Saturday, July 31, 2010
For those of you who may not know, John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president of the United States.
Wikipedia's John F. Kennedy assassination entry links to its John F. Kennedy's assassination conspiracy theories entry. There are several theories there, but Kathleen Palingates' post is the only place I've read that the assassination was carried out by protestants! We learn something new, everyday, don't we?
Anyone who doubts Sarah Palin's celebrity need only talk to Lyn Carden.
As head of the Chamber of Commerce in Wasilla, Alaska, Carden tends to be the front line for tourists wanting to see Palin, perhaps even grab a cup of coffee at her house. And she has heard it all.
When Palin makes news, or carries a snazzy purse women want to buy, Carden invariably gets a call, or a flurry of calls. Some callers have left credit card information, hoping to get that purse. Others send fan mail or money for Palin's political action committee.
There are those too who just stop in, hoping for directions to her house, which they do not get, or eager to learn as much as they can about Wasilla's most famous resident. Many snap photos of themselves with Palin's cardboard cutout. ...
... She also is among the most well-known but polarizing political figures in America, revered by supporters as a God-fearing Everywoman who fights for what she believes in, and derided by critics as a political lightweight and quitter.
"There's no gray area," Carden said. ...
The story continues with a description of John Coale's trip with Sarah and Todd Palin to a Boston pastry shop. John Coale is Greta Van Susteren's husband.
At the end of the story, we're told, "Associated Press reporter Mark Thiessen contributed to this report from Wasilla, Alaska." This post's photo was found at another version of Bohrer's story.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Recently this blog posted "Kate Gosselin Being Considered as Palin's Running Mate." There, we provided photo evidence of Kate Gosselin meeting with Sarah Palin and a rationale for putting Gosselin on the 2012 ticket as Sarah Palin's running mate. Just four days later the idea appeared in MetroWNY!
Although the rationale is different -- MetroWNY assumes Gosselin would be the primary beneficiary of a Palin-Gosselin ticket, while we assumed Palin would be -- that MetroWNY is carrying the story must prove that it is true! Right?
But, of course, we're not claiming that MetroWNY got the idea from us. That would be a post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy on our part. But how else could they have come by such a cockamamie idea?
Sarah Palin doesn't believe in coincidences, right? Neither should you!
Monday, July 26, 2010
Raw JournoList E-Mails on 'Babygate' - Was there a 'liberal conspiracy' to protect Sarah Palin? - Updated!
The Daily Caller has published "Raw Journolist emails on 'Palin's Downs Child.'" These are posts by members of JournoList (to the list) concerning stories that Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy. WikiPedia's entry for Ezra Klein, the founder of JournoList, has this background information about the list:
In February 2007 Klein created a Google Groups forum called "JournoList" for discussing politics and the news media. The forum's membership was controlled by Klein and limited to "several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics." Posts within JournoList were intended only be made and read by its members. Klein defended the forum saying that it "[ensures] that folks feel safe giving off-the-cuff analysis and instant reactions". JournoList member, and Time magazine columnist, Joe Klein added that the off-the-record nature of the forum was necessary because “candor is essential and can only be guaranteed by keeping these conversations private”.
The existence of JournoList was first publicly revealed in a July 27, 2007 blog post by blogger Mickey Kaus. However, the forum did not attract serious attention until March 17, 2009 when an article was published on Politico that detailed the nature of the forum and the extent of its membership. The Politico article set off debate within the Blogosphere over the ethics of participating in JournoList and raised questions about its overall purpose. The first public excerpt of a discussion within JournoList was posted by Mickey Kaus on his blog on March 26, 2009.
Members of JournoList included, among others: Ezra Klein, Jeffrey Toobin, Eric Alterman, Paul Krugman, Joe Klein (no relation to Ezra Klein), Matthew Yglesias, and Jonathan Chait.
On June 25, 2010, Ezra Klein announced in his Washington Post blog that he would be terminating the Journolist group. This decision was instigated by fellow blogger Dave Weigel's resignation from the Post following the public exposure of several of his Journolist emails about conservative media figures.
Klein had justified excluding conservative Republicans from participation as "not about fostering ideology but preventing a collapse into flame war. The emphasis is on empiricism, not ideology".
The 'babygate' posts to JournoList are sorted by date and time, beginning:
Ryan DonmoyerAnd ending:
Aug 30, 2008, 12:07am
I actually hesitate to bring this up…
But is anyone following this:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/29/17933/7330/417/579267 [that story has been deleted]
Katha PollittIn between those two posts, there are many more by well-known members of the media. The consensus that seems to have emerged was that it was a story that should not be covered. The posts are interesting and may provide some insight into why the mainstream media "ignored" the story, as some have claimed; however, the NY Times did mention how the story was received inside the Republican convention hall in 2008 in its story "Palin Daughter's Pregnancy Interrupts Convention Script," which tells why the McCain campaign released news of Bristol's pregnancy, and the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) did describe the "Wild Ride" as well as the scene inside the convention.
Sept 1, 2008, 12:02pm
I think people are making very narrow harsh judgments about behavior and decisions while pregnant that are not all that unusual. A lot of things look worse on paper than they do in real life. Sarah Palin had been pregnant and delivered four times before Trig. What looks to some j-listers like wild irresponsibility bordering on criminal insanity may have just been her belief that she knew how her body worked and how much time she had before going into full delivery mode. And, if it was her baby, she was right! she didn’t give birth on the plane etc.
Interesting that the "liberal," "biased," "lamestream" media gave Sarah Palin a pass, isn't it? A recent Salon article, "Today's liberal journalist e-mail scandal: They criticized Sarah Palin," is also interesting.
