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The Meaning of Sarah Palin:

Via Instapundit, Yuval Levin has by far the best essay I've seen about Sarah Palin. It's too good to summarize, read the whole thing.

veteran:
Excellent article. It will be interesting to see the next election cycle.
2.6.2009 8:54am
Sarcastro (www):
I like quoting Gloria Steinem to speak for all Liberals too!

I also enjoy attacking both sides of an issue for being fools, and switching every once in a while. It makes me seem both smart AND nonpartisan!


...[a] broader vision for American families, American prosperity and freedom, and American security; a vision of conservatism, not only a nimbus of populism.


Such majestic and original points, plus the word "nimbus?" *swoon*
2.6.2009 9:15am
ERH:
Anti-intellectualism is strong in America? I'm shocked by this turn of event.
2.6.2009 9:22am
Isaac (www):
Levin's unqualified characterization of Mayor/Governor Palin as a "good-government reformer" ignores much that we now know about her actual spending and lobbying activities. It's as if the first few paragraphs of the piece were written under the spell of her initial lie about the "Bridge to Nowhere."

----

I admit that a great deal of what Levin says about cultural elitist objections to Palin applies to me. However, I believe that a large part of my attitudinal objection to her comes from patriotism. I remember the moment when I said to myself, "No way I can vote for her." It was this moment in her Convention speech:

Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights.

Call it cultural elitism if you want, but I can't support a would-be leader of our country who heaps such scorn on our Constitution. She was not making a nuanced statement about the correctness of the Miranda ruling; she was mocking those who would even think to "worry" about upholding the rule of law when dealing with our current enemies, or individuals accused of being such. This aspect of populism is in danger of sliding into fascism, and the American in me is revolted.
2.6.2009 9:25am
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
The problem for Palin and the Republicans is that the message they need to delivery is not simple and does not lend itself to sound bites. The needed message is essentially libertarian constitutionalist, and it requires educating the voters in ways that cannot really be done effectively in a campaign, especially not in the last 66 days of one. The kind of reform many people want but don't know how to articulate is not just a matter of broad tax, monetary, or fiscal policy. It involves often subtle reforms in legal practice, such as requiring all issues of law to be argued in the presence of the jury, opening grand juries to investigate all kinds of complaints from ordinary citizens, and empowering citizens to prosecute criminal cases instead of public prosecutors. It involves reviving the standing of ordinary citizens to issue writs of quo warranto to challenge the authority of miscreant officials. It also involves dispelling the mistaken notion that government is responsible for the economy, and to teach our citizens, beginning as children, to accept responsibility for themselves and others. This will be an educational process to undo the mistakes of a century. Perhaps the economic downturn will encourage the return to civic virtue, because without that no political candidate can speak what needs to be understood.
2.6.2009 9:30am
Loophole1998 (mail):
I think it was a well-written article and an interesting read, but too simplistic in its easy categorization of the electorate into elites and non-elites.

My impression as an ordinary midwesterner from a working class town is that we regular folks are a little more complex than imagined. Some of Palin's so-called "populist" ideas were a bit too exclusive (or, maybe, divisive?) for many of us.

Ordinary Americans are more live-and-let-live than conservative Republicans sometimes assume. I think Obama tapped into a different sort of more-inclusive cultural populism that Palin seemingly rejected. After 8-years of George Bush, the country (including we regular folks) were ready to hear a different sort of "cultural" argument.
2.6.2009 9:31am
JB:
Perhapscertainly I am an outlier, and I will admit to being an intellectual and, if believing that Presidents should be highly knowledgeable is elitism, then an elitist, but my problem with Palin wasn't what Levin points out. I recognized the liberal tidal wave of accusations as the 95% recycled bullshit it was; the problem was her reaction.

Attacking (and hiding from) the press, working the refs, moving the goalposts (can you imagine a President dealing that way with world leaders instead of the press?)...a real charismatic politician would have found a way to communicate that she would pick good advisors and rely on them for what she didn't know and on her charisma to bring it across. GWB was very good at making that kind of case, and it got him elected twice. (It's the same reason why I supported Obama against Hillary--when she was losing, she started complaining about the rules, attacking the media, and talking about how some parts of the country don't matter)

Even then, I was ambivalent--McCain would still be President, and he's a tough old man who would have survived 4 years at least. But then she never managed to talk about substantial issues, and instead started to go on about a "Real America" which doesn't include me at all. I can take a President who's not from my cultural milieu. I can even accept being called a traitor for not supporting the President--that's hyperpartisan rhetoric that few believe, even among those who say it. But if the Vice President doesn't think I or my neighbors are really part of the country she leads...

In short, she showed neither charisma* nor substance, and you need one or the other (preferably both) to run this country.

*Charisma is cross-ideological. I oppose GWB on practically everything--on the issues I'm conservative on, he isn't--but the man can sure inspire (even more impressive because he's rhetorically lousy).
2.6.2009 9:33am
Steve:
I really thought Sarah Palin would be able to tap into the deep-seated yearnings of the lower middle class for, above all else, government to get out of their way. How odd that it didn't work out like that.

The essay is kind of funny when it scoffs at the intellectual elites who view foreign policy - even moreso than domestic policy, apparently! - as an "intellectual exercise." A non-elite way of expressing is that thought is that some voters believe you ought to actually know something. Perhaps if the country hadn't had such a bad experience with the last President to rule by gut instinct.
2.6.2009 9:54am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Palin's qualifications are one part of Levin's piece. He does mention, in passing, her performance against Biden in the debate. It is noteworthy that those claiming to want experience and intelligence failed to apply those criteria to Biden. Who hid from the media longer? And for better reason?

Levin's part about the intel elite--says who?--and their attacks on Palin, which one commenter correctly says was 95% bullshit, is the important part.
They couldn't make their case with truth so they had to lie. They swore and lied and spewed spittle and lied and sneered and lied.
Most interesting.
2.6.2009 10:00am
JB:
They couldn't make their case with truth so they had to lie. They swore and lied and spewed spittle and lied and sneered and lied.

Just because your opponents are lying doesn't mean you are right. Palin was a disaster for completely separate reasons than those suggested by the liberals--primarily that she believed, as you seem to, that insulting your opponents is a substitute for making your own case.

I have no problem with the tactic of working the refs--it's the strategy of doing so that's the problem. Everyone calls the other side out-of-touch radicals, liars, etc; everyone accuses the media of bias against them. But the more you do that, and the more your campaign hinges on that becoming conventional wisdom, the more it seems that you have no actual ideas. (In the spirit of bipartisan criticism, this is what I think sank the Kerry campaign--in his case, whining about swiftboating and calling Middle America stupid took the place of whining about the Couric interview and making allusions to terrorism).
2.6.2009 10:13am
Cornellian (mail):
All she has to do is name GOP rising star Joe the Plumber as her running mate and they'll be unbeatable in 2012.
2.6.2009 10:14am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
JB.
True. That my opponents lie doesn't mean I'm right. It does mean, however, that they are wrong. I might be right. I might not. But if you have to lie to make your case, you've proven you're wrong.
So Palin's opponents proved they were wrong by making it clear they'd assessed the truth and decided it wouldn't suit their purposes.
I, on the other hand, being respectfully mindful of my place in this world, don't mind being called a bitter clinger, a fundie, a radical reactionary, a homophobe, an idiot. Because, see, the people calling me that are the elite. So I wasn't insulted, exactly. How could I be? I'm not the elite. I have no place to complain. Whine. Whatever.
2.6.2009 10:20am
BABH:
Not such a great article. I had to wait till page three for the author to admit, grudgingly, that Palin is a bozo.
2.6.2009 10:20am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anyone who carps about Palin's lack of qualifications and does not apply the same criteria to Biden is a demonstrably dishonest partisan hack whose opinions are not worth responding to.
Which would apply to someplace north of 99% of Palin's critics.
2.6.2009 10:22am
Aultimer:

she is, clearly, highly intelligent

I was with Levin until that unsupported groaner. Is there any measure by which Palin is in the same category of intelligent as, say, any of the Conspirators?
2.6.2009 10:24am
Aultimer:

Richard Aubrey
That my opponents lie doesn't mean I'm right. It does mean, however, that they are wrong.

They may be wrong about the lie itself, but it doesn't mean they're wrong about the subject of your opposition.
2.6.2009 10:27am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
aultimer
In the past, I recall, even hereabouts, disagreement on what intelligence is and whether various claimed methods of measuring it were valid.
It appears those questions are answered, at least in the case of Palin.
I'm sure they'll be open again in other circumstances.
And, as most know, Carter is supposed to be the brightest president in forever. So it's really important to know about relative intelligence. If we work really hard at it, we might get another Carter, and wouldn't that be wonderful.
Um..........
2.6.2009 10:29am
Michael B (mail):
A potent essay covering a potent set of topics. It only begins a serious exploration, but it is a sound and intriguing beginning, not at all a tepid one.

From the Norah O'Donnells and others among the smilingly affected, to far more overt displays of elitist snide and facile, arrogated contempt, as reflected in the Olbermans, the Matthewses, the Rick Sanchezes, et al. - the long knives and dirks will be out, glistening and razor sharp and eager beyond measure for deep thrusts and a thousand slices and cuts. The joy.

That, of course, reflects upon MSM "news" types only. The academic cum ideologue types come next, likewise in the pursuit of a reined in "public opinion," followed by the politicos themselves, bringing up the rear. The meta story in all of this is The Fourth and Fifth Estates taking on the characteristics of the First and Second Estates. And loving it, assuming it to be their rightful, high-born due.

Whether or not so many among the unwashed, the demos, the hoi polloi, will continue to play their assigned role, more or less unthinkingly, is among the more critical questions that will present themselves.
2.6.2009 10:30am
hawkins:
Breaking news: Depending on their political persuasions, partisans either irrationally support or irrationally oppose politicians.
2.6.2009 10:30am
Randy R. (mail):
The article makes many good points. however, it is plainly wrong in the facts. The Anchorage Daily News exposed a lot of her lies, and they were lies. The firing of the trooper, her lying about the bridge to nowhere funds, her lying about the clothes that were bought for her, and so on. No, she didn't try to ban books, she merely asked the librarian several times about removing certain books, and when she didn't, she got fired. Several senior Republican party officials were quoted as having been stabbed in the back-- they supported her initial campaigns, only to have her turn on them. Several bloggers did fact checks on her statements and kept a running tab of things that were proven to be lies, or so incredible as to reach the level of a lie.

So I wouldn't conclude that all the attacks on her were unfounded. They may have been over the top, or overwhelming, but certainly not unfounded.

And anyone who would make the claim that she knows all about Russia because her state is next door -- well, that just made her the laughing stock of the nation. That was bad enough. But then to keep repeating it, and elaborating on it, that was beyond farce.
2.6.2009 10:31am
pluribus:
Jon Roland:

The problem for Palin and the Republicans is that the message they need to delivery is not simple and does not lend itself to sound bites. The needed message is essentially libertarian constitutionalist,

What makes you think that Republicans are open to such a message? Does DOMA reassure you? Tom Delay's handling of the Terry Shiavo case? The support of creationism and shrinking from Darwin? The massive deficit spending of the Bush years? Waterboarding, and denying that it is torture? McCain's promise that US troops would be in Iraq for 100 years? Do these things comport with libertarianism? If so, perhaps I understand why I am neither a Republican or a Libertarian.
2.6.2009 10:32am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
aultimer, I missed the post about the subject of my opposition.
If they have to lie, it means the truth won't serve them. They know the truth won't serve them.
So they're wrong.
They may be lying because they can't think of a way to explain how they're actually right. That would be a common failing of the self-designated intellectual elite, right?
And Palin was not a matter of Palin vs. the standards of those whose only accomplishment is verbal agility. She was running against Joe Biden. To choose against Palin meant choosing for Joe Biden. Luck with that.
That Palin was compared to....something or other, whatever could be hauled out to make her look bad, even if they had to lie to do it, rather than to Biden, is telling. Very telling.
2.6.2009 10:34am
Adam B. (www):
Read Nixonland, people. Palin attempted to exploit the same cultural resentments of the Orthogonians against the Franklins as Nixon and especially Spiro Agnew did in 1968-72. The only way to make the Republican Party seem to not be an elite is to find a different elite to attack.
2.6.2009 10:34am
hawkins:

Anyone who carps about Palin's lack of qualifications and does not apply the same criteria to Biden is a demonstrably dishonest partisan hack whose opinions are not worth responding to.


Ok, I'll bite. What are the criticisms of Biden's qualifications? If anything, I think Obama was the more effective counterpoint to Palin's critics.
2.6.2009 10:37am
Ex parte McCardle:
I was amazed by Levin's declaration "there could be no denying Palin's real deficiencies." And yet, right here on VC, we heard them denied by the contributors, not just commenters, day after day after day.
2.6.2009 10:41am
hawkins:

requiring all issues of law to be argued in the presence of the jury


Why would this be beneficial?
2.6.2009 10:41am
mlm (mail):
Sarah Palin is eminently qualified to be the leader of the Republicans.
2.6.2009 10:43am
mlm (mail):
Poor Republicans.
2.6.2009 10:44am
Ex parte McCardle:
Like Aultimer, Levin's assertion, set off by dashes for emphasis, that "she is, clearly, highly intelligent" made me want to ask "In what respect, Charlie?"
2.6.2009 10:44am
SeaLawyer:

I was amazed by Levin's declaration "there could be no denying Palin's real deficiencies." And yet, right here on VC, we heard them denied by the contributors, not just commenters, day after day after day.


