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Was Sarah Palin More than Passingly Sarcastic?

One of the memes being spread by some Democratic reporters and other Obama supporters after Sarah Palin's speech was that she was very sarcastic.

I don't know whether these commentators don't understand what "sarcasm" is or whether this is just another example of the blatant orgy of sexism with which Sarah Palin has been greeted. Already spreading this falsehood are 1,769 stories on Google News and 2,861 blog posts.

In her acceptance speech Sarah Palin was not particularly sarcastic. Mostly, she just said what she means. She made fun of Obama, but sarcasm played an exceedingly minor role in her pointed attacks.

Sarcasm is using words that on the surface would seem to mean the opposite of what the speaker actually means. Examples would include: "Oh, that's great," said after something terrible happened, or "You're such a gentleman" after a man did something rude.

I went through the text of Sarah Palin's prepared remarks and found one sarcastic aside and one sarcastic word in the context of a very unsarcastic statement, but no other likely examples. Here was the single sarcastic clause in her speech:

But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot — what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy ... our opponent is against producing it.

The line "after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet" is sarcastic because, though she paraphrasing Obama's own words, she doesn't believe he will do this. Though sarcastic, there's nothing terribly odd, unfair, or inappropriate about paraphrasing his own excessively lofty rhetoric.

The only other probable example of sarcasm is just one word, the use of "accolade" to refer to Harry Reid's insult. But except for that one word, the overall statement wrapped around that word is not sarcastic: Palin means what she says.

Harry Reid, the majority leader of the current do-nothing Senate, not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. He said, quote, "I can't stand John McCain." Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we've chosen the right man. Clearly what the majority leader was driving at is that he can't stand up to John McCain.

Here are the other 11 negative comments about Obama or the Democrats or Democratic administrations from Palin's speech:

1. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.

(Here I think Palin is being playful, but she means what she says.)

2. I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening. We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

(Palin is using understatement here.)

3. Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems — as if we all didn't know that already. But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.

4. I've noticed a pattern with our opponent. Maybe you have, too. We've all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers. And there is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state Senate.

5. This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign.

6. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight ... he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay ... he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights? Government is too big ... he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much ... he promises more.

7. Taxes are too high ... he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific. The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes ... raise payroll taxes ... raise investment income taxes ... raise the death tax ... raise business taxes ... and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. . . . How are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?

8. Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election. In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change. They're the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners, or on self-designed presidential seals.

9. Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speechmaking, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things. And then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things. They're the ones who are good for more than talk ... the ones we have always been able to count on to serve and defend America.

10. My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of "personal discovery." This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer.

11. And though both Sen. Obama and Sen. Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, "fighting for you," let us face the matter squarely. There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you ... in places where winning means survival and defeat means death ... and that man is John McCain.

In the next post, I consider whether Obama was as negative in his acceptance speech as Palin was (he actually said more negative things than Palin did, but his lines were less pointed.)

DangerMouse:
It has nothing to do with sarcasm, irony, understatement, playfulness, etc. YOU. DO. NOT. MOCK. THE. MESSIAH!

That's basically the complaint in a nutshell. The Messiah, THE ONE, must not be mocked.
9.5.2008 1:41am
Angus:
I think this is a case of misguided vocabulary, much like the misuse of the word "ironic."

The word the pundits are searching for and failing to find is "sardonic." Either that, or they know the right word but think that average people don't know what "sardonic" means.
9.5.2008 1:48am
metro1 (mail) (www):
The "sarcasm" criticism from the Left and the mainstream media is just the umpteenth example of their bias.

The traditional role of the Vice-Presidential candidate is to serve as the "attack dog" on the ticket - so the Presidential candidate can remain "Presidential."

So, when Biden goes on the attack for Obama, the press just say: well, that's his role.

But when Sarah Palin goes on the attack for McCain, the press say: sarcasm!

I'd say the double-standard is simple sexism - and it is partly that. But, really, the double-standard is because the press is just in the Obama camp. The press is so used to talking to each other - and praising Obama to each other - that when anyone points out Obama's flaws - like Sarah Palin did beautifully - it's like fingernails on a chalkboard to them.

