Friday, November 20, 2009

Why Palin Matters

For reasons I can't understand, Left Wing bloggers are trying to act like Palin shouldn't matter. E.g. Steve Benen stating: "I have deliberately steered clear of writing posts about Sarah Palin this week, in part because I don't think she's worth the obsessive media attention, and in part because I find myself struggling to care." And others who say that Newsweek had a sexist cover (which I won't reprint here) of Palin in jogging shorts, or that it's excessive for AP to have 11 fact checkers of her book (which they didn't, but whatever). Here's my take:
  1. I am happy that the somnolent, stenographic news-establishment has finally woken up and realized that someone, in this case Palin, is an existential threat to the United States. The press was sleeping about Iraq, about Abu Ghraib, about the Patriot Act, about almost everything dangerous and catastrophic that the Bush Administration perpetrated, in real time - except for the brief, quickly-snuffed, outrage over Katrina. But, Cheney is still treated as an authority of matters that don't just exist in his fantasy dungeon; McCain is jokingly called "President McCain" by my favorite bloggers because of his retained authority and ubiquity on Sunday talk shows. The press is relentlessly market driven to the point of self-inflicted triviality. But now they have woken up about Palin and are treating her like the threat to our country that she is. That's at least one aspect of my spin on their obsession with her.

    To be honest, they're motivated more by her popularity - positive on the GOP end, negative on the Rest of The World end - and her sexpot tabloid trash image sells units. So she is good for business. But I am willing to say that the press has also realized that we almost had her for president.

  2. Plain is the presumptive GOP nominee in 2012. That's just the way our election cycles run: the VP candidate of the losing ticket becomes the presumptive nominee next election. Lieberman led the polls for the 2004 primary back in 2001-2003. Edwards was presumed to be the front runner from 2005-2007; even Quayle thought he had a shot in 1996. So by structure alone, Palin is the presumed nominee. And, not to push to hard on this, it doesn't matter that she stepped down from the gov., Edwards was out of the Senate after 2004 as well.

  3. In a real sense, Palin is the face of the GOP right now. True, the de-facto heads of the party are Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, but Palin actually was on a national campaign and millions of people pressed the lever with her name in November 2008. She is real, while the others aren't.
Her popularity with the GOP base is why I characterize her as an existential threat: she could very well be the nominee in '12, and (as others have coined) the "Any Given Tuesday" weirdness of election day could put her in office. And she is dangerous, stupid, crazy, and religiously convinced of her inerrant rectitude.

Whatever made Bush bad, she has, without anything that made Bush good. I've said this before, I believe, but it bears repeating - as un-meritocratic and elitist it may sound, there's a benefit to electing a person who comes from a political machine. They are usually surrounded by professionals who have experience. Sadly, the Bush machine's experience was all in Evil. And they were bad at it. But his candidacy in 2000 rested on the barely unspoken premise that, yeah, he's a moron but he has good advisers. This over-confident bluff cannot be said for Palin. So Bush without expertise is a clear recipe for catastrophe.

The last point, especially about Palin and Bush, is this: for most of America (and the world) George W. Bush was a disaster. Most people, therefore, would hate and fear another Bush and we have learned to recognize the symptoms of another Bush. Hence, this is why most thinking people detest and fear Palin. However, the gnarled nub of the GOP who remain, the teabaggers and Birthers and Christers and Beckters, by definition, loved the last 8 years. If they have any complaints, its that Bush wasn't conservative (read: crazy) enough! And thus they really want Palin - for the same reasons we don't want her.

First two pics are all over the place and are undoctored stills of Palin in public debates; the last Bush-Palin pic is from here.

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