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July 08, 2009

Comments


This was an insightful post right up until this sentence:

"And so the media criticism (even though totally justified) will help her with this activist base"

In particular the: "(even though totally justified)" part.

Other than that it was a great post recognizing the group of people, who feel disenfranchised, that she represents.


I believe the "Plurality takes all primaries" is accurate for the Republican party. So what's wrong with the last sentence?

Good job Publius of helping me understand the crowd that just seems nuts. I think you hit the nail on the head.

This was an insightful post right up until this sentence:

"And so the media criticism (even though totally justified) will help her with this activist base"

In particular the: "(even though totally justified)" part.

Other than that it was a great post recognizing the group

So what sort of media criticism would be totally justified if this criticism isn't?

I do not see why there has been so much media criticism of her decision (the manner of it, yes, but not the decision itself).

Back in the days of the dot.com boom, when computer jobs were plentiful, we used to say to each other, "If it's not fun, why do it." One might stay in a job that paid less than an alternative if one enjoyed it and felt one was making a difference. One might stay in a lower-paying job if one saw the possibility of future advantages. One might stay in a job that paid more than alternatives even if one didn't much enjoy it. But no-one stayed in a lower-paying dead-end job they didn't enjoy.

Some of the criticism has come from academics who have been socialized into the belief that one shouldn't quit in the middle of a semester, and have extrapolated that into not quitting in the middle of an elected term.

It's worth pointing out that, should she intend to run for President in 2012, not running for reelection is perfectly rational. Two reasons:

1. George Allen. Was front-runner for the 2008 nomination, needing only the ceremony; ran for reelection to the Senate, lost and became an unperson.

2. Anyone running in a plurality-take-all situation needs all the friends she can get. She needs to do favours for local officials in lower 48 states: headline fundraisers, appear at rallies. It's difficult to do that in 2010 if at the same time she's running for reelection in Alaska.

Looks like Mark Sanford will survive too, and no doubt his poll numbers will increase with the rank and file.

It doesn't matter who screws who, who breaks into the Watergate, who destroys the foreign policy of the country, who quits her job on an incoherent whim ........... as long as the tax haters hates their taxes more than Publius hates his taxes, which he does not hate sufficiently, making him a person of the Democratic persuasion.

Palin appeals to the lowest common denominator. When Palin and the others somehow diminish themselves so much that THEY fall below the lowest common denominator, the denominator makes itself look smaller and lower so that it can still look up to these stupid, stupid people who lead the cult of nose-picking, ignorant anti-elitist banality.

As Basil Faulty once said: "This is exactly how Nazi Germany got started!"

Except in this case, Poland will be safe, but only because these clowns can't summon the competence for a little organized malignity.

[i]Other than that it was a great post recognizing the group of people, who feel disenfranchised, that she represents.[/i]

Disenfranchised my ass. Every single one of them can vote in as many elections as they want to. Voting does not guarantee that your candidate is going to win, and losing an election is not "disenfranchisement."

I think Palin is dangerous for liberals for the reasons publius discusses. There is a strain of elite opinion in both parties that does lift its nose in the air at the great unwashed and those who presume to speak for them or represent them in some way. So you get posts at HuffPo about Palin being "trailer trash" and lots of ha-ha stuff about her being a ditz, bimbo, hick, etc. That stuff ultimately is self-defeating because it just feeds the sense of paranoid embattlement that people who see themselves in Palin have. "Justified" media and political criticism would be to point out that Palin, for all her undeniable people skills, wouldn't be able to deliver anything tangible at all for the people who look up to her and could in fact make things worse. If we go the HuffPo route, we just throw gasoline on the fire and make Palin's faux-populist appeal even stronger, while ppoiting out how fake the appeal is on the merits makes more sense to me.

In keeping with the "sacred king/queen" concept, you might want to look at this wondrous work posted at I heart Mudflats..Palin’s Bailin’ http://bit.ly/iDLdu

US politics is many things. One of the things which it is, is the continuation of civil war by less violent means. Our nation was born (I'm referring to the political and military conflicts of the 1760s thru the 1790s which ultimately led to US independence from Britain and produced our small-r republican government) in a state of civil war between incompatible cultural, economic and sectarian groups with a pronounced regional distribution. That conflict has waxed and waned depending on circumstances ever since, but the underlying currents of violence and hatred based in deep cultural differences have never entirely gone away.

Since these underlying divisions are almost 400 years old and can be traced back at least as far as the English Civil War and related political struggles in 17th Cen. Britain (see Albion's Seed, or The Cousin's War for details), I don't expect them to go away anytime soon. Until such time as they do, there will always be a place in US politics for figures who take advantage of our deeply imbedded Red/Blue tribalism for careerist purposes. And by that I mean that being a standard bearer against the other tribe is the primary value which they bring to the public sphere, rather than being merely one of the many things which they have to contribute to our political discourse.

To do so is a constant temptation for any national figure in US politics, and a "market niche" (so to speak) which is so powerful that if left unfilled for a brief span of time, inevitably somebody will be drawn to it and the opportunities which it provides to them. We saw how powerful that dynamic is in microcosm during the Democratic primaries last year, when HRC was drawn to the narrative of "hardworking white Americans", perhaps despite her better instincts. The temptation to use these divisions is so strong that it arises even within a single major parties, even in contests where strong policy differences are otherwise lacking.

What this means with regard to soon to be former-Governor Palin is that so long as no other major national figure takes over that role as the premier cultural warrrior for the Red tribe, she will continue to have a viable political career, regardless of what she does or says that may offend or appall everyone else who is not already on her team, because she has tapped into something which is bigger than her and which will not go away.

"So what sort of media criticism would be totally justified if this criticism isn't?"

The question is answered by scott here:

"Justified" media and political criticism would be to point out that Palin, for all her undeniable people skills, wouldn't be able to deliver anything tangible at all for the people who look up to her and could in fact make things worse."

This seems a reasonable and skills based criticism. Thanks scott.

Some of the criticism has come from academics who have been socialized into the belief that one shouldn't quit in the middle of a semester, and have extrapolated that into not quitting in the middle of an elected term.

WTF? I mean, WTF?????

Are you seriously trying to suggest that the great American virtue of sticking to it, not being a quitter, and finishing what you started is primarily generated by college professors? That it did not exist among the Puritans and the Founding Fathers and their European ancestors, but lay inchoate until the modern university system developed in the United States?

If that's not what you mean, then I repeat: WTF?

PS: Out of curiosity - what line of work are you in, in which quitting whenever you feel like it is considered perfectly acceptable behavior?

Back in the days of the dot.com boom, when computer jobs were plentiful, we used to say to each other, "If it's not fun, why do it." One might stay in a job that paid less than an alternative if one enjoyed it and felt one was making a difference. One might stay in a lower-paying job if one saw the possibility of future advantages. One might stay in a job that paid more than alternatives even if one didn't much enjoy it. But no-one stayed in a lower-paying dead-end job they didn't enjoy.

