Republican Support for Sarah Palin Plunging in Polls

Dec 28 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party, White House

Sarah Palin fares badly in latest poll

Happy New Year, America. Your country is recovering its sanity.

Yes, it’s true. After a rough two years of Palinitis stained by winning Politifacts’ Lie of Year award among other ignoble distinctions, it appears that even Republicans are mournfully unclenching their stubborn fists from around Palin’s star bursts. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 17-19 and it turns out that support for Ms Palin is nose-diving among Republicans. She has, in fact, lost 18% of her support since 2008 among Republicans. Sigh. Our country may be spared a civil war in 2012. Finally, the Republicans are doing something for America!

CNN Political Ticker reports:

“Among liberal Democrats, 85 percent say they want to see the party re-nominate Obama in 2012,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Among moderate Democrats, his support is almost that high.”

In the battle for the GOP presidential nomination, the survey suggests Palin may have some work to do if she throws her hat in the ring. Only 49 percent of Republicans say that they are likely to support Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008 for the Republican nomination in 2012.

“That’s a huge 18-point drop since December of 2008, when two-thirds of GOPers said they were likely to support Palin. It also puts her well behind potential rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, and a bit behind Newt Gingrich as well,” adds Holland.”

Republicans’ dreams that Ronnie had come back to them in a skirt are dying a tedious, painful death, during which we are all being subjected to Palin’s media blitz until even the sight of her makes us weary. Palin refused to do the work necessary to be taken seriously and cashed in on her fame to make money and in doing so, she mismanaged her star power if she has political ambitions.

Oh, that’s right. I left out that OTHER part of the poll. President Obama enjoys a comfy 85% support from liberal Democrats and 78% of Democrats questioned in the poll want the President to run in 2012. Only 19% would like another nominee to replace the President.

Oh, dear. I’m glad I’m not anywhere near Wasilla right now. I’m afraid I can hear tin cans hitting a refrigerator from my kitchen window. And here the Conservatives for Palin were working so hard on their talking points about how Ms Palin had held elected office longer than President Obama (if you discounted his Presidency and included the City Council for Palin), because we all know how well the talking point of “executive experience” went over in 2008, why not try it again, even after the President has been…well…like the President for two years. Yes, this makes sense.

If you have any Republican friends with a Palin 2012 bumper sticker on their car, remember to be kind today. Dreams of the faithful die hard and Palin was hailed as the God chosen candidate for the evangelical right, so this has to hurt. I just can’t imagine how God can be so wrong, can you?

However, just because Republicans don’t like her doesn’t mean she can’t utilize the Tea Party to her advantage in the primaries and Ms Palin is known for working best with strong opposition from within her own Party, so there may be some hope to cling to here for the die hard Palin fans. I do hope someone assists them in their talking points, though, as re-litigating 2008 is not bound to be effective with any but the Kool-Aid drinkers.

Happy New Year, America. Looks like you might have managed to “take your country back” after all.

39 responses so far

Why Sarah Palin Isn’t Abraham Lincoln

Dec 18 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Sarah Palin and Abraham Lincoln

One of more absurd historical comparisons ever made is of Sarah Palin and Abraham Lincoln. Yet absurd as it is, some conservatives have actually made this claim.

It could be countered that anyone who believes Sarah Palin will believe anything and there is something to be said for this.  But Palin also thinks she is somehow another Ronald Reagan, and of course, Reagan and Lincoln could not be more different. Such comparisons become easier, admittedly, when you don’t know anything about either one.

Just consider the rhetoric surrounding the Lincoln comparison. As the Bellingham Herald of Washington writes, while “Some may cringe at that idea” that “some may think it would be the greatest thing since Abraham Lincoln.”

Sarah Palin, savior of the Union?

Isn’t this the woman whose husband had a more than passing familiarity with the Alaska Independence Party (AIP) – a secessionist group?

Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections, tells ABC News that…Palin’s husband Todd was a member of the AIP from October 1995 through July 2002, except for a few months in 2000.

Palin herself denies membership but there are those who remember her attending the 1994 AIP convention. You have to wonder, since rather than scolding them for wanting to vote on whether to be part of the Union or not, she praised them in an address:

I sure don’t remember Lincoln praising the Confederate secessionists. No, I’m pretty sure he crushed them. I also don’t remember the secessionists supporting Lincoln for president. In fact, his election was their cue to secede. Yet the AIP supported Palin’s run for city council, as noted by Sarah Jones yesterday. She insists she was a Republican all along. That can only label her the Manchurian Candidate Republicans are always going on about. I guess they would know.

It’s an almost criminal comparison. Yet one conservative blogger wrote back in 2008 in almost rapturous prose that “if there is such a thing as reincarnation, something tells me that President Lincoln would be most pleased to see Sarah Palin being nominated for VP!”

It is difficult to conclude that Lincoln finding any words of praise for her and her husband as secessionists. Pleased? Not by a long shot. He fought to preserve the union, not tear it apart.

She seems to have only a passing familiarity with Lincoln the man, let alone his beliefs. She portrays him as a radical Evangelical fundamentalist like herself, but there is nothing in his writings to suggest this is true.

Famously (or perhaps infamously) she claimed the United States was fighting a holy war against terrorists (which to Sarah Palin appears to be more than just terrorists but Islam itself), and Charles Gibson of ABC news confronted her with the quote:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

Here’s where things get uncomfortably squirmy for Sarah Palin:

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.

That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.

Of course, that’s not true, and no amount of playing with Lincoln verbiage can make it true. Lincoln never talked about embarking on a holy war against the Confederacy. He did talk about preserving the Union. He had some harsh words for the south, and more than that, he had cannons, and he wasn’t afraid to use them.

Palin supporters have tried to argue that Palin did manage to capture the essence of what Lincoln said but you won’t find “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God” anywhere in Lincoln’s writings, nor his speeches. You can dig as deep as you want but you won’t find any evidence that Lincoln thought holy wars were a good idea.

It’s not even clear he believed in God as Sarah Palin believes in God. It is true, as historian James M. McPherson writes that the King James Bible “offered him maxims for life as well as a model for the poetic prose that characterized the best of his later writings” but Thomas Jefferson was able to admire Jesus’ precepts without believing in Jesus the God. Admiration is not belief.

I have searched in vain the collected works of Abraham Lincoln for even a single instance of the word “Jesus” or “Ten Commandments” and found only one reference to the “Holy Spirit” – that in the Proclamation for Thanksgiving modern fundamentalists like to use to portray him as one of their kind of evangelicals. Palin can barely breathe without uttering all these words. As Lincoln well knew, “our fathers” brought forth this nation – not God.

Author Stephen Mansfield, in one of the most patently ridiculous comparisons ever made, wants us to believe Palin is like Lincoln because she stacked wood at a young age. He appeared on Hannity’s show in October to say so, and to draw other parallels between the two, including her “frontier upbringing.”

I wasn’t aware Wasilla was a frontier town; it’s the fourth largest city in Alaska, which might not be saying much by Lower 48-standards but it’s part of the Anchorage metropolitan area – which had an estimated population of 364,701 in 2008 – more people than live in my city.