But the problem isn't Sarah Palin: her criticisms of Obama were tough - but funny and fair. The problem is the mainstream press - who simply cannot brook any criticism of their anointed candidate.

Oh - and by the way - you know who the REAL star of the Republican National Convention was?

Sarah Palin?

Almost.

The real start was Piper Palin. Few noticed. But I did. And Piper did.

Piper's got the same charisma as her Mom. We're going to hear a lot more about Piper Palin in coming years.
9.5.2008 1:52am
MS (mail):
What they meant, as a charitable reading would make plain, is that her tone was derisive. McCain, on the other hand, sounded like a decent human being. Obama too. Biden not so much.

Sure, that's often the VP role, but it isn't an orgy of sexism to point out that her derision may turn off independents.

Are these differences in tone really lost on you? Perhaps you've been numbed by reading snide VC comments?
9.5.2008 1:53am
theobromophile (www):
Prof. Lindgren: you missed at least one. Palin made a comment about what to do after the conventions were over, after the stages were taken down, and after the Greek columns are taken back to some studio (sorry, don't recall exact wording off the top of my head), which was a shot at Obama's acceptance speech decor.

If not for the "blatant orgy of sexism," as you so colourful - and aptly - put it, I would think that "sarcasm" is just poor word choice, meant to convey the fact that Palin's speech was chock-full of zingers. "Right between the eyes" is the best description of some of her lines, but that doesn't seem to mesh well with serious-sounding political commentary. However, in light of the previous week, the charge of "sarcastic" seems but another way to try to convince Palin to pack her bags and vacate the Lower 48.

Other media outlets criticised her hair and her choice of speech writer. Apparently, someone had to imply the worst: she's not nice. Heaven forbid a woman have a personality that cannot be compared to vanilla pudding.

Have these people never heard of damning with faint praise? It would have served them much better than attacking her and when she shows that she's tough, doing their best impersonation of a child whose pigtails got pulled during recess. She is the sarcastic, or mean, or hard-hitting one?
9.5.2008 1:56am
MS (mail):
DangerMouse,

That's really clever how you used one-word sentences to emphasize your point.

---sarcasm
9.5.2008 1:58am
metro1 (mail) (www):
MS:

In political races you point out the differences between yourself and your opponent. That's the whole purpose of the race.

But - please - keep attacking Sarah Palin as "sarcastic" - or go back to "inexperienced" or "small town mayor." Keep it coming. That works great in your circle of friends, no doubt. But most of the country see right through it. They know a double-standard when they see it. And they don't like it.
9.5.2008 1:59am
courtwatcher:
Prof Lindgren,
You seem pretty certain about this, based on a wikipedia definition that doesn't cite to any sources that I'd call authoritative and doesn't match with sommon usage that I see around us. Do you really believe that sarcasm necessarily involves the use of irony? On what do you base this definition? Most dictionary definitions don't make irony a necessary component of sarcasm. Certainly, the etymology of the word is from sources meaning taunting or bitterly mocking. And I've often heard it used that way, even where there is no irony. I'd say that several of your examples fit that. (E.g., "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities.") Ask 100 people whether that is sarcasm (independent of partisan leanings) and I'd suspect far more than 50 would say yes.
9.5.2008 2:00am
Sarah (mail) (www):
Part of this is simple linguistic ignorance -- people are using "sarcastic" for other words because they lack sufficient command of the English language. Part of it is that she's a girl -- women are supposed to be nice in public, didn't you know. Part of it is that she's a Republican who's running against a very well-liked politician. And part of it is that she couldn't be criticized on some other highly useful criteria; she wasn't boring, or preachy, or erratic. And yeah, we're in another one of those "let's 'raise the tone' because we have loads of minions who will say truly despicable things on our behalf and we can retain plausible deniability" election cycles.
9.5.2008 2:00am
David Warner:
"Sure, that's often the VP role, but it isn't an orgy of sexism to point out that her derision may turn off independents."

Which is why that analysis was so prevalent after Biden's speech. Got it.