Of course Palin has deficiencies. Who doesn't? Please inform me of the deficiencies the contributors denied. I think one of the real problems was the time and effort it took to combat all of the lies about Palin took time away from getting the real message out.
2.6.2009 10:47am
Accountant Ed (mail):
I, too, sincerely hope that the Republican ticket in 2012 is Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. With Rush Limbaugh as the head spokesman and policy analyst of the party. It would be great for the country.
2.6.2009 10:52am
AndyinNc:
I don't know why anyone is bothering with Sarah Palin anymore. She was far too intellectual for the Republicans.

Joe the Plumber is the future! He's already conducting their Middle East negotiations and developing their economic plans.
2.6.2009 10:54am
Suzy (mail):
The lynchpin premise of the article is the presumed separation "book-learning" intellectualism and "practical wisdom". That distinction is as old as Socrates, but the most important thing about Socrates is that he never claimed to have real knowledge when he did not. The most important reason why Sarah Palin was a disaster is that she continually violated this precept of Socratic ignorance (and practical wisdom). Her intellectual shortcomings would have been less offensive, had they not been combined with her own utter certitude in her own brilliance.
2.6.2009 10:58am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
hawkins
First, we have to agree to use the same standards.
Okay, the discussion is over.
2.6.2009 10:58am
Joe McDermott (mail):
I find unpersuasive Levin's dismisal of complaints that Palin is too cultually conservative for many Americans -- and, one would think, for all libertarians. She DID ask about banning books, appears stridently pro-life, and seems to be in the creationist camp. All these are evidence of anti-intellectualism, as well.

"Palin never actually boasted of ignorance or explicitly scorned learning or ideas. Rather, the implicit charge was that Palin's failure to speak the language and to share the common points of reference of the educated upper tier of American society essentially rendered her unfit for high office."

Count me among those who consider her unfit for this reason.
2.6.2009 11:02am
wfjag:

The firing of the trooper

ahhhhhh, Randy, if you're going to say "Palin lied", at least get your facts right. The trooper was never fired. (although tazing his step-son on the grounds that that 10-year-old, IMO, demonstrates enough lack of judgment that he should have been fired before he decides to shoot someone and say "they asked for it").

What bothers me most about your comment, is what it indicates. You're fairly well read and usually accurate. That you'd make such a basic false assertion indicates the basic lack of truth in the "reporting" about Palin.


They may be wrong about the lie itself, but it doesn't mean they're wrong about the subject of your opposition.

You mean that the story's a lie, but the lie is the truth, so that it's OK for American "elites" and "journalists" to repeat lies because the lies are the truth?
Aultimer -- there's some very Orwellian implications in your statement in the context of this thread. I think you mean that you oppose Palin because you disagree with her on positions. That's legitimate. But, I see a main point of the article was that instead of reporting her positions so they could be debated, what was "reported" as her record was materially distorted to the point of falsehood, and those falsehoods were repeated and repeated, even after shown to be false. That's the Orwellian part.
2.6.2009 11:05am
hawkins:
huh?
2.6.2009 11:05am
Happyshooter:
I agree with the intro for the article, and the positions ascribed to both sides.

However, that is where my agreemnt stops. The Palin story is that the media will destroy who they are told to destroy.

Palin came out of the gate strong for the GOP, so the left wing buzzed for a few days and fed their media minons several lines of slurs. Those were piled on over and over until they worked.

The lesson of Palin is that the media is left wing and will do whatever it takes to ruin someone who is on the right and may gain power.
2.6.2009 11:14am
1Ler:
I think the more interesting question is whether Palin can be molded into a decent candidate for the future. I don't have any problems with her intelligence, per se--it's her dreadful inability to deal with issues out of her sphere of interests. Unfortunately, her sphere isn't all that big.

I mean, I'll be honest--as long as the Republicans are the (slightly) more conservative party (and pro-life in policy), I'm going to vote for them. I will be humiliated when they put Joe the Plumber or the untrained Gov. Palin in the spotlight, but there's no way in hell I would vote for a pro-choice Jimmy Carter who's cool and brilliant. I would like to think I don't have to be embarrassed about that for the rest of my life, but that may be the price of policy politics.
2.6.2009 11:20am
hawkins:

The Palin story is that the media will destroy who they are told to destroy.

Palin came out of the gate strong for the GOP, so the left wing buzzed for a few days and fed their media minons several lines of slurs. Those were piled on over and over until they worked.

The lesson of Palin is that the media is left wing and will do whatever it takes to ruin someone who is on the right and may gain power.


I found it very strange that the media fawned over her so much right out of the gate, and then turned on her. Both the initial adulation and the subsequent criticism were extreme. Did not make much sense.
2.6.2009 11:23am
tgb1000 (mail):
The "left wing media" happily played into the whole "Al Gore is a serial liar" story, the whole "John Kerry is a wishywashy flipflopper" story, and the whole "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction" story. The media deserves plenty of criticism for laziness and for pursuing ratings and sales at the expense of honesty, but the evidence that they are in fact "left wing" is just not supported by the evidence.
Heck, I'll even grant that, once the snowball got rolling, the media was pretty hard on Sarah Palin. But the intial problems were all self-inflicted.
2.6.2009 11:26am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
hawkins
Is that "huh" aimed at me?

Example. Education. Palin's Bachelor accumulated at several schools is in journalism, iirc.
Biden graduated near the bottom of his class at a third-tier law school. That's what one VC commenter said, so let's not screw around trying to unsay what one of the never-wrong intellectuals said. He had to take time off for plagiarism, not the last time. Does he have the markedly bulging brain in this pair?

Knows what he's talking about? France and the US pushed Hizbollah out of Lebanon. The only reason that isn't played up is that the MSM didn't follow it up. They didn't run that on SNL--although it was what he said--but they had to make up "I can see Russia from my house" which is not, if it had been said, as stupid as Biden's gaffe.

See what I'm saying?

Same standards. It would be a brand new approach. In fact, it might require a lengthy lie-down among those new to the practice.

So, since it isn't going to happen, the discussion is over.

Clear?
2.6.2009 11:26am
Roger Schlafly (www):
Anyone who carps about Palin's lack of qualifications and does not apply the same criteria to Biden is a demonstrably dishonest partisan hack whose opinions are not worth responding to.
Ok, I'll bite. What are the criticisms of Biden's qualifications?
Some people complained that Palin was not intelligent enough, but Biden has said many more stupid things. It is much easier to make the case that Biden is an idiot, and is now the least intelligent VP that we have had in decades.
2.6.2009 11:28am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Roger.
But saying stupid things is not evidence of lack of qualifications. Sometimes.
Other times, having stupid things put in your mouth is a decider.
2.6.2009 11:32am
pintler:

I was with Levin until that unsupported groaner. Is there any measure by which Palin is in the same category of intelligent as, say, any of the Conspirators?


What kind of intelligence? Do you include common sense and an ability to read people? The ability to evaluate triple integrals and LaPlace transforms? To successfully argue a case before the SC, or municipal court (not being a lawyer, I'm guessing the skill sets that succeed in those two courts are not identical).

Which skills are most important in leaders? Which was more important - FDR's understanding of economics, or his ability to say 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself'? Churchill is usually agreed to have been a masterful leader in WWII Britain, but a lot of his strategy was considered, to be charitable, uninspired, as was most of his academic history.
2.6.2009 11:35am
c.gray (mail):

The most important reason why Sarah Palin was a disaster is that she continually violated this precept of Socratic ignorance (and practical wisdom). Her intellectual shortcomings would have been less offensive, had they not been combined with her own utter certitude in her own brilliance.


One of the things I find fascinating about Palin is the awesome amount of pretentious, pseudo-intellectual nonsense her detractors seem compelled to wallow in. It's as though she possesses some magical ability to turn ordinary liberals and progressives into barely coherent gasbags.

Palin was on the campaign trail for barely 9 weeks. During this time her public statements were, by necessity, limited to regurgitating fairly standard Republican platitudes and talking points written out for her by McCain's campaign staff and absorbed via marathon cram sessions.

If she truly displayed excessive levels of confidence in some of her gamier statements (which is an odd claim given how her interviews with the press actually went), it would be nothing out of the ordinary for a professional politician of either party. Such individuals are typically capable of confidently claiming to be best prepared vice-president in history, explaining how FDR got on TV and explained the consequences of the stock market crash, to have run primaries in 57 states and to be concerned about 500 million job losses a month, all without a trace of embarrassment or self-doubt.

Anyone who thinks the absence of "Socratic ignorance" is an unusual failing among American politicians really needs to spend more time paying attention and less time re-reading Plato's Apology.
2.6.2009 11:37am
CJColucci:
An overlooked line from the essay:

But having finally gotten voters to listen, neither Palin nor McCain could think of anything to say to them. Palin's reformism, like McCain's, was essentially an attitude devoid of substance
2.6.2009 11:40am
AndyinNc:
The conservatives who keep trying to draw equivalences between Biden and Palin are really just shooting themselves in the foot.

Yes, Biden is often ridiculous, he went to a crappy school, whatever. But he's had almost 40 years of federal experience, and does possess a fairly large amount of knowledge on foreign and domestic policy.

Palin couldn't name a freaking magazine she reads.

It just makes you look silly and Palin look even more unqualified, folks. But I really hope the Republicans do keep pushing her because she's culturally divisive and fairly stupid. You guys might have a chance if you ran someone like Huckabee who's divisive but somewhat smart. Palin will guarantee you're stuck in the mud.
2.6.2009 11:42am
hawkins:
Roger - Thanks for actually making an intelligible point.

Richard: You mentioned "qualifications," not intellect. Biden's qualifications--as in being Senator for almost 30 years, chairmen of foreign relations, etc--are beyond any of the other candidates'.
2.6.2009 11:56am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Andy.
Frederick The Great's mule went on forty campaigns. Nobody was pushing him for a spot on the Grossgeneralstab.

Biden's experience might have made him smarter, but given the kinds of things he says, he must have started out behind the pet rocks.
So, Andy, there are two questions. One is how come somebody as stupid as Biden--FDR got on television to discuss the crash-- got picked for VP and the other is how come nobody thought it disqualified him. A third is how come that sank like a rock, while Palin's comment that being a border state governor gives one at least potential experience with a foreign country was held against her endlessly. She had the real thing, with Canada.

See, Hawkins? Same standards. Makes you guys all crazy.
2.6.2009 12:02pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
hawkins.
Show us something smart Biden has said on foreign relations.
France and US hizbollah..... Something like that. Then show us how come you think that means he's both smart and has learned from experience.
Take your time.
2.6.2009 12:05pm
AndyinNc:
Richard, it's strange how you still don't understand that trying to attack Biden on his foreign relations experience, which most all of the Congressional Republicans agree is impressive, as a way of boosting Palin, isn't helping Palin.

This line of argument completely failed during the campaign. Because it's plainly stupid.
2.6.2009 12:11pm
wohjr (mail):
Richard-

Here's a fairly reasonable proposal from Biden, back when he was running for President. Shows a pretty good grasp of Pakistani affairs if you ask me.



OK, now its your turn. "You know I can see Russia from my house?"

hahahahahaha
2.6.2009 12:14pm
Steve:
It is much easier to make the case that Biden is an idiot, and is now the least intelligent VP that we have had in decades.

I want to see the guy who thinks Jackie Robinson didn't have it any tougher than Barry Bonds make the case that Joe Biden is less intelligent than Dan Quayle. That should be entertaining.
2.6.2009 12:15pm
wohjr (mail):
sorry, linkie no workie

Here
2.6.2009 12:16pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
The differences cited between Republicans and Democrats make sense -- Sarah Palin is actually the female version of George W. Bush, if his Yale and Harvard degrees are discounted. Both are "git 'r done" nonintellectuals.

Sarah Palin's use of the power of her office to attempt to get her ex-brother-in-law fired was a character flaw that the news media never adequately probed. Putting a mean, petty, and vindictive woman, however attractive, "a heartbeat away" was not appealing

All she has to do is name GOP rising star Joe the Plumber as her running mate and they'll be unbeatable in 2012

I thought this was Sarcastro till I read "Cornellian."



One thing that leapt out of the essay for me: her teenage daughter's decision to bring to term an unplanned pregnancy and to marry the baby's father. So far, there is no indication that Bristol Palin will ever marry the father of her child.
2.6.2009 12:16pm
Milhouse (www):
Of course Congressional Republicans think merely serving time in Congress and on committees is a qualification for a responsible job. They would, wouldn't they? That doesn't make it so.
2.6.2009 12:20pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

is how come somebody as stupid as Biden--FDR got on television to discuss the crash-- got picked for VP

Because that was the kind of lapsus linguae that most adults are familiar with -- the network broadcast of that era was radio, now it is television; the stock market crash is conflated with the Great Depression it led to.
2.6.2009 12:21pm
AndyinNc:
Do people think that Palin could name more than 20 Presidents or, say, 50 countries, off the top of her head? I honestly don't think so.
2.6.2009 12:27pm
Kirk:
It is much easier to make the case that Biden ... is now the least intelligent VP that we have had in decades.
I think that's going quite a bit too far, unless you've personally met Biden and spent enough time with him to fairly make that evaluation. However, it is quite clear that whatever critical-thinking facilites he does have are totally disengaged whenever he begins speaking.
2.6.2009 12:31pm
BGates:
a fairly large amount of knowledge on foreign and domestic policy.
He voted against the Alaska pipeline. He wanted Iraq partitioned into 3 countries. He thought we needed to make a show of goodwill to the Arab world after 9/11, and the way to communicate that message to the Arab street was to give the Iranian government a couple hundred million dollars. He opposed removing Saddam from Kuwait in the 1991 Bush/UN/everybody approved Gulf War which uncovered the fact that Saddam was at the time 2 years away from nuclear weapons. He supported the 2002 Iraq War Resolution, writing:
"We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul; not just the day after, but the decade after."
and in 2005:
"We can call it quits and withdraw from Iraq. I think that would be a gigantic mistake. Or we can set a deadline for pulling out, which I fear will only encourage our enemies to wait us out — equally a mistake."
and in 2007:
"If he surges another 20, 30, or whatever number he's going to, into Baghdad, it'll be a tragic mistake, in my view."