Lincoln was born in a log cabin. On a real frontier. And stacking wood? Lots of kids stack wood but apparently in Alaska it’s some kind of holy undertaking. My little boy has stacked wood. He’s six years old. I haven’t compared him to Abraham Lincoln yet; I haven’t compared the circumstances of their lives. It would be ridiculous to do so, as Mansfield well knows. But he’s eulogizing, not writing a scholarly treatment. That’s why he was being interviewed on FOX News and not a legitimate news channel.

In 1832, Lincoln ran for State Legislature and won. He didn’t quit halfway through his term. In 1836, 1838, and 1840, he ran and won again. He didn’t quit any of those times either. That’s eight years of political office. He served through every day of it.

Sarah Palin quit her governor’s job half-way through.

Lincoln actually retired from politics in 1841 to work as a lawyer, rather than quitting halfway through a term he had been elected to serve by people who counted on him to represent their interests to the best of their ability, rather than to worry for his own pocketbook, which was never as full as Sarah Palin’s.

In 1846, Lincoln ran for Congress and won. He served both years of his term – again not quitting halfway through.

When he ran, he was accused by his opponent of not being a member of a church.  Palin’s taunts of Obama are eerily similar. How would she have treated Lincoln had she been alive in 1846? Given the evidence of her rhetoric it’s impossible to believe she would not have roundly condemned him as an atheist.

Lincoln opposed the Mexican War of 1846. Unlike Sarah Palin, he wasn’t anxious to attack everybody, let alone declare it a holy war.

In 1854, Lincoln ran for the legislature again and won. Lincoln resigned that position so that he could stand for U.S. senator – to better oppose the evil of slavery and to preserve the Union. Not, like Grifterella, to line his pockets with speaking engagements, reality shows, and books.

Lincoln even debated Stephen Douglas, and unlike Sarah Palin, he knew what he was talking about. And as James McPherson writes, “In retrospect Lincoln was the real winner of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.” Only in Republican wet dreams did Palin win her debate with Joe Biden. Half the time, she couldn’t even be bothered to address the issues.

Lincoln ran for president, and won. Palin ran for governor. She won. And quit.

Sarah Palin says that unfair treatment of her was her reason for resigning as governor. Few Presidents (until Barack Obama) have put up with the abuse Abraham Lincoln endured as President. And he had to fight a war to preserve the Union at the same time. He had opposition not only from outside his party, but from within his party. But he did not quit. He soldiered on and he ran for re-election in 1864.

Palin announced she would not be running for re-election but then she couldn’t even be bothered to finish out her first term.

With regards to secession, with regards to the idea that a minority have the right to do as they please, Lincoln wrote in 1861, “The central idea pervading this struggle is the necessity that is upon us, of proving that popular government is not an absurdity. We must settle this question now, whether in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose.” Secession, he said, “is the essence of anarchy.”

Hard to find anywhere in the public record that Sarah Palin agrees with this. Her husband was, after all, a secessionist, and she did praise the Alaskan secessionist movement as a welcome ingredient to Alaska politics.

And Lincoln was eloquent, nearly a poet. Read his Gettysburg Address. Sarah Palin could not write that if she labored a hundred years at the task. She hasn’t even demonstrated a proficiency in the English language.

It is difficult, indeed, all but impossible, to find a single point of comparison between the two. And Sarah Palin will always be a quitter; Abraham Lincoln had no quit in him. It took a bullet in the head to get him out of office.

Sources:

The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Kindle edition

Abraham Lincoln, James M. McPherson (Oxford, 2009).

18 responses so far

On GMA, Sarah Palin Hints at Her Plan to Transform America

Dec 17 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Constitution? What constitution?

Ms Palin has spent years avoiding the “lame stream media” (ironically of which she is a part), but recently she’s started spreading her wings, albeit to softball media such as her appearance this morning on “Good Morning America”. During her interview with GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts, Ms Palin responded to criticisms regarding her rather dismal current poll numbers were she to run against President Obama in 2012. Ms Palin’s response put to bed notions that she isn’t running as she extolled the virtues of “debating ideas” in competitive primaries.

Anyone who is in doubt about Ms Palin running for President had best grab the smelling salts. She is and it’s uncertain if the GOP can stop her without alienating her Tea Party evangelical base.

Here’s a clip from the interview:

From ABC’s website: When asked about her plans for 2010, Ms Palin replied, “It’s a prayerful consideration because, obviously, the sacrifices that have to be made in order to put yourself forward in the name of public service is, it’s brutal.”

If Ms Palin were taking an interview with a hard-hitting news journalist, she might have been asked at this point about her decision to quit on her vow to Alaskans to serve them as a public servant for four years and if perhaps she just hadn’t prayed enough before taking that job, since she quit claiming that she was being brutalized with ethics complaints by citizens — the majority of whom were Republicans, contrary to her claims.

While Ms Palin’s references to prayer may not seem odd in this country, if we take a look under the hood there are causes for alarm. Ms Palin is a Dominionist Christian, a sect whose goal is to transform America into a theocratic state resembling fascism in many ways. Ms Palin has made numerous references to her belief that the constitution is based upon the bible and that our laws are also based on the bible. She seems to still be laboring under this misinformation, perhaps because it is her belief and no fact will alter her belief. This should set that alarm bell a clankin’.

Furthermore, while running for mayor of Wasilla, Ms Palin’s Dominionist leanings opened the door further to her fruitful relationship with the Alaskan Independence Party, a secessionist movement, which originated during her tenure on the City Council. The AIP worked on her behalf to get her elected.

Salon reported:

“Chryson boasted that he and his allies urged Palin to focus her campaign on slashing character-based attacks. For instance, Chryson advised Palin to paint Stein as a sexist who had told her “to just sit there and look pretty” while she served on Wasilla’s City Council. Though Palin never made this accusation, her 1996 campaign for mayor was the most negative Wasilla residents had ever witnessed.

While Palin played up her total opposition to the sales tax and gun control — the two hobgoblins of the AIP — mailers spread throughout the town portraying her as “the Christian candidate,” a subtle suggestion that Stein, who is Lutheran, might be Jewish.”

(John Stein, her mayoral opponent, claimed,) “This same group [Stoll and Chryson] also [publicly] challenged me on whether my wife and I were married because she had kept her maiden name,” Stein bitterly recalled. “So we literally had to produce a marriage certificate. And as I recall, they said, ‘Well, you could have forged that.'””

Gosh that sounds like familiar campaigning tactics from the woman who has suggested that it is reasonable to ask for President Obama’s birth certificate, even though said birth certificate has been available online and has been verified by authorities on numerous occasions. It’s hard to sell this kind of campaigning as anything other than appealing to the worst in people, and ginning up hate and division based upon religion, ethnicity, and any other charge of doubt Ms Palin can lob at her stunned opponents.

This was just the beginning of Ms Palin’s tight relationship with the AIP, whose sole purpose is for Alaska to secede from the union. The AIP also has ties with the theocratic US Constitution Party. The Constitution Party has adopted the ideas of a militant form of Christian Dominionism known as Dominion Theology. The Constitution Party platform reads, “It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.”