Look, Palin did what just about every human being in her role has done at conventions in living memory - play the bad cop. To treat her differently for doing so because of the subset of the human race to which she belongs would seem to be the definition of sexism, no?
9.5.2008 2:00am
AKD:
They really want to say she is a bitch, but know they probably can't get away with that (at least not yet), so...

sarcastic, derisive, divisive, mean, petty, etc.
9.5.2008 2:02am
js5 (mail):
The problem with Palin's speech was that.....er...Who the hell are you again?

Fact is, her speech was written days before the decision to pick her was made. And only within the last 72 was it tweaked to her background. Who cares whether she was sarcastic or not? It wasn't her speech. It was somebody else's. It's a shame she has so quickly embraced McCain's neoliberalism.
9.5.2008 2:05am
metro1 (mail) (www):
js5:

Live in hope. Palin is a true-blue conservative. And McCain respects her - that's one of many reasons she's on the ticket.

The first sign that Palin - the conservative advocate - is having an impact in the McCain-Palin Administration? When McCain says he and Sarah discussed it at length - and drilling in ANWR is the right decision.
9.5.2008 2:08am
Randy R. (mail):
And when Hilary complained about sexism during her campaign, I'm sure you all agreed with her.

And no doubt still do.
9.5.2008 2:08am
MS (mail):
David Warner,

I make no excuses for people who say they dislike Palin for her tone --- that indeed reeks of a double standard.

The argument I've read, and with which I agree, is that it was risky for her to take this tone, in this election, because she risked alienating everyone who is not the GOP base, people who don't entirely agree with her -- i.e. independents. Sure, Biden's tone risked that too, but saying as much is politically uninteresting because the democrats do not need independents to win this election. Unlike 8 years ago, many fewer voters self identify as Republicans.

McCain's generous speech tonight went a long way to undo the damage Palin caused. Not because he's a man, but because he wasn't a jerk.
9.5.2008 2:09am
theobromophile (www):
AKD - I think she's too pretty, and has too many kids, to get called that, at least for now. People will tolerate "bitch" being thrown at women of lower social standing, but most people would be furious to see it thrown at a feminine, beautiful hockey-PTA mom.
9.5.2008 2:10am
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
Why do conservative hacks insist that "'you do not mock' the [fill in dismissive phrase for Obama]?" I think the vast vast majority of Dems and/or liberals think it's just fine when conservatives mock liberals. All part of the political process. When you raise such an obviously-false strawman, it makes you look ridiculous, and--by extension--any more-valid points you raise look weaker.

What happens in politics.
a. One side mocks, or criticizes, the other side/position.
b. The other side then explains (by mocking, or otherwise criticizing) that the original person/position should not be listened to.

This political dance (fistfight??) has been going on for our country's entire history. I often find fault with HOW it is done (eg, bringing up Palin's family by a very few extremists in a crude and ultimately self-defeating way), but not THAT it is done to begin with.

Jim, I looked over your post, and re-read it a few times. But I simply cannot figure out how the [erroneous, I agree with you] labeling of her speech as "sarcastic" is in any way an example of sexism. Seriously. How does being called sarcastic implicate sexism in any way? Are only women sarcastic? Are women more prone to sarcasm than are men? [I don't agree with either of those propositions, and I suspect that you don't agree with them as well.]

One thing I have learned from my 2 decades as an adult living in America is that people very often use words incorrectly. And, sadly, not with any dark motive. Usually, I think, people use words incorrectly because they are "low information English users." [I claim trademark recognition for this phrase.] I think that the commentator intended to say that her speech was [in the commentator's opinion] somewhat nasty in tone, or strident, or mean-spirited, or so on. Using 'sarcasm' was evidence that the observer could have a better grasp of English. But sexism . . . nope, not based on the facts you stated. [Of course, this point is related only to what Jim was talking about in his OP. I've read plenty of sexist comments about her over the past week, in other contexts.]
9.5.2008 2:10am
TruthInAdvertising:
"I don't know whether these commentators don't understand what "sarcasm" is or whether this is just another example of the blatant orgy of sexism with which Sarah Palin has been greeted."