The claims by the right that JournoList is evidence of a liberal media conspiracy don't hold water after reading how members of JournoList didn't run with a story that might have severely damaged the Republicans and Sarah Palin.
Update: Conservative Andrew Sullivan has weighed-in and, apparently, sees something of a conspiracy in the JournoList posts on 'Babygate.' He ends with:
This is your liberal media, ladies and gentlemen: totally partisan, interested in the truth only if it advances their agenda, and devoid of any balls whatsoever. ...But, Andrew, why didn't they run with the story? Wouldn't a "liberal media" have been delighted to "advance their agenda" and derail McCain's campaign with a story about how Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy?
People should be aware that conservatives of all stripes are desperately trying to use the existence of JournoList as evidence that an evil, liberal media conspiracy exists. Andrew Sullivan is one of them. Unfortunately, he chose to make a case with the 'babygate' posts to the list, which show that JournoList's members were not part of a liberal conspiracy.
Update: Sarah Palin wrote this about these JournoList posts published by The Daily Caller:
How ironic that on a day when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, The Daily Caller released 15 pages of JournoListers’ email exchanges about a dark and demented conspiracy regarding my son, Trig.Did she read the posts? Does she know that none of those JournoList members published a story about the "dark and demented conspiracy?" That they saved her bacon?
It’s tough to fittingly describe these numerous members of the mainstream media who actively engaged in the debate about this conspiracy back when I was first introduced as John McCain’s running mate, ...
CBS has a story about Palin's Facebook post. CBS' story quotes this part of Palin's Facebook post, among others:
This JournoList exchange exposes the warped nature of today's media, thus explaining why many of us are forced, in fairness to the public, to utilize other mediums to communicate until the mainstream media wakes up and begins respecting the public's intelligence and desire for truth in reporting.By substituting ignorance for intelligence and common-sense for truth in her last sentence, you may understand part of Sarah Palin's problem with the media. "The public" must be Sarah Palin's fans. Sarah Palin's found an excuse to continue to hide-out on Facebook and pontificate on Fox!
Upate: Andrew Sullivan has posted "Journo-List And My Hyperbole."
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Afghanistan WikiLeaks: White House offered 'On Background' advice to reporters, which was promptly LEAKED
The White House e-mailed the following statement with the subject line “Thoughts on Wikileaks” to reporters on Sunday evening. In the memo, the White House advised journalists on possible reporting tacks to take on the documents and pointed them to an excerpt from The Guardian newspaper’s report:
You all should have received a written statement from General Jones [see update below] about the wikileaks release. Please let me know if you didn’t.
A few thoughts about these stories on background: (emphasis added)
1) I don’t think anyone who follows this issue will find it surprising that there are concerns about ISI and safe havens in Pakistan. In fact, we’ve said as much repeatedly and on the record. Attached please find a document with some relevant quotes from senior USG officials.
2) The period of time covered in these documents (January 2004-December 2009) is before the President announced his new strategy. Some of the disconcerting things reported are exactly why the President ordered a three month policy review and a change in strategy.
3) Note the interesting graphs (pasted below) from the Guardian’s wikileaks story. I think they help put these documents in context.
4) As you report on this issue, it’s worth noting that wikileaks is not an objective news outlet but rather an organization that opposes US policy in Afghanistan.
From the Guardian:
But for all their eye-popping details, the intelligence files, which are mostly collated by junior officers relying on informants and Afghan officials, fail to provide a convincing smoking gun for ISI complicity. Most of the reports are vague, filled with incongruent detail, or crudely fabricated. The same characters – famous Taliban commanders, well-known ISI officials – and scenarios repeatedly pop up. And few of the events predicted in the reports subsequently occurred.
A retired senior American officer said ground-level reports were considered to be a mixture of “rumours, bullshit and second-hand information” and were weeded out as they passed up the chain of command. “As someone who had to sift through thousands of these reports, I can say that the chances of finding any real information are pretty slim,” said the officer, who has years of experience in the region.
If anything, the jumble of allegations highlights the perils of collecting accurate intelligence in a complex arena where all sides have an interest in distorting the truth.
The memo also provided excerpts of comments that President Obama has made on issues addressed in the documents.
There is much more to this developing story: WikiLeaks Says It Seeks 'Transparency' ... A Note to Readers: Deciding What to Publish ... Pakistan Aids Insurgency in Afghanistan, Reports Assert ... Strategic Plans Spawned Bitter End for a Lonely Outpost ... Inside the Fog of War: Reports From the Ground in Afghanistan
This is a big story, and it should promote a lot of debate about what we're doing in Afghanistan.
JUNEAU, Alaska -- Perhaps Sean Parnell's greatest accomplishment so far as governor is that he's not Sarah Palin.
In the year since inheriting the job when Palin resigned, Parnell has quietly gone about restoring a sense of calm that many Alaskans craved after the storm-that-was-Sarah. Barring any major missteps, that alone may be enough to help him carry next month's GOP primary and win the office he wasn't expecting [to] hold. ...
But isn't Parnell Palin without lipstick?
... While oil remains king, its revenue largely responsible for funding the state's operation, production is expected to keep declining. There are no firm answers for how best to stem those revenue losses.
One long sought project that could help is a major natural gas pipeline.
[Ralph] Samuels and [Bill] Walker [,both challenging Parnell, this fall, for the governorship,] have aggressively gone after Parnell's approach to building the line.
Parnell remains committed to the process championed by Palin, which she said would spur competition in bringing North Slope gas to market. Two competing projects are currently seeking shipping commitments and gauging interest. Parnell cites this as proof the market will win out.
But Samuels said the state is really no further ahead than it was several years ago in realizing a line.
