September 3, 2008

tracy enid flick

9/3/08

Okay, a third blog in a row about politics. It's going to be a political week on here, so if you don't like it, there's always Cute Overload. And thus...

The bar was set so low for Sarah Palin's speech that she could have taken two giant dumps on the podium and been praised for not taking a third. She read the words on the teleprompter – written by George W. Bush's speechwriter – with gusto, but offered nothing but tacky denigrations of Barack Obama's character, along with a litany of complete and utter falsehoods.

The depths to which this shit has sunk... do the Republicans at this convention know they are a culmination of every asshole from 1980s teen movies? All the guys are James Spader from "Pretty in Pink", and all the girls are Heather from "Heathers". In fact, every time Sarah Palin opened her mouth, I was reminded of why J.D. kills the football players – "they had nothing to offer except date rapes and AIDS jokes."

How fucking DARE she make fun of community organizers? They're the only people left in America who help those who've been abandoned by everyone else, and to hear this horrible woman demean them for laughs... frankly, I couldn't bear it. Besides her bizarre, psychosexual repetition of McCain's time spent as a prisoner of war, Palin said nothing to inspire people upwards, only taunts, lies, and jokes fed to the convention hall like gazelle meat to rabid lions.

In a way, tonight was calming. Because truly, if McCain/Palin wins an election over Obama/Biden, this country is so fucked as to warrant abandonment. If this guttersniping, lying marionette and her twisted, ghoulishly-grinning mentor are the people America wants, then the debate is over, les jeux sont faits, we know not to care anymore.

It was one thing that Bush won in 2000 – the Supreme Court, a confusing ballot, and Katherine Harris' purge lists made sure of that. It was another that he won in 2004 – thanks to America's 9/11 hangover and cognitive dissonance. But after all we know now, after everything has come to light, and seeing what these Republicans represent? It will mean that the country finally got too hopeless to be worth saving. And for those of us who care so passionately, there will be relief in knowing that it's over.

Yeah, yeah: I already hear the outcry. Of course there are some smart conservatives; many of them write on these pages. It's not you I'm worried about, it's the easily-duped well-meaning proletariats who have lost the ability – or desire – for critical thinking. And, of course, the drooling rednecks who are already chanting "don't let the door hit yer ass on the way out, you fucking faggot!"

I tell you, that's fine. Us elitists, you know, the ones with education, the ones that took an active interest in the world around us, the ones that flourished in the many-hued world of nuance and occasionally tried to make the world a better place - rather than hoarding as much as we could for ourselves and putting barbed wire and guns around it - We will opt out.

We might go to our own version of Coastopia, we might take our talents to another country. There will be a brain drain, the best and brightest fleeing to another place that doesn't make them sick to their stomach. Young idealists will opt out of politics, and then opt out of helping America do anything, and then, perhaps, opt out of the whole tribal idea of America itself. Giggle if you must, if it makes you feel better. That's cool. I could be wrong.

Speaking only for myself, then. If Sarah Palin and John McCain are elected to run the country, I'm more than happy to fuck off.

***
[UPDATE: VIDEO FOR YOUR PLEASURE (thanks, laffy!]


Posted by Ian Williams at September 3, 2008 11:00 PM
Comments
Posted by: DB at September 4, 2008 2:20 AM

Isn't community organizing kind of the essence of citizenship? You know, kind of what the First Amendment is about (freedom of assembly, redressing grievances)?

I hate it that Americans are now "consumers" and not "citizens." Then again, the way we were supposed to make sure the Terrorists didn't win was by buying a bunch of crap made in China in the fall of 2001.

Posted by: christine at September 4, 2008 3:10 AM

What I found maddening was Palin's deriding self-reflection and understanding of one's personal journey. She actually chastized Obama for having written books about his experiences! Her attack against so-called elitism is deeply anti-intellectual. She appeals to the same folks who responded in the past to an inarticulate, "just-a-regular-guy" George W. Bush. Palin's speech energized Republicans last night. It also needs to energize those of us who support Obama-- support him because he is intelligent and thoughtful, because he has the kind of knowledge and wisdom that we so desperately need now.

Posted by: Matt at September 4, 2008 3:13 AM

Ok, it sure seems as if there's some panick going on in your circle. It reminds me of how Clinton-hating Republicans (of which I was never one) banged their head against the wall during his administration. It did them no good, people liked him no matter what. After what Palin's been through this last week I think she's earned the right to hit back a little, and the jab at a community organizer was no worse than the way Obama denigrated small town mayors. She did it brilliantly, too. Rudy mocked the job much more during his speech.

And why sneer that she had a speechwriter? All politicians do (and parts of it were all hers). Anyone ever say that about Clinton? Hell, anyone ever make that complaint about Bush!? This intense desire to belittle a woman, everything she does, is really going to backfire. And it wouldn't behoove a Biden ticket to make a big deal about the provenance of someone's words, if you know what I mean.

By the way, I also wouldn't make many references to "purge lists," seeing as how Obama got elected by using teams of campaign operatives to systematically get every opponet kicked off the ballot so that he ran unopposed (through technicalities like a written name on the petition instead of a signature, use of a maiden name, etc.).

Sarah Palin is a natural politician and America is seeing that now. Biden had better bring his lunch to the debates.

Posted by: Matt at September 4, 2008 3:24 AM

Oh, I forgot.

"How fucking DARE she make fun of community organizers?"

But trashing a teenage girl for no other reason than you disagree with her parent's politics is just fine. Sorry, but there's something wrong with a person who thinks like that.

Posted by: That Magnificent Ape at September 4, 2008 4:28 AM


Matt:

You sure spend a lot of time hanging out on the blog of person who has something wrong with him.

I have just one question. Since trashing a teenage girl because you disagree with her parents politics indicates that there is "something wrong" with a person, was there "something wrong" with John McCain in 1998 when he told this joke about a then teenaged Chelsea Clinton

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno."

Or, like most other right wing partisan hacks, do you just cry victim when people apply the same standards to you that you judgmentally apply to everyone else.