Lindgren is really going off the deep end. Calling her comments "sarcastic" is an example of "the blatant orgy of sexism"? Get a grip man. I'm fine with the political hacks peddling the line that any criticism or questioning of Palin is an example of sexism because...well, because they are hacks. I do enjoy the irony of this coming from Republican hacks who have never let a little sexism get in the way of an insult directed at women on the left. But to get it from you too is just a bit much. You need to get out of your Fox Fantasy World.
9.5.2008 2:10am
TruthInAdvertising:
Awesome! Follow Lindgren's link to Google and the first article I get is this one:

"So Sarah Palin was sarcastic and biting. That's how a happy warrior deals with absurdity. That's how a happy warrior rallies the troops."

The writer: Andy McCarthy
The source: The National Review

Go home Lindgren. Now you're just looking stupid.
9.5.2008 2:13am
js5 (mail):
Metro1, Even if she is slightly more 'conservative' than McCain, it's no better than putting lipstick on a pig.
9.5.2008 2:13am
Consenting:
Jim,

I think you're simply misreading the speech to consider "accolade" as used by Palin an example of sarcasm. Palin didn't say Reid's comment about McCain was an accolade. She said that Reid's comment tells us more about McCain as a man than the many accolades people would hear about him this week at the Republican convention. I think that's a clear reading.
9.5.2008 2:13am
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
Um, while writing my post, I see about 10 people beat me to my point.

Metro1,
I disagreed with most of what you wrote. But you are right about one thing: If McCain flips on ANWR, that would indeed be a clear sign of Palin's influence. (Which would be a good thing for Republicans, in my opinion.) The more conservatives forget that McCain is McCain, and the more they think of him as Palin (or Bush), the more they'll come out in November. Doing this, while still appearing moderate enough to grab enough undecideds will be a tough balancing act, and it one reason why the next 2 months will be fascinating to watch.

In spite of the polls right now, I'd actually give the edge to McCain as of this moment. We'll see how the debates go.
9.5.2008 2:17am
MS (mail):
metro1,

It's easy to point out the differences between yourself and your opponent and maintain civility. Check out the VC's own comments advice:


Reread your post, and think of what people would think if you said this over dinner.


How many of Palin's "zingers" pass that test?
9.5.2008 2:17am
Barry P. (mail):
Doing this, while still appearing moderate enough to grab enough undecideds will be a tough balancing act, and it one reason why the next 2 months will be fascinating to watch.

I think most independents will go running into Obama's arms rather than put a petty power-mongering, book-banning creationist crackpot one frail heartbeat from the presidency.
9.5.2008 2:32am
Jim Rhoads (mail):
Book banning? Creationist? Crackpot?

Where did that come from?
9.5.2008 2:38am
AKD:
Ack, attack ad-bot!
9.5.2008 2:39am
Jim Hu:
Palin lied in her speech... those were plywood columns, not styrofoam. ;)
9.5.2008 2:43am
Barry P. (mail):
Jim:

Palin fired a librarian who refused to censor books at her behest.

Palin is a self-confessed creationist. Creationist = crackpot.

It's a shame that McCain had to pick someone this extreme to placate the wingnuts, because it wipes out any chance he'll have to gather support from independents.
9.5.2008 2:52am
Ainola (mail):
Even if she is slightly more 'conservative' than McCain, it's no better than putting lipstick on a pig.

Or a pit bull.
9.5.2008 3:08am
Bandon:
As another commenter mentioned, Professor L's definition of sarcasm is too narrow. Sarcasm refers to a harsh or cutting remark that may or may not be ironic. Because sarcasm often relies on vocal inflection, it may not be evident in a simple reading of the transcript of a spoken address.

Palin's speech last night impressed me as both smug and sarcastic. I came away thinking less of Palin because of the mocking tone of her remarks, even though she delivered them well. In contrast, McCain's speech tonight was much more poorly delivered, but I came away with increased respect for McCain. Palin simply threw "red meat" to the base, while McCain admitted his party's contributions to our current problems and the need for all Americans to work together to solve them. Maybe I liked the fact that he was sounding quite a bit like Obama at that point in the speech.

