Archive for the ‘Sarah Palin’ Category

The Whitewash Convention

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Bill Maher on the Republican Convention Whitewash of the Bush years.

No Bush, no Cheney, no Rumsfeld, no Bachman, John McCain relegated to a short speech out of prime time and Sarah Palin was not only not invited to the convention, but her scheduled appearances on Fox were cancelled as well, leaving her sitting in Alaska whining to the country on Facebook.  

 

 

Game Change, Sarah Palin, and The Republican Party

Sunday, March 18th, 2012


Great interview with John McCain’s 2008 campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, regarding HBO’s Game Change.

Caught the movie last Sunday. Highly Recommended.

I invited a few people over to watch it and one friend skeptically asked: “It’s a movie about Sarah Palin? Is it a comedy?”

I said “No, but it’s about Sarah Palin, so it’s probably funny as hell.”

I actually thought the movie was a sympathetic portrayal of Palin, but sympathetic is not the same as positive. Sarah Palin was a reckless choice, motivated by the imperative to win and the knowledge that winning was impossible with the usual suspects as candidates. Throughout the movie, Palin consistently demonstrates a shocking ignorance of American government, history and foreign affairs. She doesn’t understand how the Federal Reserve works, doesn’t know the difference between North Korea and South Korea, thinks that Saddam Hussein attacked America on 9-11, and believes that the Queen of England directs British foreign policy. Obviously, this is not a portrayal of a woman that would be qualified to become commander in Chief were President John McCain to die in office.

What it is, however, is a portrayal of a woman who has just given birth to a special needs child, has a 17 year old daughter who is pregnant out of wedlock, who is put in the unenviable position of being nominated for a job that she is clearly unqualified for, and is then separated from her family and thrust into the harsh glare of media scrutiny that comes with American presidential campaigns. While the movie chronicles how unprepared she was for the challenge, it also shows the adoring crowds she drew and the heartwarming connections she makes with the families of Down Syndrome children. Similarly, after scenes that show her in a downward spiral, lying on the floor of her hotel in her robe saying, “I miss my baby,” she seems reborn when John McCain brings her to his Sedona ranch to reunite with her family and begin debate prep.

While the movie portrays an erratic, sometimes petty Palin, who often seems more concerned about her own political future than that of John McCain’s, it also shows a woman who has an amazing ability to answer when the bell rings, delivering a great convention speech soon after she is plucked from Alaska, and standing toe to toe with Joe Biden for a Vice Presidential Debate on the national stage. But along with great performances on the national stage, come historic failures as Palin embarrasses herself on national TV in the Katie Couric interviews after she refuses to be coached by Nicole Wallace in the run-up to the interviews. Typical of the Palin we have grown to know over the past three years, she blames Wallace for her own lack of preparation for the interview.

Of course, Palin and her supporters have decried the movie as just another liberal media smear job, and while every movie has it’s own biases, (this one seems like it could have been written by Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace) I haven’t heard any credible refutations of the amazing gaps of knowledge that she exhibits throughout the movie.

Watching the movie was like reliving the campaign for me. I remember all of those moments vividly: Obama at the Brandenburg Gate (hard to believe he did that), the Bridge to Nowhere, the revelations of Todd Palin’s involvement in the Alaska secessionist party (“He checked the wrong box!” she exclaims), Palin’s Convention speech, and perhaps most vividly, when the campaign greenlighted her Bill Ayers attack and Republicans started showing up at McCain events yelling “Obama’s a terrorist!” One of the strongest images of the campaign was the look on John McCain’s face when he took that mic away from the crazy lady when she said that she couldn’t trust Obama, because, “he’s an Arab.”

“This is not the kind of campaign I wanted to run,” McCain says to Steve Schmidt after the event.

Just as vividly, I remember the fierce debates I had with my conservative uncle and other Republican diehards about whether Palin was just as qualified as Obama was for the job. Despite fiercely defending Palin, my uncle has consistently insisted that Obama’s “only qualifications” for President were that “he reads good speeches off of a teleprompter.” I think this movie (and, more importantly, the primary sources it is based on) clears up this debate: Aside from the star power and the hype, Sarah Palin is nothing like Barack Obama. Barack Obama may have had a thin resume, but he sure as hell knew what the Federal Reserve did and that you wouldn’t call the Queen of England to discuss British military policies.

