Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oh no she didn't!! Why the media is kissing Sarah Palin's ass.

or

Run Sarah Run...We need a good hard laugh for the 2012 Elections.

In an obvious effort to drum up more visibility for her book, Sarah Palin has chosen to speak out against two women whose bra straps she couldn't carry with her husband's help. Barbara Bush and Michelle Obama.


During an interview with Larry King, Barbara Bush gave her impression of Palin, "I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she's very happy in Alaska," Bush said, before adding, "and I hope she'll stay there."



To which Sarah Palin responded on Laura Ingraham's show,"I don't think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods -- and I want to say it will all due respect because I love the Bushes -- the blue bloods who want to pick and choose their winners instead of allowing competition," Wow..blue bloods, hmmm.

Palin's remarks on Michelle Obama don't seem to be initiated by anything other than just taking shots at the Obamas.  "Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat. And I know I'm going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track."

I get that Sarah Palin is hustling right now. This is her grind. This is what she does. She's the pseudo-political version of Howard Stern. Her shtick is to drum up controversy where ever possible because that's what her "career" feeds off of now. Which is why she chose to respond to and attack two highly visible and well known women. So my issue isn't with Palin herself. She's famous in the same vein that Snooki, Tila Tequila and Kim Kardashian are famous. My problem is with the news media and how they hang on this snapper-head's every comment.

Palin has a new book coming out and everyone is acting like its the second coming of an exposé from Woodward and Bernstein. I'm conflicted about doing a post on her as it promotes her agenda and by that I mean it promotes herself. And the last thing I want to do is help Sarah Palin get anymore publicity good or bad. But I was watching CNN when the reporter brought up her book and said that Palin tends to make her detractors heads explode. That's true. Mainly because Palin's existence as a popular figure in political circles is just as perplexing as the bumble bee being capable of flight in nature. By all accounts it shouldn't work but it does...surprisingly well.



After the Katie Couric interview, her political career should have been blown out of the water and technically it was. The pressure from the election followed her back to Alaska where she quit the job of governor halfway through her only term. But she was able to spin her personal popularity into another career. That of political cheerleader and class clown. She's like the popular mean girl who sits at the back of the room and makes fun of the student who are better academically than she is. No matter what foolishness falls out of her mouth, her supporters find a way to spin it if not flat out ignore it and this just emboldens her. Notice how most pundits and commentators whether for or against her keep saying the same thing about her, "You can't underestimate Sarah Palin", even Joe Biden made this statement. Although he said it in a completely diplomatic I'm-trying-so-hard-not-to-call-her-a-moron-on-live-TV way.

But the reality is no one is underestimating Sarah Palin, they are correctly estimating her. Critics from both parties have correctly assessed her political acumen and most of them came to the same conclusion. But its from people in her own party who have been the most honest in their observations of her. Republican, Lisa Murkowski in a CBS news interview blasts both barrels at Palin :
"She would not be my choice," Murkowski told CBS News. "I just do not think she has those leadership qualities, that intellectual curiosity that allows for building good and great policies. You know, she was my governor for two years, about two years there, and I don't think that she enjoyed governing. I don't think she liked to get down into the policy."

That statement is strikingly close to the assessment former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan made two years earlier during the Presidential campaign:
But we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for? For seven weeks I've listened to her, trying to understand if she is Bushian or Reaganite...
But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things.
Kathleen Parker displayed her dissatisfaction at John McCain's choice for Vice President at that time as well:
Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”
If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

Noonan again took a shot at the former governor for equating herself with republican saint Ronald Reagan and seeming to purposefully flub the title of his film "Bedtime for Bonzo":
She was defending her form of political celebrity—reality show, “Dancing With the Stars,” etc. This is how she did it: “Wasn’t Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn’t he in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo,’ Bozo, something? Ronald Reagan was an actor.”
The point is not “He was a great man and you are a nincompoop,” though that is true. The point is that Reagan’s career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn’t in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn’t in search of fame; he’d already lived a life, he was already well known, he’d accomplished things in the world.
Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

And the hit parade doesn't stop there. Conservative columnist Mona Charen chimes in:
After the 2008 campaign revealed her weaknesses on substance, Palin was advised by those who admire her natural gifts to bone up on policy and devote herself to governing Alaska successfully. Instead, she quit her job as governor after two and a half years, published a book (another is due next week), and seemed to chase money and empty celebrity. Now, rather than being able to highlight the accomplishments of Sarah Palin's Alaska, we get "Sarah Palin's Alaska," another cheesy entrant in the reality show genre. She'd so much rather be out dog sledding than in some "dull political office," she tells the audience. File that.
Most recently, Joe Scarborough wrote a scathing opinion piece on her on Politico:
One can only guess what comes next on Palin’s bizarre road show. Maybe the publishing world’s favorite reality star can keep drawing attention and selling billions of books by spitting on John Wayne’s grave or “manning up” by shooting an American bald eagle.
Or how about this? Maybe Palin could show up on Fox News and build her weak résumé by tearing down Reagan’s.
Oh, wait. Been there, done that.
And these people are her fellow republican/conservatives mind you (note how she never responded to those comments) . Those statements were not under estimations of Sarah Palin's political abilities, these are spot on assessments of something that the rest of mainstream news media refuses to acknowledge.

