Thursday, December 9, 2010

Palin in Progress

Palin' in Progress might be a better title for this TIME cover story about Sarah Palin. It was written with the help of Rebecca Mansour, Sarah Palin's "speechwriter."

Apparently, however, Mansour isn't entirely happy with the article. About 7:00 AM PST, she tweeted, "Every other line in this TIME piece gibberish. Obama "hiring his way out of a recession." No, Palin accused him of "spending" his way out."

But GOP12 posted what it may consider to be points Palin scored with the article:

1. Palin thinks Obama is vulnerable, and she implies that she is the one to take him on. "In battleground states, he's polling at 40% or below," she notes.

2. "The country is rejecting his agenda ... My vision of America is diametrically opposed to his. He sees America as the problem. I see America as the solution."

3. Asked what she makes of Obama's presidency thus far, Palin quipped, "Two words: Jimmy Carter."

4. Asked who can beat him, she needed seven more: "Someone who can draw a sharp contrast."

The weakness of these "points" is illustrated by my ability to easily rebut them:

1. What can I say? Palin has more reason to be embarrassed by her poll numbers. For a while, after the Republicans' 1994 takeover of the House, it was thought that Bill Clinton couldn't be reelected. He was and presided over four years of prosperity and low unemployment. When he left office in 2001, he left a budget surplus to Republicans, who quickly squandered it and racked up unprecedented debt. "Sarah Palin Is 'Virtually Unelectable' " puts Palin's attempt to crow about polls into perspective.

2. Her assertion that President Obama sees America as the problem while she sees it as the solution is just another attempt to gin up some controversy. Palin's "argument" about American exceptionalism originated in a remark Obama made when responding to a reporter's question at a news conference:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. In the context of all the multilateral activity that's been going on this week -- the G20, here at NATO -- and your evident enthusiasm for multilateral frameworks, to work through multilateral frameworks, could I ask you whether you subscribe, as many of your predecessors have, to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, or do you have a slightly different philosophy? And if so, would you be able to elaborate on it?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I'm enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world. If you think about the site of this summit and what it means, I don't think America should be embarrassed to see evidence of the sacrifices of our troops, the enormous amount of resources that were put into Europe postwar, and our leadership in crafting an Alliance that ultimately led to the unification of Europe. We should take great pride in that.

And if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.

Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we've got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we're not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.

And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can't solve these problems alone.
It's clear that Palin, who relies on a poorly informed speechwriter for her opinions, takes The President's remarks out of context to support her contention that Obama doesn't believe that America is exceptional. The deemphasized portion of the President's remarks, above, is the portion used by Palin to support her claim.

Snowbilly's post, "Strike three! You're out, Sarah Palin!," counts three other ways Sarah Palin or her ghostwriter (speechwriter?) take things out of context in a farcical attempt to buttress her opinion by citing writings that do not support her view. But, of course, Sarah Palin doesn't play by the rules -- this game doesn't have many rules -- and we aren't playing baseball; however, a little intellectual honesty isn't too much to ask.

3. In retrospect, Jimmy Carter is increasingly seen as a good president. What does Palin have to say about another one-term president, George H.W. Bush, who is respected by most Americans? He's a "blue blood."

4. Yes, there would be a stark contrast between Palin and Obama, should that race occur, and it wouldn't be favorable to Palin. Palin would pale in comparison (and contrast). That contrast has many people, even in the White House, relishing the idea of running against Palin.

The TIME article does, however, provide some insight into Palin's organization and staffing:
Like most retainers (she's a queen, if you didn't know), Palin's crew is not a team of rivals: it is devotedly, self-effacingly protective of its boss. Palin has hired some people virtually sight unseen, and yet the most important credential appears to be loyalty. ...

... The main gang of six — Sarah, Todd, Crawford, Mansour, Van Flein and Davis — has settled into something of a routine this year: Palin and her husband receive a daily morning briefing from Davis and Mansour via e-mail. It includes links to articles on candidates she's endorsed, what's happening inside the Beltway and around the world, and local sports news in the areas where she's traveling. The staff holds three conference calls a week —usually without Palin — but the conversation via Skype, e-mail and cell phone is continuous.
That staffing level, in terms of both quantity and quality, isn't indicative of someone seriously considering running successfully for the presidency.

CBS has a story about TIME's story.

Update: In the comments, Kerry noticed that TIME did an e-mail "interview" with Palin for this article. Her recent "interaction" with ABC News -- stating that she wouldn't run for RNC chair -- was also written. This information is certainly something to be filed away in long-term memory. Palin will undoubtedly claim that these are examples of "talking" with the media.

Update, Dec. 10: Chris Matthews is on the case.
He asks about the e-mail interview ...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy H/T IM

Update, Dec 10: Salon has published "Time conducts cover story Sarah Palin "interview" over e-mail."


Anonymous said...

"Refudiate", Sara Palin. Art, image.

Anonymous said...

I find her comment about POTUS Obama telling and hypocritical.
She thinks Obama sees the US as the "problem" while she see the US as the "solution"?
Hasn't she made a mistake and reversed them?
POTUS is trying to help the US people using the Government, ex;health care, extending unemployment, stimulus, lowering taxes for middle class etc.
Usually that is called 'solutions'.

Palin wants to do away with all that and let people fend for themselves. How is that "seeing the US as the solution" when millions of people would be without health care, unemployment, etc. How can she with a straight face make that statement???

Anonymous said...

I will buy the magazine to fill in the empty paint by numbers blanks. A pirate's eye patch is going on Sarah's face.

Kerry said...

I commented on CBS' site regarding the TIME article and I thought I would pass this thought on here.....TIME magazine did a front page article based on an EMAIL interview? Are they even sure it was Sarah Palin at the keyboard? Those answers were grammatically correct and the sentences did not run on (much). I have my doubts as to whether she took the time from "helping" all those poor people to actually take care of this interview. When will she step out into the real world and answer some "flippin'" questions already. Geez!

Joie Vouet said...

anon 10:32, I thought that remark was about "American Exceptionalism." Palin claims - from a statement made by Obama during a press conference, which she takes out of context - that Obama doesn't think America is exceptional. But you're right that hers is a whacky view if it's applied to U.S. problems instead of international problems.

Joie Vouet said...

Good catch, Kerry. And an e-mail interview doesn't let us see how she handles questions spontaneously. She might have taken days to answer each question.

Kerry said...

Thank Joie - I don't see this "interview" as being any different from her FB and Twitter entries. I think she's trying to build up her media cred here, so that next time she's accused of not doing interviews she can claim that yes she does - she did one with TIME magazine. She's also been working with ABC but, again, just through written statements...not face to face, no screened questions, real time (no edit) interviews.

tomandlou said...

Sarah can't and couldn't in the past, control her own family.She wasn't anywhere near being a "FISCAL CONSERVATIVE" In the State and the small town she supposedly governed ,she left them with large deficits created with a hell with you attitude ;When the judge tells me I cant do it I'll stop ? How the hell could she expect me to trust her? Never mind the rest of country ? A proven liar,hypocrite, phony of the year.The only nomination this ugly, bile spewing,wannabe deserves :Is induction into the "Hall of Hasbeens" a congregation of those with nothing or little to say !And no understanding of what they said when the manage to say something.She's irrelevant !