Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin — Whiney Victim

According to certain opinion-makers, anyone who suggests that Palin (and others) might consider toning down their rhetoric a bit, is now guilty of “blood libel.” Yes, it’s a pogrom being waged against Sarah — a virtual holocaust of blame for this Princess of Peace. She should lock up her daughters before the Cossacks beat down the doors.

As the wagons circle around the little lady from Alaska, I keep coming back to this clip from those long-ago days when the only Palin we’d heard of was the one who sold dead parrots:

Back then Sarah was tough. She felt women should learn to take the heat, and it did nobody any good for them to whine about the press.

Isn’t it kind of sexist that her honor is being defended so gallantly by male pundits while she hardly says a word? Shouldn’t the lady herself issue a statement? A direct one, not an aside to Glenn Beck as though she’s now too fragile to speak to everyone at once. Why she’d just die! Faint dead away! Delicate flower that she is…

Of course the national conversation shouldn’t even be about Palin, or Beck.  There shouldn’t even be a conversation about turning down the volume or taking away offensive graphics.   The volume part should have happened organically on both sides. Everyone should have just shut up for a while, followed by a few bowed heads and contrite statements about doing better in the future.

After that, the opinion makers should have started talking about the necessary steps to prevent something like this from happening again, and the lawmakers should have gotten busy drafting proposals to that effect. Imagine if Boehner and Pelosi announced bipartisan support for bringing back an automatic weapons ban or at least a plan that would keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill?   Can’t you see John and Nancy walking up to a podium together to make an announcement?  They’re calling it Christina’s Bill for the youngest victim.

I’m sorry, I must have been conscious dreaming for a moment.

Wouldn’t it be terrific if instead of trying to repeal the health care bill that finally passed, Congress looked at the laws regarding community mental health organizations and strengthened them?  Came up with consistent policies to be administered on a state and county level for dealing with the people suffering from mental illness? Imagine if we had had guidelines so that Loughner would have been subject to an outreach visit and emergency evaluation back when he was exhibiting bizarre behavior at the community college?  Even follow up care and treatment?

Oh, did I fall asleep at the keyboard again?

Palin may or may not be running for President in 2012. My guess is, that she’s not. She may realize that it’s dangerous out there. But wouldn’t now be the time for anyone who wants to lead, to begin?

UPDATE 1/12/2011 — This post and the previous one were both written during Palin’s time of silent reflection before she released her video in which she herself accused her detractors of “blood libel.” Of course her statement was issued after the conversation had pretty much turned away from her and moved on to more relevant topics such as gun laws, mental health and the political climate in general. Her use of the phrase in this context must be taken as deliberate, incendiary and desperate. It once again propels her onto center stage.

Second UPDATE: It now appears that after statements from the ADL and other Jewish organizations, Sarah has now removed the blood libel video. This is truly perplexing. Clearly, whoever wrote her speech knew what he or she was doing. How could her handlers not have expected this reaction?  Unless of course they did expect it.  The plot thickens, and sickens.

Third Update:  She’s re-realised the video.  Newly edited,  but with the “blood libel” still left in.  And now with what sounds like more references to God.  I officially give up and will leave tracking this woman’s every utterance to the pundits who get paid to do it.

Sarah Palin’s Brave New World

A few weeks ago while still feeling the sting of Obama’s “tax compromise” with the Republicans*, I made this comment over at Wonkette:

If only it were possible for someone, a persuasive speech-maker perhaps, someone with the type of communication and narrative skills that would propel him or her to high office, to explain to the American people over some kind mass communication device that they are being royally screwed by the Republicans who are clearly working in the best interest of billionaires and not those of millions of working people. Perhaps they could hire Sarah Palin to do the job?

My tongue was of course firmly planted in my cheek.  No one on the left will ever come up with enough cash to equal Palin’s compensation as a right-wing demagogue.   But I wasn’t kidding about her communication skilz.  It doesn’t matter that she makes up words and can’t string a sentence together.  She’s like a bestselling author whose trashy tales are bought by millions of people who don’t normally read books.  Obama might give “better” speeches, but more people read Dan Brown than Cormac McCarthy.

The gunman may be a lone nut with no Tea Party affiliation, but he certainly has absorbed the messages put out by the lunatic-right  —  (1) we are being taken over by the forces of darkness (2) there are plans to change the currency and the only true currency is the gold standard (3) the government take over includes “Death Panels” (4) Obama is a foreign usurper, not a natural born citizen; thus the entire government has no legitimate claim.