So the bottom line is that those who are accusing Palin of excessive sarcasm are not simply spreading a "falsehood." And Palin should be careful that her future attacks on Obama are more honest and less derisive if she wants to appeal to voters other than her right-wing base.
9.5.2008 3:14am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
a petty power-mongering, book-banning creationist crackpot


Don't forget liar.
9.5.2008 3:32am
David Warner:
MS,

"Sure, Biden's tone risked that too, but saying as much is politically uninteresting because the democrats do not need independents to win this election."

Don't look now, but Palin just took a big old bite out of their base. They need all the votes they can get, independent and otherwise. Maybe the media should have been more interested in those politics in Biden's case.

For what it's worth, I was initially disappointed, after being relieved, then impressed, in that I think she's got a lot more substance in her than the handlers were prepared to let her deliver in this speech. I've come to see now that she was doing the post-sexist thing: i.e. playing the VP attack role like an exceptionally talented human being, not a subset thereof.
9.5.2008 5:40am
tarheel:
Prof. Lindgren:

I'd be interested to see a link to where you found party registration information for all the reporters who have written stories about Palin's speech.

Don't have one? That's what I figured. Good to see the Volokh Hackocracy is back in full effect today.
9.5.2008 7:27am
Gringo (mail):
Not sarcastic, just mean.
9.5.2008 8:00am
smitty1e:
after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet

Guess I was the only one who thought this an allusion to Moses and the Christ.
9.5.2008 8:05am
hawkins:
Call me sexist if you'd like, but I found the tone of Palin's speech to be highly obnoxious (and her voice grating).
9.5.2008 8:41am
David Warner:
Gringo,

"Not sarcastic, just mean."

Next time someone considers taking down a couple of our skyscrapers, that's exactly the image I want them to have in mind.

Call it mean if you like, all I know is it was a very effective response to the shitstorm she had thrown at her.
9.5.2008 8:48am
David Warner:
Chicago rules, if you will. Speaking in a language Barack can understand.
9.5.2008 8:50am
Stacy (mail) (www):
There were several points during Palin's speech where I said "ok those last three zingers were funny, now quit while you're ahead" i.e. before she gives the pundits too much cover to call her sarcastic and mean. She didn't.

I liked the speech overall, and it even went over fairly well with my Obama-supporting friends and coworkers, but everyone felt she went a little wild with the one-liners.
9.5.2008 9:29am
Sarcastro (www):
Sarcasm can never add anything constructive to a debate!
9.5.2008 9:35am
Hoosier:
Sarcastro--I was wondering when YOU would show up do address your raison d'etre.

I was beginning to think you had gone to ground; to reappear, perhaps, as Stalin Grad.
9.5.2008 11:01am
Hoosier:
Why do conservative hacks insist that "'you do not mock' the [fill in dismissive phrase for Obama]?"

I don't know. Who are the "hacks"?
9.5.2008 11:02am
Sarcastro (www):
Heh. Stalin Grad.

Naw, the Palin thing makes this forum a bit hot for me, so I'm trying to stick to the other threads.

But this one seemed special.
9.5.2008 11:07am
Sarcastro (www):
Rejected Sarcastro handles:

Adolph Witler.
Laughing MAO.
Pol "bon" Mot
9.5.2008 11:21am
MartyH (mail):
Smitty said:

"after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet

Guess I was the only one who thought this an allusion to Moses and the Christ"

Read the close of Obama's June 3 speech, when Hillary suspended her campaign:

"The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment — this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."

That's what Palin was referring to.
9.5.2008 11:31am
NickM (mail) (www):
I agree with Consenting. Accolade wasn't a reference to Reid, but to praise of McCain during the RNC.

Oh, and Sarcastro, how about Laughrenti Beria? Kosygrin?

Nick
9.5.2008 12:15pm
Sixties Feminist (mail):
Spare me the attempts to label all objective analysis of Palin and her record as sexist.

Those who characterize her speech as sarcastic, I among them, do so not simply on the basis of the printed words on the page but on the tone of voice, the delivery. Yes, lawyers and law professors can readily come up with a crabbed definition of saracasm and proceed to parse the Palin printed text in order to prove that -- as judged by the crabbed definition -- there was little sarcasm in it. But, to those who heard it, it was replete with sarcasm. Welcome to the new politics of nasty.