See http://www.salon.com/news/1998/06/25newsb.html

Posted by: Matt at September 4, 2008 4:48 AM

Ape,

As I said the other day, I was shocked that Ian would cross such a line. I love the writing and respected him despite the political differences. I hope he's able to reflect on the matter at some point in the future. The same thing goes for McCain, whose character I've criticized on this very blog and who I regret being the Republican nominee. I never heard that "joke" you cite, but yes, it is definitely indecent. I pop in here because I think it's a smart community of liberals and it gives me a good idea of the other side's viewpoint. Sometimes I'm surprised at what I find, as I am this week, but I try not to limit my reading to only conservative writers. By all means, attack Sarah Palin, she can handle it. Leave the children of candidates out of it.

Posted by: mom at September 4, 2008 4:57 AM

Matt, I will start a firestorm here (and maybe even earn the disrespect of my kids), but honestly, I don't want a trailer-trash family as my country's "first family." They can certainly live any way they want to, short of hurting anyone around them. But a heartbeat away from the White House? I haven't even been sleeping well thinking about it.

Sorry. My standards are higher than that. Not with regard to elitism, or even "education" (cited by Ian as a criterion). But as to standards. Dubya was bad enough with his failure to understand everything from the English language to foreign policy, but this Palin person...

And by the way, when the Clinton/Monica thing came out, I said, "Anyone that stupid does not have a right to use the red telephone." (I know, I know... there's not really a red phone, but you know what I mean.)

One delegate yesterday stormed "If she [Palin] was a man, they wouldn't dare go after her daughter." Oh, bullshit. If Chelsea had been knocked up in high school, you would have heard screams about how Bill was a bad father, bad influence, and that Hillary had been emotionally neglectful. And we did all go after the appalling Bush daughters, if you remember.

One's family is a reflection (even mine, for good or bad) of one's ability to live life and make decisions and exercise judgment.

Sarah Palin is a substandard candidate... male, female, or otherwise. And her (exploited) family... tiny, "challenged" infant being cradled by a seven year old in a good camera -angle row... will get some votes, so my (and anyone else's) derision of her family and her "values" is fair game. Obama has class, declaring that the family is "off limits." For him, that's the best decision. But for me, keeping still about it will make my head explode.

And by the way, even at my advanced age, I'm looking at moving out of the country if they win. I didn't feel that way in 2000, or 2004, because I thought such a thing was chicken shit and dishonest... and I loved my country too much to even consider cutting and running. Now I love what this country used to be, and even what it could be with decent, intelligent, thoughtful leadership. But not under McCain and Palin, and quite possibly just Palin. Sorry. I'll be thinking hard about Toronto...

And, Ian, if this post embarrasses you, feel free to take it down.

Posted by: dean at September 4, 2008 5:13 AM

Can someone please, without rose-colored glasses, point out some of the "litany of complete and utter falsehoods." I understand most of us readers do not like her politics. OK . . I can live with that. But, where did she lie or utter a falsehood?

Obama had styrofoam columns? check
Obama will raise several different taxes? check
Obama was a community organizer (whatever the hell that is!). check
Obama will meet with Iran without preconditions. check
Obama wrote 2 memoirs, but no substantive legislation. check
Obama does not support drilling in ANWR? check

Again, I know her points were partisan and ya'll may not have liked them. That was the whole point. But, where is the "litany . . . "?

Posted by: CM at September 4, 2008 5:35 AM

The term is disrespectful "trailer trash" insults thousands of people because it assumes that there is something automatically wrong with those who have little money. You could make the same point in a different way - and yes it is elitist to assume people in trailers are trash. There are bigger issues and bigger debates and I don't think rhetoric like that helps...and this isn't a firestorm but that's when we liberals become hypocrites. And the Clintons were just as po' and unsettled. They were our first family and he knew how to describe everything on the McDonald's menu.

That said, we've all said worse things...


Posted by: GFWD at September 4, 2008 5:46 AM

I think the outrage over Obama's decision to meet with our enemies is completely ignorant. It doesn't matter if Obama or his envoys have preconditions. It cannot hurt or weaken us one bit to sit in the same room and stare at our enemies to hear them out. We are not obligated to do anything and I imagine the meeting will look like those Verizon commercials where Obama will have the entire force of the US Military figuratively standing behind him as he talks.

Obama: "Mr. Jihad, we'd like you to quit terrorizing our country and our citizens."

Mr. Jihad: "Screw you! Death to America!"

Obama: "Well, we're done here. Nice to meet you. Oh yeah, be on the lookout tomorrow morning for my friends Fat Man and Little Boy. They'll be dropping in for a visit."

Yet, McCain takes pride, nay REVELS in the fact that he refuses to dignify them. The most basic fundamental of conflict is understanding your enemy. And the McCain ticket seems content to presume they have all the answers.

Scary.

As an attorney, I know that I go to great lengths to meet with opposing counsel when I get a lawsuit and never rule out mediation. It hurts my head to think that our potential leaders refuse to consider such communication.

I thought Palin's speech was excellent for what it was intended to do. She shrewdly had her preggers daughter front and center with the dad of her grandchild by her daughter's side. She had the Hallmark shots of the 7-year-old licking her hand and combing the baby's hair. As a father of two youngins that shot actually moved me.

I know that the Democratic pundits on Larry King were quickly able to deconstruct her speech and identify some exaggerations and falsehoods (she supported the bridge to nowhere, after all) but I don't know whether the base will care to find out more than she provided for them in that speech. Meaning that their minds are already made up and they love her.

The question is whether she appealed to moderates by attacking Obama on some of the same deficiencies her running partner has. McCain, too, has "only" been a Senator and never lead a major 9,000 person city either. And, as Rudy tried to disparage Obama, McCain has never lead in crisis either.

In the end, it will be interesting to see how well she holds up on her own in the debates and after folks have had a chance to complete their investigation and background checks.

She's still the best speaker I've seen on the Republican side.

