among Republicans, she’s absolutely tanking among independents and moderates.

The internals of the new ABC News/Washington Post poll find:

* Only 37% of independents think she’s qualified for the presidency, barely more than a third.

* Only 30% of self-described moderates think she’s qualified, less than a third.

* Only 38% of moderates view her favorably, versus 58% who view her unfavorably.

Meanwhile, the new CNN poll finds that only 29% of independents think she’s qualified.

This points to the deepening isolation of Palin Nation — it’s kind of the polling equivalent of her decision to conduct her book tour almost entirely in the Real America.

It also highlights an interesting conundrum she faces as she seeks to maintain a national profile. Palin and her ghostwriters have successfully resorted to the most harsh and lurid attacks on Obama to break through into the national conversation (the death panels being only the most prominent example). But those same tactics are severly complicating her ability to broaden her appeal, to the degree that she even wants to do this in the first place.

One other suggestive finding: Palin has significantly higher favorability ratings among men (48%) than among women (39%), and only a third of women think she’s qualified to be the first female president.

Laurie: Obligatory Sarah Palin

I suspect good progressives are too hip ever to have watched Judging Amy, but the new infotainment-friendly Sarah Palin strikes me as the runaway offspring that Tyne Daly was too embarrassed to tell Amy Brenneman and her siblings about…

Andrew Sullivan complains She wants to be a celebrity, not a politician. And if she could get to be a politician using the prerogatives of a celebrity – and a propaganda channel like Fox News – she would be happy. That’s what’s at stake here – beneath this farce.” Which is a pretty good summary, assuming that the nouns in the second sentence got swapped in the heat of live-blogging: Palin wants to be a celebrity, and was willing to act out what she understood to be a politician’s role to get the prerogatives of celebrity. When Bill Kristol’s Cruise Ship of Fools Neocons breezed into Juneau, Palin had aged out of the beauty-queen pageantry competitions that seem to have been her formative social training, her unwillingness or inability to handle the tedium of actual governance had her underlings trembling on the edge of revolt, and her attempts to reclaim Modern Supermom status on her own or by proxy weren’t going so well. It was… providential!... that Someone should send unto her a Messenger, trailing clouds of astroturfing calculation, proclaiming that Sarah Palin could be chosen to stand among the Elect. For lo, all her life she had been journaling, recording both the firewood-stacking and the prayers that were the Aleph and Omega of her Real American™ small-town red-state life—and at last her determined piety was rewarded! Prosperity Gospel, unbelievers!

For in her latest incarnation, Sarah Palin represents an American stereotype at least as old as the Chatauqua circuit and as new as the American Idol wannabes who get showcased in the early episodes of each new season for their combination of fervent conviction and utter lack of talent. She wishes—she feels entitled—to be Famous, in the way a thirteen-year-old writing fanfiction understands “famous”: Everyone should know her name, and want to be just like her, and love her not for her talents or her achievements but just because she’s Sarah. After all, God wants her to be happy, and how can she be happy if she’s not famous?

I’m not an Oprah watcher, but I think Ms. Winfrey did a pretty good job of undercutting Palin’s “serious” pretentions here. The Sarah cut-n-pasting a word salad of political talking points and half-remembered celebrity tropes, seasoned with pageant-queen nods and tics, was not a politician or a writer or even an entertaining racouneur—she was a silly, self-involved, aging Tina Fey impersonator. Pathetic, and scary.

Think Progress: O’Reilly warns of a coming ‘tax revolt’: ‘Pelosi will be bobbing up and down in the Boston Harbor.’


Glenn Beck had Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on his radio show today to promote their upcoming “Bold & Fresh Tour,” which will take the two right-wing personalities around the country to preach “the truth — straight up, whether you like it or not.” When Beck brought up Dennis Miller’s appearance on the O’Reilly Factor last week — in which Miller warned of a coming “insurrection“– O’Reilly predicted a “tax revolt” that will “get nasty” and end up with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “bobbing up and down in the Boston Harbor.”