To be fair to Palin, most of the people in the United States do not know what the Federal Reserve does. But “most people” aren’t running for Vice President, either.

More importantly, the Republican defense of Sarah Palin’s ignorance is par for the course in a party that now seems to celebrate ignorance. Somehow, the Republican meme of: the Democrats are a bunch of elitists who want to impose their worldview on youhas morphed into something bordering a distrust of anyone with an education. To cultural conservatives, Sarah Palin was seen as a great example of how intelligence and competence can come from salt of the earth, pro gun, Christian conservatives who didn’t go to elite Ivy League schools. Unfortunately, when measured by the criteria of competence and intelligence, Palin is an epic failure.

As Steve Schmidt notes in the clip above, even more important than her lack of knowledge in 2008, has been her reluctance to do the hard work and homework required to become an effective national leader. Instead of keeping her head down, learning about the issues and emerging as a more substantial candidate for future office, she quit her job and spent the last 3 years enriching herself and her family, becoming a reality TV star and practicing the politics of grievance that she is so adept at. It’s now obvious that Palin was hoping she would be able to use her very effective skills at media manipulation to be nominated for President in 2012 without actually having to run for the nomination. Certainly, we have to give her credit for the manipulating the media for her own ends, but the events chronicled in Game Change and her record over the subsequent three years should end any serious discussion of her as a viable contender for a national position.

I Know There Were Arms Involved…

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

 

…and there were bells too.

I can’t resist posting this one.

I’ve watched it a few times and  I still laugh every time.

As Jon Stewart points out, it’s not so much that Palin regularly puts her foot in her mouth, it’s that she consistetly insists that she’s right and that the media are responsible for the fact that she isn’t, even when we can all see that she’s not, and they aren’t….

Sarah, note to self:

“What have you seen so far and what are you going to take away from your visit” isn’t a “gotcha question.”

Scarborough: Moving Past Right Wing Rhetoric

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Here’s a link to another great Joe Scarborough piece on the Giffords tragedy and his discussion of it this morning.

Scarborough is fast becoming the chief critic of Palin and Glenn Beck in the Republican party, perhaps because of the fact that he is more concerned about the Republican party’s future than he is in saving his own political bacon.

Check this out:

We get it, Sarah Palin. You’re not morally culpable for the tragic shooting in Tucson, Ariz. All of us around the “Morning Joe” table agree, even if we were stunned that you would whine about yourself on Facebook as a shattered family prepared to bury their 9-year-old girl.

The same goes for you, Glenn Beck. You’ve attacked your political opponents with words designed to inspire hatred and mind-bending conspiracy theories from fans. Calling the president a racist, Marxist and fascist may be reprehensible, but it did not lead a mentally disturbed man to take a Glock to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s “Congress on Your Corner” event.

Good on ya, buddy. You weren’t personally responsible for the slaughter at the Safeway. Maybe you can put it on a poster at the next “Talkers” convention.

MEOW!

Later in the article, he makes the point that it’s not only the right thing to do to call out people who engage in this kind of rhetoric, but it’s probably the politically savvy thing to do as well because, while overheated political rhetoric might be a great way to win elections in midterm years,

Presidential-year elections are driven by a completely different demographic. Good luck trying that “Second Amendment remedies” crap on swing voters in the suburbs. It just won’t fly. And neither will the cacophony of crazy talk that has gripped the far right for the past two years.

Nice to know that at least some nationally known Republicans have managed to survive the Obama-Pelosi years with both their brains and integrity intact…  

BTW, The reference Scarborough makes to Bryon Williams and the Tides Foundation is about a guy dressed in body armor who was on his way to shoot up the ACLU and the obscure San Francisco based Tides Foundation last July, but who was stopped by the police for drunk driving and decided instead to take on 10 CHP officers. I wonder where he could have heard about the Tides foundation?

Thoughts on the Giffords Shooting

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Here’s Joe Scarborough on the Gabbrielle Giffords shooting.

The discussion about civility is important, but I connect even more with the personal story of how he and his wife felt when they heard the news.