And, it is hardly sexist to criticize Palin for the many false statements she has already made. She claims to be a reformer, and she has cited her position ont he Bridge to Nowhere. We now know she was strongly for it before she was against it.

She claims that she sold the plane on Ebay. The truth: She tried to, but it didn't sell, and it was sold at a bargain price to a lucky Alaska entrepreneur.

She claims that she is against pork. Yet, as Mayor of her small town, she hired a lobbyist associated with Abramoff to pull in oodles and oddles of federal dollars for local pet projects. This is not to say that some of the projects were not worthy. But it is not obvious that the voter in Altoona wants to pay for Wasilla's ice hockey rink.

She claims that she is a reformer who threw the corrupt bums out. This is a partial truth. She also, though, practised a Monica Goodling management style in Wasilla -- getting rid of perceived ideological enemies. The business about her efforts to get her trooper brother-in-law ousted and firing the civil servant who refused is still under investigation.

Fiscal prudence? Not really. Even though she pulled in big federal earmark dollars for Wasilla, she piled up a big debt for the town. It had no debt when she became Mayor. Does this recall the fiscal style of a certain incumbent President?

Back to sexism and unfairness. Give me a break. Palin is already being treated with kid gloves. The campaign apparently wants to box her up like a hothouse orchid so that she need not answer press questions. All that is sexist is the McCain campaign's apparent lack of confidence in her ability to hold her own on the national stage without prepared remarks and a teleprompter. If she can't take the heat, she shouldn't be the chef in the national kitchen.

And, finally, talk about double standards. Palin has attended several conventions of the Alaska Independence party and her husband was amember of that for about eight years. He resigned in 1992. She spoke to their convention even after she became governor. This is a party that preaches against the U.S. (did it's leader say "Damn America??) and wants to secede. Imagine if Michelle Obama had belonged to this kind of political group. Yet, not a peep from the usual America first crowd about this one.

There is much more to say. But, please, please, don't ask people who have ears to hear to believe that Palin's speech--albeit flawlessly delivered--was anything other than a class act in sarcastic invective: high school class, that is.
SSF
9.5.2008 12:26pm
Hoosier:
Sarcastro
You just reminded me:
There's a musician named Paul Pot. Poor guy.

Other suggestions:

Attila the Fun
Ta Mock (Too obscure?)

Or my greatest creation: Mao Tse-tung in Cheek
9.5.2008 12:49pm
David Warner:
Stacy,

"There were several points during Palin's speech where I said "ok those last three zingers were funny, now quit while you're ahead" i.e. before she gives the pundits too much cover to call her sarcastic and mean. She didn't."

Yeah, you hit it. Same thing happened with Clinton in '84. I was juiced, then I was like, alright, Bill, time to wrap 'er up, and he went on another 20 minutes. Can you imagine the emotions, though? I'd probably go long too.
9.5.2008 12:54pm
David Warner:
"Rejected Sarcastro handles:

Adolph Witler.
Laughing MAO.
Pol "bon" Mot"

I really hate laughing at a computer screen. Thanks a million, Sarcastro. You've really grown in office lately...
9.5.2008 12:56pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
Yup, Palin asked the feds for money. Yet, the feds who gave it (Obama, Biden, etc) aren't responsible.

Biden shovels money to his kid through MBNA - no problem. Obama earmarks for his buddies - no problem.

Palin apparently doesn't believe in unilateral disarmament. In that, she's solidly in the mainstream.
9.5.2008 1:08pm
Sarcastro (www):
Andy Freeman Friggen Dems take advantage of programs they support.

But the Republicans have the courage to take advantage of programs they are running against and people just jeer.
9.5.2008 1:11pm
Hoosier:
Andy Freeman Friggen Dems take advantage of programs they support
But the Republicans have the courage to take advantage of programs they are running against and people just jeer.

Like public financing of campaigns.

Wait.

Something wrong there. What could it be?
9.5.2008 1:20pm
ridiculous:
defining the colloquial use of "sarcastic" down and counting up examples won't do. it was the tone of her voice, her inflections, her facial expressions and delivery, her dishonesty and, most of all, the utter lack of any substance to balance the attacks that made her speech the (undeniably well-delivered and effective for its intended purpose) wretch-fest that it was.
9.5.2008 1:27pm
Hoosier:
Sarcastro--

I was wrong, and I owe you an apology.

