A New, Fresh Look At A Woman Named Sarah Palin

Posted in General by TBartine on November 20, 2009 No Comments yet

On a typical Friday, we would be offering our usual “Chaos Theory Edition” where we round up articles covering a a broad spectrum of the American political landscape.  However, there is only one topic for which we have an overwhelming abundance of links, and it will therefore be the full focus of today’s attention.

That topic: Sarah Palin

It’s strange.  How could a person still have a “political future” after resigning halfway through the term of office to which she was elected?  After resigning for reasons that don’t actually make sense (she claimed it was do to the cost to the taxpayers of defending against all the ethics charges against her…there was no increased cost)?  After having so many ethics complaints (and other ethics questions) levied against her? After engaging in a petty, tit-for-tat media argument/spectacle with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend?  After selecting Facebook as her new forum for communicating policy?  After a failed attempt to cash in on the speaking circuit? After backing a “Conservative Party” lunatic against her own party…costing the Republicans an election?

The answer?  She SHOULDN’T…nobody with this track record ought to have any “political future.”  And…despite all the talk, she DOESN’T.

HOWEVER, the release of her new book, “Going Rogue,” has served the purpose of getting Palin back into the center ring of the media circus:

  • While most people expect ANY book written by (or on behalf of) a politician to be completely self-serving and more than a little revisionist…apparently, few people expected Sarah to use her book as a platform for settling scores against people inside the failed McCain presidential campaign.  Excerpts were released even before the book hit store shelves, and critics, pundits, analysts and others were surprised that Sarah seemed not only to name those within the campaign that she considered responsible for its downfall…but she blamed them for everything from her expensive wardrobe, to the bungled Katie Couric interview, and other mistakes clearly her own.
  • Palin’s reponse?  She accused the Associated Press of “erroneously reporting” on her book (by directly quoting from it?) and said they were, in essence, performing “opposition research.“  She cautioned via Facebook that people should “Keep your powder dry, read the book, and enjoy it! Lots of great stories about my family, Alaska and the incredible honor it was to run alongside Sen. John McCain.“  These are interesting accusations…since they are seem simply to be another example of Palin crying foul/bias/sexism when caught in a lie…or in this case lies…plural…in print.  The Associated Press fact-checking her book and pointing out where her statements are factually incorrect…this is not “opposition research” or “bias“…it’s the primary JOB of the press.  And the AP…did a very good job.  A detailed (but by no means, exhaustive) list of the factual inconsistencies from the book can be read here.
  • Some of top misrepresentations (read as “lies”) from Palin’s book?  She says that she didn’t have a family vote about joining the McCain ticket…in 2008 she told Sean Hannity that they did.  She said that Bristol’s pregnancy was a secret and she was surprised that McCain staff knew about it…which is ridiculous, because she had already told his vetting staff about it.  The $150,000 shopping spree: she claims it never happened and that all the clothes were already purchased for her when she joined the campaign…not a single person agrees with this account, and there are numerous eyewitnesses to her buying the clothes.  She wrote that the McCain campaign made her pay for her own vetting process…which is provably false.  She claims that she doesn’t support “aerial hunting“…but she’s the one who introduced the bill in 2007 to legalize it.  She says she’s the one who wanted to go on Saturday Night Live…her own emails show that this is false.  She writes that she was frugal with travel expenses while Governor of Alaska…despite records of personal trips charged to the taxpayers, she and her daughter stayed in a $700 a night hotel in New York, and there are also records of  $20,000 in other expenses for her children’s travel.  She says that she found out only minutes before McCain’s concession speech that she would not be allowed to speak…turns out, she’d been REPEATEDLY told that she could not deliver a concession speech of her own.  She claims that she guaranteed that the bidding process for a pipeline would be open and fair…audits show that the bidding was rigged in such a way that only companies with ties to her administration could participate.  A laundry list of easily disproven falsehoods can be seen here.
  • One of the primary targets of Palin’s “rogue retribution:“  McCain campaign advisor Nicolle Wallace.  Palin accused Wallace of ongoing hostility towards her, and says that Wallace set up the Couric interview in order to boost Couric’s “self-esteem” (and not to help the campaign).  Wallace responded strongly that Palin’s book is based on “fabrications” and added that Palin seems to have a “bizarre fixation” with blaming others for her own failures during the campaign.
  • Then Sarah made a highly publicized appearance on Oprah…that’s not even worth talking about.  With all do respect to the many who love the talk-show host…it was little more than a hyped-up “chat” filled with light banter and softball questions.  It served no purpose, other that to allow Sarah another safe forum to play up her “down-home likeability” shtick.
  • Other notes about the book: Palin also declares that she doesn’t believe in evolution…and she recounts a McCain advisors incredulity about this, especially since her father was a SCIENCE TEACHER.  In an interview with People, Palin indicates an interest in being Chief of Staff, and in another with Newsmax she alludes that she could run for president in 2012 on a ticket with Glenn Beck as her running mate.  And lastly, in an interview with Sean Hannity, Sarah said the solution to the nuclear crisis in Iran…would be to get tough with Iraq.  I only mention these four items as they share the fact that none of them make any sense, and simply provide new aspects to the illogical, confusing conundrum we refer to as “Sarah Palin.