Some would say holding an elected office is a bit different from flipping burgers at McDonalds. That it represents a public trust, and the ethos of public service requires one to fulfill that trust regardless of whether it results in personal satisfaction or not.

Washington clearly stated that he had no desire to be President, that he felt he was not up to the task. Good thing for us he was cognizant of his responsibility and accepted the office upon election anyway.

Scott:

Best-selling treatises have been written by the Republican elite calling into question the native, genetic intelligence quotients of entire groups of folks who vote Democratic.

But an individual ignoramus like Sarah Palin, who has achieved her stupidity and incoherence all on her own, by the sweat of her own empty brow in this great country of ours which rewards the lowest common denominator and turns its nose up at the numerator, can't handle a little criticism because her dumb-ass ideological followers feel a little put-out by some politically-incorrect trash talk?

What are they going to do? Quit their day-jobs as chicken farmers and start loading the numerators into boxcars because the former were too effing stupid to get themselves jobs as elite university professors?

They can bring it on.

Crucifixion? Nah.

She's Esther, all the way. Queen of the Rednecks.

This has been your National Bible Theater.

Nixon in a prom dress.

I guess my only point was that criticizing Palin on the merits (which is a rich, fertile, and almost inexhaustible field) would be preferable to, and more politically successful than, calling her and her supporters a bunch of know-nothing dumbasses. I just thought that telling these folks that Palin can't deliver for them, and we can, would be a better approach than writing them all off and insulting them.

"In a sense, she's Jesus -- she's standing in for them, and being crucified for being true to their cause."

Who doesn't remember Jesus's famous rambling resignation speech?

"It's worth pointing out that, should she intend to run for President in 2012, not running for reelection is perfectly rational."

No one would have blinked at her not running for re-election. It's quitting in the middle of your term for no given reason at all that people blink at.

"Nixon in a prom dress."

That's really grossly unfair to Nixon. He was a lot of bad things, but one consistent thread throughout his political career was his nose-to-the-grindstone persistence. The infamous 1962 "last press conference" aside, he was not a quitter. Far from it. Our nation would have been better off if he had been less persistent and more like Palin in that respect.

"US politics is many things. One of the things which it is, is the continuation of civil war by less violent means."

IMO this is apt.

One observation I'll make about the red state/blue state thing is that, these days, when folks get shot it's usually a liberal taking the bullet.

Another observation I'll make is that respect is a two-way street. And it typically starts with respecting yourself.

I'm sorry if the folks who look up to Palin feel disrespected or marginalized by other folks. But perhaps their outlook would best be improved by losing the chips on their own shoulders.

I have no problem with rural people, people who hunt, chew tobacco, listen to country music, shop at WalMart, or participate in any of the 1,000 other cultural signifiers that we're talking about here.

It's a big world. Whatever floats your boat.

My only issue with them is that they vote for people who suck at governing. Really, truly, absolutely suck.

I wish they'd quit doing that.

That's really grossly unfair to Nixon.

I knew I should have added "(which is really unfair to Nixon)" after my comment.

"But no-one stayed in a lower-paying dead-end job they didn't enjoy."

Those aren't jobs where you asked the public to elect you to a public trust and take a public oath to serve.

Alaskan Oath Of Office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alaska, and that I will faithfully discharge my duties as . . . to the best of my ability." The legislature may prescribe further oaths or affirmations. If you can point out where it says "until it isn't fun any more," I'm sure we'd all find that very educational.

Let's try that again where I don't misspell "blockquote."

"But no-one stayed in a lower-paying dead-end job they didn't enjoy."

Those aren't jobs where you asked the public to elect you to a public trust and take a public oath to serve.

Alaskan Oath Of Office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alaska, and that I will faithfully discharge my duties as . . . to the best of my ability." The legislature may prescribe further oaths or affirmations.
If you can point out where it says "until it isn't fun any more," I'm sure we'd all find that very educational.

I guess my only point was that criticizing Palin on the merits would be preferable to, and more politically successful than, calling her and her supporters a bunch of know-nothing dumbasses.

Do you see a lot of people here who are criticizing Palin but not on the merits? Do you see people here calling her supporters "know nothing dumbasses"?

If you do, please name them. If you don't, why are you talking about these people here? Obsidian Wings does not control the media and does not control any website besides, well, Obsidian Wings. Referring to the behavior of other people that those present have nothing to do with is bizarre and pointless.

I was referring to the language about "dumb-ass ideological followers" and "quitting their day jobs as chicken farmers" above, from Mr. Thullen. I didn't think I was imagining that.

scott, why didn't you simply refer to John Thullen by name and better yet, quote his comment? Why are you trying to obfuscate issues? If you think one person out of the 17 that have commented here said something dumb, address it directly rather than writing vague non-sensical generalities.

My apologies.

Who doesn't remember Jesus's famous rambling resignation speech?

Wins.

Damn, Turb. Why so purturbed?

or perturbed

Actually, Turbulence, I called her supporters "know-nothing dumbasses", so Scott was correct.

And, yes, Scott's politic approach is correct, too.

But, the Republican Party fancies itself the standard-bearer of the meritocracy (as long as it's a privatized meritocracy; smart people shouldn't teach, organize communities or, God forbid, govern.)

Privatize Sarah Palin and other than serving as a glorified figure-head (maybe dressed as an enchilada outside the lousy Mexican food place in Galt-land), who would have her?

FOX? Well, you've (not Turbulence, not Scott, not the good conservatives who reside here and who by and large do not support Palin -- but the small, gnarled gods to whom I rant) got me there.

Yet, the Republican Party's elected leaders by and large seem abysmally stupid, incompetent and narcissistic.

So, I think I can conclude that the common denominator from whence they were vomited and to whom they demagogue consists of largely stupid people, or maybe even stupidly large people.

I'm not interested in being politically correct about this stuff; it's the least I can do to fight the alleged scourge of political correctness in this culture.

What are they going to do? Become bullies in the streets and on the talk shows?

They crossed that line long ago. Screw 'em.

"Some would say holding an elected office is a bit different from flipping burgers at McDonalds. That it represents a public trust, and the ethos of public service requires one to fulfill that trust regardless of whether it results in personal satisfaction or not."

So Hillary Clinton (resigned Senate seat), Baraack Obama(resigned Senate seat), etc. should have stayed in those offices to fulfill the public trust? Two of the last four Governors of Massachusetts resigned to become Amabassadors.

People resign from public offices pretty regularly for public and private reasons. The discussion is just overblown.

"I was referring to the language about "dumb-ass ideological followers" and "quitting their day jobs as chicken farmers" above, from Mr. Thullen. I didn't think I was imagining that."

I enjoy John's comments immensely, but would hestitate to generalize from them to make a broader political point. Lenny Bruce was sui generis, and I think of Thullen's political commentary as belonging to the same realm. IMHO of course. But it seems to me from reading comments here that a sort of special exception to the posting rules regarding diction and the generally civil tone of discussion on this blog has been carved out to make room for John to do what he does, because he is so d*mn funny. That is only my subjective interpretation, which may very well be wrong.