Apparently clowns DO charge if they're angry.
9.5.2008 1:27pm
Sarcastro (www):
Hoosier But they drove a truck of money up to Obama's house! A TRUCK FULL OF MONEY!

This just proves he's like all of us!
9.5.2008 1:27pm
SG:
I don't think the argument is that she didn't attack Obama, it's just that she largely didn't use sarcasm in her attacks. And she didn't, sarcasm is a form of irony where your words can be read two different ways. She mocked him, but she did it with the plain meaning of her words.

I do think that she might have gone over the top, but given the shitstorm thrown at her over the previous few days, she had earned the right to express some anger, so I was willing to cut her some slack.
9.5.2008 1:52pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
Suppose that you believe that the designated hitter is an abomination. Yes, you should try to get on the rules committee to change the rule, but do you send your pitcher up to bat if you're an American League manager? Do you decline the job to avoid the choice?
9.5.2008 2:53pm
brad (mail):
I think Palin had to show she was tough enough to be President. The speech did that brilliantly. That is why she is now even with Obama (per Rasmussen) on the question of who is better qualified to be President, and has higher favorability than either.
9.5.2008 3:48pm
Hoosier:
Suppose that you believe that the designated hitter is an abomination.

Safe supposition. Aluminum bats, too.


Yes, you should try to get on the rules committee to change the rule, but do you send your pitcher up to bat if you're an American League manager? Do you decline the job to avoid the choice?

Do you declare: "If I am hired to manage, I will not use the DH"? And then use the DH anyway? IF so, why?
9.5.2008 3:48pm
brad (mail):
from above I meant to say,

and has higher favorability than either Obama or McCain.
9.5.2008 3:50pm
Jim Devoron:
This is what's wrong with our politics. At the Republican convention, speaker after speaker just flat-out lied, and our news media isn't calling them on any of it. YOU CAN'T GET THE STORY FROM THE PUNDITS.

They smeared Barack Obama repeatedly and told lies big and small.

Here's just a few of them:

- Sarah Palin and John McCain claim that Barack Obama wants to raise our taxes, but the vast majority of families are way better off under Barack Obama's plan. JOHN MCCAIN ACTUALLY WANTS TO TAX OUR HEALTH BENEFITS!!! Barack Obama's plan only raises taxes on people with individual incomes over a quarter-million dollars.

- Sarah Palin and John McCain lie and claim that their plan is better for people like us. They don't cut taxes for us hardly at all, and wipe out that cut with their plan to tax our health benefits!!!! Barack Obama actually cuts middle class taxes to try to restore fairness that was lost under Bush.

- Sarah Palin lied when she said Barack Obama had authored "no major law, not even in the state senate." This is just a bald-faced lie. In fact, just in the US Senate, Barack Obama passed the most sweeping reform package since Watergate, and reached across party lines to pass, with Senator Lugar, legislation to help keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists and, with Senator Coburn, legislation to create a revolutionary database that makes government more transparent and accountable.

- Sarah Palin and John McCain continue to lie about Barack Obama's energy plans. They keep pushing more drilling as the main answer to our problems, when it won't do anything to lower the price of gas. And then they claim Barack Obama, in the words of Palin, "is against producing [more energy]. Barack Obama is for producing more clean energy and ending our addiction to oil. He has the most comprehensive energy plan of any Presidential candidate in history.

- The Republicans keep attacking Barack Obama's plans for Iraq, even though the Iraqi government AND THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION just signed an agreement that follows the plan Barack Obama has been advocating for months.

- It's the same thing on negotiations and diplomacy. Sarah Palin attacked Barack Obama for holding the position that the Bush Administration has belatedly been forced to adopt: holding direct talks with Iran. We're too strong a country to be afraid of talking to Iraq.

It goes on and on. I'm tired of the lies. AND I'M TIRED OF THE MEDIA NOT TELLING US THE TRUTH ABOUT THEM!
I believe Americans must look for the facts themselves before they decide!

.
9.5.2008 8:28pm