By the way, those speeches he plagiarized? He didn't just steal nice phrases, like Obama stole Patrick's "just words" schtick. He stole biographical details.

Defending Biden is a losing proposition.
2.6.2009 12:32pm
Wahoowa:
It amuses me that somewhere around 90% of the posts above validate the author's points about all sides of the Palin divide.
2.6.2009 12:34pm
wohjr (mail):
@ BGates-


Pretty weak sauce compared to "when Putin comes into our airspace and rears his head" don't you think?
2.6.2009 12:36pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Andy.
Nice to know you honestly think something for which you have no proof but visceral hate.
Tony. The point is not that he's stupid about the FDR thing. The point is that only a dem can get away with that (losing "500 million jobs" a month). It goes in the memory dump and nobody tasks you with it again.
Occasional lapses are expected. But Biden got away with more than the occasional lapses. If he's smart, his mouth doesn't know it.

wohjr
The WaPo article on Pakistan is interesting. It means Biden has come to the same conclusion as everybody else with more brains than a tapeworm. And, considering he will never, ever have to implement it against the grit the real world provides, it's cheap talk.
And, wohjr, you are unclear as to whether you think Palin actually said she can see Russia from her house. Hint. It was Tina Fey. But that appears to count as current events education among the illiterati. I mean the elite.
2.6.2009 12:38pm
DangerMouse:
Do people think that Palin could name more than 20 Presidents or, say, 50 countries, off the top of her head? I honestly don't think so.

Were you talking about Nancy Pelosi or Sarah Palin?

I think that people had to destroy Palin because she's such a clear example of how a cultural conservative is happy and successful in life. It goes against all of their fundamental assumptions. She has 5 kids. She's from a small town in Alaska. She married her high school sweetheart. She proudly eats mooseburgers. She's a hunter. She was in a beauty pagent. She is completely, fundamentally counter-cultural to the latte-sucking libs in New York, Washington DC and California, who think that women shouldn't think twice about aborting a downs syndrome infant to further their career.

It has nothing to do with her intelligence. Nancy Pelosi is dumber than soap yet the libs love her because she's left-wing. Joe Biden's foot is found more in his mouth than in a shoe. And for all the vaunted intelligence of Obama, he's making pretty stupid blunders in his first two weeks in office and apparently can't vet an nominee if his life depended on it (something the media trashed McCain for in picking Palin).

It's completely cultural. There's no other reason to explain the conspiracy theories behind her pregancy, etc. The libs are terrified of Palin and with good reason.
2.6.2009 12:42pm
Phil Byler (mail):
Isaac, face it, your problem with Sarah Palin is cultural. You do not have the U.S. Constitution to hide behind to justify your bias. National security conservatives are not doing damage to the U.S. Constitution by using mocking language to criticize liberals for caring less about protecting the country from the loss of American life from radical jihadist al Qaeda terror than about an unprecedented extension of constitutional rights to radical jihadists (also known as combatants who do not wear uniforms). People such as you are simply full of hooey in supposedly getting righteous about the U.S. Constitution in response to the jibe made by Sarah Palin. Governor Palin is right to mock Obama about caring more about reading rights to the radical jihadists than protecting the country from al Qaeda terrorism.
2.6.2009 12:42pm
wohjr (mail):
@ Richard Aubrey-

You asked for something reasonable, I provided. In not much time, I might add. Moving goalposts now, are we?

As to your second point, you and I both know what I am referring to. Shall I spell it out for you?

PALIN: And, Charlie, you're in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors.We need to have a good relationship with them. They're very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor.

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they're doing in Georgia?

PALIN: Well, I'm giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia.
2.6.2009 12:43pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
This is what I thought most interesting:
In American politics, the distinction between populism and elitism is further subdivided into cultural and economic populism and elitism. And for at least the last forty years, the two parties have broken down distinctly along this double axis. The Republican party has been the party of cultural populism and economic elitism, and the Democrats have been the party of cultural elitism and economic populism. Republicans tend to identify with the traditional values, unabashedly patriotic, anti-cosmopolitan, non-nuanced Joe Sixpack, even as they pursue an economic policy that aims at elite investor-driven growth. Democrats identify with the mistreated, underpaid, overworked, crushed-by-the-corporation "people against the powerful," but tend to look down on those people's religion, education, and way of life. Republicans tend to believe the dynamism of the market is for the best but that cultural change can be dangerously disruptive; Democrats tend to believe dynamic social change stretches the boundaries of inclusion for the better but that economic dynamism is often ruinous and unjust.
Also, this:
Many of those (including especially those on the Right) who reacted badly to Palin on intellectual grounds understand themselves to be advancing the interests of lower-middle-class families similar to Palin's own family and to many of those in attendance at her rallies who greeted her arrival on the scene as a kind of deliverance. But it is hard to escape the conclusion that while these members of the intellectual elite want the government to serve the interests of such people first and foremost, they do not want those people to hold the levers of power. They see lower-middle-class populists like Palin and their supporters as profoundly ill-suited for governance, because they lack the accoutrements required for its employment—especially in foreign policy, which, even more than domestic affairs, is thought to be an intellectual exercise. It is for this reason that Barack Obama, who actually has far less experience in executive governance than Palin, was not dismissed as unprepared for the presidency. Palin may have been elected governor of Alaska, but his peers in Cambridge had elected Obama editor of the Harvard Law Review. He is thoroughly fluent in the parlance of the college town, and in the eyes of the new American elite, Washington is the ultimate college town.
2.6.2009 12:44pm
Sarcastro (www):
There was a scene in one of the Rocky movies where Rocky was getting pounded and his corner man was getting nervous..... but Pauly said don't worry, he's just getting mad ! And , of course, Rocky went on to win!

Something about Palin that reminds me of this. She putting her chin out to test the strength of her opponents....just like Rocky....don't worry about her....she absorbs strength from this pounding! Like Reagan, the more they hit her the stronger she gets.

Dateline January 7, 2013 - Five failed Presidents await the arrival of President-Elect Sarah Palin, who was a bit late do to her running a marathon, putting together her plan for economic recovery from the Great Depression II, and hunting a deer -— all at the same time.
2.6.2009 12:45pm
Allan L. (mail):
After four years of the opposition blocking our government's efforts to deal with the messes left by the previous one, Palin will be a fitting last president for this doomed republic.
2.6.2009 12:46pm
pluribus:
1Ler:

I think the more interesting question is whether Palin can be molded into a decent candidate for the future. I don't have any problems with her intelligence, per se--it's her dreadful inability to deal with issues out of her sphere of interests. Unfortunately, her sphere isn't all that big.

In addition to writing a book (for which she will get a multi-million dollar advance), she should also consider reading one (and I do not count the one that her ghost writer puts out under her name). Before this, of course, she should also consider reading a few newspapers--and at least remembering the names of the ones she reads. If she can do that next time Katie Couric interviews her, then her base in the Republican party will consider her one of "the elite" and jettison her in favor of somebody who not only doesn't read newspapers or books but is honest about the fact. (Joe the Plumber doesn't claim to be able to read, does he? Or maybe he can read, but he just doesn't care to.)
2.6.2009 12:47pm
DangerMouse:
Allan, I thought that the MESSIAH didn't have to worry about the opposition, because the waters would recede and the sun would shine down from heaven and hope would spring anew and change would come, etc.

So Obama's failure is the fault of the Republican opposition, now? That's the new talking points? Heh.

Dissent is patriotic! Woo hoo!
2.6.2009 12:48pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
Much of the commentary here indicates why the article is so good-- Yuval delivers an original, thoughtful and civil assessment instead of unsheathing his long knives of predisposition.

(Yes, I get paid by the terrible metaphor)
2.6.2009 12:52pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
pluribus:

What makes you think that Republicans are open to such a message? ... Do these things comport with libertarianism?

Some Republicans are. Just because most of the Republican leadership caters to social conservatives doesn't mean they accept it personally. Most just roll their eyes at it. But they go along to get the votes from people holding such views. Notice that they usually don't effectively support those positions on anything very important.

I come to this as a leading member of both the National and Texas Libertarian Platform Committees, and head of the Constitutional Society (a church under IRC 508), so I can fairly speak to the point that the litany of positions you cited does not comport with libertarian or constitutionalist views.

Why do many of us libertarian scholars hang out with social conservatives in the Federalist Society? It's not because we agree with many of their positions, but because to have any effect we have to work with them.

I will have to say, however, that even though many social conservatives get it wrong on constitutional issues, they seem more educable than most of the progressives. I can talk to them, they listen, and I can usually bring them around. The kinds of people I tend to find at American Constitution Society meetings seem to have their minds made up and think they have nothing to learn from anyone who challenges their views.

What is sometimes discouraging is how seemingly educated people, able to engage in subtle reasoning in specialized fields, will turn off their intellectual skills and go with their guts, passionately, on complex policy issues. Faced with matters they can't hope to understand, they go ape while trying to borrow status from their credentials as specialists.
2.6.2009 12:54pm
Aultimer:

wfjag:
Aultimer -- there's some very Orwellian implications in your statement in the context of this thread. I think you mean that you oppose Palin because you disagree with her on positions. That's legitimate. But, I see a main point of the article was that instead of reporting her positions so they could be debated, what was "reported" as her record was materially distorted to the point of falsehood, and those falsehoods were repeated and repeated, even after shown to be false. That's the Orwellian part.


You read too much into my comment. I was simply reminding RA of logic - the fact that there are liars advocating a position doesn't invalidate the position. It may well invalidate the reliability of the advocate, but that's a very different thing. You're left quite empty-handed if you dismiss every position advanced, in part, with lies.

For example, the globe is warming due to human acts, or it isn't. Many lies have been told on both sides.
2.6.2009 12:56pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
wohjr
I was right. She didn't say it. But you apparently hoped somebody would believe she had.
Some days you win, some days you lose.
As I said, governing a border state gives one potential and sometimes actual dealings with a foreign power.
I recall when the SS20s were being based up toward the Kamchatka peninsula. The Alaskans were going to learn foreign policy pretty quick. Easier to snigger at the idea when it takes thirty minutes to get to you instead four.
I'd be asking O about his foreign policy experience. The problem is that where he lived can lead to some problematic conclusions. It's not like he lived with an American family abroad for GM.

You can learn a lot by living abroad. I have a nephew who is a genius, literally, if my sister is to be believed. He has spent about two years in Russia on grad programs in lit and drama. I asked him about Russia. Sometimes, he said, the people--meaning in general, not his particular friends--are kind and generous and sometimes they are deeply, blithely evil. The countryt "should be locked up", except for the thousands of megatons of nukes "which deeply creep me out".
Since my nephew has lived abroad, his moral and intellectual authority are absolute.
I doubt anybody who lived abroad and learned this--which I don't guess requires a passport if you can read--would get anywhere explaining what he learned.
You're supposed to learn that we're all alike and all we have to fear is Ronald Reagan.
2.6.2009 12:57pm
George Smith:
I think the commentary has proved the article.
2.6.2009 1:00pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
hawkins

requiring all issues of law to be argued in the presence of the jury

Why would this be beneficial?

Short answer is that many of the statutes and precedents under which many cases are tried, especially federal criminal cases, are unconstitutional, and the only way more jurors are going to learn to doubt the constitutionality of the "law" they are "given" by the bench is to hear argument that raises that doubt. There are other reasons as well. See this web page on Jury Reform.
2.6.2009 1:04pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
It's completely cultural. There's no other reason to explain the conspiracy theories behind her pregancy, etc. The libs are terrified of Palin and with good reason.
I really think that a big part of the problem is that Palin is not a member of the cultural elite. She didn't go to the right school, and she doesn't do what cultural elites do. Even Bush (43) was not totally disconnected from it, with his prep school, two Ivy League degrees, and a grandfather who had been a Senator from Connecticut. Nor, of course, was his father. But Reagan was not a member, and so was despised by many of those who are.
2.6.2009 1:04pm
Sarcastro (www):
"cultural elite" is the fancy new way to say "liberal."
2.6.2009 1:19pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I really thought Sarah Palin would be able to tap into the deep-seated yearnings of the lower middle class for, above all else, government to get out of their way. How odd that it didn't work out like that.
A few points in response:

1) As the article notes, Palin was a lot more popular than one would believe if one read the MSM. If you stuck with them (and Andrew Sullivan) you'd believe she cost McCain 20 or 30 points in the polls, when in reality she was a small positive. So perhaps she did tap better than you think.

2) But, in terms of the electoral outcome, after the Wall Street collapse selling "government get out of the way" would have been tough for anybody, even Reagan.