Much of this, with minor changes, could be written about Marion Barry, whose current troubles are unlikely to make him less popular in his ward. (Of course Barry has more past accomplishments.)

While I believe Scott is correct in his overall assessment, one need only look at Bill O'reilly's "War On Christmas" to realize that no actual condescension is needed to trigger the persecution complex.

It's an us-against-them thing, so regardless of the merits of the criticism, if liberals don't like her, that makes her automatically OK.

IMO today's Republican party is motor-less after the crash of the Bush II administration, and is slowly but unerringly grinding to a stop. The political coalition juggernaut that Regan and others built, and which Gingrich capitalized on, has since thrown too may rods, blown too many gaskets, to continue functioning as a reliable vehicle.

Palin may be in (or near) the driving seat, and may be threatening to put her foot on the gas, but the party as a whole is too fractured to continue to operate as a finely-tuned machine and instead is a jalopy with few miles left that is shedding important components along roadway.

I'm not saying that the Republican Party will go away - It will continue to exist in some form. But it will no longer exist as it has for the past 30-odd years. Maybe the bonds between the coalitions assembled by Regan were never that stable. Or maybe the party would still be a juggernaut today if Gingrich had concentrated more on governorship and not ideology, and Bush II and Palin were not the product of that plan - I don't know enough to say how the party fell apart.

But until the Republican party re-emerges in a new form, people, like Palin, who are only shadows of the Republican titans that originally assembled the coalition, will keep clamoring to the top of this momentum-leaking junk pile to claim sovereignty over the few remaining operational parts.

The discussion is just overblown.

Someone should mention this to Palin.

Obama and Clinton left for a "higher calling" that was, at least, tangible.

Palin's higher calling remains shrouded in mystery. She could have diffused a lot of criticism with even a "I have to take care of my family"

Marty, if she were resigning to take a position as president, or secretary of state, or ambassador, no one would be saying anything. Palin's situation is in no way comparable to that. Hell, if she were resigning to take any of a hundred other positions, it wouldn't be treated as something that strange.

The problem is that she's just quitting without any coherent explanation. That's extremely unusual among elected officials, so it's not surprising that's it's being treated as something unusual.

Thanks for apologizing Scott, but I'm still unclear why you started complaining about how "we" need to stick to substantiative criticisms before Thullen wrote anything on this thread. Did you use a time machine? Or do you generally like to criticize the Huffington Post on blogs that have nothing to do with the Huffington Post? Perhaps you could go to HuffPo and complain about how crummy Obsidian Wings' blog platform is?

That stuff ultimately is self-defeating because it just feeds the sense of paranoid embattlement that people who see themselves in Palin have.

The thing about paranoia is that it doesn't really need a trigger. Paranoid people will feel embattled no matter what happens. They'll feel embattled by having to pay taxes, by having to answer census questions, by watching the news, and by being greeted with "Happy Holidays" at Walmart. The ability of a few random people on a single liberal blog to affect the feelings of Palin's followers is zero.

Damn, Turb. Why so purturbed?

Just tired of being tarred for the actions of a few powerless insignificant losers. I mean, I do plenty of stuff that is legitimately worthy of criticism. When scott made his first comment, he was literally criticizing no one here. After Thullen commented, scott's critique at least evolved to nutpicking. Which seems like a huge waste of time to me, but hey, it allows scott to feel self-righteous. Or something.

"Marty, if she were resigning to take a position as president, or secretary of state, or ambassador, no one would be saying anything. Palin's situation is in no way comparable to that. Hell, if she were resigning to take any of a hundred other positions, it wouldn't be treated as something that strange."

So it is her reason (or lack of) and not the act of resigning the public trust that is the problem?

Then let's not talk about how unusual it is to resign or that there is some requirement to fulfill a term that is ethically implied, that's all.

I think it is unusual to do so without a clear reason either, but, at the risk of being repetitive, it is all a little overblown.

Douthat tries to make a similar point in this rather strained hodgepodge:

In a recent Pew poll, 44 percent of Americans regarded Palin unfavorably. But slightly more had a favorable impression of her. That number included 46 percent of independents, and 48 percent of Americans without a college education.

That last statistic is a crucial one. Palin’s popularity has as much to do with class as it does with ideology. In this sense, she really is the perfect foil for Barack Obama. Our president represents the meritocratic ideal — that anyone, from any background, can grow up to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School and become a great American success story. But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

So, "anyone, from any background, can grow up to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School and become a great American success story," and that's the "meritocratic ideal." Or "anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard," and that's the "democratic ideal."

It's a false dichotomy and another attempt to obscure an unwillingness to accept that socialization requires some tolerance of other. I suspect many of these arguments are just more mud on the wall, but I wonder how long it will be before the Republican party actually engages in some real self-examination.

"So it is her reason (or lack of) and not the act of resigning the public trust that is the problem? "

I think the problem is that other public servants who have resigned their positions for postive reasons (i.e. not resigning in disgrace due to scandal) have with very few exceptions done so in order to take up the burden of another public trust, normally a more important and difficult position and/or one in trust to a larger polity (which is a superset of the one to which their prior position was obligated).

Here's a sports analogy: when the Designated Hitter on a NL baseball team gives up the DH role in order to play Right Field and take the #4 spot in the batting order, that is generally seen as being somewhat different from somebody who throws their glove in the dirt and stalks off in search of an entirely different game to play, whatever that may be. In both cases the team has lost a DH and has an empty spot on the roster to fill, but the similarities between the two situations go rapidly downhill from there.

So it is her reason (or lack of) and not the act of resigning the public trust that is the problem?

Can't it be both? That is, people expect public servants to serve out their terms unless they have a good reason not to. For better or worse, seeking or accepting a "higher" position is generally seen as an acceptable reason - Representatives running for Senate, Governors leaving to accept an ambassadorship, etc... Whether this should be an acceptable reason is open to debate, but it's pretty well accepted behavior in American politics. But Palin's not trading one position of public service for another, she's just quitting, apparently because it's just not fun/rewarding/lucrative enough anymore. Do you really not see the distinction? The degree to which the criticism of this is "overblown" is of course subjective, but it's certainly not the case that there's nothing unusual about it.

"I think the problem is that other public servants who have resigned their positions for postive reasons (i.e. not resigning in disgrace due to scandal) have with very few exceptions done so in order to take up the burden of another public trust, normally a more important and difficult position and/or one in trust to a larger polity (which is a superset of the one to which their prior position was obligated)."

I just don't agree with this justification. Resigning to run the DNC or to be an Amabassador or even Secretary of State is as much about personal gain as public trust. President Obama resigned from the State Senate to become a US Senator, but not until he won. The same with Senator to President. Clinton and McCain spent half a term in the Senate running for President, I think it is wrong for all of them to ignore the countries business for two years to try to "move up".

This is just about trying to back pedal a generalization on resigning being a default of public trust by now adding "depending on why".

If why matters to you I will concede it is just opinion.