BECK: Last week, I head you say that — you were on with Dennis Miller. … You two were talking about an insurrection coming.

O’REILLY: Tax revolt.

BECK: He used the word insurrection. And not in a comedic way.

O’REILLY: Yeah, tax revolt. I think people, when they figure out how badly they’re going to get hurt in the next few years, there’s going to be a tea party on taxes and its gonna get nasty. Nancy Pelosi’s going to be bobbing up and down in the Boston Harbor.

This statement appeared to be too much for Beck even, who replied, “Uh, I don’t think that’s necessary.” Listen here:

It's almost tragic to see what a guy has to do to seek the Republican presidential nomination these days.

In the era of tea-party conservatives, [Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R)] is calculatedly veering to the right. Speaking to the Economist in St. Paul, he recently explained that the Earth might be warming but that it is unclear "to what extent that is the result of natural causes."

Pawlenty obviously knows better. We know he knows better because he has a lengthy, public record on environmental issues that bears no resemblance to his new positions. Lee Fang has a terrific timeline, which makes clear that "over the course of the last three years, Pawlenty has gone from an outspoken proponent of clean energy to a Glenn Beck pandering climate change denier." In late 2006, Pawlenty not only sought to reduce carbon emissions, he even promoted a regional cap-and-trade program. In late 2007, he declared climate change "one of the most important of our time."

That was then. Now Pawlenty opposes his own cap-and-trade plan and claims to question the basics of global warming.

Is winning a primary more important than losing one's self-respect?

Pawlenty was inclined to stay out the special election in New York's 23rd, right up until right-wing bloggers demanded he intervened. He backed the Conservative Party candidate soon after. Pawlenty engaged in grandstanding against ACORN funding that doesn't exist. He validated "death panel" nonsense. He's even dabbled in radical Tenther ideas.

Pawlenty, in other words, still hasn't sought treatment for his Romney-itis. Remember Romney? He was the relatively moderate Republican governor of a reliably "blue" state, who could present himself, with a straight face, as a pragmatic, sane policymaker. That is, until he wanted to be president, and decided to experience some kind of ideological metamorphosis -- sane, moderate pragmatism wouldn't win over the Republican base, so that persona would have to be cast aside. It was painful to watch, and ultimately ineffective.

But that hasn't stopped Pawlenty from trying the identical strategy.

The base demands fealty. Tim Pawlenty hopes to prove to them what a great "leader" he'll be by following their commands and abandoning his own record in the hopes of impressing them.

During the floor debate over health care reform, Rep. John Shadegg (R) of Arizona generated a little attention for himself by bringing a 7-month-old baby to the podium, and pretending to speak on her behalf.

Last night's speech wasn't nearly as adorable. Shadegg spoke from the House floor to rail against a criminal trial for alleged 9/11 conspirators in New York City. In particular, the far-right Arizonan was incensed that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) believes, "It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered."

As Matt Finkelstein reported, Shadegg doesn't see it quite the same way. "I saw the Mayor of New York said today, 'We're tough. We can do it,'" the Republican congressman said. "Well, Mayor, how are you going to feel when it's your daughter that's kidnapped at school by a terrorist? How are you going to feel when it's some clerk -- some innocent clerk of the court -- whose daughter or son is kidnapped? Or the jailer's little brother or little sister?"

As a matter of decency, Shadegg's little tantrum was vile and unnecessary. If Shadegg has a policy argument to make, fine. But openly speculating on the House floor about imaginary kidnappings of the mayor's daughter is loathsome, even by the standards of congressional Republicans.

And while I'm hesitant to offer any kind of substantive response to such transparent nonsense, I can't help but wonder, where has John Shadegg been? Why didn't he pop off like this during any of the other criminal trials against the hundreds of terrorists who've been put through the federal justice system? If this right-wing lawmaker seriously believes court proceedings lead foreign terrorists to kidnap children on American soil, why has Shadegg remained entirely silent on the point over the last couple of decades?

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