3) I don't think she tried; as the article also notes, she and McCain were selling pure attitude. Nothing even so concrete as "get government out of the way," let alone something really specific. I mean, how many times did she bring up Bill Ayres? Legitimate or not as an issue, how effective could it possibly have been to keep bringing it up?
2.6.2009 1:20pm
Yankev (mail):
Richard Aubrey, you are not being fair to Senator Biden. He has learned lots of things that you and I never learned.

Like that FDR was president of the US in 1929.

Or that there were TV broadcasts in 1929 to the millions of Americans who then had TV sets in their home.

Or that the VPUS plays no role in the Senate.
2.6.2009 1:27pm
Randy R. (mail):
wflg:"Randy, if you're going to say "Palin lied", at least get your facts right."

You are correct. She only attempted to fire the trooper. I stand corrected. But I don't see how that helps your case much.
2.6.2009 1:32pm
Alchemist:
I'm pilling on here. I did want to point out that the differences between Palin &Obama here... the difference is that the "Obama is green behind the ears" line didn't work in the debates because Obama was able to talk so clearly about the issues. Every time McCain said "Obama will do this..." Obama had a clear, succinct and (largely predictable) response. It kept the charge from sticking. Wether or not everything he said was accurate is a different conversation, but he had a descent answer.

On the other hand there's Palin, who had no answer. I have no problem believing that she has foreign policy experience on border issues. I have no trouble believing that she's intelligent. I have no trouble believing that she's a reformer, or that she's stood up to her party on pork projects. But she needed to demonstrate (in either speech, or accomplishments) that she had done so consistently. I'm not going to believe her just because she said so. Other than "the bridge", I could not find a second example.

Instead, I read stories about THE OTHER bridge, the hockey rink bogged down in court, Pro-Life mayoral elections, and interviews/debates where she could not name 1 concrete, specific thing she would do.

Nothing infuriates me more (or makes me want to vote for you less).
2.6.2009 1:34pm
Milhouse (www):

Do people think that Palin could name more than 20 Presidents or, say, 50 countries, off the top of her head? I honestly don't think so.

I think it very likely that she could, and I wonder what possible basis you could have for assuming that she couldn't. More importantly, why is it at all relevant? Suppose she couldn't perform this circus trick; how would that reflect at all on her ability to be president of the senate, or for that matter on her ability to be president of the USA? I don't think such tricks are usually included in the duties of either office.
2.6.2009 1:39pm
loki13 (mail):

I really think that a big part of the problem is that Palin is not a member of the cultural elite. She didn't go to the right school, and she doesn't do what cultural elites do. Even Bush (43) was not totally disconnected from it, with his prep school, two Ivy League degrees, and a grandfather who had been a Senator from Connecticut.


Not totally disconnected? Um.... not to pick nits (heh), but how would you propose that President Bush be more culturally elite? I liked the brush clearin' photo ops as much as the next guy, but just to review:

1. Great grandfather: Samuel Bush, railroad executive, steel co. president, Fed. Govt. official (weapons contractors), Fed. Reserve Bank board.
2. Grandfather: Prescott Bush, a Wall Street Banker and US Senator.
3. Father: GHW Bush, oil millionaire, Congressman, Ambassador to UN, Chair of RNC, Director of CIA, Vice President, President
4. Bush: Andover, Yale (3d Generation Legacy), Harvard MBA.

I'm not even going to go into Kennebunkport. I find it hard to fathom someone more culturally elite, except perhaps the infamous Vandy von Vanderbilt VIII.

(As for Reagan- he wasn't exactly un-elite either.)

Sorry, this was just so wrong I had to comment.
2.6.2009 1:55pm
DangerMouse:
I think it very likely that she could, and I wonder what possible basis you could have for assuming that she couldn't.

I'm thinking that that statement might be explained by a sexism of the left, in that a woman who has 5 kids and was in a beauty pagent can't POSSIBLY be intelligent. The smart thing, according to feminists, would've been to abort her kids and not participate in such a sexist thing like a beauty pagent.

It's part of a subset of cultural lib opinion that conservatives are stupid because they do and believe in conservative things. It's a self-enforcing truth, apparently. Libs love to play this little game, because it's just masterbation of their own egos.
2.6.2009 1:58pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Palin's real political threat to the left and Democrats is that her whole life exposes as lies their claims to represent, and and advance, the interests of ordinary Americans. She's the real thing while they are fakes.
2.6.2009 1:58pm
wohjr (mail):
@ Richard

Immaterial nit-picking does not help you. What she said is right above... care to address how that shows her to be savvier than Joe Biden? You asked for an example of Biden demonstrating a reasonable awareness of foreign policy matters. I asked the same of you for Ms. Palin. Instead you come back with... your nephew? The passage with Gibson is her lengthiest statement on foreign policy so far as I'm aware... you got something else?
2.6.2009 2:00pm
Suzy (mail):

I'm not going to believe her just because she said so.

Exactly. That's what I meant above by "Socratic ignorance." Sorry that's too highbrow a concept, but I think the average "dumb" American would get it.

Palin seems to believe that we should trust her not because she gives reasons or arguments or explains the significance of her experience, but because she said so. We saw that for 8 years with Bush and it didn't go very well. The few times she offered any reasons why we should trust her expertise, it was even scarier: e.g. I learned about Russia because you can see it from Alaska and we share airspace, and that was indeed her justification. I see above that for some of you, that's sufficient. I think most people have a higher standard, even among the supposedly unwashed ignorant masses.

I'm not saying that other politicians do NOT suffer from Socratic ignorance, believing themselves to know things that they don't, to be things that they are not. All I'm saying is that Palin does, and it was obvious to anyone who listened to her speak. I'm also not saying that Biden or Obama give good reasons or arguments for their views, but they do give them, and that's a major improvement over nothing.
2.6.2009 2:01pm
AndyinNc:
DangerMouse, that's a really good spoof of a reactionary.

The reason I don't think she could is that she simply does not appear to be very smart, and she is clearly uneducated.

There are plenty of very smart conservatives. I think Dick Cheney and Karl Rove are both very smart. Bad men, but smart.

But please, continue to tell everyone how smart Palin really is, and how she's fully qualified to be President of Wingnuttia. It simply blows my mind that conservatives are hitching their wagons to such a pathetic figure. I'm glad for it though, because it's making it obvious that the modern GOP is intellectually bankrupt.
2.6.2009 2:08pm
Steve H:

I really think that a big part of the problem is that Palin is not a member of the cultural elite. She didn't go to the right school, and she doesn't do what cultural elites do. Even Bush (43) was not totally disconnected from it, with his prep school, two Ivy League degrees, and a grandfather who had been a Senator from Connecticut. Nor, of course, was his father. But Reagan was not a member, and so was despised by many of those who are.


I don't know that I buy this. I read a lot of lefty blogs in the runup to the election, and I think I only read one comment about Palin that went in this direction -- that she never traveled to Europe. (Commenters on the blogs, of course, said all kinds of nasty things.)

I think that if Palin had showed any sort of ability to intelligently discuss substantive national issues, or had displayed any significant degree of intellectual curiosity, then the fact that her degree was from Moscow instead of Cambridge or New Haven would have been a point in her favor. (If there is one thing that unites both lefties and righties in the media, it is their professed love for "real Americans," i.e., people who come from small towns and states instead of big towns or states.)

But she didn't. She was inexperienced in government in general, had no experience at all in federal government, lacked impressive academic credentials, and appeared more interested in mocking experts than becoming one.

(I myself think that Palin provided a good example of why governors are rarely chosen as VP candidates -- they usually don't have the necessary familiarity with federal issues.)
2.6.2009 2:08pm
Cobra (mail) (www):
I'll take Joe Biden in a heartbeat over Sarah Palin, or any of the hate radio parrots who criticize him. To admonish ANYBODY for verbal gaffes after 8 years of President George W. Bush? If you make the verbal gaffe argument you have zero credibility as far as I'm concerned.

Whether you like it or not, Iraq IS "partitioned". Ethnic clensing, forced migrations of 4 million people and the deaths of hundreds of thousands will do that kind of thing to a country. The Kurds want their own country in the north, the Sunnis can't wait to seize power back and the Shia, in bed with Iran have turned a secular Arab country into one hurtling towards sharia law. (read that little NEW Iraqi Constitution.)

That's what we've lost over 4,200 service people for, with tens of thousands wounded, at a $11 million per hour.

The First Gulf War if you remember, was ALSO based, at least in part, on false intelligence.

When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf -- to reverse Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait -- part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.

Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid--September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.

But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border -- just empty desert.

"It was a pretty serious fib," says Jean Heller, the Times journalist who broke the story."


Something about Bush Administrations and lying to get into Wars, huh?

Saddam Hussein (our CIA backed thug from the 80's) having nukes as compared to Musharif in Pakistan (our CIA backed thug recently) or P.W. Botha (Reagan's pal) once having had nukes in Apartheid South Africa, and Kim Jong Ill in North Korea having them now? Pick your favorites, but my world view is that all lives on Earth are precious, and not just the ones that share my religion, or are telegenic enough for the producers at Fox News.

I don't blame white conservatives for rallying around Sarah Palin. As with following college-drop outs like Limbaugh and Hannity, Palin is a vehicle to express simplistic ethnocentric, anti-intellectual supply side mantras repeatedly, while wearing the Ma' Clampett cloak of folksy populism.

That stuff looks great when you're coming off a surplus and 22 million new jobs added around 2000.

Not now.

--Cobra
2.6.2009 2:18pm
Sarcastro (www):
See, Sarah's smart but doesn't need to show it cause she's so unelite she doesn't care what the MSM thinks at all!

Palin knows we don't need intellectuals. Did intellectuals help us when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Patton wasn't an intellectual, was he? And he knew, when ya gotta shoot a donkey, you! Shoot! That! Donkey!

What we need is a real American, to lead with her Gut! Cause of all her life is training about how to be a Real American. Cause everyone knows Common Sense is partisan, and leans waaay right.

I have no doubt she'll win all the Real American votes in the election of my heart!
2.6.2009 2:22pm
TA:
"Elitism" or "anti-intellectualism" have nothing to do with it. Either she was a good governor, or she wasn't.
2.6.2009 2:26pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
wohjr.
Please. Try to keep up. Biden said something moderately sensible. Good. How many others would say the same thing?

My reference to my nephew came after a segue to living abroad--which some have said broadened O's views--and which Palin has not done.


I am not saying Palin is bright. I'm not saying she isn't.
I'm saying that anybody who claims she isn't and does not apply the same scrutiny to the embarrassment-of-riches Biden is dishonest.

Palin is not running against Bush, and, technically, not against Obama.

That leaves Biden.

No, Cobra is not a new name for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I've seen him leaving the same macro on another board.
2.6.2009 2:30pm
1Ler:
Quoting the Christian Scientists Monitor and then talking about anti-intellectualism? Discrediting the "verbal gaffes" argument, but making a big exception for the left's entire diatribe for the last seven years? Was this a parody of a thoughtful liberal post, Cobra?
2.6.2009 2:37pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
"cultural elite" is the fancy new way to say "liberal."
Not really. There have always been such in the Republican party, and at one time, it was the party of the cultural elites. I am thinking that it may have been FDR, a card carrying member of such, who put together his famous Democratic coalition, who really started the movement from the Republican party to the Democratic one.

To some extent, we are talking about the people who went to the right schools, or at least not the wrong ones, like the right things, like art museums instead of hunting, and share some common values, including, I think, that they are smarter than the rest of the people and therefore should be leading the rest of us.

But there are still plenty of Republicans who have qualified. Both Presidents Bush have impeccable credentials. And then there was Wm. F. Buckley, Jr., George Will, etc. But note that Bush (43) had to tone that down, and play up his conservative Texan roots to get elected, something his father was never really able to do in Texas (and didn't need to at the national level when he was elected President).
2.6.2009 2:45pm
wohjr (mail):
Richard-

Please. Try not to be obtuse. Did you not say this?

"So, Andy, there are two questions. One is how come somebody as stupid as Biden--FDR got on television to discuss the crash-- got picked for VP and the other is how come nobody thought it disqualified him. A third is how come that sank like a rock, while Palin's comment that being a border state governor gives one at least potential experience with a foreign country was held against her endlessly. She had the real thing, with Canada. "

Leaving aside the sank like a rock bit for a moment, the reason is that Ms. Palin's comments about Russia are pretty much ALL she has said w/r/t foreign policy. Biden may have said some stupid things, but lo! he has also said some reasonable things as well. I asked if you could provide anything similar for SP. Answer: my nephew lived abroad. When "we share airspace with Russia" is all you've said, that's what you get judged on.

"Biden said something moderately sensible. Good. How many others would say the same thing? "

Not moose lady apparently.
2.6.2009 2:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Actually, wohjr.
Biden wrote something sensible. Probably. Maybe he writes with middling sensibility, like most of us. When he speaks....
Anyway, the point is that Palin's actual or putative ignorance was the point of the attacks on her, while Biden's many examples meant nothing to those pretending to be concerned about intellectual ability and experience.
Key word "pretending". It would have been different, or harder to prove, anyway, if you'd had a reasonably smart individual running for dem VP. There'd be no wonderfully apt comparison.
But there was.
2.6.2009 2:52pm
Frater Plotter:
As far as I can tell, the "meaning" of Sarah Palin's candidacy was a rather derogatory joke played by the cultural right upon the American public, their own "base".