Describing Palin as cruel, narcissistic, and selfish is a compliment for people who are cruel, narcissistic, and selfish.

Marty: "So it is her reason (or lack of) and not the act of resigning the public trust that is the problem?"

There are a lot of obligations that have (implicit or explicit) excusing clauses. For instance: suppose I promised to return a book I borrowed from you tonight. As I was about to leave, my child (in this example, I have one) started to have seizures, and I took her to the hospital, thereby standing you up. Most people would understand perfectly, and would assume that a promise like that has an implicit exemption like "in case of life-threatening emergency"; in this case, they'd probably think I was doing the wrong thing if I kept my promise. ("You let your kid die for this?")

Same here. There are a range of circumstances that most people think are good reasons to quit one's job. Some involve other jobs, but they don't all: e.g., you can quit your job when your kid gets cancer and you need to be with him or her. Fine.

What most of us don't think is OK is to quit your job because you don't feel like doing it any more. That doesn't conflict with thinking that there are some good reasons for quitting, any more than the claim that it's OK not to drop the book off if my kid needs to be rushed to the hospital conflicts with the claim that normally one should not just blow off one's promises.

Moreover, while I do think that it's wrong to blow off one's public obligations, to my mind the real issue about this is not the moral problem, but that unless Palin does something pretty astonishing with her newfound free time, she has just made it pretty near impossible to answer the question: "How do we know you won't get tired of whatever new political office you're now running for?"

It certainly means that if she runs for President, she had better do a much better job than McCain did at picking her Vice President.

Paln will never be elected President. In fact she will most likely never hold elective office again. Just too many on the record devastating embarrassments. Her bread and butter will be as a right wing talking head where she could make a considerable amount of cash. Palin is about money now, not political office.

"She's ... being crucified for being true to their cause."

What's "their cause"? Other than "pro-life" and "American exceptionalism," I don't see any unifying "cause" for her supporters.

Scott: So you get posts at HuffPo about Palin being "trailer trash" and lots of ha-ha stuff about her being a ditz, bimbo, hick, etc.

I googled on site:www.huffingtonpost.com "sarah palin" "trailer trash" and I did get 196 hits - which is not nothing, but by comparison, when I google for just site:www.huffingtonpost.com "sarah palin" I get well over a million hits.

When I looked at the top 10 hits on Google for instances where Sarah Palin had been referred to as "trailer trash" on the Huffington Post website, I found that 7 out of 10 times, the "trailer trash" comment was in the comments to the article, not in the article itself. Huffington Post cannot be blamed for the phrases used by their commenters. (I'll post them in the next comment to avoid overloading this one with links.)

I don't personally agree with using "trailer trash" - it's a classist insult, and a pointless one directed towards a wealthy and powerful woman. FWIW, though: I find I get 476 hits for "trailer trash" on the Huffington Post website; but 978 hits for "trailer trash" on the Fox News website. If it's wrong to go around calling people "trailer trash", it looks as if Fox News are twice as guilty of it as Huffington Post...

Obviously googlesearch statistics are a very rough statistical tool, but these figures are fairly stark.

The three instances where the phrase "trailer trash" was used in the main article at Huffington Post were:

1. Geoffrey Dunn's column on 6th July, The Iquitarod!: Sarah Palin's Latest Arctic Sport:

And just when you think it can't get any weirder--the trailer trash revelations of Troopergate; the McCain camp calling her a "whack job from Wasilla"; the turkeys being slaughtered in the background on Thanksgiving; her on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again, on-again attendance at GOP fund raisers--then Palin's shill of an attorney sends out the most inane, pathetic and ridiculous press release that I have ever seen in my 35 years in journalism. It's a full-fledged assault on the First Amendment. He's threatening to sue the indomitable Shannyn Moore, HuffPo, the New York Times, Washington Post, and half the internet for speculating as to the real reasons that Palin stepped down from Governor--and in the end, there were only two possible explanations: 1) that there was some sort of bombshell about to explode; or 2) that Palin did such an absolutely wretched job as Governor that she couldn't do anything but quit.

2. A mock quiz How Well Do You Know Sarah Palin? from September 2008:

5) What did Anne Lamott, one of the most passionate Bush loathers, write in Salon about Sarah Palin?
(a)"Despite my better instincts, I find myself falling under her spell."
(b)"She's a trailer trash version of Bush, but with bigger balls."
(c)"I love to kill wolves as much as the next person does. But this woman takes such pride in her ignorance, doesn't have a doubt in the world about her messianic calling, that it makes anyone of decency feel nauseated - spiritually, emotionally and physically ill."
[correct answer: c]

3. At the end of October last year, Reny Martin wrote a column about Palin motivating people to get out and campaign for Obama, and used a direct quote from an Obama volunteer in California:

I spoke to some of the volunteers who drove from all over California, but primarily southern California. I was curious about an older woman in a back brace, Jennifer, from Palm Springs. She didn't canvass, she stayed at the office and worked the phones. Even though she could have made calls from home she still wanted to come. "I will do anything to prevent that trailer trash from getting into office." She was not shy about expressing her sentiments about Sarah Palin. In fact, many of the volunteers cited Mrs. Palin as their motivating factor for driving to Vegas. There was a large group of students from UCLA, seniors from Pasadena, and a varied and sundry of folks, all committed to turning Nevada blue.

So when you claim the Huffington Post writers are always running stories referring to Palin as "trailer trash", this is quite evidently not so: the proportion of stories which use this phrase even in the comments threads is something like 0.02% of the total number of webpages at HuffPost which reference Sarah Palin - one reference to the Troopergate revelations as being "trailer trash" (which seems odd to me, since they were an example of a governor's spouse exploiting state powers to take personal revenge); one jokey quote in a mock quiz; one direct quote from an individual.

"Who doesn't remember Jesus's famous rambling resignation speech?"

Well, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" always struck me as a bit odd.

@marty

The fact that resigning from office is not unusual does not mean that the discussion is overblown nor does it mean that we should refrain from arguments recognizing a moral duty to fulfill the oath of office. By the terms of your own comments, people who voted for Palin feel disenfranchised. I’m willing to posit that many of those people did not vote for the Governor realizing there was even a remote possibility she would effectively appoint the Lt. Governor in her stead. There may even be some people who would have voted for one of her opponents if they knew she would install the Lt. Governor to that post. I think there’s a good discussion to be had about the responsibilities an elected official has toward honoring the implied intent of the voters and what abdication means to the value of a vote.
Personally, I think the moral evaluation of her actions needs to be held in light of what she does next and if she runs for office again, I expect to see an in-depth explanation of her cost-benefit analysis. If she goes on to devote her attention to another office or charitable pursuits, I would count those as mitigating factors. As of right now, the only thing I’ve heard has been a report on NPR claiming that ethics complaints had gummed-up the business of legislating in Alaska, which I’ll need specifics for to have any weight at all in my judgment.
But if Alaskan politics are just as gummy and she goes on a speaking tour, rallying her base, trying to stake out a position as the leader of the Republican party, and raking in lots of money, I will say that she effectively nullified the votes of her constituents and as such has done a harm to her supporters and shown contempt for Republican government as a whole. I agree that a politician should not run while holding his current post as a fall-back, but it seems that, rather than choosing between to mutually exclusive courses of action, she is taking one for the team in order to give an incumbent advantage to her party. In doing so, she’s deciding for the entire Alaskan electorate that they must also take one for the team, which many of them might not be willing to take. But, this is just speculation and I waiting to see her follow-up.