Not only have right wing politicians and pundits put these ideas into the air, they have also offered solutions, such as failed-Senate candidate Sharon Angle’s suggestion that “second amendment remedies” are a possibility if the ballot box doesn’t do the trick.  Sarah Palin infamous “crosshairs” map “targeted” Congressional districts including Gifford’s.  Palin’s spokesperson, Rebecca Mansour has stated that there was no connection to guns in the use of crosshairs, but to “surveyor’s maps,” an assertion that is not only absurd on its face, but contradicted by Palin’s own words to her followers, “Don’t retreat. Reload.”

People have the right to put out these messages, but usually it was people on the fringe talking this craziness.  These were not ideas endorsed by former major party candidates for the vice presidency  The fact that a major television network on which political leaders often appear promotes these ideas as well,  is also something we haven’t seen before.

To pretend that this isn’t a change, is naive.  To believe that this isn’t a deliberate attempt to mislead and frighten people is to bury one’s head in the sand.  To think that putting all this in the air won’t lead a few of the more frightened and less rational to act violently is to deny reality and history.  This wasn’t the first event of its kind over the past year, simply the most dramatic.**

Rallies will not restore sanity.  If responsible leaders in the conservative movement had the courage to speak up, maybe they could help. The new Speaker of The House refuses to deal with the “birthers” in his own delegation, insisting he has no right to tell people what to think.  So they will continue to say aloud that the President is a foreign usurper who stole his office, and so will television personalities on Fox News.  Eventually, of course some lunatic who has listened and absorbed the message, will attempt a “second amendment remedy,” while Palin, Beck and all the birthers will deny that their words had any impact.

Some people are proclaiming that the “smoking gun” of the crosshairs map, has finished Palin.  They are wrong.  She’s far from finished.  TLC may have cancelled Palin’s reality show and the map has disappeared, but her supporters are now playing the victim card, accusing liberals and the “gotcha” media of viciously attacking her by linking her to Saturday’s events.  Any rational debate on whether or not words are dangerous is now considered a left-wing attempt to malign a true American.  Her Faceback supporters comment on the liberal haters who are trying to “politicize” a tragedy.  The Wall Street Journal*** has weighed in with an opinion piece in which the writer labels criticism of Palin “blood libel.”  So the mere suggestion that Palin might want to rethink her rhetoric, is akin to medieval Christian villagers killing Jews who they accused of sacrificing Christian children?

Palin was never going to have enough popular support to win a general election, but with Rupert Murdoch’s behind her, her power and influence will continue to grow.  She is a raging fire, burning everything in her path.

*This was before the lame-duck Congress managed to get a lot of stuff done and it became apparent that the administration did in fact have a strategy, even if it involved skyrocketing the deficit.  Why does Obama always make me feel like an abused spouse who gets flowers the day after a smack down?

**Last August during the height of the anti-mosque rhetoric, a Moslem taxi driver was slashed by a drunken passenger.  Other incidents happened in mosques throughout the country.  Gifford’s office had previously had a window busted in.  Other congressional representatives and senators have also received threats due to votes on “Obamacare.”

***The Wall Street Journal is now under the ownership of Rubert Murdoch who also owns the right-wing cable station Fox News which features her as a pundit.  Murdoch also controls Harper Collins, her publisher

The Deification of Momdom or Why Christine O’Donnell is No Sarah Palin

Christine O or Pristine the Virgin Queen as she’s dubbed in some corners of the Internets, is the new “it” girl.  Since her surprise victory in the Republican senate primary in Delaware, she’s all over the headlines the youtube and the cable.

We see and hear her in many incarnations.  There she is in the 1990’s on Politically Incorrect, a woman in her thirties who still looks childlike and has big curly hair leftover from her college days in the 1980’s, promoting chastity and discussing her brief flirtation with Satan.  In more modern times, when asked about the whisper campaign started by her supporters that her primary opponent is secretly gay, O’Donnell replies that the opponent needs to “put his man-pants on.”

You can listen to a radio interview where a conservative announcer loses patience as she insists that in a previous senate bid, she  “tied” Biden in two counties that she clearly lost.

Post primary, she’s been handled, dressing now in Palin red and even adding eyeglasses to give her gravitas.  She skips Meet the Press, but stops in to visit the friendlier Scarborough Country because she had “business in New York.”  Pristine has now been parodied on SNL and been the subject of countless masturbation and witchcraft jokes.

Is it ok to laugh or should we be taking her more seriously?

After all Palin was funny at first.  Remember the good old days when she spectacularly messed up with Katy Couric and Charlie Gibson?  She might not have cost McCain the presidency; his complete befuddlement at the economic collapse probably sealed his doom, but she certainly didn’t help.  She should have retreated after the election, but instead she quit her job, went to work for Fox, got a fat advance on her book published by another Murdoch entity, and is now being touted as a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

The joke has worn thin, and those of us who believe in evolution, like social security and understand that regulating health insurance companies does not mean “death panels,” are all a bit nervous and have stopped laughing.  Even if she can’t get elected, Sarah can certainly rile up her base.  Does Pristine represent a similar threat?

