Friday, October 31, 2008

"Is it even possible to imagine more breathtaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?" Guess who!


You betcha, it's the 2009 Princess Sarah Calendar!

"She has learned much in a very short period. And she will learn more. I predict we'll have Sarah Palin to kick around for a long, long time."

-- Eugene Robinson, in his Washington Post column today,
"Northern Star Rising"

"This isn't only about profound ignorance regarding our basic liberties, though it is obviously that. Palin here is also giving voice to the standard right-wing grievance instinct: that it's inherently unfair when they're criticized. And now, apparently, it's even unconstitutional."
-- Glenn Greenwald, in a Salon post today,
"Sarah Palin speaks on the First Amendment"

by Ken

Both Gene Robinson and Glenn Greenwald have the Princess Sarah on their minds, and when you put their thoughts together, it doesn't bode well for the quality of political discourse during the first term of the Obama administration.

"My view of Sarah Palin has changed in the two months since John McCain named her as his running mate," Gene Robinson begins, adding, "I'm guessing that McCain's view of Palin may be changing, too, and not entirely in a good way." But that's not what's on his mind.
I thought Palin was a lightweight; she's not. I thought she was an ingenue; she is, but only as long as her claws are sheathed. I thought she was bewildered and star-struck at her sudden elevation to national prominence; if she ever was, she isn't anymore. I thought she was nothing but raw political talent and unrealistic ambition; it turns out that she has impressive political skills. I thought she was destined to become nothing more than a historical footnote; I now think that Democrats underestimate her at their peril. . . .

I should make clear that I believe Palin is wrong about basically everything, at least to the extent that we know what she really believes. The McCain campaign gave her a job to do -- slash, burn, fire up the base, accuse Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists," accuse Obama supporters of not living in "pro-America" parts of the country -- and she went out and did it. McCain's campaign rallies often have a sense of purpose and duty about them; Palin's have a sense of electricity.

Palin's brief record as governor of Alaska, however, doesn't really display the ideological rigidity she has shown on the campaign trail. I suspect that in the coming years she will rediscover the flexibility and pragmatism that have made her a genuinely popular governor.

I'm not so sure that even at home Princess Sarah's hyperpopularity -- already dropping significantly in the wake of the Troopergate and other home-state messes -- is going to survive the much closer scrutiny likely to be directed at the substance and style of her governance once she resumes her governor's tiara. But again, that's really beside Gene's point.
That she wasn't ready to meet the national media became clear when she sat down with Katie Couric for those embarrassing sessions. But compare the bunny-in-the-headlights Sarah Palin of just a few weeks ago with the much more poised and confident Sarah Palin of today. Ignorance isn't the same thing as stupidity. When Palin talks about economic policy these days, her sentences don't meander into the Twilight Zone the way they once did. She has more to say about foreign policy besides the fact that Russia is just across the Bering Strait. She has learned much in a very short period.

And she will learn more. I predict we'll have Sarah Palin to kick around for a long, long time.

Apparently, though, we're going to have to kick with care. It seems now that if we dare criticize the princess, we risk violating the First Amendment. At least as viewed by a certain scum-sucking ignoramus.

"Somehow," Glenn Greenwald kicks off his column, "in Sarah Palin's brain, it's a threat to the First Amendment when newspapers criticize her negative attacks on Barack Obama. This is actually so dumb that it hurts." And he quotes from a report by Steven Portnoy on ABC News's Political Radar blog:

In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.

Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

[Jonathan Schwarz has an MP3 audio link at A Tiny Revolution.]

Glenn points out that Maureen Dowd is also suffering from First Amendment confusion with her recent suggestion that the McCranky campaign's exclusion of her from the campaign plane violates her rights. Glenn points out:

The First Amendment is actually not that complicated. It can be read from start to finish in about 10 seconds. It bars the Government from abridging free speech rights. It doesn't have anything to do with whether you're free to say things without being criticized, or whether you can comment on blogs without being edited, or whether people can bar you from their private planes because they don't like what you've said.

If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged.

At this point Glenn makes the key observation I've quoted at the top of this post. Then he concludes:
According to Palin, what the Founders intended with the First Amendment was that political candidates for the most powerful offices in the country and Governors of states would be free to say whatever they want without being criticized in the newspapers. In the Palin worldview, the First Amendment was meant to ensure that powerful political officials such as herself would not be "attacked" in the papers. Is it even possible to imagine more breathtaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?

Glenn added this UPDATE:
The Constitution also guarantees freedom of association. Thus, by Palin's "reasoning," when newspapers -- or Palin herself -- criticize Obama for his associations, they're threatening his constitutional rights.

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At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so tired of hearing about her political savvy as if it existed. Puhleeze! Just because someone gave her microphone and she showed no signs of impulse control does NOT mean she has political savvy.

Just because she can recite a few coherent sentences does not make her a genius. OMG!

Thanks, Ken. This is the girl I love to hate.

At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's from an alternate universe. A mirror image...
And no, don't underestimate this woman. She will most likely be a royal pain in the nether regions for sometime. She has her own drummer and as such will most likely fall afoul of the law of somewhere. Add in to that her resistance to ANY advice she doesn't like. We can only hope it will be soon.


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