Not to knock TLTIABQ's excellent analogy, there are no designated hitters in the National League (NL). The DH role is only in the American League (AL), or when an NL team plays against a home AL team. Other than that, excellent analogy.

No one ever said that politicians must be altruistic and not pass up grasping the next rung due to unfavorable election cycle timing. But changing public service positions is a far cry from taking one's ball and going home while maintaining the expectation of getting back into the game whenever and however one wants.

When she accepted the VP nomination, she knew she needed to bring her professional game up to another level, she never did. She knew that her family would get attacked as did Hilary and Chelsea before her (by even her twin maverick brother McCain in 1998), let face it she knew her family affairs would come out. But now she plays the victim card again, a card she played after those comical first extended interviews that we all enjoyed and SNL immortalized. But for the icing on the cake, she quits, because she does not want to be a lame duck governor, because the lawsuits keep coming, because it was the media’s fault, because seeing Russia from her house finally got to her, because its not fair that Alaskan’s paid her salary while she was running for the VP position, take your pick. So what does she tells us? Dear Mr. President, when things get tough, quit. Dear military men and women, if you are not having fun, quit. Dear son or daughter, if things are not going your way, quit. Sure, I agree when she first was introduced and gave a descent speech, sure the polls went up, but after the extended interviews, they went where they ended, down. She showed her true character, I real hope the book deal, Radio/ TV shows and the lecture circuits make up for what her party has lost by her actions. She may go down in history as the quitter that twittered.

Marty, I thought Sarah Palin was a flake and a fraud before she resigned. So I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that condemnation of the resignation itself is "overblown".

Sarah Palin became the totem of the backlash tribe with her convention speech. I am quite sure that most of her partisans, today, had never heard of her before McCain picked her as a running mate. I had not, either. They, and I, listened to her speech and made up our minds about her. They saw a champion of their cause, a spokesman for their world-view. So did I. All subsequent developments, all subsequent media commentary, have merely confirmed the image that Sarah Palin herself projected -- confirmed it both to her partisans and to me. We all know who and what Sarah Palin is. We merely disagree about what the world is like.

--TP

"So Hillary Clinton (resigned Senate seat), Baraack Obama(resigned Senate seat), etc. should have stayed in those offices to fulfill the public trust? Two of the last four Governors of Massachusetts resigned to become Amabassadors."

Yes, it's not abnormal to resign one public office for another, because you are still serving the public trust in your job. There's particularly a difference when you are elected to another job by the public.

"People resign from public offices pretty regularly for public"

Close enough to true.

"and private reasons."

False. If you'd care to give some cites for people who have quit high elective office midway through their term for no stated reason -- not because of scandal, and not because of moving to another elected or appointive office -- by all means, please, oh, ten in the in the past twenty years. Hell, just name three in the past decade It happens "pretty regularly" you say, so this should be no problem. Go ahead and support your claim with facts.

"So it is her reason (or lack of) and not the act of resigning the public trust that is the problem? "

I vote for "neither".

The woman stood on TV for something like six minutes discussing her plans to leave office, and nobody in the world other than she knows the reason why.

Assuming that she, herself, actually does know the reason why.

Clinton left office to be Secretary of State, Obama left to be President. Several governors of Illinois have left office to go to jail.

Palin is leaving office to do........ what?

It takes irresponsibility to new and perhaps unprecedented heights.

Seriously, don't you think so? Imagine someone who works for you walking into your office tomorrow and, apropos of nothing in particular, announcing "I'm leaving, I'm giving you a couple of weeks to sort out everything I'm working on, and I can't exactly tell you why I'm leaving but I promise it's a very important reason."

Would your reaction be, "Hey, good luck"? Or would it be "You have to be freaking sh*tting me?"

I don't need an answer from you on this, just ponder it if you still find it unfathomable why people think Palin is a joke.

"But it seems to me from reading comments here that a sort of special exception to the posting rules regarding diction and the generally civil tone of discussion on this blog has been carved out to make room for John to do what he does, because he is so d*mn funny."

It's John's world, we're just his monkeys, and happy to be so.

"That's extremely unusual among elected officials, so it's not surprising that's it's being treated as something unusual."

The overwhelming majority of right wing bloggers and commentators have stated their bafflement at it. It's not a liberal thing at all. And plenty of conservative commentators, though not all, have criticized her for it.

Shorter me:

Bailing out mid-term with pretty short notice is irresponsible.

Doing so without being able to present a coherent reason (or being able to present a reason coherently) is irresponsible with a sharp poke in the eye thrown in for good measure.

Adios Sarah, don't let the door hit you in the @ss on the way out.

"I'm not interested in being politically correct about this stuff; it's the least I can do to fight the alleged scourge of political correctness in this culture."

Amen to that.

Keep on truckin' on, JT.

Palin is sitting in Red Barber's old catbird seat: She will either run for President in 2012, which she seemed to genuinely enjoy as Grandpa McCain's lover of hockey moms all across this great land and pigs adorned with lipstick, not to mention TV cameras positioned right in front of your Thanksgiving Day turkey going to the gallows.

That's not a future leader, that's great entertainment, that's . . .

That's Fox's awshucks female version of down-home, guitar-playin' Mike Huckabee.

I see Fox giving Mrs. P her own late-night variety show, the Partridge Family for a new, confused, broke generation.

Peace, love and Bobby Sherman.

The reason for quitting makes all the difference. If a prospective employer asks why you left your job as manager at Company X and the answer is you did so to become VP at Company Y, that's going to go over a lot better than, "some of my colleagues were really bugging me and I felt I had a higher calling."

Marty says (quoting Scott):
"Justified"...criticism would be...that Palin, for all her undeniable people skills, wouldn't be able to deliver anything tangible at all for the people who look up to her and could in fact make things worse."
This seems a reasonable and skills based criticism.

To me, the connection between (a) saying that she is incoherent, illogical, unreliable, flakey, and ignorant, and (a') "she would not deliver," seems pretty clear. Do we really have to deliver a sweet homage to her people skills every time we point out she is dumb as a bag of hammers? Or connect the dots each time to the obvious conclusion? Why? Are people too stupid to make the connection, or is it just too rude to call a spade a spade?

If Tryg Palin were up there on the podium drooling cutely into a flag-colored bib while people cheered, would it be okay to say that he was unqualified, and mock people who said otherwise? In short, how far down must the rest of us lower our standards to be perceived as polite by fools?

