Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sarah Palin's America Is Giving Establishment Republicans Heartburn


Monday night Larry King will be hosting George H.W. and Barbara Bush on his CNN chatfest. I'm sure it will be delightful. To promote it, CNN released a promotional video of Barbara Bush badmouthing Sarah Palin. "I sat next to her once. Thought she was beautiful," Barbara Bush said. "And she's very happy in Alaska, and I hope she'll stay there."

And she isn't just defending turf for Jeb or for A-Bush-In-A-Jar. Mainstream conservatives in the Republican Party are worried about the capacity for mischief Palin has proven herself capable of. Her Hatfield-and-McCoy feud with the Murkowski clan has done significant damage, and not just in Alaska. She's clearly behind the finances allowing teabagging extremist Joe Miller to continue his sore loser, pointless-- from a Republican Establishment perspective-- challenge to Lisa Murkowski's reelection.

Murkowski hasn't exactly been a liberal by any standards since her corrupt father first gave her his old Senate in 2002. Her ProgressivePunch score since then is 4.52. Even the most reactionary aisle-crossing Democrat, Ben Nelson-- hardly a liberal-- has a career score of 44.59. In the 111th Congress there were 9 Republicans who voted more frequently with the Democrats than Murkowski-- Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, George Voinovich, Scott Brown, Thad Cochran, Kit Bond, George LeMieux, Richard Lugar and John Ensign. And career-long her record is more conservative than either past Republican presidential candidate John McCain's or probable future Republican presidential candidate John Thune's. Her 4.52 career-long voting score is about tied with that of Oklahoma arch-reactionary Tom Coburn's (4.31).

But because Palin and her demented-- or DeMinted-- teabagger supporters have pushed Murkowski to the brink of endurance, she's now bragging that she represents all Alaskans, not just Republicans and that she will take a broad overview when deciding how to vote in the future. She's already publicly declared that she will not opposed overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell in the Defense Budget. McConnell and Cornyn would probably like to wring Palin's neck. Right wing gadfly and propaganda writer Mona Charen wasn't exactly singing Palin's praises this weekend either. Like most movement conservatives-- as opposed to the new crop of wild-eyed reactionaries-- Charen is freaked out at the prospect, however dim, that the half-term former Alaska governor-- however dim-- could actually try to run for president. Charen thinks she's better suited to be a right-wing version of Oprah... but absolutely not "someone to convince critical independent voters that Republicans can govern successfully." Let alone foreign leaders.
The Republican nominee should be someone with vast and impressive experience in government and the private sector -- and a proven record. Voters chose a novice with plenty of star power in 2008 and will be inclined to swing strongly in the other direction in 2012. Americans will be looking for sober competence, managerial skill, and maturity, not sizzle and flash.

After the 2008 campaign revealed her weaknesses on substance, Palin was advised by those who admire her natural gifts to bone up on policy and devote herself to governing Alaska successfully. Instead, she quit her job as governor after two and a half years, published a book (another is due next week), and seemed to chase money and empty celebrity. Now, rather than being able to highlight the accomplishments of Sarah Palin's Alaska, we get Sarah Palin's Alaska, another cheesy entrant in the reality show genre. She'd so much rather be out dog sledding than in some "dull political office," she tells the audience. File that.

...She compares herself to Reagan. But Reagan didn't mud wrestle with the press. Palin seems consumed and obsessed by it, as her rapid Twitter finger attests, and thus encourages the sniping. She should be presiding over meetings on oil and gas leases in the North Slope, or devising alternatives to Obamacare. Every public spat with Dave Letterman or Politico, or the "lamestream media," or God help us, Levi Johnston, diminishes her.

Speaking of television, sorry, this must be mentioned. Have you watched "Dancing With the Stars"? Cheesy would be several steps up for this one. Perhaps the former governor should not be blamed for the decisions of her adult daughter. Yet there in the audience we see Sarah and Todd Palin, mugging for the camera and cheering on their unwed-mother daughter as she bumps and grinds to the tune of "Mamma Told Me (Not to Come)." Her parents had advised her, the 20-year-old Bristol told an interviewer, that she had to stay "in character" if she expected to win. Being "in character" apparently meant descending to the vulgarity that "DWTS" peddles on a weekly basis. The momma grizzly was apparently unfazed by -- or, equally disturbing, unaware of -- the indignity. And this is supposed to be a conservative culture warrior?

