Posts Tagged ‘Palin’




Exit, pursued by a bear

Exit, pursued by a bear

Full recap of the evening to come later…

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This requires neither explanation nor context:

Despite being someone with a very high opinion of both women and dinosaurs, I can’t say that Palin-McCain appeals to me.”

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  • Former leader of the lunatic-right Austrian Freedom Party Jorg Haider died in a car accident on October 11.  Today, the new party leader confirmed in a radio interview that he and Haider had been lovers.  Sadly, Bruno could not be reached for comment.
  • It’s not a put-on, it’s not faux-populism, it’s not political, self-conscious anti-intellectualism.  Nope.  Sarah Palin is just a straight-up idiot.
  • The financial crisis is the result of a number of complex processes.  However, this instant message exchange among Standard and Poors analysts (revealed in testimony to the House Oversight Committee,) goes a long way towards explaining how we got here:

Rahul Dilip Shah: btw: that deal is ridiculous

Shannon Mooney: I know right … model def does not capture half of the risk

Rahul Dilip Shah: we should not be rating it

Shannon Mooney: we rate every deal

Shannon Mooney: it could be structured by cows and we would rate it

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Where’d Palin come from?  Lost in the bad press, McCathyism, and populist chicanery is the fascinating story of how Little Miss Wasilla charmed the pants off the Republican intellectual establishment*

*(Take the phrase under advisement when this fool is allowed onto the reservation.)

Jane Mayer of the New Yorker magazine, (now with more racism!) uncovers the gory details:

“During her gubernatorial campaign, (policy advisor John) Bitney said, he began predicting to Palin that she would make the short list of Republican Vice-Presidential prospects. “She had the biography, I told her, to be a contender,” he recalled. At first, Palin only laughed. But within a few months of being sworn in she and others in her circle noticed that a blogger named Adam Brickley had started a movement to draft her as Vice-President. Palin also learned that a number of prominent conservative pundits would soon be passing through Juneau, on cruises sponsored by right-leaning political magazines. She invited these insiders to the governor’s mansion, and even led some of them on a helicopter tour.”

Although the McCain-Palin campaign has trashed the media and coastal elites, the governor spent tens of thousands of dollars on east coast PR firms to promote her pipeline projects to such small-town main-street publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Fortune.  The blogger Brickley, who originally registered the PalinforVP website, is a similarly textbook product of the big right-wing institutions:  He’s attended workshops at the Young America Foundation and interned for Heritage.  While Brickley was passing word around the internet, the conservative establishment was trekking north to the realm of the moose queen:

“Shortly after taking office, Palin received two memos from Paulette Simpson, the Alaska Federation of Republican Women leader, noting that two prominent conservative magazines—The Weekly Standard, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, and National Review, founded by William F. Buckley, Jr.—were planning luxury cruises to Alaska in the summer of 2007, which would make stops in Juneau.”

This motley band of assholes included National Review editor Bill “the smiling assassin” Kristol, Weekly Standard editor Fred “the dead-ender” Barnes, and Bush speechwriter Michael “Axis of Evil” Gerson.  The group met with Palin for lunch at the governor’s mansion, as well as a “flight-seeing trip” along the Alaskan coast.  Barnes recalled “being struck by how smart Palin was, and how unusually confident. Maybe because she had been a beauty queen, and a star athlete, and succeeded at almost everything she had done.”  He also added that she was “exceptionally pretty.”  Gerson called her “a mix between Annie Oakley and Joan of Arc.”  Paulette Simpson of the Alaska Federation of Republican Women described the all-male, all-over-55 group as “very enamored of her.”  Shortly after, Barnes’ Weekly Standard ran the first major national article on the governor.  Policy Advisor Bitney attributed this first step towards national prominance to the group’s lunch date.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Crime) later noted that “Kristol was really pushing Palin” around the DC cocktail circuit before McCain picked her.  Two months before her selection, with Palin still far from the national radar, Kristol told Fox News Sunday that she would be the VP pick. In fact, Kristol harped on Sexy Sarah so shamelessly that moderator Chris Wallace asked him “Can we please get off Sarah Palin?”  (Later, Kristol referred to the governor as “my heartthrob.”)

Palin also entertained other conservative elites on a second National Review cruise.  Guests included the Review’s Rich “starbursts” Lowry, failed Supreme Court nominee Robert “Colonel Sanders” Bork, and Fox News’ Dick “toe-sucking” Morris.

Conservative historian* Victor Davis Hanson recalled Palin “in high heels, walking around this big Victorian house with rough Alaska floors,” and described her as “striking.”  Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger was admirably direct in referring to the governer as “a real honey” in an online column.

*(I’m using “historian” guardedly.)

Two days after Palin’s selection, the excessively sleazy Morris wrote of the event:  “I will always remember taking her aside and telling her that she might one day be tapped to be Vice-President, given her record and the shortage of female political talent in the Republican Party.  She will make one hell of a candidate, and hats off to McCain for picking her.”  Attendees recalled that Morris warned the governor that she would have to “stay an outsider” to be successful after campaigning as one.”

This was all groundwork for handing her to McCain.  McMaverick wanted Lieberman, but his advisors vetoed the pick.  Rove wanted Romney, but McCain and Romney never got along.  Choices such as Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former U.S. Trade Rep Rob Portman were boring and added little to the ticket.  Without any good options, advisors congealed around Palin.  According to David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, super-lobbyist Charlie Black told McCain: “If you pick anyone else, you’re going to lose. But if you pick Palin you may win.”  (Black is a nasty, nasty character fwiw.)