Personally, today, I am tired of being polite about creationism, supply-side economics, majoritarian victimism, jingoism, and innumeracy. I'm also tired of being sympathetic to people who cheer when goombahs like Party Leader Limbaugh or Ann Coulter routinely call me and my friends "traitors," "feminazis," "murderers of the unborn" "perverts" and so forth. It is long past time to give some offense back.

I think it is unusual to do so without a clear reason either, but, at the risk of being repetitive, it is all a little overblown.

frankly, everything about Palin is overblown. she is/was a mediocre first-time governor from a small state who is pretty much completely unqualified and unsuited to be even that. she's a habitual liar, a demagogue and a fraud. she apparently has no interest in policy, sub-adequate knowledge of civics (department of law?), and is proudly incurious about the world outside of Alaska.

and yet some on the right have elevated her to a minor deity. because they think she speaks for them? she's an incoherent buffoon! a train-wreck. nobody knows what she's talking about half the time because she speaks in a hash of buzzwords and cliches that often seem completely unattached to any underlying thought - she's just parroting.

i guess if you don't know anything about policy or civics or history or geography (and don't care to know) but you do know, because you get all those chain emails from your angry brother-in-law, that liberals are destroying the world, then Sarah Palin might seem like she speaks for you. but that's because you're stupid.

"To me, the connection between (a) saying that she is incoherent, illogical, unreliable, flakey, and ignorant, and (a') "she would not deliver," seems pretty clear. Do we really have to deliver a sweet homage to her people skills every time we point out she is dumb as a bag of hammers? Or connect the dots each time to the obvious conclusion? Why? Are people too stupid to make the connection, or is it just too rude to call a spade a spade?"

It is not rude to say she is "incoherent, illogical, unreliable, flakey, and ignorant" although it is on the border.

It is rude to say "she is dumb as a bag of hammers".

Your point is lost on me when you make that leap. I begin to object to your rudeness.

"Your point is lost on me when you make that leap. I begin to object to your rudeness."

Mary,

You have my full support in your battle to eliminate hyperbolic rhetoric on the internet. If you don't mind, I'll be in the back here tending to our supply lines [sound of munching potato chips], while you are up front doing the fighting. Hey! Watch out for that guy to your left! [crunch, crash], oops, I meant your other left.

The battle against typos was lost long ago however. Sorry about dropping a t out of your name! My keyboard hates me and the feeling is mutual.

Mike S nails it -- the question isn't whether Palin is being ethical or acting within her rights to quit, it's how reasonable people should view her quitting in the context of her fitness as a public official. If she decided to run for the Presidency, we voters will be in exactly the situation Mike S outlines: do we hire somebody who left her previous job suddenly and unexpectedly and without anything approaching a reasonable justification?

On top of that, this isn't at-will employment, where one might start or stop the job (or be hired or fired) on any arbitrary day. Just as we (the putative employers) can't simply decide to remove the employee during the term of office, the employee is morally (if not legally) obliged to not simply decide to stop working during that term.

Referring to Marty as "Mary" is about as low as it gets. ;)

What the internet needs is its own Department of Law to rein in hyperbolic rhetoric.

"It is rude to say "she is dumb as a bag of hammers". "

I can understand why it's very important to not be rude to people you are engaging in conversation, directly. I have no desire to be rude to you, Marty, and it would be wrong for me to be so.

Is it wrong to speak rudely about third parties, who are not participating in the conversation, and who are public figures?

Is that confined to living public figures?

Can I say something rude about Herbert Hoover, or Napoleon, without violating the etiquette of online political discussion?

Can I say something rude about David Duke, or Louis Farrakhan?

How about Ted Kennedy, or Michelle Obama, or Newt Gingrich?

I get that you, personally, might be uncomfortable with such rude talk -- by which we mean name-calling on the level of "dumb as a box of hammers" -- but are we talking about your personal comfort level, or are you proposing a realistic etiquette for online discussion of public matters?

Note that the names Palin are being called here are not unrelated to her actual public behavior, and are also relevant to her public responsibilities.

I'm happy to play by whatever the rules are, I'm just trying to figure out what they, in fact, are.

Well, Marty, we may have to agree to disagree on that. I would not say it to her personally, or her friends and family. But I would use the phrase in conversation in a public place. To my ear, it is blunt but not fightin' words. It seems well within the bounds of newspaper editorial discourse. About like saying for example, that your opponent's job did not involve "actual responsibilities."

Would you consider it rude to call "dumb as a bag of hammers," a public figure whom you agreed was incoherent, illogical, and ignorant?

Anyhoo, that particular phrase is just my own shorthand version of the 'media criticism' I have heard, not an actual quote, so it's irrelevant to the discussion. Real point is, how far do the national media have to go to be deemed properly respectful of a fool?

John, what do you have against Mary?

It is rude to say "she is dumb as a bag of hammers"

rude to hammers, maybe.

"I get that you, personally, might be uncomfortable with such rude talk -- by which we mean name-calling on the level of "dumb as a box of hammers" -- but are we talking about your personal comfort level, or are you proposing a realistic etiquette for online discussion of public matters?"

Civility in first, second or third person is a much better form of communication to me. Thanks for not being rude in response. I care how the national media treats all of the people named, Kennedy, Gingrich etc.

"Would you consider it rude to call 'dumb as a bag of hammers,' a public figure whom you agreed was incoherent, illogical, and ignorant?"

I have to semi-agree with Marty in the sense that I have no moral objection whatever to such claims, but I don't see them as typically advancing a conversation, either. Either one agrees with the characterization, or one doesn't. Either way, where does it get you except to feel good about venting?

As regards conversation with other folks, either they chime in with approval, and variants, or they feel offended and object. Either way, it's not a very educational conversation.

So it depends on what you're primarily looking for in conversation: emotional validation for your opinions, or to learn something, or at least to teach someone else.

Me, I'm mostly pretty secure in my opinions, so I mostly don't feel all that much of a need to have people agree with me strongly.

(Though compliments area always very nice, of course. But I'm prouder of compliments for making an argument regarded as very good or convincing or well-put than I am of compliments simply because someone agrees with me really really strongly. In fact, there are times the latter can be outright embarrassing.)

This is not to say I'm immune to giving in to the occasional venting, to be sure, nor in the least immune to directly giving someone the needle. But I'm, again, prouder if I can be a bit more subtle about it than simply being perfectly obvious.

"I have to semi-agree with Marty in the sense that I have no moral objection whatever to such claims, but I don't see them as typically advancing a conversation, either. Either one agrees with the characterization, or one doesn't. Either way, where does it get you except to feel good about venting?"

I agree with this point, too. The result would be the same. I could then agree that Sarah is odd, unpredictable and is not a good front person for any constituency. This despite her homespun appeal to a large segment of middle America that feels underrepresented.

Marty -- What, in your opinion, makes the "large segment of middle America" to whom Palin appeals feel "underrepresented"? They have the same right to vote as everyone else, and in some sense their votes count more, since the arithmetic of the Senate favors rural, small-population states.

"What, in your opinion, makes the "large segment of middle America" to whom Palin appeals feel "underrepresented"?"

Interesting question. Perhaps the tone of these comments provides a clue. Pretty much anyone without a coastal accent, goes to a Baptist church, owns a gun or doesn't believe in abortion is open to ridicule from a huge majority of mainstream media and Democrats in general.

The math in the Senate is pretty much a red herring from their perspectives, they get to watch the big board during Presidential elections and see how many votes come from NY, California etc.

Then folks wonder why these people watch Fox where they pander to the psychology, then sell the worst right wing demagoguery(sp?).

These are average folks wondering who is representing them.

Remember you asked for my opinion.

Think of all the wonderful, complimentary names and characterizations Sarah Palin had for American Democrats and liberals during the time between when she was chosen as McCain's running mate and, oh, last week. Then marvel at the idea that we're supposed to be nice to poor Sarah lest some pearl-clutchers object on the internet. "Oh, brother" is about the best I can do with that.

I mean, this is a woman who referred to a presidential candidate, and the eventual winner, as "palling around with terrorists," and who wouldn't hesitate to characterize 90% of the people on this thread as "not real Americans." And we're supposed to feel bad about her being called "dumb?" On what planet?

Hammers may not be smart, but they can perform a number of useful tasks.

The math in the Senate is pretty much a red herring from their perspectives, they get to watch the big board during Presidential elections and see how many votes come from NY, California etc.

B-b-but when George W. Bush won with lots of electoral votes from low-population states, they all said that "most of the country" is conservative and agreed with the Bush agenda! Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.

Pretty much anyone without a coastal accent, goes to a Baptist church, owns a gun or doesn't believe in abortion is open to ridicule from a huge majority of mainstream media and Democrats in general.

Oh, please. "Mainstream media" (whatever THAT is) is full of depictions of salt-of-the-earth heros that are exactly what you describe above. Heck, it describes half of my family.

Pretty much anyone without a coastal accent, goes to a Baptist church, owns a gun or doesn't believe in abortion is open to ridicule from a huge majority of mainstream media and Democrats in general.

oh those horrible Them. if only they could be as non-judgmental and honest as all those non-latte-sipping, non-Volvo-driving, non-America-hating, non-intellectual, Heartland types i never hear about in songs, TV shows and movies.

but enough about those people; i have to get back to watching King Of The Hill.

"Oh, please. "Mainstream media" (whatever THAT is) is full of depictions of salt-of-the-earth heros that are exactly what you describe above."

Yes, as long as they don't step into the national political picture. McCain was a great hero as a Senator from Arizona and "out of touch" as a Presidential candidate. Don't ask me to cite those quotes, there are way too many.

I repeat thogh, the question was on my opinion as too why a group of people FELT underrepresented, not whether they should.

"The math in the Senate is pretty much a red herring from their perspectives, they get to watch the big board during Presidential elections and see how many votes come from NY, California etc."

Well, that makes no sense, since "red" states have electoral votes vastly out of propoportion (greater) than their population. NY and California have vastly fewer electoral votes, proportionally, than, say, Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, etc.

without a coastal accent", , owns a gun or doesn't believe in abortion i

I live in North Carolina, and before that lived in Colorado for eight years. I lived for eight years in Washington state; is there a "Washington accent"?

"goes to a Baptist church"

I couldn't care less what church or other religious institution people go to; I only care if they want government to enforce their religious beliefs.

"owns a gun"

I couldn't care less how many guns you own.

"or doesn't believe in abortion"

I couldn't care less what you believe in abortion. I only care if you want to use government to restrict other people's options regarding abortions.

Government should leave people alone in all these things. That's my horribly "liberal" view.

Somehow the "convervative" view of many in recent years is that government should interfere in the lives of everyone with regard to these issues. What kind of "conservatism" is that?

"Somehow the "convervative" view of many in recent years is that government should interfere in the lives of everyone with regard to these issues. What kind of "conservatism" is that?"

Post-Buckley mindless conservatism is what you are reacting to, I agree. There are real conservatives left.

"Pretty much anyone without a coastal accent, goes to a Baptist church, owns a gun or doesn't believe in abortion is open to ridicule from a huge majority of mainstream media and Democrats in general."

With respect, this is a load of hooey.

The deal here is that everyone -- every single person in the United States of America -- is open to ridicule from somebody else in the United States of America.

C'est la vie. Grow a thicker skin.

Further, the characterization you draw here is kind of a cartoon. If you talk to actual people, you will discover that conservative and liberal beliefs show up in all locales, among folks with all kinds of accents, who own guns or not, who attend church or not, etc etc etc.

I'd argue that trafficking in the kinds of stereotypes that you do here does far more to divide folks and polarize the discussion than calling Sarah Palin a nitwit ever will.

It's time to give the "heartland" crap a rest. The heartland is everywhere.

"The math in the Senate is pretty much a red herring from their perspectives, they get to watch the big board during Presidential elections and see how many votes come from NY, California etc."

The reason lots of votes come from those places is because lots of people live there.

If you want to go someplace with a real hard-ass conservative tilt, I suggest Staten Island. Or northeast Philadelphia. Or South Boston. Or Orange County. Or the Simi Valley.

The biggest lefties I know other than myself are my wife's cousin -- union carpenter in Akron OH -- and my brother in law -- union electrician in Phoenix AZ. Both avid hunters and gun collectors, BTW.

It's time to put the cartoons behind us.

"These are average folks wondering who is representing them."

They can join the club.

Sarah Palin's appeal is to people who, for whatever reason, harbor some weird resentment that everybody else is looking down on them.

The awful truth is that pretty much everybody else in the world is too busy dealing with their own stuff to give a minute of thought to folks who labor under that misconception. Everyone's got their own hash to settle, we don't really care what Sarah's true believers are doing or thinking.

Want to hunt? Hunt. Want to go to a Baptist church? Go. Don't believe in abortion? Don't have one.

Most folks don't really give a crap.

What we do care about is having people like Sarah Palin -- willfully ignorant and proud of it, visibly annoyed with anyone who dares to call her on it, bringing nothing to the table but an appeal to some divisive tribal loyalty -- get anywhere within a country mile of responsible public office.

Because she doesn't have the chops.

Enough already with the heartland. The heartland is everywhere, dude, and it doesn't just belong to conservatives.

Enough already with the tribal paranoia and resentment. If anyone should be pissed off, it's the folks who are actually getting, for example, shot at. But you don't see abortion providers, or unitarians, or federal employees, or blacks, or gays, or jews, or any of the other folks who *actually have been the subject of politically motivated violence in this country* crying on TV about how they are being picked on.

They just get on with their lives. Sarah's people should try that on.

Please, please, give it a f*cking rest. And pardon my rude language, but I really and truly have had it up to here with the "poor me" crap.

Thanks -

Palin is popular with some not because of her actual qualities but because the qualities they admire have been applied to her even when, well, they don't apply to her. There are a lot of people who decide that if a politician is likable that politician must represent every group and position they find likable.