My response was similar. When I first heard the news, I thought to myself: the thing that we have feared for so long has come to fruition. Sharron Angle’s “2nd Amendment Remedies” have finally caught up with the nation. Watching the video of Giffords talking about how her office window was shattered after her vote on the health care bill  just reinforced that belief:

our office corner has really become an area where the Tea Party movement congregates and the rhetoric is incredibly heated. Not just the calls, but the e-mails, the slurs..things have really gotten spun up.

 

I watched Giffords talk in the interview about how Palin targeted her district with gun crosshairs. Her father was asked after her shooting if she had any enemies and responded “Yes, the entire Tea Party.” All of this just added to the sense that the shooting was a result of the overheated political climate we have seen in this country since Obama was elected. 

As more info came to light, it became clear that the truth was slightly more complicated than that: Jared Loughner had been obsessed with Giffords since 2007; he was not involved with any organized political movement, and the philosophies he espoused didn’t really fit neatly into any of our usual political debates.

Whether or not the overheated rhetoric created a climate that gave Loughner the go ahead in his demented brain to act on his long held feelings may never be known. What is clear, however, is that the discourse has become poisonous, and that we’re lucky that we only have a few broken windows, empty death threats and some swastikas on black congressmen’s signs to show for it.

While people on the left have tried to blame Sarah Palin for the Giffords shooting, others on the right have played the victim, protesting that they and the Tea Party have been falsely accused and that Democrats also used to say mean things about President Bush while he was president. While I understand the basic principle that it’s not nice to say mean things about national leaders, this is clearly a false equivalency. Consider the fact that death threats against Obama after his inauguration spiked by over 400 percent from George Bush levels; or the fact that the last time we had a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President, the doomsday rhetoric was also off the charts, and the result was that someone killed 168 people and blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City.

I don’t mind a good partisan fight, but when you have a whole group of people who believe that the President of the United States is a “secret muslim” Manchurian Candidate… and you have an even bigger group of people who can’t tell the difference between “tyranny” and losing two elections…and those same people have a tendency towards gun fetishes and a heightened sense of victimhood… and they are manipulated into believing that the biggest threat to their “freedom” is giving health care to people, this all adds up to a volatile mix. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to have community and political leaders fan the flames of that fire.

I’m not one to go on a big tirade against Sarah Palin for her ill advised gun crosshairs targeting map. It’s pretty outrageous, but I don’t think it’s worth spending too much time hyperventilating about it. Still, a few basic common sense rules might be in order here: It’s irresponsible to tweet to your supporters (many of whom are gun fetishists with an overwrought sense of victimhood): “Commonsense Conservatives and lovers of America: don’t retreat–Instead RELOAD,” as Sarah Palin did just after health care passed. It’s irresponsible to tell people to come to a rally against Obama’s policies “armed and dangerous” as Michelle Bachman did in 2010. It is way beyond the pale to suggest that if Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama aren’t thrown out of office, people on the Right might have to turn to an armed overthrow of the government, as the Republican’s best funded 2010 Senate candidate did, and if you are tempted to bring your semi-automatic weapon to the protest across the street from where the president’s speaking “because that’s your right,” you might just want to reconsider. 

As Bill Clinton said on the 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing:

What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or reduce our passion from the positions we hold – but that the words we use really do matter, because there’s this vast echo chamber and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike.

So again, this isn’t an argument that all people who sympathise with the Tea Party are violent thugs, or that they shouldn’t fight for what they believe in. It is an argument that, in this charged political environment, leaders have a responsibility to think about the ramifications of what they say before they say it and make their case for a particular policy without resorting to incitement.

My sense of this is that, now that they got their way, some on the right will tone down the rhetoric. It’s my bet that, now that they’ve actually won a national election for the first time in 6 years, the government looks more like the elected representatives of the country than a “tyrannical regime” bent on imposing socialism on the country. But violent rhetoric is a tricky thing. Once you’ve taken that genie out of the bottle, it is hard to get it back in.

We all hope for the best here, but as the events of two weeks ago show, we need to prepare for the worst as well.

Joe Scarborough Rips Sarah Palin

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Finally, a Republican (besides Barbara Bush) stands up to Sarah Palin.

Joe Scarborough, in a scathing opinion piece in Politico (and later on his show), ripped Palin:

Republicans have a problem. The most-talked-about figure in the GOP is a reality show star who cannot be elected. And yet the same leaders who fret that Sarah Palin could devastate their party in 2012 are too scared to say in public what they all complain about in private.