Walker favors an "all Alaska line" that he says would put put (sic) Alaska, not oil and gas companies, in the driver's seat. He said Parnell has shown no leadership on the gas line. ...
And perhaps most importantly: How many Palin appointees remain in office to do Sarah's bidding?
Let's have a story about how Alaska's state government has changed or remained the same since Sarah Palin quit. Is Sarah Palin still influencing government through the appointments to boards and commissions she made? Those appointees serve at the governor's pleasure. Why hasn't Parnell cleaned house?
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Obama put it best earlier this year, after Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “you lie” during the president's State of the Union speech. "The easiest way to get on television right now is to be really rude,” the president told ABC News.Sargent's post followed his recent post, "Sarah Palin plays media for chumps," which recalled another Politico story, "The Sarah Palin-media co-dependency."
Indeed, at first Wilson seemed embarrassed and apologized for his outburst. But within days, Wilson and his opponent were both flooded with campaign contributions; Wilson took in more than $700,000 in the immediate aftermath of his outburst and was a guest of honor on Hannity’s show and Fox News Sunday.
It’s a well-traveled path: Flamethrowers Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) join Wilson on the list of Top 10 House fundraisers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
At POLITICO, we have an unusual vantage point on this new reality. We are both an enabler (in the eyes of some critics) of the deterioration of political discourse, and a target of it (as we try to defend our values as neutral journalists amid constant criticism from activists who think we fail at neutrality or are disdainful of the goal in the first place).
There is some truth on both counts. Like all news sites, we are aware that conflict clicks. More traffic comes from an item on Sarah Palin’s “refudiation” faux pas than from our hundreds of stories on the complexities of health care reform or Wall Street regulation.
I don't know what the question is, let alone the answer. Most news organizations are businesses, but so is The NY Times, which rarely runs Palin "news." Are loud-mouthed politicians rare birds in the sense that they're honestly expressing what they think and, so, worthy of a lot of coverage?
Politico states that they're driven by clicks; Sargent seems to agree and states that that is the reason stories about Sarah Palin's pratfalls need to be covered.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Officially, it's just a coincidence that Gosselin has been seen in Alaska while Palin is filming her own reality show there, and it's just a coincidence that they're both TLC properties, but no one is denying that Gosselin would bring a lot to the ticket.
As Palin's children age, they will become less effective with the press. It's thought that Gosselin's brood, being younger, could prolong a Palin administration's good relations with the press.
So far, the lamestream media hasn't caught on and is only reporting that Palin and Gosselin will appear on each other's show. They say that Gosselin's children are going to learn some science from Palin's father, Chuck Heath, when they appear on Palin's show. There is no word yet about what Palin, possibly accompanied by her children, will do on Gosselin's show.
Here are the lamestream media reports from: ABC News, NY Daily News, and The Washington Post. As usual, they don't have the full story.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Did Sarah delete a Facebook post?
At Lizard Annex, Charles Johnson has written "Sarah Palin: Doubling Down on Bigotry."
Sarah is trying to gin-up another controversy. This one's about JournoList -- another article.
The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza seems to think that Sarah Palin has problems in New Hampshire. He linked to a front-page editorial expressing doubts about Sarah Palin.
Wow! Sarah Palin's going camping with Kate Josselin.
Here's another item: Bethenny Frankel's not too keen on a reality show for Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Bristol Palin: Sarah "Doesn't Approve" of Levi Engagement
There may be some truth to the story that Sarah won't attend the wedding. Would she be invited? Will there be a wedding?
See IM's post, "As anybody with half a brain could have predicted the Levi/Bristol reunion is already beginning to crumble," too.
And, speaking of Sarah, here's Jimmy Kimmel with some insight on where mosques should be built, along with some late breaking news about the meaning of "refudiate:" (via "Kimmel: Palin's 'Like The Eskimo Don King'")
Update: Cue the lawyers. Sarah's attorney denies that she's boycotting the wedding.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sarah, out filming an adventure, stated that Alaska's Kodiak Island is America's largest. Wrong! See "Sarah, one more time: HAWAII IS IN THE USA!"
Sarah's latest faux pas was also reported by Boston's Herald, which noticed some other facts she overlooked while endorsing a candidate in the neighboring state of New Hampshire.
NY Times' The Caucus blog noted Palin's endorsement of a "Granite Grizzly" in New Hampshire. Is she statuesque? (I do know that New Hampshire is referred to as "The Granite State.")
Levi had a girlfriend between Bristol (first edition) and Bristol (second edition) (Between Levi I and Levi II?). Will this be the news that breaks Kathy Griffin's heart?
People reports that Bristol and Levi are playing hardball in their negotiations for a reality show. They want a full season! Way to go: get the money up front; you don't need no stinkin' pilot.
Stop the presses! Sarah may not attend the wedding.
Sarah Palin's "Mama Grizzlies" might be more aptly named "Mama Polar Bears." Is anyone surprised?
Progressive Alaska has video of Cenk Uygur on Sarah's tweet about Cordoba House.
Andrew Sullivan recaps some recent mail he's received about whether it's worthwhile to investigate Trig Palin's birth.
"Planned Sign of Tolerance Bringing Division Instead" is a NY Times article of July 13 (Is Sarah a slow reader?) reporting about the controversy over Cordoba House. It stated, in part:
... With a November election approaching, politicians have latched onto the issue as a high-profile platform to attack their opponents.
On Tuesday, Rick A. Lazio, a Republican running for governor, urged the landmarks commission to protect the [existing] building [at the planned site of Cordoba House], constructed in the late 1850s in the Italian Renaissance palazzo style; this would effectively halt the plans for the Muslim center. The commission expects to vote on the issue in August.