Probably not.

Is it because unlike Palin, O’Donnell has never actually been elected to anything?  Nope.  Is it because she’s dumber than Palin, more gaffe prone?  Doubtful.

It’s because she’s an unmarried woman with no kids who talks about chastity and decries masturbation while shaking her long locks and looking like an overage cheerleader.

There’s something just too weirdly jarring about this.  All we can do is wonder about what’s really in her dirty drawer or what led her while in college to give up her sexy ways and become a celibacy crusader.   Lots of spiritually seeking young people get religion.  Some may become missionaries in foreign lands, feed the hungry, go into seminary or join a religious order, but few translate their fervor into founding an organization devoted to promoting abstinence.

Maybe something happened.  It’s hard to look at her, especially in those clips from the 90’s when the bloom was still on the rose, and not wonder.  Was there some football hero she had a crush on who got her drunk and cruelly pimped out an incapacitated Pristine to his friends?  Was she too guilt-ridden and perhaps disturbed by her own vulnerability to call it rape?  Was her decision to be chaste a way of empowerment, keeping herself from ever feeling so used again?

That’s where my mind goes.  Others may have their own theories.  You can’t help having a theory.  Closet lesbian?  Out and out hypocrite?  Hormonally challenged?  Tease?

Rush Limbaugh and Jon Stewart both think her opponents will make too much out of Pristine’s anti-masturbation stand and the voters won’t care.   They may be right in that the jokes will become silly and her opponent can’t run on being the pro-jerk-off candidate.

But maybe Limbaugh is just trying to change the subject, canny enough to know that there’s something about Pristine that doesn’t make sense and won’t resonate with voters.

Palin may be a phony who uses her kids as election props, but she has kids to use.  Most of us don’t buy her narrative, but her audience does.  She’s a “mom”.  She’s not only a “mom,” but a “special needs mom.”  One of her sons is a veteran.  Her daughter made a mistake, but chose life and responsibility.

Palin gets that her audience isn’t anti-sex. They simply believe sex should be heterosexual and within the context of marriage.  Outside of that it’s sin.  They understand that human being are prone to sin and no one is perfect.  Thus Sarah’s daughter Bristol can be forgiven as long as she’s learned her lesson and has the baby.  An abortion would have been unforgivable, but “choosing life” is brave and they love her for it.  Doesn’t matter that who knows who is actually raising the baby while Bristol dances with the stars and collects fees for lecturing other teens.  Doesn’t matter that we were treated to a fake engagement during the Republican National Convention.  It’s the myth that counts.  Sarah’s “momma grizzly” rhetoric hits home especially for woman who’ve succeeded at little else in their lives besides having children.

Pristine is something else.  There’s a strangeness to a woman who extols traditional values but is unmarried, childless and chaste at forty-one.  We could take it if she looked more like the repressed lesbian/nun types with which we are familiar.   If she resembled your mustached, never married great-aunt, the one who sacrificed her youth taking care of her widowed mother while buying generous gifts for her nieces and nephews, voters might buy it. They’ve heard that story.  They could even feel a little sorry for poor Pristine, too plain to ever catch a man.  But the problem is Christine is just too sexy for her celibacy.

She comes off at best as a scold, a high-maintenance prude who never met a man who could measure up to her ideal husband — Jesus Christ.

There are of course women who do marry Christ.  They are called nuns.  But they choose the veil and not politics and cut off their locks.  Pristine is a Catholic while the majority Tea Partiers including Palin are Protestants.  Catholicism despite JFK and Joe Biden is still viewed by many “real” Americans as a foreign church.  The scandals haven’t helped. Joan of Arc may have led France, but there is no American mythological equivalent and real America disdain the French.  Our nuns may be beautiful like Ingrid Bergman or even cute and feisty and fly like Sally Fields, but they don’t rule.  Moms rule.

Real American women leaders aren’t nuns, they’re moms.

Another Letter from America

Dear Rest of the World,

I’ll keep this one short. In your blogs and editorials please remember that the wingnut Pastor of Hate with the Monty Python name has a tiny trailer-park church that no one had heard of till a couple of weeks ago. He still has a tiny church, though no doubt countless angry rubes have been filling its coffers since he became famous on the internets for threatening to burn a bunch of books that promote the idea that someone else’s imaginary best friend is better than his imaginary best friend.