In 2008, Chip Berlet, co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (Guilford, 2000) wrote:

“The AIP has placed the candidate of the U.S. Constitution Party on the Presidential ballot in Alaska in the 2008 race. Let’s be clear, the U.S. Constitution Party would impose a form of theocratic neofascism in the United States. And I am not a person who tosses the term fascism around lightly.”

The AIP called Ms Palin an example of their successful infiltration into the Republican Party. In 2006, Dexter Clark, vice chairman of the Alaska Independence party, said:

“Our current Governor, the one we were hoping would get elected, did get elected…There’s a lot of talk of her moving up. She was an AIP member before she got the job as a mayor of a small town — that was a non-partisan job. But you get along to go along — she eventually joined the Republican Party, where she had all kinds of problems with their ethics, and well, I won’t go into that. She also had about an 80% approval rating, and is pretty well sympathetic to her former membership.”

It should be noted that unlike her husband Todd Palin, Ms Palin was never registered as an AIP member according to Alaskan voter registration records. However, Dexter Clark’s claims of Palin being a successful infiltrator of the Republican Party bears some credence due to the open door policy Ms Palin had for leaders of the AIP while mayor and governor, going so far as attempting to appoint a member of the AIP to a city position while mayor, only to be shot down. Ms Palin also made changes to the state constitution that coincidentally fulfilled part of the AIP agenda.

Salon reported:

“During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin’s campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.

Palin backed Chryson as he successfully advanced a host of anti-tax, pro-gun initiatives, including one that altered the state Constitution’s language to better facilitate the formation of anti-government militias. She joined in their vendetta against several local officials they disliked, and listened to their advice about hiring. She attempted to name Stoll, a John Birch Society activist known in the Mat-Su Valley as “Black Helicopter Steve,” to an empty Wasilla City Council seat. “Every time I showed up her door was open,” said Chryson. “And that policy continued when she became governor.””

Indeed, one of the many ethics complaints filed against Ms Palin related to her refusal to live in the Governor’s mansion and yet still charging the Alaskan citizens a per diem for food and expenses while living in her home in Wasilla and commuting to the state Legislature in Juneau (or not: buttons reading “Where’s Sarah?” began popping up around this time, reflecting her consistent pattern of not being around in Juneau). While Ms Palin claimed that she wanted to be near her family (whom usually move to the governor’s mansion with the governor), Palin did endorse and may have been implementing Chryson’s initiative to move the state Legislature from Juneau to Wasilla. At any rate, their initiative was unsuccessful.

The AIP also has numerous ties with the KKK, white supremacist groups classified as hate groups, and militia movements across the country. They are closely aligned with evangelical Dominionists as well, such as Christian Exodus, which advocates creating an all white homeland. Chryson also wrongly claimed that the Civil War was not about slavery but about states’ rights. Chryson was known to accuse Democratic leaders (such as Ms Palin’s mayoral opponent) of being “socialists” over issues of public education and city planning. That’s not just Right, it’s far, far fringy Right.

When Ms Palin was running for Governor of Alaska, not only did she appoint previous AIP member and then Republican Walter Hickel as her campaign co-chair, but also her church flew in a witch doctor from Kenya to bless her. For these reasons, when Ms Palin refers to prayer, it raises questions that Americans need answered if indeed she’s running for President. In fact, even were Ms Palin to bow out of the 2012 elections, her determination throw gasoline on any political match she sniffs should be reason enough for the main stream media to begin asking some important questions about Ms Palin’s agenda, her associations, her church, and her disconcerting and inaccurate beliefs about America and the Constitution.

However, it doesn’t appear America will be spared a Palin candidacy. When asked about her poor poll numbers, Ms Palin came out punching like a 2012 candidate. “A poll number like that, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, that doesn’t look really pretty today,’ but a primary is months and months in the process, and there are thankfully many debates,” she said. “And if I were to participate in that contested primary — you know, it — I would be in it to win it.”

It would be most interesting to see Ms Palin debate any of the other Republican candidates. Ms Palin has always held the notion that getting elected is a popularity contest rather than a knowledge contest and she was proven correct in this assessment in Alaska. She also successfully implemented (with the help of the John Birch Society and the AIP) campaigns of such vicious negativity and misinformation that her opponents were often left stunned as she cheerily gave non-answers in debates and yet sailed right past them to get elected.

Fox News will be handling several of the primary debates for the Republicans, which may assist elevating Ms Palin’s brand of populism and create a disadvantage for her opponents, none of whom enjoy the same level of star treatment Ms Palin does on Fox News.

Ms Palin then went on to accuse President Obama of wanting to fundamentally change America. Phrases like this are thinly veiled jabs at his patriotism, his religion, and imply that his ideology is something un-American, meant to provoke doubt and fear about the man, much like Ms Palin did to her mayoral opponent in Wasilla.

Ms Palin’s unwillingness to be honest about her own record and her unfailing attempts to smear her opponents with baseless accusations of their being somehow less Christian and less American than she only serve to prove that she can’t win on ideas or her record. It also proves that she does not appreciate that the Founders most decidedly rejected the notion of a religious test for office, thereby casting further doubt onto Ms Palin’s version of America.

Does Ms Palin plan on transforming America like she did Wasilla and then Alaska? Will the AIP have an open door to a Palin White House? Will fringe hate groups like Christian Exodus have access to Ms Palin or will she denounce these groups and explain her associations to nervous melting pot Americans who most certainly don’t share the group’s vision of an all white Christian nation.

If that isn’t enough, Ms Palin’s reign of terror in Alaska should give pause to anyone who values their freedom. Ms Palin quite literally ran Wasilla like a dictator, cutting off the press and ordering her staff not to speak to press as she proceeded to fire beloved city employees claiming she doubted their loyalty to her. This continued as Governor, as the Palins terrorized Alaskan citizens who disagreed with them and went to incredible lengths to punish them, using the power of Ms Palin’s office to do so on many occasions, through appointments, firings, and governmental harassment.

One such victim was the trooper in Troopergate (contrary to Ms Palin’s claims, she was found guilty of abusing the power of her office in the bi-partisan report which predated the inquiry she ordered helmed by her appointees) who refused to help the Palins continue their vendetta against Ms Palin’s ex-brother-in-law — a vendetta that had years before been labeled as “child abuse” by a judge who ordered Ms Palin to cease and desist her harassment of the children’s father. Another example lay in the AIP’s claims that she fired someone they had a long standing grievance with, boasting about how this payback only cost them a thousand dollars in campaign donations. Another victim down.

Is this the America Ms Palin sees; an all white Christian country over which she reigns with absolute authority, authorized by none less than God himself?

When Ms Palin accuses President Obama of wanting to “fundamentally transform America” (one assumes she means implement liberal ideology which is not actually a transformation but a continuation of a very American liberal agenda), reasonable people must ask themselves if she’s projecting. And then they must take stock of what a Palin-transformed America would look like. The dingy hockey mom populist America is being sold on is not the real Sarah Palin. Ms Palin isn’t stupid; she’s been indoctrinated to a very extremist Right wing view of America.

While many dismiss Ms Palin as being un-serious, I do not. Ms Palin is deadly serious about amassing power. The real question is, to what end?

Updated: Corrected bumper stickers to buttons 3:54 PM

54 responses so far

President Obama’s Tax Compromise Passed by Congress

President Obama and Republican Leaders

On Thursday, the unthinkable (to many progressives) happened: Congress passed the tax cuts, a compromise deal which includes an $801 billion package of tax cuts and $57 billion for extended unemployment benefits. The bill will extend the Bush tax cuts for two years (all of the tax cuts) and provide for a one-year payroll tax cut for most American workers.The extends for two years all of the Bush-era tax rates and provides a one-year payroll tax cut for most American workers.

As FOX News relates,

Workers’ Social Security taxes would be cut by nearly a third, going from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, for 2011. A worker making $50,000 in wages would save $1,000; one making $100,000 would save $2,000.

Many progressives see this as a betrayal. The Republicans, rightly or wrongly, have been accused of holding unemployment benefits and taxes for the Middle Class hostage in exchange for helping out their rich friends. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for example, leveled the accusation that Democrats were forced “to pay a king’s ransom in order to help the middle class.” Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) said it was “craziness” and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) said “This legislation creates too few jobs and too much debt.”

The final vote?  277 to 14 with nearly identical numbers of Republicans and Democrats voting “aye”: 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans. The Senate had previously approved the package 81 to 19 on Wednesday.

There was an attempt to change an estate-tax provision in the bill (one that Obama had previously agreed to in his negotiations with the Republicans) but even after that failed, 139 Democrats voted for it as opposed to 112 against.

Two years, of course, will bring us right to 2012, when the future of the tax cuts will become more important than ever in the midst of a presidential election. This is not the last we will hear of the matter by any means. Some Republicans would like to see the tax cuts made permanent. Since tax cuts for the rich demonstrably do not create jobs, this position will be a tough sell for Republicans, particularly if the groundswell of opposition swings the other way at the end of the next two years, and it is the Republicans who find themselves under attack for perceived failings.

It is obvious to many people that the economic stability of our nation is at stake and that this deal is not going to fix those problems. It is no more than a finger in the dyke.

For now, the New York Times reports that administration officials say President Obama will sign the bill into law today.

This moment marks both a way forward and signals a lack of progress. Cooperation and compromise are essential facets of government in a modern liberal Democracy like ours and the willingness of Republicans to compromise at last should take center stage over what is seen as President Obama’s capitulation to Republican demands. The President has governed as a centrist and he did what a responsible president would do. Rather than stand on principle and make people suffer, he made a deal.

Rather like the framers of the Constitution back in 1787, none of whom got everything out of that deal they wanted and the New York Times tells us “The White House and Republicans hailed the deal as a rare bipartisan achievement and a prototype for future hard-bargained compromises in the new era of divided government.”

FOX News called it “a remarkable show of bipartisanship.” Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), called it “a bipartisan moment of clarity.”

And so it is.

Progressives, like their Republican opponents, seem of late to have forgotten that lesson. To stand on ideological purity and refuse compromise while the country crumbles around you is not an admirable thing, however they frame it. Government needs to continue to govern. In a sense, a politician hasn’t the luxury of principles, and that includes the president.

Ideological purity is for dictatorships.

For the first time in two years we have seen government function as it should. And if nobody got everything they wanted out of it, so be it. That’s how it works. That is how it has always worked. Sometimes one side gets more, sometimes the other. As House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, “There probably is nobody on this floor who likes this bill. The judgment is, is it better than doing nothing? Some of the business groups believe it will help. I hope they’re right.”

In this case, most Republican opposition centered around the creation of additional federal debt, but most of them voted for it anyway. Of course, Republicans did not get everything they wanted either.

Political reality suddenly meant something again to the arrogant GOP, as Eric Cantor (R-VA) was forced to remind his colleagues:

“We could try to hold out an pass a different tax bill, but there is no reason to believe the Senate would pass it or the president would sign it if this fight spills into next year.”

It remains to be seen if Democrats and Republicans can find other ways to work together, other areas in which compromise is a possibility, such as repeal of DADT and the DREAM Act, an amnesty program for illegal aliens who came to the United States as minors. There are things the Republicans will want and things the Democrats will want and the current balance of power does not grant to either the ability to pass that legislation without regard for the opinions of the other.

If anything at all is to get done for the next two years, this will not be the only compromise. In the end, both the achievement of bipartisanship in the face of ideological purity and the continuing problems (and its root causes) must be underscored. Fingers in dykes won’t make the flood on the other side of the wall go away. That deluge remains, waiting to sweep us all away. The question is, can our two major political parties stop their bickering long enough to fix it?

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Iowa Case Shows GOP Doesn’t Really Believe in States’ Rights

James Bopp, Jr of Indiana wants to force Iowa to pass Republican Purity Standards

The Republican Party is host to the tenther movement – extreme form of “populist” outrage that says the Constitutionally ordained federal government is, well…unconstitutional. Somehow, and in some way, the federal government that was established to run the country in the post-Articles of Confederation world, has no legitimate right to run the country.

It is no surprise that tenthers have found their happy spot in the Republican ranks. The Republican Party has traditionally been the party of “smaller government” and Republican discourse in general has become ever shriller on the issue of federal interference in our lives, and in the “state business” of individual states. Even those Republicans who don’t drone on incessantly about states’ rights rail against big federal government and about being told what to do by that government.

The “tenthers” are crazy about the 10th Amendment (thus the name). The Tenth Amendment deals with states rights – that is, in a Constitutional sense – those rights which are not retained for the federal government. What is left over belongs to the states.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The tenthers seem to think that pretty much everything is left over to the states. They take a very “minimalist” approach to the Constitution, one that seems a bit at odds with the ideas of some of the important authors of that document, including James Madison, who was very concerned about the threat to liberty posed by state legislatures.

Apparently, he was right to worry.

Though to be fair, even if he had managed to get the phrase “The states have no rights” into the Constitution, Republicans today would be interpreting that to mean the “federal government has no rights.”

Those pesky facts again.

It interests me that a group – I’m speaking of the Republicans a a whole here and not just tenthers – who are so interested in stripping down the powers of the federal government (and that is general Republican rhetoric since a black man was elected to be president) are so anxious and willing to interfere in the rights of other states.

Take California and Proposition 8. That’s supposed to be the business of California and of Californians if this whole states rights thing has any meaning at all, isn’t it? But conservatives shipped support INTO California to ensure that a segment of the population that they did not like was stripped of their constitutional rights. And in so doing – by their interpretation at any rate – stripped Californians of theirs.  I’m thinking about all those Mormons, for example, and all that Mormon money – from Utah.

What does Utah have to do with California?

We might ask too, what do out-of-state Republican interests have to do with Iowa? Well, they don’t like Iowa’s judiciary. They say it fails THEIR purity test. It has to go, they say. They want Iowa to toe the line.

Where’s the tenther outrage? Or is it outrageous only if a black Democrat – who happens to head the Executive Branch of the constitutionally established federal government – wants the states to follow the constitution? The states have no rights if its something the Republicans want? Is that how this works?

The Iowa Independent reports that

James Bopp, Jr. — the Republican National Committeeman behind failed “Purity Test” and “Socialist” resolutions — filed a federal lawsuit this week in hopes of changing the judicial selection process in Iowa.  The suit, filed on behalf of four state residents, charges that attorneys have too much influence in the selection process.

I don’t know…I just want to throw this thought out there…bounce it off the wall so to speak…but isn’t it IOWA’S business how they nominate their judiciary?

It’s not as if the system is a violation of the Constitution – national or state – it’s simply that Republicans don’t like that the system doesn’t force Iowans to nominate the kinds of judges they want.

In Bopp’s opinion, the nearly 50-year-old Iowa system provides “attorneys a stranglehold on the judiciary” while denying “ordinary voters” an equal voice.

My kingdom for populist outrage! Round up for locals and sue on their behalf.  But do four Iowans rounded up for the purpose amount in any legitimate sense to “populist outrage” among Iowa voters over how the system is handled?

It seems to work pretty well for Iowans.

You all might remember Mr. Bopp

Bopp, who has also worked in Iowa on behalf of a state affiliate of a national anti-abortion group and a national anti-gay organization, is hardly a newcomer to politics or lawsuits in relation to election law. A key supporter of and advisor for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the 2008 presidential cycle, Bopp was also a key architect of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, which led to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down limits on corporate spending in elections.

Bopp has represented anti-gay groups in Iowa, California and Maine, “petitioning that laws which require the groups to form Political Action Committees (PACs) and disclose their donors are unconstitutional.”

It doesn’t seem to matter that Bopp himself isn’t a citizen of any of the states he interferes with. He is, I am ashamed to say, a Hoosier, a Terre Haute, Indiana resident. Shouldn’t he be concerning himself with Indiana’s affairs? I mean, if the chief executive of the United States has no business worrying about what happens in say, Kentucky, what right does an Indiana lawyer have saying Iowa lawyers have no right to what happens in Iowa?

In point of fact, Republicans are more than happy to interfere in affairs of states not their own and they’re happy to have the federal government interfere as well if they can push their socially conservative agenda, and that is the business of James Bopp, Jr, who has served as general counsel for National Right to Life since 1978 and as the special counsel for Focus on the Family since 2004.

Yeah, I think you smell what I’m cooking here. Don’t be fooled. None of these people, the Republican Party as a whole or the tenthers as a group really want the federal government stripped of its powers – specifically its power to force states to toe the line – if that happened, a conservative-controlled federal government would have no ability to ram a socially conservative agenda down your throats. States Rights are only an issue because a black man – a Democrat – was elected president. Like the Tea Party, there was no Tenther movement before the Republicans were kicked out of office in 2008. Some states’ rights advocates like to claim as a genesis of their movement opposition to Bush’s unconstitutional attacks on individual freedoms after 9/11 but if so, they have been subsumed and their rhetoric along with them, by the Republican Party and its icons like Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle.

The Republican Pledge of America said,

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Like the Tea Party, the tenther movement has become – however it originated – a reaction to Republican loss of control, a counter-revolutionary socially conservative force and not a radical revolutionary force, and one that pays no mind to the rights of states when it comes to standards of Republican purity.

5 responses so far

Sarah Palin’s Hunting Fiasco

Dec 09 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

The Great White Huntress

Sarah Palin’s folksy outdoor image has taken a hit in light of her obvious shortcomings as a modern-day Jim Bridger, ironically while exercising her Second Amendment rights. It’s one thing to lie to the Lower 48 about being a wilderness scout in larger-than-life Alaska, but when you put it on TV for everyone to see, the mystique wears off pretty quickly.

People aren’t complete idiots, even people naturally disposed to like Sarah Palin – like hunters and conservatives.

And that’s just what Sarah Palin did. The former governor of Alaska brought a TV crew on weekend-long trip to the Arctic tundra to do some shooting for her Sarah Palin’s Alaska show on TLC (The Learning Channel) and her shortcomings became evident immediately. Among her errors:

  • She shot 4-5 times at a wandering caribou and missed
  • When she shot the first time and missed, she panicked and shot at it as it moved, apparently thinking it would be easier to hit that way than when standing still
  • She took no practice shots
  • She didn’t check the sites (they were off)
  • She didn’t carry her own rifle; she let her father and his friend carry it for her (her father is 72-years-old to Palin’s sprightly 46)
  • She let her father load the rifle
  • When the rifle was passed to her, MamaGrizzly “moved her finger inside its trigger guard, a breach of basic safety rules” as one website noted
  • “On leaving her hunting camp one morning, Ms Palin pointed to the horizon and declared ‘Let’s go west.’ There followed an awkward pause. “That’s east,” noted her father.”
  • She was under-armed (her father called her weapon a “varmint rifle” yet she expressed concern that it might have a kick)

The problem for Sarah Palin fans is how to reconcile her obvious phoniness with her claims. Republicans have shown a breath-taking ability to put facts aside for the sake of ideology, “what should be” for “what is” but can they do it when it’s blaring in their faces on their big screen HD TVs?

The reaction from liberals has been more predictable. Aaron Sorkin, who created West Wing, told Huffington Post that she had made a “snuff film”  and called her a “phony Pioneer girl” and a “witless bully.” Animal rights groups and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have also complained.

Sarah Palin’s witty Facebook response?

“Unless you’ve never worn leather shoes, sat upon a leather chair or eaten meat, save your condemnation.”

At least she used Facebook rather than treating the English language the way she treated that caribou on Twitter.

That’s scant justification for putting herself, her crew, her father and his friend, and the animals she is shooting at in danger through inept handling of firearms. There are reasons people take lessons in handling those things, Wannabe Huntress-in-Chief.

Sorkin’s response was typically witty and scathingly to the point:

I don’t think I will save my condemnation, you phony pioneer girl. (I’m in film and television, Cruella, and there was an insert close-up of your manicure while you were roughing it in God’s country. I know exactly how many feet off camera your hair and make-up trailer was.)

Palin isn’t likely to care what Hollywood thinks, or what leftist elites like PETA think, but she should care about what her supporters and potential supporters think, and she’s just misfired on that front. Imagine hiring a guide to take you over the Rockies only to discover he’d never been out of the city himself? That’s what Republicans are doing when they put their trust in a savvy-common sense politicians only to discover that she’s simply a self-promoting grifter who has no idea what she’s talking about.

She’d be a fish out of water in the White House, as out of water as she has been hunting and fishing on her self-promotional TV show. She’s a fake and a phony and it has never been more obvious. Take note, America, especially you Republicans.

37 responses so far

Newt Gingrich’s New Gig: Tea Party Demagogue

Dec 08 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Newt Gingrich

“I’ve never seen an administration, even the Carter administration was never as routinely chaotic,” Newt Gingrich told CNN. “Every time you turn around, this administration is fumbling somewhere around the world.”

His reckless attack on President Obama the other day ought to infuriate liberals and progressives alike. After eight years of reckless disregard for any diplomacy at all, Republicans ought to think twice about venturing forth on that subject. They are in no position to criticize because they have already proven they have no idea what diplomacy even is.

Gingrich claims he sees a gap between “the clarity and focus of that campaign and the confusion of the presidency.”

This sounds an awful lot like an accusation that the presidency isn’t ideologically driven, which is counter to the meme Gingrich otherwise seems to be pushing.

Now remember, Gingrich has called Obama “the most radical president in American history.” A strange accusation made by one of the most radical congressmen in American history against what is in fact a very centrist president.  Remember too, the source of Obama’s radicalism according to Gingrich:

A “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. Dinshe D’Souza (ex-boy-toy to demagogues Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham) wrote in Forbes magazine,

“Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost”.

And Gingrich thought this analysis was a “stunning insight”.

“What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asks. “That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

We need to remember this – it is essential to remember this – as we track Gingrich’s rhetoric on Obama. He began his attack by declaring that Obama is “not one of us.” He’s one of “them.” This is more dangerous than simply calling Obama a liberal or progressive ideologue. He is feeding on the birther meme that Obama is not American at all. He has already delegitimized the president, sowing fear and doubt, and then followed up this attack with discrediting his foreign policy.

This politician of a authoritarian and totalitarian party, a man who has re-invented himself a politician somewhere to the right of the Tea Party, has stated that we need to “save America” from Obama and Obama-led authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

And apparently President Obama, who actually HAS a foreign policy, needs to get his act together. What exactly this might mean under the circumstances is anyone’s guess. Does Gingrich want Obama to emulate Bush, and have no direction at all? Simply shoot from the hip and attack people on a whim? Or to detract attention from his domestic problems?

You see, a foreign policy should show some concern for the actual geopolitical situation – the “conditions on the ground” that your fellow Republican Liz Cheney was complaining about the other day. I think most of us can agree that this is more important than an adherence to ideology. But Republicans don’t like the pragmatic approach. Pragmatism is somehow an ideology and all ideology is bad unless it is conservative ideology, which in some way apparently isn’t an ideology at all but simply “common sense.”

It’s enough to make your head spin. It’s certainly reasonable to suppose that Gingrich’s head spins. He is acting like a hyperactive demonic-possession victim as he preps for a possible 2012 presidential run. He wisely declined to run in ’08 but there is no reason to suppose he will show the same sensible restraint next time around. He seems to be keying himself up, and attacks like this serve no other purpose than to draw attention to himself and away from the very real accomplishments of our serving president.

We have enough unreasoning, reckless hate emanating from Sarah Palin. Do we really need it from another possible contender? Is there nothing more to foreign policy than hate and an out of control nuclear-armed American exceptionalism? As if there wasn’t already enough for the United States to apologize for after the Bush maladministration. It is difficult to imagine what the world landscape will look like after four years of Gingrich (or Palin).

We can’t afford it. Our country is broke and exhausted. We don’t need any more cowboy adventurism or ideologically or religiously driven crusades. We need real common sense, and that is something that exists only in the imagination in the right-of-center American political landscape.

An argument is only as good as its foundations, and in this case, Gingrich’s point-of-departure is just plain fantasy. Any argument based on the less than credible premise that Obama is a Muslim or a “Kenyan anti-colonialist” will not be any more credible in itself. A balanced scale – some of you may remember those old scales with weights, has to be poised in the middle, not towards the left or right, or it won’t weigh properly, and Gingrich’s scale is set far to the right. His argument is flawed from the outset.

Back in 1812,  Republican newspapers did something very familiar to those of us of the post-9/11 world, they accused everyone not thinking like they did of being traitors and “tories” (about on a par with terrorists) and said “whoever is not for us, is against us.” The Boston Gazette had an answer for that, and it will be my answer now:

“Agreed, if you say so. [We] are against you…and the opposition to you will increase through every stage of your madness.”

Let that be our battle cry.

4 responses so far

WikiSqueaks: Sarah Palin’s Incoherently Dangerous Wikileaks Criticism

Nov 29 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Sarah Palin Doesn't Understand the Limits of the US Government

GOP: Please Come to Claim Your Lost Candidate: Sarah Palin is on the Loose

As stuffed as you are from turkey, one imagines you are also stuffed full of Sarah Palin at this point, she who has infiltrated our media for two years now at a breakneck speed which leaves lesser infiltrators like Paris Hilton green with envy.

But just in case you still thought there was an ounce of “there” there with the “common sense conservative”, today the GOP’s best and brightest tweeted what she intended to be a dig at President Obama over his handling of the Wikileaks situation. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with Ms Palin, her jab is going to come right back at her, so full of tells as to why she shouldn’t be anywhere near power as it is.

Here’s what Ms Palin tweeted:

“Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book “America by Heart” from being leaked,but US Govt can’t stop Wikileaks’ treasonous act?”

In case you are going to defend this tweet as a one-off, Ms Palin has backed it up on Facebook, taking aim at Obama over and over again over his “failure” to protect the troops by stopping Wikileaks, so sadly this can’t be chalked up to a bad moment on twitter.

Okay, I’m not sure where to start here so I’ll just dive in.

“Inexplicable: adjective meaning inexplainable” and inexplainable means “difficult or impossible to explain.” Yes, I’m sure you had me at hello, but we need to walk this one through from the beginning, because you see…..

It’s not impossible to explain why the President can’t stop Wikileaks. It’s very easy. Deep breath:

Not only is Wikileaks is hosted in Sweden where, I feel duty bound to point out, the President of the US does not have sovereignty as of yet and where it is impossible to commit treason against this country unless one is a US citizen residing in Sweden, but also, as Ms Palin must be aware (given her recent claim to a comminications degree that qualified her to discredit all American media save Fox News) there’s that pesky Pentagon Papers ruling (this was discussed in more depth earlier today) that all journalism/communiction majors learn about fairly early on.

Furthermore, the cables and emails of diplomats are not copyrighted, so while this comparison may make some sense to the person unschooled in law, upon examination, Ms Palin’s ability to sue Gawker over her book has nothing to do with the President’s ability to shut down any publication or organization he doesn’t like. It’s worth noting that Ms Palin actually failed to stop the leak of her book onto the internet. She did manage to get an order to have the offending pages pulled down long enough after they were posted for mirrors to be created for the curious.

And this is where the real trouble begins. Are we to believe that in Ms Palin’s America, she would assume the right to shut down any blog, paper, or freedom of information act organization she disliked by claiming they were a threat to national security (and the troops)? Would it be asking too much for American citizens to get more information on Ms Palin’s understanding of the fine tightrope between transparency and security, court precedent and a general understanding of the balance of power inherent in our government? Does Ms Palin think Americans are entitled to hear her discuss these complicated issues on a regular news outlet at some point, as the rest of our lawmakers and leaders do?

Ms Palin claims the latest round of leaks prove Obama’s incompetence:

“…the latest round of publications of leaked classified U.S. documents through the shady organization called WikiLeaks raises serious questions about the Obama administration’s incompetent handling of this whole fiasco.”

One wonders then how Ms Palin explains the leaking of her yahoo account she used to conduct Alaskan state business on to Wikileaks during the 2008 campaign. Thank goodness Sarah Palin didn’t have access to our national security secrets at that time.

She concludes with this:

“We are at war. American soldiers are in Afghanistan fighting to protect our freedoms. They are serious about keeping America safe. It would be great if they could count on their government being equally serious about that vital task.”

Ms Palin is charging the Obama administration with neglecting national security on purpose, implying that he is anti-American, as she did during the 2008 campaign. And that must sting the President, coming as it does from a person married to a once-registered secessionist. But she hits her mark with her first commenter, who picks up the dog whistle Palin is throwing down:

Gail M: “Incompetent or with some nefarious purpose? You never know with this administration.”

Well played, Ms Palin. If ya’ can’t get ‘em on policy or even a dim grasp of our laws here, why not sell ‘em some fear.This is the person John McCain just touted as a great candidate for President of this country.

It isn’t that she doesn’t know the law, it’s that she doesn’t care to know the law. It isn’t that she assumes dictator like powers as President, it’s that she has already proven in Alaska that she governs with reckless abandon for the law. This is the person quoted as saying to the Wasilla City Council leader, “‘I’m the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can’t.”

Indeed, Ms Palin. We see.

Hear that, Mr Assange? She’s comin’ for ya’. And speaking of coming for people, I urge the Republican Party to gather up Ms Palin before their reputation is forever branded as the Party of Palin.

Please, GOP, come collect your candidate. She’s on the loose again.

Note: Sarah Palin’s Facebook commenter’s last name redacted.

32 responses so far

Republican Extremists Take Aim at Moderation

Nov 29 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, U.S. Senate

The punch thrown at Lugar by Republicans won't be joking

Through most of history, western culture has recognized the value of moderation and the evils of excess. Robert McCluer Calhoon, University of North Carolina, Greensboro recognizes its origins in the Peloponnesian War in the Fifth Century B.C.E. (Political Moderation in America’s First Two Centuries, 2008). The Icelandic Sagas are full, for example, of such lessons, the positive rewards of moderate behavior and the ills that follow from immoderate behavior. In politics, the success of the American political system has been based not on irreconcilable bickering between polar opposites and ideologues but upon the system of give and take, and compromise, embodied by moderate politicians.

Political moderation balances the extremes; it, not rancorous polarization, that makes the world go around.

Harry Clor (On Moderation: Defending an Ancient Virtue in a Modern World, 2008), points out that critics have argued that “moderate” and “extremist” are “phenomena wholly subjective and situation-bound, utterly dependent upon variable opinions or commitments, circumstances and partisan perceptions of circumstances.” People see moderation as weakness. But as Clor argues, a moderate politician “builds consensus and unifies; he or she seeks agreement across partisan lines and speaks to the people in a nonconfrontational, noninflammatory way intended to be unifying.”

It is obvious that moderation has no place in modern Republican discourse, whose rhetoric is based on confrontational and inflammatory statements, the more outrageous the better.

But moderation is not betrayal of ideology. The Founding Fathers hammered out a Constitution through compromise. None of the authors of the Constitution got everything they wanted. If the minority would have been unwilling, as are modern Republicans, to compromise, it would never have been ratified. We would still be waiting. Compromise was essential. I will argue here that not only bound up with America’s founding but that it is not moderation that is the enemy of a modern liberal democracy, but extremism.

The Republican Party’s purity standards do not allow for moderation in approaches to America’s problems. The “take no prisoners” approach of Republican victories has morphed into a “scorched earth” leave nothing for the enemy approach in defeat. If they cannot have the country then they will ensure that there is no country left to govern by bringing to a halt any process they disagree with. This goes far beyond filibustering, extending as it does to investigations and inquiries into the behavior of those in power.

It is ironic and troubling that the Republicans accuse the Democrats and President Obama of being extremist ideologues, comparing the president to Hitler and Stalin and the Democrats to Communists and Nazis while themselves evincing all the attributes of these authoritarian political movements.

It is the Republicans, after all, who insist on obedience to ideology, not the Democrats, who embody a far wider range of political views, from moderate to extreme. Finding a moderate Republican these days has become very difficult indeed, and the charge of moderation when laid by the base against a Republican politician is often a kiss of death.

One example of this trend was discussed yesterday in the New York Times: Republican Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana. Lugar is, as the Times reports, “standing against his party on a number of significant issues at a politically dangerous time to do so.” Such a thing is, sadly enough, newsworthy in this day and age, especially with regards a man who has shown himself “A reliable conservative for decades on every issue.”

For his sins (for example, his desire to ratify the START treaty) the Times tells us that,

Mr. Lugar’s recent breaks with his party have stirred the attention of Indiana Tea Party groups, who have him in their sights. “Senator Lugar has been an upstanding citizen representing us in D. C.,” said Diane Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Tea Party. “But over the years, he has become more moderate in his voting.”

The sin of moderation. Who would have thought?

Even Republicans are shocked and disturbed that a stalwart like Lugar could be targeted.

“If Dick Lugar,” said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

I am reminded by all this of the French Revolution, which began moderately enough and then became more extreme, to the extent that those who began the revolution became its victims, and moderation the enemy. Even a radical liberal like Thomas Paine found himself arrested, the same Thomas Paine who had defended the French Revolution from conservative Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790 ) in his Rights of Man (1791). I am reminded also of the McCarthyism of the very conservative 1950s, or going further back, of the witch-hunts of the 17th and previous centuries.

History offers abundant lessons beyond the few I mention here of the dangers of extremism run amok. No one is safe, not even the current guardians of the cause. Anyone can be denounced. Anyone can instantly find themselves a Canaanite, vomited out of the Holy Land.

Enemies and traitors lurk around every corner and even under your bed. Eager to remain in favor, the extremists outdo each other by being ever more extreme.

Clor argues that “‘you cannot get it all’ from any social arrangements, no matter how well conceived” and he is right. As I argued above, the Constitution itself is evidence of this. “Concessions are made and compromises achieved” in Clor’s words. It is difficult to see today where compromise will come from. President Obama tried in 2008 and in the two years since. Nobody is really surprised at this point by his failure. And it is difficult to see how the United States can survive without it.

The world will not stand still for us while we engage in deadlock, and it will be difficult for President Obama to go forward while the Republican House wants to go backward. But we know things can get worse. We know, however much the stimulus helped, that we are not out of the woods yet. We have only to look to Europe, to Greece, to Ireland, to Iceland, to see what a truly collapsed economy looks like. The Republicans seem to be steering us in that direction and anyone who doesn’t jump on board the bandwagon has betrayed the ideals of the revolution.

A world without moderation is a bleak place to contemplate, and probably a worse place to live, as we are all likely to find out unless a Republican Edward R. Murrow reveals himself and say “Enough is enough.”


6 responses so far

Sarah Palin’s Thanksgiving of Spite

Nov 26 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Joe Lieberman Heads Stalker Palin off at the Pass

Sarah Palin’s Thanksgiving of Spite

In another sad, desperate attempt to get media attention on a holiday, Ms Palin spent her Thanksgiving licking her North Korean ally wounds on Facebook and creepily stalking the President. I’ll not be linking to the FB post as you can easily find her outrageously petulant post for yourself if you so desire. Just consider that the first paragraph is devoted to all of the Presidential gaffe’s her hack research team could find, leading us to the conclusion that Palin thinks she is on par with the President.

This hopeful false equivocation is nothing but the dreams of the deluded and anyone so ignorant as to not understand that when Palin makes a mistake it’s because she doesn’t grasp the issue at hand, not because she made a gaffe, probably isn’t winning any critical thinking tests. This has become clear over her entire career, not just the last two years. To assume she had a slip of the tongue when every other time she did not know what she was talking about would be illogical and catering to the accusations of bias she takes refuge in.