It was to say that a large swath of the "conservative" public will accept a candidate who is profoundly ignorant of the issues, profoundly disrespectful of traditional American values (banning books!? really?!) ... and who -- just like Mr. Bush! -- can't even raise her kids to meet the "purity" standards the right-wingers preach for everyone else.

(Oh, right, we're not supposed to say that. It's OK for the righties to make "Chelsea Clinton's ugly" jokes, but not OK to criticize Palin or Bush for failing to instill in their own children the "traditional family values" the righties want to drill into everyone else's kids. Somehow Chelsea's face was fair comment, but Jenna and Bristol's actual conduct, the evidence of how they were raised, isn't?)

The joke was that such a candidate MUST be taken seriously, if talked-up adequately by the cheerfully compliant media. That everyone will pretend that such a candidate is even remotely competent, even remotely acceptable as a decision-maker for the country, a representative of the very best America has to offer in the way of leadership.
2.6.2009 2:57pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Palin's real political threat to the left and Democrats is that her whole life exposes as lies their claims to represent, and and advance, the interests of ordinary Americans. She's the real thing while they are fakes.
To a very great extent, I think this is accurate. As the article points out, Republican leaders often pretend to be culturally conservative to get elected, while Democrats pretend to have common roots and to understand the common man in order to represent them, but often are about as far from them as possible. In Palin, we not only had a cultural conservative (which the article suggest that she never played up in Alaska), but also someone who could speak to the middle class of this country because she was unabashedly of that class. Sure, Joe Biden claimed that he was from it. But that is the significant different there - Biden was from it, but Palin was still of it.

Keep in mind that one of the biggest power blocks in the Democratic coalition since well before FDR has been the blue collar worker (and, in particular, Roman Catholics there). Talking their language is something that the top Democratic politicians have to do every 2, 4, or 6 years, and then they go back to their wine and brie parties until the next electionm cycle. Palin doesn't do that, but rather lives like this segment of voters does all the time. She has the same sorts of worries and concerns that they do, worships as they do, does the same sort of recreation as they do, etc. She is one of them, and the Democrats who every election cycle have to come back down and win their votes are not.
2.6.2009 2:57pm
Sarcastro (www):
Voters are very excited to elect someone just like them. We like someone in the 50th percentile in most things.
2.6.2009 3:03pm
Sarcastro (www):
What in the heck does Obama know about economics?

Has he ever run a business? Has he ever met a payroll?

The manager of the local 7/11 knows more about economics than the President. That manager also has more management experience!!!

I'd listen to the nearest 7/11 manager about economics, cause he has my concerns!
2.6.2009 3:06pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Quoting the Christian Scientists Monitor and then talking about anti-intellectualism?

For decades, the Monitor has been one of the top five US newspapers in terms of its international coverage. A real intellectual would be aware of this.

Don't look to them for coverage of medical breakthroughs, however.
2.6.2009 3:07pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
It was to say that a large swath of the "conservative" public will accept a candidate who is profoundly ignorant of the issues, profoundly disrespectful of traditional American values (banning books!? really?!) ... and who -- just like Mr. Bush! -- can't even raise her kids to meet the "purity" standards the right-wingers preach for everyone else.
But it is those on the left who hold those on the right who transgress, or, worse in this case, have children who transgress, to such a high standard, while holding their own politicians to no standard at all, except maybe to liking wine over beer and maybe coming from the right schools.

The reason that Palin's daughter did not kill Palin with many Republicans, and even some Democrats, is that they see themselves in her travails. Seventeen year old girls have been getting pregnant for hundreds of thousands of years, and during much of that time, formal wedlock was not necessary. Any parent of a teenaged girl who hasn't agonized over the possibility of what happened here to the Palins hasn't taken their childrearing seriously.
2.6.2009 3:07pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
She has the same sorts of worries and concerns that they do, worships as they do, does the same sort of recreation as they do, etc.

Palin abandoned the One True Faith to become a Bible thumper. And few of us shoot moose for fun.
2.6.2009 3:10pm
AndyinNc:

Quoting the Christian Scientists Monitor and then talking about anti-intellectualism?

For decades, the Monitor has been one of the top five US newspapers in terms of its international coverage. A real intellectual would be aware of this.

You're talking to people celebrating someone who can't name a single newspaper that she reads.

You think they're going to aware of facts like yours?
2.6.2009 3:10pm
Steve:
Bruce, what do you think the typical Republican perspective would have been if the Obamas had a teenage daughter who was pregnant out of wedlock? Sheer, unadulterated empathy?

It seems to me that there's been a lot of talk about "family values" over the years from folks on that side of the aisle, a lot of condemnation expressed towards people who make unwise life choices, and then suddenly when one of their own turns up in the same situation they realize hey, this happens to people all the time and it's no big deal.
2.6.2009 3:13pm
Steve H:

As the article points out, Republican leaders often pretend to be culturally conservative to get elected, while Democrats pretend to have common roots and to understand the common man in order to represent them, but often are about as far from them as possible.


I think this argument is a little misleading, because Democrats and Republicans pretend to have common roots and to understand the common man in order to represent them. In the last Presidential election, it was the Republican candidate and spouse who grew up privileged, and the Democratic candidate and spouse who did not -- who lived in families where they actually had to worry about money, and who were worrying about repaying student loans up until a few years ago.

I think it's false to say that Palin was an "ordinary American." Heck, she came from a small rural town. That's not ordinary. An ordinary American comes from a suburb or a city.

Except for his time spent living abroad, Barack Obama is/was just as much of an ordinary American as Sarah Palin. But then Obama got interested enough in the problems facing Americans and chose to forego a big payday to work to organize Americans so they could better deal with those problems. He also worked hard enough to learn a lot about the problems facing the US and to be able to speak about them intelligently.

Palin, on the other hand, chose to mock.
2.6.2009 3:21pm
David Warner:
Wahoowa,

"It amuses me that somewhere around 90% of the posts above validate the author's points about all sides of the Palin divide."

Exactly. I can't recall a thread on the VC that rewarded a close reading less.
2.6.2009 3:28pm
Dave N (mail):
Steve,

I'm not Bruce, but I don't (as you imagine conservatives must) condemn people because their children screw up--whether it be underage drinking or underage sex. I certainly counseled my own children but I also knew I could not follow them around 24/7 and hoped the values I taught them would stick.

I do say that those who screw up have to bear the consequences for their actions and I would hope that the family (regardless of the family's political beliefs) will rally around their children and support them.

I always appreciate how conservatives are stereotyped so inaccurately.
2.6.2009 3:31pm
BGates:
Pretty weak sauce compared to "when Putin comes into our airspace and rears his head" don't you think?
That's an incredibly stupid thing for you to say. Palin's statement was, first off, basically correct - the Russians have been prompting "US fighter jets...to scramble to intercept Russian bombers on an increasingly regular basis." At most you could quibble with "into" vs "near". You're saying that is more evidence of stupidity than Biden's intentional theft of another person's words, including claiming that he was the first person in his family to go to college? How hard is it to check that? Biden was clearly demonstrably wrong on major issues. The pipeline is immensely valuable, stopping Saddam in 1991 was the only thing that kept him from a nuclear arsenal, and Biden was wrong on both those things - not in an off-the-cuff answer to a question, those were votes after as much deliberation as Biden's little mind could manage, and he blew it.
2.6.2009 3:33pm
wohjr (mail):
What does Sarah Palin have to do with fighter jets?
2.6.2009 3:37pm
Suzy (mail):
In response to Bruce, I doubt the evidence for those claims. Palin may have come from a modest background, but she's got quite a bit of money now. Why then should we say that she remains identified with a lower "class" than Biden? Biden is also Catholic, a worship tradition that most believers in the U.S., including Protestants, would find more familiar than Palin's speaking-in-tongues Assembly of God tradition. So no, "they" don't "worship like her". What does it mean to say that this entire segment of lower-to-middle class voters "lives like her"? Most of them don't actually hunt, so what is it they have in common exactly?

Perhaps what you mean to say is that she lives and worships like much, but not all, of the GOP base. However, most "ordinary" middle class folk are not the GOP base, as the 08 election taught us. If lattes are for the elitists, why is there a coffee shop on every corner? I think a major mistake of the GOP right now is to identify people like Palin and "Joe" as mainstream. They're losing sight of what or where this mainstream is, which is bad for those of us (including me) who would prefer that the pendulum not swing too far either left or right.
2.6.2009 3:37pm
Steve H:

The reason that Palin's daughter did not kill Palin with many Republicans, and even some Democrats, is that they see themselves in her travails. Seventeen year old girls have been getting pregnant for hundreds of thousands of years, and during much of that time, formal wedlock was not necessary. Any parent of a teenaged girl who hasn't agonized over the possibility of what happened here to the Palins hasn't taken their childrearing seriously.


That's funny, I don't recall too many prominent Republicans running on the platform of "Seventeen your old girls have been getting pregnant for hundreds of thousands of years." (Or even for all six thousand years.) I seem to recall a lot more Republican moralizing against any premarital sex whatsoever.

To the contrary, it has been the Democrats who have been pointing out for decades that sex happens, even among teens.

There's only one reason why Palin's daughter did not kill her with Republicans: Palin is a Republican.


It's also false to say that "it is those on the left who hold those on the right who transgress, or, worse in this case, have children who transgress, to such a high standard." I am not aware of anyone on the left holding Palin or her daughter to a particularly high standard.

Can you cite a prominent lefty who said that Palin or her daughter failed to live up to his or her moral standards because the daughter got pregnant?

Lots of lefties took joy in the embarrassment of a prominent supposedly-morally-superior Republican. And they pointed out the hypocrisy of Republicans, who have spent decades claiming to have superior "family values," who suggest that teens who have sex are promiscuous, and who trumpet the effectiveness of abstinence only, suddenly being so understanding and compassionate about a teen pregnancy.

But I don't think anyone on the left actually claimed that Palin failed to live up to lefty standards. They simply pointed out that Palin (or her daughter) failed to live up to the standards that conservatives espouse.

(And Dave N, a big part of the conservative platform for the past thirty years has been to question the morals of people who engage in unapproved sex. You may not do that, and that's great if you don't, but that has been pretty standard Republican fare since the Reagan days.)
2.6.2009 3:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
Bruce: In Palin, we not only had a cultural conservative (which the article suggest that she never played up in Alaska), but also someone who could speak to the middle class of this country because she was unabashedly of that class."

In that case, several millions of people are equally qualified to be VP,and potentially Prez.

if that's the best you can say about her, that's pretty damning. And if fact, it's pretty damning of the Republican party. There are plenty of people better qualified than her in the party -- yet you are willing to throw them aside for this woman? So why are all the other Republicans not as qualified as her?
2.6.2009 3:42pm
Dave N (mail):
And Dave N, a big part of the conservative platform for the past thirty years has been to question the morals of people who engage in unapproved sex.
Really? I must have missed the memo.
2.6.2009 3:43pm
Steve H:

Really? I must have missed the memo.


I don't know about any memos, but apparently you missed a lot of news reports over the years.
2.6.2009 3:46pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
wohjr.
What does Palin have to with fighter jets?

Like those of us who grew up in the Fifties, and those who were near large cities in mid-September 2001, you hear a jet and you automatically say, "Hope it's one of ours." I grew up near Detroit, which is a long way from the Bering Strait.
If anything starts with the Russians, the Alaskans are going to know about it first.
Palin governs a state whose borders are approached by nuclear-capable Russian aircraft.
Concentrates the mind wonderfully.
2.6.2009 3:47pm
AndyinNc:
Dave N must not read the same newspapers that Palin does not.
2.6.2009 3:49pm
AndyinNc:
Short Richard Aubrey: Palin will get nuked 15 minutes sooner than the lower 48 if the Russians decided to start WW3. That makes her fully qualified to be Vice President. Of my cold war dreams.
2.6.2009 3:52pm
hawkins:
Wine and Cheese!!!
2.6.2009 3:52pm
hawkins:
Brie, I meant
2.6.2009 3:53pm
Steve:
I'm not Bruce, but I don't (as you imagine conservatives must) condemn people because their children screw up--whether it be underage drinking or underage sex.

No, I didn't say that all conservatives condemn people over such things, although it must have given you great pleasure to demolish that strawman. I simply noted that the vast majority of the "family values" talk over the last several decades has emanated from one side of the political aisle.

Most of the people I know, liberal or conservative, are rather live and let live when it comes to such things. But that doesn't change the fact that many Republican politicians have made careers out of demagoging unwed mothers and the like. I just find it hard to believe - tell me if you disagree - that the same Republican politicians and pundits who cheered for Bristol Palin would have had nothing negative to say if it were the Obamas who had an unmarried and pregnant teenage daughter.
2.6.2009 3:55pm
Dave N (mail):
Actually, I read the news quite regularly--and, in fact, have been quite active in Republican politics over the years.

What I have observed first hand and what I have subsequently seen reported are two very different things.

Oh, that's right, there isn't any bias in the media. I HAVE eeen THAT meme.
2.6.2009 3:57pm
Sarcastro (www):
psst, Dave N, they mean buttsex and abortion!
2.6.2009 4:04pm
Steve:
Palin's real political threat to the left and Democrats is that her whole life exposes as lies their claims to represent, and and advance, the interests of ordinary Americans. She's the real thing while they are fakes.

The problem is that there's no evidence that Sarah Palin made significant inroads into the traditional Democratic base, none at all. There are plenty of lower-middle class folks who have been voting Republican for years for whatever reason; that's nothing new. And the rural areas and small towns full of "real Americans" have been largely voting Republican for some time. In fact, Barack Obama did better in these regions than most Democratic candidates, despite the presence of ordinary American Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket.