Enough. It’s time for the GOP to man up.

and later:

this is one Republican who would prefer that the former half-term governor promote her reality shows and hawk her books without demeaning the reputations of Presidents Reagan and Bush. These great men dedicated their lives to public service and are too good to be fodder for her gaudy circus sideshow.

If Republicans want to embrace Palin as a cultural icon whose anti-intellectualism fulfills a base political need, then have at it. I suppose it’s cheaper than therapy.

But if the party of Ronald Reagan, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio wants to return to the White House anytime soon, it’s time that Republican leaders started standing up and speaking the truth to Palin.

Here’s a clip from his show where he defends the article:


MEEOOW!

Let the Republican Civil War Begin

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

The cracks in Republican unity are already beginning to show.

Even before the election, Politico reported that the Republican establishment was working to try to find a viable alternative candidate to defeat Sarah Palin in the 2012 primaries for president.

Increasingly, it seems that Palin would have a good shot at the nomination, starting with a win in Evangelical dominated Iowa, followed by a tougher, but not impossible race in New Hampshire, and then another good chance in South Carolina. But John Heilman’s recent piece on how she could actually win the presidency relies on the idea that New York mayor Michael Bloomburg would run, split the electoral college vote and send the election to the House of Representatives (where the Republicans would elect her president, even though she failed to win the election outright). The fact that he needs to rely on so many “ifs” for Palin to win the general election shows how difficult this would be.

Sister Sarah fought back hard on the Politico article, using her favorite Republican tactic of blaming the media, calling out Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen by name and telling them to ”man up.”   The woman’s a treasure.

Meanwhile, another intra-party skirmish has broken out in the wake of the Republicans underperformance in the Senate elections. To be sure, a 6 seat pickup is nothing to scoff at, but there’s a clear case to make that two more Senate seats (in Delaware and Colorado) would have shifted to the Republican column and a plausible case that Sue Lowden could have succeeded in Nevada where Sharron Angle failed, effectively tie-ing up the Senate and elevating Joe Biden’s official role of presiding over the Senate to more than ceremonial duty.

The day after the election, the divide was in full effect, with prominent Republicans Lindsey Graham stating the obvious:

Candidates matter,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “It was a good night for Republicans but it could have been a better one. We left some on the table….If you think what happened in Delaware is ‘a win’ for the Republican Party then we don’t have a snowball’s chance to win the White House,” he said. “If you think Delaware was a wake-up call for Republicans than we have shot at doing well for a long time.”

An anonomously sourced “high-profile” Republican senator was even more direct, saying of Senator Jim DeMint, the biggest supporter of GOP ideological purity, “It’s like you’re on the five-yard line ready to score and the quarterback calls the play and some member of your team tackles one of your members and keeps you from scoring…We came tantalizingly close to a majority.”

Fox talking head Mort Konracke was just as withering, pointing the finger at Palin and DeMint specifically:

The people who got slapped the hardest in this election — besides Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama — are Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin…Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin are responsible for the fact that the Senate did not go Republican. They’re the ones who are responsible for Christine O’Donnell. They’re the ones who are responsible for Joe Miller in Alaska. They’re the ones who are responsible for Ken Buck in Colorado. They’re the ones who are responsible for Sharron Angle in Nevada.

Kondracke also said of Palin,  ”She’s a joke even within her own party. The idea that she would be the presidential nominee is unthinkable.”

The fight between the old country club Republicans and the Tea Party nuts is going to be a fun side show over the next couple of years.

A Grand Unified Theory of Palinisms

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Laugh Out Loud!

Jacob Weisberg on why Sarah Palin says all those stupid and ridiculous things.

Spoiler Alert: I now know what I’m going to get my conservative uncle for Christmas.

WWSD?

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Caught a few minutes of this interview as I was flipping through the channels the other night. Guess we can add Bill O’Reilly to the list of gotcha journalists who ask Sarah trick questions like: if you have so much criticsm, what’s your solution?

This lady is a piece of work. Even keeping with her careful strategy of only appearing on the Republican propaganda channel and at rallies with adoring fans, this “energy expert” is still out of her league when asked anything that deviates from her narrow talking points. 

Can’t believe she was that close to becoming Vice President of the United States