Posted by: Jason Savage at September 4, 2008 5:55 AM

I think Palin has every right to poke fun at the community organizer thing, and I say that as an Obama supporter. If people are going to tee off on her experience, than she can do the same to her opponent. Why not? She merely pointed out that a community organizer has no more responsibility than a mayor. That's not false.

Posted by: dean at September 4, 2008 5:59 AM

There are 2 schools of thought on whether to meet with foreign leaders w/o preconditions. I understand both sides. Not exactly a falsehood by her, however. Plus, I dont think there are any Republicans (that I've spoken to) that're "outraged" by BHO's position thereon.

Palin very slickly never said that she did not 100% support the bridge to nowhere. She has only said that AK would be the ones to build it, not Washington DC, if and when AK chose they wanted it.

Greg, I love you, but you think McCain has never been a leader? Huh? Really? Forgot that whole decorated war hero part?

While BHO was "community organizing" with confessed domestic terrorists and felonious Syrian nationals (both true, so dont hate on me!), McCain was an officer in the USN with many men and women under his command during wartime.

By the way, speaking of military service. Where is the righteous indignation against Biden? It is my udnerstaind that he received the same number of deferrments as Cheney before being excused from service due to asthma. Funny . . . I have never seen a photo of him with an inhaler. Anyway . . can someone clarify?

This election is about who is in the middle. As the Clintons so correctly articulated in the early '90s, the soccer moms are important. I would imagine that the Dems are maybe slightly worried that the soccer moms are going to be wooed by the hockey mom on the Repub's ticket.

Posted by: mom at September 4, 2008 6:05 AM

For what it's worth, "trailer trash" is a common euphemism for people of a certain mindset and life style.

Lots of nice, even smart people live in trailers either by choice or circumstance. Palin's family does not live in a trailer and they are not those with "little money." And yes I know I'm being disrespectful, but words fail me at the kind of thinking that went into choosing this completely baffling and insane. unqualified choice of a running mate, and possibly the leader of the "free world."

After eight years of disastrous Dubya leadership, I'm reduced to name calling, teeth gnashing, and ranting.

Guilty as charged. And unrepentant.

Posted by: GFWD at September 4, 2008 6:11 AM

Decorated war hero like Kerry?

No, I didn't forget that he spent the majority of his time during the war in a 6 x 4 prison cell as a POW. I thought it was very moving to hear the recollection of one fellow captive that McCain would give his fellow captives a thumbs up as encouragement that they would one day get out.

But I've always deferred to the men and women who put on the uniform. Funny how military service is only important to Republicans NOW. It sure as hell wasn't important when they were denigrating the war hero, John Kerry, who bravely served while Bush was getting drunk and snorting coke.

Just so I'm clear, war heroes are good for this election? Gotcha.

Wait, Palin uttered no falsehoods but "slickly" crafted her speech so as to present the bridge issue in a positive light? Well, atta girl, way to step up to the big leagues and dabble in political double-speak. Either way, you can't have it both ways. Slick Willie meet Slick Palin. I hope, for her sake, she doesn't have any stained blue dresses in her as-of-yet uninspected closet!

Posted by: Sean at September 4, 2008 6:15 AM

Litany of falsehoods

http://tinyurl.com/6e5lwg

In this list are some of the very examples you cite.

Watching the DNC, every speaker treated McCain with respect and mentioned his service to our country, and I kept saying, over and over, "the Republicans will *never* do this for the other ticket, they will mock Obama for the very things that would make him a great leader..."

There are criticisms that can be leveled against Mr. Obama, but mocking his work as a community leader and his work as a politician is genius, because it deflates his actual accomplishments. The Republicans want to win, they are doing everything they can to win, and refusing to lose is one of the things that makes this party so attractive to so many people. Yes, they have disposed of nuance and pleasantries... they are showing America what they do to an enemy by making an example of the Democratic party.

Mr. Obama has a far more nuanced and elegant approach to every aspect of governance, despite the fire-breathing anger of his supporters, but what he has shown America is that he will treat his detractors with respect and give them credit for their accomplishments, even if they are psychopathic, power-starved zealots. Unfortunately, our enemies around the world will respond to America in the same way that the McCain camp responds to the Democratic party, and it isn't impossible that more people want the fire and the fury than want the respect and understanding.

Posted by: caveman at September 4, 2008 6:24 AM

She should have breast fed her newborn at the podium and simultaneously screamed "leave my family out of this!" She really missed an incredible moment, I am not sure she can recover from this.

Posted by: dean at September 4, 2008 6:27 AM

Obviously, we all will never agree and sing Kumbaya together.

I do notice that the Republicans generally shrugged their shoulders and did not cower when BHO chose Biden. Another boring white dude (like me) with hair plugs (no joke needed, thank you.)

But, when JM choses SP, the liberals go nuts. If liberals truly thought this race was effectively over and the BHO had it in the bag, why would they give sucha damn about SP? If SP is really some tart that could never effectively serve as Pres, then surely all free-thinking Dems, Repubs and middle-of-the-roaders will vote for BHO, right? You know, kinda like when the same thing was said about that governor from CA in 1980 -- ok, bad example for you guys.

Isnt it just a teeny-weeny bit possible that Dems harbor a smidgen of fear that SP could possibly conceivably occasionally perhaps on a good day resonate with some undecided voters? She is not going to sway 99% of the usual readers of this blog. But, we all also know that this blog is about as representative of the electorate as my butt.

To paraphrase the little tike from Jerry Maguire . . . "Did you know that bees and Republicans can smell fear?"

Posted by: Lee at September 4, 2008 7:04 AM

I think McCain rolled the dice and hoped that we would all start talking about teenage pregnancy and abortion for the next 2 months rather than stick with the issues that Obama raised at the convention. This country is in huge trouble at home and abroad and this has just become the "gay marriage" distraction of 2004. We've got to stop talking about it and get back to the issues that are hurting us all. I really don't care about her familial issues besides the hypocrisy but there are so many important things to talk about and I'm so frustrated that the entire country got to arguing about this clear diversion (myself included).