I grew up solidly middle class in Middle America. Some of us are Republicans today, some of us are Democrats. We've drawn different lessons from the same set of experiences; some of us are New Dealers and some of us think government needs to get out of the way. Those of us who voted for John Kerry certainly didn't do so because we thought he was just like us and understood our middle-class problems deep down in his soul. The reality is that no one, including Sarah Palin, gets to be the One True Voice of Middle America.
2.6.2009 4:06pm
Dave N (mail):
Steve,

I suspect that while a few loons would criticize the President if one of his daughters became pregnant, I doubt there would be the condemnation you IMAGINE (as oppose to evidence of actually happening). It was the left who mocked Bristol Palin in the lsat election and could not fathom why Governor Palin carried her son Trig to term.

The reaction on the right is mostly a reaction to the left changing the rules and undercutting what they perceive as the role of parents and the family (providing contraceptives to minors without parental notification is one such example, imagine giving a minor any other controlled substance by prescription).

You created the strawman that conservatives must condemn parents for having children who transgress without pointing to a single Republican or conservative who has condemned by name someone whose children engaged in underaged drinking or underaged sex. Your imagining that it will occur with a hypothetical Obama teenage pregancy does not make it so
2.6.2009 4:07pm
Steve:
It's kinda funny that you accused me of generalizing about conservatives, and then you come up with the howler that "the left" - ah yes, that monolithic Left - could not fathom why Palin didn't abort her baby. Yeah, we were all really scratching our heads over that one.
2.6.2009 4:18pm
c.gray (mail):

But that doesn't change the fact that many Republican politicians have made careers out of demagoging unwed mothers and the like.


The "fact", eh? Can you name three, let alone "many"?

This really is a strawman. Social conservative "family values" rhetoric essentially boils down to complaints about abortion on demand and the presentation of sex and family life in the mass media. "Demagoging unwed mothers and the like" exists primarily as a fantasy of the left.

Which is, of course, why the sympathetic response of social conservatives to Palin's family problems caught them completely by surprise.
2.6.2009 4:20pm
Tom Perkins (mail):
@ Isaac 2.6.2009 9:25am:

The trouble with this statement of yours:

"Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights. - Sarah Palin"


Call it cultural elitism if you want, but I can't support a would-be leader of our country who heaps such scorn on our Constitution. - Isaac


Is that it shows the contempt for and/or lack of understanding you have for the constitution and the laws and treaties made pursuant to it. The very best an Al Qaeda inclined person can hope for is that they have fought us in a manner congruent with the laws of war, and therefore they merit the rights accorded to POWS. This excludes the vast majority of them, who in fighting for AlQadea have nullified their own rights by their own actions, and who should expect a short rope and a long drop--whatever else befalls them is a mercy extended at our convenience.

They are criminals not against the civil and domestic criminal law, where the bill of rights applies, but are criminals against the laws of war. They should have no recourse to the civilian judicial system, as POWs and unlawful combatants have had none in the past.

The constitution has not been amended in that respect since then.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
2.6.2009 4:24pm
Steve H:
Dave N, I think we Steves and you may be talking past each other. I don't think Steve or I are saying that Republicans make a routine practice out of shaming pregnant teens by name. (I don't remember the details of the Dan Quayle-Murphy Brown thing, but she's fictional anyway, and she wasn't a teen.)

But you can't seriously deny that protecting "morals," i.e., rules about who can have sex when, with whom, and how, have been a big part of the Republican mantra for years. You also can't be disagreeing that conservatives routinely argue that they have superior morals. And part of that has been the suggestion that premarital sex is wrong and those who partake are less moral than those who don't.

Certainly you're not claiming that the left-wing media made up the Moral Majority, opposition to Plan B, opposition to teaching about sex in school, abstinence-only education, resistance to distributing contraceptives on campus or in school (even resistance to contraception in general).

And can you cite an article where the left "mocked Bristol Palin," versus mocking Republican claims to moral superiority?

And c.gray, while the Religious Right has trained its guns more specifically on gays and abortion lately, during the Reagan-Bush years and beyond "unwed mothers" were routinely demagogued. Not on a one-by-one basis, but as a group.
2.6.2009 4:26pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Short Richard Aubrey: Palin will get nuked 15 minutes sooner than the lower 48 if the Russians decided to start WW3. That makes her fully qualified to be Vice President. Of my cold war dreams.

Cool, Andy. Point is, it's not chump change, and other governors are no better. To say it means nothing is silly. To say it means a lot is silly. But it doesn't mean nothing. And it means she's been paying attention, unlike Biden who thinks France and the US pushed hizzies out of Lebanon.
2.6.2009 4:28pm
Frater Plotter:
Tom Perkins:

The problem is not that terrorists deserve rights, but that it is wrong and barbaric to do certain things to anyone, for any reason.

It doesn't matter if someone is an unlawful combatant, a terrorist, a perpetrator of genocide, or a baby-raper. Nothing they do can make it acceptable -- morally or legally -- for you to do certain things to that person. Things that our soldiers have been doing, in Afghanistan and Iraq, to loud cheers from the right. Torture, rape, and degradation are not to be practiced upon anyone, "unlawful combatant" or not.

It's not about "reading them their rights". It's about the reason we deserve to win: because the enemy are brutes and monsters who do things like using rape and torture as weapons, and we aren't.
2.6.2009 4:32pm
SecurityGeek:
What a stupid, self-serving article. It almost completely focuses on the class-warfare dynamic, and ignores the two Palin issues that sealed McCain's doom:

1) The GOP's pushing of her reformer and fiscal conservative credentials, which very quickly fell apart for both fair (Bridge to Nowhere, pork requests for Alaska, the fact that it's a socialist welfare state) and unfair ($150K wardrobe) reasons.

2) The Palin pick eviscerated McCain's argument that these dangerous times require a experienced hand on the tiller. The McCain campaign went from "Obama is dangerously inexperienced", which was a compelling issue that gained some traction, to "Alaska is near Russia". This made McCain look like an opportunist, and destroyed the meme of the old warrior reluctantly doing what's best for America.

The elitist stuff is fun to talk about, but I think that washed out in the end compared to the other two issues.
2.6.2009 4:35pm
Floridan:
"Palin's failure to speak the language and to share the common points of reference of the educated upper tier of American society"

More like the upper half of the average ninth-grade class.

Come on, the people interviewed by Leno on "Jaywalking" don't do much worse than she did.
2.6.2009 4:36pm
CJColucci:
The problem with Palin wasn't her thin resume -- and it was thin. So was Barack Obama's. Or her unimpressive educational credentials -- and they were unimpressive. So were Joe Biden's. There are ways to overcome such things, like hard work on a variety of issues over a long time (Biden), or the ability to explain and articulate what you mean to do and why you think it's a good idea (Obama). Palin didn't do any of that or show any ability to do any of that. Whether she has the sheer mental horsepower to be President or Vice President I don't pretend to know. (FWIW, I always thought W had the horsepower but never cared to use it -- a far more disabling flaw than innate lack of brainpower.) What I do know is that she committed a number of unforced errors.
Take foreign policy. Her experience is thin. So was Barack Obama's. That is hardly disabling. Few plausible candidates really have much in the way of foreign policy experience because there's no place they would get it. People who hold sub-cabinet jobs in State or Defense, or command rank in the military, or C-suite jobs in international business are not the stuff of which we make Presidents. Most of what passes for "foreign policy experience" is listening to people drone on in committee hearings. All you can really do with the sort of people who actually run for President is get a sense of whether they have clear sight, good judgment, and have "been places and 'et in ho-tels."
So what does Palin do? Instead of saying "yes, it's true, I don't have much foreign policy experience," and then saying something that exhibits good judgment despite her lack of experience, she makes the hilarious unforced error about how being governor of a state not too far from the ass-end of Russia counts as a qualification. I'm not going to look it up, but on a much longer and more exposed campaign trail than Palin traveled, Barack Obama must have been asked a number of times about foreign policy and his relative lack of experience. Had he said anything comparably stupid, it would have been a huge story.
That's why Barack Obama got over the thin resume and Sarah Palin didn't.
2.6.2009 4:39pm
Steve H:

Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights.


To me, the troubling thing about this statement by Palin is its dishonesty.

But it does show disregard for the constitution, because it denigrates every American's constitutional right against unjust search, seizure, detention, and conviction into "reading their rights." Whether and to what extent it applies to someone accused of being a terrorist, whether picked up here or abroad, is open to debate. But Palin's disrespect for the idea of recognizing an accused's constitutional rights is not.
2.6.2009 4:40pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Steve,

You might be unaware of this, but the Republican nominee for President in 2008 was Senator John McCain, not Governor Sarah Palin, and voters generally vote for the top of the ticket, not the bottom.

Vice-presidential nominees rarely, if ever, have more than a 0.5% effect on general election returns. They are generally chosen to affect the outcome of their own state or region. Lyndon Johnson was very successful at this for John Kennedy in 1960 - LBJ's nomination as Kennedy's running mate made the difference in the closest election in history.

AFAIK, Sarah Palin's selection had significantly more effect on the general election than the average non-boring VP nominee (@ 1.3% +/- 0.2% of the popular vote), but nowhere near as much as LBJ's more effective sectional appeal.

As Yuval's article mentioned, it wasn't Palin's job to make a case for McCain that he couldn't make for himself. Her job was to energize the GOP base and she did. She clearly saved the GOP's bacon in the Senate.

Sarah Palin was clearly the most successful Vice-Presidential nominee since Lyndon Johnson in terms of affecting an election's outcome. She is already THE single best fund-raising asset the GOP has, and will be for the next few years. This means a lot in Presidential politics.

I can be objective here. I used to be a Democrat, and loathed Ronald Reagan when he was Governor. But, as a semi-pro then, I also recognized his political ability and appeal.

Your side underestimates Sarah Palin at your peril. You did before with Ronald Reagan with results you side prefers to forget.

Please keep up the good work.
2.6.2009 5:21pm
donaldk2 (mail):
Her convention speech, and she herself, suit me just fine.

But in my book she just isn't big league material.
2.6.2009 5:28pm
c.gray (mail):

And c.gray, while the Religious Right has trained its guns more specifically on gays and abortion lately, during the Reagan-Bush years and beyond "unwed mothers" were routinely demagogued. Not on a one-by-one basis, but as a group.


Until I see or hear of an actual example, I continue to call this claim an example of Bullshit. With a capital "B". Frankly, it doesn't even rise to the level of a straw man. Anyone who believes the "Religious Right" has been concerned about abortion "lately" knows nothing about that movement's actual history.


But its like talking to a wall anyway.

Like social conservative beliefs about the "cultural elite", progressive beliefs about the "Religious Right" have a very high Bullshit-to-fact content ratio. In both cases, each projects a set of attitudes and beliefs on their perceived political adversaries that have far more to do with their own anxieties than anything their opponents actually do or say. These views tend to be completely impervious to appeals to reason, or even common sense. Requests for factual foundation are dismissed with variations of "Everyone knows" or some other form of table pounding.

Of course, this is probably what lies at the heart of the "Palin phenomenon". What I found most shocking about the weird hysteria surrounding her was how closely her detractors more over-the-top claims seemed to match exactly what a social conservative true believer would imagine a member of the "cultural elite" saying about her.
2.6.2009 5:51pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Barack Obama must have been asked a number of times about foreign policy and his relative lack of experience. Had he said anything comparably stupid, it would have been a huge story.
Obama said even sillier things when he bragged about his foreign policy experience. He said this in April 2008:
foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better ... I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa ...
He lived in Indonesia as a small child!
2.6.2009 6:00pm
Sarcastro (www):
It's well known among educators that no one gains any understanding of anything as a child!
2.6.2009 6:05pm
Steve H:

Until I see or hear of an actual example, I continue to call this claim an example of Bullshit. With a capital "B". Frankly, it doesn't even rise to the level of a straw man. Anyone who believes the "Religious Right" has been concerned about abortion "lately" knows nothing about that movement's actual history.


?

Are you saying that the Religious Right has not been talking about abortion lately?
2.6.2009 6:27pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

voters generally vote for the top of the ticket, not the bottom.

Here, the top of the ticket was unusually running to be the oldest person ever to become President. The next-oldest such person thoughtfully picked a qualified VP nominee.
2.6.2009 6:33pm
b-rob (mail):
Sarah Palin failing as a candidate had nothing to do with "elite" opinion. She opened her mouth and proved she was no learned enough to be president, which is the one requirement a vice president needs. For McCain to claim that Sarah Palin knew more about energy than anyone else in the country shows the lunacy that gripped the GOP this fall.

Another thing that did her in: women simply did not like her. I heard this time and again from accomplished women. She was the embodiment of a pretty but empty headed female who gets ahead by charming me. All the "winkin" and the tortured syntax; we guys saw a hot babe who was kinda cute. Women saw a numbskulled harpy who thought she could sashay her way into the presidency.

Finally, one thing no GOPers want to admit. The Palin rally crowds. All of the Obama is a Muslim/terrorist, all the "the Blacks will take over", etc. It was an embarassment to educated, middle class white voters. Who would want to be associated with the same trailer trash you thought you left back in high school, the morons who used to smoke weed behind the building and terrorize the few minority kids or smart kids? THAT is what Palin brought out and no one on the right seems to want to acknowledge it.
2.6.2009 6:40pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Tony, my liberal Democratic wife said, when Obama selected Biden, that Dan Quayle was a one-trick pony while Joe Biden would provide endless fun as vice-president. He makes Senator Byrd seem presidential.

I am praying for Obama's good health. So should we all.

I also note that you haven't disputed any of my points.
2.6.2009 6:46pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
b-rob,

I seem recall someone in New York City saying in 1972 that she couldn't figure out how Nixon won, as none of the people she talked to had voted for him.

My wife loathes Palin because Palin is more attractive.

I am very aware of Palin's accomplishments concerning the Alaskan oil pipeline - she beat the special interests that had paralyzed action for a generation. Your side should definitely worry about a successful governor with Teddy Roosevelt's joy in political combat.

So please keep on underestimating her, and attacking her. That will make what's coming much more enjoyable. Political aikido is a joy to watch.
2.6.2009 6:53pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

you haven't disputed any of my points.

Generalizations from other Presidential campaigns should not have been expected to apply to the importance of the running mate of this exceptionally elderly Presidential candidate.
2.6.2009 6:57pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Palin -- beat the special interests that had paralyzed action for a generation.

By picking another routing, Palin reset the pipeline clock to zero.
2.6.2009 6:59pm
Sarcastro (www):

My wife loathes Palin because Palin is more attractive.

To be fair, being more attractive than Nixon isn't so hard to do.
2.6.2009 7:03pm
c.gray (mail):

Are you saying that the Religious Right has not been talking about abortion lately?


No. I'm saying they have been talking about it _always_. Opposition to abortion on demand is the reason they exist at all, and has remained their primary grievance for the three decades they've been around. It is central to who they are.

Hatred of single mothers, OTOH? Not so much. That's a progressive fantasy.
2.6.2009 7:29pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
c.gray,

You seem to believe that nothing happened until you were born. The religious right has been around a lot longer than that. Furthermore, status as a wowser is dependent on internal psychic needs to control the lives of others, not on political leanings. Consider the food Nazis who tried to ban hot dogs at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
2.6.2009 7:47pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Sarah Palin failing as a candidate had nothing to do with "elite" opinion. She opened her mouth and proved she was no learned enough to be president, which is the one requirement a vice president needs. For McCain to claim that Sarah Palin knew more about energy than anyone else in the country shows the lunacy that gripped the GOP this fall.
I don't buy that at all, given the foot in mouth disease shown repeatedly by her opponent, even to this day. And what do about the Speaker? The current challenge is to find the best thing that she is as smart as: I have heard rock, brick, etc.
Another thing that did her in: women simply did not like her. I heard this time and again from accomplished women. She was the embodiment of a pretty but empty headed female who gets ahead by charming me. All the "winkin" and the tortured syntax; we guys saw a hot babe who was kinda cute. Women saw a numbskulled harpy who thought she could sashay her way into the presidency.
Well, I will agree that women are shrews when it comes to other women, which is why Hillary is ok, and Palin was not for them. Hillary couldn't steal their man from them if her life depended on it, but these other women could bed hers any time.

But if these women really did hate Sarah Palin, let me suggest that it was more a question of those women being part of that cultural elite that we were talking about earlier, and Palin not. Palin is plenty accomplished - just not in the same way that these women are. Obviously, they don't respect what Palin has done, and I am sure that it is reciprocated. Palin is plenty accomplished, and did it on her own, as compared with so many of the cultural elite. She doesn't share their values of what is important to them, and so fails to live up to their standards. But I am sure that she would think the same of them, and, indeed, many of the women going bonkers over her in middle America would probably be as insensitive to what was important to those women you are talking about as Palin is.
2.6.2009 8:19pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Sarah Palin failing as a candidate had nothing to do with "elite" opinion. She opened her mouth and proved she was no learned enough to be president, which is the one requirement a vice president needs. For McCain to claim that Sarah Palin knew more about energy than anyone else in the country shows the lunacy that gripped the GOP this fall.
I don't buy that at all, given the foot in mouth disease shown repeatedly by her opponent, even to this day. And what do about the Speaker? The current challenge is to find the best thing that she is as smart as: I have heard rock, brick, etc.
Another thing that did her in: women simply did not like her. I heard this time and again from accomplished women. She was the embodiment of a pretty but empty headed female who gets ahead by charming me. All the "winkin" and the tortured syntax; we guys saw a hot babe who was kinda cute. Women saw a numbskulled harpy who thought she could sashay her way into the presidency.
Well, I will agree that women are shrews when it comes to other women, which is why Hillary is ok, and Palin was not for them. Hillary couldn't steal their man from them if her life depended on it, but these other women could bed hers any time.

But if these women really did hate Sarah Palin, let me suggest that it was more a question of those women being part of that cultural elite that we were talking about earlier, and Palin not. Palin is plenty accomplished - just not in the same way that these women are. Obviously, they don't respect what Palin has done, and I am sure that it is reciprocated. Palin is plenty accomplished, and did it on her own, as compared with so many of the cultural elite. She doesn't share their values of what is important to them, and so fails to live up to their standards. But I am sure that she would think the same of them, and, indeed, many of the women going bonkers over her in middle America would probably be as insensitive to what was important to those women you are talking about as Palin is.
2.6.2009 8:46pm
John Skookum (mail):
Pluribus:


Before this, of course, she should also consider reading a few newspapers--and at least remembering the names of the ones she reads. If she can do that next time Katie Couric interviews her, then her base in the Republican party will consider her one of "the elite" and jettison her in favor of somebody who not only doesn't read newspapers or books but is honest about the fact.


I recall reading an interview with one of Gov. Palin's high school teachers, who stated that she read a newspaper cover to cover every day, and had done so since the age of 10. In school, she had a reputation as a bookish athlete, not a brainless social butterfly.

Here's a quote from a Palin biography (written in 2007 by Kaylene Johnson):



... From the time [Sarah Palin] was in elementary school, she consumed newspapers with a passion. "She read the paper from the very top left hand corner to the bottom right corner to the very last page," said [her sister] Molly. "She didn't want to miss a word. She didn't just read it — she knew every word she read and analyzed it."

Sarah preferred nonfiction to the Nancy Drew books that her classmates were reading. In junior high school, [her sister] Heather — a year older in school — often enlisted Sarah's help with book reports. "She was such a bookworm. Whenever I was assigned to read a book, she'd already read it," Heather said.

Sarah's thirst for knowledge was nurtured in a household that emphasized the importance of education. There was never any question that all the Heath kids would go to college. With her love for newspapers and current events, Sarah majored in journalism and minored in political science. Her brother, like their father, became a teacher. Heather works for an advertising firm. Molly is a dental hygienist.



I don't know why Mrs. Palin gave such a clumsy answer to the interview question, but I do not believe it can be taken as proof that she does not read the papers. I suspect it was more like the phenomenon we've all had when we see someone in public we've known for years, and briefly forget their name. I also recall one interview in which she quoted Plato in what seemed like a very spontaneous, unforced manner.

I'll match my educational accomplishments with anyone here, and I say Gov. Palin is plenty smart enough to be my President.
2.6.2009 8:47pm
John Skookum (mail):
wohjr:

You asked for an example of Biden demonstrating a reasonable awareness of foreign policy matters. I asked the same of you for Ms. Palin.

If you recall, one of the gaffes Gov. Palin supposedly made came in response to a hypothetical question about how to deal with Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia during the Gibson interview. This is what I said on another forum:


Sarah's response to the question about Russia and Georgia was not only not a gaffe, it was handled nearly perfectly. Some media types with limited powers of comprehension did not understand that it was a hypothetical question, asking whether we should take Georgia's side *IF* Georgia were admitted to NATO and this were to be followed by a Russian invasion. Georgia is not a member of NATO, but the question was framed that way, and there are plenty of people on both sides of the aisle who support their bid to join.

There are really only four ways to answer such a question: Yes, No, Maybe, Don't Know. Sarah understood perfectly well that the NATO charter calls upon members to defend another member state if attacked.

If she had answered "No, we should not come to their aid", she would have been pilloried for cowardice and not knowing our responsibilities as a member of NATO.

If she had answered "Yes indeed, both guns blazing", she would have been pilloried for belligerent warmongering.

If she had begged off from answering the question, she would have been pilloried for indecision and ignorance.

Her answer, "Perhaps so", was close to the Platonic ideal of diplo-speak in response to such a loaded question, and this was confirmed by none other than Henry Kissinger.

As it turned out, she got pilloried for warmongering anyway, which should give you an idea of the obstacles the left-wing media threw in her path all through the campaign.

2.6.2009 8:57pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
John. The question about the "Bush Doctrine" was another. Even people who knew better pretended she'd blown a simple one.
2.6.2009 9:22pm
David Warner:
The article hits several high notes, with my favorite being the one already highlighted by CJColucci:

"But having finally gotten voters to listen, neither Palin nor McCain could think of anything to say to them. Palin's reformism, like McCain's, was essentially an attitude devoid of substance"

That's the bottom line, and had she delivered here, I suspect that the rest would have fallen by the wayside except for a few pockets of haters of various persuasions. The problem was that Rove's attempt to remake the Republican coalition proved nonviable (Huck was the natural successor there), and merely returning to the Reagan limited government formula would have been perceived, rightly given the previous four years, as incredible.

It would have taken a miracle for anyone to come up with a unifying new vision out of whole cloth on the fly, and so its no surprise that the Old Bull fell short. The best hope was indeed someone completely new, but it was always a long shot.

The one dimension Levin misses is the generational one noted on this blog. Alot of the hate for Palin was the usual partisan vitriol that any candidate would have generated (well, other than someone like Pawlenty, who would have just been ignored). There was an added edge to the Palin-hate, however, and I saw it overwhelmingly among Boomers. As the first clearly post-Boomer national politician (Obama is debatable), Palin does the one unforgivable thing - she reminds Boomers of their imminent mortality.
2.6.2009 9:28pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
David.
Ref boomers: I was born just before VE Day, making me anticipate the boomers by a few months.
I grew up in one of those new subdivisions built by the square mile outside the cities. Four floor plans, 1,2,3,4,down the block. The folks living there were young guys with their families just getting started. It was like growing up in a giant VFW encampment. Teachers, catechism teachers, BSA leaders, uncles, fathers, buddies' fathers, were all veterans. Little League adults, all the men were veterans. I recall an old Italian couple on the block. Neither of them.
But everybody else.
Watching them grow up, I do not recognize "boomers". Our fathers were concerned that, due to historical foreshortening, when you graduated, they gave a war. They expected us to be fighting somebody someplace. Right.
Boomers were somebody else. We didn't become them, we wouldn't like them.
And my guess is many of us liked Palin.
She got it done.
Running your mouth was somebody else's idea of clever.
2.6.2009 10:27pm
trad and anon:
If lattes are for the elitists, why is there a coffee shop on every corner?
That comment is so 2004. Today's elitists have given up lattes for arugula, or at least that's what we were doing last year.
2.6.2009 10:45pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Richard Aubrey - my parents met on VE Day just before my father shipped out to the Pacific as an infantry lieutenant. My mother was then a Marine. It doesn't get any more Boomer than that.

Having a mother who was one of the first female Marines, and selected as such because she had been a ranch foreman when she was 18 (her mother's ranch after her father died breaking a wild horse), did not make for a normal childhood.

It got worse, though. My mother moved us back to western Marin County, California, after my parents divorced. Where I became the paper boy for one of my classmate's parents. Her step-father took a shine to me.

If having Philip K. Dick as a role-model at the impressionable age of 12-13 doesn't make you truly weird, nothing will.
2.6.2009 11:04pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
sealawyer:

all of the lies about Palin


Several people have made reference to this idea, that lies have been told about Palin. This thread and the Levin article contain (together) about 24,000 words, but those words include this many documented, specific examples of a lie told about Palin: zero. Can anyone show the most significant examples of those lies? Exact quotes, please.

Meanwhile, it's easy to find proof that Palin lied repeatedly. She practically set a new standard for a politician telling lies that are incredibly brazen and obvious. One nice example is here. A bunch of other thoroughly documented examples are here.

Levin used these terms in connection with Palin: "moral constancy" and "obsessed with honest dealing." I guess he's gunning for a job at The Onion.

He also mentioned "her unexceptional academic record." Actually, it is exceptional to attend five colleges in six years.

He also said "Palin was running for Vice President with a foreign-policy expert at the top of the ticket." Really? My idea of a "foreign-policy expert" is someone who can get his facts straight without Lieberman whispering corrections in his ear (video). And McCain didn't make that mistake just once.

===============
ex parte:

Like Aultimer, Levin's assertion, set off by dashes for emphasis, that "she is, clearly, highly intelligent" made me want to ask "In what respect, Charlie?"


Very funny. You're obviously talking about this: t-shirt, video. And here's the obvious answer: "All of them."

===============
accountant:

I, too, sincerely hope that the Republican ticket in 2012 is Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. With Rush Limbaugh as the head spokesman and policy analyst of the party. It would be great for the country.


Exactly. The GOP is now firmly in the hands of Palin, Wurzelbacher and Limbaugh, and this is great news for all non-Republicans.

===============
holsinger:

Palin was clearly the most successful Vice-Presidential nominee since Lyndon Johnson in terms of affecting an election's outcome.


