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