And yes, it's really scary that someone running for president has turned to a diversion rather that focusing on what's best for our country, but it's happened and we have to stay focused on fixing and reclaiming our government. The best thing we can do is stick to the issues and McCain/Palin will have to respond to those things rather than dancing with us on these stupid distractions.

GOBAMA!

Posted by: CM at September 4, 2008 7:10 AM

"For what it's worth, 'trailer trash' is a common euphemism for people of a certain mindset and life style."

There are lots of common slurs that are insensitive to an already disadvantaged group of people that don't need to be brought down even further by using them to represent people you don't like...just using 'trash' would have had the same effect, or low-class trash, or something that doesn't contain a clear slur on a group of people who live with little money.

There are lots of things that are 'common' that are also cruel to large groups of people. It has 'trailer' in it because of the disadvantaged people it evokes.

I don't mean to change the debate; you didn't mean it that way, and certainly you have decades of wisdom and knowledge to which I am not privy, but I have had relatives in trailers and you likely haven't (or you would have found the term hurtful), and certainly if it had been another slur it would have that have no place in current usage, and when I hear that term, I think of it literally...

To lighten it up, my brother lived in a trailer and it brings him down to associate him with Sarah Palin!!

Posted by: Caroline at September 4, 2008 7:48 AM

Ian's mom - amen. You rock. I'm sure Ian couldn't be LESS embarrassed by your posts. Sing it loud, sister.

So, Ian, and other Democrats who are now fired up, I'm going to challenge you: what are you DOING to get Obama elected? I am going to Pennsylvania this weekend to do whatever the Obama campaign tells me. I'll lick envelopes till I'm dessicated - whatever they want.

Ian, maybe you already are doing something, so I certainly don't mean to be accusatory. But take your energy and rant all you like but DO something, too. And that goes for everybody!!!

Posted by: Piglet at September 4, 2008 7:48 AM


PREACH IT BROTHER!!!

It's sad that the media spins Republican talking points all day long, while I have to come here to find red meat for OUR base, but thank you for being a voice in the wilderness.

My first impression of Palin was neocon Barbie. I've changed my mind. She is downright dangerous, and a full blooded participant in the Neocon War On Learning. If she gets anywhere near the corridors of power in the national government, we're going to have to alert Scandinavia.

Posted by: CM at September 4, 2008 7:51 AM

PS I agree with the rest of your post and meant no disrespect, and you are brilliant and very wise and can teach us all a lot. But I just hate being tripped up by that kind of language.

Posted by: Anne at September 4, 2008 7:54 AM

To me "trailer trash" translates roughly to "redneck yahoo." Not to poor, or living in a low-carbon-footprint mobile home.

I'm assuming that's the way Mom (Ian's mom, will you be my honorary mom?) meant it. I am sure we all know what she signified with the term, so let's not split linguistic hairs and leave the elephant (hmm, nice political coincidence) sitting smack in the middle of our collective living room.

Posted by: Ben at September 4, 2008 8:01 AM

The unthinking and flexible outrage on both sides of this election is really sickening to me. I have voted in the last 5 presidential elections - I'm not going to bother this time. I actually think McCain and Obama are both good guys who mean well and have demonstrated a higher level of integrity than the typical politician.

But in this election both parties have finally hit rock bottom. The false bullshit outrage over Palin (as if every criticism of her wouldn't have been immediately overlooked were she on the other side of the aisle) from the democrats is really disheartening. At the same time, the hysterical cries of "Obama is inexperienced" from the Republicans were given lie to in the immediate support of Palin...

The whole thing makes very obvious the fact that both parties will bend over backward to win at all cost, and are entirely, 100% without any core values. I don't even know how to distinguish between them anymore.

-Ben (long time lurker, 2nd time poster)

Posted by: kent at September 4, 2008 8:07 AM

I've been thinking a lot about this whole Sarah Palin thing and Republicans, and trying to figure it all out. Seeing her speak -- for the few minutes I could handle it during the commercial breaks in "Sons of Anarchy" made me realize why McCain chose her. To wit:

1. She's a woman with a family.
2. She's a member of the cultural conservative base.
3. She's able to read a speech effectively.
4. She projects the sort of moral certainty that is the Republican Party's great strength.

Never mind that she's demonstrably a liar, that she indisputably abused her power as Governor to settle a family grudge. Because that's never a problem for the people with power in the Republican power -- for them hypocrisy isn't a failing, it's a way of life -- a creed, if you will.

Case in point: I disagree with just about everything that 'social conservatives' hold dear, but I know many of them, and they're decent, sincere, honorable people. Hey, everyone's model of the world is a priori inaccurate. Everyone from Paul of Tarsus to Kurt Gödel proved that. Whatever gets you through the night is fine with me as long as you don't cram it down my throat.

The Republican Party for years has paid lip service to the values these people hold dear, and done fuck-all to further their agenda except a few meaningless gestures around the margins. They don't even deny it! They do it clear-eyed, with a firm handshake.

And apparently for at least some large percentage of 'social conservatives,' their desire to believe overrides whatever critical faculty might clue them into the con. It's enough for Bush to make the right Biblical references, talk their game like he belongs -- they take him at face value.

And the complete lack of shame is clear on the face of Sarah Palin. She has to KNOW on some level how full of shit she is, but her ambition and moral certainty pushes that down to the basement of her mind. She knows she's being used, that she's selling her soul to the plutocratic monsters who pull the strings, but look what she gets out of the deal! National noteriety! Introduction to all sorts of people who can make her rich beyond her wildest dreams out of pocket cash! People who will take her bizarro-world belief system at face value!

The Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, the party of Hoover, and Eisenhower, and Gerald Ford has descended to a level of cynicism and corruption that would make those gentlemen spin like tops in their graves, and Sarah Palin is Exhibit A.

Posted by: Claudia at September 4, 2008 8:07 AM

I'll miss you. It'll be too bad if you leave, because you won't get to be a part of the most exciting, inspiring administration to come along in our young lifetimes. Palin is young, bright, humorous, and real. I only wish I could vote for her for President. Maybe someday I'll get a chance. For the first time in my entire voting history, I'm thinking of switching over my registration from Independent to Republican. Watching the husband of that strong woman standing there, glowing, and holding their special needs child while his wife stood up and spoke for our country was pure history in the making. And your attack on her is entirely non-substantive.

Nevertheless, I'll miss you and your beautiful family. We neanderthals will just have to carry on without you.

Posted by: Claudia at September 4, 2008 8:12 AM

BTW, I'm a reusable-bag-toting, organic-food-eating, religion-clinging, public-transit-taking, born Sloper with seven years of postsecondary education, four of them at one of the nation's elite, preeminent liberal arts institutions (with emphasis on the liberal). Regardless of whatever fantasies your Coastopia brethren concoct, I represent more than my fair share of the nation's modern conservatives.

Posted by: Paul G at September 4, 2008 8:14 AM

GO (IAN'S) MOM!!!

Posted by: grumphreys at September 4, 2008 8:24 AM

Palin's speech was performed well. But Lee's right - ultimately, she's a distraction from the issues. McCain and the Repub leadership know that their bedrock messages have been irreparably damaged by the last 8 years of Bush decision-making and Repub rule. For years ahead, Americans will associate Bush and his Repub congress with government that doesn't work well and makes tragically wrong decisions. The McCalin folks know that, and they're desperately trying to put some distance between themselves and W.

Of course, Palin should have known that an unmarried teenage pregnancy would be a press feeding frenzy. Still, stuff like Palin's young baby momma or Biden's plugs are just distractions from the real issues. Its the small stuff that Obama was talking about in his speech. We knew that personal smears were coming and will continue to come - it has worked again and again. Why do we always act surprised? Let's not take the bait. Let's make sure this election is about the Big stuff.

Posted by: GFWD at September 4, 2008 8:27 AM

What's a sloper? I'm serious. I don't know and it's the second time I heard it today.

Can I ask something that Claudia mentions briefly (religion-clinging) that references a perceived slight that Team Obama made about the folks in PA (I believe) who in tough times cling to their guns and their religion?

Other than being snarky sounding when taken out of context (or in context), isn't it true? Don't most religious and church-going folks turn to their faith when times are tough? Don't they rise up and spout that the Constitution protects their rights to bear arms? I'm a gun owner and I don't mind reminding folks from time to time, as I show off my concealed carry permit, that I'm just exercising my Constitutional Rights.

If we're going to go past the name-calling and muck, let's look at the heart of the matter and parse what's actually being said. Hitting that terminology right on the head seems no different to me than Obama calling for African American fathers to be more responsible. Maybe such straight talk hits home a little too hard, but isn't it true?

Just curious.

Claudia and her moderate on-the-fence twin (figuratively speaking, as Claudia might be a triplet) are the folks to whom Palin's speech was directed. Take away the perceived sarcasm of her speech, the "shrill" tone (as suggested by the Democratic pundits) and the question becomes whether she resonated with Claudia's twin. She might. And that's where Obama and Biden should be focusing their efforts.

Posted by: kat at September 4, 2008 8:34 AM

Ben, thank you. My sentiments exactly. Each side believes that they could never be what the other side is, but in reality they are.

To believe that you (contributor, readers and writers of this blog) could never 1) end up in low-income housing (in light of trailer trash talk) 2) have a pregnant teenage daughter (Palin) 3) been enlightened and changed your mind about an issue (Obama and Palin) 4) opened your mouth and said something you really weren't correct in saying (Obama, Biden, McCain) 5) or had a friend that really had some wacked out views of the world but weren't your own (Obama, McCain) It only puts you in one category - perfection. As my religion says only one person has achieved that on this earth so why do we expect that from our politicians? Although, he was friends with prostitues, tax collectors, etc., so it does negate #5.

Seriously, what makes members of this group think they are immune to life's challenges and hardships? Education, enlightenment, wealth? Does this put you so far away from seeing others as simply different rather than beneath you?

Why not try a little humilty and gratefulness? Where are the truly hurt and lost on this board? This whole thing makes me very, very sad. This is so completely out of perspective.

A long time lurking, 3rd time posting, tarheel loving, poor editing, stay at home mom who is home because I love being with my children and am thankful that I have the financial means to do so.

Posted by: Claverack Weekender at September 4, 2008 8:35 AM

C'mon was the speech really that much worse than Biden's? I thought it was exceptional political theater. The production team had some major errors:

* The backgrounds behind the podium were terrible.
* They often did a reverse shot of the speaker that showed words on the teleprompter. You don't need to remind people this stuff is being read.
* They overdid the POW thing. McCain has 22 years of service find something else to talk about during that time.
* The "drill baby, drill" thing was sickening.

Claudia are you referring to Brown, and if so what year? I'm '92.

Posted by: Claudia at September 4, 2008 8:49 AM

GFWD--A "Sloper" is someone who lives in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, Ian's adopted hometown when he's not in Venice Beach. Park Slope is ultraliberal. Clipboarders regularly stop passersby on the main streets to get signatures in support of Obama or the ACLU--as in, at least two or three times a week. The two individuals I've met who have displayed bumper stickers for conservative candidates have both quickly had their cars vandalized. Therefore, it's pretty rare to find someone who openly supports a conservative candidate. Most of the (very few) conservatives are quiet, so as to avoid the very real threat of mayhem.

Claverack Weekender--not Brown, although I dated someone you may know from that time; I won't say any more so as to remain fairly quiet (see above paragraph).

Posted by: Jody at September 4, 2008 9:04 AM

GFWD - Park Slope is where 99% of things on stuffwhitepeoplelike.com can been ssen or experienced, I would guess.

Posted by: GFWD at September 4, 2008 9:15 AM

Thanks for the explanation Claudia. I thought it meant he was a downhill skiing enthusiast like Suzie Chapstick.

Also, does 7 years of post-secondary education mean 7 years after high school or 7 years after college? I'm too dense to know. I'm not trying to triangulate your position, I'm just curious about the terminology.

Posted by: Claudia at September 4, 2008 9:23 AM

GFWD--"Secondary school" is high school, so "postsecondary education" includes college and graduate school.

Who's Suzie Chapstick? Is that an actual person, or a hypothetical person like Penelope Plaintiff? I'm too lazy to Google, although I'm not too lazy to keep refreshing xtcian.com to see if there's anything new to the debate. It's a testament to your writing and charisma, Ian, that your blog is always charged and buzzing, even though you could benefit from a few Sunday Masses and some time spent as a small businessman ;). Well done.

Posted by: dean at September 4, 2008 9:31 AM

In the Vietnam era, a "Slope" was something completely different, less PC, and much more insulting.

By the way, have you guys ever heard that McCain served in 'Nam?

Posted by: GFWD at September 4, 2008 9:45 AM

Thanks, Counselor Claudia.

Suzie Chapstick was a pretty, Dorothy Hamill-looking ski character in a Chapstick commercial. She may be real. I'm not sure, but I think she's more like the Maytag Repairman--a lasting icon created by the folks on Madison Avenue.

I know yours was a cutsie remark regarding Ian's perspective, but the one thing about Ian that I happen to admire is that he even bothers to care. By his own account, he doesn't have to hold down a real job and is free to pursue his pipe dream. And, fiscally speaking, I think a traditional Republican platform would more directly benefit his family based upon his alluded-to income class more so than a traditional Democratic platform. Yet he comes to the site every day to howl at the conservative moon. Don't know that he needs an orchestrated mass to get in touch with his spirituality and I suspect meeting with studio execs as a proprietor of a product (scripts) gives him a more-than-we-can-appreciate sense of what it's like to be a struggling small business owner.

But I do appreciate your education of post-secondary education and slopers.

Posted by: Claudia at September 4, 2008 10:01 AM

You're welcome, GFWD.

Yes, my remark about Ian was obviously tongue-in-cheek. But, since you commented on it, I'll respond.

I don't purport to understand the vagaries of Ian's spirituality or lack thereof. That's between him and the higher power of his choice, or lack thereof. He and I have a minor history of religious back-and-forth in the comments section, with my having taken issue of his mocking of religion (hmmm, where have we seen this elsewhere recently?); this was a humorous-though-not-cutesy reference to that.

I do take issue, however, with your characterization of what Ian does as akin to running a small business. I realize my reference was vague, and that the term "small business" encompasses many varied fields of endeavor. I have no doubt that Ian's put in a lot of very hard work and navigated some very tough waters to get where he is, and continues to do so. However, not even in the darkest corners of my imagination can I consider a financially-independent individual who chooses to write for television to fulfill his dream akin to someone who gets off a boat in the U.S. with beans in his pocket and builds up a successful business from nothing to feed his family. THAT is who I was referring to as a "small business owner."

Posted by: Anne at September 4, 2008 10:11 AM

Hey, Claverack Weekend -- another Brown alum here!

Posted by: craighill at September 4, 2008 10:12 AM

for the record - palin's telepromptor totally fkd up last night and didn't pause for applause. so, she basically did the whole speech from memory. only impressive when compared to obama's several embarrassing gaffes when having to "wing it".

donnie deutsch on cnbc said this morning that palin has "reinvented feminism. She's a woman first and a power second. She's like Ronald Reagan: she feels good about herself and makes other people feel good about themselves. Women want to emulate her, men want to mate with her."

just like hillary. ;)

Posted by: fact check at September 4, 2008 10:14 AM

"Suzie Chapstick" was the name US Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee adopted when she appeared in Chapstick commercials.

Besides appearing in commercials and a couple of movies, she worked to get Title IX adopted and served on the USOC board.

Posted by: chip at September 4, 2008 10:15 AM


criaghill:

According to an eyewitness, who also got confirmation from a convention official, there was no actual problem with the teleprompter

See

http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0908/The_teleprompter_did_not_break.html?showall

Posted by: craighill at September 4, 2008 10:34 AM

chip - if you google "palin teleprompter" you'll see that there are also many eyewitnesses who DID see the problems with the teleprompter. you will also see some really funny one liners, my favorite:

she didn't need a teleprompter - she was channeling the voice of god.

Posted by: kjf at September 4, 2008 10:34 AM

re: what mom said.

i have said the same thing to members of my family who although they don't live in trailers are trailer trash. but i called the palins "country cornflakes" to avoid the backlash.

all i know is right now teams of reporters from the national enquirer are up in bumblefuck alaska with wads of cash getting the scoop on the palins. i think we have only skimmed the surface on these yahoos.

and how offensive to parade that little baby out (and what was with the youngest daughter licking him clean like a cat??) and claim to be the hero of the developmentally disabled when your record in alaska is to cut funds for anything that would help that group! hmmmmm.

i agree with you ian. if this country does not elect Obama it is over. there will be no more reason to even pretend to care. and i too will be looking seriously at Canada.

Posted by: Zel M. at September 4, 2008 10:43 AM

I never cease to be amazed how the supposed intelligentsia, the self-proclaimed "ones with education" just don't get it.

Ian wrote:

"The bar was set so low for Sarah Palin's speech..."

I disagree. Given the intense scrutiny she has faced over the last five days, anything less than an amazing performance would have shown her to be exactly what her detractors made her out to be.

"She read the words on the teleprompter – written by George W. Bush's speechwriter – with gusto..."

And your team doesn't? Your guy doesn't use speechwriters? And have you ever really listened to Obama off the 'prompter? And I don't mean one-on-one sitting around with the guys kind of thing - I mean in a situation where he has to actually engage, think, and speak. You end up with things like the "57 states" gaffe. There is a reason Obama has rejected the calls for a town hall-style debate.

"...tacky denigrations of Barack Obama's character..."

I didn't hear denigrations of his character. It was more denigrations of his qualifications.

"...along with a litany of complete and utter falsehoods."

One man's litany of complete and utter falsehoods is another man's political party talking points.

"How fucking DARE she make fun of community organizers? ...to hear this horrible woman demean them for laughs..."

Maybe you and I have a definition of "community organizers". Can you provide me a job description of what exactly a "community organizer" does, beyond assisting "those who've been abandoned by everyone else"? I personally took the term to mean "party hack" in a place like Chicago, especially since Obama had a day job. I'm guessing Obama meant "community organizer" has some sort of political meaning since it is being touted as one of his qualifications for president.

Clearly the "community organizer" comments were designed to provide a direct contrast to the denigration of the work of small-town mayors who are actually elected to office and who make up the backbone of the country's governmental corpus.

"Besides her bizarre, psychosexual repetition of McCain's time spent as a prisoner of war..."

Huh? I didn't find it bizarre. POW is McCain's velvet robe and you can expect it to be trotted out from time to time between now and November. And psychosexual? Were we watching the same speech?

"Palin said nothing to inspire people upwards, only taunts, lies, and jokes fed to the convention hall like gazelle meat to rabid lions."

I didn't realize the VP was supposed to inspire. I thought part of the job of the veep was to be an attack dog, allowing the top of the ticket to remain bloodless. Isn't that what was often cited with Obama's pick of Biden? That Biden wasn't afraid to mix it up?

BTW, it didn't take long for the misogynistic slams to start coming. I figured it wouldn't take long for someone to call Palin "shrill", while the same speech by a man would simply be "aggressive".

"...guttersniping, lying marionette..."

You'd never even heard of this woman before last Wednesday, and now she's worthy of this kind of bile?

"It was one thing that Bush won in 2000 – the Supreme Court, a confusing ballot, and Katherine Harris' purge lists made sure of that."

This crap again? You notice how Gore's inability to win his own home state is never mentioned. No candidate in the last 100 years in a reasonbly close election has ever lost his home state (McGovern and Adlai Stevenson lost their home states, but they both lost in landslides. Hell, in the 49-1 state landslide of Reagan over Mondale in 84, even Mondale won Minnesota).

"...it's the easily-duped well-meaning proletariats who have lost the ability – or desire – for critical thinking."

Wow - all 59 million people who voted for Kerry in 2004 are enlightened, independent thinkers but all 62 million who voted for Bush are incompetent dolts?

For what it's worth, I hope you don't leave. Discourse and dissent are vital to a thriving democracy. The greatest thing about America over the past 232 years is that, for the most part, the country has been self-correcting. If your view is accurate, the electorate WILL respond. Maybe that's the difference between us. I still believe that things will ultimately be right.

Posted by: gadfly at September 4, 2008 10:52 AM

Zel: " The greatest thing about America over the past 232 years is that, for the most part, the country has been self-correcting."

We no longer commit genocide against the original inhabitants of this land or enslave people. Let's pat ourselves on the back, people!

Posted by: CM at September 4, 2008 10:53 AM

See? KJF has some other words that can be used: yahoos, country bumpkins, I'm sure there are other words that don't insult poor people...
We liberals tend to chew our opponents out for being prejudiced or insensitive to disadvantaged groups, so I don't think we should do the same and make excuses for it, is all. Enough from me on that.

Posted by: Matt at September 4, 2008 11:13 AM

"she's demonstrably a liar, that she indisputably abused her power"

Demonstrably and indisputably? Do you even know what those words mean? Ok, I'm sorry but I'm amazed by the explicit elitism, name calling, and weird insistence that Palin's family is "fair game" for "derision" simply because they had the temerity to attend the convention and be seen on stage with their wife and mother – who those two little girls were on stage with Michelle in Denver calling their daddy on videophone, I don't know, but I don't think it gives anyone the right to trash them even if they were Obama's daughters. When McCain's VP pick was revealed, the MSM and Angry Left went to work tearing her into tiny little pieces and painting her as some incompetent hick who's out of her league. Now that the country is seeing her for themselves, how's that strategy working out for you?

The Palin family is just the sort of people I would like to associate with and I'd be proud to see them in and around the White House for the next 4 years. But even if that doesn't happen, she's likely to be a force to reckon with in politics for some time to come. Just imagine, if you will, a Hillary-Sarah match-up in 2012. That would be pretty cool, and good for the country at the same time.

GFWD, it's a mistake for a President to meet with leaders of rogue nations without preconditions because it gives them a propaganda coup and legitimizes them. I, for one, hope we do have government representatives talking with our enemies – two hard men in a basement somewhere laying it on the line – that's all well and good. A presidential photo-op? No. That comes with a price... being a responsible member of the international community or agreeing to pre-conditions. We should use as much leverage as we can.

Posted by: Terri at September 4, 2008 11:15 AM

Ben for President!

Posted by: Neva at September 4, 2008 11:16 AM

kjf said - and how offensive to parade that little baby out (and what was with the youngest daughter licking him clean like a cat??) and claim to be the hero of the developmentally disabled when your record in alaska is to cut funds for anything that would help that group! hmmmmm.
Amen to that.
This is the point I'm trying to make. She can say whatever she wants about "advocating" for my special needs child but exactly how is cutting programs and spending going to do that. I've got an idea - she can come drive my kid to her developmental day care center since the funding for bus transport was just cut. Maybe she can fit that in between dressing Moose and promoting abstinence?

Also, as parents of both a 7 year old and a DD kid I was pretty horrified that he husband gave that little bitty helpless and low muscled toned baby over to the 7 year old to hold on during the convention. I was so frightened she would drop that kid and we'd watch his cute little self roll down the stairs at the convention. That would've been a sight to remember! Good parenting skills on display there.

Posted by: GFWD at September 4, 2008 11:26 AM

Matt,

I hear you. I was thinking more realistically. Preconditions can easily be met. No more beheadings you say? Okay, I'll stop them for the week before the big meeting with Mr. Prez . . . and resume them the week after.

My approach is probably less realistic and thus it's one of many, many reasons why I'm not the foreign policy minister. But what I would like to see is a meeting--preconditions or not--with real repercussions for failure to fall in line. If we can't bomb them, place a crippling embargo of not just American goods, but EVERYTHING. Shoot down any planes that try to land in their country, block their harbors. The whole nine yards. And then show these men of will what will really is and what it truly means to be respectable on the world stage.

America needs to be less of a player on the world stage and more of a commissioner. David Stern didn't try to fight Ron Artest after he acted out, rushed into the stands and started pummeling fans. He negated him and banished him from the stage completely. That's real power.

But Stern's real power started with come-to-Jesus meeting between him and the player . . . and I think our next Prez could do the same.

Posted by: Rebecca at September 4, 2008 12:07 PM

I just hope that people remember whose name is on the top of the ticket. I read a study in 2004 that show that people historically have voted for the president, and that the VP candidate really doesn't sway voters. (Please don't ask me to cite the study, if you don't believe me do the research.) So will Palin change that? Are people who are on the fence going to vote for or against her?

Let's face it: most of us here were going to vote along party lines regardless of whose names are on the ticket. Those pesky independents and currently unregistered voters hold this election in their hands. After these 2 weeks of theater are over, the issues will be once again the deciding factor. (Dow's down 300 points - ouch.)

Posted by: laffy at September 4, 2008 12:21 PM

http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=184086

Posted by: kate at September 4, 2008 12:54 PM

Thanks to laffy for one of the best Daily Show clips I've ever seen.

Posted by: emma at September 4, 2008 3:10 PM

Rarely will I comment on a political issue in this venue as I really am just not passionate enough. Let me preface this by saying I didn't watch the speech last night, as I said I'm just not passionate enough. Very little that is said on this site surprises me, but the drooling rednecks and trailer trash (from Mom - my all-time favorite commenter other than caveman) comments have worried me all day. I guess I surround myself by these folks - the drooling rednecks and the trailer trash - I guess I am one myself, but I attended a luncheon today with about 20 women from age 38 to 85 and when one lady asked who liked what they saw in the speech last night was most of them raised both hands - one stood up, she was so taken by the speech. A 70-something lady told me later that she has never voted Republican in her life and she will in November. I think this is what a lot of small town America feels - I think it is possible you will want to start a Coastopia in November.

Also, as a daughter of a horribly conservative right wing man, those of you who are on the far end of either end of the spectrum, please be careful what you say to your young children about how the world will be if the other side wins. I don't have many memories of second grade, but I remember being truly patrified to go to school when Jimmy Carter won the presidential election. The sky was going to cave in - I'm surprised we weren't packing bags to go somewhere. But for my six or seven year old self - nothing was different. Yet I was scared to walk out of the door because the other side had won.

Posted by: once a heel at September 4, 2008 3:10 PM

Good Grief.

I didn’t watch Palin’s speech last night but after reading all the comments today here’s what I now know.

-Though I don't know what community organizers do or how that experience informs the presidency, apparently the only two possible answers are that they are utterly worthless or the backbone of our political body. The same goes for small town mayors.

-Matt still wants Ian to know that he crossed a line.

- I literally don’t know one thing Palin said (at least in the context it was said) but I know all about the performance of the teleprompters and every move her family made while she was speaking.

- I now know every euphemism for trailer trash but I’m still not sure how to spot one on sight. Is it kind of like gay-dar but in reverse?

-During election season, political considerations may underlie what candidates say and do.

-Being smart is good. Being real is good. The two are mutually exclusive.

-Ultimately the book on Palin may come down to what the National Enquirer finds out.

-Candidates may use their kids as props. You may not criticize kid props. You may criticize styrofoam props.

-Sometimes candidates make promises. Sometimes they don’t keep them.

-There isn’t a single tit for which the other side doesn’t have a tat. This choice of phrasing may make me a mysogynist.

I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again today, collectively we are so unable to get beyond even the smallest, most insignificant piece of baggage in an atmosphere where everything can be spun as a negative or perceived slight. Quite frankly the America we have today is well-earned.

Kudos to Sean. Because of the one link he provided, this fence-sitter at least has something to chew on.

Posted by: Sean M at September 4, 2008 5:35 PM

"I now know every euphemism for trailer trash but I’m still not sure how to spot one on sight. Is it kind of like gay-dar but in reverse?"

Hilarious. But no, one can be both gay and trailer trash. I'll use myself as an example.

Posted by: duckie at September 4, 2008 5:41 PM

I agree with the "Pretty in Pink"/"Heathers" parallels. To me, it's that feeling you got in high school, watching student council elections and knowing that the kid who wrote seven drafts of her speech and practiced it over and over in front of her parents is still going to lose to the one who screws the captain of the soccer team, thinks good grades are totally lame-o, and snickers a few off-the-cuff cliches, to thunderous applause.

Posted by: Paul G at September 4, 2008 10:08 PM

Posted by: Sean M at September 4, 2008 05:35 PM
""I now know every euphemism for trailer trash but I’m still not sure how to spot one on sight. Is it kind of like gay-dar but in reverse?"

"Hilarious. But no, one can be both gay and trailer trash. I'll use myself as an example.""

That was hilarious, but I will not let you call yourself trailer trash, Sean! You're as elitist as they come!! ;-)

Just finished watching McCain's speech. God, I am spent. Again. When the hell did McCain become the change candidate is what I want to know. (<-that's rhetorical)

Thank god for The Daily Show and Colbert Report. If those shows didn't air after these speeches, I don't think I'd be able to fall asleep.

To my never-elite liberal brothers and sisters, stay strong, fight the good fight, and CALL EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND ENEMIES ABOUT VOTING FOR OBAMA/BIDEN AND MAKE SURE THEY TELL THEIR FRIENDS HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS, TOO! And call swing state residents first, of course :-)

Posted by: laffy at September 4, 2008 11:44 PM

From politico.com :

"Mrs. Palin needs to be reminded that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor."

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