“This is about getting questions answered,” Mr. Lazio told reporters. “This is about transparency. This about the safety of the people of New York.”
“Religion has nothing to do with this,” he added.
Representative Peter T. King, a Republican, joined Mr. Lazio in calling for an investigation into the financing of the project. But Andrew M. Cuomo, Mr. Lazio’s Democratic opponent and the state’s attorney general, has rebuffed those requests.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has strongly endorsed the project, arguing that it is not the role of government to meddle in religious and business affairs.
“Government should never — never — be in the business of telling people how they should pray, or where they can pray,” Mr. Bloomberg said on Monday. “We want to make sure that everybody from around the world feels comfortable coming here, living here and praying the way they want to pray.”...
Finally, there is "Why Sarah Palin Endangers American National Security (and Israel's, as well)"
Her latest attempt was Cordoba House; the previous was the NAACP's resolution.
The anonymous Romney aide who reportedly said, "She's not a serious human being" may have been correct, although "She's not a serious presidential candidate" might have been better?
Why are we paying attention to Sarah Palin?
Sunday, July 18, 2010
... One year after leaving public office behind, defiantly stepping down as governor of Alaska to become a best-selling author and a television celebrity, Ms. Palin has waded deeply back into electoral politics, and she plans to increase her visibility on the campaign trail after Labor Day. ...But some common sense, too:
... That she is leaving a major footprint on the 2010 midterm elections is not disputed, but less clear is whether the endorsements are rooted in an effort to amplify her image or to create a political strategy for the future. ...
... She has delivered a few policy addresses in recent months and seemed to be moving beyond the family drama that often enveloped her.Indeed, from a recent CBS/NY Times poll of Tea Partiers we have: "Tea Party supporters were asked in the poll what they thought of a few notable figures. The most popular was Sarah Palin, who is viewed favorably by 66 percent of people in the movement. Only 40 percent, however, believe she would be an effective president, a smaller percentage than Republicans overall. (emphasis added)
That changed last week, when her daughter Bristol announced on the cover of Us Weekly that she was engaged to her former boyfriend, Levi Johnston, stirring a reminder of the circus-like atmosphere that accompanied the Palins’ arrival on the national scene two years ago. ...
... Fred Malek, a Republican fund-raiser who is a friend and supporter of Ms. Palin, said it would be incorrect to view her role in the midterm elections through the prism of the 2012 presidential race.
Mr. Malek said she does not seek his counsel — nor that of any other Republican establishment figure — in deciding whether to support a candidate. “She carefully watches what’s going on in the political world and makes decisions based on who she thinks deserves support,” he said.
Indeed, the endorsements provide little evidence that she is moving closer to a presidential run. A willingness to inject herself into so many primary fights and frustrate the supporters of the candidates she overlooks is a risky way of building establishment support.
In conversations with Republicans in recent months — including at a rally Ms. Palin held with Mr. McCain in Arizona, at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans and at campaign events here in Georgia — voters often give Ms. Palin high marks. But asked whether they believe she should run for president, few say yes.
Judy Pruitt, a 70-year-old retiree in Lawrenceville, said she came to see Ms. Handel partly because of the Palin endorsement. But she had a swift answer when asked if she would welcome a 2012 Palin campaign.
“I’m not sure she’s ready for the presidency,” she said. “I do like listening to her, and I respect her views on things. But I think she can have more of an impact if she’s not running. I really do.”
The Times' article has a graphic, Sarah Palin's 2010 Choices. There you can see that she has endorsed in 20 congressional districts with contested Republican primaries. There are an additional 8 House endorsements in districts without a primary, and in 5 of those she has endorsed the incumbent. Palin has made 28 House endorsements, about 6.5% of House seats.
She's an opportunist. Don't forget to vote.
Update: The graphic's "Would face Incumbent Democrat" column needs to be considered, and it's easy to miscount: some of her endorsed candidates aren't facing a primary, some are. Anyway, a strikeout has been applied to the post. See the comments.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Hey! They could do parodies of stories from Going Rogue! Would they cower in the car all night staring slack-jawed at some Mama Grizzly stealing food from their campsite? No! As soon as Bristol said, "Levi, I've seen this movie before," it'd be, KABOOM! Problem solved.
But Celebrity Cafe is being more cautious regarding the rumors of any show:
... No one has been able to confirm that the reality show deal even exists. Palin’s reps have yet to comment concerning such a program and Johnston’s attorney Rex Butler didn’t return phone calls for a statement.
Bravo and MTV both verified that no shows about the pair are in the works. Two nameless prominent reality-show producers said that a show about Palin and Johnston were not even being considered in the shopping stage.
One producer said, “If they prove to be bankable — and the Us Weekly cover could prove that — there could be a number of companies who want to air their story.”
These kids are entrepreneurs. Sarah should be proud of them.
Daily Beast's Mark McKinnon wrote, "She's Running!" Oh! But Jonathan Bernstein says anyone claiming to know what she'll do should be ignored. Pick your poison.
Associated Press is reporting that Palin was paid $75000 for her appearance at California State University, Stanislaus. The Los Angeles Times has a story, too.
This disclosure certainly gives organizations that might engage Palin a starting point in their negotiations with her agent, Washington Speakers Bureau. An excellent negotiating strategy would be to determine how effective a Palin appearance is. For example, an organization might ask, concerning appearances she's already made, "What percentage of the money raised was paid to Palin?" And, "What were the event's total costs, as a percentage of the money raised?" If they would do that, organizations could determine whether a Palin appearance is cost effective. It could be that more traditional fundraising techniques are more cost effective, i.e., more efficient.
For example, if the $207000 being reported is the net from the event, with Palin's fee $75000 and other expenses, assumed, $50000, then $125000 + $207000 = $332000 was raised. $207000 is only 62% efficiency ($207000/$332000). Charitable organizations with efficiencies less than 80-90% are generally considered rip-offs, because their cost of raising funds is too high.
Greg Sargent's got his ear to the ground, listening for that stampede of Pink Elephants. Today he reports on a new Gallup poll that shows Sarah Palin with a high favorability rating among Republicans, but high negative ratings among Americans overall:
... The numbers from Gallup tell the story. Palin has a whopping 76 percent favorability rating among Republicans; only 20 percent don't like her. That's significantly higher than the other GOP 2012 hopefuls.
At the same time, among all Americans, she's viewed unfavorably, 47-44. That's also significantly higher than all the other GOP 2012 hopefuls. Only nine percent of Americans don't have an opinion of Palin, while that number is in high double digits for all the others. Her situation is different than that of her rivals: They have room to expand their appeal, and she doesn't.
As Ben Smith has noted, Palin's strategy of going around the lamestream media filter has been a huge success with the Palin Nation hordes but it has failed in that she continues to grow more unpopular with everyone else. As the above numbers demonstrate, this works for her in her current role, but make it increasingly unlikely that she'll succeed if she ever sets foot outside of the bubble she's created for herself. ...
See Sargent's post for late-breaking news about why Democrats may find reason to like Palin!
It was a blogging frenzy kind of day, today, and I did three other posts! Just scroll down to read them: People are thinking of Sarah as Pat Buchanan in drag? The nerve of them! Gail Collins foresees a Palin-Johnston edition of "Dancing With the Stars." Shoot your TeeVee. Some anonymous Romney/Palin aides got into it ... Romney tweeted about their stupidity (take that, Palin-aide!).
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift is asking, "Are Sarah Palin's 'Mama Grizzlys' Feminists?"
... It’s nice [Mama Grizzlies are] embracing feminism after demonizing the term for so long, and I welcome them to the arena. Let’s see if they can do for women what their sisters on the left have done since the ’70s, breaking down the barriers for women in all areas of American life including politics. Palin has George W. Bush’s disdain for intellectual elites, and she lives the rhetoric. She’s undisciplined intellectually, but she’s got street smarts, and they count. ...
... The women candidates she considers Mama Grizzlies would have been out there anyway; I don’t think she inspired them to run. But she’s given definition to a movement that would otherwise be just a bunch of kooks, or one-offs. She’s fenced off a wing of the GOP that she owns, and in politics, when it’s your turn to ride the rocket, that’s what you do. A Republican source says Palin is nothing new, she’s really Pat Buchanan in drag—the same issues except that her reality show is a lot more gripping. The media went overboard for Buchanan in 1996 when he won the New Hampshire primary, defeating establishment favorite Bob Dole. But the insurgent campaign of a former Nixon speechwriter can’t compare with the ongoing soap opera of the Palins. Bristol and Levi together again!
When I ran the Palin-as-Buchanan theory past another Republican, a woman this time, she said that was an insult to Buchanan, who is deeply serious and has thought about these issues. She doesn’t agree with his conclusions, but he rode the rocket at a moment in time, just as Palin is poised to do. This friend does corporate focus groups that have nothing to do with politics, and at the end she likes to ask what the participants think of various people in the news: “When you mention her name, they all smile, even if what comes out of their mouth is that she’s terrible.”
A big part of Palin’s appeal is how well she works with today’s culture, which is shallow and quick. Twitter is 140 characters—which gets me back to the serious do-gooders who worry about girls in Afghanistan. They don’t have the same ability to get to the heart of things, plus they’re dealing with issues most voters would rather avoid, and that includes Palin, who quit public office when it got harder than tweeting.
In "Feminism is Alive and Well ... Even Sarah Palin Wants to Be One," Gloria Steinem says, " ... yes, you can be a feminist who doesn’t agree with abortion, who would never have an abortion. But you can’t be a feminist who says that other women can’t and criminalizes abortion." That would seem to disqualify Palin, who, although she claims to have considered her own options as any ordinary pro-choice woman might, while she was pregnant with Trig, doesn't trust other women with that choice.
Clift says Sharron Angle isn't pro-choice. What about the other candidates Palin has endorsed? Are any of 'em feminists?
Are 'Mama Grizzlys' a big deal?
... Let me go out on a limb and say that Sarah Palin was probably not happy to learn about her oldest daughter’s re-engagement to her baby-daddy via an eight-page cover spread in Us Weekly. ...
... This cannot be a welcome change of subject for the former Republican vice presidential nominee. She’s been on a political roll — raising money, making some prescient picks in the Republican primaries. She’s got a hot “mama grizzlies” video out, in which she touts a new wave of conservative women, rising up to protest ... the bad thing. Palin is really, really vague about exactly what the threat is. (The closest she gets is “the fundamental transformation of America.”) But there’s really no need to be specific because, as she says in the video, “Moms kinda just know when something’s wrong.”
The Bristol-Levi debacle, which might be a minor sideshow for another politician, looms larger for a Mama Grizzly. Inquiring minds might want to know why she didn’t sniff trouble, rise up on her hind legs and eviscerate that hockey-playing thug the first time he followed her daughter through the kitchen door.
Since Sarah Palin’s own fame seems grounded on little but a look and an attitude, you can’t blame the kids for thinking the same kind of thing would work for them. Bristol tried to become a celebrity unwed mother, the anti-teen-pregnancy spokeswoman for a sexy clothing line. Levi tried to make a name for himself as the celebrity unwed mother’s ex-boyfriend. It might have worked out, except that as a spokeswoman, Bristol turned out to have nothing to say. And Levi, who kept showing up on TV promising to tell “my side of the story” was close to sub-verbal.
But the conviction that celebrity is transferable, like chicken pox, is still going strong in Wasilla. ...
... Tune in tomorrow when ... What next? My money’s on an all-Palin-Johnston edition of “Dancing With the Stars.”
... Some of the other would-be candidates and their senior advisers have known Palin over the years, primarily from her days as governor, but most have literally never met her or had a substantive talk with her. That is a strange situation to say the least; it forces them to evaluate her without any direct insight into her strengths and weaknesses. But from afar, they increasingly believe she will either become a candidate for president or play a major role in the nominating process.
Still, few express much regard for Palin's ultimate chances. One adviser to Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and, by traditional standards, the putative 2012 frontrunner, says of Palin, "She's not a serious human being." Another Romney intimate warns, "If she's standing up there in a debate and the answers are more than 15 seconds long, she's in trouble."
One of the most experienced Republican national political operatives in the country suggests that while Palin might be envied and sleek, she lacks the endurance required for a protracted nomination fight. "She's like a cheetah. She can run really fast, but not really long." In the end, this school of thought about Palin goes, she is too polarizing to be seen as likely to beat Barack Obama, and Republicans will be too hungry in 2012 to risk nominating someone who could cost the party the White House — maybe even in a landslide. ...
Halperin goes on to describe a potential Romney campaign, then drops a dark-horse surprise:
Romney might be following the old-school candidate handbook, but it is Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels who has attracted the backing of many party elders, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Daniels, like Romney, fits the profile that Obama White House advisers and experienced Republicans believe would give the GOP the best chance to beat Obama in 2012. If voters think Washington is broken and spending is out of control, Daniels, like Romney, could effectively run as a Mr. Fix-It, ready to make the hard choices that conservatives believe Obama has dodged.
Rather than address the issue of her potential candidacy, an aide to Palin "unloaded" on Romney's staff by playing victim:
“It shocks me that anyone would try to do that,” the aide said. “You’d think we’d all be working together toward a common goal – that being 2010 – and that should be the focus right now. Those who try to claim the mantle of Reagan would be good to follow one of his most sacred tenets.”...
... Further, the Palin aide criticized Romney’s staff for launching into attacks focused on the 2012 Republican presidential primary rather than focusing on November’s midterm election.
“She’s not focused on promoting herself or disparaging other Republicans,” the aide said. The Republican Party is “not worried about 2012. We should be focused on 2010.”
Is Sarah Palin following Reagan's "most sacred tenets?" One was "never speak ill of another Republican," yet Palin is robo-calling Georgia to tell people that the Republican opponents of the Republican candidate she's endorsed for Governor are, "kind of saying those kinds of crazy things about her. ... Karen's opponents aren't always telling the truth about her views."
And Sarah Palin isn't promoting herself? Can anyone believe that after the book tour, photo shoots, TeaVee appearances, speaking engagements and reality show?
IM's post of this morning has the identity of the Palin aide who went to Politico's Andy Barr to unload.
Update: Vanity Fair reports that Mitt Romney has -- gasp! -- twittered in an attempt to shut-up the dueling anonymous sources. Isn't that leadership?
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Now that she's engaged, Bristol Palin is already thinking about expanding her family. It just won't happen anytime soon.
"I'm going to wait a while, definitely," she tells PEOPLE. "I'm not going to rush into having another kid."
Bristol, 19, who reconciled with former boyfriend Levi Johnston, 20, says their 18-month-old son Tripp "will have a brother or sister, eventually." ...
Bristol and Levi talk about how Levi proposed during an Us Weekly video, here.
GOP man about town Fred Malek, speaking of the engagement of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, told the Washington Post's Jason Horowitz, "It will be highly cynical to look for a political motive in this situation which has brought two young people together."
There are more stories about the engagement at The Washington Post's Reliable Source column. Who says this isn't news?
It's a dog-eat-dog world in Georgia's Republican gubernatorial primary. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Political Insider column tells us:
Former state senator Eric Johnson this afternoon called on his rival Republican candidates for governor to cease their attacks on each other – declaring that they were playing into the hands of Gov. Roy Barnes. ...
Sarah Palin, who is backing Karen Handel, made robo-calls to thousands of GOP voters in an effort to defend Handel against charges that Handel had waffled on gay rights issues and was a weak opponent of abortion. Those charges were made by John Oxedine, the state's insurance commissioner and front-runner on the Republican side, who claimed Handel "... gave almost a half-million dollars to an abortion provider. And supported tax-payer benefits for gay couples. Sounds like a liberal Democrat. It's the Karen Handel you didn't know."
During her robo-call, Palin says, according to the Journal-Constitution,
“The primary is really close. So Karen’s opponents are kind of saying those crazy things about her. Please just get the truth for yourself. Karen is a pro-life, pro-family constitutionalist – a Republican who’s going to fight for what is right.”
“Because she is taking on the status quo, well, Karen’s opponents are always telling the truth about her views on those issues that we hold dear….” [Was that a slip? The sentence not finished? Misquoted?]
Finally, Politics Daily has an interesting article by Sandra Fish, "Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Tom Pawlenty: Where Their PAC Money Goes."
During her honeymoon speech at the Republican National Convention in 2008, Sarah Palin echoed a jab at Barack Obama that had been lurking around in Republican circles for most of that year. ...Another RNC Chief, Ken Mehlman, said that the Southern Strategy was wrong, in 2005. Mike Allen of the Washington Post wrote:
... I'm referring here to the emphasis on President Obama's service as an urban community organizer. Clearly, this was a Southern Strategy-style racial dog whistle -- a way of underscoring the president's ethnicity, his race and his association with scary inner-city black people.
It's worth mentioning again the Lee Atwater quote regarding the functional language of the Southern Strategy. Suffice to say, Atwater made it perfectly clear that Republican political tactics included (and still do) exploiting race -- winning white votes by demonizing blacks. And the way to play this game in the modern age was to use code language. Dog whistles, because overt racial language would too easily "back fire."
At the time, Atwater suggested the exploitation of issues like tax cuts or states rights with the implication that the Republican Party supported the preservation of white dominance. (Not surprisingly, tax cuts and states rights dominate the 2010 political discourse.) And the demagoguing of issues like welfare, affirmative action or Medicaid would underscore, to predisposed white voters, the fallacious notion of lazy black freeloaders horking white jobs and white tax dollars and not contributing anything to society other than crime. ...
... Sarah Palin is and was a Southern Strategist.
So it's with considerable hilarity that I read her latest Facebook remarks in which she insisted there isn't a racial component to the various tea party groups."I am saddened by the NAACP's claim that patriotic Americans who stand up for the United States of America's Constitutional rights are somehow 'racists,'" Palin wrote in a Facebook note.... [T]he NAACP was specifically referencing the obviously racist elements of the tea party, whether it's the tea party's use of Southern Strategy dog whistles to rally white support, or the very overt displays of racism, beginning with the screechy Curious George-wielding freaks outside the Palin rallies during the campaign, or the Birthers, whose whole thing is about race, or the (often misspelled) signs at tea party rallies with the president Photoshopped to look like a witch doctor.
The NAACP, with its resolution this week, wasn't even going as far as I am here in suggesting the tea party is built upon Southern Strategy politics. The members were merely requesting that the tea party denounce the racially-motivated characters within its ranks. I don't think that's such a big deal. But Sarah Palin evidently believes that the people who shouted racial epithets at Congressman Lewis are "patriotic Americans" and "somehow" not racists, when, in fact, they clearly are. These are the people the NAACP asked to be denounced. Why would Sarah Palin have a problem with that? ...
... Remarkably, and despite volumes of documented evidence, including a candid admission by the chairman of the RNC, we constantly hear Sarah Palin, and many other Republicans for that matter, claiming that the Southern Strategy doesn't exist as a central component of the party. The far-right (and not-so-far-right) totally denies the existence of the Southern Strategy in the face of cold, hard historical fact while also embracing its tactics and language.
It was called "the southern strategy," started under Richard M. Nixon in 1968, and described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue -- on matters such as desegregation and busing -- to appeal to white southern voters.Didn't Republicans get the memo? Sarah?
Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, this morning will tell the NAACP national convention in Milwaukee that it was "wrong."
"By the '70s and into the '80s and '90s, the Democratic Party solidified its gains in the African American community, and we Republicans did not effectively reach out," Mehlman says in his prepared text. "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong."
Wikipedia has a Southern Strategy entry.
Some additional background information about the NAACP's resolution and Sarah Palin's reaction to it was covered in my post, here.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Sarah Palin wasn't the only person kept in the dark about daughter Bristol's surprise engagement to ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston – funny lady Kathy Griffin was taken aback as well.
Though they never actually dated, Johnston and Griffin have kept up a comedic charade about their so-called "love affair" since making a highly publicized appearance together at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards last August.
"Oh y did I trust my heart 2 a 19 yr old ice-fisherman/babydaddy from Wasila?" the comedienne Tweeted Wednesday about Johnston. ...
... "I just have so much in common with Levi. We can talk for minutes," Griffin once told Time magazine. "As long as I can quote 'The Bachelorette' to him, I'd say we have a connection." ...
... Bristol Palin and Johnston announced today on the cover of Us Weekly that they're back together and have decided to get hitched. The couple, who ended their rocky romance in March 2009 after a highly publicized breakup, pose together on the magazine's cover with their 18-month-old son Tripp.
The formerly engaged pair says they got back together three months ago after meeting to discuss a custody plan for their son. An intimate text from Johnston later that night rekindled the young lovers' romance.
And, they tell Us Weekly, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been kept in the dark about their plans ... until now.
"We got engaged two weeks ago," Bristol, 19, tells Us Weekly. "It felt right, even though we don’t have the approval of our parents."
Bristol and Levi, 20 -- who famously called off their previous engagement two weeks after welcoming son Tripp in December 2008 -- tell Us Weekly they reconnected three months ago while working out a custody plan for their 18-month-old son.
"I really thought we were over," Levi tells Us Weekly. "So when I went, I had no hope. I think we both just started talking — and then we took Tripp for a walk."
Says Bristol, "When he left that night, we didn’t hug or kiss, but I was thinking how different it was. He texted me: 'I miss you. I love you. I want to be with you again' ... I was in shock." ...
US Weekly's story continues with Bristol telling the magazine that she's scared of Sarah's reaction.
NBC's Today has an interesting story about the engagement:
Us Weekly's story is here.
Update: The unavailability of NBC's video may be due to an embargo that may end soon. After it broadcasts on the west coast?
Update: Sarah and Todd Palin said in a statement on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday that they want what's best for their children and that Bristol believes in "redemption and forgiveness." And it seems Bristol blames her mom for their initial breakup. In a newly released People interview, Bristol says that had her mom not been a VP candidate, she and Levi would already be married and would never have split. (via HuffPo, which has a large hi-res picture of Us Weekly's cover)
Update: The new video is not the earlier video with Matt Lauer, but it is an interesting interview with Caroline Schaefer, Us Weekly’s executive editor.
Update: The story must be true. It's made the paper of record. "Bristol Palin + Levi Johnston = Engaged."
Update: From Bristol's interview with People Magazine:
Bristol, who did not wear an engagement ring during her conversation with PEOPLE, replied to the question of if they would marry: "Yeah. I mean, I don't really want to get into detail about what's in store for our future, because who knows? But all I'd like to say about it is, hopefully we will be a family."
As for how they managed to bury the hatchet after their very public falling out, Bristol credits Levi's "just coming around. But, I don't know. It's good. It's good for all three of us [including son] Tripp Easton!"
Looking back, Bristol believes that if fame, money and her mom Sarah Palin's vice presidential campaign had not become part of her and Levi's lives, the ex-couple would already be happy living a simple life.
"I think Levi and I would be married," she says without hesitation. "He would still have his [oil] job on the North Slope, and we'd be in a one-bedroom apartment, scraping by."
Bristol, who says all of her friends have gone out of state, has no plans to follow them. "Levi and I are both Alaska based, and I don't see us moving anywhere else."
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Two leading GOP conservatives, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, back different horses in Georgia's crowded gubernatorial primary. In the Democratic contest, former president Bill Clinton dissed the front-runner.
In the Democratic primary, Clinton endorsed Attorney General Thurbert Baker for governor over the favorite (and former governor) Roy Barnes. Baker seeks to become Georgia's first black governor. The Associated Press notes that Baker endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in 2008 while Barnes backed John Edwards.
On her Facebook page yesterday, Palin announced her support for "underdog candidate" Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of State. Gingrich today endorsed former House colleague Nathan Deal, who left the House just before a potential Ethics Committee investigation. Palin, the GOP's 2008 vice presidential candidate, and Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, touted their candidates as the truest to conservative values. ...
Interestingly, Palin has endorsed a candidate who, according to her opponent, John Oxedine, the state's insurance commissioner and front-runner on the Republican side, "... gave almost a half-million dollars to an abortion provider. And supported tax-payer benefits for gay couples. Sounds like a liberal Democrat. It's the Karen Handel you didn't know" (CNN's Political Ticker via IM).
The Georgia primary will be held on July 20th, and a runoff is scheduled for August 10 if none of the candidates receive more than 50% of the votes.
Salon has a short, excellent article which contains several interesting links: "Michele Bachman outraises Sarah Palin: Is the Minnesota congresswoman more popular than the queen of the Tea Parties?"
Esquire's Politics blog addresses the hoopla over SarahPAC's recent quarterly report, noting:
Winning the GOP candidacy in 2012 will take more than stardom, and more than money. It'll take strategy, alliances, and one heckuva lot of shoe leather. Especially in Iowa and New Hampshire. I won't hazard a guess as to who will emerge victorious. I will predict it won't be be Palin or Romeny [sic], the presumptive frontrunners today. They've both tried and failed on the national stage before. Neither is a new face. And for Palin specifically, the same idiosyncratic tactics she uses to woo the far-right make her, I and others think, uniquely unlikely to be able to mount a successful party-wide candidacy. As for Mitt, Charlie Pierce has some new thoughts. Meantime, money talks.
Finally, something that cannot go without mentioning: David Weigel has a guest post at Andrew Sullivans' place. It's about Trig Palin's birth. I may address Weigel's post in the comments.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Greg Sargent's WaPo blog has an interesting post, "Sarah Palin plays media for chumps." It begins with a video of Chuck Todd commenting on MSNBC's "Morning Joe:"
"I hope we don't hear from Sarah Palin about media bias anymore. Because it is amazing the ability this woman has to get media attention with as little as she does, whether it's a Twitter or a Facebook update, and she gets all this atttention."
Sargent then cites a very important article written by Politico, last year:
The dirty secret here is that news orgs hype Palin's Tweets and Facebook missives because they drive clicks and traffic, not because they're newsworthy. Just ask the editors of Politico, which recently told its readers bluntly that Palin and the media have a "symbiotic relationship," because for the media, Palin is good "for the bottom line."
And argues that the attention has been good for her:
Some have argued that the media attention lavished on Palin has actually been a negative for her, as evidenced by her dropping approval ratings. But negative media attention actually plays in her favor. It plays into the narrative she's trying to construct, in which she's a warrior for a latter-day silent majority against pointy-headed eastern elites who are trying to destroy her because she represents the values and concerns of Real America. Negative attention only helps her tighten her emotional grip on her supporters. Palin keeps up the nonstop media bashing in order to feed this narrative.
Whoa! Wait just a minute! The attention has been good for her in the sense that it solidifies her fans' support. The attention hasn't helped her with moderates, independents and democrats, all of whom she must woo in order to be elected. The moment she moves to the middle in an attempt to woo them, her base of support will crumble, and everyone else will doubt her sincerity. Everyone will say she's flip-flopped!
It is interesting, and it can be perplexing. From the perspective of someone seeking web hits, nothing could be better than Sarah Palin acting batsh*t crazy and running for President. Isn't she? What could be more entertaining and controversial?
Today the UK's Guardian ran an article "Sarah Palin's war chest points to 2012 presidential bid," in which a blogger was cited for writing,
"'She's too stupid' is what the Establishment GOP really thinks about Sarah Palin. 'Good-looking,' but a 'ditz'. This is unfertile ground, since Palin can turn the argument on a dime and say: 'They drive the country into bankruptcy, they underwrite Fannie and Freddie, they bail out Goldman Sachs, they fight wars they don't want to win, they say enforcing the immigration laws is silly and they call me stupid! I'll give you a choice: you can have their smarts or my stupidity, which one do you want?' A large number of GOP presidential primary voters will take Palin's "stupidity" in a heartbeat." [emphasis added]
Bring on the clowns!