This guy isn’t even Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. He represents at most a few dozen people or did until the media made him a sensation and the state department started to fret about his antics becoming a recruiting poster for jihad. As if the jihadees couldn’t make enough hay out of the continuing presence of American troops in Iraq, the US support for a corrupt unpopular government in Afghanistan, the stealth bombings in Pakistan, the continued support for the blockade in Gaza, etc.

The pastor does not represent America. He has never been elected to any office. He is a grifter whose past includes a criminal conviction for insider trading and who like many has found a great way to combine fear and God to create a nice little revenue stream.

Even the usual suspects on the right — Rush Limbaugh, Alan Keyes, Sarah Palin have denounced him though of course their followers haven’t. That was inevitable. An old story of demagogues firing up the crowd only to have the crowd turn on them, though in Sarah’s case I suspect her condemnation of the burning was pro forma, a way of saying to whatever sane people are left in the Republican party, “See, I can act like a grown-up,” while still winking to her followers and sending them the secret message, “I have to say this, but we all know my true feelings.”

We can’t stop someone from burning books even when the act is clearly meant as a provocation because our laws supporting free speech and expression are very clear about that. That doesn’t mean his actions are somehow indicative of the pulse of the country or anywhere near the sentiments of a majority of its inhabitants. When “America” went to the polls two years ago we rejected McCain and Palin in favor of something else. Obama represents us, not Pastor Mustache or the ex-governor of Alaska.

Best regards,

PS This week’s recommended reading for any of you still trying to understand us is from the op ed pages of a newspaper not owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Letter from America — Part 1

As America continues to decompensate (and yes I am qualified to use that word clinically thank you very much Hunter College School of Social Work), I find myself spending more and more time on facebook explaining stuff to my virtual friends who live in magical places where people are still sort of rational.

So I’ve decided to add a new category to this blog. In honor of Mr. Alistair Cooke, I will now post “Letters from America” in which I try to explain what the hell is going on here to people who may not be watching 18 hours of cable news a day while surfing the Internet.

I will be starting this work in earnest next week, but meantime I have to meditate and cleanse in preparation for the upcoming International 3 Day Novel Competition, which begins at 12:00 AM on Saturday, September 4.  It would also be a good idea if I maybe wrote an outline or something (which is legal) prior to the contest, but because they actually invited me to enter this year (as a prize for making the short list last year) and I didn’t have to shell out the fifty bucks, I am completely unmotivated.  This probably has to do with my being an American. If something is offered for free, we don’t value it. Charge us, however, and we will line up like the born suckers we are.

Meantime for those of you wondering why Sarah Palin is still in the news, who Glenn Beck is and what’s all this about mosques on hallowed ground, not to mention why a sizable number of Americans are convinced the President is a secret Muslim from Kenya, I’ll leave you with some reading material.  Last week’s New Yorker offered a brilliant article  by Jane Mayer, Covert Operations exposing the shadowy billionaire brothers Koch  who along with Rupert Murdoch are responsible for a lot the disinformation being spread around.

I also blame the Internets and cable television. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that many people no longer get even slightly credible news from the networks or newspapers or magazines, but instead rely on Fox News and right-wing blogs.  These gullible saps swallow whatever swill they are given no matter how ridiculous. Even mainstream news outlets such as CNN have taken to inviting wingnut bloggers with no legitimate credentials or expertise to lie freely on their airwaves.  A good source for anyone wishing to find out more about this is Media Matters.

Finally, Obama was wrong about at least one thing. There is not one America.  There used to be a North/South divide, but Dixie culture is spreading.  There is a racist element that has felt disenfranchised ever since the end of slavery and for whom the election of a black President — even one with a white mother who was mostly raised by his white grandparents who were both from Kansas (Kansas for Chistsakses!) has proved to be too much.  Many of these people haven’t been involved in the political process before and are being brought in by the likes of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.  While it’s hard to imagine that they have anywhere near the numbers to elect her president, it would be foolish to underestimate the possible damage rousing this rabble can cause. It’s already enabled a virtual shutdown of congress and there have been several incidents at mosques and other hate crimes.

This ignorant element was called the “boobswasie” by H.L. Mencken, an American journalist best remembered today for his quip that “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people” — which I believe Palin may be adopting as her campaign slogan.  As a journalist, he covered the Scopes Monkey Trial, the first time that the teaching of evolution was on trial.  The trial was a pivotal event in American history because Clarence Darrow defended Scopes and Williams Jennings Bryan took the prosecutions’ role.  Evolution lost by the way, but Scopes got off on a technicality.  Years later there was a play dramatizing the trial and later a well known film. Inherit the Wind. Gene Kelly played the Mencken like character in the movie.  It’s more than a bit dated, but I’d recommend it to anyone trying to a handle on the current situation.  Here’s a clip: