Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin--The Package Looks Better But The Poison Will Make You Just As Sick


I usually try to avoid right wing propaganda. But for some reason I forced myself to listen to the St. Paul HateFest last night. If you thought Giuliani was supposed to be the creature from the black lagoon dug up to infect everyone with his poisonous venom... well that was just an appetizer for what close McCain family friend Tucker Eskew had cooked up for his little Heatherish protege from Wasilla.

I had noticed that all day there was this buildup that the monster was about to turn on Dr. Frankenstein. I mean if ever in my lifetime a worthless hack was built up into something created out of pure hype it was what the media did for McCain. And yesterday he repaid their kindness by loosening the hounds of right wing hell on them. Time Magazine's Joe Klein reacted like a lover cruelly spurned. He's not happy that Rove's man in the campaign, Steve Schmidt, has decided to use his profession as a punching bag and a symbol of what's wrong with America (other than 8 years of disastrous Republican misrule, more often than not abetted by the media).
The story of the day out here in Minneapolis is the McCain campaign's war against the press. This has been building for some time. Those of us who have criticized the candidate--and especially those of us who enjoyed good relations with McCain in the past--have been subject to off-the-record browbeating and attempted bullying all year. But things have gotten much worse in recent days: there was McCain's rude, bizarre interview with Time Magazine last week. Yesterday, McCain refused to an interview with Larry King, for God's sake, because Campbell Brown had been caught in the commission of journalism on CNN the night before, asking McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds what decisions Sarah Palin had made as commander-in-chief of the Alaska national guard. (There was an answer that the unprepared Bounds didn't have: she had deployed them to fight fires.)

So what's going on here? Two things. McCain is just plain angry at us. By the evidence presented in the utterly revealing Time interview, he's ballistic. This is a politician who needs to see himself as the man on the white horse, boldly traversing a muddy field...any intimations that he's gotten muddied in the process, or has decided to throw mud, are intolerable.

The second thing is more insidious: Steve Schmidt has decided, for tactical reasons, to slime the press. He wants the public to believe that there is an unfair--sexist (you gotta love it)--personal assault going on against Palin and her family. This is a smokescreen, intended to divert attention from the very real and responsible vetting that is taking place in the media--about the substance of Palin's record as mayor and governor. Sure, there are a few outliers--and the tabloid press--who have fixed on baby stories. That was inevitable....the flip side of the personal stories that the McCain team thought would work to their advantage--Palin's moose-hunting and wolf-shooting, and her admirable decision to have a Down Syndrome baby. And yes, when we all fix on the same story, whether it's a hurricane or a little-known politician, a zoo ensues. But the media coverage of the Palin story has been well within the bounds of responsibility. Schmidt is trying to make it seem otherwise, a desperate tactic.

There is a tendency in the media to kick ourselves, cringe and withdraw, when we are criticized. But I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.

The Republican convention, which was overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly white (93%), was a horrible scene of self-righteous anger, greed and self-entitlement. It was a dark place filled with ignorance, fear, empty bravado and hatred, That came alive only when red meat dripping with blood was tossed their way. They snoozed through speeches about helping people and went apeshit when something was mentioned about cutting their taxes. When Huckabee said something about the disgrace of racism, you could have heard a pin drop-- or maybe people waiting for a punchline. But he saved himself by turning on the internal hate machine and going after Obama, having made sure in advance everyone knew he wasn't attacking him for his race. But why not? This was a crowd that accepted at face value Mitt Romney-- a man who has pocketed at least $400 million as a predatory vulture capitalist and serial outsourcer-- denouncing "eastern elites." This was the worst of what America has to offer-- and they're damn proud of it. And they were just waitin' for their gal Sarah, or at least for whatever the speechwriters had put in her mouth. No one in the hall was disappointed.

And America? We'll soon see if the country embraces a message of nastiness, hatred, extremism... and abject failure... or one of hope and unity. Last night Sarah Palin and her writers made Mean Jean Schmidt seem almost moderate. Her speech was devoid of anything put political attack, almost entirely baseless attack. But whoever wrote it for knew exactly who the audience was. They ate it up-- especially the meanest and most hate-filled parts.

My friend Adam made this video. There isn't anything Sarah Palin said tonight to make anyone feel more comfortable about its message:

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At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct that she has no experience and that they are trying to make an issue of the press vetting her (which they clearly didn't do enough of). I only hope the American people are smart enough to see this for what it is...a smoke screen. And hopefully they will remember how the Republicans have messed up this country over the last 8 years.

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Dr. Tex Nology said...

... and I thought it couldn't get worse than Bush!

Last night's crazed Republican lynch mob showed me just how wrong I was.

Not only was it "a dark place filled with ignorance, fear, empty bravado and hatred" ... it was a place that CELEBRATED ignorance, fear, empty bravado and hatred.

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too watched the hate fest. But do not underestimate Pallin's appeal.
Between therapy and a best friend who has voted Republican since Reagan, I have come to see the conservative brain as different than ours. Did you count how many times the camera cut to the Pallin kid holding the downs syndrome baby? How many of those people would be "kvelling" about a FEMALE candidate that is campaigning with a downs syndrome baby if she was a Dem????

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

There was nothing in her speech that indicates she knows ANYTHING about the history of America and our relations with foreigh nations.
Sarah Palin is Roe V. Wade personified. She is the face of the angry christian voters.
They voted(?) bush in regardless that he has no leadership ability. They will make the same mistake with mccain and palin. They don't care if the country goes up in smoke, they only care to overturn roe v. wade.
sarah palin would be the second biggest mistake to hit Washington D.C. since the founding fathers created the constitution.
sarah palin is evil personified and if she were to make it to the whitehouse, this country would never recover. Ever.

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"her admirable decision to have a Down Syndrome baby"

What is wrong with people? Deliberately bringing a handicapped person into being is doing no favor for anyone, not the family, not society, certainly not the person involved.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't take care of disabled people who are already here. But to deliberately create someone with a debilitating deformity?? And this coming from people who claim to respect the sanctity of life! This ought to be illegal.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger 333 said...

Last night there was nothing but hate speech and name calling. There was denegration of local community leaders and volunteers and there was nothing but praise for worn out and dead politicians who did more to screw this country than to help it. As I recall, Reagan lead America in to a double dip Recession from 1986 through 1988 and the worst stock market crash since 1929.

It just goes to show that when you stand for nothing , you don't have a plan, and you can't talk about issues that don't involve WAR, Violence, Corruption in your own party, and you must at ALL COSTS avoid the past 8 years...

YOU ATTACK... ATTACK...ATTACK NAME CALL and DENEGRATE perfectly helpful and Self-less people.

I say again and again... Fuck these people.


At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a hate fest, all right. You watched it so that we wouldn't have to.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis,

"The Republican convention, which was overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly white (93%), was a horrible scene of self-righteous anger, greed and self-entitlement. It was a dark place filled with ignorance, fear, empty bravado and hatred, That came alive only when red meat dripping with blood was tossed their way."


At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the "shrill and sarcastic" comments I have seen on the "same old Republican shit speech" she read.

McCain's attack on the press "should" backfire. I was really hoping that when McCranky cancelled on Larry King Live that Larry would replace him with the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr. Barr seems to represent what little is left of the grand ole party.

At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what can Palin 'actually' do for America ?! She's just the Republican's cheap shot to get the Hillary vote. That's all there is to it.


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