This is the same woman who preened to her gubernatorial competition that while he had a grasp of the issues and she didn’t the issues, it “didn’t matter”. Two termer Republican member of the Alaska State House of Representatives Andrew Halcro, who ran against Palin in the 2006 Alaskan gubernatorial race as an Independent, wrote:

“On April 18, 2006, Palin and I sat together in a hotel coffee shop comparing campaign trail notes. As we talked about the debates, Palin made a comment that highlights the phenomenon that Biden is up against. “Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I’m amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, ‘Does any of this really matter?'”

Tell me again that I’m supposed to give her the benefit of the doubt. Tell me how it’s “fair” (is this nursery school?) to cater to intellectual laziness by approaching this gaffe as if it were the first time and not a tell, in a pattern of reckless abandon for important issues of national security. Maybe some are willing to put this country at risk in order to avoid hurting Ms Palin’s feelings, but as of this moment, I’m not so inclined.

Gosh, just how much further do we need to lower the bar in order to accommodate the GOP’s front-runner for highest office in the land? Are there any standards we are allowed to apply to Ms Palin? Apparently, it’s more important to be “fair” to our Lady of Eternal Victimhood than it is to have a person of merit in office or have a debate seasoned by a grasp of the issues.

In the interest of “fairness”, allow me to point out that Ms Palin did not know there was a North and South Korea just two years ago, while running for VP of this country.

She also thought Saddam Hussein attacked the U.S. on 9/11.

While running for V.P. Shudder. But hush, now, we don’t want to hurt her feelings or insult her base by pointing out that there might be qualifications for President. We should all lower our expectations lest we be accused of being lamestream media elites.

John Heilemann, co-author of the book, Game Change, told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes that McCain Campaign manager Steve Schmidt claimed, “She knew nothing. She had to be taken through World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and Palin was not aware there was a difference between North and South Korea. She continued to insist that Iraq was behind 9/11; and when her son was being sent off to Iraq, she couldn’t describe who we were fighting.”

Courtesy of Think Progress, “She Knows Nothing”:

And we’re supposed to chalk this up to a gaffe? Really? Where’s the proof that she has been studying up after quitting as governor, between her reality TV shows, appearances on Fox News, book writing and tabloid media management of her family? Oh, we’re supposed to assume this, contrary to all apparent evidence, in order to be “fair”?

Schmidt did claim that in spite of knowing nothing, she was a quick study. Sadly, this side of Palin was never made evident to us and any chance she might have had of convincing thinking Americans that she was interested in serious things evaporated when she quit her job as Governor of Alaska to pursue money and fame. Maybe if she allowed someone to interview her other than Fox personalities, she could show us just how much studying she’s been doing. We need to know that she understands the complexities and not that she has just managed to barely memorize the talking points.

Palin has never been interested in history or policy. She claims she wants to discuss her record, is given an hour to do just that on Fox News with nothing but subservient host (Greta) who let’s Palin natter on about anything she chooses with no pushback or correction, and not once does Palin choose to discuss her record.

What she chose to discuss was how the media picks on her and never talks about her record. We got to hear all the tabloid insults that have offended our Queen of the Media. Why is this? Because Sarah Palin cannot discuss her real record because her real record belies the myth she’s selling. Sarah is selling feelings, not reality, not policy, not ideas. And that’s why it’s vital that she keep this fight in the tabloid gutter, where she can win.

Sadly, Ms Palin is still clueless about how she may have some responsibility in creating the anger she so routinely feels victimized by. When she returned to Alaska after playing the role of the pit-bull in 2008, Palin was wounded that the legislators were no longer on her side. Did she meet with the legislators to discuss this or take responsibility for the idea they got from her behavior that she was a demagogic hater more interested in her national opportunities than in their state? No.

Instead, Palin scheduled a meeting with the Alaskan legislators (all of whom were Republican, by the way) regarding her claim that she wouldn’t take nearly a third of the stimulus money (another blatantly false pandering to her future status as Tea Party Queen), blew it off, and then told the press they had canceled on her.

Senate President Gary Stevens said the statement Palin sent to the press about what happened was “absolutely false, absolutely false.” “Someone should be brought to task on that,” the Kodiak Republican said.

Our Victim of the North strikes again.

Later, when she quit, Ms Palin claimed political opponents working for President Obama were behind the “attacks” on her, never acknowledging that the majority of attacks came from Republicans because this didn’t fit well with the narrative of victimization by the usurper she was crafting for her Tea Party base.

Instead of discussing “her record” in her Greta Van Sustern interview (FNC), Palin chose to focus on her claim that her daughters only slurred someone on Facebook because they were sick of their little brother being attacked. According to the Facebook pages cached by numerous outlets, this never happened. But it sure makes for a good story, doesn’t it?

And so we come back to the gaffe. Ms Palin’s Thanksgiving Whinestock of Spite infers that there’s no difference between a Summa Cum Laude Harvard Law graduate and a 5 or 6 college communications major who did not know the difference between Iran and Iraq. We’re supposed to believe that lazy ignorance is the equivalent of hard work and willingness to learn, lest we be called elitists, but at the same time, we’re supposed to embrace the notion of American exceptionalism. Hard to keep it all straight.

We’re supposed to give her the benefit of the doubt, when she is so scared of the press that she has refused (for two years) to be interviewed by anyone other than friendly press that is also her employer and her publisher — and when she messes up answering questions she was given in advance, we are biased if we expect a decent performance. I guess we’ll wait for Sarah Palin to tell us when it’s OK to expect something of her. After all, I wouldn’t want to offend her. Perhaps we need to add an amendment to the constitution: “Thou shall not offend Queen Sarah nor ask her anything nor expect her to know anything for to do so will be considered treasonous, sexist, vile and mean.”

How about this: The President does not spend his Thanksgiving attacking people. Only the most petty, immature and emotionally stunted would spend a day of thanks dishing out the petty.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Ms Palin, but then she goes and does something like this, leading me to believe that were she ever to be President, we would all be in peril if she ever perceived even the slightest criticism from a foreign leader, let alone an American citizen. It’s clear our rights to speak our minds would be limited under Palin. What isn’t clear is exactly how dangerously reactive and emotionally challenged she is. I fear we don’t know the full extend of her limitations due to her clever avoidance of accountability via her Facebook/Fox PAC bunkers of fear.

A Thanksgiving of spite. That’s what you get when you cater to the feelings of a celebrity instead of insisting upon a modicum of personal responsibility and grasp of the issues. Anyone still making excuses for Sarah Palin and clinging to this desperate equivocation simply can’t be reached through reason. This is all about feelings for them. And that’s fine, but you’ll pardon me if I carry on with attempting to hold her responsible given that she refuses to do any media other than tabloid, quasi-reality propaganda where she has complete control of the narrative.

If this were indeed a gaffe, then why didn’t Ms Palin use her Facebook time to address the history of North Korea’s oppression of their people instead of playing petulant and angry that we expect things of her? This is what any person who understood the importance of her “gaffe” would have done, but I suspect – and this is the root of the problem – Ms Palin has no idea just why this was so disturbing.

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