That's a nice example of how "clearly" often means 'not very clear.' This is what Pew said:

Sarah Palin's impact on McCain's fortunes will no doubt be long debated, and the results of the exit polls are somewhat mixed. Fully 60% of Americans casting ballots said that Palin is not qualified to be president should it be necessary; 81% of these voters favored Obama. Yet those who cited Palin's selection as a factor in their vote -- 60% of all voters -- favored McCain by 56% to 43%.


===============
steve:

What do you think the typical Republican perspective would have been if the Obamas had a teenage daughter who was pregnant out of wedlock? Sheer, unadulterated empathy? … I just find it hard to believe … that the same Republican politicians and pundits who cheered for Bristol Palin would have had nothing negative to say if it were the Obamas who had an unmarried and pregnant teenage daughter.


Exactly. Someone else made the same point:

If the Obamas had a 17 year-old daughter who was unmarried and pregnant by a tough-talking black kid, my guess is if that they all appeared onstage at a Democratic convention and the delegates were cheering wildly, a number of conservatives might be discussing the issue of dysfunctional black families.


That's quite an understatement. And pay attention to who said it.

dave n:

I suspect that while a few loons would criticize the President if one of his daughters became pregnant, I doubt there would be the condemnation you IMAGINE …Your imagining that it will occur with a hypothetical Obama teenage pregancy does not make it so


It's interesting to notice who disagrees with you.

=================
hayden:

Seventeen year old girls have been getting pregnant for hundreds of thousands of years


That might be especially true among Bristol's ancestors. Sarah Palin herself got pregnant with Track before she was married (either that, or he was born at least 4 weeks premature). This pattern seems to run in the family.

BTW, I'm not claiming Palin was 17. She wasn't. I'm referring to the pattern of getting pregnant outside of marriage.

=================
c gray:

"Demagoging unwed mothers and the like" exists primarily as a fantasy of the left.


Try this:

birth and adoption are the purview of married heterosexual couples


Dobson is hardly a minor figure.

===============
aubrey:

If anything starts with the Russians, the Alaskans are going to know about it first.


Maps are flat, but the Earth is not. Have you seen a globe? Air routes from Russia to the US don't necessarily go near Alaska (especially if the destination is an East Coast target).

bgates:

Palin's statement was, first off, basically correct - the Russians have been prompting "US fighter jets...to scramble to intercept Russian bombers on an increasingly regular basis."


You're implying that the article you cited talks about Russian bombers approaching Alaska. But it doesn't. It said they were flying "close to North American airspace," and "over the North Pole." That doesn't necessarily mean they were near Alaska.

And as wohjr pointed out, "what does Sarah Palin have to do with fighter jets?" Pay attention to this headline:

NORAD: Sarah Palin has no role in guarding U.S. airspace despite claims in Katie Couric interview


=================
warner:

As the first clearly post-Boomer national politician


The Boom is usually defined as 1946-1964. Palin's DOB is 2/11/64. How does that make her "clearly post-Boomer?" This is another nice example of how "clearly" means 'not clear.'

Obama's DOB is 8/4/61. The age gap is just 2.5 years. It's hard to picture how that's very significant, one way or another.

And if Palin is "the first clearly post-Boomer national politician," it's interesting to notice that post-Boomers voted against her overwhelmingly. Voters under 30 picked Obama, 66%/32%. Only two other demographic factors were substantially stronger predictors: being black or being Jewish.
2.6.2009 11:42pm
Fedya (www):
David Warner wrote:
There was an added edge to the Palin-hate, however, and I saw it overwhelmingly among Boomers. As the first clearly post-Boomer national politician (Obama is debatable), Palin does the one unforgivable thing - she reminds Boomers of their imminent mortality.


I don't know about the reminding Boomers of their mortality part -- wouldn't Obama do that, too? But I tend to agree that Boomers have a lot of influence on the culture, and Palin's not being of that culture is one of the key reasons she garnered so much vitriol. Obama, on the other hand, seemed to make Boomers think of the 60s Kennedys. Heaven knows we got enough references to that in the campaign.

I, having been born in 1972, am frankly sick and tired of the Boomers and can't wait for them all to be pensioned off. I'm sick and tired of everything being viewed through a prism of events that happened between the death of JFK and the resignation of Richard Nixon. And I want to reach through the computer screen and throttle anybody who uses the GDF -gate suffix for the scandal du jour.
2.6.2009 11:50pm
trad and anon:
I seem recall someone in New York City saying in 1972 that she couldn't figure out how Nixon won, as none of the people she talked to had voted for him.
Versions of that statement are usually attributed to Pauline Kael. There seems to be no actual evidence of her having said it though.
2.7.2009 12:18am
David Warner:
You can find the thread I was referencing here. I consider both Palin and Obama to be post-Boomer, as Obama was out of the country for the formative events of that generation and Palin was all of four years old in '68, and living in Idaho/Alaska to boot, which, while not exactly out of the country was out in the country enough to get an entirely different flavor of those events, if there was any awareness at all. Most others disagree with me on Obama's generation, if they consider it at all, and he is very Camelotish.

Note: I'm a big JFK fan, and so that's a plus for me. I do think he shares that vibe and that went into my decision to vote for Obama.

As for Palin, she went after Obama at the Convention like he was any other opposing candidate, not a Black opposing candidate (gasp! the horror!), and she's spoken about not thinking much about sexism in her tomboyish upbringing. Not sharing the Boomer obsession with Race and Gender is another capital offense on her part.
2.7.2009 1:18am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I consider both Palin and Obama to be post-Boomer


I agree (even though they are both technically Boomer, based on a literal interpretation of their birthdates). Thanks for explaining.
2.7.2009 10:10am
Cobra (mail) (www):
Sarcasto writes:

>>>"I'd listen to the nearest 7/11 manager about economics, cause he has my concerns!"

And that is why the Republican Party still survives in 2009.

This is from the 7/11 Corporate Website.

The Store Manager position requires the following:

Minimum two years of retail/food-service management experience or Bachelor's Degree in related field
High school diploma or equivalent required
Solid problem-solving, analytical and time-management skills
Strong communication skills
Excellent customer service skills
Willingness to work "on call"
Desire to be part of a performance-driven team
Physical Requirements

The Store Manager position requires constant standing, bending and reaching. Frequent lifting of one to five pounds and occasional lifting of up to 40-50 pounds is required.




Now, I don't look down on anybody's legitimate job. I've worked retail in my life, and I respect anybody willing to take that ride, but comparing the job of President of the United States, leader of the free world to running a 7/11...

Don't you see folks? This is why so many Republicans are in love with Joe the Plumber, and Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin's aspirations?

Palin's first dream in life was to be sportswriter, covering hockey and basketball. She loved ESPN so much, she named her daughter "Bristol," after the town in Connecticut where the cable network is headquartered."



There's nothing wrong with being a sportswriter, either. But this is not about that, IMHO. I believe that many Republicans today want things just that simple. They don't want complexity or nuance. They don't want to think too hard, and apparently, they like candidates who don't think too hard either.

That's why so very few of them will research media accounts in Alaska of her governance. That's why they don't want to dig into her educational background to find out why she went to 5 schools for a B.A. in Journalism. That's why they don't want to know about her husband's ties to the seccessionist Alaskan Independance Party.

Oh no. That's too complicated. Right wingers just like her, and that's it.

As a registered Democrat, and a die-hard liberal, please...
I'm begging you....PLEASE nominate Sarah Palin in 2012 for the Republican Candidate for President.

--Cobra
2.7.2009 2:25pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It seems to me that there's been a lot of talk about "family values" over the years from folks on that side of the aisle, a lot of condemnation expressed towards people who make unwise life choices, and then suddenly when one of their own turns up in the same situation they realize hey, this happens to people all the time and it's no big deal.
The "condemnation" is not expressed towards people who make unwise life choices. It's towards people who make unwise life choices and then demand that the government help them escape the consequences.

That's funny, I don't recall too many prominent Republicans running on the platform of "Seventeen your old girls have been getting pregnant for hundreds of thousands of years." (Or even for all six thousand years.) I seem to recall a lot more Republican moralizing against any premarital sex whatsoever.
And? How does this contradict anything? Condemning behavior is not condemning the person. This is not "hypocrisy."

Certainly you're not claiming that the left-wing media made up the Moral Majority, opposition to Plan B, opposition to teaching about sex in school, abstinence-only education, resistance to distributing contraceptives on campus or in school (even resistance to contraception in general).
Nobody "made up" those things, although they may have distorted them -- but opposition to these government policies is not the same as condemning a "teenager" who gets pregnant. ("Teenager" is such a slippery word, isn't it? It lets the speaker elide the difference between a 13-year old middle schooler and an 18-year old adult.)
2.7.2009 4:29pm
David Warner:
Hate the sin, love the sinner. You may think its sanctimonious BS, but there's a good hundred million of your fellow citizens who disagree. Not only do they vote, but they have lots and lots of kids, and its a great deal of work trying to brainwash them all. Seems easier to try to understand where they're coming from.

Cobra,

"I believe that many Republicans today want things just that simple."

If you think that's a bad thing, then why are you joining them with your facile bigotry?
2.7.2009 6:02pm
Cobra (mail) (www):
David Warner writes:

"If you think that's a bad thing, then why are you joining them with your facile bigotry?"


The average attendee at a Sarah Palin rally probably couldn't define the word "facile", my friend. I doubt Sarah Palin could herself.

That's partly my point. But I'm not condemning her. She should be proud of her accomplishments in life thus far. Hell, I'll never become Governor of anything. I just don't want her anywhere near the position of leading the free world.

Why is that so unfathomable to many of you?

People have described both myself and my posts with some "colorful" words, but simplistic hasn't really been one of them. Bigotry? Well, I can't say right wingers haven't attacked me that way. It would be interesting if you could point to where that bigotry occurred in my posts, however.

--Cobra
2.7.2009 11:40pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
nieporent:

The "condemnation" is not expressed towards people who make unwise life choices. It's towards people who make unwise life choices and then demand that the government help them escape the consequences.


When Dobson criticized Mary Cheney for being a gay mom, his criticism had nothing to do with anyone demanding "that the government help them escape the consequences."
2.8.2009 12:30am
David Warner:
Cobra,

"It would be interesting if you could point to where that bigotry occurred in my posts, however."

Sure. Here you go:

"The average attendee at a Sarah Palin rally probably couldn't define the word "facile", my friend."

Ever been to a Palin rally? I have. Plenty of English speakers there, some with a bigger vocabulary than you and I combined. Then again, I've been to Obama rallies chock full of people with common sense, so maybe I've just been lucky.
2.8.2009 2:40am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Plenty of English speakers there, some with a bigger vocabulary than you and I combined.


Bigotry is 'intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.' Making the observation that a certain group of people is relatively uneducated has nothing to do with "bigotry" (even if the observation is incorrect, although in this instance I believe the observation is not incorrect).

The statement that was made ("probably couldn't define the word 'facile' ") could be reasonably applied to all the following groups:

- kids under 14
- adults who did not graduate high school
- adults for whom English is a second language
- adults who have low intelligence

If I apply the statement to those groups, what I'm doing has nothing to do with bigotry. It's simply an objective observation. And if the statement turns out to be incorrect, for any reason, that might make the statement hyperbole, but it doesn't make it bigotry. Applying the statement to Palin supporters (as distinct from McCain/Palin supporters, perhaps) is no different.

Actually proving the underlying premise ('Palin supporters are relatively uneducated') is a somewhat separate issue. But let's do that. This exit poll shows combined data for education and race (and it's important to look at those two factors combined, for reasons I won't bother detailing at the moment). Looking at the 4 groups (white college grads, white-no college, non-white college grads, non-white no-college), McCain had a strong lead in only one group: white-no college.

Here's some corroboration, based on voting data (not exit polls). McCain did better than Bush in a few areas, and those areas tend to be rural counties in the South, which I think contain lots of those no-college whites. (See here, and click on "Voting shifts.")

By the way, this group (no-college whites) is the largest of the 4 groups. It represents 39% of all voters. It appears that the GOP has an incentive to keep people out of college. (Although I realize the correlation/causality issue is murky. Does college turn people into Democrats, or are Democrats more likely to go to college? Answer: I don't know. Maybe both.)

The word yokel is used to describe "unsophisticated country people." Supposedly "they are easily deceived as they fail to see through false pretenses." And here's a good example of false pretenses: Palin presenting herself (via people like Levin) as a symbol of "moral constancy" and "honest dealing."
2.8.2009 8:34am
David Warner:
Cobra,

Just for comparison's sake, if you had casually opined that the average attendee at an Obama rally was too shiftless to make it to the polls, it would still be bigotry even if JBG backed it up with a raft of statistics on voting rates. In either case, the relevant dynamics do not lend themselves well to, yes, facile analysis, and even if they did, it doesn't matter.

It's just not the done thing.
2.8.2009 5:19pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
if you had casually opined that the average attendee at an Obama rally was too shiftless to make it to the polls, it would still be bigotry even if JBG backed it up with a raft of statistics on voting rates


One of the most obvious problems with your analogy is this: 'shiftlessness' is far from the only way to explain low voting rates. The latter is not proof of the former. It's a leap to use 'shiftlessness' and voting rates as proxies for each other. On the other hand, making a statement about limited vocabulary is very close to making a statement about limited education.

Aside from that, not every instance of describing the characteristics of a particular group, even if those characteristics are negative or undesirable, is an indication of bigotry. But the term is often used in an indiscriminate manner that's driven by political correctness.

It's just not the done thing.


I think that means "something that a lot of people do only because everyone else does it." I wonder if that's really what you meant.
2.8.2009 6:35pm

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Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.