The story of Palin really isn’t small-town-girl-makes-good.  Rather, it’s a classic example of the Washington elite converging on a popular person and creating her via money and influence.  The whole New Yorker feature is here and worth a read.

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The RNC has spent $150,000 on clothes for her in less than 4 months.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in the middle of the collapse of our nation’s financial institutions the party that claims the right to call themselves the only ‘true’ Americans thinks its perfectly acceptable to  swaddle its cultural populist  mouth peace in the equivalent of 15 people’s annual health care cost.


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Steven Benen has a great post on how utterly mind boggling it is that Obama is being criticized for pronouncing Pakistan correctly, while Palin lauded saying “eye-rack”. Adam Serwer’s comparison of Palin and 50 Cent is absolutely dead on (something along the lines of the right loving her like a fat kid loves cake), as is the below comment on intellectual expectation:

To pronounce something correctly is to be “ostentatiously exotic,” while pronouncing something incorrectly is raised to the level of something like a presidential qualification. Meanwhile, there are thousands of Americans of Pakistani descent who are themselves “ostentatiously exotic” by virtue of their names (and it would be elitist of them to expect anyone to pronounce them correctly) and ancestry.Keep in mind that these are the same people who insist that a culture of ignorance that hold black people back while lauding Sarah Palin‘s vast ignorance of public policy as some kind of tremendous virtue. They demand merit from others and only mediocrity from themselves, because said mediocrity is touted as proof of authenticity.

I would elaborate further on how problematic anti-intellectualism is to the political process, but as someone who just spent the last 5 minutes cackling at Political Macros I am clearly not one to talk.

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Palin’s debate strategy was dog-whistle white rural populism. Pure and simple Nixon playbook. Worked for him, worked for Reagan (Philadelphia and the welfare queens, set in the context of a long, racist record.) Race is significant but it isn’t everything: Bush Sr. could pull off the racism but couldn’t fake folksy next to Bubba Clinton. It’s a 2-part game essentially:

1) I am like you

2) They are not like us

The first part is the aw-shucks shit-kickin’ Where I’m from stuff. For the second part, they’ve added religion to the Obama equation to create a sort of compound Nation of Islam slash black liberation theology slash atheist character; (no one said it was internally coherent.)

Here’s a clarification: This approach is different from economic populism. Why? Economic populism can be translated directly into policy. Whether you agree or disagree with the arguments, saying CEO’s make too much money or that oil companies don’t need tax cuts is policy-translatable. If you talk about the middle class in your home town in terms of putting pay caps in the bailout or changing the tax structure, you can campaign on those details. And it’s a fair debate as to whether they’re good policies.

But this isn’t about that, this is I was born in a small town for everyday hard-workin’ ‘muricans from Main Street. It’s instinctively anti-intellectual, blames “eastern elites” for most everything, and features bow-tied pundits and New Yorkers unironically whining about “cosmopolitanism.” (PS this historically means “Jews.”) The leading lights of the party attack community organizers, and the party insists there’s no racial overtones even while the Pied Piper of Douchebaggery compares the profession to “thugs.”

Palin brought out I am like you in full force last night. (She didn’t bring They aren’t like us for two reasons: First, it works better in TV ads and speeches where it can’t be directly challenged; and second, obviously Biden is not the target.) So wrap yourself in a flag and a tractor for some highlights from the debate transcript:

…Joe Six-pack…

…hockey moms…

…let’s do what our parents told us…

…middle class of America which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives…

…Main Streeters like me….

…great American hero General Petraeus…

… dictators who hate America and hate what we stand for, with our freedoms…

…Oh, yeah, it’s so obvious I’m a Washington outsider….

…we need a little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street there, brought to Washington, DC….

… god bless her, her reward is in heaven, right?…

…And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people…

…my connection to the heartland of America…

…America is a nation of exceptionalism…

…I like being able to answer these tough questions without the filter, even, of the mainstream media…

…East Coast politicians…

…average, everyday American family like mine….

I don’t know if anyone remembers this, but watching the debate I just pictured the McCain strategists sitting around a table chanting “ONE OF US! ONE OF US!” as debate preparation.

So in terms of “winners?” I think Palin held up quite well considering they’d lowered the standards to the point where, as a friend of mine said, “the only way she can ‘lose’ is to call for the extermination of the Jews.” That said, it wasn’t a game-changer. She still looked like a student who’d pulled an all-nighter prepping for comps.

As for Senator Biden, he was fine. No runs, no hits, no errors. It wasn’t his debate to win or lose. He’s a known quantity, and no one would’ve tuned in to watch him debate Tim Pawlenty or Field Marshal Turkmenromney. The only unscripted moment was when he got choked up about being a single dad:

“The notion that somehow, because I’m a man, I don’t know what it’s like to raise two kids alone,’’ he said, “[that] I don’t know what it’s like to have a child you’re not sure is going to — is going to make it — I understand.’’

(Thing is, Biden has has cried before.)  The Senator was notably disciplined.  As Klein points out: While it may have been frustrating at times, it does speak well about Biden’s commitment to the ticket.)

So, summary? Palin beat expectations, but nothing consequential happened.

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