All of this, while interesting, is still just noise that clouds what should be an otherwise obvious point:  this person has no depth of experience, no grasp of reality, no class or poise, no accountability or responsibility, an extremely limited intelligence…all of which manifests in the form of a bizarre “hockey mom” caricature, and a person who either lies or openly contradicts herself at every opportunity.  While I say that these truths have been obscured, they have not gone unnoticed:

  • Jon Stewart of The Daily Show really cut to the heart of the matter.  In the following clip, he presents a montage of conservative pundits claiming that liberals either don’t like Palin or are threatened by her because of her physical attractiveness…or because she likes guns…or because she is “straight talking.”  As Stewart points out…the problem many have with Palin is something else entirely.  In his words, “…when you peel back the pretty, shooty layers of the Palin onion, there’s no onion.“  It is more likely that the reasons the conservatives give for liberals disliking Sarah…are probably their reasons for liking her.  To translate: she’s pretty, she likes guns, and she says exactly what they want to hear (which they then call “straight talk”).

  • A lot of attention was paid to the recent Newsweek cover…which featured a picture of Sarah Palin (it was originally taken for the magazine, Runners World) striking a sexy pose in a running outfit…and showing a lot of leg while doing it.  Palin decried the use of the picture as sexist…Newsweek editors disagreed.  What everyone SHOULD have been paying attention to, are the articles inside the issue. The first is by Evan Woods and is titled “Going Rogue: How Sarah Palin Hurts the GOP…and America.“  Thomas points out that Palin’s attempts to create a populist movement serve only to create obvious division within the country and her own party, based over nothing more than a bizarrely manufactured sense of “conservative purity” and a representation of “real America” that does not exist, nor has it ever existed.  The second article is titled “Palin’s Base Appeal” by Christopher Hitchens, and illustrates that the “straight talk” that Sarah’s zealous admirers are so fond of is nothing new…and is quite insidious.  It is referred to as “populist talk,” and it has been used by an abundance of politicians, are rarely towards good aims.  It involves a political figure actively trying to come across as an “average joe” through anti-city, anti-government, anti-science, and anti-academic statements.  Why is this so preposterous?  Well only because most people DO live in cities, the government is necessary and made up of “ordinary people,” and science and education are the foundations for FACTS and KNOWLEDGE.  The argument would be more honestly represented as the “minority, country, uneducated, anarchist…because-Jesus-said-so” platform. Hitchens expertly points out the problem with Sarah’s use of this strategy…and the threat it represents to the very people who love her: “…the difficulty with populism is that it exploits the very ‘people’ to whose grievances it claims to give vent…The Palin problem, then, might be that she cynically incites a crowd that she has no real intention of pleasing. If she were ever to get herself to the nation’s capital, the teabaggers would be just as much on the outside as they are now, and would simply have been the instruments that helped get her elected. In my own not-all-that-humble opinion, duping the hicks is a degree or two worse than condescending to them. It’s also much more dangerous, because it meanwhile involves giving a sort of respectability to ideas that were discredited when William Jennings Bryan was last on the stump.“  Hitchens continues, “Many of Palin’s admirers seem to expect that, on receipt of the Republican Party nomination, she would immediately embark on a crusade against Wall Street and the banks. This notion is stupid to much the same degree that it is irresponsible.

That’s really the problem, isn’t it?  Speaking for myself…I have no issues with Sarah Palin being a woman, or being attractive, or having a big family, or living in Alaska, or supporting hunting, or being a devout Christian…or any of the other criticisms that her supporters might falsely attribute to me.  I do, however, have a problem…with the fraud that she represents.  In the absence of true credentials, true character, true intelligence…Sarah has attempted to substitute notions of “common sense,” “the values of real America,” and “common man sensibility.”  But these are not only NOT substitutes…they are, in fact, largely fictions.  Convenient fictions that uneducated, jaded, bigoted, and unworldly people tell themselves make up for the fact that they never went anywhere, learned anything, or accomplished much.  And I watch these people being lured by Palin’s “populist siren song,” as an innocent bystander might observe a child be being lured into a stranger’s car.  I shout out, “Don’t go with her!  Her intentions are not what you believe them to be…she’s playing you.“  And my frustration is not out of any perceived threat presented by her…it is that they still call her “a person just like me” and a “straight-talker,” while ignoring the obvious truth that she is incapable of serving anyone’s interests…except her own.