again, anyone else caught doing this wouldn't have a career anymore.
Okay, I'm not naive, I understand that reporting on Palin is good for business for the general media. Let's be honest, she's attractive, charismatic and...I have no idea what the fuck else but for some reason a lot of people pay attention to her. I can see where Palin coverage has some sort of entertainment factor but thats why we have tabloid networks.  She should not be getting any serious focus in the news media. The down side of  portraying Sarah Palin in a serious fashion is that it dumbs down any real political discourse we need considering the gravity of the issues we have economically, socially, hell..globally.  We used to live in world where if the US sneezed everyone else caught a cold. Today if Greece or Italy sneezes everyone in the G-20 breaks out in a cold sweat. Also, the news media looking to Palin as some kind of bellweather on party politics diminishes the importance of the democratic election process.

Once upon a time the news used to ignore the crazies and lightweights as they were a distraction from the greater issue. Which is who are we ,the people, going to elect to lead the country particularly in tenuous times? Today, thanks to a 24 hour news cycle, the crazies and lightweights make up a sizable portion of what's reported to us on a daily basis. Twenty years ago...hell, just ten years ago Sarah Palin would have been disregarded by the media and her party immediately after the Couric interview.

Remember Howard Dean back in 2004? His enthusiastic yell at the end of his speech while funny for a moment wasn't the worst thing ever seen or heard from a candidate running for high office. But the incessant play it got in the media is regarded as the biggest reason his campaign for President failed. Members of the news media and the CNN network even acknowledged that they made more of it than they should have.

What do these two men have in common?
No prominent public careers after their flubs.

Michael Dukakis's campaign was marred in part by his photo op in a tank during the run up to the Presidential elections in 1988.

While there were other reasons for Dukakis's eventual defeat (namely the infamous Willie Horton ad) the goofy grin in the over-sized tank helmet was fodder for the media as much as anything else that election season.

What these two people have in common is once they were seen as foolish by the media and public at large, they're political aspirations were over. Period. And both of these guys are far more accomplished than Palin could ever hope to be.

I said earlier that Palin has more in common with the likes of JWOWW than Geraldine Ferraro and if the news media  treated her as such it would put her existence in the proper perspective. In a normal world, stories about Palin would be reported in the "and in other news..." section of television broadcasts just after the weather and before signing off and somewhere in the entertainment section of newspapers.

What makes this even more frustrating is that Palin is so obvious about how she's going about promoting herself and her quest for fame that its not even funny anymore. Last week she made a comment in an interview with Barbra Walters that she would beat President Obama in the general election in 2012, if she decided to run. Now of course if you ask anyone that kind of question they would speak confidently about their chances. Remember when Hillary was acting like the election process was just a formality back in '07? And if Barack hadn't done as well as he had early in the primaries, it would have been.

But in Palin's case, most old guard Republicans don't support her, most women don't support her, minorities don't support her, the majority of the voting public have no confidence in her leadership abilities whatsoever. With all of that going against her, maybe someone in her position would have sidestepped the question in a diplomatic way and not looked like a lunatic in the process. But brazen lunacy is the engine that drives the Palin machine. Brashness and direct confrontation is what she's been known for since being tapped for the V.P. spot. Palin took the position of "enforcer" for the McCain campaign. She said all the things he couldn't for fear of not looking presidential (and petty). The pit-bull with lip stick remark, the attacks on Bill Ayers and his connection to Obama, all the tough talk, all that did was alienate her from most of America while improving her standing with a small but loud minority of supporters who want their leaders to act in the same manner.

Palin was and is extremely adept at comporting herself as the pistol packing, hard charging, take no prisoners conservative woman of today. But she's absolutely clueless at nuance and dealing with complex issues and policy that don't require saber rattling. When confronted with those kinds of situations, Sarah relies on what she thinks is charm and what actually is awkward verbosity to get through.

And she keeps getting a pass for it.

Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and any of the other possible republican candidates for the 2012 Presidential election, should be highly insulted that the news media keeps promoting the idea through straw polls that Sarah Palin could handily beat them in the primaries. We saw how well she did in her one and only debate against against Joe Biden. The bar was set so low for her that as long as she didn't burst into flames at the podium it was declared a draw. Yet today its assumed that the republican primaries are her's to lose.

Really?? Seriously??

Do people really believe that Palin can withstand an ugly primary process that will include among other things no less than a dozen debates? She can't wink and cute her way through all of them. Personally, I want Sarah Palin to run in 2012. I really do. It'd be hoot to watch the GOP tear itself apart trying to deal with her. And the other candidates would have to decide between treating her with kid gloves for the sake of party cohesion or tearing her down to make her earn it. And it wouldn't be that hard to tear her down.

But Palin won't run for President. When the time comes for her to declare whether she'll throw her hat into the ring or not, she'll make up some lame excuse and back off. And why should she run? What she's doing now is clearly more lucrative than any political office. Hopefully after the 2012 elections, she'll fade into obscurity and we won't have to endure the constant reports on her tweets and facebook posts and inane bumper sticker remarks about policies she clearly doesn't understand.  Unfortunately for us, until then the news media will continue to promote her circus act with a straight face.

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