Rough weekend in the Cult of Palin. But this being the 2000-oughts, it probably doesn’t matter. She’s “one of us” and she can [insert down-home cliche here].
Time for link-collecting, so I can look back on these strange days …
There was the pretty hilarious, dead-on Tina Fey return to SNL to impersonate her, condensing into a few minutes of parody the most alarming parts of her candidacy. Sadly, that will probably me more significant for opinion-shaping than anything written anywhere.
And the rest of her interview with Charles Gibson was released — her first non-scripted, non-staged public comments, which is rather undemocratic of a public official … but then Bush has spent most of his presidency not answering questions, so perhaps indignant indifference is the new face of public service. She came off as a skilled politician, but not so strong in the “I know what’s at stake” category. (e.g. Russians are “our next-door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska. From an island in Alaska.” Cool! Vote her ass in!)
After a week of digging and talking to Alaskan colleagues and opponents, three Times reporters dug up a severely damning picture: Palin The Reformer looks like, well, any ol’ Machiavellian crony-coddler:
An examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics … contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.
Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.
The story also reveals that she, like a good modern-era Republican, appears to believe her correspondence as a public official is her business, not the public’s. We might ask her, but she wouldn’t answer questions for the story. That’s a good democracy. Which crony she picks and why is not of our concern, dude.
In the preaching-to-the-choir category, every non-conservative NYT op/ed writer took their turn sharing their bewilderment:
Herbert: “Palin’s problem is not that she was mayor of a small town or has only been in the Alaska governor’s office a short while. Her problem (and now ours) is that she is not well versed on the critical matters confronting the country at one of the most crucial turning points in its history.”
Frank Rich, on why it doesn’t seem to matter whether she’s well versed on silly things like issues and policies that might keep Rome from declining: “The specifics have changed in our new century, but the vitriolic animus of right-wing populism preached by Pegler and McCarthy and revived by the 1990s culture wars remains the same. The game is always to pit the good, patriotic real Americans against those subversive, probably gay ‘cosmopolitan’ urbanites (as the sometime cross-dresser Rudy Giuliani has it) who threaten to take away everything that small-town folk hold dear.”
The most salient, boots-shaking passage for me was from Maureen Dowd: “The really scary part of the Palin interview was how much she seemed like W. in 2000, and not just the way she pronounced nu-cue-lar. She had the same flimsy but tenacious adeptness at saying nothing, the same generalities and platitudes, the same restrained resentment at being pressed to be specific, as though specific is the province of silly eggheads, not people who clear brush at the ranch or shoot moose on the tundra.”
Yes, that’s what shook my faith in 2000! It’s that “resentment at being pressed to be specific” that turns my stomach and sends shivers through my bones.
On Friday, Krugman showed exhausted disgust at the whole thing: “Why do the McCain people think they can get away with this stuff? Well, they’re probably counting on the common practice in the news media of being ‘balanced’ at all costs. You know how it goes: If a politician says that black is white, the news report doesn’t say that he’s wrong, it reports that ‘some Democrats say’ that he’s wrong. Or a grotesque lie from one side is paired with a trivial misstatement from the other, conveying the impression that both sides are equally dirty.”
And Friedman, on the sheer idiocy and insincerity of McCain & company’s “drill, baby, drill!”:
“Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. ‘Typewriters, baby, typewriters.'”
Um, probably because they will die in the next 20-30 years and don’t give a shit about the Earth beyond, as long as their retirement is well funded and golf courses hydrated? That’s my guess.
Well, at least we’ll reap what we sow. That should make good god*-fearing folk happy.
*Must be singular “god.” Multiple gods-fearers need not apply.