For example, how many times have you heard that Palin represents the working class and the people who dislike her must be elitists? Yet she herself is not and never has been a member of the working class. She grew up in a middle class, white collar family. She went to college after high school in the middle class way. All her jobs have been white collar jobs. She is rich. She likes to wear $1500 suits from Neiman Marcus.

Yet over and over I hear about how she's so working class and so despised by the rich and powerful.

I love the notion that a red power suit and designer glasses are the new stigmata.

I repeat thogh, the question was on my opinion as too why a group of people FELT underrepresented, not whether they should.

I wait for russell's great comments like everybody else. He's passionately sane - practical: he sums up the whole idea of being an American, IMO. I always relate to russell's comments. But Marty has a point.

That some people feel aggrieved is simply a fact, like it or not; and chances are, there are actual reasons for that feeling. If Marty prefers, I'll call the modern gop 'post Buckley', but so what? What matters is what *is*, not what should be. The professional gop is in the business of stoking issues which can never be resolved - the gifts which keep on giving. It promotes 'hands off', amoral economics, which keeps the morality wars going. It loves the abortion issue because it can never be resolved - do most people want doctors or patients to go to jail? No. But abortion is wrong! Perfect issue. It never ends.

Sarah Palin plays a timeworn role in this. She pimps angry, hopeless people - people who've basically given up - and the professional pols pimp *her* (cash and votes). Sweet deal for everybody. And that characterization is not meant to denigrate people who feel screwed over - far from it. Most Americans feel screwed over, and for good reason.

The modern GOP has abandoned both conservatism and liberalism, leaving a wide open field for the dems. I'd say it's time for 'real conservatives' to do a little epistemological homework and get back in touch.

That some people feel aggrieved is simply a fact

You betcha. So what?

Some people feel aggrieved that the populace at large doesn't show proper respect to their Prophet. It is a "fact" that Muslims in Africa and Asia rioted over some cartoons in Denmark. Was their grievance less, or more, worth humoring than the grievances of people like Samuel Wurzelbacher?

People who have a "grievance" need to tell me what I could do or say to make them feel better. Not in generalities, but in specifics. What is it that the aggrieved Palin partisans want?

--TP

The thing that I find absolutely hilarious about Palin--as in, stitch in my side laughter--isn't her word salad, her compulsive mendacity, or even the fact that she'd probably fail a Turing test.

It's the way the loony Right (as in, the Redstate and Teabagger crowd) will swear up and down on a stack of Bibles that the reason we mock Palin is because we're afraid of her. That we for some inexplicable reason fear the elusive draw she has on the aging redneck secessionist hockey mom demographic, and are desperate to tear her down.

Mind you, I'm perfectly content to have them go right on believing that. If they don't read this post and no one disabuses them of their delusions, pass the popcorn and watch the freak show unfold in 2012.

But sometimes when I go back and lurk on Redstate for the lolz, and Erick or Nick or Moe or someone like that starts bleating about how afraid the media or the left are of Palin... I just want to grab them by the collars, shake them, and scream in their face, "what is wrong with you that you can't tell the difference between fear and schadenfreude?"

As the saying goes: we're not laughing with you. We're laughing at you. Because you and she are a national joke, a laughingstock, and by now even you have to know that.

"Because she doesn't have the chops."

Yeah. She has fewer chops than, say, Charlie Crist, who may well be the next favorite empty-suiter that the GOP suggests is presidential material. At least Crist has a law degree of some sort. Mayor of Wasilla may well be on the edge of the Peter line for her.

She's not afraid to stand up for herself in a conversation or debate, but assertiveness does not make good points, all by itself.

Pretty much anyone without a coastal accent, goes to a Baptist church, owns a gun or doesn't believe in abortion is open to ridicule from a huge majority of mainstream media and Democrats in general.

So, basically, Democrats in general spend most of their time ridiculing each other for not having a coastal accent, or going to a Baptist church, or owning a gun? ("Not believing in abortion" is another matter: in a country with one of the highest abortion rates in the developed world, disbelieving that abortion exists does make you open to ridicule, as does a man declaring he personally would never have an abortion...)

Sheesh. No wonder the Democratic Party never gets anything done.

What is it that the aggrieved Palin partisans want?

I'm an outsider on this (so feel free to shoot my views down), but I wonder if what the Palin enthusiasts (as I understand it white, Evangelical, tending to be less well-educated, living in rural areas) are really looking for isn't a political programme, but more a psychological one. What seems to be very important to them isn't so much what Palin can do practically for them, but that she boosts their self-esteem. She affirms their way of life, and tells them that they are special, they are wonderful, and better than everyone else.

My guess is that the demographic wants such affirmation because they now have fewer sources for generating their own sense of self-respect. Capitalism implicitly tells people that if you're not rich you don't matter, and weakens the steady employment on which small communities depend. And I think there's also been a massive failure by the churches to tell their congregations that a faithful Christian life must not reply on other people's approval, but must generate its own internal strength. Too many American Christians seem to think that the secular world owes them an easy life.

The parallels to me in the UK are with the working class. Thirty years ago working class communities were looked down upon by others, but they had an internal pride in themselves that sustained them. De-industrialization has severely weakened that sense of identity, leaving such communities vulnerable to populist appeals from both the Labour party as well as far right groups that don't actually address the real problems such communities have. I don't know how politicians can easily respond to people's psychological needs in a constructive way, rather than simply reinforcing resentment as a short-term strategy.

When they say “heartland” I hear “fatherland”

"But you don't see abortion providers, or unitarians, or federal employees, or blacks, or gays, or jews, or any of the other folks who *actually have been the subject of politically motivated violence in this country* crying on TV about how they are being picked on."

You're kidding right?

John 19:30 "It is finished"

"People who have a "grievance" need to tell me what I could do or say to make them feel better. Not in generalities, but in specifics. What is it that the aggrieved Palin partisans want?"

Tony is nicer than I am.

I don't mind "Palin's people", for lack of a better word, telling me what they want, but only if they are then going to listen to me tell them what *I* want.

In fact, IMO we've heard quite a lot from them over the last few years. I want to go first. They can learn to listen.

What am I, chopped liver? Does anyone think my personal political, social, religious, or any other flavor of value has strong representation among the powers that be?

But you will not find me voting for people or supporting them politically because they're going to stick it to my opponents.

I expect and in fact require an equal level of perspective and responsibility from my political opposites. If they can't rise to that, I'm not interested in humoring their prejudices just to make them feel better.

My message to them is grow the hell up.

And to the degree that Palin's political success is due to her appeal to people's social resentments, then in fact she *is* dangerous.

Thullen says:

As Basil Faulty once said: "This is exactly how Nazi Germany got started!"

Ha ha ha! Our John, what a joker!

It's no joke.

As PhoenixRising pointed out earlier in the thread, she's auditioning for the role of Queen Esther. She's even used her "if I die, I die" line during the past few days.

I believe Katherine Harris of 2000 recount fame was the last well-known pol to portray herself as Esther.

I should have at least spelled Basil's name properly: Fawlty

"You're kidding right?"

No, I'm not.

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