Monday, November 23, 2009

Standing in line, passing the time.

This video is surprisingly interesting. Really - they support her but they don't know why. And a lot of the things they "know" aren't true. Not that a similar set of interviews of people standing in line for many a politician would be a lot different. But I stood in line to attend an Obama rally in Harrisonburg, VA, and the people in that line were very well informed about the issues.

Sully: The Kate Gosselin Of Politics

A reader writes:

I disagree with your reader who says Palin is a bullshitter. I kind of like bullshitters. I consider someone like Bill Clinton to be a bullshitter. Kind of smooth, kind of full of one's self. In my mind, Palin is a disturbed individual who does not live in a world where truth as a concept is relevant or even extant. She is wholly a creation of the media because she has a sexy quality to her good looks (especially in an industry - politics - that has few beauties). Her only cleverness is that she uses her child with Down's Syndrome as the entire basis of her being as a politician. Sorry to put it so crudely, but that is the thing that the hard right loves about her. (In fact, she recounts how she considered abortion but decided against it. As a mother, I find that little story so disgusting. Why would a mother ever openly discuss that they thought about aborting her child? Or her defender, Bernie Goldberg, implying that a liberal would abort a Down's Syndrome child. Even more disgusting.)

Some people who are not on the hard right like her for other reasons - especially because she is a working mother of five. They relate to her, and I think that is valid.

What is missing is that she has no substance. She is an empty vessel. In our reality show, 24-hour news cycle world, one can be an empty vessel and still be wildly popular as a reality star, a politician, or whatever. No one questions beyond the surface, and indeed it is politically incorrect to even imply that she is not bright. If you are Kate Gosselin, then I have no problem with you being wildly popular and stupid (not that Kate is stupid). If you want to lead my country, then I do have problems with you being popular and stupid. (And, honestly, I am sick to no end of having leaders that are so dumb that the stock observation made about them is that they are not as dumb as we think.)

So, for anyone who thinks you or others are wasting their time dissecting this woman and her "views," then I have one number for them. 46. That is the percentage of voters that wanted Sarah Palin to be President of the United States. What would that number be today? With a media that has gone nearly wholesale against Obama, with a progressive movement that is enabling Palinites through relentless and often self-righteous fault-finding, with an almost silent group of Obama defenders, with a reality show obsessed culture, it is plausible that the 46 % could add the paltry 5% it needs to rule the world.

Doesn't that chill you to the bone?

Martha Stewart has some harsh words for `Dangerous`Sarah Palin

Palin Getting Middle East Policy Advice from Billy and Franklin Graham

Sarah Palin recently explained that Israel’s illegal settlements should be expanded “because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead.” In my own critique of that statement I focused on the weird theory that population growth requires territorial expansion (almost every country’s population is growing, after all) but she also seemed to articulate the view that Jewish immigration to Israel is about to accelerate. I wrote that off as possibly poor wording, but Jeffrey Goldberg had some questions:

“More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel”? Who, exactly? Is this her analysis of Jewish demography? Is there a sudden upsurge in Zionist sentiment among American Jews, the only sizable Jewish community left outside of Israel? Or is this an indication that Palin buys into creepy End-Times thinking, in which the ingathering of the Jews, and their mass death, presage the return of Christ? Inquiring minds want to know.

This story about Palin’s meeting with Billy and Franklin Graham tends to bolster the End-Times possibility:

The former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate told Billy Graham about how she came to faith in God as a girl in Bible camp.

She quizzed him on the presidents he’s known and wanted his take on what the Bible says about Israel, Iran and Iraq, Franklin Graham reported.

I don’t want to make too big a deal about this, but given the tendency of U.S. politicians to avowedly claim religious grounding for their political beliefs I do think somewhat more scrutiny needs to be given to the issue of the extent to which evangelical figures are letting their policy views be driven by apocalyptic scenarios. John Hagee of Christians United for Israel, for example, supports preventive military strikes on Iran that he believes will lead to Israel’s destruction at the hands of a Russo-Arab alliance.

At any rate, Franklin Graham’s views on the subject are clear and disturbing:

In case there was any doubt left about evangelical views of Islam, Billy Graham’s son, the Rev Franklin Graham, stated that Islam “is a very evil and wicked religion.” […]

Yet the millennialist Christian beliefs and goals differ not only from those of mainstream Israelis, they also differ starkly from the goals of even the most militant Israeli expansionists. Fundamentalist Christians believe that the Jews will either convert to Christianity or perish in the end times. Hence the Middle East peace plan suggested by Rev Franklin Graham, Billy’s son: Muslims and Jews alike should try “surrendering their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and having their hearts changed by the Holy Spirit.”

Unfortunately, the government of Israel seems intent on pursuing a path that’s bound to over time alienate the liberal majority among diaspora Jews and instead leave it more dependent on these kind of people.

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