Judgment, above all, is what voters prize in a presidential candidate. Some of Sarah Palin's 2010 endorsements were sound and arguably helpful. Others betrayed flightiness and recklessness. Tom Tancredo, Palin's choice for governor of Colorado, has ridden his anti-immigration hobbyhorse in a style perfectly suited to alienate Hispanic voters (describing Miami, for example, as a "Third World" city). The endorsement of Christine O'Donnell was irresponsible and damaging, losing a seat that would certainly have been a Republican pickup absent Palin's intrusion into the race. It goes without saying that O'Donnell received an absurdly disproportionate amount of ink and attention during the race (the liberal press naturally seizes upon any opportunity to make conservatives look kooky), but again, Palin should have anticipated that. Besides, this one cannot be laid at the feet of the biased media. O'Donnell was a thoroughly unqualified candidate.

A leaked passage in her latest book, which will officially be out Tuesday, seeks publicity by questioning Michelle Obama's patriotism and implying that the President and the First Lady are racists. It's probably the first time in living memory that a would-be presidential candidate from a major party smeared a sitting First Lady, let alone smeared her to help sell books! Her lack of knowledge of anything substantive about... well, about anything makes Twitter the ultimate communications tool for her. And there are bound to be plenty of morons voters who say-- or at least think-- that we just tried an intellectual as president and it worked out badly so why not try the stupidest and most ignorant person in public life? After all we more or less survived Bush intact. More or less.

UPDATE: Frank Rich Thinks The Worst Could Actually Happen

Thinking used to be that the Republicans had such horrible candidates that Obama could easily beat any of them in 2012. Now it's turning into Obama has been such a colossal and inept disappointment that even the worst the GOP could put up, could beat him. In his column this morning Frank Rich warns us Palin could indeed be elected.
If logic applied to Palin’s career trajectory, this month might have been judged dreadful for her. In an otherwise great year for Republicans she endorsed a “Star Wars” bar gaggle of anomalous and wacky losers-- the former witch, Christine O’Donnell; the raging nativist, Tom Tancredo; and at least two candidates who called for armed insurrection against the government, Sharron Angle and a would-be Texas congressman, Stephen Broden, who lost by over 50 percentage points. Last week voters in Palin’s home state humiliatingly “refudiated” her protégé, Joe Miller, overturning his victory in the G.O.P. Senate primary with a write-in campaign.

But logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success.

Republican leaders who want to stop her, and they are legion, are utterly baffled about how to do so. Democrats, who gloat that she’s the Republicans’ problem, may be humoring themselves. When Palin told Barbara Walters last week that she believed she could beat Barack Obama in 2012, it wasn’t an idle boast. Should Michael Bloomberg decide to spend billions on a quixotic run as a third-party spoiler, all bets on Obama are off.

...With Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity on her side, Palin hardly needs the grandees of the so-called Republican establishment. They know it and flail at her constantly. Politico reported just before Election Day that unnamed “party elders” were nearly united in wanting to stop her, out of fear that she’d win the nomination and then be crushed by Obama. Their complaints are seconded daily by Bush White House alumni like Karl Rove, Michael Gerson, and Mark McKinnon, who said recently that Palin’s “stock is falling and pretty rapidly now” and that “if she’s smart, she does not run.”

This is either denial or wishful thinking. The same criticisms that the Bushies fling at Palin were those once aimed at Bush: a slender résumé, a lack of intellectual curiosity and foreign travel, a lazy inclination to favor from-the-gut improvisation over cracking the briefing books. These spitballs are no more likely to derail Palin within the G.O.P. than they did him.

As Palin has refused to heed these patrician Republicans, some of them have gotten so testy they sound like Democrats. Peggy Noonan called her a “nincompoop” last month, and Susan Collins, the senator from Maine, dismissed her as a “celebrity commentator.” Rove tut-tutted Palin’s TLC show for undermining her aspirations to “gravitas.” These insults just play into Palin’s hands, burnishing her image as an exemplar of the “real America” battling the snooty powers-that-be. To serve as an Andrew Jackson or perhaps George Wallace for the 21st century, the last thing she wants or needs is gravitas.

It’s anti-elitism that most defines angry populism in this moment, and, as David Frum, another Bush alumnus (and Palin critic), has pointed out, populist rage on the right is aimed at the educated, not the wealthy. The Bushies and Noonans and dwindling retro-moderate Republicans are no less loathed by Palinistas and their Tea Party fellow travelers than is Obama’s Ivy League White House. When Palin mocks her G.O.P. establishment critics as tortured, paranoid, sleazy and a “good-old-boys club,” she pays no penalty for doing so. The more condescending the attacks on her, the more she thrives. This same dynamic is also working for her daughter Bristol, who week after week has received low scores and patronizing dismissals from the professional judges on “Dancing with the Stars” only to be rescued by populist masses voting at home.

Revealingly, Sarah Palin’s potential rivals for the 2012 nomination have not joined the party establishment in publicly criticizing her. They are afraid of crossing Palin and the 80 percent of the party that admires her. So how do they stop her? Not by feeding their contempt in blind quotes to the press-- as a Romney aide did by telling Time’s Mark Halperin she isn’t “a serious human being.” Not by hoping against hope that Murdoch might turn off the media oxygen that feeds both Palin’s viability and News Corporation’s bottom line. Sooner or later Palin’s opponents will instead have to man up-- as Palin might say-- and actually summon the courage to take her on mano-a-maverick in broad daylight.

Short of that, there’s little reason to believe now that she cannot dance to the top of the Republican ticket when and if she wants to.

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At 7:58 AM, Blogger Ted said...


Governor Palin is a courageous person, no doubt. In view of her massive following, if she would simply, briefly, tweet about the upcoming case before the US Supreme Court next week, it would change the course of American history.

November 23, 2010 marks a fork in the road for the future of America of more than historic proportions — perhaps on par with events leading to the Civil War. To date, virtually all federal and state courts where actions have been brought seeking decision on the meaning of the Constitution’s Article 2 “natural born citizen” clause as a prerequisite for Barack Obama to be a lawful President and Commander in Chief of the United States (Mr. Obama having been born to a father of British/Kenyan nationality and father not a citizen of the United States), have been shut down, never getting beyond the issue of standing. To date, courts have very strategically (narrowly if not artfully) characterized and applied law and legal procedure steadfastly to prevent the question from ever rising to the merits — this on a host of different types and classes of plaintiffs, causes and defendants — admittedly under the most intensely implicit (if not more) pressure to do the same.

The national media (some say our 4th branch of government) has aided and abetted the avoidance by mischaracterizing this as a “Hawaii birth” a/k/a “birther” issue which is nothing more than a “red herring” in that the issue for Article 2 “natural born citizen” is Mr. Obama’s father. Moreover, the legal community has aided and abetted the avoidance by mischaracterizing the 1898 Supreme Court Case, Wong Kim Arc, which dealt with the meaning of “citizenship”, not the meaning of “natural born citizen” under Article 2.

November 23, 2010 may very well be the last chance for the Judicial Branch realistically to take up the issue, this on a case of legal standing solidly presented by Attorney Apuzzo and Commander Kerchner. If the Court finds no standing here, by a narrow interpretation of the same or otherwise, coming after all the rest of the “no standing” cases, it is doubtfull this important Constitutional issue can and will be resolved in any court of law. The question will nevertheless continue to fester, at tremendous national cost, never to abate, potentially to reach crisis stage, and in any event to undermine the structure of our Constitutional Republic.

It is more than chilling and says volumes that NOT ONE member of Congress will publicly speak on this or, better yet, since the Congress of the United States has more than a vested interest, opine if not as a “friend of the court” at the Supreme Court, in the court of public opinion — BEFORE the Supreme Court convenes on November 23, 2010.

The world is (should be) watching!

At 9:35 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

People ask me why I haven't deleted the garbage above. Normally I do. However I thought it would be instructive for readers to see how what passes for mind in these people work.

At 10:12 AM, Anonymous DEO said...

$arah Palin/Tonya Harding 2012!

At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Dameocrat said...

She won't win because she doesn't have the proper pedigree! Her lack of education is irrelevant.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Revealingly, Sarah Palin’s potential rivals for the 2012 nomination have not joined the party establishment in publicly criticizing her.

Because they are busy raising cash and building their followings. Sarah has not indicated whether or not she is going to run (smart money says No), so they are not going to waste their time, effort, energy, and money doing so. Bush's advantage was that he had James Baker and Jeb Bush AND the Supremes to back up his "victories." Sarah doesn't have that...and with the way that she is acting, she probably won't.


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